Thursday, April 30, 2009


Not Lawful to Go Beyond the Simplicity of the Gospel

From John Calvin's Institutes (2.15.2):
Outside Christ there is nothing worth knowing, and all who by faith perceive what he is like have grasped the whole immensity of heavenly benefits. For this reason, Paul writes in another passage: "I decided to know nothing precious . . . except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (I Cor. 2:2 ). This is very true, because it is not lawful to go beyond the simplicity of the gospel. And the prophetic dignity in Christ leads us to know that in the sum of doctrine as he has given it to us all parts of perfect wisdom are contained.

Iron and Wine | Calexico



Buy the great album here.

What is Truer is Most Important

What is the difference between Islam and Christianity?

One is truer than the other one.

What is the difference between Christianity and Inclusivism?

One is truer than the other one.

What is the difference between Christianity and the statement "There is no 'right' religion"?

The 'statement' is itself a belief and, thus, one is truer than the other one.

Preach 'Believe and Live'

To All the 'Emergent' Preachers:

We must all throw our strength of judgment, memory, imagination, and eloquence into the delivery of the gospel; and not give up preaching of the cross our random thoughts while wayside topics engross our deeper meditations. Depend upon it, if we brought the intellect of a Locke or Newton, and the eloquence of a Cicero, to bear upon the simple doctrine of 'believe and live,' we should find no surplus of strength. Brethren, first and above all things, keep to plain evangelical doctrines: whatever else you do or do not preach, be sure incessantly to bring forth the soul-saving truth of Christ and him crucified.


C.H. Spurgeon (from Lectures to My Students, p. 86-7)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Brightest Diamond

My sister has a penchant for sending me music that I won't like at first. MBD is definitely in that category but are slowly working their way out of the pit. Two examples:

Heedless of Danger, They Took Charge of the Sick

Rodney Stark made the claim in The Rise of Christianity that Christianity exploded because, in part, Christians served their cities sacrificially, to the point of death. In the third century after Christ, in the Roman Empire, a horrific plague struck its cities. Tens of thousands perished. But what is particularly striking about this is how many Christians responded. Hear the words of Dionysius:
Most of our Christians brothers showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pain.

So Many Links (29 Apr 2009)

Having a mega-church does not mean you're all that bright.

The Gospel of Luke in Arabic.

A map of the seven deadly sins.

Finally: WWJD, the Movie.

Al Mohler on how one should respond to the possibility of pandemic.

I'm just Sayin':
On the home front, there can no longer be any such doubts. Mr. Obama talks the language of pragmatism, but his program has revealed a man of the left. He clearly views the financial crisis and the liberal majorities in Congress as a rare chance to advance the power of the state in American life. The only two comparable moments in the last century were 1965, which gave us the Great Society, and 1933, which bequeathed the New Deal. Mr. Obama's goals are at least as ambitious, resuming the march toward the European welfare state that was stopped by what Democrats like to call the Reagan detour.

His main method here is to make the federal government the guarantor of middle-class security. He wants to make a college education a new entitlement, regardless of the cost. He wants state-financed health-care available to all, even if it means jamming a $1 trillion bill through the Senate with 51 votes. And he wants a cap-and-trade tax that would punish the main current sources of U.S. energy and hand Washington a vast new source of revenue.

Oh, and by the way, he also wants to fix the financial system, run the auto industry, and build a nationwide, high-speed rail network. And on the seventh day, he rested.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sermon Vid

Ooo, video. My sermon from Sunday:

Obigatory "Bull in Supermarket" Video


To Preachers, and Barack Obama

Charles Spurgeon, in Lectures to My Students, p. 84:
It is infamous to ascend to your pulpit and pour over your people rivers of language, cataracts of words, in which mere platitudes are held in solution like infinitesimal grains of homeopathic medicine in an Atlantic of utterance. Better far give the people masses of unprepared truth in the rough, like pieces of meat from a butcher's block, chopped off anyhow, bone and all, and even dropped down in the sawdust, than ostentatiously and delicately hand them out upon a china dish a delicious slice of nothing at all, decorated with the parsley of poetry, and flavoured with the sauce of affectation.

Lip Service to the Unborn

This week marks the first 100 days in office for President Obama. Yawn. He is, indeed, the great magician, getting people to look at his right hand while his left inflicts dramatic policy change on our country. Dr. Frank Page, a pastor and member on Obama's Faith Council, was interviewed on his evaluation of the President's first 100 days. Not surprisingly, he is not impressed either:
I've been disappointed that instead of looking for what he has often said, he's looking for some middle ground, some common ground I don't think he has really sought that.

I have not been surprised by anything our President has done but I have been surprised at the rapidity with which he has done what he has done, removal of what few protections there are for example regarding innocent unborn babies. This has happened quickly.

By and large I have not been very encouraged by our President's first 100 days in regards to pro-life issues, in regards to sensitivity to the Evangelical community.

I have stated often that I will stay on this council as long as I thought my voice was being heard to some degree. There have been a couple instances where I've seen what I thought was a listening to the voice but in most instances yes there has been merely lip service given to the cause of those who want to protect the innocent and unborn.
You can read the rest of the article and see a video of the interview here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

God, Suffering and Sin

The sermon I preached on Sunday is now online. It is called "God in the Midst of Sin and Suffering," on Genesis 37:12-36, where I begin to answer the question, where is God when we suffer?

Stop Locusts, But Don't Miss Their Meaning

D.A. Carson, cited by Andrew Atherstone, in "Divine Retribution: A Forgotten Doctrine?":
We should not adopt the stance of fatalists. If we can stop locusts today (satellites can sometimes spot incipient swarms that are then stopped by trucks with pesticides), then we should do so—in exactly the same way that we should try to stop war, plague, AIDS, famine, and other disasters. But in a theistic world where God is sovereign, we must also hear the summoning judgment of God calling his image-bearers to renounce sin’s selfism and cry to him for mercy.

It's Still All true

Steven Curtis-Chapman, reflecting on winning a Dove award as he grieved the loss of his youngest child:
"Both times I had to take the stage, I've never had more mixed emotions and more of a paradox of saying 'thank you,' but also never wanting to do this acceptance speech under these circumstances," said Chapman, who also performed "Cinderella" (the hit inspired by his daughters) during the telecast. "It was such a mixed bag of emotions and I kept thinking 'I gotta bring my wife up on stage with me mainly because if I fell apart I'd have someone to lean on.'

