Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A funny thing happened to me today...

Our school, Westminster Christian Academy, is going through the final accreditation process with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) this week. ACSI has sent a team of evaluators to do a final assessment so we can be approved for official accreditation.

Since we are a church-run school, part of the evaluation process is an interview with the pastors of Redeemer. Our meeting was at 10:15 am today, Nathan had arrived to the conference room just a few minutes before me and had already introduced himself as the associate pastor. Ever looking the part, Nathan had on a nice jacket and tie- very pastor-like. I never wear a jacket and tie except on Sundays, frankly, I can't stand wearing them. For as formal as we are on a Sunday morning, I'm a pretty informal guy the other 6 days. So I arrived in the conference room and greeted the two serious looking ACSI evaluator dudes who would conduct the interview. I introduced myself by name only and sat down with Nathan at the table.

A few awkward seconds elapse and the head interviewer says- "So, will the senior pastor be joining us"?

I just thought that was so funny.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Close Call Bow Hunting

This is incredible footage. This bow hunter is very fortunate to be alive. A full grown moose like this weighs in excess of 1500 pounds.

For the record, I would not have recommended he take that shot. Not because of how close the moose was, but rather due to the bad angle. When harvesting an animal with a bow and arrow, you should allow the animal to get broadside to ensure a double-lung hit. In this case, the animal was facing the hunter, just barely turning broadside. A double-lung shot at such an angle is almost impossible.

A double-lung shot or a heart shot guarantees the animal to go down within 20 seconds and makes for an easy recovery. Any shot a hunter takes should produce a quick, clean, kill. This shot was just too risky, in my opinion. It's easy to say what I would have done sitting here, but as a general rule, taking a broadside shot is the most ethical practice and we should pass on taking animals if we can't get such a shot.

What a magnificent animal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ping Pong Celebration?

I can't imagine being passionate about Ping Pong. This guy is getting slaughtered, scores a point, then unleashes one of the most akward, yet skillful celebrations the world of "sports" has ever seen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Best NCAA Tourney by a (chin) Hair

Despite not being a committed basketball fan, I have gotten in to this years tournament more than ever. I have watched several games of the 2009 "Big Dance" and even went to the opening round games in the Sprint Center (Kansas City). I watched three full first round games and part of a fourth. Since then I have watched several more games including the KU-Michigan State "Sweet 16" game yesterday, the Mizzou-UConn "Elite Eight" game earlier today, and the Villanova-Pitt game earlier this evening. I even have a little passion about hoping Blake Griffin throws Tyler Hansbrough around like a rag doll in tomorrow's Oklahoma-UNC match up. What can I say? I'm a sports fan.

I knew this years tournament would be the best ever about 3 minutes in to the first game of the opening round between Memphis and Northland. How could I make such an assessment so soon? Easy. Take a look at the big man below. It's Pierre Henderson-Niles, the 300-pound forward for Memphis. As soon as he subbed in, I knew this would be a tournament for the ages.

Take a closer look. See what's on his chin? You got it- a chin beard. Then I looked around at other players on both teams. Chin beards everywhere. The phenomenon has been consistent across the conferences among all the teams. I suspect this years tournament has the most chin beards ever.

I don't know who will win the tournament, but it's already the best one ever in my book...by a (chin) hair.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is there a better candy?

I ask you- is there a better candy than peanut butter M&M's?

Sure, there are plenty of awesome candies out there, but the ones combining chocolate and peanut butter are the most delectable.

Reese's Pieces were a genuine attempt to provide a bite-sized, candy-coated chocolate-peanut butter combo (introduced in 1978), however, they are a touch chocolate deficient and the peanut butter tastes a tad different from the wonderful stuff Reese's uses in their peanut butter cups. ET may have been addicted to Reese's Pieces, but not me.

M&M's are in a chocolate league of their own so I can understand Mars being careful to not tinker with the "M&M" brand name too much. Thankfully, however, in 1990 Mars expanded their standard "M&M" shells and pumped them with delicious peanut butter. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude!

So, as I eat a carefully portioned allotment of peanut butter M&M's I ask- is there a better candy?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To loosen up your flight

I've never been a big fan of the Southwest Airlines casual style, but I like their prices. I think flying in a huge heavy metal plane at 500 mph, 30,000 feet in the sky, is a pretty serious situation (with or without Capt. Sully at the controls)and I don't really want flight attendants to act like we're at Applebee's.

However, this flight attendant's gimmick is an exception. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This guy is right on

More from Daniel Hannan. Worth the watch.

A Lesson we MUST Learn from Britain!!

Daniel Hannan, MEP for South East England, gives a speech during British PM Gordon Brown´s visit to the European Parliament yesterday. Wow.

These words should ring across our country in light of our government's present course.

Watch it all.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A frustrating blow to the Pro-life cause

"ND Betrayal"

Cartoon by Zach Brissett

It has just been announced that The University of Notre Dame has secured President Obama to speak at it's commencement later this Spring.

This decision on the part of Roman Catholicism's most prestigious and well-known American university has rightly angered the many pro-life members of the RC Church. Words cannot describe how insulting this is to my Roman Catholic friends who are actively involved in standing up for the sanctity of human life. Very frankly, as it relates to the matter of fighting for the rights of the unborn, there is no greater corporate advocate than the Roman Catholic Church . Such a decision is a serious blow to the pro-life cause in the U.S.

I am praying the local bishop or even the Roman Pontiff himself will step in and reverse the decision of the Notre Dame officials responsible by de-inviting President Obama.
To understand the dynamics of this situation, go to this article on The Catholic Thing blog:

Is Obama Worth a Mass? by Ralph McInerny

A Pastoral Prayer for the Church in America

I wrote this prayer early yesterday morning and prayed it during our worship service. I am sincerely pleading with God to send reformation and revival to His church in our country.

