Friday, August 31, 2007

Update on Chrsitians held hostage

All of the South Korean Christians that were being held hostage were released yesterday

Discussion Day Friday- Tattoos

Today we'll be discussing the topic of "what does God say about tattoos?" Also on the agenda is some guy named de Jesus who claims to be God, and dog-fighting...

"Sorry for eating your ancestors"

Cannibal tribe in Paupua New Guinea recently apologized for eating missionaries a long time ago.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where have you gone Ginger?

Some scientists have recently said that redheads may become extinct in 100 years.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Update on Christians held hostage

3 more of the 19 South Korean Christians that are being held hostage have been released. The Taleban has also stated that the others would be released soon.


This should be an interesting documentary about intelligent design

They will know we are Christians by our love

Our church had the opportunity to work on a Habitat for Humanity house this past Saturday. There were close to 70 people who came out to work, and it was a great experience seeing the body of Christ work together in this way:

The following is from the hymn, "They will know we are Christians by our love":

"We will work with each other, we will work side by side (2x). And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love. By our love, by our love(2x). We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand (2x). And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Road Rage

I miss this show


"The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid."
-A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Man: The Dwelling Place of God [1966]

Praying that the Spirit of God would fill my classrooms.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina

Pastoral Ministry

This excerpt is taken from Eugene Peterson's book, "Working the Angles":

"The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper's concerns--how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.

Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast-food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists.

The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor's responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades."

Carson on the centrality of the Gospel

D. A. Carson on the centrality of the Gospel

"What we must ask one another is this: What is it in the Christian faith that excites you? What consumes your time? What turns you on? Today there are endless subgroups of confessing Christians who invest enormous quantities of time and energy in one issue or another: abortion, pornography, home schooling, women’s ordination (for or against), economic justice, a certain style of worship, the defense of a particular Bible version, and much more. The list varies from country to country, but not few countries have a full agenda of urgent, peripheral demands. Not for a moment am I suggesting we should not thin about such matters or throw our weight behind some of them. But when such matters devour most of our time and passion, each of us must ask: In what fashion am I confessing the centrality of the gospel?”

Amen to this!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

God is Great

The title of this recent book by atheist, Christopher Hitchens is actually entitled, "God is not Great," but a Target employee placed the sticker perfectly over the "not." Well done!

O Word of God Incarnate:

I listened to this hymn today. Great lyrics.

"O Word of God incarnate,
O wisdom from on high,
O truth unchanged, unchanging,
O light of our dark sky;

We praise Thee for the radiance
That from the hallowed page
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age."

Happy Sunday

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Update on Christians held hostage

Global Warming Discussion Day

On Friday, we started with 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "Test everything" and then we watched some clips from "An Inconvenient Truth." After this, two students in each of my classes represented the sides from Christian perspectives.

The weighty side at our school was that global warming was not the threat that its made out to be (I'd say 95% of the students were on that side). They weren't flippant about it, and I was impressed that most of the students seemed very open to the truth that we're called to be good stewards of the earth, and do what we can to help take care of it. So, the end result was that very few felt that government should step in and make national legislation to require reductions, but that we could as individuals do better in taking care of what God has given to us.

Kenya Trip

A friend of ours (Matt Clum) came over last night and told us about his recent trip to Kenya. It sounded like an incredible life-changing experience. As with most people who have been to Africa, he said the people were the most friendly people he'd ever met. It was a great joy for Jennifer and I to listen to Matt tell about his trip and experiences. The whole night I was reminded of Jesus' words, "Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." The light was shining in Kenya, and it was shining in our living room last night!

