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Showing posts from January, 2009

Ack! Yet again....

Word has come through people who watch for religious liberty in the world that Saudi Arabia has arrested a Christian for his faith. Well, they arrested him for telling the world that he has changed from Islam to Christianity. Now, I know over the years, Christians have done some lousy things and claimed to be doing them for God. I also would stand by my statement that God is the original sufferer of identity theft. Just like 26 million Americans have loans and debts in their names that they didn't take out, so millions of people have done things in God's name that He neither requested nor approved. But, this idea of locking up and executing people for changing their religion is patently evil no matter who does it. And especially for a country that claims to be tolerant, and a religion that wants to be considered tolerant. Anyway, read the whole story here.

Now, what really bugs me about this is google. Now, I use a lot of free stuff from google. And I'm glad they h…

Book Review: Financial Armageddon

A church member loaned me Financial Armageddon by John Hagee. Some of you know who John Hagee is, some may not. John Hagee is pastor and founder of Cornerstone Christian Church in San Antonio.

Now, a full critique and discussion of Pastor Hagee's teaching is best left for other times. I would explain, but there is no time. Instead, let me sum up: Pastor Hagee is a Biblical literalist in his preaching. He holds to certain parts of the charismatic movement, such as a strong likelihood of a believer speaking in tongues, as well as holding to a strong pro-Israel stance. Pastor Hagee and I would agree on several things, including the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ's impending return. Also, we would agree on the truth of the Bible.

We would also not agree on some points of interpretation of that Bible.

However, I tried to read Financial Armageddon with an open mind. I was somewhat dismayed with his reading of the Old Testament prophets into the current financial mess. Not t…

More bailout

I'm wondering why we are upset that Merrill Lynch/Bank of America spent 1.2 million on an office refurbishment during a recession? Where do you think that money went? It went to pay contractors, who needed work. It bought furniture, carpet, supplies. It paid salaries, which paid bills, bought lunches, groceries. Isn't the point to get the industries of America moving? Spending again?

And why are we wanting Citibank to not take delivery of their corporate jet? and sell off some the ones they have? Used planes are problematic, just like used cars, used books, used CDs...nobody makes money producing them, unless the seller buys a new one! Are we wanting jobs for anyone except for the people who make airplanes? When I was a teenager, my Scoutmaster worked for a company that did some of the corporate modifications on jets. Does he not deserve a job? What about carpenters, electricians on the above remodeling? These aren't wasted dollars. They are dollars being spent…

What are we bailing out?

Ok, just to add my voice to this, what are we bailing out? The news stories are getting filled with lots of weird things added to this bailout package. I'm thinking we've got 100 billion worth of bailout, and the rest is fluff. This is time for a short to medium (3months-3years) government intervention. This is not the opportunity to go so far into debt as a nation that we'll never get out. Unless we already are.

On that note, I'm all for tax cuts. Believe me. Once upon a time, Ray Stevens sang a song "If 10 percent is good enough for Jesus, it ought to be enough for Uncle Sam." I'm with Ray. Want to give the poor a break? Sure, exempt the first $40,000 from it. Then, everybody pays 10%, all income. No deductions, no exclusions. Make less than 40k? No taxes, no tax refunds. Period.
What would this mean? I'm not an economic expert, so I don't know if that's enough income for all the Federal government does. It's enough for al…

Where have I been?

That's a great question. Well, last week was, somehow, lost in the muddle.

Probably watching a country in economic distress spend over $100 million on the inauguration was a little frustrating. (for the record, I didn't think we should have spent whatever we spent on the last several inaugurations. It's not a beef specific to President Obama.) After all, think about the number of foreclosures that could have been averted had outgoing President and incoming President met in the Oval Office, shook hands, and had CNN bring live video everywhere. It would have given an impression to everyone that he does understand problems. Then, throw him a $100 million party when the recession is over.

Anyway, then there were some other things that had to get done, and now I'm back to blogging.

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the Greek Reading posts. Well, I realized something. After 10 years, I don't read Greek anymore. I look at Greek words, recognize 2 of the…

Obediency

Ok, they won the Super Bowl. But this quote from Troy Polamalu took the cake for me. "Obediency?" That's the problem with other teams. They aren't reading the dictionary to discover hardly used words of the English language! I was actually looking it up to mock him for making up a word. And it really is one. So, props to Polamalu and the Steelers. For off-season homework, I recommend that the Cowboys start with a dictionary. And soon....

