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For those of you who have not already read this when it was originally posted over at irishcalvinist.com, here’s my recent review of “(Re)Thinking Worldview” by J. Mark Bertrand. (It was a real kick to see the review noted at Bertrand’s website, definitely a blogo-history moment for me!)

rethinkingcovers.jpg(Re)Thinking Worldview is a fun read that will challenge your thinking at its deepest level while barely breaking a sweat. J. Mark Bertrand is a bit wordy at many point, my only complaint, but the investment turn out to be worthwhile every time.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. One, Bertrand finds it easy to be heady without being intimidating. On the surface, the subject of the book seems intimidating. The subject (Christian worldview and its implications) is one with which every Christian needs to be familiar, and Bertrand does well to make it accessible to most readers.

Two, only the first third of the book is actually spent defining worldview. The rest of the book is devoted to the ethical implications of our worldview as Christians. I really enjoyed Bertrand’s foray into the Christian’s view of art. He manages to embrace the post-modern emphasis on storytelling over dogmatics while maintaining the Christian’s responsibility to communicate truth.

Further, I greatly appreciate the way Bertrand shows the reader what it means to be an active consumer of information rather than passive. It makes all the difference in the world when the believer is deciding what it means to simply read a book or watch a movie. It helped me to cement some ideas I’d had about the Christian’s view and use of art, and took me a few steps further.

As the subtitle reflects, this is a book about thinking, living, and speaking. Worldview is an exciting subject to me, as a subject that covers all of these elements. I was encouraged to read an author who shares the same kind of passion for these important subject. “(Re)Thinking Worldview” is a great introduction to Christian worldview, sure to get newcomers excited as well. More than that, as the subtitle reflects, it is a book about thinking, living, and speaking as well. Believers would do well do allow Bertrand to instruct them.

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Those of you who attend church with me at Omaha Bible Church know that I am going through a significant change in ministry. Over the last three years, my wife Amy and I have been serving in the high school ministry together. As the leader of that ministry, I was challenged in ways I could never have expected. It was a great time. My main regret was that it ended before I had the chance to apply the lessons learned from my failures.

My new ministry will be as a care group leader for a new church campus, spun from OBC. I will be working with adults, families. As hard as it has been to leave high school ministry behind, these new waters are equally daunting. I feel privileged to have been handed such responsibility, and yet I have struggled with the guilt of unfinished business.

I’ve been wanting to share some of my thoughts on the nature of ministry with you for some time now, but due to the need for discretion in the planning stages, I’ve had to keep things under wraps. Now that our plans have been announced, here goes:

  1. I have really been impressed with the providence of God in moving the pieces of the puzzle around to meet all the needs. When the prospect of this new ministry came along, I was not interested. As I saw it, I was needed in the youth ministry and I didn’t see a replacement. Later, when the proposal became formal, a replacement had appeared. Our church added a new pastor with experience in youth ministry and a desire to serve. Having a full time pastor was something I’d felt was needful all along. Rob Clay was an answer to long-standing prayer, and it seemed as if God was nudging me through my hesitation.
  2. In the body of Christ, everyone is replaceable. Months before any of these things came along, Amy and I had this conversation on a walk. I stated plainly that I was not so specially suited for the high school ministry that the students would suffer if I decided to leave. I said that God depends on no man to accomplish his plans. The doctrine of election underscores this: God cuts and pastes at will in order that HE might be glorified as the architect (1 Cor 1:19-21)
  3. Sheep need to listen to the shepherds. We all need to be careful not to become so attached to our ministries that we end up being barnacles, slowing the ship or even sinking it. We are sheep. Pastors are shepherds. Sheep need to let the shepherds arrange them as they seem fit.
  4. God has been wise to make the gifts of the Holy Spirit diverse, and yet general enough that our desires are defined and our application can be broad (Eph 4:10-12, 1 Cor 12). We need to be careful that we don’t consider ourselves personally tailored for a particular ministry. Our gifts can and should be used in a wide variety of ways, and no single ministry can contain them all.
  5. Christian life is about change. Particularly, it is about trial and challenge. We should expect that we will move from ministry to ministry as we mature. As we grow, God will gift us with greater responsibility.
  6. Learn to live with the tension of never wanting to fail your Master. I think it’s proper never to feel as though you’ve arrived, or that you’ve got things running just so. Christ’s standard is perfection (1 Pet 1:16). We know we can’t reach perfection and yet we can’t be fully satisfied with anything less. Perfection-ism is idolatry (perfection for it’s own sake, the work itself being the goal), but the desire to serve God faithfully (striving for His pleasure) to the fullest degree of our ability is proper worship.
  7. Make declaring Christ the center of your ministry and you cannot fail. Having been surrounded by other men who actively declare Christ is everything they do, it has been driven home to me that this message is not to be merely implied or assumed, but declared emphatically at every opportunity. Don’t take this priority as given. Say it. preach it. Do it with a mop, or from behind the lectern.

Nuff said.

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Back in this

Man, was this a killer holiday season. It’s been two weeks at least since I last posted. There just hasn’t been an intersection of time and energy. Not that I’m looking for sympathy, this has been the most tiring holiday season I can remember.

Case in point: On New Year’s Day it is my tradition to take it easy, hunker down with some snacks, and watch bowl games. I’ve been able to keep a this even with small children, as my wife does me the courtesy of keeping me free (enough) to really relax and enjoy the day. This year I didn’t get a chance to sit down and watch until the Sugar Bowl (the latest game). I went to bed at 9:15.

I can’t remember the last time I went to bed before 10pm that I wasn’t sick. That’s just how the last two weeks have been. I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t come down sick.

Anyway, major things have been afoot here at the Fudge house. Significant ministry changes loom large, with all of the related challenges and decisions to be made. I’m looking forward to the new year because all those challenges and decisions figure to have Amy and I depending on Christ more than ever before. Suffice it to say that sacrifice makes you take stock of what is truly important. Sacrifice is a moment which forces you to jettison those things which would keep you from your upward call of growth in Christ. It remands me of what Paul said:

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phillipians 3:7-11)

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A quick post

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It’s been pretty busy around here over the Christmas season, what with family in town to visit and all. I’ve been wanting to write, but haven’t had the time or the energy. A friend recently teased me for not having posted recently, so here you are:

A post.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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A wise man once said, It’s not the fall that gets you; it’s that sudden stop at the end.” He must have gone sledding in our back yard.

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Drum roll please…..

Q: Where in Scripture do we see the first beer tap?

A: In Numbers 21:16 ” From there they continued to Beer, that is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

Ha! Get it? Don’t take everything so literally! It’ll only get you to the correct grammatical-historical understanding of Scripture! Silly people… Now go back to your turkeys, your tryptophan induced comas, and your bad football. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy birthday to my son Caleb, who is two today.

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Overheard in my home recently:

Madison: Mommy, there’s a fat man mowing the grass in the back yard!

Amy: That’s daddy.

Madison: I know.

Ouch. My three year old daughter says more than she knows. It’s probably one of her best quotes. All that after a lost some weight. I guess it’s time to get back on the treadmill. One last time out with my good friends Ben and Jerry.

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