Our gracious and loving heavenly Father, we come to you today in the name of Jesus. We're so thankful for this privilege of meeting together as your people to worship and honor you. We're encouraged and strengthened as we sing and pray together and as we hear your Word preached and celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are built up by your grace and challenged in our walk with you.

We need to hear from you today and we need to be drawn closer to you. We are all needy people and we earnestly seek your will and your way. We have formally confessed our sins this morning but again acknowledge our waywardness individually and as a church. We find comfort in your acceptance of us through Christ and draw strength from the prayer Jesus prayed for us when He asked you to make us one- to give us unity. The Lord Jesus prayed that we would manifest His Glory by your power. The Lord Jesus asked you to make us perfectly one, that the world may know that you sent Christ.

Father, please give our church strength to honor and obey you in these desperate days. Father, please restore saltiness to your church in the United States. For too long your people have seemed to care more about the “American Dream” than the Great Commission. For too long your people have seemed to care more about popular pagan opinion than the counsel of the Holy revealed by your Word. For too long your people have seemed ashamed of the very clear, essential message of the Christ and Him crucified, fearing some kind of cultural backlash rather than obediently proclaiming the message of the Gospel- which is the power of God for salvation.

Restore to your church a spine. For too long we have acted as evanjellyfish instead of being boldly and biblically evangelical. Restore to your church a depth of conviction and courage. Restore to your church an unflinching confidence in your inspired and inerrant Word. Restore to your church, in this godless culture, a resolve to uphold the name of Christ against the onslaught of relativistic intolerance no matter what the cost. Help us to say as Paul did- “We are not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Lord, we confess that much of the cultural decline now coming in to clear view is not so much the result of unbelievers acting like unbelievers, but rather it is because believers are not thinking, living, and influencing as believers should. You have made us salt and light, not agents of decay and obstruction. You have given to your church the words of life and true enlightenment, not words of irrelevance and hindrance. Give to the Church of this generation a restored vigor and zeal for Christ, give to the Church of this generation urgency and bravery in the face of unbelief.

Father, we can see where the church’s inaction and complacency has led us- We now live in a land that cannot seem to distinguish the obvious- What is human life? What is marriage? What is right? What is fair? What is justice? What is truth? God forgive us! All of these things have become obscured and we are paying the price for it. So many lost men and women, despite degrees, positions of power and influence, and high political ranking are walking around as relative zombies because they are dead in their transgressions and sins while people who are called by your name seem to be more worried about the decline in their 401k’s than a culture in decline and souls on their way to hell.

Father, the current financial crisis of our land is a symptom of a deep sickness- help us, your church, to learn what needs to be learned and give us the grace and strength to repent and witness a spiritual revival in our day. I pray for the preaching of your Word to go forward. I pray for the gospel to be preached again in clarity from every pulpit in this land. I pray that where the gospel has been compromised and there is an insufficient view of your Word- that you would grant repentance or shut those places down. I pray that people upon hearing your Word preached would be born again by your Holy Spirit, from the President of the United States to the alien in our gates. I pray that you would work a transformation in this country like the one witnessed in the days of Jonathan Edwards. I pray that you would give your people a joy and sureness about the Word of God and the gospel of Christ once again.

I pray that you would make Redeemer to be a place of faithfulness to your Word. Please bless our efforts to disciple and train men, women, children, and families to walk with Jesus Christ all their days. I pray for our worship services, Sunday school classes, Home Fellowship Groups, bible studies, men’s ministries, women's ministries, Crown ministries, counseling, missions efforts, and our school, Westminster Christian Academy. Perhaps no other days in America have needed such an effort to disciple than now.

Father, as the Lord Jesus prayed, so do we- glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. The Lord Jesus glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave him to do. Please bring glory to yourself now through Christ’s Body on earth, your Church.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wizards open 2009 Season

My middle son Nico enjoying the game, he wants to play centerback for the Wizards some day.
Jack Jewsbury

Claudio Lopez stretching before the game

The Wizards stretching and discussing strategy

Tonight was the first game of the 2009 MLS season, it was great to get back out to the CAB (Community America Ballpark) to root on the Wizards.
The Wizards lost 3-2 to a very strong Toronto FC team. The Wizards only lost a couple home games last year and Toronto hasn't been good on the road in recent years. None of that mattered tonight as Toronto took advantage of some key mistakes by the normally sound Wizards defense to earn the victory.

I saw several bright spots in Kansas City's play-

1. There is a good cohesion with the players as the Wizards have returned most players from last year. They didn't always execute well tonight, but it wasn't for lack of familiarity with each other. Even the new additions of Zusi and Hirsig seemed to fit well enough.

2. Trailing 1-0 after the first half, Coach Onalfo went to an offensive set to start the second half by taking out a defender and adding a midfielder/forward. I tend to be a defensive coach, so I get nervous with such a move relatively early in the game. Sure enough, TFC was able to score early on the undermanned defense to go up 2-0, but then the Wizards really poured the offensive pressure on and it was pretty exciting to watch. Davy Arnaud scored two nearly identical blasts from outside the box, the first of which has to be a goal of the week nominee. I actually applaud the aggressive move of Onalfo. It didn't work this time, but it made for exciting soccer.

3. Santiago Hirsig is the new Argentinian KC midfielder signed a month ago- he only played 20 minutes, but looked very solid and got an assist on Arnaud's second goal. I can see him becoming a major contributor in the midfield this year.

