Friday, February 26, 2010

Devastating Speech by Ryan

There's little doubt President Obama's motive for having a "summit" on health care reform was to make opposition to his plan to socialize medicine (ultimately that is clearly his goal) look like obstructionists with no solutions. Instead, he got several needed lessons on Economics 101. National banckruptcy will not fix healthcare issues. It's impossible. It can't be done that way.

Paul Ryan delivers a devastating speech worth listening to if you care about the truth.

Are you a Freeloader?

A "freeloader" is someone who depends on another for support without reciprocating. The Urban Dictionary says it more bluntly- A freeloader is someone who exploits chances to get free stuff whenever possible.

Back when the most efficient way to transport goods was by ship, it was common for the captain to hire people to load the cargo on the ship. Typically, they were paid when the ship had been filled. Oftentimes, the captain would sail away without paying. The loaders had no way to chase after the ship, so they ended up not getting paid for it. Hence the term, "freeloader". Over time the term came in to more general use. In the late 19th Century "freeloader" was used to describe the hobos that lived and traveled by stowing away on freight trains like the picture above.

Freeloader refers to a person who is happy to get something for nothing. I think there are lots of freeloaders in the Church. Heck, I remember being one myself.

I don't know much about Vincent Cheung, but I can tell you his comments on Galatians and Philippians have been solid and helpful in my preparations for preaching these books. I just came across a convicting statement by Cheung as he reflected on the generosity of the Philippian believers in supporting the advance of the gospel through Paul and various churches. He says something I think is dead on accurate and even uses the term freeloader:

"Most professing Christians are freeloaders; that is, they benefit from a church or ministry without sharing in its costs and responsibilities. Although they know that the church or ministry requires much financial and practical assistance, they allow other people to make the necessary sacrifices. Some of them value the church or ministry enough so that they are even willing to help if they know that it will fail without their assistance, but not before the organization has reached such a desperate condition.

If you are a freeloader? It is often difficult for other people to recognize it, especially if you appear to be very enthusiastic and supportive about the church or ministry, and this is why you are able to shamelessly remain a freeloader with that organization. But God knows what you are, and he keeps account. He knows those who are generous and those who are not, so that Paul, 'Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously' (2 Corinthians 9:6). In fact, this is Paul's main reason for rejoicing at the generosity of the Philippians: 'Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account'(4:17)."

Are you a freeloader?

True Killa: The Praying Mantis

I'm so glad there was no Discovery Channel when I was a kid. I would have been enslaved to watching clips like this.

Pound for pound, the Praying Mantis is one tough hombre.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dutch Priest denies Communion to Prince

St. John's (Den Bosch, Netherlands)

In fairness, if I am critical of the Roman Church for it's seeming lack of consistent discipline against some of her members who are in practical opposition to the church's teaching, I must report on moments of faithfulness like has occured in the Netherlands.

Apparently a very bold Dutch Priest denied communion to an openly homosexual prince. Here's the article as reported by the Christian Telegraph site. I highlighted a very important and well worded statement:

Protests against priest who refused communion to gay “prince”

The Dutch Catholic priest who withheld Communion last week from his town's openly homosexual Carnival “prince” was faced at Mass this Sunday with a protest from homosexual activists. Saying that he feared “sins” and “sacrilege,” the priest chose not to distribute Communion at all, reports Patrick B. Craine, “Communion is a moment of respect and reverence, not an object of protest,” stated Fr. Luc Buyens.

Protesters, led by town council member Dick Boonman and Gay Krant editor Henk Krol, distributed pink triangles with the word “Homo,” to be worn on the chest at Mass. The protest was held at the parish after Fr. Buyens chose to deny Communion to homosexual Gijs Vermeulen, 24, on February 13th.

Vermeulen was the “prince” of the town's annual Carnival, a traditional pre-Lenten celebration. At the customary Carnival Mass, the prince addresses the congregation and then leads them forward in receiving Communion.

But, because Vermeulen had been public about his active homosexuality leading up to the festivities, Fr. Buyens contacted him the week before the Carnival Mass to advise him that he would not be able to receive Communion. The priest offered to give him a blessing, and allowed him to address the congregation. Vermeulen attended the Mass, stating that he did not want to “spoil the party,” but did not go up for a blessing.