"But this is one more encouragement of how loved we are and how prayed for we are! And it's not just about us either. God can take this and multiply it in the lives of those watching who may be saying 'my life is broken,' or some of us in this room that don't know what to do with the hurt. Everything we're singing about is true, and even when you take away all the glitz, it's still true in the darkest, ugliest and most hopeless places."

Prejean, Dethroned

Just so I am clear (and it pains me to have to say this), though I appreciated the candor and biblical accuracy from Carrie Prejean the other night at the Miss USA Pageant, I do not think that she should be immediately made President or senior pastor. I was only kidding. In truth, it is kind of sad that some evangelicals (mostly those who are more Republican than evangelical) have quickly crowned her cultural crusader of the year. I mean, good Lord, minutes before she slapped Perez around, she was walking around on stage practically nude. That is, unfortunately, no slight contradiction.

There is No Attribute More Comforting

Charles Spurgeon:
There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation--the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands--the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ann Coulter is Just Like Everyone Else

Ann is obviously a lightening rod, and there are times when I am left scratching my head (while laughing) at her rhetoric. But she is human, and that was especially evident in a eulogy she wrote of her mom who died last week. Here's how it opened:
A lot of people claim to be my No. 1 fan -- God bless them -- but my true No. 1 fan left this world last week. My mother quietly stopped breathing last Tuesday, as she slept peacefully, holding my hand.

She was the biggest fan of all of us -- Father, me and my brothers John and Jim.

After reading the eulogy column I wrote for Father last year -- not to excess, probably only about 4,637 times -- Mother realized to her chagrin that she wouldn't be able to read the eulogy column I'd be writing for her, and started hinting that maybe I could rustle up a draft so she could take a peek.

But I couldn't do it, until I had to.
Death is death. It is the great equalizer. Left or right, we all are moved by those who are in the midst of its delivered grief. Ann, if you didn't know, loves Jesus (I know, she has a ways to go). She brings him up at the end:
So now she's with Daddy and Jesus. Every single day since Daddy died last year, Mother would say how much she missed him and gaze at his photo, telling us what an amazing man he was and repeating his little expressions and jokes. Even though I miss her, I'm glad they're together again.

I don't know about Jesus, but I think Daddy was getting impatient. But Mommy was always running a little bit late.
Whole thing.

How Do I Get That Goodness In Me?

Getting an Abortion is a No Brainer in Cases of Rape or Incest

Randy Alcorn answers this difficult objection in his book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, p. 231-2:
Rape is never the fault of the child, the guilty party, not an innocent party, should be punished.

In those rare cases when a pregnancy is the result of rape, we must be careful who gets the blame. What is hard about this hard case is not whether an innocent child deserves to die for what his father did. What is hard is that an innocent woman has to take on childbearing and possibly mothering—if she decides to keep the child rather than choose adoption—for which she was not willing or ready. This is a very hard situation, calling for family, friends, and church to do all they can to sup¬port her. But the fact remains that none of this is the fault of the child.

Why should Person A be killed because Person B raped Person A's mother? If your father committed a crime, should you go to jail for it? If you found out today that your biological father had raped your mother, would you feel you no longer had a right to live?

Biblical law put it this way: "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father" (Ezekiel 18:20). And, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16). Civilized people do not put children to death for what their fathers have done. Yet aborting a child conceived by rape is doing that exact thing. He is as innocent of the crime as his mother. Neither she nor he deserves to die.

Rape is so horrible that we easily transfer our horror to the wrong object. We must not impose the ugliness of rape or incest upon either the innocent woman or the innocent child. The woman is not "spoiled goods"—she is not goods at all, but a precious human being with value and dignity that not even the vilest act can take from her. Likewise, the child is not a cancer to be removed, but a living human being. By all means, let's punish the rapist. (I favor stricter punishment of the rapist than do the prochoice advocates I know.) But let's not punish the wrong person by inflicting upon the innocent child our rage against the rapist.

Why Aren't Our Extemporaneous Prayers Better?

Spurgeon answers this question in Lectures to My Students, p. 61:
The secret is that we are not so really devout at heart as we should be. Habitual communion with God must be maintained, or our public prayers will be vapid and formal. If there be no melting of the glacier high up in the ravines of the mountain there will be no descending rivulets to cheer the plain. Private prayer is the drill ground for our more public exercises neither can we long neglect it without being out of order when before the people.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Knew My Prayer Was Answered When He Was Born

(Those viewing in a reader will have to click over to see the video)

Parenting is Your Primary Calling

Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child's Heart, p. 97:
Parenting is your primary calling. Parenting will mean that you can't do all the things that you could otherwise do. It will affect your golf handicap. It may mean your home does not look like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. It will impact your career and ascent on the corporate ladder. It will alter the kind of friend¬ships you will be available to pursue. It will influence the kind of ministry you are able to pursue. It will modify the amount of time you have for bowling, hunting, television, or how many books you read. It will mean that you can't develop every interest that comes along. The costs are high.
Related to that quote, I happened upon this paraphrase from Tim Keller's talk yesterday:
When we are raising children, if we push them away and keep them at arm’s length in order to preserve our freedom and independence, they will grow up emotionally dependent and damaged. The only way our children can grow up with freedom and independence is if we sacrifice our freedom and independence, for years on end. Once again, it’s them or you.
HT: Z via B-lo

The Gospel of Rob Bell

Interesting interview over at CT with Rob Bell. He says some great things. But he also continues to herald ambivalence like there's no tomorrow. Some will say that he is preaching the Gospel in a different way (he even says as much). But it seems to me that he unnecessarily excludes parts of it. Let me know when he ever says something to the effect of "We are so sinful that Jesus had to die for us, but he loves us so much that he was glad to." I'll stand up on my desk and cheer.

