Saturday, October 31, 2009
Get a load of who Leach blames for the Red Raiders miserable play!!!!
My favorite, however, was very simple, yet profound. Here are the Branson kids wearing shirts that capture Luther's historic statement at Worms-
Today we remember Martin Luther's posting of the 95 protests against the Roman Church in 1517.
The above picture is Luther's "trial" at Worms. Below is the 2003 rendering of the same in a decent movie about Luther. A funny little story about this movie- when it came out a bunch of us Redeemer guys went to see it, 10 or so of us. The theater was relatively empty, but when Luther made his final stand as depicted below, we all stood in unison and cheered as though Rocky had just knocked out Apollo Creed. Great stuff!
Also, there has been a great discussion going on under my earlier post. Check it out here. It will give you a good picture of the main differences between Roman Catholicism and Reformed Christianity.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
There were several parts of the new sanctuary design that were saved for future generations to add. Eventually we would love to see beautiful stained glass added and a pipe organ placed in a balcony from which the choir could sing. Another element that was planned for but not immediately placed was a cross. As God’s providence would have it, a specially designated gift was given to provide a cross for the sanctuary. It is a simple Celtic design that brings a sense of completion to the sanctuary.
An empty cross is a symbol of Christ’s finished, redemptive work, plain and simple. The cross is not a symbol of Jesus Himself, but rather what He did for us. The cross is not an object to be worshiped or otherwise venerated in any way. Early Reformed churches removed crucifixes (crosses with Jesus being crucified) from sanctuaries in the 16th century because of their misuse. Many Reformed folk still object to a cross in a worship area. I respect such a conviction, but don't personally share it. Now, some 500 years after the Reformation, without the same idolatrous Roman baggage, the symbol of the empty cross serves as a reminder and declaration of what we believe and is affirmed in the Apostle’s Creed - “Who (Jesus) was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried”.
May the whole of Redeemer’s worship space help us to reflect upon the holiness and grace of our God, for His glory alone.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I started dating Shari when Brett was nine years old. It's been a total thrill to watch him grow physically and spiritually over these past 17 plus years. Brett began teaching at our school, Westminster Christian Academy, four years ago. Three years ago a lovely, sweet, godly woman named Sarah came to teach also. Long story short, they fell in love and got married Saturday.
During the ceremony Sarah surprised Brett with a cute little song about how they met and what she looks forward to. "Mr B." is what the students call Brett, it's shorter than Mr. Busenitz.
Needless to say, we are ecstatic that God has brought Brett and Sarah together.
In preparation for preaching on Galatians each week I try to read several sermons on the particular passage in focus for that week. I want to share a wonderful observation by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger who is senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, California. This excerpt comes from one of his sermons on Galatians 5:16-26 with specific reference to "walking by the Spirit":
Many times Christians are told that the struggle with sin and any perception of lack of victory, or lack of continual progress, are reasons to doubt the assurance of their salvation, or God’s favor towards them. But as Paul makes very clear, it is only the Christian, indwelt by God’s spirit, who experiences a struggle between the Spirit and the flesh or “indwelling sin.” Non-Christians are only “in the flesh,” hence God’s Spirit is not provoking such internal conflicts. Thus the struggle with sin is perhaps the clearest sign that one is actually converted! Non-Christians do not have the intense struggle between the sinful nature and the indwelling Spirit. This is why we must draw our assurance of salvation and God’s favor toward us primarily from the promises given to us in the Scriptures, rather than attempting to draw assurance from our own progress in holiness. Some of those who have progressed the farthest in sanctification are also those most dissatisfied with the progress they are making in the Christian life. Assurance should be drawn primarily from the promise in Scripture that God will save sinners, from the witness of the Spirit to those promises, and only secondarily from our progress in the Christian life. While we will indeed make progress, it is at times very difficult to gauge it.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
SUVs owners are often castigated by treehuggers for their Earth-unfriendly lifestyle. A new book argues that pets are just as bad.
New Zealand authors Robert and Brenda Vale's book, "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living" is an exhaustive analysis of the environmental impact of common pets such as cats and dogs. The authors studied the carbon emissions created by pets, including the ingredients in their food and the land required to grow it. And the results don't bode well for Fido, who compares poorly to that SUV.
The Values noted that a medium dog consumes 90 grams of meat and 156 grams of cereals daily in its recommended 300-gram portion of dried dog food. They then determined that Fido wolfs down about 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals per year.
It takes 43.3 square meters of land to generate 1 kilogram of chicken per year — far more for beef and lamb — and 13.4 square meters to generate a kilogram of cereals. So that gives him a footprint of 0.84 hectares. For a big dog such as a German shepherd, the figure is 1.1 hectares
Meanwhile, a Toyota Land Cruiser driven a modest 10,000 kilometers a year, uses 55.1 gigajoules, which includes the energy required both to fuel and to build it. One hectare of land can produce approximately 135 gigajoules of energy per year, so the Land Cruiser's eco-footprint is about 0.41 hectares — less than half that of a medium-sized dog.
