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Showing posts from May, 2011

BookTuesday: The Next Story

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BookTuesday this week features a book received from Zondervan Publishers by the Internet-famous (at least in some circles) Tim Challies. It’s Challies’ book about life and faith after the digital explosion entitled The Next Story. You should know that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for the review, although I’d likely have bought it anyway.Here’s what it looks like:The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital ExplosionI have had difficulty getting this review written for Tim Challies’ book, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion. Why? Well, my Blackberry has been buzzing, I’ve got a few comment streams on blogs to keep up with, and then there’s the podcasts to listen to in the process. Plus, since I’m paying for unlimited Netflix streaming, I’ve got to have a movie going in the background.Now, if that sounds nothing like any moment you’ve ever had, then you could probably skip this particular book for a few months. If you’re decently in control …

Memorial Day 2011

100 years ago today, nothing of any real, global significance happened. At least, not that I'm aware of. However, today is the day we observe Memorial Day in the United States. It's a day that we are supposed to stop and remember something that's been said so much it's almost a cliché: Freedom is not free.What is Memorial Day? It started as Decoration Day, a set aside time to clean up and make, pardon the expression, beautiful the graves of those who died in the Civil War. A great deal of the fighting had taken place in the South, so many of the North's dead were buried far from home, and special effort had to be made by families to keep clean the gravesites of their dead. Columbus, Mississippi, is remembered as the place where the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers were cared for by the same people.Over time, the day came to be known as Memorial Day, a time to stop and remember those who died for our nation. This is an important thing for us to do, yet …

Sermon Sunday May 29

Audio link here1 John 3:13-1813   Do not be surprised, brethren, if athe world hates you.  14   We know that we have apassed out of death into life, bbecause we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.  15   Everyone who ahates his brother is a murderer; and you know that bno murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  16   We know love by this, that aHe laid down His life for us; and bwe ought to lay down our lives for thecbrethren.  17   But awhoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and bcloses his 1heart 2against him,chow does the love of God abide in him?  18   aLittle children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and btruth. 1On January 6, 1941, the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, stood before Congress and gave the State of the Union Address. Included in that speech were these words:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.T…

Not running

Well, this past month has seen a few official announcements regarding next year’s Presidential Election in the United States. News releases ranged from the ridiculously obvious: President Obama is running for re-election (gee, name the last President that didn’t run? none in my lifetime); to the curious: Mitch Daniels might have had a change; to the relieving: Donald Trump? Really? Are we that stupid? One other announcement was that Mike Huckabee was not going to run. I think that’s a good decision by him, for a variety of reasons. I think Hillary Clinton has announced that she’s not running, but that’s not surprising: sitting President in her own party? President Obama would have to do something stupid in the eyes of Democrats for her to do that (it’s kind of a given that, as President Bush was consistently mocked by Democrats, President Obama is mocked by Republicans).Well, back in 2008 I had stated that I would run for President in 2012. At the moment, I want to announce that I hav…

Ten Years

Ten years ago today, Ann woke up feeling a little odd. Of course, given the fact that she had been pregnant for about nine months, it wasn’t unexpected that she would feel odd at some point :)By the end of the day, May 26, 2001, we had our first daughter in our hands. We had also broken my first laptop computer, but if one was going to get dropped----well, you know, priorities. Witnessing childbirth was an amazing moment. Seeing all that was involved multiplied immeasurably the love and respect I have for my wife. I don’t think I could do that. I know I couldn’t do that and then start, immediately, caring for the little munchkin that resulted.So, for ten years we’ve watched Olivia grow, change, mature, and do various and sundry other things. What struck me this time around with her birthday is that we’re more than half-done with her. If all goes well, by the time she’s twice this age, she’ll be living in a college dorm, responsible for herself as much as possible, and I’ll still be pa…

What is that pain?

