Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007 /Associated Press
I readily admit to not being the sharpest knife in the legal drawer, but something is seriously askew with the law in this situation. A doctor can slaughter a baby in the womb, so long as the mother says it's O.K., but when a person who is not a doctor does the same thing without the woman's consent, he or she can be guilty of murder? So, the only thing that makes the slaughter of a baby murder is the consent of the woman carrying the child? Seriously? I have to be missing something here.
God help us.
Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
Q. 94. What is baptism?
Q. 95. To whom is Baptism to be administered?
56-1. Baptism is not to be unnecessarily delayed; not to be administered, in any case, by any private person; but by a minister of Christ, called to be the steward of the mysteries of God.
56-2. It is not to be privately administered, but in the presence of the congregation under the supervision of the Session.
56-3. After previous notice is given to the minister, the child to be baptized is to be presented, by one or both the parents, or some other responsible person, signifying the desire that the child be baptized.
56-4. Before baptism, the minister is to use some words of instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of this sacrament, showing:
a. That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ;
b. That it is a seal of the Covenant of Grace, of our ingrafting into Christ, and of our union with Him, of remission of sins, regeneration, adoption, and life eternal;
c. That the water, in baptism, represents and signifies both the blood of Christ, which taketh away all guilt of sin, original and actual; and the sanctifying virtue of the Spirit of Christ against the dominion of sin, and the corruption of our sinful nature;
d. That baptizing, or sprinkling and washing with water, signifies the cleansing from sin by the blood and for the merit of Christ, together with the mortification of sin, and rising from sin to newness of life, by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ;
e. That the promise is made to believers and their children; and that the children of believers have an interest in the covenant, and right to the seal of it, and to the outward privileges of the Church, under the Gospel, no less than the children of Abraham in the time of the Old Testament; the Covenant of Grace, for substance, being the same; and the grace of God, and the consolation of believers, more plentiful than before;
f. That the Son of God admitted little children into His presence, embracing and blessing them, saying, “For of such is the kingdom of God”;
g. That children by Baptism, are solemnly received into the bosom of the Visible Church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with believers; and that all who are baptized in the name of Christ, do renounce, and by their Baptism are bound to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh;
h. That they are federally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they baptized;
i. That the inward grace and virtue of Baptism is not tied to that very moment of time wherein it is administered; and that the fruit and power thereof reaches to the whole course of our life; and that outward baptism is not so necessary, that through the want thereof, the infant is in danger of damnation;
j. By virtue of being children of believing parents they are, because of God’s covenant ordinance, made members of the Church, but this is not sufficient to make them continue members of the Church. When they have reached the age of discretion, they become subject to obligations of the covenant: faith, repentance and obedience. They then make public confession of their faith in Christ, or become covenant breakers, and subject to the discipline of the Church.
The minister is also to exhort the parents to the careful performance of their duty, requiring:
a. That they teach the child to read the Word of God;
b. that they instruct him in the principles of our holy religion, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, an excellent summary of which we have in the Confession of Faith, and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, which are to be recommended to them as adopted by the Church, for their direction and assistance, in the discharge of this important duty;
c. that they pray with and for him;
d. that they set an example of piety and godliness before him; and endeavor, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring up their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
56-5. The minister shall then read the covenant promises:
For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. (Acts 2:39; Gen. 17:7; Acts 16:31)
There are plenty of theological sites which debate the above, that's not my purpose here. Rather, I wish to relish the rich history of interpretation and explanation I am part of. We do what we do for a reason- a reason we believe is biblical.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Ron Paul won't win the GOP presidential nomination. If he runs as an independent, he'll likely take votes away from the republican candidate as well as bring out young people who wouldn't otherwise show up at the polls.
Still, his rhetoric is very interesting.
What do you think?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
First, in our times of worship and fellowship together, we’ll reflect upon the amazing act of God the Son to “make Himself nothing” in order to be our Savior. Such reflection is both sobering and exciting. Can you believe God the Son did this for us? Do you realize what this means? We are saved from the just punishment our sin deserves, and we are saved to bring glory to God by our redeemed lives. We’ll reflect on the Incarnation this Advent.
Second, we’ll celebrate the Incarnation. Because God the Son agreed to take on flesh in order to make payment for our sins, we are redeemed! While there is a sense of shame in thinking of Jesus leaving His Father’s presence in heaven in order to stoop to earth, there is also a striking elation that makes us want to sing, worship, and fellowship with friends and family. Advent 2007 will be a celebration of redemption made possible by the willingness of God to give His Son and His Son’s obedience, making Himself nothing.