I also noted several concerns that need to be rectified going forward:

1. The three key team leaders are Conrad, Jewsbury, and Arnaud. As these guys go, so goes the team. Arnaud had a stellar second half, but overall none of these guys played to the level they must play for the Wizards to have success in 2009. Conrad and Hohlbein looked sloppy early and almost allowed two goals. Only Chad Barrett's propensity to choke when faced with an open net saved the Wizards from being down 3-0 after the first half. Conrad is one of the three best centerbacks in MLS. He has to do better going forward. Jewsbury never looked good today. His passing was off, he left guys unmarked, one such occasion led to the third TFC goal. Arnaud seemed off rythym in the first half also. He made up for it in the second, but he has to give 90 solid minutes every game. I'm confident these guys will answer the call, but they can't wait to do it.

2. New aquisition Santiago Hirsig needs to become a 90 minute player soon. He's clearly more skilled and experienced than Zusi, Espinosa, Souter, and some of the other KC midfielders Onalfo has to choose from. Hirsig has the potential to be a key contributor to the Wizards this year.

3. Why is Claudio Lopez taking free kicks? He simply doesn't take them well. Corner kicks maybe, but not free kicks. Herculez Gomez on the other hand, causes all sorts of problems for goalies with his knuckleballing free kicks. Maybe Gomez's knee isn't 100%? Heck, let Arnaud or Jewsbury take free kicks, not Lopez.

4. I'm very nervous about the centerback position right now. Conrad is it. Hohlbein just isn't where he needs to be and it showed in the first half. If Jimmy Conrad goes down with an injury the Wizards will be in serious trouble. I just don't see a solid prospect for that pivotal position.

So, another season begins. I have season tickets so I get to basically all the games. Brian and I go to most of them together, but when Brian doesn't come I take one of my sons. Tonight was Nico's turn. It's a real special time to hang with my boys. Nico is the least talkative of my children, but when we're alone together, he chatters non stop. It's great. The atmosphere at the Wizards games is usually very family friendly. Tonight was a bit rough with a huge mob of inebriated Canadians who made the trip to support their team. I so wished the Wizards could have tied or won the game just to hear the Canadians be quiet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nero fiddling while Rome burns- Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is overly dramatic at times, however he made some good observations in light of President Obama's stop at the Tonight Show last night.

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 7)

Michael Spencer suggested the collapse of evangelical Christianity is at hand siting several causes. The last cause for the collapse is condensed by the Christian Science Monitor article to simply-

7. The money will dry up.

I went to Spencer's original article to understand what he means by the money drying up in evangelical Christianity. Here's the full statement:

A major aspect of this collapse will happen because money will not be flowing towards evangelicalism in the same way as before. The passing of the denominationally loyal, very generous “greatest generation” and the arrival of the Boomers as the backbone of evangelicalism will signal a major shift in evangelical finances, and that shift will continue into a steep drop and the inevitable results for schools, churches, missions, ministries and salaries.

Obviously if evangelicalism declines there will be a drop off in giving and shortfalls in churches, ministries, and schools that are "evangelical". This isn't a very bold prediction and is even a bit alarmist.

The kind of evangelicalism Spencer is addressing should go the way of the dinosaur as a sort of purge. There may be a seeming contraction of Christianity in America before there is an expansion. A smaller, more authentic Church is always better than a larger, lukewarm, compromised, church ineffective in carrying out the Great Commission. Sure, as evangelicalism dwindles, so will the money which flows to her various representative ministries, but it will not be the cause Spencer suggests but rather a result of her lukewarm, declining state.

Spencer makes too much of this point, in my opinion. Raising money for existing ministries is usually relative to the ministry's faithfulness with the resources it has already received. God generally blesses when we are faithful stewards of what He has given. To the degree "evangelical" institutions are not faithful, there will eventually be a corresponding discipline that could well take the form of a lack of resources.

Having said all this, people have been giving to lame evangelical causes for a long time- with lots of money. Look at Joel Osteen's "church". He is a self-professed evangelical and leads the largest evangelical church in the country. His exceedingly lame book "Your Best Life Now" manifests the worst in modern evangelical thinking, yet it has made him a millionaire. There will always be people willing to give money to erroneous (even false) teachers and their institutions or causes. Late night evangelists have been milking money out of poor old ladies since the television was invented. Joyce Meyers didn't buy her Lear Jet by inventing some new technology. While not in the exact same category as Osteen and Meyers, look at the money Rick Warren, his books, and burgeoning "network" have raked in. People have always given money to causes that are unworthy.

If money dries up for evangelicalism or any other such religious cause, it will more likely be a result of a larger societal economic recession or depression than due to it's superficiality or doctrinal weakness. There has just been far too much money given to unworthy causes for too long to assume the money will dry up just because.

Right on Shep!

I don't know much about Shep Smith, one of the key anchors at Fox news, but he's my new hero.

Check out his sobering last words on this clip.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 6)

Let us examine Michael Spencer's fifth and sixth causes for the imminent collapse of evangelical Christianity.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to 'do good' is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what Spencer meant here so I went to his original post on his blog and found him to say:

"The deterioration and collapse of the evangelical core will eventually weaken the missional-compassionate work of the evangelical movement. The inevitable confrontation between cultural secularism and the religious faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, that much of that work will not be done. Look for evangelical ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive."

So, it seems Spencer thinks the "missional-compassionate work" done by evangelicals will somehow morph. Perhaps he is referring to efforts that address physical and spiritual needs of people here in the U.S. and abroad? I really don't know for sure. I would be interested in hearing from any of you astute readers who know what Spencer means here. We can certainly witness the kind of "missions" liberal protestant churches conduct- concerned primarily with undoing social injustice and poverty with now plan for carrying out the Great Commission. Much so-called "missions" is nothing more than a humanitarian effort to bring food, medicine, or other goods and services (sometimes birth control and abortion also) to "help" the plight of the poor and oppressed. Of course, all bible-believing Christians should be about helping the poor in may ways in addition to building up faithful local churches in those areas to bring the ministry of the Word and sacraments. It's a "both/and" type missional effort, not just one (physical needs) or the other (gospel witness). We are to share Christ in word and deed.

