28 August 2009

Leon Dorleans at CCJ

Pastor Leon Dorleans will be the guest speaker at the Christian Church of Jasper this Sunday. He is one of our missionaries and is a big inspiration for CCJ's very existence. Invite some friends as Leon will preach on Luke 15:1-7.

24 August 2009

Pray For The Persecuted

A teenager who said she fled from Ohio to Florida to save her life will remain in Florida state custody a while longer as a judge called for further investigation of the case.

Rifqa Bary claims that after her Muslim father learned of her conversion to Christianity, he threatened her life.

Read on ...

19 August 2009

Narrow Path @ Lincoln Amphitheatre

By now, I'm sure you've been inundated with information about Narrow Path's (CCJ's band) participation in the End of Summer Blowout at Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln City this Saturday. The event begins at 4 p.m. CENTRAL time with two bands (Forgiven, of Evansville, and Faith of Job, of Huntingburg) playing first and second, respectively. Then, nationally-known speaker Justin Lookadoo will be speaking (this is primarily a talk aimed at teenagers - this whole event is designed for ages 13 and older).

Here's where we come in. Justin Lookadoo will have three "sets" during his talk divided by short intermissions of approximately 15 minutes each. We (Narrow Path) will be playing for a few minutes toward the end of each intermission to get the crowd back in and ready to go. Then, we will have our full set (about 45 minutes of Honest Abe-never-imagined-this-in-his-backyard/face-melting/you-can't-possibly-sit-down/hand-clapping/loud-singing rock n' roll for Jesus).

If you are planning on attending the whole festival, it starts at 4 p.m. Central. However, if you are coming just to support us, here's an approximate schedule for our appearances (all times CENTRAL):

First Intermission: approximately 7 p.m.
Second Intermission: approximately 8 p.m.
Main Narrow Path set: approximately 9 p.m. (did I mention that this is Central time?)

The headlining band, Formerly Blind, of Owensboro, will start shortly after we finish. We look forward to seeing you there (a lot of the crowd won't know the songs, but you'll know your parts and we need you to shout it out loud ... please).

For information detailing everything that is happening that day, visit Narrow Path's site.

I know that this makes a late night for those that attend but it'll be worth it, trust me. Thanks for your outstanding support of the band.

- Daniel

17 August 2009

SOS Family Picnic

CCJ's Senior Offering Services ministry enjoyed a family picnic Sunday after church at the River Walk. Then, went to the Work Release and served hamburgers and hotdogs to the inmates. This is a way to get involved and enjoy good fellowship and serve God at the same time.

12 August 2009

"Your Jesus Is Too Safe"

What do you say about who Jesus REALLY is? There is no more important question you will ever answer in your life. Your answer to this shapes EVERYTHING else in your life.

If you've hung around The CCJ Blog for very long, you've probably read a quote or two from Jared Wilson (his blog, The Gospel-Driven Church, is a must read, in my opinion). Full disclosure: Jared is a friend of mine and was a college classmate of mine at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN. Despite him graduating from a state university, he is a super-smart guy who I have learned much from over the past decade.

Jared recently had his book, "Your Jesus Is Too Safe" published and released by Kregel Publications. Today, I'm taking part in the official blog tour for the book.

For a short review, I will just say you should read this book (buy it here). It is EXTREMELY readable when it could've been very dry and academic (as many books about Jesus can be). Jared's use of humor and slight sarcasm at key moments really helps keep you going (I very much appreciate his reference of movies like "The Karate Kid" and "Wayne's World 2" to illustrate very important points about Christ). For instance, he writes in the chapter titled "Jesus the King" that the way of this world is similar to the ethics of the Cobra Kai - "mercy is for the weak," but that the Kingdom of God is the upside down version of that. It's not all pop-culture references and humor, however. For instance, I re-read the "Jesus The King" chapter a few times to try to soak it all in, it's that deep (deep is good, you know). The book reads like a good pastor or friend walking along with you and giving you a more clear view of who Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith, really is.

I know I may be biased because I know Jared, but, seriously, this book is very good and well worth your $10.97.

Jared recently answered a few questions for me as a part of this tour to be published here on The CCJ Blog. Read on:

1.) What prompted you to write "Your Jesus Is Too Safe?"
The book really came out of a synthesis of different things in my life. Ten years or so ago a coworker in a bookstore handed me a copy of a book by N.T. Wright called The Original Jesus that really pushed my thinking about Jesus and the four Gospels. I really felt like I was seeing them for the first time. And that kind of began my intellectual journey in the historical Jesus stuff. And then about 5 or 6 years ago I began sort of a Gospel renaissance in my life, sort of a combination of embracing a more Reformed theology, getting under the mentorship of some really gospel-centered writers and pastors, and then a personal crisis the brokenness of which I cannot even put into words as of yet. But all of that left me with the stripped down all-importance of the gospel in my life and the preciousness of Christ.

So the book is sort of the outworking of my interest in the historical Jesus and my passion for gospel-centeredness in my life and in the evangelical church at large.

2.) What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about Jesus in the American church?
I think the biggest misunderstanding we may have is how we think of the kingdom of God. Most scholars and pastors can't but admit "the kingdom" is pretty much the thrust of Jesus' message. But very few have ever preached on the kingdom. So large swaths of the church think the kingdom is heaven, or the church itself, or some other such thing.

I remember reading about this way back when, and I tried to track down the source so I could cite it in the book to no avail, but I recall reading (in something by George Eldon Ladd, I think it was) that a survey of pastors at the time revealed the vast majority agreeing the kingdom was Jesus' message and the vast majority admitting they'd never preached on the subject. That is really weird.

