Michael Spencer: Timeless Words of Wisdom

michael spencerAs a new school year began in August of 2009, all of us were feeling the effects of the “Great Recession” after the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008. If you lived and worked at a small private boarding school, which relied on a combination of donations, volunteers and tuition payments to survive, then you had good cause for legitimate concern.

Facebook has a feature (inspired by Time Hop) that reminds users of posts and pictures from previous years on a particular date. On this date in 2009, Michael Spencer sent a note of encouragement to his friends and coworkers. Continue reading

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Remembering Internet Monk

Screenshot 2015-04-08 at 7.40.37 PMThe Internet Monk website is alive and well thanks to the efforts of Mike Mercer and some other talented individuals. This week marks 5 years since the passing of the original Internet Monk Michael Spencer. Whether your in the fan club camp or have no idea who I’m talking about, check out this collection of Michael Spencer quotes from the iMonk archives. If you still want some more, check out Internet Monk every Sunday for a series of “Sundays with Michael Spencer.” Continue reading

More Alike Than Different

apostles_creedIf your neighborhood is anything like mine, there is a church on every corner. The population of the county I live in is a little less than 56,000 and I would not be surprised if there were 150 churches. Without getting into church splits and all the baggage that entails, let’s ask this question instead: Are there really that many theological and doctrinal issues that divide us? While there are some real distinctives, such as between Protestants and Catholics, the truth is most Christians are more alike than we are different. To define the differences between Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians we really have to get kind of nit-picky. The basic tenants of the Christian faith – in other words the things that really matter – are shared by all Christians everywhere.

Please read this post from the original Internet Monk. The discussions and debates can be a distraction to those of us inside the church and a stumbling block to those on the outside, but at the end of the day we are more alike than we are different.

What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

Men’s Morning with God

I met Michael Spencer in 2003 when my wife and I visited the ministry he was a part of.  After joining that ministry, I was introduced to an early morning small group, Men’s Morning with God.  The poster said “bring your Bible and coffee.”  I’m a big fan of both of those things.  We met twice a week at 7 a.m. studying the scripture and praying before work.  I have been involved with other small groups before and since, but I stayed with that particular group for the duration of our ministry in Kentucky.

I thought that particular situation was unique.  There were about 150 people all living within a few miles of each other, ministering together, and all beginning the work day at basically the same time.  Still, our men’s group was never more than 10 or 12 (and sometimes just Michael and I).  I have been blessed to find an early morning men’s group once again.  This morning there were 5 of us.  From different churches, different vocations and with different schedules, this is a group of men that meet at 6 a.m. to read, discuss and pray.  One of those men was a friend of my dad, and one of my teachers back in the day.  Another member of the group went to high school with my brother.  You gotta love small towns.

And I love finding a group of men willing to be up and dressed before they have to be, in order to pray with and for each other.

The Read and Share File

April 5th marks the second anniversary of the passing of Michael Spencer.  The house that Michael built, Internet Monk, paid homage to his legacy.  My tribute to Michael is here; I was privileged to know him in real life before ever learning about Internet Monk.  I didn’t even know what blogging was. 

I received an email about Christian Youth Initiative Worldwide.  I’m still in the process of finding out more myself, but they seem to be on the up and up.  There is a blog, but also Grok Radio – whatever that is.  It’s worth a look.

Remember What Would Jesus Do?  Michael Kelly asks the question “What would you do it you knew you were going to die on Friday?”  Then he lists several things Jesus did.  Interesting thought.

I may not have linked him before, but Mike Ratliff writes some good stuff at Possessing the Treasure.  The Son of Man is the Good Shepherd is a great example.  Go back and read all of Mike’s posts for this week.

Remember Ed Young, of Sexperiment fame?  Out of Ur shares with us his latest stunt: baptizing with sharks.

From Desiring God Ministries, Race and the Christian is available for download.  Originally live-streamed, you can watched John Piper, Tim Keller and Anthony Bradley or download the video.  There is also a Q&A session at the same link.

Aida Spencer (Christian Post blogs) shares a personal story of discovery in What Does Easter Mean?    *please note: Aida and William Spencer are both ordained Presbyterian ministers.  I’m not asking you to join her church, just read the blog post.

Finally tonight, please pray for Chuck Colson. He is recovering from brain surgery but still in critical condition.  Known for founding Prison Fellowship (and for his role in Watergate) the 80-year-old Colson was speaking last Friday when he fell ill, and had surgery on Saturday morning.

The Answer is Jesus

“If God is the question, Jesus is the answer.”

That’s why I love Michael Spencer.  I still read Christian blogs, including Internet Monk.  I author a Christian blog, but haven’t found anything that gets my gears turning the way Spencer did.  Read this classic iMonk post to see what I’m talking about.

Michael Spencer was blogging before I knew what a blog was. He started internetmonk.com 12 years ago, really getting in on the ground floor of the Christian blogosphere. Chaplain Mike and others keep the dream alive at iMonk after Michael passed away in April of 2010.  I was a disciple of  Michael in real life for seven years, and he had a profound impact on the way I think about ministry.  The post linked above cuts right to the heart Christianity.

To Ourselves and our Posterity

I’m going out on a limb here.  Maybe it’s getting late and this will just be the Diet Pepsi talking, but I would like to share a thought.

I recently met a blogger named Joe Derbes, author of Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion.  I don’t know how much of an influence Michael Spencer was to him, but his blogroll credits Michael with being his new favorite Christian author.  I have certainly said before that I blog because of Michael Spencer.  I know that one student of Mr. Spencer says the same thing.  How many others are there?  The Internet was teeming with tributes to Michael in the days following his passing.  How many people out there blog, or perhaps blog with a different message or purpose, as a direct result of the original Internet Monk?

I can’t write a new post without considering how Michael would evaluate that installment.  I miss the constructive criticism; he made me a better writer.  He helped shaped my current view of systematic theology.  And tonight I can’t help but think of this: that’s kind of like Jesus.  Jesus taught multitudes of people, and 12 in particular were privy to special teachings, prayers and examples.  Jesus taught them, told them to follow in his footsteps, and then left them.  Two of the disciples wrote Gospels (and perhaps Mark was dictated by Peter).  Peter lead the others in starting the Christian church at Jerusalem.  Paul did just about the same thing.  He planted churches across Asia minor and southern Europe, training leaders and then moving on.  His letters to Timothy still guide church leaders today.

That’s the Christian model.  A teacher, a pastor, a blogger – in this case – not only does his job but teaches others to do the job as well.  Even as Paul was ministering he was training others to be ministers.  Even during his earthly ministry Jesus sent the Apostles out to preach and work miracles.  When the human life is spent the work continues.  The church grows.  The gospel goes forth.  We need to think now about the future generation of leaders that will be following our lead.  Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of the Lord endures forever.