Westminster Confession on Scripture:

We're getting ready to get into the text of Scripture in my Bible classes, and so as a reminder from the Westminster Confession:

"The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[9]"

Friday, August 24, 2007

On the way to work

This is what the intersection at the local taco bell looks like:

The Knowledge of God through Jesus Christ

I spoke in Middle School Chapel yesterday about the importance of knowing God. That being said, we're studying the life of Christ who explains God to us (John 1:18).
Here's what D. A. Carson says in "A Call to Spiritual Reformation":

"There is a sense in which these urgent needs [such as purity, evangelism, biblical scholarship] are merely symptomatic of a far more serious lack. The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better" (p. 15).

The way to know God better is to "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and look full in His wonderful face!" (from the hymn Turn your eyes upon Jesus")

Discussion Day Friday- Global Warming

Every Friday in my Bible classes, we discuss a topic with the purpose of growing in our critical thinking skills, communication skills, and in the area of seeing reality through the lens of a Biblical worldview. Today's topic is Global Warming. I have a pretty good idea how this will go, but we'll see.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For those who hate cats

Intro to Romans

I started the introduction to the book of Romans today with my class. Here's a quote from Martin Luther that I used to show the impact of the book:

“This Epistle is the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, which, indeed, deserves that a Christian not only know it word for word by heart but deal with it daily as with daily bread for the soul. For it can never be read or considered too much or too well, and the more it is handled the more delightful it becomes, and the better it tastes...In this Epistle we thus find most abundantly the things that a Christian ought to know, namely, what is law, gospel, sin, punishment, grace, faith, righteousness, Christ, God, good works, love, hope, and the cross; and how we are to conduct ourselves toward everyone, be he righteous or sinner, strong or weak, friend or foe, and even toward our own selves." (Martin Luther, Preface to the Book of Romans, 1546, 35, p.380)

Statetris in Africa

Here's the follow-up tetris game based on Africa. For the record, I finished in 5:44 with on Djibouti giving me trouble on the placement.


This is so strange. I don't really even know how to respond to it.

Can't sleep

I've been up since 3:20...wide strange.
Oh well, so far its been a great morning.

I spoke on Acts 8:26-40 last night about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Its a great story about how God leads & directs us to opportunities to share about Him. I had two main points from last night:
1. God's guidance
2. Philip's obedience
And the more time I spent with the passage, I was amazed at both.

Praying that God would reveal to us the opportunities around us to open up our mouths and let the Spirit speak through us!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The chief design in John Owen's life:

"I hope I may own in sincerity that my heart's desire unto God, and the chief design of my life ... are, that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God, that so the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be adorned in all things." -John Owen

I repeated this prayer today in light of the students God has placed in my life

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

David Wells on Preaching

David Wells has a remarkable ability to assess the movement of culture. Last year when I read his book, "Above All Earthly Pow'rs", I felt like he was interpreting the events of our day. At a conference this summer, he had this to say about the difficulty of preaching the Gospel in our culture:

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is, no longer have the categories to understand it, no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories in their non-moral universe — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty."

Want to be a Counselor?

If you know anyone interested in getting a degree in counseling, then Southern Seminary needs to be at the top of your recommendations.
Paul Tripp & David Powlison have been added to the faculty

1st Day Back

Today's the first day back for my students. Welcome back!

Praying, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1:17-21).

One of the reasons I read the ESV

J.I. Packer:

"I was privileged to act as General Editor of the English Standard Version, and now that I look back on what we did in producing that version, I find myself suspecting very strongly that this was the most important thing that I have ever done for the Kingdom..."

Jesus of Suburbia

From Mike Erre's book, "The Jesus of Suburbia":

"My contention is this: Much of what passes for modern, Western Christianity isn’t of Jesus...

...The suburban Jesus would never be so offensive as to demand that we do what he says: he is more interested in the security, comfort, and prosperity of his followers. In short, much of the message of American Christianity presents Jesus as the purveyor of the American Dream.