Yesterday, we were headed to Little Rock to take a few pictures of Olivia in celebration of her 10th birthday. I’m sure that you’ll be able to see them if you go over to the family webpage after they’ve been posted.Except there was one problem. As we were headed out of town, I started to feel a familiar stabbing pain in my right side. It was the same place and feeling that my previous three kidney stones have brought me. And such things are not pleasant.The result? We went home. I took some ‘leftover’ prescription painkillers that we have, and drank lots of cranberry juice and water. That was my Tuesday. It wasn’t exactly pleasant…Yet the pain has passed. So has, I think, my self-diagnosed medical issue. In retrospect, I want to offer a few thoughts on this whole thing:1. Familiarity can be helpful: there was no panic, no freak out, no multi-thousand dollar medical bills for this kidney stone. That’s good.2. Familiarity can be deceptive: the human body uses pain to communicate things,…

BookTuesday: MacArthur

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This week for BookTuesday, I read MacArthur, one of the biographies in Thomas Nelson Publishers’ The Generals series. You should know that BookSneeze sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for the review, but they don’t tell me what to say. Check it out if you’re interested in free books for blogging.The overall goal of the series is to examine the lives of some of the famous generals of American history. Other volumes have highlighted Generals Lee and Washington, and this volume looks at General Douglas MacArthur.Reading biographies is one of the better ways to gain wisdom: the reader is able to learn from the good and the bad of history and see it applied in the life of individuals. The challenge, which series editor Stephen Mansfield highlights in his introduction, is to balance criticism with hagiography, making sure to show that the subjects are real people that were both heroic and, well, not so heroic as well.General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was definitely both types…

Sermon---May 22

Audio linkA few quick notes on this message:1. Yes, I did what a great many preachers did Sunday—addressed the whole issue with predicting the end of the world and getting it wrong. We fall into different traps at times with preaching: one trap is to completely ignore current events and the other is to be driven at all times by them. I felt this one was worth commenting on.2. While I did address that issue, I also waited until after the projected date. Why? Because no Biblically honest preacher can preach a sermon setting a date that Jesus won't return. I could not have said last week that May 21 wouldn't be the Rapture. Why not? Because…."no one knows the day or the hour." Matthew 24:36. Not knowing the day means, by extension, not knowing the not-day. I'd have felt pretty stupid to preach that and then gone to heaven that day.3. In the sermon, I use college finals as the illustration of the end-times. Other times I've used Mom coming to visit the college st…

Another semester down…

Well, it's official that I have finished another semester in my seemingly never-ending quest to get smart. I do not have grades yet, so I'm proceeding on a couple of assumptions: 1. I passed everything; 2. I could have done better. The latter is definitely true, and I hope for the former.What did I learn these past 4.5 months? I took the second semester of Hebrew. I learned that it doesn't get any easier in the second half. In fact, just like in football, if you dig too deep a hole in the first half, you can't come back. Other than that, I learned a great deal about the process and deep appreciation for those who translate the Scriptures into the common language of common people. Why? Because I'm not going to be doing my Old Testament readings in the original. What did I learn for future reference? Cultural understanding is probably more important than pure language understanding: if you only grasp the English meaning of the Hebrew word, you haven't gained anyt…

Tomorrow is the end of the world…

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I know this for certain.For someone, tomorrow is the end of the world. It may actually be the end for all of us. It may be the end of many people due to a collective bad decision. It will be the end for some people on the highways, some in homes and hospitals, and some at the hands of violent and lawless people. This could, honestly, be the last blog post of mine that you read. You could be gone----so could I.As to the overall hullaballoo over dates and times, I would pose for us all this question:Since you don't know if tomorrow's really the end or not, why are you not living your life as if it is the end?We frequently read inspiring stories of how someone found out their death was near and then lived out marvelously. We hear of being told to "put your affairs in order" and how someone seeks love and forgiveness after years of bitterness.Why do we wait? What if it is the end? It could be---even if it's just the end of your life. You may not get to go to church S…