And, just as a thought, all of us bloggers, from low ones like me, to great ones, check your sources and your facts. I would have been embarassed.

Doug


All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu credits that mind-set to self-imposed discipline, something the older Steelers players make certain every new teammate accepts.

"The leaders on our team — James Farrior, Deshea Townsend, Hines Ward — they understand what it takes to be successful. What it takes is obediency," Polamalu said. "We're a very obedient team. You could te…

Getting your money's worth...

I just thought was interesting. Makes me wonder just how disposable we've allowed our society to become these days. I doubt any of us expect stuff to last 40 years. And we've spread that mentality to other things...

Microwave oven working after 40 years - UPI.com
LONDON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A 78-year-old man in England says his microwave oven is going strong after 40 years and an estimated 150,000 meals.

Frederick Stephens of Cheltenham says he's used his Panasonic microwave several times daily since buying it for about $345 and has only had to replace a light bulb in all those years, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

"It was a real novelty when we bought it as there weren't many around in those days," said Stephens, calling the microwave "life-changing."

Stephens said the microwave survived the raising of two children and has been a great help in heating up his meals and nightly hot milks since he was widowed in 2005.

The world's first microwave…

From Dr. Turner at the ABSC

| Arkansas Baptist State Convention
C’mon, Give the Lord a Praise Offering, Amen?
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2009
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Did you notice my new haircut? Do you like it? What do you like about it? Why haven’t you said anything about it? Don’t you care that I look nice?


Now try this: I have a new haircut, amen? Praise God for this haircut, amen? Aren’t you glad God gave us haircuts, amen?


There is something unseemly about begging for positive affirmation regardless of our need for it. And usually, when we are required to ask for a positive response, it is because none would be forthcoming otherwise. We place those who hear us in the position of affirming something they would have simply observed had we not forced their affirmation. Furthermore, when we elicit “amen’s” repeatedly, we trivialize the heartfelt, spontaneous “amen”. But for those of us in ministry, the real tragedy here is that we substitute a response to our prompting for a real response to God. If a congregant sa…

Birthdays

My birthday was this past week. Many people sent me wishes of a happy birthday, hoped that I had a good birthday, and things like that.

Well, the truth is, I didn't have a great birthday. Why? Well, for one, I worked all day, and had a business meeting that night. If you're not in a traditional Southern Baptist Church, you don't know why that's a problem. It's not that bad things happen, at least not all the time. It's just that a business meeting is either as exciting as straining peas, or is filled with people that claim to be Christian enough to handle the business of running a church, but can't speak civilly to each other or won't show up except to make trouble. Business meetings are like that lovely field you see the soldiers walking into in World War II movies. I was watching Band of Brothers on the History Channel, and could swear that field was a minefield in Saving Private Ryan. But it wasn't. Field really looked the same, though..…

2 Posts in one night?

Yes, two posts in one night! Why? because I haven't posted a lot this week, so I have some stuff to say...

Yogi Berra, great American that he was, is attributed as saying 'If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up somewhere else."

Which is great fodder for contemplation: Where are you going? All of us are going from here to somewhere. Every person is walking a path that eventually ends with our bodies in a grave (or, various other disposal location.) So, is that the end? If that's how it all ends, if that's the only place you're going, then you have precious few days. I suggest you try to put more meaning into them.

However, I don't think that's the end. There is something inside most people that leads them to believe that there is more than the human life. So, where does it go? You can travel the whole world, and get lots of religious type answers. What's remarkable is their similarity. Many of the world's relig…

Phone etiquette...

This is not a rant about people being on their cell phones in wrong places. By now, if you don't get that church, movie theaters, hospitals, and libraries aren't places for you to hold extended conversations or blow out your thumb texting, there's no point. Also, if you still don't get that when you are interacting with someone, stay off the phone! And that the checker at Wal-Mart, the person behind the counter at the Post Office, the person trapped in the drive-thru at McD---they are people! That's a whole different rant, which will come soon....