Such a counterfeit can never stand against the real thing. Perhaps the church has been lulled into complacency by years of the very things we point to as proofs of God’s blessing upon America: religious freedom and material abundance. We have never really embraced the message and movement of Jesus Christ as a call to revolution. Instead, we have gotten comfortable with a watered-down, whitewashed, religiously safe version of him. Like many others, I have begun to realize my own idolatry and cowardice in this regard."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spugeon: "sleep with a hat on"

"Many persons who are not by habit 'dreamers,' are dreaming a great deal just now, and wondering why they do so. The answer is very simple. When cold weather sets in suddenly, and is much felt; at night, the head, which is uncovered, has the blood supplied to it driven from the surface to the deep parts, notably the brain, the organ of the mind. The results are light sleep and dreams. The obvious remedy is to wear a nightcap, or wrap the head warmly, at least while the cold weather lasts. It is a 'faculty' idea that we of this generation suffer more from braintroubles than our predecessors because we leave the head exposed at night, and the blood-vessels of our cerebral organs are seldom unloaded."
-Charles Spurgeon

Mondays are for Music

Page France

All the sorrys in the world won't bring back a...

I just read a story of a former mayor who called an amputee "Stumpy." He later apologized for it.

A new threat...

Preaching the Gospel

"If people leave my preaching confident in the rules and principles I have given them, I have preached a false Gospel. If they leave the room confident in the faithful grace and power of the Savior to work in them as they seek to obey -- I have preached the Gospel." -Mark Lauterbach

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gustav Klimt & Co.

The most expensive paintings of all time. (The Jackson Pollock painting referenced a couple of days ago is at the bottom of this link...apparently the 140 million price tag hasn't really been confirmed)

Before the Throne of God Above

Happy Sunday!

"Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
The Great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Pluralism...

Catholic bishop urges Christians to use the term "Allah" for God. I'm amazed at how many people focus on the terminology of "God" rather than on the nature of God. It's extremely popular today to believe that people are just using different terms for the same God. What's odd to me is that people don't look any deeper than the argument of terminology. The terms are labels for things, or beings, that ultimately point to the nature of a thing or being. In other words, the nature of Islam's Allah is vastly different than the nature of the Christian God. To reduce these differences in nature down to a mix-up on terminology is a remarkably shallow approach to understanding who God is. The next time someone says, "You worship the same God, you're just using different terms for Him," remind them that your God is much more than a term, and you're worshiping Him in the fullness of His very nature, and His nature is incomparable. Truly, as Isaiah repeatedly says, there is none like Him.

Bush & the Mark of the Beast

It's gotten so bad for Bush now that some people are starting to think he's the antichrist

Communion with the Triune God

This will be a great book. John Owen is difficult to read, but Kapic & Taylor have put it in modern language (& modern writing style) to make it more digestible.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Athletes by #'s

I have a friend who memorizes #'s by comparing them to famous athlete's #'s (this is for you Ed). Here's a website that tells the best athlete at each #. If we're talking pure athletics, then I can't figure out why Allen Iverson isn't representative of #3 instead of fat Babe Ruth.

Rubik's Cube in 26 moves

I got one of these for Christmas (thanks Matthew) and I've probably made close to 2600 moves on it and still have gotten nowhere. It bothers me that some braniac computer can solve it in 26 moves.

How Safe is Your Car?

This Consumer Reports website allows you to watch a video of a crash test dummy in the make and year of your vehicle

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tiger in North Carolina

Tiger Woods is going to design his first golf course, and its going to be outside of Asheville, NC.

Vick & Iran

Not only is Vick in trouble with the Feds over the dog-fighting stuff, he's also being sued for 63 billion by somebody who claims that Vick stole his pit bulls and sold them on ebay to get Iranian missiles. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out which part of this story is the strangest. Is it the 63 billion? Or maybe the fact that Vick stole dogs? Or is it that Vick is interested in Iranian missiles? Or maybe the strangest is that the Iranians are interested in pit bulls?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Statistics on Pastors

These are depressing...especially the ones related to family.