Not so secret Secret Service

Over the past week, there have been at least two majorly stupid statements released on Twitter. One came from the official Secret Service Twitter account, another from the president of a Baptist college in Georgia.A brief digression---why does the Secret Service have a twitter account? (From the Secret Service): @CounterfeitJackson this is the @SecretService we're coming to get you!(Reply from Counterfeiter): @SecretService you'll never find me! #quitwastingyourtime(Reply from Secret Service): @CounterfeitJackson you forgot to turn off the geotagging on your twitter stream! We can find you. #gpsrocksThe individual employee of the Secret Service that has access to the account said something mean about Fox News. Of course, not knowing the time of day, it could have been a completely accurate statement (something about can't stand the blathering. Have you watched anyone's news programs lately? They all blather.) However, it came from the "official" feed, so apol…

Right on the small, wrong on the big

I've spent a good bit of time these past weeks reading in early medieval Britain. Fortunately for me, the books have been mostly translated into modern English. Except for one from the 1800s that left the most important quotes in the original Latin. Shows a bit of a focus change in education: Latin was once a bigger deal than it is now. Of course, I'm now going to be spending this summer getting a better grasp of it…Moving on, one of the situations I learned about in this process was the conflict in the fifth and sixth centuries between Celtic and Roman expressions of Christianity. It seems that the distance between Britain, Ireland, and the centers of Christianity in the Mediterranean region had caused a division in the way that church practices and calendars were set. Ireland had, since it was never under Rome, developed a fairly independent mindset, while Britain retained a connection with Rome in both government and religion.Ireland, home of many of the Celtic peoples, had…

Form, Function, and Content

I've been hit or miss lately with blogging. I have written more than you've read, but I've deleted most of it for not making enough sense even to its author. I've also been having to finish up a semester of graduate coursework, and so I've been doing a lot of writing for professors.
That's the writing I'm focused on this week. It's taking all of my energy and mental effort to do. I've written an interpretation on Colossians 3 for one class, and I'm writing a history research paper.
One thing that is bogging me down is the difference between blogging and academic writing. I already bounce back and forth between writing/composing sermons and writing blog posts, but adding the third flavor, graduate research paper, has been a little tougher.
For example, if in a sermon I quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I'll say "Bonhoeffer said ' (fill in the quote).'" For a blog, I may go ahead and state that "In his book, Discipleship, Bonho…

BookTuesday: The Treasure Principle

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Well, the good news is that I've got BookTuesday back on Tuesdays for the next month. The other news is that I've got about a month's worth of books left to do. Let's get to business, shall we?I've reviewed a book or two by Randy Alcorn before (see here, here, and he's got a chapter in the book here). I've also mentioned a few of his blog posts. In all, I've found his work to be challenging and thought-provoking, even when I haven't found it agreeable.What work of his do I have today?It's entitled The Treasure Principle and it looks like this:The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving (LifeChange Books)First, some basics: this is a small book. It's printed on 120 pages of 4x6 paper. The font is big enough, but not oversized. No pages are wasted with fluffy illustrations, so the book is all content. We're just not looking at a large amount of content.Since, then, we're not talking a lot of content, to be worth the t…

Tornado Aid Suggestions

For those of you who are looking for ways to help in the wake of the storm outbreaks in the Southern USA, here are a few suggestions of disaster relief efforts to support:Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief. This would help support efforts in Arkansas as well as when Arkansas Disaster Relief teams go out of the state to help with other situations. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. This will help with Baptist-operated disaster efforts anywhere they happen. This includes the feeding units and chainsaw teams that are across the Southeast right now.Westmont Baptist Church in Birmingham. This is a local church right in the midst of the mess that is Birmingham right now. The church sustained minor damage and is doing the best they can to feed, shelter, help out the community around them. It’s not likely that they will get more in donations than they can use. Here is the address:Westmont Baptist Church Disaster Relief
2963 Mulga Loop Road
Birmingham, AL 35224The good ting about giving through any…

May 1 Sermons

AM Sermon AudioPM Sermon AudioNo going back----After the Resurrection there is no going back:What do Peter and many of the disciples do before they start following Jesus?Luke 5: “Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat f…