This is about what you say when you make a phone call. I do not care who you thought you called. You called me. At the very least, when I say 'hello' have the common decency to say 'hello.' Unless you are Australian, at which point "G'day mate!" would be acceptable. Also, "Dzien dobry!" works for me as well. Not "Who is this?" Not an immediate demand to talk to s…

Why are you here?

Let's ask that question:

"Why are you here?"

Now, how you answer that question depends on a lot of things. Some of you will answer it, "because I was blog-surfing, dude." Others will see something deeper, a philosophical musing on life.

So, "Why are you here?" Put your answer in the comments...
Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

Evening from Spurgeon

My effort to avoid copy-paste blogging is not going well, because I read stuff that I just think needs sharing. This is from January 12, Evening in Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. I won't say I hope you enjoy this, but rather hope that you are challenged by it.
Doug

Evening Verse"I have yet to speak on God's behalf." Job 36:2We ought not to court publicity for our virtue, or notoriety for our zeal; but, at the same time, it is a sin to be always seeking to hide that which God has bestowed upon us for the good of others. A Christian is not to be a village in a valley, but "a city set upon a hill;" he is not to be a candle under a bushel, but a candle in a candlestick, giving light to all. Retirement may be lovely in its season, and to hide one's self is doubtless modest, but the hiding of Christ in us can never be justified, and the keeping back of truth which is precious to ourselves is a sin against others and an offence against God. If you…

Book Review: Ted Dekker/Erin Healy Kiss

I must admit that I signed on to review Ted Dekker and Erin Healy's novel Kiss simply because I wanted a new novel to tackle, and didn't want to buy one. So, I figured I'd take a free one. Now, some of this will get trimmed in an actual review of this book, but Christian fiction takes a bad rap. People tend to mock Christian fiction books because the characters seem cookie cutter, the plots formulaic, and the spiritual context too blatant. To those who mock Christian-written fiction for these things, I say: read some Clive Cussler. Any one of his books. They have nothing to do with anything Christian, and, based on general conclusion jumping, Cussler has no desire to communicate anything Christian. But his characters are cookie-cutter, the plots formulaic, and the worldly lifestyle is entirely blatant. As is the case with much 'mainstream' fiction. I think that we are too often expecting every author of fiction to turn out world-changing novels. You know …

Book Review: Max Lucado's For the Tough Times

I once had a pastor tell me that he had read some of Max Lucado's books, but found the writing to be 'simplistic' and therefore of little value. Well, this weekend I read Lucado's book For the Tough Times. That's right, it's a nice little book that took just about an hour to read. And I would agree with a portion of that pastor's assessment. This book is definitely simplistic. Pastor Lucado tackles the problem of suffering and the seeming silence of God, and does so 79 pages that are 4 inches wide and a little over 6 inches tall. Not a lot of words.

Yet those words are effective. Taking Biblical examples from the narratives of Old and New Testament, empathizing with the anguish of the Psalmists, and seeing the answer of God in the prophets and ultimately the life of Christ, this is a short, guided walk along side markers of the suffering, chaotic world with the reminder that God has never, and never will abandon His own. The length is actually quite …

January 12

Matthew chapter 6.

I was struggling through Matthew 6 this morning, because it's been too long since I've used Greek. I've been listening to Tony Adams and David Kellum detail some of the issues they have with one of their logging machines, and it's one they only use in really wet weather, basically just a couple of months a year. And apparently the thing causes some trouble each time, but it's not the most efficient equipment to run all year, but there are times when it's the only thing they can use to get work done.

Greek for me is the same way. It's not the most efficient way to read through the Bible. In fact, I could read all of Matthew by the time I get through chapter 6. But there are things I see better in Greek, although they would also come out if you translated the Bible into proper English, and used "y'all."

When the Lord Jesus Christ teaches the people to pray, using the Lord's Prayer, in English you see the expression: th…

Whose are you?

The following is directly pasted from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon. Mine's an electronic version in Bible Explorer software. I'm trying to cut down on cut/paste blogging, but this is too good to pass up, and most of you don't have a copy of Morning and Evening. This is January 12, Morning.

