Thinking Out Loud

October 1, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Gospel Van

Photo: Drew Dyck

A fresh crop of October links! Mind you, they’re all dated September. But they’re new to you.

Yes! The links are still also at Parse, the blog of Leadership Journal, a division of Christianity Today. Click here to read there!

For our closing graphic we return to TwentyOneHundred Productions’ Facebook page, the gift that keeps on giving. 2100 is the media division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  (We poached another one from them for tomorrow…I feel like I should make a donation to my local IVCF chapter…) Click the image to link, or follow them at this page.

Books of the Bible

October 5, 2013

Remembering Chuck Smith

Time Magazine June 21 1971

“Little country church on the edge of town
People comin’ every day from miles around
For meetings and for Sunday School
And it’s very plain to see
It’s not the way it used to be”

The first time I saw the sprawling campus of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa was November, 1979. We didn’t have the term ‘megachurch’ then, nor was I prepared for a style of church architecture which, owing to the California climate, didn’t require indoor hallways to connect the various classrooms, departments, and offices.

The first service I attended there featured Chuck Smith doing what he did every single Sunday without exception: Preaching consecutively through the Bible, verse-by-verse, with that deep voice that transmitted much Biblical authority, but also much peace and calm. Thus, it was your choice to become engaged in the exposition or to fall asleep; either was possible, the latter was not encouraged.

Chuck Smith died this week at age 86. Many of the tributes have mentioned Calvary’s most renowned spinoff, Maranatha! Music and its related Maranatha Studios and the Ministry Resource Center (MRC); the Saturday night concerts; or the baptisms at Pirate’s Cove which made the cover of Time Magazine.

Baptism at Pirate's Cove

Baptism at Pirate’s Cove

The story has it that when the church occupied a smaller building — that later became a bookstore — studded jeans were popular and the older members were concerned that the studs were scratching the church pews. So Chuck ordered the pews removed. By the time I arrived in the late ’70s, there was still floor seating available at the front — a tribute to those days, perhaps — and one week I spent a Sunday morning service sitting on the floor, partly to have that experience and partly to release a scarce seat to someone who might need it more. The place was packed. 

If you attend a church that uses contemporary music or modern worship, you are, as I wrote here, a direct product of those early Jesus Movement days on the American west coast. Even if your church is more conservative and uses a hymnbook on a Sunday morning, odds are it contains a few Maranatha! Music copyrights.

But Chuck’s greatest legacy was Calvary Chapel, the denomination.

It is said that back then you didn’t need theological degrees to plant a Calvary, rather they were looking for individuals who already had a “proven ministry.” I don’t know how it works today, but I love that concept. A few of the pastors came out of the bands that played at the original Calvary at those Saturday night concerts. Today, Calvary Chapel churches in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Albuquerque, NM, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, Diamond Bar, CA, Chino, CA, Downey, CA, West Melbourne, FL, Jacksonville FL, and a handful of others are among the top megachurches in the US.

One generation megachurch pastor to another: Chuck Smith and Rick Warren

One generation megachurch pastor to another: Chuck Smith and Rick Warren

Some of the other musicians from those early days, such as Chuck Girard from Love Song, continue to bless us with worship leadership; while the spirit of Calvary Chapel lives on in other churches that sprang from that era, such as Harvest Church in Riverside, CA. Harvest pastor Greg Laurie paid tribute to Chuck Smith this week.

Chuck Smith’s ministry in California was an example of the right man, in the right place, at the right time, with the right vision.

He will be missed.

…The song lyrics which began this article are from “Little Country Church” by LoveSong, written about those early days at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. The file is audio-only.

January 4, 2012

Wednesday Link List

By request, a fresh take on the recurring List Lynx pun here

(B)link and you’ll miss it! 