Tim Keller on Idols (and Parenting)

Keller, yesterday at the Gospel Coalition conference, preached on idolatry. He said a few things that were quite helpful. On idolatry, he says that it is really "anything I look at and say 'If I have that, my life has value.'" He lists a few idols that are prevalent today:
  • Money can be an idol, especially in the business world. Everyone recognizes this as the idol of Wall Street. (All over New York City, child sacrifice is going on. If you want to succeed, you have to sacrifice your family. If you're going to get the money and power, you must sacrifice your children. Jobs are set up that way.) How do you do your job without bowing down to it—how do you demythologize money? Only by living in the gospel.
  • Romance is another idol. This is when you look to your lover or spouse for worth. Only they can make you feel valuable. You cannot lose this person. People who have a good marriage must constantly fight this idol, constantly looking to Jesus and finding their satisfaction in Jesus more than their spouse.
  • Self-expression is an idol of the artistic community.
  • Children can be idolized when you find your significance and meaning in your children. You know you're worth something if your children turn out well.
I was really convicted by that last one. Especially in New England, it is very easy for Christian parents to believe along with everybody else that what is most important is the education of our kids. While Massachusetts might have the best schools in America (public, private, universities), what has happened is that it has created a culture in which parents have become child-centric. We will do literally anything for them to succeed. Keller says that this is not virtuous, it is idolatrous.

Spurgeon on the Hearing of Sermons as Worship

Charles Spurgeon responds to the objection that the hearing of sermons is not really worship, in Lectures to My Students, p. 59:
If the observation be meant to imply that the hearing of sermons is not worshiping God, it is founded on a gross mistake, for rightly to listen to the gospel is one of the noblest parts of the adoration of the Most High. It is a mental exercise, when rightly performed, in which all faculties of the spiritual man are called into devotional action. Reverently hearing the Word exercises our humility, instructs our faith, irradiates us with joy, inflames us with love, inspires us with zeal, and lifts us up towards heaven.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So Many Links (21 Apr 2009)

Of course you should rob a dry cleaner as a ninja.

Unbelievable truth regarding China and abortion.

Yet another AK-47 made out of bacon.

Fir trees, it would seem, grow quite nicely inside stomachs.

A truly remarkable story of suffering, sacrifice and grace.

This is what my wife does to me. And no, I am not calling her a dog:

Not Politically Correct, Biblically Correct

Moving quickly from Parenting Amplified to Miss California Amplified:

Four things:

1. Perez: uh-meh-zing. And not just his hair. Do you know what madd skills you have to have to be so intolerantly tolerant?

2. It seems pretty clear from scripture that only men should be elders. But I'm pretty sure it would make an exception for Carrie Prejean.

3. I hope everyone heard her say that God was sovereign over her losing Miss USA. Unreal and awesome.

4. 2012 Presidential Ticket: Palin and Prejean.

Giving Kids a Biblical Worldview

Tedd Tripp, from Shepherding a Child's Heart, p. 46:
No wonder we lose our kids. We lose them because we fail to think clearly about man’s chief end. The chief end of man is to glo­rify God and enjoy him forever; therefore, your objective in every context must be to set a biblical worldview before your children. From their earlier days, they must be taught that they are creatures made in the image of God—made for God. They must learn that they will only “find themselves” as they find him. Your child must grow to see that real living is experienced when he stands before God and says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25). If this is what you want for your children, then you must ensure that the content of everyday life fits this objective.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Life of Repentance and Faith...for Kids

Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child's Heart, p. 52-3:
You must always hold out to your children both their need of Christ's invasive redemptive work and their obligation to repent of their sin and place their faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are not rites to Christianity. Repentance and faith are the way to relate to God. Repentance and faith are not acts performed one time to become a Christian. They are attitudes of the heart toward ourselves and our sin. Faith is not just the way to get saved; it is the lifeline of Christian living.

Your children must understand what it means to repent, not just "all of my sins" in some generalized way, but of specific sins of heart idolatry. They need to know the cleansing and refreshing forgiveness of God, not just once to get saved, but daily. They must understand the Christian life not simply as living according to a biblical code, but as life in faith, commitment, and fellowship with the living God.

Life Changing: How to Raise My Kids

Dramatic statement of the week: I just finished a book that will (hopefully) change my life. Yes, I know, I am prone to life-change. I see a quote, hear a sermon, or read a book and decide that, quite promptly, "My life has changed." In some respect, life-change happens daily. The early philosopher Heraclitus remarked, "You can't step into the same river twice." And so it is with the human heart, mind and soul. When we grow (or wither) in the slightest, we change. And that is good. But what I am talking about is momentous life-change. That is, when you go from walking northwest to running southeast. And that happens to me a lot. That's ok because I am a baby and constantly need huge course corrections as I journey.

My most recent life-change happened at the behest of Tedd Tripp. No, Tedd did not call me, but he wrote to me, by way of Shepherding a Child's Heart. Now the problem is that I have nothing to compare it to. This is literally my first ever "how to raise your kids" read. But I am hard pressed to believe that anything else could be as biblical and, accordingly, foundational. His book is short on details, but that doesn't really matter. It's the roots that matter, the foundation. And the foundation is that your kids are not really yours. They are, ultimately, God's. And that means they must be raised with Him not just in the same room, but as the center of the room. So even though this is my first child-rearing book, and while it will probably not be my last, I suspect all other ideas I buy into will find their basis in Tripp's discovery: that we have to raise our kids in accordance with the scriptures.

What was unclear to me before is that so many of us Christian parents fails to offer our kids what has become vitally important to us. We have discovered Jesus and now center our lives around him. Why, therefore, would we not then center our kids' lives around him as well? But that means dramatic things. It means that your kids have the same issues you do. They are inclined to reject God and worship idols. The reason they don't behave is not because they are not disciplined. It is because their hearts are malformed. It means that they need Jesus. Listen to Tripp:
The heart is wellspring of life. Therefore, parenting is concerned with shepherding the heart. You must learn to work from the behavior you see, back to the heart, exposing heart issues for your children. In short, you must learn to engage them, not just reprove them. Help them see the ways that they are trying to slake their souls' thirst with that which cannot satisfy. You must help your kids gain a clear focus on the cross of Christ.
This is life-changing. It says to me that the thing that gives me the most hope, the thing that is the basis for all my joy and satisfaction, is also the thing that will help me raise my children. I am God's agent of authority for my children on this planet, Tripp says. My job is to get them to love and respect him and, by extension, me. This is really a remarkable book and should be read by every Christian parent. Get it here.