Spencer's sixth cause of the imminent collapse of evangelicalism-

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

The matter of passing on "a vital evangelical confidence" is a matter of how we (as a church and families) carry out the disipleship mandate addressed in previous posts. If the Church does not reform in this area, Spencer is right, there will be great failure in this crucial area. See previous posts on this issue.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proof the U.S. Economy is in trouble

Updated: 3/16- FOX put the above quotes on their news page today...Reep is a little ahead of them...

Listening to President Bush speak about the economy in 2008 was painful. It was obvious we were plunging in to something serious especially as his term wound down. Still, despite the decline, he steadfastly maintained the U.S. economy was "fundamentally sound".

In relationship to Bush's ongoing campaign to speak positively about a declining economy was then candidate Obama ripping Bush at every campaign stop for simply "not getting it". Obama rightly criticized Bush for saying something that really wasn't true- that the U.S. economy was fundamentally sound. Obama and Biden did their best to consistently highlight Bush's mistaken notion about the U.S. economy and bid voters to recognize that McCain was no different and the GOP was generally delusional about the real state of U.S. economic affairs. I dare say Obama garnered many votes making a legitimate case about the Bush/McCain "the economy is fundamentally sound" mantra.

Now, just 50 days after President Obama was sworn in, after pushing an absolute monstrosity of a public spending bill through congress along with a subsequent pork-laden spending bill (the kind he said he would not sign while campaigning) this past week and plunging our country in to unprecedented debt- what is Obama's assessment of the U.S. Economy?

Reported by Phillip Elliot (AP):

An optimistic message came from economic adviser Christina Romer. When asked during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the fundamentals of the economy were sound, she replied: "Of course they are sound."

"The fundamentals are sound in the sense that the American workers are sound, we have a good capital stock, we have good technology," she said. "We know that — that temporarily we're in a mess, right? We've seen huge job loss, we've seen very large falls in GDP. So certainly in the short run we're in a — in a bad situation."

Just a week ago, White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag declared that "fundamentally, the economy is weak." Days later, Obama told reporters he was confident in the economy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stop Obama's Socialism rally in KC

Clint Anderson (speaking in the video clip), a deacon at our church, organized a protest in Prairie Village today in order to bring attention to the growing dissatisfaction regarding President Obama's economic policies and practices.

Check out this awesome clip from a local news station about the protest.

Check out some of these great signs below.

My favorite is "OBAMANOMICS: Trickle up poverty!" Very clever.

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 5)

Spencer's fourth cause for the imminent collapse of evangelical Christianity-

"Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself."

Assuming Spencer is defining "Christian Education" generaly as the sum total of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4 then I agree with him. Indeed the Great Commission bids us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Not many would disagree the church at large (and not just evangelicals) in America has not done a good job dicipling and training her members. "Secularism" has gained a foothold where the church has left a vacuum.

The reason "Christian Education" hasn't produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism is due to the lack of a serious effort to practice actual, biblical Christian education. As mentioned in a previous post, Scripture puts forth an intense, all day, every day approach to discipling our young people. This involves a thorough approach to exposing our children to God's truth and the living out of the same. The church at large isn't doing this. Period. We cannot expect to offset 9,000 daytime hours of classroom time in a "secular" environment, between kindergarten and eighth grade, with a few hours of church teaching and family devotions. If we think Christian Eduction means Sunday morning sermon, Sunday School, youth group and some family bible-reading time, no wonder our kids are being lost to secularism! We've got to start getting real about this.

Christian education means nothing less than life long discipleship. Discipleship must be particularly intense in our early years as we are learning to interpret the world through God's World (Deut. 6 and Eph. 6 illustrate the importance of early training). I think many evangelical families think church is just one of many "positive" associations they should have. They really believe what is being taught at school is somewhat disconnected from what they believe about God or is being taught at church. Further, if there are some "bad" things their kids learn at school, the church can correct or fix those during Sunday school or youth group. Maybe a talk with junior at night during dinner will keep them straight spiritually, many naively think. Such a lax, unbiblical view and practice of what Christian education really entails has most certainly left our children ill-equipped to confront the false philosophies and secular worldview they will be confronted with at every turn.

The church in the U.S. (evangelical or otherwise) must reform in the area of Christian education. We have given away FAR too much in this foundational area. The bible is not ambiguous regarding the kind of effort it will take to carry out the work of discipleship.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 5)

Spencer's third cause for the imminent collapse of evangelical Christianity-

"There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive."

Spencer seems confident with these designations. David Wells sees the evangelical landscape with three divisions labeled: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents. I am not sure how to categorise the different strains that make up the "evangelical" church in the America. Defining "evangelical Christianity" is difficult enough, let alone determining what category the various churches fit. Spencer's labels are blunt and identifiable. I can think of churches who would proudly wear the "evangelical " label fitting each of his categories.

Here's the problem with Spencer's designations, as I see it- there are myriads of churches who do not fit precisely under the evangelical moniker, yet are considered evangelical by most onlookers. Two posts ago I sited Time's recent article that described "New Calvinism". In that article people like Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and Al Mohler are described as Calvinists, Reformed, and evangelical. My denomination will describe itself as Reformed and evangelical. Where do we fit? What category are we in? Time would have us believe such churches are growing, not declining. Maybe such churches will retain what is worthy about historic evangelicalism (belief in the Bible and Christ alone as Savior) but jettison it's negative traits? I see this as a good development. Maybe we are witnessing the fall of evangelical Christianity and the rise of something better? I hope so. Perhaps Spencer is too pessimistic about what the demise of evangelical Christianity would mean for the church in this country?

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 4)

Michael Spencer's second cause for the imminent collapse of evangelical Christianity-

"We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures."