The authors aren't really arguing that we should eat our pets of course, merely that we need to think more about the ecological impact of the things we do on a daily basis, and how we choose to use land.
"Owning a dog really is quite an extravagance, mainly because of the carbon footprint of meat," Vale told New Scientist magazine. So what's the "eco-pawprint" of your pet?
German shepherds: 1.1 hectares, compared with 0.41ha for a large SUV
Cats: 0.15ha (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf).
Hamsters: 0.014ha (two of them equate to a medium-sized plasma TV).
Goldfish: 0.00034ha (an eco-finprint equal to two cellphones).
Religion - is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that (generally) involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.
This definition includes following certain rituals because of what one believes. Concepts like “codified beliefs”, “rituals”, “inherited traditions”, “system of belief”, are all used to describe religion. While it may be true that Christianity is categorized as a religion, I don’t think it’s a precise categorization when you consider what Christianity actually is. I would define Christianity this way:
Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed by the Bible. In summary, Jesus taught that union with Him is the only way to have salvation from sin, a peaceful relationship with God, and eternal life. This is based on His living a sinless life, dying an atoning death, and rising again on our behalf. Union with Christ comes by faith (trust) in Him.
Religion can be practiced by anyone- even people who have no relationship with God can be “religious” as religion primarily involves the outward actions.
Christianity, in the biblical sense of the concept, can only be practiced or experienced through a personal relationship with Christ.
Religion, understood the way most understand it today, is dangerous to our spiritual growth as it places undue emphasis on outward rituals and rites and not enough emphasis, if any, on our heart’s devotion to Christ. I am not saying there is no place for outward rituals and rites, on the contrary, the bible commands some (baptism and the Lord's Supper as examples) but rather they are not the substance of our religion but expressions and encouragers of it.
I am taken back to what Paul warns the Colossians (and us) concerning the matter of outward religion and practice.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Marciano fought 49 times as a professional, beating 43 of those opponents by knockout. His greatest fight was against Jersey Joe Walcott when he won the title in 1952. Rocky got knocked down in the first round (the only time in his career), but came back to knock Walcott out in the 13th round. The clip below shows these two parts of their great fight. Rocky retired a perfect 49-0. He never lost a match.
Modern pundits never give Marciano the respect he deserves as they consistently list Mohammed Ali as the greatest ever, some times Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis make it higher on the list than Rocky. Ali was a great one for sure, but he lost 5 times. He only knocked out 37 of his 61 opponents. I wish we could have seen a match up of these two guys in their prime, it would have been spectacular.
As it is, every Italian knows who the greatest is.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
SNL stopped being funny after Chris Farley left as a regular in 1995. This skit is a great piece of actual satire.
This guy brought me many laughs in the 80's. Wiki's description sums up the Capper quite well-
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I am preaching through Galatians at Redeemer and we are studying the section of chapter 5 that begins with:
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the child of God to see sin defeated in his or her life, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is required. How does the Holy Spirit work?
Sometimes I think we expect the Holy Spirit to zap us or provide some wild manifestation to tell us it is present and working. In actuality, the Spirit’s powerful work is usually behind the scenes and subtle in our lives. The power of the Spirit working isn’t usually found in the flashes and explosions of mountain top spiritual experiences but more often quietly and softly as it kills our desires for certain sins and lusts and replaces them with a desire for God.
Growing up just a few miles from Niagara Falls I’ll bet I have seen the Falls a hundred times or more in my lifetime. I always knew they were a major source of electrical power but never really understood how. I have stood at the brink of the Falls many times thinking the power provided must come from the violently flowing, froth-filled final couple hundred yards of the water before it plunged a few hundred feet. Certainly that’s where the power resided, right? In fact, the power provided by the Falls came from a quiet, almost unnoticeable source a mile or two upstream from the spectacular brink of Niagara.
Well before the water drops over the edge, there are tunnels of conduit that divert water from going over the Falls and down long shafts where it passes through hydroelectric turbines that supply power to nearby areas of the Canada and the USA before returning to the river well past the Falls. Up to 375,000 gallons of water per second is diverted from the Niagara River through conduits under the City of Niagara Falls to power plants! When a person stares at Niagara Falls he or she is only seeing half (or less) of the water that could be going over because so much is quietly and subtley diverted to make power.
"The work of the Spirit, then, is joined to the Word of God. But a distinction is made, that we may know that the external word is of no avail by itself unless animated by the power of the Spirit ...All power of action, then, resides in the Spirit himself." - John Calvin
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The NY Times has finally posted something that reveals the brutal side of the abortion debate. Like it or not, the Times sets the pace for most news media outlets. Their lack of legitimate abortion coverage has long hindered the truth from being seen by all.