Finally: Kids Do 'Separate Ways' Better Than Journey

I now have three prayer requests for my daughter:

1. That she come to Jesus.
2. That she serve Jesus and him only.
3. That she do it by rocking like this:

Seriously, that kid can play guitar about a thousand times better than I can and he's only 11.

Profile: Doug Wils

CT just posted online a profile on Doug Wilson. I have mentioned him before. It is worth reading if only for some fun. He is irreverent, hilarious, legalistic. Odd combination, huh? Once you read it you'll see why I like him, though, of course, one can't as easily swallow all that he produces. Read away.

For his blog, which I read regularly, go to

Spurgeon on Prayer

Charles Spurgeon, in Lectures to My Students, p. 48:
Prayer is the tool of the great potter by which he moulds the vessel.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brian Regan on the Walkie Talkie

The Good and the Bad of Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox was interviewed by Time Magazine (with question sent in by readers) in the latest issue. Fox, burdneded by Parkinson's disease, continues to be a major advocate for finding a cure for the dibilitating diease. As far as I know, he doesn't know Jesus. Some of his answers in the interview reflect that. Others do not.

How do you keep your optimism in the face of difficult circumstances?

I think mostly it's about acceptance. I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson's. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there's freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn't have otherwise found myself in.
How has your diagnosis affected your beliefs about life, death or spirituality?

It's a big wake-up call about mortality, obviously. I think that's a good thing for us to get out of the way--the earliest you can responsibly deal with the fact that this isn't a dress rehearsal. It's like a 75-, 80-year ride if we're lucky, so let's make the most of it.
Have you ever felt cheated by having Parkinson's disease?

No, absolutely not. It's been a detour that I wouldn't have planned, but it's really led me to amazing places. I mean, I enjoy my work as an actor. But to make a difference in people's lives through advocacy and through supporting research--that's the kind of privilege that few people will get, and it's certainly bigger than being on TV every Thursday for half an hour.
Doubly bad (and a really bad argument):
What do you think is the best argument going forward to support stem-cell research?

If something has that much promise, there's no good argument to walk away from it. We need to find a way to do the work.
Have you ever found yourself embarrassed by your disease?

Yes, early on, certainly. Now I feel and I say all the time that vanity is, like, long gone. I'm really free of worrying about what I look like, because it's out of my shaky hands. I don't control it. So why would I waste one second of my life worrying about it?
Pray for him.

The Glory of a Good Poo

Heart-warming story, first here, then here (disregard the labeled parts 1 and 2).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I am a Sick Single Dad This Weekend

This is the first time my wife has been away from our baby overnight. And it is overwhelming. No, not the work. That isn't bad. And she isn't going to be gone much longer. And yet I can't help but think, what if? What if this were my life? What if I were a single dad? My senses are heightened, my fears deepened. I am the sole protector of my little girl. I hear her cough and despair at the thought that she might really be sick. What do I do? And I am sick too right now. What if I get really sick? How would I go to work and take care of her?

The pain of those around you becomes more real when you experience that pain yourself. Your empathy increases the closer you get. And tonight I feel the plight and pain of single parents. What saints these people are. Pray for them, seek them out, serve them ceaselessly. I know I will.

And if you have a spouse, cherish them with all of your might. They truly are gifts from God.

Gaffigan on Bowling


Check out this CT interview with Newt Gingrich, the smartest government/politics guy in the world. On marriage and abortion:
Can you give a political assessment of where we are headed on abortion and same-sex marriage?

I think on traditional marriage, it's likely to be a long, complex struggle with the courts making it, I think, worse, because they are intervening without regard to popular opinion. On the case of right-to-life, I think the cause of the right-to-life community is gaining ground, because I think as people look at more and more advanced technology, all of the underlying assumptions that were at the heart of Roe v. Wade simply fall apart. Roe v. Wade is based on viability of life, and life, of course, is now viable at a very, very early age. Once you start getting into questions of Is it a baby or not?, people get much shakier about their belief that you ought to have the right to abort a baby than they were 30 years ago.
On a related note, my friend, a few years back, saw Newt in an airport. Star-struck, he walked up to him and said, because e had nothing better to say, "Keep up the good work Newt!"

You Can't Burn As Much as You Can Eat

501st post, Fitness Amplified:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why are There Children With Disabilities?

I came across a post from a Christian family that has a child with a severe disability. What they wrote was sobering to me, even though my child is "healthy." Read the whole thing. I was struck especially by their trust in the sovereign God who intends their suffering for good:
3. God brings children with disabilities into this world for good purposes.

God may use the disability to show a child that he is a dependent creature living in a fallen world. God might then open the child's eyes to the reality of sin and his need for a Savior. Why would God do it this way? We don't know, but He is good and always does what is right (Ps. 34:8). We would rather God use a disability to save our child than have a child with perfect health who spends eternity in Hell.

What about parents? In Romans 8:28, Paul writes, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God." That is a hope-giving verse for believing parents. God could eliminate a child's disability in an instant (Ps. 135:6; Is. 45:6-7). If it remains (or even worsens), God has not failed. He is at work for His glory and our good. He is surely causing us to trust Him more. Or, He has plans to introduce us to people at the hospital(s) who are suffering without hope, that we might point them to the great Hope. He may even awaken us to our sinful neglect of the rejected of this world.

God may have hundreds, if not thousands, of good purposes in bringing a single child with a disability into this world. We can sing with confidence, "His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower."

Love One Another Even Though You Are Different

Piper, in his monthly article, wrote "Six Biblical Guidelines For Loving Each Other Amid Differences":
1. Let’s avoid gossiping.
2. Let’s identify evidences of grace in each other and speak them to each other and about each other.
3. Let’s speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it.
4. Let’s look for, and assume, the best motive in the other’s viewpoint, especially when we disagree.
5. Think often of the magnificent things we hold in common.
6. Let’s be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right. And in that way, let’s shape our relationships by the gospel.
Read the rest here for an explanation of each with biblical support.


Treat Yo Mama Right

George Mallory, one of the first to scale Mt. Everest, was asked why he would do such a thing. "Because it's there," he famously responded. I post the video below for the same reason.