A few million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to

Al Mohler posted an article last week about millionaires who are struggling to make ends meet. At the end of the article he quotes Rockefeller's witty but accurate statement on money, "all we need is a little bit more."

J. I. Packer on Evangelism contd...

"The intrusive barging in to the privacy of other people's souls, the thick-skinned insistence on expounding the things of God to reluctant strangers who are longing to get away- these modes of behavior, in which strong and loquacious personalities have sometimes indulged in the name of personal evangelism, should be written off as a travesty of personal evangelism. Impersonal evangelism would be a better name for them! In fact, rudeness of this sort dishonors God; moreover, it creates resentment, and prejudices people against the Christ whose professed followers act so objectionably. The truth is that real personal evangelism is very costly, just because it demands of us a really personal relationship with the other man." -J. I. Packer, from Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

J. I. Packer on Evangelism

"'Whenever I am justified in choosing my subject of conversation with another, the theme of themes (Christ) shall have prominence between us, so that I may learn of his need, and if possible, meet it.' The key words here are: 'whenever I am justified in choosing my subject of conversation with another'. They remind us, first, that personal evangelism, like all our dealings with our fellow-men, should be courteous. And they remind us, second, that personal evangelism needs normally to be founded on friendship. You are not usually justified in choosing the subject of conversation with another till you have already begun to give yourself to him in friendship and established a relationship with him in which he feels that you respect him, and are interested in him, and are treating him as a human being, and not just as some kind of 'case'. -J. I. Packer from Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

William Wilberforce & Modern Slavery

I've been reading a biography about William Wilberforce and his perseverance to fight against slavery in Great Britain at the turn of the 19th century. While its shocking to realize, slavery is still very much a part of the global landscape. Last week, Mauritania passed stricter laws against slavery, but more strides need to be made in this direction. This is not primarily a politically social issue. This is a biblical heart-of-God issue. One of my favorite Wilberforce quotes follows:
"The fatal habit of considering Christian morals as distinct from Christian doctrines insensibly gained strength. Thus the peculiar doctrines of Christianity went more and more out of sight, and as might naturally have been expected, the moral system itself also began to wither and decay, being robbed of that which should have supplied it with life and nutriment."

The "Legalist Within"

This comes from an article by C.J. Mahaney called "The Legalist Within":

"How quickly we drift from this essential message [Jesus Christ crucified!]! We begin basing our relationship with God on our performance. We want to substitute our works — our Bible reading, our church attendance, our church participation — for Christ's finished work. We easily fall into the subtle but serious trap of legalism, because every one of us has a legalist lurking within."

Looking for a new knife?

You can get this Giant (bizarrely ridiculous) Swiss Army Knife for $1200

Sovereignty of God Conference

I just found out that there's going to be a great conference coming to Charlotte on Sept. 7-8 on the Sovereignty of God. I'll probably be going. If anyone around here is interested in going with me, let me know. Sproul is a genius

Blame it on Bush Game

The next time something goes wrong, just play the blame it on Bush game...everybody seems to be playing already

Jackson Pollock

There's debate over some paintings (this being one of them) as to whether or not this is an original Jackson Pollock. One of his paintings sold last year for a mere 140 million...not bad for a drip painting.
My guess is that these current paintings are fake. While his art is impressive, it doesn't seem like it would be extremely difficult for another artist to mimic. That being said, I wonder how much this particular piece would sell for.

Liberals should support the war

I was reading an interesting article about why liberals should support the war in Iraq. It was written from a liberal who believes in socially liberal causes such as gay marriage. His argument was that the very people who are against the war on terrorism are also the ones who most passionately disagree with the ideology of Islamic nations (i.e. Sharia law which opposes gays, women and a whole host of "liberal" causes). I'm not sure that his argument is a great parallel, but it is an interesting observation.