3.) Our area is rooted in German Catholic heritage and along with that comes a deep-rooted belief that good works are the path to heaven. Please explain to readers of the blog your view on faith and works and salvation.
Well, my view is the historic, orthodox Christian view, with a sharp Protestant edge of course, that, as Paul says, "by the works of the law will no man be justified" and "it is by grace we are saved, not a result of our works, so that none of us can boast."
That's all theological.

Practically speaking, I'm a big fan of salvation by grace because a) I'm an idiot and would hate to think salvation depended on how high, big, far, long, or good I can be, and b) I'd have no idea how good is good enough. It's a recipe for despair, which Martin Luther discovered in the depths of depression and frustration.The Bible basically says perfection is required, and if that's the case, I think we're all in trouble.

And in swoops the gospel. The only man who was ever perfect offered himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we might be reckoned perfect by his work, not ours. It's a great message and it's unique to Christianity. No other religion has grace as part of their game. I think those who really get it just can't help but find it so awesome.

4.) What, in your view, are some of the most dangerous (wrong), yet commonly held, beliefs about Jesus?
From the 30,000 ft. view, I think our biggest problem -- yours and mine and everybody else's -- is that we by default assume Jesus likes and dislikes all the same things and people we do. And sometimes we are in alignment. But not by default. It's the "Jesus in our image" thing. So jock dudes love the Jesus of Revelation, kicking butt and taking names. And chai latte drinking dudes love the tender Jesus. And all are parts of Jesus' personality and character, just like any of us can be angry sometimes and tender others. But to fixate not on Jesus but on one aspect of Jesus to the exclusion of all others isn't fixing our eyes on Jesus, but on a caricature of him.

5.) How does one come up with a reference to "Wayne's World 2" and "The Karate Kid" while writing a book about Jesus?
I could bluster here about cultural relevance but the real answer is just that I'm a doofus. A doofus who grew up in the 80's.

Bonus Question: Any final thoughts on the book that you'd like our readers to know?
I really want people to know that the title sort of belies that the book is more pro-Jesus than it is "anti" anything in the church or culture or anything. Some of that is in there, but it is not an incessantly critical book. It is a pastoral and inspirational and theological reflection on the Gospels-revealed awesomeness of Jesus.

08 August 2009

Welcome, Shannan Volters (CCJ Children's Minister)

As you heard today, Shannan Volters (note the spelling, people) is CCJ new Children's Minister. Everyone is very excited about what she will bring to the CCJ family. Pray for her as she makes her transition to Dubois County.

She graciously agreed to answer a few "get-to-know-you" type questions:

I grew up in Miamisburg, Ohio, with my Mom, Dad, and younger sister. In high school, I knew that I wanted to go into the ministry, so I went to Kentucky Christian Univiersity where I gratuated with my degree in Youth and Family Ministry. From there I went to Las Vegas for a year to do an internship, after which I was the Elementary Minister at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, until recently, when the economy drove me to look for another job, which led me to Jasper.

What has drawn you to CCJ and Dubois County (besides the Holy Spirit)?
I started to accept the thought of moving to Jasper when I found out that it has strong German roots, which is my heritage as well. Then, the more I found out about CCJ and how God has been working through the church in the community, I could just feel that this was the place for me.

If you can buy it at a craft store, I probably like doing, but my strongest hobbies are photography and Writing- usually connected to traveling.

I like good food. I really like trying new places that are off the beaten path.

If I can sing to it, I like it. Right now it's more of a Girl Folk sound like Missy Higgins, Aslyn, and Marie Digby.

"While You Were Sleeping," "That Thing You Do," "Forbidden Kingdom," "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight." Really, any good action or romantic comedy movie.

My color personality test says I'm a Green Red.

I have an eclectic bohemian.

Anything by C.S. Lewis, Captivating, Epic, and a good fiction fantasy book on the side.

Andy Stanly, Ed Young, Mark Driscoll, Anyone that gets the mind going and the heart pumping.

I'm not a big podcast person. I kind of forget that they exist. But any that I listen to are sermons or about children's ministry.

Web sites
I Google - a lot, Flickr, Pandora, Playlist, I also surf around a lot.

What are your hopes for CCJ and the youth/children’s ministry?
My hope is that every child comes to have a relationship with Jesus that is so infectious, it affects everyone they meet. I want them all to have an active faith that impacts their ministry. And to have others involved in the ministry that support the students as they grow in their faith.

Favorite Bible book/verse?
My faviorte books of the Bible is James and Romans. My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.

What were your first impressions of CCJ after one weekend here?
I couldn't get over how open and friendly everyone was. I felt like I belonged as soon as I walked in the door. It really reminded me of home.

Before You Die:
Who would you like to meet?
I don't know if there's anyone on my must see list, Royalty might be fun to sit down with.

Where would you like to visit?
I want to see as much of the world as I can before I die. Ireland and England are next up on my international list. I also like taking 24 hour vacations (as I call them) which is anywhere I can drive to, I like new experiences and spontaneity.

03 August 2009

Many Thanks

I know I mentioned it yesterday in the services, but I wanted to thank all of you who came out to support the band over the past few weeks at our out-of-the-church-building gigs. It means a lot to us to know that you all are there, singing with us, praising Jesus with us and generally having a good time with us. Thanks especially to those guys and gals who helped us carry stuff, load and unload stuff ... you all were a tremendous help.

If you'd like to see some nice photos from the 4-H Fair and the Strassenfest gigs, visit the Narrow Path site.