Randy Alcorn (and others) On Money

Here's a pretty decent video on handling money in this economy, or in any economy, for that matter:

Alcorn's book, The Treasure Principle, is well worth reading.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fleet Foxes: Mykonos

I don't really care for the video, but the song is just so great:

Save Money, 112 Ways

Rich or poor, there's no need to overspend. My sis sent me this link to "112 Ways To Save Money." A lot of really good ideas. My favs:

Cut your paper towel rolls in half. I know, short-sheet versions are sold now, but they cost more.


Clipping coupons. No joke, I save anywhere from 10 to upwards of 40% of my total bill when I use coupons. The trick is to only cut them for the products you will actually (and usually) purchase. Don't be tempted to buy something just because you have a coupon and it looks interesting. Chances are you will never use/eat it. The Sunday paper is my favorite source, but of course they have a slew of on-line coupon websites, only downfall is having to print them out. If and when you do print them out: go to the box marked "Preferences" and remember to select "Print in Grayscale" in the options and under print quality, select "Draft" so you don't use any color ink and you minimize the amount of black ink when you do print them. Hope this helps!


Here's a big one: STOP SPOILING YOUR KIDS! I'm always amazed at how otherwise sane and thrifty people will spend any amount of money on all kinds of unnecessary crap to keep their kids happy.


If you use eyedrops for any reason, there's NO need to use more than 1 in each eye. My doctor told me recently that more than one drop cannot physically fit within the confines of your eyelid, and only one drop is enough to cover the entire surface of the eye. He said that drug companies always encourage you to use 2 or more in an effort to reel in more money at twice the rate necessary. So, whether it's an antibiotic drop for a pink eye infection or seasonal allergy drops, one in each eye is enough.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On, Consumerism Ain't That Bad

Carl Trueman, in review of David Wells' book The Courage to Be Protestant, agrees that the consumerist mindset (or, more precisely, capitalism) in the west is a force that works against the church a lot of the time. However, one mustn't throw the baby out with the bath water:
For a start, we have to acknowledge that the very forces which David (correctly) identifies as so damaging have also brought tremendous good. After all, who of us wants to go back to an era without all of those gadgets and devices which make life so tolerable? Or abandon the freedom of the democratic system which goes hand-in-hand with the freedom of the market? At the simplest, most self-serving level, I prefer to mark student papers that are typed on word processors, not scrawled in undecipherable hieroglyphics; at a higher level, I like living in a world where I have access to antibiotics, printed books, fine wines, the potential of peacefully removing failed political leaders, etc. None of these are essential to human life; but I consider them to be gifts of God's common grace that allow me to enjoy being alive. I think that living at a time such as this, when there are so many things which enhance the overall quality of life, of which previous generations knew nothing, is a good thing. And I do not think that my access to these things is separable from the capitalist system within which I live. Consumerism is thus not an entirely bad thing; nor can I easily extricate myself from the consumerist mindset, given that its values are deeply embedded in the whole of life, both for good and for evil.

Boxing Video Analogy of My Life

Monday, April 13, 2009

So Many Links (13 Apr 2009)

A site dedicated to reporting good news only.

Poor little piggies.

Poor baby goats.

Uh oh. Facebook literally makes you dumber.

Does multiverse pose a problem to theists?

To all my readers who have a psychotic fascination with Prince, you're gonna want this.

Word of the day: nescience.

Percentage of Americans who want stricter gun control...decreases?

The obligatory "This bird is probably the anti-christ" video:

All Children are Wanted

I have been reading through Randy Alcorn's ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. It is marvelous, overwhelmingly exhaustive in its research and argumentation. I will try and post some of it from time to time. I read today the common (specious) assumption among prochoicers that "It's unfair to children to bring them into a world where they're not wanted." This immediately brought to mind the painfully tragic story of the woman "too poor" to have another child. From the AP a few weeks ago:
The pregnant woman showed up at the medical center in flip-flops and in tears, after walking there to save bus fare.

Her boyfriend had lost his job, she told her doctor in Oakland, Calif., and now - fearing harder times for her family - she wanted to abort what would have been her fourth child.

"This was a desired pregnancy - she'd been getting prenatal care - but they re-evaluated expenses and decided not to continue," said Dr. Pratima Gupta. "When I was doing the options counseling, she interrupted me halfway through, crying, and said, 'Dr. Gupta, I just walked here for an hour. I'm sure of my decision.'"

Other doctors are hearing similarly wrenching tales. For many Americans, the recession is affecting their most intimate decisions about sex and family planning. Doctors and clinics are reporting that many women are choosing abortions and men are having vasectomies because they cannot afford a child.
This is one of those stories that lingers, haunts. One instantly recognizes that this woman either didn't know all of her options or wasn't brave enough to go through with what would have been right. Alcorn responds to this idea, that an unwanted child should be aborted (p. 139):
One and a half million American families want to adopt, some so badly that the scarcity of adoptable babies is a source of major depression. There is such a demand for babies that a black market has developed where babies have been sold for as much as $35,000. Not just "normal" babies are wanted—many people request babies with Down syndrome, and there have been lists of over a hundred couples waiting to adopt babies with spina bifida.

Would the demand for babies keep up with the supply if abortion were made illegal? The National Committee for Adoption (NCA) maintains that most women would choose to keep their babies, but 11 percent of the children that would have been aborted would instead be given up for adoption. The NCA's president says, "If abortion were totally outlawed, we would guess the numbers to be 68,400 more white infants and 3,960 nonwhite infants needing adoptive homes." Those waiting to adopt would still have to wait in line, but the wait would be shorter and less agonizing.

It's important to clarify that this has no direct bearing on the moral issue of abortion. Even if no one wanted to adopt a baby, it would still not be right to kill Min. The point is simply that if someone does not want a baby, there are others who do.

This is What 650MPH Looks Like

These guys clearly have the best job in the world.

Keith Green: Easter Song

We did this at church this morning. What a powerful song, and Keith rocks it as only Keith can:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gaffigan on The Waffle House

What's the Son of a Duck? It's a Duck

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bart Ehrman
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

It's probably time to stop writing books when Colbert can, on the fly, expose and defeat your sorry, old scholarship.