  • Hard to imagine anyone opposing a translation of the Bible into another language, but the Jamaican patois version isn’t pleasing everyone.  Text sample: “De angel go to Mary and say to ‘er, me have news we going to make you well ‘appy. God really, really, bless you and him a walk with you all de time.”
  • Daniel Jepsen admits it’s not like him to walk out of a church service, but he did just that when the service went too far, or perhaps didn’t go far enough. Teaching the Bible would have been a refreshing addition.
  • Fuller Theological Seminary’s Kara Powell thinks that while adults and children are all sharing the same church, they’re all having a different experience of it.  In a 4-page article at CT, she suggests keeping kids in church beyond high school means giving them a faith that sticks.
  • He uses his involvement in TV and film production to evangelize well known actors, and he’s been fired by one prominent casting agency for doing so.  Steve Cha talks to Christian Post about evangelizing Hollywood.
  • This is the link to part one of the original video that Ben Breedlove posted at YouTube just days before he died on Christmas Day; though you need to watch part two to get the full story.  Gateway Church in Austin, Texas also posted the 42-minute memorial service  video in which lead pastor John Burke refers to Ben’s faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Cerebral palsy and epilepsy didn’t stop Toronto’s Robert Gagnon from completing a BA at Redeemer and an MTS at Tyndale Seminary, or from launching a new ministry for people with visible disadvantages, Abilities in Christ.
  • Here’s an interesting standup routine by Phil Long that gets some deep analysis on Tyler Braun’s blog.
  • Still haven’t made those New Year’s Resolutions?  Ann Voskamp offers five steps to help you begin.
  • Is heaven and The New Jerusalem the same thing? Think about it.  Here’s a C201 blog post that took on a life of its own in the comments.
  • Mike Breen looks at the Rainer Research Group’s ten trends for the next decade in church life.
  • The man at the center of the Jesus movement in the early 1970s, Costa Mesa California’s Calvary Church pastor Chuck Smith is now battling lung cancer though he never smoked.
  • TV Producer Mark Burnett is joining with Zondervan and the digital team that developed Glo Bible to introduce a new app, Bible 360 which will integrate with devices and social media. Sales will be through iTunes.
  • Seems a policy statement issued at Rossville Christian Academy in Tennessee is really just a mass memo directed at a single student. (The video is useless, but there’s a full text of the story when you scroll down.)
  • Time for one last Christmas image; J. R. Briggs got this from David Fitch; it’s titled Advent Distraction:

October 26, 2011

Wednesday Link List

So what’s your take-away from today’s cartoon?  It’s from the book God is Dog Spelled Backwards by Julia Cmaeron and Elizabeth Cameron; not for sale at your local Christian bookstore.

  • The Seattle Mars Hill church (Mark Driscoll) decided to go after other Mars Hills churches to try to protect its brand.  But then the church realized its reaction was a little over the top.
  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter becomes the latest Christian author, signing a two-book deal with Zondervan.
  • The Occupy London protesters forced the closing of St. Paul’s Cathedral mostly due to fire concerns.
  • Speaking of the UK, a man there writes on his Facebook page that he believes marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, and next thing you know he’s demoted at work with a 40% pay cut.
  • If you have an iTunes account, you can click this link for an interview with Steve Carr, the founder of the non-profit Flannel film company that produced Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos and Francis Chan’s BASIC series.
  • Paul Crouch, Jr. has left the family business, aka The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) to “pursue other work.”  The departure was rather sudden.
  • Americans can donate to missions at the left click of a mouse; but as the U.S. dollar slides against foreign currencies, overseas mission projects are hurting for funding.
  • In one of his best pieces to date, Trevin Wax imagines a somewhat ideal media interview with a pastor on the homosexual debate.
  • Lots of rumblings from the Calvary Chapel churches over the visits of the ever-controversial Jerry Boykin to various CCs, mostly because of Boykin’s Jesuit connections.  While this website looks somewhat sensationalist, it does contain a lot of documentation,  perhaps this one boils it down more concisely.
  • Josh Wiley collects 22 Awesome C. S. Lewis Quotations.
  • Comedian Tim Hawkins has Three Requests for Worship Pastors.
  • October 31st: JesusWeen.  Seriously. Someone came up with this.  To non-Christians it’s a bit of joke.  To Christians it’s somewhat unnecessary.
  • October 31st: Hell Houses.  Russell D. Moore has seven reasons why Judgment Houses or Hell Houses miss the mark.
  • It took presidential hopeful Michelle Bachman only a few days to note that presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s “999” economic program is simply “666” upside down.  She remarked, “The devil is in the details.” Jeremy Myers examines 666.
  • Just in time for Reformation Sunday: Zac Hicks’ worship song including the five “solas” Sola fide (pronounced “FEE-deh”) – faith alone; Sola gratia (pronounced “GRAT-see-ah”) – grace alone; Solus Christus (pronounced “KREE-stoos”) – Christ alone; Sola scriptura (pronounced “skrip-TOO-rah”) – Scripture alone; Soli Deo gloria (pronounced “DEH-o GLOH-ree-ah”) – to God alone be the glory. (Don’t forget to roll the r’s.)  Click the audio player in this link.
  • Insert your link here.  Seen something online this week that I missed?  Add your suggestion to the comments.  Note that not all links will posted; anything commercial or inappropriate won’t be accepted.
  • With apologies to Margaret Fishback Powers, I thought we’d end with an “almost” version of Footprints.