Speaking very generally and based on my personal observation, it does seem as though American Christians have struggled to see their faith perpetuated from one generation to the next. I have been involved with various levels of ministry to youth since I was a teenager myself and it has been discouraging to watch the unfortunate paths many "Christian" kids have chosen. Why is this so? To Spencer's point, we (the Church) have failed to obey the clear mandate of Scripture in Deuteronomy 6 (and re-asserted in Ephesians 6)-

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Scripture puts forth an intense, all day, every day approach to discipling our young people. This involves a thorough approach to exposing our children to God's truth and the living out of the same. Very simply and bluntly- most "evangelical" churches in America have failed to obey Scripture in this area of the spiritual formation of their young people. Frankly, most forms of "Christianity" in America have come up short on this front. I grew up Roman Catholic where particular focus on discipling youth and "passing on the faith" was practically non existent. The culture of busyness has so infiltrated our lives that discipleship has been reduced to going to church once a week Sunday morning and youth group Wednesday night. Too many expect these few activities to be some kind of fulfillment of their children's spiritual development needs while ignoring all the time given to events and activities that accomplish very little (if anything) in the area of spiritual formation. If you are sending your child to a public school, realize there will be 9000 hours of class time between kindergarten and eighth grade when they are NOT receiving biblical instruction and mentoring, and most likely worse, they are being taught an anti-Christian worldview. I know this is a sensitive subject because so many Christians send their kids to public schools, however I would be remiss to ignore one of the chief reasons our children are not growing spiritually strong and grounded. Indeed, the lack of consistent exposure to biblical truth and living is probably the main reason the Christian faith has not been successufully perpetuated from generation to generation in recent years. Every parent has to examine what strategy they are using to fulfill Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6.

A word about "youth ministry" as Spencer takes a bit of a pot shot at the money evangelicals have purportedly spent on youth ministers and the like- I see the church in it's best and most effective form as a parish. That is, the Church does her best to assist each family in the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6 by creating an environment has a thorough-going, holistic discipleship culture. Personally, I came to Redeemer because the vision of the founding members was for a "parish-type" ministry as I have described. How is this accomplished? For us, we have worked to develop a Christian school and provide a youth ministry that complements the discipleship work of the family and the school. We have a youth pastor who is interested in assisting parents in discipleship, not taking over the responsibility for them. There is a trifecta, if you will, of cooperation that promotes spiritual growth and stability in our children- the family, church, and school. Members are not required to send their kids to our school or youth group events, but these ministries exist to be aids to living out Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6. There is not one way alone to be faithful to God's mandate regarding our children, but we must all realize how very labor intensive it is- it will take much more than going to a few church activities each week.

On a personal note, for what it's worth, I am very thankful for this trifecta (family,church, school) in the life of my family. It is my responsibility to oversee the spiritual training and formation of my children (while realizing only God's Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration and sanctification). However, I am in NO WAY abrogating that responsibility by allowing other members of our covenant body (the Church) have discipleship access to my children through various interactions at Sunday school, youth group meetings and events, and school. Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6 contain a mandate dually exacted by the corporate body and individual families, not one or the other. The Church body and individual families are in partnership striving toward the same goal of obedience to Scripture in training our children. Leaving discipleship almost entirely to a youth pastor or youth sponsor would be a failure to obey God's Word. At the same time, ignoring the corporate gifting God has given the church body in favor of a "family only" approach also fails to utilize all the tools God has given us to grow in Christ and also tends to deny the communal nature of Christianity itself.

Spencer's underlying point is we have failed to properly indoctrinate our children so they are stable and firm in orthodox/biblical Christianity by doing more to entertain and captivate our youth. It seems that Spencer is generally right again on this point. However you choose to live out Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6, please recognize it is not an option that we may follow if we like. Failure to take this training mandate seriously is one of the main reasons evangelicalism finds itself on the verge of extinction.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The New Calvinism? It's not new to me...

We interrupt this review of Spencer's post to alert you to an interesting and somewhat related article in Time magazine. Time has done a piece on "What's Next?" where they list the 10 ideas changing the world right now. Check out what they are:

Are you seeing #3? Wow. This is especially interesting in light of Spencer's post. Evangelicalism may be ready to collapse...not Calvinism!!! Notice how the author lumps Calvinism with evangelicalism. Ugghh.... Here's what Time says(so therefore it must be true)-

The New Calvinism by David Van Biema

If you really want to follow the development of conservative Christianity, track its musical hits. In the early 1900s you might have heard "The Old Rugged Cross," a celebration of the atonement. By the 1980s you could have shared the Jesus-is-my-buddy intimacy of "Shine, Jesus, Shine." And today, more and more top songs feature a God who is very big, while we are...well, hark the David Crowder Band: "I am full of earth/ You are heaven's worth/ I am stained with dirt/ Prone to depravity."

Calvinism is back, and not just musically. John Calvin's 16th century reply to medieval Catholicism's buy-your-way-out-of-purgatory excesses is Evangelicalism's latest success story, complete with an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity, sinful and puny humanity, and the combination's logical consequence, predestination: the belief that before time's dawn, God decided whom he would save (or not), unaffected by any subsequent human action or decision. (Read about the re-emergence of Catholic indulgences.)

Calvinism, cousin to the Reformation's other pillar, Lutheranism, is a bit less dour than its critics claim: it offers a rock-steady deity who orchestrates absolutely everything, including illness (or home foreclosure!), by a logic we may not understand but don't have to second-guess. Our satisfaction — and our purpose — is fulfilled simply by "glorifying" him. In the 1700s, Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards invested Calvinism with a rapturous near mysticism. Yet it was soon overtaken in the U.S. by movements like Methodism that were more impressed with human will. Calvinist-descended liberal bodies like the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) discovered other emphases, while Evangelicalism's loss of appetite for rigid doctrine — and the triumph of that friendly, fuzzy Jesus — seemed to relegate hard-core Reformed preaching (Reformed operates as a loose synonym for Calvinist) to a few crotchety Southern churches.