For more extensive critiques of Ehrman's work, see Witherington here and here, and Darrell Bock here.  

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jesus Rescued the Whole World

From SallyLloyd-Jones' The Jesus Storybook Bible, p. 306:
Even though it was midday, a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world. The sun could not shine. The earth trembled and quaked. The great mountains shook. Rocks split in two. Untill it seemed the whole world would break. That creation itself would tear apart.

The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, "It is finished!"

And it was. He had done it. Jesus had resucued the whole world.

Cast Your Sins Upon Christ

From a sermon by Martin Luther:
Then cast your sins from yourself upon Christ, believe with a festive spirit that your sins are his wounds and sufferings, that he carries them and makes satisfaction for them, as Is 53,6 says: "Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;" and St. Peter in his first Epistle 2, 24: "Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree" of the cross; and St. Paul in 2 Cor 5,21: "Him who knew no sin was made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him." Upon these and like passages you must rely with all your weight, and so much the more the harder your conscience martyrs you. For if you do not take this course, but miss the opportunity of stilling your heart, then you will never secure peace, and must yet finally despair in doubt. For if we deal with our sins in our conscience and let them continue within us and be cherished in our hearts, they become much too strong for us to manage and they will live forever. But when we see that they are laid on Christ and he has triumphed over them by his resurrection and we fearlessly believe it, then they are dead and have become as nothing. For upon Christ they cannot rest, there they are swallowed up by his resurrection, and you see now no wound, no pain, in him, that is, no sign of sin. Thus St. Paul speaks in Rom 4, 25, that he was delivered up for our trespasses and was raised for our justification; that is, in his sufferings he made known our sins and also crucified them; but by his resurrection he makes us righteous and free from all sin, even if we believe the same differently.

The Ruler of this World is Coming, But He Has No Claim on Me

John 14:27-31:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Resurrection Is Important Because It Means God is God

In John 11 we read that the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, had become ill. And because Jesus was the healer, they sent for him. Upon hearing of Lazarus' condition, Jesus said something amazing (verse 4): "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." That verse would be pretty easy to understand had Jesus rushed to save him. But he didn't. Look at verse 6: "So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was." Now the NIV translates the first word there not as "So" but as "Yet." So and yet. There is much semantical difference between those two words, as I am sure you can see. "Yet" in this sentence implies indecision on Jesus' part. "So", the literal translation, implies that Jesus waits on purpose. So Jesus knows that Lazarus is sick and then says that this sickness will not lead to death. But then why does he wait? So Lazarus can die. John 11:14: "Then Jesus told them plainly, 'Lazarus has died.'" How can we then square verse 4 and verse 14? Two ways:

1. The obvious way to reconcile this is to realize that Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus to life. Though Lazarus would be dead for a time, a result of his illness, the illness was not as powerful as God working through Jesus. Lazarus would only be dead for a while.

2. The not so obvious reason is that Jesus was pointing to something much more profound. Upon telling his disciples that Lazarus has died he says this: "For your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe." Now what he wants them to believe concerns his own death and resurrection. He needs them to see and know that our own sickness does not lead to death either. What is our sickness? Impugning the holiness of God; exchanging the glory of God for idols; making good things ultimate things. And for that, we deserve death. Horrible, endless death. Jesus' claim then, that we will all not die, is insane. Piper calls this idea schizophrenic:
So the troubling thing is that God is so enthusiastic about adopting and exalting people whose sinfulness is a blight on his name. It seems schizophrenic. The Bible makes God out to love his name and his glory with omnipotent energy and unbounded joy. And then it pictures him choosing God-belittling sinners for his court, and rejoicing over the very people who have despised his glory and cheapened his name. (The Pleasures of God, p.158)
And how does he choose them? How does he save them? By executing his son (emphasis mine):

Isaiah 53:10-11:
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
Acts 2:23-24 :

This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Romans 3:23-26:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
So what happened was that God killed his son in order that he might love us but also stay righteous (God finished what Abraham did not). God is no hypocrite. His glory had been impugned for centuries and for that he would eventually call to account those who sinned against him. But he loved us so much that it was worth destroying his son. Propitiation literally means to "bear wrath." And that is what Jesus did. He bore the wrath of God so that we wouldn't have to.

Now of course the end of all of this, and the only reason this is a viable transaction, is that Jesus rose from the dead. In verse 25 Jesus says to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." If we believe in the crucified and resurrected son of God, we will too be raised to new life.

But what is the real reason Jesus died and rose from the dead? Finally, we are back to the verse we started with. "For the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." These words foreshadowed what it would take for God and Christ Jesus to be both just and justified. The ultimate reason God sent his son to die and then raise him from the dead was so that they might be glorified. Ephesians 1:11-12 (emphasis mine):
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
No one could have made this up. Mark Driscoll said once that his gospel, if he tried to devise one, would be comprised of napping and chicken wings. Not Jesus'. God and Christ Jesus were able to remain righteous and save those whom they loved. The resurrection is important because it means, once and for all, that God is God.

A Blood Sacrifice was Necessary

I have never seen anything truly graphic. You hear about graphic stuff all the time on the news--fathers executing entire families, abortions, terrible accidents. But I have never seen anything like that first hand. I thank God for that, but I wonder if it hinders my faith; I wonder if my sheltered life also shelters my understating of truth and grace.

Well, I came as close to seeing something truly graphic this morning. The slaying of a lamb. I know why I watched, but I am still processing. The slaying was done in Israel for a Passover service. Now this was odd because they really don't do animal sacrifice anymore, for the temple and altar are gone. But they did it anyway, and someone videotaped it. I tried to stop watching a few times, clicking away to other screens. But the sound was still there. I finally clicked back and finished it.

Now I am not going to describe it. It is painfully graphic and I almost passed out watching it. But I needed to. I don't understand death. I have no real conception of blood sacrifice. It is easy to watch a movie or read an account. It is not so easy to see blood pouring. But I think I understand it more now. A blood sacrifice of a perfectly pure, innocent person, holy God, was necessary for my salvation, for the salvation of the world, for the glory of Christ.