Toy Recall Suicide

There have been a lot of toy recalls recently coming out of China (there was a new one today). As a parent of an 18-month old who chews on everything he sees, its obviously frustrating that this continues to be an issue. However, it was disturbing to hear that one of the bosses of the manufacturing company hung himself on Saturday in his factory.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mondays are for Music

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Needs" in Marriage

I remember reading a book called "His Needs, Her Needs" right before Jennifer and I got married. And while it came highly recommended from many Christians, I remembered thinking when I read it that it was a somewhat (or maybe a lot) self-centered approach to marriage. Each chapter described the condition of unmet so-called needs. I found very early in the book that it wasn't profitable for me to be reading about what my needs were, so then I read about "her needs," only to find a few practical helps built on an unhealthy foundation.

I'm currently reading "When Sinners Say I Do" and it addresses this issue quite well:

"It's not wrong to desire appropriate things like respect or affection from our spouses. But it is very tempting to justify demands by thinking of them as needs and then to punish one another if those needs are not satisfied. A needs-based marriage does not testify to God's glory; it is focused on personal demands competing for supremacy. Two people, preoccupied with manipulating each other to meet needs, can drive their marriage down the path of "irreconcilable differences." This is cultural language that simply acknowledges that a marriage can no longer carry the weight of demands understood as needs.

...But sinners who say "I do" have a different road to travel. It is the road of astonishing, undeserved grace - a grace so remarkable that it shows us the problem and then delivers the solution. Have you ever been on a scenic drive so beautiful that it was hard to keep your heard from spinning from one vista to the next? The road of undeserved grace is like that. It is distractingly beautiful, because all of our true needs are met in breathtaking array in Christ. But it is a road of constant surprises, because we drive it with full awareness of our sin in light of the cross."

Convergent @ Southeastern

Mark Driscoll is coming to speak @ Southeastern Seminary in about a month. The conference is called Convergent, and should be insightful into the world of the emerging church. I think it only costs $30, and registration is still open!

Calvin on John 3:16

"Although there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour, He nevertheless shows He is favourable to the whole world when he calls all without exception to the faith of Christ." -John Calvin

Church Dropouts

According to recent research, 7 out of 10 students who are involved in church will drop out between the ages of 18-22. With school starting back soon, we should be praying over this critical time during the lives of those whom we love

C.S. Lewis & Pluralism

I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis, and in particular the Chronicles of Narnia. However, I've never been able to figure out what he was doing when he tells the story (in "The Last Battle") of the guy who's invited into heaven because when he was following Tash, he was actually following Aslan.

“If any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not…unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly.” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle)

This seems to be an example of pluralism.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber...I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:1, 9).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Update on Christians held hostage

2 of the women who were being held as hostages were released earlier today

More Christian Toys:

Here's another ridiculous Christian toy called a P31 doll. In case it that doesn't ring a bell, that means Proverbs 31. You can purchase these dolls for 40 bucks here

Spurgeon on Grief

"Suppose you are a gardener employed by another. It is not your garden, but you are called upon to tend it. You come one morning into the garden, and you find that the best rose has been taken away. You are angry. You go to your fellow servants and charge them with having taken the rose. They declare that they had nothing to do with it, and one says, "I saw the master walking here this morning; I think he took it." Is the gardener angry then? No, at once he says, "I am happy that my rose should have been so fair as to attract the attention of the master. It is his own. He has taken it, let him do what seems good."
It is even so with your friends. They wither not by chance. The grave is not filled by accident. Men die according to God's will. Your child is gone, but the Master took it. Your husband is gone, your wife is buried—the Master took them. Thank him that he let you have the pleasure of caring for them and tending them while they were here. And thank him that as he gave, he himself has taken away." -Charles Spurgeon

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shaq & Penny are back together again

I just found out that Anfernee Hardaway is going to Heat to play with Shaq again. I'm surprised that Anfernee still plays. Either way, what a sad image that will be to see these elderlies getting beat up by the Bobcats

Loving the Church

Ed Stetzer writing about the insane percentages of young people who drop out of church once they go off to college:

"I think we have a very casual approach to that covenant community called church," he suggests. "Ephesians 3:10 reminds us that God has chosen the church to make known His manifold wisdom in the world -- and I think we have to help people connect better to the church."