No more. Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don't operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. But, notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today, "everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world" — with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle's pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention. The Calvinist-flavored ESV Study Bible sold out its first printing, and Reformed blogs like Between Two Worlds are among cyber-Christendom's hottest links.

Like the Calvinists, more moderate Evangelicals are exploring cures for the movement's doctrinal drift, but can't offer the same blanket assurance. "A lot of young people grew up in a culture of brokenness, divorce, drugs or sexual temptation," says Collin Hansen, author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists. "They have plenty of friends: what they need is a God." Mohler says, "The moment someone begins to define God's [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist." Of course, that presumption of inevitability has drawn accusations of arrogance and divisiveness since Calvin's time. Indeed, some of today's enthusiasts imply that non-Calvinists may actually not be Christians. Skirmishes among the Southern Baptists (who have a competing non-Calvinist camp) and online "flame wars" bode badly.

Calvin's 500th birthday will be this July. It will be interesting to see whether Calvin's latest legacy will be classic Protestant backbiting or whether, during these hard times, more Christians searching for security will submit their wills to the austerely demanding God of their country's infancy.

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 3)

Ironically and providentially I posted on an excellent book by David Wells entitled "The Courage to be Protestant" a couple weeks ago. Wells offers a more thorough analysis of the evangelical landscape than Spencer. Read my post that references Wells' explanation of how he would label himself. It relates to the Spencer post I am currently reviewing here.

Continuing a brief analysis of Michael Spencer's widely referenced post. Let's consider some of the reasons he believes there will be a major collapse in evangelical Christianity.

Spencer lists as his first reason for an imminent collapse of evangelicalism-

"Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society."

The Church should be actively involved with shaping the culture she is in. Such shaping only occurs when Christians are working toward possessing and living a holistic biblical worldview. I have posted extensively on the matter of shaping such a worldview, click on "Worldview" on the right sidebar under Topics and you can peruse various thoughts on the importance of a Christian worldview in shaping culture. One of the most helpful resources currently available is Nancy Pearcy's book "Total Truth". She basically supports what Spencer says about Christians aligning themselves too tightly with a cause rather than holding to and living out a biblical creed. Nancy Pearcey wrote-

Genuine worldview thinking is far more than a mental strategy or a new spin on current events. At the core, it is a deepening of our spiritual character and the character of our lives. It begins with the submission of our minds to the Lord of the universe- a willingness to be taught by Him. The driving force in worldview studies should be a commitment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind" (see Luke 10:27)

That's why the crucial condition for intellectual growth is spiritual growth, asking God for the grace to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). God is not just the Savior of souls, He is also the Lord of creation. One way we acknowledge His Lordship is by interpreting every aspect of creation in the light of His truth. God's Word becomes a set of glasses offering a new perspective on all our thoughts and actions.

One of the results from not possessing a biblical worldview has been a poorly thought out and explained activism. Christians oppose or promote this or that but seldom provide a thorough reason for the matter they are promoting. The general public grows tired with the lack of sound, developed arguments many Christians or Churches have. Spencer rightly observes a general alignment with political conservatism on the part of many Christians and some churches. Political conservatism doesn't equal biblical Christianity. Watching Rush Limbaugh, the tribal leader of modern conservatism, speak at the CPAC recently made me queasy. Sure I tend to agree with the historic ideals of political conservatism, however I'm not comfortable signing on point for point with Rush Limbaugh. My label as a Christian is more important than being identified as a political conservative. I don't think Christians should relish ideological identification with any unbeliever, even if they're is considerable agreement. Furthermore, what is political conservatism today? George Bush? John McCain? Sorry, while I have respect for these men, I would rather not be aligned with their worldviews. Aligning too closely with politicians and political movements can be counter productive for the cause of Christ. It's fine to be politically conservative, but raising that banner over the banner of Christian is a mistake that seriously hinders our ability to be salt and light, in my opinion.

Spencer finishes his first reason for the imminent collapse of evangelicalism by stating-

"The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith."

Spencer hits the nail on the head. The Church should speak against sins like gay marriage and abortion, but her lack of a cogent, pervasive, ideology (biblical worldview) makes us look like Amish kill-joys concerned only with condemning others and ruining their happiness. There are plenty of ways a Christian can argue intelligently and compassionately against gay marriage and abortion. It goes without saying, our words should also be backed by compassionate action.
Spencer really strikes hard when he says "The massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence," and he's right. If every Christian could give a coherent explanation of the gospel and how redemption touches every aspect of our lives and world, I think we would be witnessing a different situation in our country. Because of the total superficiality doctrinally and ideologically that is displayed by too many professing Christians, we are simply not taken seriously in the various cultural debates of our day. Spencer's final statement- We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith - underlies much of the ineffectiveness of so-called evangelicalism in our day.

The Church today needs a renewed, biblical understanding of three doctrines (at least)- Creation, the Fall, and Redemption. A biblical understanding and propagation of these key biblical doctrines serve to shape our worldview. Evangelicals have largely been concerned with only one of these- redemption, or "getting saved". To make matters worse, the popular evangelical view of redemption is largely human-centric (Arminian) and thus promotes too low a view of God. Christianity has been reduced to a "doctrine" about getting saved from Hell and that's about it. What about redemption as the bible displays it? To understand the need for redemption one must understand what happened to God's creation at the Fall in Genesis. No Christian can properly navigate the issues of our day and culture without recognizing the effects of sin in ourselves and the world we live in. Furthermore, to understand redemption one must comprehend what Christ came to redeem (His people and Creation itself). Nancy Pearcey covers these necessary components for developing a biblical worldview in her book "Total Truth", so I won't belabor the point here.