"Ye are Christ's." 1Corinthians 3:23Ye are Christ's." You are His by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; His by His bloody purchase, for He counted down the price for your redemption; His by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to Him; His by relation, for you are named by his name, and made one of His brethren and joint-heirs. Labour practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of Jesus. When tempted to sin, reply, "I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christ's." Immortal principles forbid the friend of Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are C…

Reality

My day-planner has 'leadership' quotes for every day.  I thought this one was worth sharing:
"Some people are still unaware that reality contains unparalleled beauties.  The fantastic and unexpected, the ever-changing and renewing is nowhere so exemplified as in real life itself."  Berenice Abbott 
I'll be honest.  I don't know who Berenice Abbott is. Or was.  (okay, just looked her up.  She was a photographer, and an exceptional one at that.)
She makes an astute observation here, and it has a spiritual application.  As Christians, we claim that behind, above, and through all things the handiwork of God, the Creator is visible.  We hold that the ultimate of reality is not what we see, but who God is.  Yet, we so often want to take Him, and draw Him down to earthliness.  We want a god that we can fully comprehend, not realizing that reality in Him is truly unparalleled, truly beautiful.
As such, so are his people.  No time we are more beautiful, more wonderful tha…

Spurgeon on discernment

“Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon


This is where our problems come from in the church. It's the Scripture twisting, minor shading that has gotten us to the point of irrelevancy. We allow people to take portions of Scripture, and exalt them to the expense of others. God is love, but God is also just, God is vengeful, but also merciful. Jesus was not just a community helper, but the Son of God, who got angry, demanded righteousness, and helped the poor.

We need the whole of Scripture to strengthen our discernment. May we have it this year!


Jan 8th--in remembrance

Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

David Wells quote #1

"The key to the future is not the capitulation that we see in both the marketers and the emergents. It is courage. The courage to be faithful to what Christianity in its biblical forms has always stood for across the ages" (p. 21).

This David Wells quote stands on its own. What we need is courage. May I have it!
Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

A Blog to check out, a giveaway to enter...

For those of you who are theologically curious, check out the Desiring God Blog, and if you want to enter a giveaway they are doing, go here.

David Wells Quote #4

"We have enough Bibles for every household in America a couple of times
over. We have churches galore; religious organizations;
educational institutions; religious presses that never stop pouring
forth books, Sunday school materials, and religious curricula; and
unparalleled financial resources. What don't we have? All
too often we don't have what the Old Testament people didn't
have. A due and weighty sense of the greatness and holiness of
God, a sense that will reach into our lives, wrench them around, lift
our vision, fill our hearts, make us courageous for what is right, and
over time leave behind its beautiful residue of Christlike character"
(pp. 132-3).

This is another quote of David Wells, from his book The Courage to be Protestant. He's right, we have more material resources to be Christians in America than anyone has ever had. Why are we not changing the world for Christ? It's our heart beliefs, and our internal resistance to a Christ-like life. We…

January 7th

That's right. No January 6th. But there were 2 on the 5th!

I was reading today in Matthew 5, which is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. What struck me, partially because it took so long to read that only got through the Beatitudes, were some things in the Beatitudes. First of all, there's a lot fewer words than in English, because to say 'they shall be filled' takes only 1 word in Greek. True, it's a long word, but it's just one. Makes me wonder about how we manage to use so many words and say so little. It's a question I often ask myself about my writing and my preaching. Do I really need to use so many words to say what needs said? I'm often perplexed when I read the texts of great sermons of the past, and realize I could read that, out loud, in about 15 minutes. And this is a sermon that impacted more people than I ever have...

What I saw in Matthew 5 was that the Beatitudes start and end with the same promise, that for a group of peo…

Who reads the blogs I write?

I use a program called StatCounter to track the visitor counts on all of my blog projects. Why? Because it's interesting to see how many people are looking at the info, and I didn't know about Google Analytics when I started blogging.

I like Statcounter for a variety of reasons. Here they are:
1. It's free. They have professional products that they charge for, and I am sure those products are worth the money, but I'm not a professional. So, I use the free tools.
2. It's simple to use. Which is one of the reasons I'm on blogger. Are there things I can't do with Statcounter and with blogger? Probably. But I don't know what they are.
3. It's the first thing I used, and don't want to change. Another reason I'm on blogger.
4. Statcounter can be used with any blog/website that allows you to put in html code. Which is most any of them. So, if I ever add a non-blogger project, I can still track it on the same main page.

