What is friendship?

The Greek philosopher Aristotle offers a helpful classification of  the many and varied relationships that fall under the category of “friend.” He defines 3 types of friendships:

 

• Those based on common interests or mutual pursuits – e.g., fans of a sports team, members of an association or club, golf partners, etc.

• Those based on the benefits or mutual advantages that come from friendship – e.g., networking in business, teammates on a football team, colleagues at work, neighbors who watch over each other’s houses.

• Those based on friendship for its own sake, a friendship of character; based on nothing more than time together, regardless of mutual interests or benefits to be received.

What is success?

"There is a great different between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control and respectability. Fruitfulness, however comes from weakness and vulnerability.

A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds.

Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness."

 

Henri Nouwen

The Nature of Forgiveness

Forgiveness seems to be one of those things that we all know is good, but many of us don’t know exactly what it means to forgive or to be forgiven. Jesus stresses the importance of forgiveness by connecting God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others in the Lord’s Prayer.

An author by the name of R.T. Kendall wrote a book called Total Forgiveness, and in it he explains what forgiveness is and is not. According to Kendall when you forgive someone you do not:

Approve of what they did

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Book Signing Tomorrow...

Hi there! I haven't given up blogging, despite appearances to the contrary! I wanted to let you know that I am signing copies of my books at Borders at South Coast Plaza (Crystal Court) from 1:00 to 3:30 PM. If you are in the area, I would love to see you!

 Thanks! 

5 Reasons Why It is Good To Be A Dad

1. No breastfeeding or mucus plugs (yuck)

2. Playing Wii Mario Cart  with my 5 year old son counts as "quality time"

3. Cultural expectations are low, really low

4. The kids only want mommy in the middle of the night

5. My son is in kindergarden. He had a day last fall called "All About Me," where he told the class about himself and his family. He was asked, "What do your mommy and daddy like to do?" His reply:  "Daddy loves watching football on TV. Mommy loves cooking."  I was thrilled with his response...mommy wasn't.  

Death By Church

I have a new book out called Death By Church. I am a bit embarrassed to do this, but it got a great review in Publishers Weekly and I was so excited that I had to share it! Please forgive me :)

Death by Church: Rescuing Jesus from HisFollowers, Recapturing God’s Hope for His People Michael Erre. HarvestHouse, $13.99 paper (250p) ISBN 978-0-7369-2496-2

Entertainment-oriented. Hypocritical. Idolatrous. Consumerist. A mess. These are only some of the terms Erre uses to describe the plight of the church incontemporary American culture. A teaching pastor at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif., and author of The Jesus of Suburbia, Erre delves into the Bible and church history to make the case that the church needs to recover its communal, subversive, confrontational, countercultural truth-telling mission of incarnating “the upside-down way of the kingdom of God.” Drawing on the writings of scholars in and outside of the evangelical tradition, the writer takes a fresh and compelling look at how a kingdom-focused community would approach such Christian fundamentals as mission, worship, evangelism, the Eucharist and apologetics. A culturally marginalized church, he argues, can still be a place of hope, engaging theworld and pointing to God’s rule. While ceding no ground on traditional Christian doctrine, this thought-provoking book is a powerful bill of indictment and an inspirational template for church reformation that may resonate with believers and nonbelievers alike. A too brief postscript offers suggestions for clergy who want to create the “kingdom-focused” church in their own congregations. (Jan.)

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S to the eth

He's here! Seth Erre (or, as my daughter calls him sef-e-sef)  arrived the day after Christmas. We delivered at UCI Medical Center and Seth ended up staying a week in their NICU. Mom's C-section went well as did surgery to correct Seth's intestines. He and momma are home now and we are adjusting to life with 3 kids.

 I have been learning a lot. He has Down Syndrome. Despite our prayers, God saw fit to give him to us in this way. I have learned that 92% of the people who receive the diagnosis we did, when we did, choose to "terminate" their pregnancy. Over the last 10 years, the numbers of Down Syndrome births has plummeted dramatically as technology has increased to the point where genetic disorders can be diagnosed earlier in the pregnancy. 

To be honest, I can't believe anyone would turn one of these little ones down. Seth is amazing and God has given us the grace to be completely joyful that he is here. It is so much easier for me to deal with him face to face, rather than just working through the implications of some abstract diagnosis. God has been faithful to answer our prayers: a short hospital stay, red hair (my wife asked for this so he would look like our other two kids), no complications from surgery, and no sign of the many long term health complications that often accompany  this disorder. 

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Theology of Grief III

I am incredibly blessed by your comments. Thank you very much for your wisdom and concern.

The author of Ecclesiastes writes, "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart " (7:2). Two verses later, he says something similar: "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."

Most of us believe this to be true (at least in an abstract sort of way). At funerals, people are often more open to thinking of significant issues and eternal things.  Gravesides, nursing homes and hospitals confront us with questions regarding the ultimate meaning and purpose of human life. Certainly, this has to be part of what the writer of Ecclesiastes means. It seems obvious that when we consider the end of our lives it (should) effect how we live today. But I have wondered if there isn't more to it than this. 

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FREE Chapter of "Death by Church"

Attached is a pdf chapter of my newest book "Death by Church."  I hope you enjoy it. Blessings.

Mike 

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DeathbyChurch.pdf946.25 KB

The Dangerous Alternative to Christmas

In the gospel of Luke, the most familiar account of the Christmas story—the one most commonly read in churches and homes—is firmly rooted in history.  The narrative begins, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken” (Luke 2:1).  Luke’s mention of Augustus isn’t incidental or minor.  It sets the whole backdrop for the Christmas story.

Augustus was known as the “Savior” of the Roman Empire, bringing “peace” and “salvation” to his subjects.  He was called the “Lord” and came to be worshiped as god on earth.  Roman citizens were commanded to pray to him and offer sacrifices.  Temples and shrines were built in his name.  The census ordered by Augustus was one of the ways he controlled the empire.  By demanding taxes (or tribute, more specifically), Caesar could provide for his far-flung armies as well as humiliate the peoples under Roman “peace” by reminding them they lived at the will of Rome.
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About
husband to Justina; father to Nathan, Hannah and Seth; pastor and teacher living in Southern California; author of 4 books, the latest of which just was released and is called 'Why The Bible Matters.'


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