I'll review Spencer's second reason for the imminent collapse of evangelical Christianity next.
Two must reads on this topic:
"Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 2)

Michael Spencer boldly predicts the collapse of "evangelical Christianity" in the next 10 years in his recently sited blog post. He suggests that over 1/4 of Americans call themselves evangelical, so we're talking about a major collapse with wide ranging implications to American culture. I suggest that defining "evangelical" is difficult at best. I further surmise that many who once thought of themselves as evangelical, no longer do, but have in no way become liberal (mainline), Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Agnostic either. For me, I am finding "Reformed" or "Reformation" to be the most accurate label for what I believe, indeed for who I am.

With that preface in mind, I move to the next two statements of Spencer I wish to analyze. First, Spencer says-

"This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good."

An "anti-Christian" chapter in American History has already begun. Modern U.S. government has widely taken on a strange interpretation and application of Separation of Church and State, one that none of the framers of the U.S. Constitution would have adhered to, even those who were in no sense Christian. Various Federal and State judiciaries have discriminated against Christianity, most visibly with cases banning the public display of the Ten Commandments and Nativity scenes near public buildings. Every year courts at various levels hear lawsuits against the use of "In God We Trust" on our national coinage and the use of "One nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. State run (Public) schools have been factories of anti-Christian sentiment for years promoting the religion of Darwinism and the "ethics" of humanism. Many public schools have recently achieved new heights of discrimination with the re-writing of history books that outright skew heavily attested historical events, particulary ones that show Christianity in a postive light or other religions in a bad light.

Add to these "anti-Christian" agents the mass media. Who would argue about the media's love affair with anything that attacks Christianity? We are well advanced in to the so-called "anti-Christian" chapter Spencer says is yet to come. It will get worse. Spencer is right about that.

Second, Spencer says-

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

To the degree these various individuals and ministries are not grounded in the apostolic, biblical Christian faith, they will indeed "quit", "end", or be "reduced". Some will be eliminated. Good riddance to such a form of Christianity. Apostolic, biblical Christianity is never threatened by the whims of a changing culture because it is stayed upon eternal truth. It seems that much of American Evangelicalism has become so given to pragmatism, so starved to be seen as relevant, so focused on pet causes instead of committed to sound biblical doctrine and practice that it deserves to become extinct.

I appreciate this statement by Spencer as he closes his introductory thesis statement-

I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

So far I generally agree with Spencer. Next he gives his reasons for why evangelicalism will decline. I will take the next several posts to analyze what he puts forth.

Analysis 0f Michael Spencer's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" (Part 1)

Thanks to the various people who emailed me the link to a very provocative post by fellow blogger Michael Spencer who blogs at Internet Monk.

You can read the version of Spencer's blog post most people have read here. In fairness to Mr. Spencer, he wrote a more expansive post on his blog, the Christian Science Monitor version was a bit edited, but not so much that it changed the gist of his thoughts.

I suggest reading his post as I will take several posts of my own to interact with what he has written.

Spencer starts his article very provocatively-

"We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West."

This is a provocative introductory statement because such a wide range of Christians think of themselves as evangelical. If you are a bible believing Protestant Christian, you probably think of yourself as "evangelical" so a post like Spencer's garners an immediate response. He's saying there will be a "major" collapse of evangelical Christianity which effects me and my church, many will think. Within the past 24 hours I have received 8 emails from close friends linking to Spencer's article so he has struck a widespread chord for sure.

Defining "evangelical Christianity" is very difficult. Almost two years ago I wrote on my growing dislike for the label "evangelical" because of how meaningless it has become. The historic meaning behind the label "evangelical" is one who believes faith in Christ is the only way of salvation and the bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. In the present day "evangelical" means less about a creed and more about a cause, a valid point Spencer makes and sites as one of the main reasons there will be a downfall in evangelical Christianity. Please read my post on "Liking the Term 'Evangelical' less and less" as it might give some perspective to the "evangelical" label Spencer uses.

Personally, I am a Reformed Christian, meaning the main tenets defining my beliefs are the "Solas" of the Reformation:

Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone

I believe these five points generally capture Apostolic/Biblical Christianity. My denomination considers itself "Reformed and Evangelical", but this refers to the older definition of "evangelical" I note above. Frankly, I think it is time for the PCA to drop the label "evangelical" because it is too confusing, something evidenced by Spencer's thought-provoking post.

Spencer's use of "evangelical" refers to a vast landscape of "Christians" who are identified as much with a brand of social conservatism as they are with their supposed belief in the Bible as God's Word. R.C. Sproul Jr. has been credited with making this observation- An evangelical is a fundamentalist that wants the respect of modernists, and sells his soul to get it. Spencer says 25-25% of Americans claim to be evangelical. He thinks "evangelical Christianity" is on the verge of a major collapse and makes a good case that it will.

My first point of analysis is this- the evangelical Christianity Spencer speaks of is not equal with Apostolic/Biblical Christianity. Evangelicalism, even when it was easier to define, is too vague to be the label a Christian should be comfortable with. I'd much prefer the term "Reformed Christian" to describe who I am, so I'm not unduly alarmed by Spencer's predictions for "evangelical Christianity". I simply do not think genuine Reformed Christianity will suffer the same fate as American Evangelical Christianity, but I am dismayed with how seemingly large "evangelical Christianity" is, if it is on the verge of collapse.
But to be clear, Spencer is not saying that apostolic/biblical Christianity will collapse but rather "evangelical Christianity" in the West will collapse in the next 10 years.

Lots more to day in the next few days....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh man....T.O. in Buffalo

As a long time Buffalo Bills fan I have often wondered what more could possibly happen to my home city to make their football heartache any worse?

Well, my question was answered today when they signed the immensely talented head-case Terrell Owens. I enjoyed watching him mess up the Cowboys chemistry and even mocked "America's Team" because of him. (Here and especially Here)

Looks like what goes around has come around.

