Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: January 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Devotional Words

These words come from "The Reformed Pastor" by Richard Baxter. They are, for me, powerful.

"Take heed, therefore, to ourselves first, that you be that which you persuade your hearers to be, and believe that which you persuade them to believe, and heartily entertain that Savior whom you offer to them. He that bade you love your neighbors as yourselves, did imply that you should love yourselves, and not hate and destroy yourselves and them."

Another Semester

Seminary classes started up today and another semester has begun. This semester I am focusing hard on the theology courses, which tend to be my favorite, and have a class with Dr. Tom Schreiner called New Testament Theology. What is neat about this course is that he has recently written a book that will be released in April of this year on the same topic, so we are getting to read the book first. In addition, I am taking a Contemporary Theology course with Dr. Stephen Wellum, another great professor, which highlights the theological though from the Enlightenment through the 21st century. Tie those two together with a Luke Exegesis and Church History course and I have a good looking semester in front of me. I'm looking forward to getting into the reading and I will be sure to let you know how things are going. Blessings!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Still Here

I'm still here my friends, I have just been very busy and a little under the weather the last couple of days. I will be out of pocket for the weekend, but the Lair will resume on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

RexandtheBeast.com Podcast #3

Click below to subscribe or listen to the Audio Journeys with RexandtheBeast Podcast #3. We discuss the Contemporary Resort, a terrifying moment in our history, and interview Barry AKA "Keys" from our movie, Mission IOA:2 Universal Revenge.

Click Here For The Podcast

Monday, January 14, 2008


Hello friends,

I am taking a J-Term class this week, which means that a 3 hour course is crammed into one week. Obviously, blogging won't be happening too much. Have a blessed week!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Preach the Word!

Just a few weeks ago I took a group of 27 students and adults to Gatlinburg, TN for the Xtreme Conference. I always attend youth conferences with a bit of apprehension because much of the time they focus on hype and emotion to get their point across. Students leave feeling renewed and wonder why their zeal for the Lord has disappeared after a few days. On the other hand, these conferences are helpful to allow the teenagers to get away and hear from other people besides me and the volunteer staff in the youth ministry.

This go around was for the most part a solid experience. Three of the four speakers we heard focused their message on God's unconditional love and the inability of the teenagers to do anything that separates them from His love. One of the speakers, however, went in a direction that I am still recovering from. This particular speaker is loud, large, and bold. He is a gifted communicator, no doubt about it. About 10 minutes into his message he was giving an illustration using his two children, one of whom was dressing the other (a boy) in girls clothing. This is where things went downhill fast. This speaker started screaming from the platform that he did not want his child to be "queered up." He continued on this path for a while, continuing to use derogatory language concerning homosexuals. As if that was not bad enough, just a few minutes later he was speaking to the guys and girls about how to act when they are engaged and the wedding is coming up. To the guys, he insisted that they stay completely out of the wedding plans, screaming for them to "Shut up!" To the girls, and this is beyond belief, he instructed them to "do what your husband says during the honeymoon. Stand where he wants you stand, do what he wants you do. He has been waiting for this moment." It was at this point that I considered taking my group of teenagers and walking out in the middle of his message. I resisted the temptation.

Experiences like this one continue to re-enforce my conviction that pastors, speakers, and evangelists need to approach the pulpit with integrity and preach the Word. I have little patience for turning the pulpit into a political campaigning platform, a comedic outlet, or a way to speak of selfish driven issues. The pulpit is not a place to show everyone how funny we are, nor is it a place to push emotional buttons in order to elicit some kind of response. It is only a place to speak the name of Christ and his Word.

Now, don't misunderstand. I am not suggesting that humor cannot be effective. Nor I am suggesting that preachers should not be passionate about their message. Jonathan Edwards spent a lifetime supporting the use of affections from the pulpit. I try to use illustrations when I preach that helps make a connection to my audience. But to strut our stuff and make the pulpit a place where a clown would fit in as well as a preacher sacrifices the integrity of the most important half hour of the week for the church. The pulpit is a deadly place for preachers. Not to be taken lightly.