Third, there should be a sense of contemplation about what the Incarnation practically means for us today. Reflection is essential, but contemplation takes it one step further. Since Jesus has come in such an alarmingly humble way, how shall we then live? More personally- how should I live my life differently because Jesus came as a man to pay for my sins the way He did? Is there any length to which I should not humble myself for my brothers and sisters in light of what Jesus has done? I encourage you to make this Advent a time of seeking God’s transforming ministry in your life, and the life of our/your church.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"And like I always say, to be the man, you've got to beat the man and Mike Huckabee is the man. Whoooooooo!"
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 (Associated Press)
Scientists familiar with the work said scientific questions remain and that it's still important to pursue the cloning strategy, but that the new work is a major coup.
"It's a bit like learning how to turn lead into gold," said Lanza, while cautioning that the work is far from providing medical payoffs.
"It's a huge deal," agreed Rudolf Jaenisch, a prominent stem cell scientist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass. "You have the proof of principle that you can do it."
Monday, November 19, 2007
If you would have told me a college football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks would have national title implications I would have never believed you...ever. Mizzou has been average for the past 10 years. Kansas has been awful until the last couple of years. Now, in this 2007 campaign, Mizzou has just one loss and Kansas has none (granted, their schedule ain't the toughest, I think they played Mohawk Valley Community College twice?). They meet Saturday in the most important game in the history of their rivalry. If Mizzou wins, they have a slight chance at winning the national title. If Kansas wins, they have a better chance of winning the national title. If Kansas goes undefeated, they will certainly be in the championship game.
I grew up in "Big Ten" country. Penn State was my team. When I lived in Chicago I enjoyed the Big Ten focus being in Illinois brought. I thought the Big 12 was basically a country-bumpkin-Texas-football cult conference. I thought it was sheer politics that gave Nebraska the national title over undefeated Penn State in 1994. I've been further down on the Big 12 ever since.
But I have to say, this year, the power is in the the Big 12. Thankfully the balance of power is north and east, not down in Texas. To top it off, the Kansas City area will host the mother of all Midwest college rivalries when Mizzou and KU lock up on Saturday at Arrowhead. Man, this is what competition is about.
Several guys from church will be going to the game. I'll pass, as I don't like to be out late on a Saturday night before preaching (not to mention-alcohol and Mizzou people equals one horrific, drunken, mess)-plus, I'm not that invested emotionally. I went to Moody Bible Institute, not one of these godless institutions (oops...). I will catch it on the tube though. Who am I rooting for? I'd like to see KU win. Why? Because KU Coach Mark Mangino is Italian.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tomorrow is the MLS championship game between Houston and New England (man has Boston had a great year in sports...too bad). More importantly, since my Wizards aren't in the game, is the announcement of the goal of the year. There were some awesome goals nominated, but the winner is Blanco's left footed volley in one of his first games with Chicago. The quality of this clip isn't great, but you'll be able to appreciate the skill. Sweet golazo!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Italian police said Thursday they have found a list of 10 commandments for mobsters in a house near Palermo, where a top Mafia boss was arrested this week.
Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who had been on the run since 1993, was vying to become the next "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian Mafia, according to Italian investigators. He was apprehended Monday by police raiding a house in the countryside outside Palermo, the Sicilian capital.
The list was found among his coded notes about the administration of Cosa Nostra that were delivered by Lo Piccolo's aides. Police in Palermo said that the list opened with a preamble that said: "I swear to be faithful to Cosa Nostra. Should I betray, my flesh will burn." Under the category "Rights and Duty" were the 10 entries, meant to be a sort of users' manual for the good mobster.
The list was typewritten in uppercase letters, police said.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica published a photo of what it said was the list, under the headline: "The Godfather's Ten Commandments."
The list bars mobsters from hanging out in bars, from befriending police and being late for appointments. It also bars them from "taking possession of money that belong to others or other families."
How to treat women also features in the decalogue. "You shall not look at wives of our friends," says one entry. "You shall respect your wife," says another. However, the Mafia comes first, as the fifth "commandment" orders a mobster to "be available for Cosa Nostra at any moment, even if your wife is about to give birth."
The last part of the list sets out application rules, saying that those who have a very bad behavior and no moral values cannot join.
Investigators believe that the 65-year-old Lo Piccolo could have eventually emerged from a power struggle as the Mafia's new top boss following the capture of Bernardo Provenzano, the reputed No. 1 of the Cosa Nostra crime syndicate. Provenzano was arrested on a farm near Corleone, Sicily, in April 2006, after more than 40 years on the run.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
This is the week of my annual hunting trip with Nathan. We are both avid bow hunters and enjoy pursuing the whitetail deer most. We spent the first three days in NE Missouri where we had many nice encounters with deer but had no mature deer come in close enough for a shot. I got sick of not shooting, so when a 2 year old 8 point came in to range, I took a shot...and missed over his back. Oh well...I didn't want to gut it anyway.