I understand the signing, but it scares me to death. The Bills are in desperate need of a possession receiver to offset Lee Evans. Evans has been easily double teamed the past two seasons being the only game-breaking receiving threat the Bills have. The Bills missed out on signing another solid receiver, Lavernius Coles, early in the off season, so Owens has to be it. Owens could open Evans up if he doesn't start dissin' him (and QB Trent Edwards... and anyone else who ticks him off) first.

Can Terrell behave for one season, just to get the Bills over the proverbial hump?

Schiff is always thought provoking

...and depressing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thomas Manton on John 17:17

Thomas Manton was an English Puritan who lived between 1620-1677. Please excuse the slight modification to his picture above, let's face it, the 17th Century style for men wasn't the manliest- put a chin beard on a dude and it all changes.

Manton is known for his excellent and rich expository preaching. Several of his expositional sermon series have been printed with his work on James probably being the best. Additionally I have discovered his sermons on the gospel of John, particularly John 17. He delivered 48 sermons on John 17 alone!

I am preparing to preach on John 17:17 this Sunday-

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Here is a wonderful remark from Manton regarding this profound saying of Jesus-

Every true light will not serve the turn, but it must be the light of the word. God hath reserved this honour of sanctifying the heart to the doctrine of the scriptures, to evidence their divine original: James 1:18, 'Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.' The great change that is wrought in the heart of man is by the word. A moral lecture may make a man change his life, but the word of God roaketh a man change his heart. Regeneration is only found in the school of Christ: 'He hath begotten us by the word of truth.' And the ordinance of preaching the word is consecrated to this purpose: Eph. 5:26,' That he might sanctify them by the washing of water through the word.' There are other occasional helps, but this is the instituted means. God will work no other way in his ordinary and revealed course, and will accept no other obedience and sanctification but by the word. Holiness, or that piety which is proper and genuine, is wrought by a divine truth, otherwise it is superstition, not godliness; civility, not holiness of conversation.

Though men have never so good an inclination, yet because they have not a divine revelation for their warrant, it is but a bastard religion, superstition, or framing a strictness of our own, accompanied with opposition against the truth. The word and Spirit are in conjunction. It is for the honour of the scriptures that God hath annexed them: 1 Thes. 5: 19-20, 'Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesying.'

Preaching of the word and pouring out of the Spirit go together.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Load up

I own quite a few firearms, let's just say more that a dozen. I like my guns. I enjoy hunting with them and target shooting. I think having one or three is good for home defense also.

Yesterday I went to several of my usual ammo supply stores (Wal Mart, Dick's, Cabela's, and Bass Pro) only to find their shelves severely depleted of all the most common centerfire rounds for rifles and handguns. I talked to the various sales people and their stories were identical- they can't keep rifle and hand gun ammo on the shelf. It sells the day it arrives. Why is this so?

Brent Mattis gives the basic answer:

Since it became likely that Obama was going to win the election, groups like the NRA and GOA (Gun Owners of America) have been highlighting past statements by Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, suggesting that while in office he would ban and regulate guns much more severely than previous administrations.

Highlighted proposals include: A 500% ammo tax, a ban on all military-pattern rifles, a ban on magazines with a greater than ten round capacity, federally licensing all gun owners and registering their guns. As a result, gun shows, ranges, military bases, shooting matches, online forums, etc., have been a cacophony of people fueling the fear of an upcoming ban. Gun owners, who have never seen, much less held a military-pattern rifle, are going out and purchasing $1200 AR-15's, a pile of 30-round magazines, and cases of 5.56mm ammo. Gun owners that already own such a rifle are going out and purchasing all the military pattern rifles they think they will EVER want/need. The presumption, of course, is that the ban will be similar to the federal Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 or the California ban of 2000 that grandfathered all preexisting guns.

Personally, I'm not going to freak out too much just because President Obama and his new attorney general don't care much for the Second Amendment...no, I'll just stay calm and wait their term out.

But, here's Shari's revised grocery list-

2 boxes of 9mm ammo (50 rounds ea.)
Macaroni and Cheese
1 box of .243 ammo (soft point)
Diet Coke
2 boxes of .223 ammo
Frozen Chicken nuggets
4 boxes of cereal
1 box of 7 mag ammo (20 rounds)
English Muffins
2 boxes of .22 ammo (long rifle)
Pop Tarts
1box of .308 ammo (20 rounds)
Cream Cheese
Orange Juice
2 boxes of .30-.30 ammo (for my trusty lever action cowboy gun)
Granola bars
Microwave popcorn
2 boxes of military issue 6mm ammo
Powdered sugar
Chocolate chips
1 case of 12-gauge shot gun shells (#4's)
Sandwich meat

Repeat next month...

Happy Birthday A.J.

Happy birthday my firstborn son! You're 10 today! I will use the words of Paul (Colossians 1:9-13)to express my prayer and desire for you.


From the day I met you I have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arthur Pink on God's Grace

I have been teaching on the Attributes of God Sunday evenings at Church. I have to share these two wonderful quotes from Arthur Pink on God's Grace:

Divine grace is the sovereign and saving favour of God exercised in the bestowment of blessings upon those who have no merit in them and for which no compensation is demanded from them. Nay, more; it is the favour of God shown to those who not only have no positive deserts of their own, but who are thoroughly ill-deserving and hell-deserving. It is completely unmerited and unsought, and is altogether unattracted by anything in or from or by the objects upon which it is bestowed. Grace can neither be bought, earned, nor won by the creature. If it could be, it would cease to be grace. When a thing is said to be of grace we mean that the recipient has no claim upon it, that it was in nowise due him. It comes to him as pure charity, and, at first, unasked and undesired.

Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice, so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf that they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and lift them into resurrection.