As far as the Xtreme Conference goes, this trip might be my last. Time will tell.

Yet another RexandtheBeast Podcast

After the great success of our initial podcast, another RexandtheBeast podcast is available for download. Check it out!

Click Here!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I just want to say

I love my wife.

It is currently 4:21 am. I have been juggling 12 different projects at once and find myself in front of the computer way too much. Never a word of frustration comes from her lips, she just supports me. She is so patient and so kind. Heck, just read 1st Corinthians 13, that is what she is.

Why, oh Lord, have you shown such great favor to me?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

RexandtheBeast.com Podcast

RexandtheBeast.com continues to add content to our already comprehensive website on theme parks. You can now subscribe and listen to our podcast. Our first podcast, coming in at 30 minutes, is the perfect "talk show" to listen to while working out, driving, etc.

The podcast is called "Audio Journeys with RexandtheBeast." To check it all out, click here!

Monday, January 07, 2008

DJ Magic Mike - An American Legend

I am not really into hip-hop music. But DJ Magic Mike is a legend.

In the 1980's and 1990's something called "Miami Bass" became very popular. Teenagers were spending every last cent they had earned at the local McDonald's to buy the best "system" for their car or truck. A "system" meant that you had some kind of massive subwoofer, usually in your trunk, that would rattle the entire car. I joined the party at the age of 15, and by the time I had turned 16 and was the proud owner of a 1986 Chevy Nova, the first thing I did was put a Bazooka Subwoofer in that sucker. It was at this time in my car stereo career that I learned what a "crossover" was. I had no idea how to install a car stereo, I left that up to my friend Matt Dalton, but every now and then I would try to sound intelligent and say, "hey Matt, did you install the crossover?" I had no idea what I had even asked.

Anyway, my first experience with DJ Magic Mike came from this friend of mine named Matt Dalton. For some reason that I can't remember, he had to take me to school for about a week (we lived right down the street from one another). He had the best "system" in the entire school. He owned a silver Mazda truck that I thought was the coolest thing going. On one such morning as we were driving to school, Matt had a song playing, way beyond a healthy volume range of course, and as I listened to it, I was instantly hooked. I mean hooked. I asked Matt to replay the song the entire trip to school, and on the way back home. The name of the song was "M&M's Gettin Off" from the album "Bass is the Name of the Game." Not the most clean cut song title, but I didn't care. It was amazing. The most spectacular part was a 2 minute break down in the middle of the song where this pounding bass pattern just kept repeating and repeating. It was a bass version similar to the bridge in "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring, except much cooler. Once I finally listened to the rest of the album, I was amazed at how good this stuff was. This was not your typical Miami Bass music. This was actually good stuff.

So, as soon as I turned 16, in went my subwoofer and I purchased the record. I still have the cd to this day and listen to it on occasion just to remind myself of times gone by and the only Miami Bass artist who I think actually has a great deal of talent. I recently read that DJ Magic Mike is doing shows at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney in Orlando, FL where he is from. Perhaps one day I can catch him live. (by the way, that fact alone confirms my theory from the age of 15 that something was special about this guy. How many hip-hop Miami Bass artists do you know playing their music at Disneyworld?)

Below is just a sampling of the lyrical mastery of DJ Magic Mike:

I go to work (now) (do it, do it) DJ Magic Mike, let's go!
Bing Bing Bing Bing Bass Bing Bing Bass Bing Bing Bass Bass.

DJ Magic Mike is just another one of those ways that my teenage years would not have been near as great as they were if I had never experienced his music with my friends. Good stuff!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Walking the Aisle - Invitation/Altar Call

In most of our baptist churches across the country, the act of giving an invitation/altar call at the end of a worship service is still going strong. The implementation of the altar call rose dramatically at the height of the Billy Graham crusades, where "Just As I Am" became the staple song to get people out of their pews and to the front of the church. I am not suggesting with this post that we should take drastic measures and plea for our church leaders to eliminate the invitation next week. On the contrary, I believe the invitation time should stay, but for the right reasons. Here are a few of my concerns concerning the current use of the invitation/altar call.