Isaiah 53:6-7:
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
John 1:29:
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
1 Corinthians 5:7
...Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Peter 1:18-19: were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
Revelation 5:11-12:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
The link to the video is here. But not click on it unless you want to see a tiny lamb have her head nearly cut off. It is not something I will ever watch again.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP 99 Cents at Amazon

It's a must own and you can't beat this price. 99 cents for a stellar 5 song album? Get it.

The Resurrection Is Important Because it Means You Aren't Stupid

Paul is unequivocal about why the resurrection is vital in the history of the universe. 1 Corinthians 15:14:
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
I was at a party a few years ago and got into a conversation with a guy about the importance of religion. He was a nominal Episcopal (or, better said, "watered-down water") and while he wasn't an active participant in his faith--in fact, he didn't know if he believed in God anymore--he thought that religion was a good thing for the world. I listened to him wax theological/sociological for a while and then said, "Well, I think that it would be better if you became a porn star." After letting him sit bewildered (and kind of creeped out) for a while, I paraphrased for him 1 Cor. 15:14. I told him that you might as well live out your wildest, most Epicurean fantasies here on earth, because if Jesus isn't alive, then there is no reason to have faith in him. Who cares if religion is helpful? If there is no Jesus, there is no God, and then what does "helpful" mean anyway, I said? He showed up at church the next Sunday.

Paul's statement is powerful because it forces you to believe or not believe. The heresies today are much more destructive than the heresies in the early days of Christianity. Even if guys like Pelagius and Arius were completely off base and heretical, at least they were trying to make truth claims about Jesus. Today people marginalize him. They say, "He is a great guy and I dig some of his teachings, but I don't think he did miracles or rose from the dead." That sort of reasoning is so devoid of rationality that it is nearly impossible to interact with. C.S. Lewis called it "foolish." The truth claims of the Bible are so bold and obvious (really, prima facie) that one would have to tear huge sections from the scriptures to actually make Jesus just a good teacher (thanks Thomas Jefferson and Jesus Seminar). You must either believe or disbelieve. You must come up against the truth presented in the scriptures and either turn to Jesus or deny him altogether.

But if Jesus has been raised from the dead, and if we dedicate our lives to him, then we have eternal hope. If he has not been raised and we dedicate our lives to him, then we are all insanely stupid.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Tim Keller Book! New Tim Keller Book! On Idolatry!

Oh man, Tim Keller has a new book coming out on my favorite subject: idolatry. Uh, I mean the subject I hate the most? Anyway, it is called Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex & Power, and the Only Hope that Matters. Here is the publisher's description:
The issue of idolatry has been with the human race for thousands of years; the subtle temptation is always to take what is good and turn it into the ultimate good, elevating it above all other things in the search for security and meaning. In this timely and challenging book, New York pastor Timothy Keller looks at the issue of idolatry throughout the Bible — from the worship of actual idols in the Old Testament, to the idolatry of money by the rich young ruler when he was challenged by Jesus to give up all his wealth. Using classic stories from the Bible Keller cuts through our dependence on the glittering false idols of money, sex and power to uncover the path towards trust in the real ultimate–God. Today’s idols may look different from those of the Old Testament, but Keller argues that they are no less damaging. Culturally transforming as well as biblically based, COUNTERFEIT GODS is a powerful look at the temptation to worship what can only disappoint, and is a vital message in today’s current climate of financial and social difficulty.
There has been perhaps no idea from Keller than has influenced me more. Idolatry/Sin is really turning good things into ultimate things. Not bad things into ultimate things; good things into ultimate things. And that means everyone is idolatrous. The secular and the religious are the same. They all exchange God for something else. Brutal, exposing, good.


Why Is The Resurrection of Christ Important?

I am going to try and write a few reasons why the resurrection of Christ is important this week. Why? For obvious reasons, but also because I think we tend to dismiss its importance existentially. Death is easy to see and feel and know--we see it all the time--but not resurrection. So...

#1: The resurrection of Christ is important because it means that we, too, will someday be resurrected.

It is hard not to think of Heaven as puffy. You know what I mean. When we get to heaven we will walk bound on clouds, play harps (they play banjos in hell) and sing endlessly to God. Now included in this is a pretty common belief that we will reflect the puffiness also. That is, we will be all soul. No, not like James Brown, like Plato. At some level we don't like the body. We believe that it is really evil, but that soul is really good. And so when we get to heaven, we will be all soul; we will be ethereal. We will have no matter, no weight. Now it should be said that there is going to be a temporal state for those who die before Jesus comes back. They will be with God, but they will be without bodies. But we must remember that this is not the end goal. Listen to Piper:
It seems to me that the hope of resurrection does not have the same place of power and centrality for us today that it had for the early Christians. And I think one of the reasons for that is that we have a wrong view of the age to come. When we talk about the future and the eternal state we tend to talk about heaven, and heaven tends to imply a place far away characterized by non-material, ethereal, disembodied spirits.

In other words, we tend to assume that the condition that the departed saints are in now without their bodies is the way it will always be. And we have encouraged ourselves so much with how good it is for them now, we tend to forget that it is an imperfect state and not the way it will be, nor the way Paul wanted it to be for himself. Yes to die is gain, and yes, to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord, but no this is not our ultimate hope. This is not the final state of our joy. This is not our final or main comfort when we have lost loved ones who believe.
Now the point of this is not to determine if I will be 185lbs. or 160 (we'll get to that later). The point is that what the resurrection of Christ secures for us is our own resurrection. Had he not conquered death, we would not conquer it either. The only reason for our hope is that when Christ returns, we will then be made into glory and be rushed into the presence of God and the new world where we will be happy forever. Those whose are dying (and we all are dying) must rest and rejoice that Christ has been resurrected, for now we know we will be resurrected too.
But what will we actually look like in heaven? We will look a lot like Jesus did after his resurrection. We will be glorified, yes, but we will have weight.

John 20:26-28:
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.' Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!'
Luke 24:38-39:
And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.'
1 Corinthians 15:51-54:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
1 John 3:2 (emphasis mine):
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Yes, because he has been raised from the dead, we shall be like him in every way. To the praise of his glorious grace!

