Tag Archives: christ-centered life

Free Audio from the Tampa Bay Area Men’s Retreat

What a great weekend. As I mentioned in the post preceding this one, my dad and I had the privilege of teaching at the Bay Area men’s retreat over the weekend. I was humbled and honored to share a few of the things I’ve learned in the past few years with good men, many of whom I’ve looked up to for a long time. It was also great getting to teach with my dad – I love he and my mom very much, and enjoy spending as much time with them as I can (unfortunately mom wasn’t on this trip, but I’ll be seeing her at the Pepperdine Lectures soon, Lord willing). Seeing my in-laws was a joy too – Airiel and I took a couple of vacation days just to hang out with them.

The men’s retreat was excellent. Several of the guys told me it was one of the best retreats they’d ever been to, and I must say, Jim Woodell’s lessons on grace and the gospel were very, very good. His was some of the clearest teaching on God’s grace I’ve heard. I was also pleased with the way my lessons turned out, but I’ll leave it to someone else to judge their quality.

Here’s all the material from the retreat – please take advantage of it. I encourage you to download the PowerPoint presentations to follow along with the lessons.

2010 Bay Area Men’s Retreat Audio

  • Download the retreat workbook here.

1) Jim Woodell – “Real Sins, Real Struggles” (51:02) (PowerPoint)

A lesson on sin and grace. Can we give grace to other people if we’re unwilling to accept the grace God has given us?

2) Jim Woodell – “Real Evangelism, Real Gospel” (59:03) (PowerPoint)

What is real evangelism, and what is the real Gospel? Is our salvation based upon our performance in this life, or on Jesus’ performance in His life?

3) Wes Woodell – “How Does the Gospel Intersect with Everyday Life?” (50:45) (PowerPoint; Life Map Handout)

What’s the most important question one can ask, and how does its answer affect what’s really at the center of a person’s life? A guide to living a Christ-centered life. Explanation and personal evaluation tool (Life Map) included. Highly recommend following along with the PowerPoint presentation if you choose to listen to this lesson.

4) Wes Woodell – “Taking God & the Gospel of Grace Seriously” (50:03) (PowerPoint)

If you’re in a rut spiritually, it could be because you’ve lost touch with the cross. This lesson takes a hard look at the crucifixion of Jesus and what it means for us.* God won’t be compartmentalized in your life if the gospel stays in the forefront of your mind (if you believe it, that is).

*Major source: Mark Driscoll’s Vintage Jesus lesson 6 – one of my favorite preachers preaching one of my favorite sermons.


Please share these lessons with anyone you believe would benefit from them.

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Idolatry & Scientology

I’m in the midst of finishing up a lesson on 1 Corinthians 10. A good portion of this chapter is dedicated to warning the Corinthians about the pitfalls of idolatry – something I’ve been studying quite a bit lately.

Two questions:

1) What is your definition of an idol?
2) What, if any, are some common idols prevalent in United States culture today?


Rex Butts has been discussing idols on his blog recently – check out those discussions here and here.


I presented a lesson a couple of weeks ago that deals with concepts helpful in understanding what idolatry looks like today. The sermon audio, PowerPoint presentation, and a brief summary are posted here: What does it mean to have a Christ-centered identity?


Speaking of idolatry, did you hear the latest news on The Church of Scientology?

If you aren’t familiar with Scientology, it’s a religion started by a man named L. Ron Hubbard.

Hubbard was quoted as saying things like this: 

“Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 1978)

And guess what Hubbard did? He started his own religion, and made millions and millions of dollars! In fact, paying money to the higher-ups in Scientology is actually a requirement to be considered a Scientologists! Scientology is pay-to-play only.

And check this out:

“The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” (Lecture: “Off the Time Track” (June 1952) as quoted in Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology Vol. 1, p. 418)

Need I say more?

For more quotable quotes from Hubbard, go here.

On to this morning’s news from CNN’s SciTech Blog:

The collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing the site. The Register reports Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, or ArbCom, voted 10 to 0 in favor of the ban, which takes effect immediately.

Wikipedia’s innovative free-encyclopedia draws upon the knowledge of millions of users to create and edit articles on every conceivable topic. Edits appear immediately and do not undergo any formal peer-review process.

Wikipedia officially prohibits use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – but the open format makes enforcing such policies difficult.

According to Wikipedia administrators speaking to The Register:

Multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.”

To read the full story: Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology


Have you seen the Scientology video worshipping Tom Cruise on YouTube?

This video being on the net is not authorized by The Church of Scientology.

An anti-scientology group known as Anonymous continues to post it online so that the general public may be aware of what Scientology is all about (you may also be interested in Anonymous’ formal declaration of war).

Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Scientology mini dictionary (needed to decode Tom’s rhetoric):

*KSW (short for Keeping Scientology Working): A policy written by Hubbard in the 1960’s that requires all Scientologists to follow his words and his rules exactly.

*Orgs: Orgs is an abbreviation for ‘organizations’ and describes all churches of Scientology throughout the world.

*David Miscavige: He is the current leader of Scientology. He’s the equivalent of the Pope to the Catholics.

*Out-ethics: Any behavior that violates any of Hubbard’s rules of conduct.

*Put ethics on someone else: Making others conform to Hubbard’s rules of behavior.

*Criminon: Scientology front group that tries to recruit through the prisons.

* SP: Suppressive Person. Anyone that doesn’t like Scientology and/or criticizes Scientology.

*PTS/SP: Another Hubbard term to define behavior that goes against Scientology rules.

*LRH technology or ‘tech’: All the Scientology policies, rules, mandates, procedures.


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What does it mean to have a Christ-centered identity?

Who am I?

A small question with profound implications.

Did you know sociologists have discovered that how a person chooses to answer that question will define how they think and behave in almost every situation in their lives?

It’s a scientifically proven fact, and as a result, your answer to the question “Who am I?” is a very, very important one.

I personally believe that, for you and everyone else, the answer to the question “Who am I?” should be firmly rooted in who Jesus Christ was and is. If it’s not, then there’s a problem.

Today I walked the Lake Merced Church through a lesson on living a Jesus-centered life that I’ve been mulling over for a while, and would love for you to listen to it too.

Lesson based on Philippians 3.

Here are a couple of diagrams I made (included in the PowerPoint) to illustrate the difference between a self-centered life and a Jesus-centered life as I see it.

It’s important to point out that this all STARTS with someone choosing who they’re going to be at their core – what their identity is:



This first slide is a picture of a typical person’s life. You can substitute other things for the word ‘self’ – career, pleasure, lust, consuming want of a romantic relationship, fame, money, etc., but all of those ultimately lead back to the same thing – self centeredness.

Some people may not be completely self-centered. Their life may be centered around something else – it may not even necessarily be a bad thing (like family or kids), but if Jesus isn’t involved then there’s a problem.

As you can see from the diagram, choosing (and ultimately your core-idenitity is your choice) to have a self-centered identity affects every aspect of a person’s life, from their worldview, to their priorities, to their way of life, and all of these things feed into one another.



The second slide is a picture of someone who’s chosen to center their life around Jesus – a picture of a disciple.

As you can see, with their identity rooted in Christ, every aspect is affected.

The apostle Paul is a great example of a guy whose life was depicted by slide #1 until he had his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road – after that happened, he experienced a total identity shift (what we call a conversion or being born again), and he moved to slide #2!

I go into this in more detail in the lesson. If that sounds interesting to you, give it a listen.

If you like listening to preaching and would like to hear more, visit the sermons page of this blog (yes, I know it’s badly in need of an update – I’ll do it when I do it!).

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