Today and tomorrow we are back in Kansas hunting where I'll keep at it off and on until the rifle season comes in at the end of the month (at which time the deer head for the hills and hardly come out during daylight hours). We had cool encounters with young deer this morning and again this evening. We haven't really seen any mature bucks (3 years old or better) yet, the weather is too warm and the rut isn't really kickin' yet.
Here's a funny story from today- Nathan is filming my hunt for a big buck (whoever tags out first films the other, last year I got to film Nathan's buck kill- pretty cool). We were in a ground blind with a buck decoy to our right. We settled in at 1:30 pm just in case some rutting activity began and deer got on their feet earlier than dusk. We figured being alert and ready around 3pm would suffice, so we took a nap in our respective spots. About 2:50 pm I aroused to look up and see a spike buck (like the picture above) coming toward our set up. He was coming right to me when he spotted our decoy. He started posturing and threatening to gore it. He circled it, sniffed it, lunged at it. Pretty funny little guy- all together different from a mature deer. I was concerned another deer would come in so I told Nathan to get ready. Low and behold, he was out like a light. I couldn't wake him by saying his name several times. He just snoozed away. He was about 5 feet behind me so I couldn't poke him. I didn't want to spook the deer as it would make a racket and alert any other deer who might be heading our way to not come. When I turned to look back at the spike with the decoy, he had turned and was walking right at us. He got to 5 feet away before Nathan rustled and scared the daylights out of the deer when he sat up like a groggy, resurrected dead man. The deer jumped backward and ran about 20 yards looking back at the two moving blobs behind the decoy. He promptly trotted off, just a little more educated than before. Encounters like that are part of what makes hunting enjoyable. For the spike buck, encounters like that, assuming he doesn't get shot, will make him all the more difficult to harvest as he gets older.
An old-timer once told me- no person can outsmart a wary, 4 or 5 year old buck...you just have to arrange to be around when he runs out of luck.
Hopefully one will run out of luck soon for me.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Faithful, biblical, godly leadership is exemplified by submission to biblical authority and Christlike servant leadership, leadership gone bad is the polar opposite and typified by a man John refers to named Diotrephes-
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. - 3 John 1:14
Diatrephes thinks of himself as the authority. Furthermore, when the Apostles write or send their messengers, Diotrephes discredits their authority as he doesn’t even acknowledge them. This denotes a rejection of Apostolic authority which, translated to our day, means the rejection of biblical authority. This is the quintessential component of failed spiritual leadership- it fails to acknowledge the authority of the bible. There is no greater destroyer than the one who discredits God’s Word while at the same time claims to be leading the congregation as “God’s Man”. Look how far Diotrephes went in his disrespect for God’s ordained authority-
So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. -3 John 1:10
He not only badmouths the Apostles, but he personally rejects the messengers sent by them! He does so to the point of putting them out of the church. The rejection of biblical authority can take more than one form. On one hand, it could be the outright rejection of the bible as anything more than a human work- the notion that Scripture is merely a human document whose primary validity lies in the fact that it records the experience of persons who are open to God's presence. In this view, the Bible is not a revealed text, nor is it God's exclusive revelation. The ongoing task of theologically liberal "Christians" is to re-interpret the Bible in light of a contemporary worldview. On the other hand, it could be the practice, within churches who proudly declare the Bible to be God’s Word, to add to Scripture human fences or safeguards. Pretty soon, to the onlooker who is unaware of Christianity, this set of extrabiblical rules imposed by well meaning people makes a caricature of Christianity. Basically, this is legalism. Legalism is a form of disrespect to biblical authority and can lead directly to forsaking biblical authority.
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, -3 John 1:9
What a legacy to leave! Imagine if Diotrephes is an official, ordained elder in the church. The way he is known is as one who “likes to put himself first”. Could there be a greater recipe for disaster than to have a leader or leaders who want themselves to be first. Their opinions need to be first, their “rights” need to be first. Praise the Lord Jesus did not demand His “rights”. None of us would be saved. This selfishness of Diotrephes undoubtedly fueled his wicked actions. Notice verse 10-
...talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church - 3 John 1:10
Who knows if Diotrephes began genuinely. The some total of his presence, however, was to draw attention from Christ and onto himself and his opinions.
"Many spirits are abroad in the world and the church,and the credentials they display are splendid gifts of eloquence and ability. Christian, look carefully. Ask for the print of the nails." -Justin Martyr
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
I have quite a bit of vacation time left, so my plan is to spend as many days in a tree stand as possible. Contrary to some opinions, hunting isn't about killing stuff. It's about the total experience of being outdoors, trying to outsmart an incredibly wary and wise animal, enjoying all the views and experiences, and possibly harvesting a mature animal. Hunting with a bow means you'll be out in the field for many, many days without shooting anything. That's O.K., there's no experience like it.