According to the Christian researcher, many young people today are simply reflecting a "church culture" created by modern-day believers -- a culture he says is very consumer-oriented and that encourages an attitude that says "if you don't meet my needs here, I'll go somewhere else."

"And when you do that," he adds, "you create a culture where people can say 'I love Jesus, but I don't love his wife'"

I've noticed this strange idea of being up on Jesus, but down on church. And, while churches have their flaws, the local church is still God's ordained (according to His manifold wisdom) way of displaying Himself to the world.

I've also found that a lot of people like to clothe their lack of love with pious sounding words...


Matthew and I went to go see PlayRadioPlay! a couple of nights ago. Here's a video from one of their songs.
The concert was good, but the record-setting temps around here (104 yesterday), made it a little uncomfortable...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blessed be Your Name

We got an email from our friends yesterday that said this:

"You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say Lord,
Blessed be your name

We find ourselves blessing the name of the Lord these past two days as we wrestle with the sadness of losing our first little baby. We went in for a routine check-up yesterday to find the baby's heart had stopped beating."

Pray for them as they're grieving at this time.

Acts in China

According to this report, 10,000 people become Christians everyday in China. Reading this reminds me of the book of Acts!

"24" & Ethics

I teach basic Christian ethics to my freshmen students every year. The show "24" is a favorite among students as well as myself, and I think I'll use this tag as a lead in to discuss the issue. Jack Bauer deals with ethical dilemmas in every episode...


There's an interesting little debate between Wayne Grudem & John Piper right now concerning admittance into a local church over the issue of baptism. Both are Baptists, but Grudem holds to the position that only those who have been immersed as a statement of faith should be admitted as members, and Piper says that if someone was baptized as an infant he/she would still be welcome as a member. This is a pretty rare view, but Jennifer and I were members of a church that held this position. After discussing this issue with our pastor, I'm with Piper on this issue.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Romney's Mormonism

I also noticed that on my political test, Mitt Romney was right behind Duncan Hunter. Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which makes most Christians extremely uncomfortable in thinking about voting for him. Francis Beckwith writes about this topic as well in "First Things," and says that Christians shouldn't dismiss voting for Romney because of his Mormonism.
Here's what Martin Luther says:
"I’d rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian."

I'm not completely comfortable with the idea, but this does provide me with some things to think through.

Political Chart

Here's a chart that lets you see where presidential candidates stand on certain issues.

And here's a little political test to help you see who you line up with the most.

For the record, Duncan Hunter was at the top of my list according to this test.

We lost the baijis

According to the BBC, a rare river dolphin known as the "baijis" are now extinct.
"We have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet" -Dr. Sam Turvey, Zoological Society of London

One of my favorite quotes (maybe my favorite)

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S. Lewis in "The Weight of Glory"

How unfortunate

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

4 Galaxies Merge

This reminds me of how small I am (see Psalm 8)

What God has joined together, let no man separate

I'm tired of reading books that seem to emphasize an essential while beating the garbage out of another essential. I'm thinking about starting a little booklet about the idea. Case in point: I just finished reading a chapter about how important it is to live as a follower of Christ. Amen! It absolutely is. However, the way this was most effectively emphasized in the book was to make theology the enemy to following Christ. It seems to me that God clearly joined these two together. How you live is determined by what you believe. What you believe shows itself in how you live. I realize people miss it, and its wise to show that there's a temptation to twist theology into something that its not, but wouldn't it be better to emphasize the union rather than to divorce the two.
So here's the booklet idea, "What God has joined together, let no man separate"
Some of the chapters would include: Grace & Truth; God's immanence & God's transcendence; Faith & Works; God's love & God's wrath; Relevant & Biblical; Doctrine & Relationship; etc...
All of these individual topics seem to be promoted by whipping the other side. I've certainly been guilty of it, but its worth observing our proneness to be imbalanced on these issues.