January 27, 2010

The Links Lynx is Back

The Wednesday Link List.    A Thinking Out Loud tradition for at least a few months now…

  • Say what you will about Rob Bell — and I know many of you would jump at the chance — but you’ve never experienced a better transition of a pastor from one church to another than when the people of Trinity Mennonite “gift” Shane Hipps to the people at Mars Hill Grand Rapids.   This link is valid for about ten more weeks, click on the sermon for 01.17.10 and listen to the first ten minutes.
  • Gary Molander also has an excellent post on the above item at the blog It’s Complicated, under the title Pastor Poaching.
  • I was going to include this last week, but hesitated.   First, it’s a six page article and secondly the first page is extremely graphic.   But I think this should be on your must-read list.   It compares a medical condition gynecologists call meno-metrorrhagia, with the condition of the hemorrhaging woman in Mark 5: 25-34, bringing modern science and historical background together to help us understand the passage more fully and also to focus on current conditions in Africa.   Check out “Jesus and the Unclean Woman” by L. Lewis Wall at Christianity Today.
  • This was actually posted to YouTube back in August, but it’s a great moment at the LoveSong reunion when pastor Chuck Smith introduces the song which, in many respects, marked the absolute beginning of today’s Contemporary Christian music.   If you’re into Christian music, this nine minute video shows you how it all began.
  • Jeff McQuilkin considers what it was like putting together a ‘worship show’ each week, from the perspective of someone who is no longer doing so.   Check out “The Show Must Go On” at The Communitas Collective.  (Read Jeff regularly at Losing My Religion.)
  • Jon Acuff is in classic form giving you a chance to rate the bumper sticker(s) on your vehicle(s), not to mention seven great new ones (and one cheesy one) of his own.   Check out Stuff Christians Like #694.  (It took 694 posts to get to bumper stickers?)
  • “If your kids are awake, they’re online.”   Albert Mohler discusses The Online Life of Kids.    Mohler writes well, but it’s not a true blog if you can’t leave comments.
  • The best books of 2009 you’ve never read:  It’s the Christianity Today Book Awards.   The more esoteric and eclectic, the better, right?   How about, as George Costanza might say, ‘book awards for the rest of us?’
  • Check out the various free image files available to your church — see sample at right — from CreativeMYK.com
  • Congratulations to blogger Carlos Whittaker (Ragamuffin Soul) on a deal with Integrity Music.   Check out a few of the songs here.
  • Don’t feel you learn enough reading blogs?   This week’s lynx is actually an Iberian lynx.   Wikipedia says, “It is the most endangered cat species in the world.  According to the conservation group SOS Lynx, if this species died out, it would be the first feline extinction since the Smilodon 10,000 years ago.”   Use that in a conversation in the next 24 hours.
  • I guess it had to happen. Is there anything we do in church life that doesn’t have its own seminar? An upcoming conference offers three workshops for people who staff the church coffee bar.   At least they’ll be well-trained.
  • Here’s a repeat link from six months ago: New Direction in Canada has put together a 4-week DVD curriculum,  Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending Our Gay Neighbors. It includes 3-hours of video content and a 40-page leader guide with reproducible worksheets.   Material on this subject is badly needed.  Guests include Brian McLaren, Bruxy Cavey, Tony Campolo and eight more.   Read more about it, here.
  • He’s a 19 year old college student.   He seems like a good Christian kid.  He wants a tattoo.   Wants to put “Bought With A Price” on it.   Parents say no.   Time for Russell D. Moore at the blog Moore to the Point to sort it out.
  • If you’ve recently joined us, and you’re a woman who has a husband, father, son, brother or boyfriend who is hooked on pornography, check out a resource I wrote a couple of years ago, The Pornography Effect.  It’s a modified blog page where the chapters appear in order; clicking “previous posts” actually yields the next chapters, 7-15.  Takes about 50 minutes to read.
  • Today’s cartoon is from JAW Toons by Jay Allen:

HT for CreativeMYK = Kent Shaffer

No animals were harmed in the making of this week’s link list.  The idea of LoveSong as the true root of contemporary Christian music is open to debate if you consider the Catholic folk masses of the late 1960s, or the influence of Larry Norman.

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