Photo: The ladies in my life

One new picture on Flickr of the ladies in my life.

The Me Church

We live in a consumer-driven society, and this mindset has infiltrated the way many Christians think. Church is less about "how can I serve others?" and more about "what do I get out of it?" Here's a video that illustrates; click on the picture of the couple holding the baby:

The Me Church

Spiritual Gift Assessment Tests

I have recently been doing some research on the various means to assess one's spiritual gifts. Far and away the popular mechanism is through a spiritual gift assessment test. The user answers a large number of questions, and the results tabulate their most likely spiritual gifts.

What has been more interesting to read is the undercurrent of those who place little to no value on these assessments. There are a number of different criticisms:

1) The Bible makes no mention of spiritual gift assessment tests. Although believers are commanded to use their gifts in service, they are never commanded to test themselves to determine their gifts.

2) Spiritual gift assessment tests do not truly assess spiritual gifts. If they did, one would assume that a non-believer who took the test would score a zero, as they have no spiritual gifts. And new believers who took the test would presumably score near zero, as they have not yet matured their gifts.

3) Spiritual gift assessment test are actually "spiritualized" personality tests; there is a fair amount of overlap with personality tests such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. It has been argued that spiritual gift assessment tests are attempting to utilize the humanistic theories from Carl Jung and others.

Those who do not approve of spiritual gift assessments offer a number of alternatives. A believer's gifts can be ascertained by their experiences as they serve among the church, their desires to serve, and their God-given opportunities to serve. The gifts can be confirmed by the results of their service and by the confirmation of mature believers. It's easy to see why these types of assessments are not used much. One, they are quite a bit more subjective. An assessment test gives you a convenient, objective score in 30 minutes. Two, they take a lot more time. A believer would actually have to be serving for some number of months or years before his gift could be assessment. And if this time of service were repeated to assess each of the gifts…oh my! Three, they rely upon experiences, and conservative leaders tend to shy away from basing objective reality upon an individual's experiences.

These alternatives are interesting, and it would probably be productive to study the Bible in greater detail to determine if it condones such ideas. If Scriptural authority is found, it would then be helpful to organize these thoughts into a format useful for churches and believers.

ESV - A modern Bible translation in the KJV tradition

I found an interesting page on the ESV's website. It gives a quick overview of the two dominant translation theories, and then it discusses various translations and how they compare to the ESV. Naturally, they leave the distinct impression that the ESV is the best translation ever, but it is their website after all. :-) Nevertheless they do an accurate job of representing the different translations. If you're interested in various Bible translations, take a look:

For it's worth, I use ESV during my study time, although the NASB is my preferred study translation. The ESV is a fine translation, and IMHO it would be especially good for someone who was raised in the KJV tradition but is looking for a newer and more accurate translation.

All I want for Christmas...

Our kids continue to grow. On Thursday Jacen lost his first tooth. Photos coming...

Office to PDF

Although I have the latest version of MS Office, I'm aware that not everyone does. So I'm going to convert some of my files to PDF format, which makes them more universally accessible. But here's the catch: Acrobat costs several hundred dollars, and I don't have that kind of money. Solution? PrimoPDF. It converts Office files (and others) into PDF. My initial tests reveal that it does a good job. So if you need to create PDF, check it out.


I've finished through chapter 2 in my study of the book of Galatians. This is the end of the section on Paul's defense of his apostleship by special revelation. I've also posted my historical context of the book. Take a look in the Galatians section if you're interested.

Inductive Bible Study

Part 4 of the tutorial has been posted; this one is on application. If you're interested, visit the tutorials section.