Does your devotional time remind you of a dog with a bone?

I've been preparing some messages on "Why read the Bible?", and I came across this from Eugene Peterson who describes the desire to read God's word with a great visual:

“These are words intended, whether confrontationally or obliquely, to get inside us, to deal with our souls, to form a life that is congruent with the world that God has created, the salvation that he has enacted, and the community that he has gathered. Such writing anticipates and counts on a certain kind of reading, a dog-with-a-bone kind of reading.” (Eat This Book: a conversation in the art of spiritual reading, Eugene H. Peterson)

John Murray on Worldview

“The demands of the divine sovereignty make it impossible for us to evade the obligation to strive with all our heart and soul and strength and mind for the establishment of an order that will bring to realization all the demands of God’s majesty, authority, supremacy and kingship. And this, in a word, is simply the full fruition of the kingdom of God, wherever we are, and in the whole compass of thought, word and action.” – John Murray

"My Goodness"

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness..." (2 Pet. 1:1-9).

From Mark Buchanan's book, "Hidden in Plain Sight":

"Out of goodness, God acts. Who God is precedes what God does. His actions derive from His behavior."

So the call to add to your faith goodness is:

"More than a call to probity and decency and regular hygiene. It is nothing less than an invitation to enter and experience and imitate the very personhood of God...Its exhausting to keep building the edifice of good behavior on a foundation of sticks."

One practical suggestion he gives in the pursuit of adding goodness to your faith is to become a true worshipper. Start at this point, and then "doing" good will naturally follow "being" good, and "being" good comes only by "His divine power" (2 Pet. 1:3)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Luther on changing diapers

Martin Luther on changing diapers (from "The Estate of Marriage, 1522):

"Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise."

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, "0 God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? 0 how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight."

Now you tell me, when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool, though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith, my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling, not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith. Those who sneer at him and see only the task but not the faith are ridiculing God with all his creatures, as the biggest fool on earth. Indeed, they are only ridiculing themselves; with all their cleverness they are nothing but devil's fools."


In honor of "Transfiguration Day" (on the liturgical church calendar, this is the day we remember the Transfiguration of Christ), here's a video of Sufjan Stevens performing "Transfiguration" in which he recounts the story with song.

Two new books...

I just got two new books in the mail today. The first is called, "The Culturally Savvy Christian." I don't know much about it, other than it came with high recommendation from a genius friend of mine. The other is by Mark Driscoll, and its called, "Radical Reformission." When I get into them, I'll post how they are...

A couple of verses on God's Sovereignty

Ephesians 1:11- God works out "everything in conformity with the purposes of His will"

Matthew 10:29- not one sparrow "falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father"

"Spectacular Sins"

John Piper's upcoming series is called "Spectacular Sins." One of the stated goals is: "To drive home that evil is not an accident and that all the evil God permits is by design for the greater glory of his Son, Jesus Christ." I wholeheartedly agree with this statement because I believe its the testimony of Scripture. I do think, however, its difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain how the everyday news like this brings glory to Christ.
Again, I'm not questioning this. Its more of a confession of weak eyes ("for now we see in a mirror dimly" -1 Cor. 13:12).

Julio Franco

In case you missed it, the Braves cut 48 year old Julio Franco sometime last week. When I was 7, he had my favorite batting stance. I'm 29 now, and have lost my desire to watch the sport. Hope you live loco the rest of your days Julio


If you enjoy seeing careless ladder use as much as I do (and I know you do), you'll enjoy these:


Its almost time for school again, and I'm looking forward to seeing my students again. A read a teacher describe what it took to be a great teacher. He says it takes, "the same thing it takes to be a great spouse, or parent, or coach, or leader in any setting. It's not mystical, and it sure isn't a secret. It is just caring enough for each person in front of you that they know they matter to you."