5. This one is the…

Questions for the new year!

This information comes from Donald S. Whitney. Copyright info at the bottom, click the "Ten Questions for the New Year" link to get his website.

This is a great set of questions to ask yourself as you set goals for this year! And here's a challenge: Answer these in a comment for me, I'd like to know what you think!


Ten Questions for the New Year
Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we …

A borrowed post

This information comes from Donald S. Whitney. Copyright info at the bottom, click the "Ten Questions for the New Year" link to get his website.

This is a great set of questions to ask yourself as you set goals for this year! And here's a challenge: Answer these in a comment for me, I'd like to know what you think!


Ten Questions for the New Year
Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we …

January 5th-Again

Okay, tonight I read Matthew 4, well, hacked through it in Greek, anyway. What stood out to me was verse 10. This passage is the retelling of what happened when Jesus went out into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. The final temptation in the wilderness was when Satan offered Jesus the whole world if Jesus would bow down and worship him. Well, here it is in English:
8 Again, the devil took* Him to a very high mountain and showed* Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said* to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIPTHE LORDYOUR GOD, ANDSERVEHIM ONLY.' "Matt 4:8-10 (NASB)The all caps, which I think is appropriate because we use all caps online to give emphasis, yea, even to scream, and I think Jesus might just have been very emphatic with Satan at this point: I'm tired of this, and done with you, is a reference to D…

Share it!

Today's thought:

God has not blessed you with what you have so that you can sit on it. SHARE IT!

Has He blessed you with stuff? More than you need? SHARE IT!

Has He blessed you with the Gospel? SHARE IT!

Has He blessed you with knowledge, understanding, or wisdom? SHARE IT!

Don't just soak it up, but pour it out! SHARE WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU!


Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

SEAT SENATOR BURRIS!!!

The Doug for President campaign, while small and unnoticed, wants to add its voice to those calling for the US Senate to SEAT SENATOR BURRIS!

Why? Because:
1. The US Constitution stipulates requirements for Senators. Those are as follows: No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
2.That's it.There are no other national requirements for serving in the US Senate.
3. The Constitution gives the States the responsibility for filling vacant seats. And the Governor has the authority.
4. Senator Burris has not done anything demonstrably illegal. Nor is he accused.

Whether or not the members of the US Senate like Gov. Blagojevich is irrelevant. If we allow Senators to ignore the Constitution, we cease to be a nation ruled by law, but ruled by people. So often we have made the error that the US is run…

Ministries I support

Here are links to some of the ministries/missions that I think are worth your time. Ann and I have, at some point, either participated in, contributed to, or know someone who is working with these groups.

The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention: This is the arm of the SBC that supports over 5,000 missionaries around the world. Not perfect, but still an excellent method of missions support.

The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention: This is the part of the SBC that reaches out to unchurched parts of the USA and Canada. Good stuff. Partners with state conventions and churches.

Wycliffe Bible Translators: Named after one of the first to translate the Bible into English, Wycliffe goes to places and people groups that do not have the Bible in their heart language, and translates it. Sometimes this is a short 5-10 year task, sometimes it's a 30 year task. Some of the languages are oral languages until Wycliffe missionaries dev…

January 5th

This morning I read the first part of Matthew 3, and was struck by John's rebuke of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

You may remember the situation. John is baptizing people, preaching about the coming of Jesus, and out come some of the religious leaders from Jerusalem. John asks them 'who warned them to avoid the wrath to come?' which, I think, indicates that he knew the Lord Jesus Christ would be displeased with the emptiness of some of their hearts. John then points out that their parentage wasn't enough, telling them "Do not say we have Abraham for our father." He points out that "God is able out of stones to raise children of Abraham." What struck, which is probably more about type setting than Greek, because it's all one sentence, but just the phrase "dunatai ho theos." Why might it be about typesetting? My Greek New Testament has that phrase right at the end of a line.

What does that phrase mean? "God is able" or &qu…

One more thing from Goshen College

I wanted to go ahead and post one more the Advent Devotionals from Goshen College. I'll stop parroting their stuff now, but this has some thoughts about Christmas that are not only worth sharing, but worth doing!