Perhaps the NY Times is changing it's practice? I don't know, but please read this important article they just published on their blog:
Behind the Scenes: Picturing fetal remains
May our countrymen wake up to the consistent holocaust that has cursed us for close to four decades.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Absent from today's ride in to school was the usual boisterous back seat with my middle and youngest sons jockeying for the side they wanted most. None of the usual litany of questions from me as to whether they remembered their lunches, homework assignments, or musical instruments. Instead there was almost complete silence for the entire 12 minutes, save for intermittent sniffles from all of us.
Today, in less than an hour, Shari and I have to bring back the toddler we have been watching for over 2 months and it's proving to be very difficult for all of us.
He came to us about 10 weeks ago in pretty rough shape. The little 17-month old boy suffered second degree burns over half his body in an accident his parents couldn't explain. He was placed in foster care with us after spending 8 days in a burn unit south of here a few hours. We weren't told how long he would be with us, but all indications pointed toward a lengthy stay while an investigation unfolded. Understandably there were family members who insisted on caring for him, however State officials were hesitant to place him in such custody until some preliminary standards of care could be proven by these family members.
So he came in to our home bandaged head to toe in gauze. From day one my wife has been awesome with him. The choice to be foster parents was something I felt comfortable with because of how able my wife is as a nurturing mother. She is the most compassionate person I know and she began loving this little guy from the beginning. My boys have shocked me and warmed my heart serving him selflessly the entire time. Each of them changed bandages, diapers, clothes, helped to bathe him and put on his special lotion every day. They have played with him patiently and been largely responsible for bringing him from a state of sadness and pain to giggles and jolly times. He would light up every time he caught a glimpse of one of the boys.
We took him to church the second week he was with us and not surprisingly, the Redeemer family took him in and have been loving on him for these past two months. He was a handful in the nursery as he was totally unfamiliar with such a thing meeting brand new people non-stop since he was taken from his home. Patiently many have ministered to him and I have to believe he has felt a corporate love not previously experienced. I also hope exposure to him will tweak some of our people to consider foster care themselves. Very simply, I truly believe Christians need to be leading the way in taking care of the "least of these". We have so many solid families in our church who would do a tremendous job and provide a wonderful ministry if they became foster parents.
So last week our social worker tells us that his paternal grandmother would like to take custody of him and possibly adopt him if his parents are not deemed capable. Shari and I both recognized how this is generally what the goal is- to re-integrate children back with their families. Theoretically we have been preparing ourselves for some time. We should be more joyful than we are, having accomplished our mission of loving him and helping him to heal from his injuries. We are happy his family wants him back, furthermore his grandmother seems very loving and caring from what we know of her. Nevertheless we are torn about giving him up as we have grown attached and also wonder what his future will be like. Obviously we know God is sovereign, and that is a great comfort, but still... As I write this my wife is coming to meet me so we can drive an hour south to give him to his grandparents. It's a very tough day, I won't kid you.
I can't post any pictures of him, nor can I reveal his name, but I would like to close with a prayer of blessing for him adapted from Aaron's benediction to the people of God.
Dear , May the Lord bless you and keep you; 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...I hope we meet again. Amen
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
A Roman Catholic student group sponsored the advertisment you see below in the University newspaper.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I have always been proud of my parents. They are the picture of hard work, generosity, and devotion. This weekend we are celebrating their 40 years of marriage and I am grateful. I am grateful because it has become rare for people to remain so devoted for 4 decades. In an age that is characterized by flippant commitments and broken vows, it's no small thing to stay true (by God's grace) to your spouse for a life time. Their example gives me strength to remain devoted to my marriage.
I won't embarrass them by telling you how much they have grown spiritually in the last 5-7 years, it has been astounding and inspiring. Their moving to Kansas three years ago has been one of the greatest things ever to happen to my family.
One interesting note about my Dad. He married my mother when he was 38, the same age I am now. Looking at his pictures from the wedding (1969) is surreal, since I'm a chip off the old block and all.
To clarify what a skullet is, see former professional wrestler and Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura and his classic skullet-
A skullet is essentially a mullet with no hair up front.
I am happy to keep Reepicheep readers up to speed on the latest in hair styles and fads.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I have suddenly noticed a sharp increase in sleeveless white t-shirts, bad tattoo's (note here: there are good ones), NRA bumper stickers on pick'em up trucks, mullets, missing teeth, skoal rings, stained old John Deere hats, crushed empty Budweiser cans, circa-1980 sunglasses (Magnum P.I. style), cigarette butts, steel-tipped boots, and chains hanging from wallets...
Oh...it's NASCAR weekend in Kansas City!!!!!