History of nations

If you've ever wondered about the history of a particular nation, here's a great website that tells what it is

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Faces of Faith in America"

Here's an interesting study out of UC Berkley about faith in geographical spots throughout the U.S. Perhaps the most shocking was the Bronx stat on abortions (almost as many abortions as live births). The least surprising was the "most Baptists" in TN.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

More Jesus action figures

You can visit to see more of these action figures. What's ironic to me is that the very first thing you see on the website is the question, "Can you see Him?" To me, it seems like this might be distorting the image of Christ rather than helping us see Him more clearly:

Friday, August 3, 2007

Creepy Cat

Every time this cat comes around, someone dies

Which of these proved to be a neighbor?

This, from Michael Spencer is thought-provoking about how Christians should respond to things like the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. While we hold tightly to the truth & comfort of God's sovereignty in times like these, we should remember the way Christ describes who a neighbor is:


Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he asked him, “Have you considered why God sovereignly ordains that this sort of thing happen? And the man said “uuuuhhhhhhmmm.” And the Samaritan said unto him, “It’s important to remember that events like this are in no way evidence that God is not actively ruling over all events. This is an example of God’s temporal judgment. In fact, what’s happened to you today should have happened many times before. The fact that it hasn’t is evidence of God’s mercy. You can be sure that God is actively involved in this robbery, yet without being the author of sin. If you are going to ever understand the truth, you need to accept the sovereignty of God in events like this.” And the man said nothing, being in shock. And the next day the Samaritan took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and buy him Arthur W. Pink’s book, “The Sovereignty of God.”’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “I’m not really sure.”


South Korean Christians

Continue to pray for the South Korean Christians who are being held hostage

Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God

"The sovereignty of God in grace gives us our only hope of success in evangelism." -(J.I. Packer from "Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God")

Students from time to time will ask me concerning God's sovereignty in salvation, "why pray for the salvation of people who are already elected for salvation?" Its a good question, but as Packer points out, when we pray for God to reveal Himself to others and to save the lost, we show that we not only believe that He's sovereign in control of their salvation, but we also show our desire for Him to be so.

The Spirit's use of the Word

"We must never divorce what God has married, namely his Word and his Spirit. The Word of God is the Spirit's sword. The Spirit without the Word is weaponless; the Word without the Spirit is powerless." (John Stott, The Message of Thessalonians pg. 34)

It seems that typically, that either the Word or the Spirit will be emphasized and the other will be neglected. This is a good reminder from Stott that preaching must be both the Word of God in the power of the Spirit...never one without the other

Manchester United signs a 9-year old

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Prayer in study

“That the Holy Scriptures cannot be penetrated by study and talent is most certain. Therefore your first duty is to begin to pray…You must completely despair of your own industry and ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit” (Luther, quoted by Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says: An Anthology).

Creed from the Office

Creed from the Office has a blog, and here's an excerpt from his most recent post:

"Fall is just around the corner and you know what that means: Crab Apple Season. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them. [They] pop up all over the place and nobody wants them because people are idiots. As a result, they’re absolutely free, which is my favorite price of all."

Queen guitarist = Astrophysicist

The guitarist from Queen went back and got his PhD. in astrophysics. Speaking of which, I wonder what happened to that TV show about Tommy Lee going back to school?...

A nice spoof on youth ministry

101 Most Disgusting Flavors of Ice Cream

I'm thinking about running down to the Harris Teeter to see if they have any more ox tongue ice cream

Worst train station name ever:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

NASCAR Strategy

This news report provides some good insight into the strategery of NASCAR racing:

Small Group last night

"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things need for the body what good is that?" (James 2:15-16).

Without going into a big long story about last night's small group, I will say that what happened was an incredible display of what we had studied the week before: "But you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit" (Eph. 2:10-21).