First, and perhaps most important, is that the invitation/altar call can lead to a confused understanding that a person is truly converted simply because they have "walked the isle." Coming forward to an altar is not what brings about salvation for the lost. That is reserved for faith in Christ alone. The fact that a church family or an individual can point to a time when an individual "walked the aisle" is what can lead to a false security of salvation. True repentance and fruit bearing are long lost markers of a person's relationship with Christ. (Notice that Christ alone is what saves and by His power we are kept. Nevertheless, James helps us here by reminding us that true saving faith in Christ will result in fruit bearing.) Therefore, we have many people in our churches who are simply not Christians but are unfortunately not aware of this reality, partly because they once made some kind of "walking forward" effort that fell short of understanding the Gospel.

Second, the invitation/altar call has been erroneously labeled as an important "profession of faith." This has, in part, taken the place of baptism.

Third, the invitation/altar call has developed into a place to "do business" rather than a place to pray with believers. This is the case in my home church. In the year and a half of my service there, I have rarely experienced an altar call where believers were moved to pray before the Lord with one another. Our weekly worship service, we must remember, is first and foremost about the edification of believers. All that we do, from singing hymns together to the observance of the Lord's Supper, is done in unity to glorify God. I would like to see our altar call return to an opportunity not just for decision making, but also for our people to "carry each other's burdens."

Finally, most of our churches are going to continue the use of an invitation, which is great. My plea would be that pastors are aware of the potential misunderstanding for walking the isle. Paul Alexander of Capital Hill Baptist Church correctly writes that "the least that should be done is for the pastor to explain publicly that coming forward and praying a prayer should not be confused with a saving response to the Gospel. Repentance and belief is the only saving response – whether or not an aisle is walked or a prayer is prayed."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Teenagers, Doctrine, and Substance

I went a little too far tonight. Wednesday nights is our intensive Bible study time called "Focus" for teenagers. It is a no frills, verse by verse study of the bible. We have been in Matthew for a few months now, I hope to conclude the study by the end of the month. The purpose behind "Focus" is to strip down to the essentials, namely, the Bible. We leave the topical studies, catchy handouts, dvd lessons and all the other popular youth study material to the side and just open our bibles. It is the most successful and rewarding part of the youth ministry. (by the way, those other items can serve a good purpose perhaps in a different setting, but not at the expense of just good, solid bible study.)

As I have been saying for quite some time now at the Lair, teenagers need to be hearing and digesting things of substance from the bible. Although hearing "God loves you and wants a relationship from you" is a crucial message, one that we all need to repeatedly hear, our teaching cannot stop there. Teenagers, along with adults, need to understand God's love for sure, but also his other attributes and how we are to rightly relate to Him and each other. So, even if they don't completely get it all, teaching solid doctrine to teenagers is for me an essential part of youth ministry.

However, these teenagers are not seminary students. My job is one of balance. I feel an obligation to open their minds and hearts to the wonderful truths of Scripture beyond what they might hear at a youth conference, yet I must be careful to not unduly burden them with material that is beyond their scope at the present time. This is a pretty simple concept, I don't want to be too shallow or too deep. Almost every youth ministry study I have sat in has been woefully shallow. Mine tonight was too deep. I think I recovered at the end and made a meaningful appeal, but I wasted a good bit of time with material that was just too much. Another lesson learned.

I share this experience with you just to encourage you to be mindful of the proper balance, whether talking to a friend or preaching from a pulpit. We won't always hit it just right, but we need to take our people on a spiritual study that will both challenge them to think deeper about the text but not drown them in a sea of information. The bottom line is still that Christ saves.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Many Thanks

I appreciate Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer, director of admissions for the Concordia Theological Seminary in Forty Wayne, IN, commenting about my recent article called "The Knee-Jerk Effect." Pastor Scott is a terrific thinker and blogger, I recommend his blog to you. You can read his comments about me and my article here.

The article might also be appearing in a few online Baptist publications, I will keep you posted on that. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!