Ted Nugent Will Hunt Humans On TV

It's about time. And, in all seriousness, it may be the coolest thing in the history of earth:
CMT has ordered eight episodes of "Runnin' Wild ...From Ted Nugent," a reality-competition series that will feature the right-wing rock star and hunting advocate teaching contestants how to survive in the wild, then chasing after them along with his 18-year-old son, Rocco.
Uh, sorry for all those blow up your TV posts. I say go buy a 60" plasma to see this.

Is Christianity in America Dying?

As is always the case the weeks prior to the great Christian holidays, news and opinion erupt throughout the world, especially in America. Nothing different this time around. Newsweek's John Mecham has a provocative cover article in Newsweek just released that discusses the steep decline in Christian faith in a America and the sharp rise in non-faith. Read it here.

Al Mohler, who was quoted in the piece, responded here.

And in the WSJ this morning, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldrige respond in disagreement to Mecham. Here. They conclude:
Looked at from a celestial perspective, the American model of religion, far from retreating, is going global. Pastorpreneurs are taking their message around the world. In Latin America, Pentecostalism has disrupted the Catholic Church's monopoly. Already five of the world's 10 biggest churches are in South Korea: Yoido Full Gospel Church, which has 800,000 members, is a rival in terms of organization for anything Messrs. Warren and Hybels can offer. China is the latest great convert. There are probably close to 100 million Christians in China, most of them following a very individualistic American-style faith. Already more people attend church each Sunday than are members of the Communist Party. China will soon be the world's biggest Christian country and also possibly its biggest Muslim one.

Jesus Was Just a Good Teacher?

Courtesy of Pyromaniacs:
Challenge: I believe Jesus was a moral example and a great sage and teacher.

Response: ...who sagaciously taught that He was God incarnate, the only sufficient sacrifice for man's sins, and the only mediator between God and man; who made worship of Him as God a moral imperative; and taught that anyone who doesn't believe in Him, and believe all those things about Him, is going to Hell? Hey, yeah! Me too!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Some Old Sufjan for Your Monday

So Many Links (06 Apr 2009)

Good work Episcopal Church.

Needless to say, I scored 9/10 on the MacGyver quiz.

Bibles are good for discovering the gospel and, apparently, writing down meth recipes.

Easter is really a pagan holiday. Yeah right.

I'm just sayin' (from Penn Jillette).

Fascinating Slate article on why commercialism has not overtaken Easter, as it has Christmas. Best paragraph:
Even the resurrection, the joyful end of the Easter story, resists domestication as it resists banalization. Unlike Christmas, it also resists a noncommittal response. Even agnostics and atheists who don't accept Christ's divinity can accept the general outlines of the Christmas story with little danger to their worldview. But Easter demands a response. It's hard for a non-Christian believer to say, "Yes, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead." That's not something you can believe without some serious ramifications: If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, this has profound implications for your spiritual and religious life—really, for your whole life. If you believe the story, then you believe that Jesus is God, or at least God's son. What he says about the world and the way we live in that world then has a real claim on you.
Easter is an event that demands a "yes" or a "no." There is no "whatever."

Why Believe in the Resurrection?

Send this to your friends who don't know Jesus:

Best Goal of the Year

I really don't have anything to compare it to, considering the fact that I don't watch any soccer, but it seems pretty stellar:

Easter Music: Peterson's Resurrection Letters

I am about halfway through Andrew Peterson's Resurrection Letters Vol. II. It is great. It's actually the only volume in existence right now. Volume I has yet to be recorded; it will reflect more his work on Behold the Lamb of God and will center around the death and resurrection of Christ. Vol. II is more a reflection on what your life looks like now that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Peterson subtly (and not so subtly) engages scripture/theology in ways no other Christian artists do. Even if his folksy style ain't your thang, he is worth listening to just to see how he weaves his art and his life with God.

Listen to Peterson talk about the first tune on the album, "All Things New":

How to Use Google Reader

This will save you tons of time if you don't use a reader yet:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dunk of the Tourney

We were out at a restaurant tonight when I nearly choked on my chicken parm watching this:

The Obligatory 'Child as Dust Mop' Post

fail owned pwned pictures

This is the Great Question?

Peggy Noonan:
The great long-term question about Mr. Obama's economic program, the great political question, is: Is this what the people want? There are economists who believe, and who make a reasonable case, that more money is needed to get the credit system, now frozen like icebergs, flowing in warm streams again. But in terms of leaps in the size of government, including a new health-care system, and higher deficits, and increased borrowing, and debt—in terms of the sheer scope and size of what is being planned—one simply wonders: Is this what the people want?
Really? That might be the question for the viability of Obama's presidency. But who cares about that? The question that should be asked is, "Is this right?" People, given the opportunity, will 'want' all sorts of the things. I recall a distraught German population 'wanting' a guy named Hitler to lead them. Democracies are great when they choose what is right but not so great when they choose otherwise. And so, Noonan, make a judgement here. I love ya, but this is not a question of popularity but of substance. Is it right to expand the government to levels never before seen? Is it right to create a society of dependence? Noonan is enraptured by contemporaneous politics when she should be concerned with America and what is best for her.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Resources for Marriage and Family

Driscoll lists some excellent resources on marriage and family over at his blog. Here.

Bob Kauflin Hates Your Music

Bob Kauflin has some sound words of advice for those who are purveyors and critics of music. Here are his first three points:
1. Being a self-appointed music critic is often just a sign of pride.

Using exaggerated or biting words to put down certain songs, styles, or artists can be a symptom of selfishness, laziness, or arrogance. Music is a vast topic, and no one knows everything there is to know about it. I know at times I haven’t taken time to consider whether or not my assessment was accurate because I was busy sharing my opinions. (Prov. 18:2)

2. Music doesn’t define us.

Why do we become offended when someone critiques our favorite song, group, or style of music? Often it’s because they feel like they’re insulting “our” music, which means they’re insulting us. The problem might be that we’re viewing music as an idol, the thing that satisfies us and gives meaning to our life. Music isn’t our life — Christ is. (Col. 3:4).

3. Great songs don’t always sound great the first time through.

Some songs require repeated listenings to appreciate their value. Albums and songs often grow on us over time. Is the best music always instantly accessible or appealing? If we’ve learned anything from hundreds of years of music making, the answer would have to be no.
The whole thing is great and quite humbling.