In response to this week's protest, Fr. Buyens decided not to distribute Communion at the Mass after consulting his bishop in Den Bosch.

The diocese issued a statement today noting that Mass is not an appropriate venue for protest. They pointed out, further, that homosexual tendencies do not bar a person from receiving Communion, but rather it is the active practice of homosexuality that presents the problem. The diocese asked for respect of the Catholic teaching that practicing homosexuals not receive.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that Fr. Buyens stated after Mass on Sunday that he would maintain his stance against distributing Communion to open homosexuals. reports that homosexual activists are planning to protest at St. John's Cathedral in Den Bosch next Sunday in order to challenge the bishop.

Concerning video clip of ordained PCA elders hits internet...

Here's a quick video clip of our elementary youth group's Winter Olympics last night.

Great fun, of course.

My only concern begins at 1:38 of the video. There you will see two ordained Pastors (The Reverends Brian Hough and Nathan Currey) and an elder in the Church (RE Travis Shanahan) looking most ungraceful.

Where was I? Probably praying, fasting, or reading my bible somewhere.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reagan on Socialism through Health Care

This has circulated for several months now.

It's worth listening to again while the President and many congress people try to weasel a health "reform" bill through to law.

Happy Birthday Nico!

Dear Nico,

On the occasion of your 9th Birthday I want to use the words of blessing Jacob used (in Genesis 48) toward his grandsons, adapted to bless you:

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the One who has redeemed me from all evil, bless you Nico; and in you may Christ's glory be shown, my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; and may your future family grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth, to be a blessing to the Lord your God and a beacon pointing to Christ our King and Savior.”


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brit Hume reaffirms advice to Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods gave an apology speech (no doubt written by a well paid PR firm) last Friday where he referenced his intention to lean upon his "Buddhist faith" going forward.

Bill O'Reilly took that as a direct response to Brit Hume's advice that Tiger turn to Christianity. Lat night Hume re-affirmed his advice when O'Reilly posed his theory.

Reep reconsiders...

After further consideration I wish shift my stance slightly about figure skating. I still do not think it belongs in the Olympics, but after seeing what I saw the other night, I no longer think it's ridiculous.

This is ridiculous-

Apparently they wear the costume on the left at the recent European championship. Notice it's slightly different a month later at the Olympics.

So, they wear this hideous get up one month and think to themselves, "we can make it better if we draw some different squigglies here and add a leaf there". Seriously? A month to think about it and they not only decide to stay with the Adam and Eve meets Pocahontas look, but they think it's improved with a few different strange designs?

They look like the a cheerleader crashed into the Statue of Liberty and one of Santa's elves and were then pre-marked for an autopsy.

Utterly ridiculous...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Motyer, now on Philippians 1:9

Philippians 1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment...

With every new expositional sermon series I preach, I gravitate toward certain commentaries in my preparation. I have just begun preaching through Philippians but have already thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed Alec Motyer's comments on this letter of Paul.

Motyer, is an able bible scholar, though he denies it. "I'm not really a scholar," he says. "I'm just a man who loves the Word of God" (this is from a nice article about him by Banner of Truth). More specifically, Moyter is an Anglican. It has been noted by one of his friends that most orthodox American Anglicans might regard the Catholics as their nearest denominational neighbors, for Motyer it is Presbyterians of a more conservative color (like me). He is very much a product of the definitely Reformational Church of Ireland in which he was reared-in many ways a modern Puritan. Motyer is strongly and wonderfully aligned with J.I. Packer and John Stott as well.

Commenting on Philippians 1, after noting the sovereign work of God to justify and sanctify us, he comes to verse 9 and comments-

“The remainder of our earthly life is an outworking of what God has already ‘in-worked’. We are called to become what we are. This is the mighty imperative of Christian ethics. Every other ethical system calls us to the costly effort of becoming what we are not. But in the full salvation already bequeathed to us in Christ, the new nature is already ours, waiting for expression, poised for growth, until its potential is triggered by our obedience to the word of God. For the Philippians the special and immediate line of obedience, as Paul discerned it, was love.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Next Olympic Sport?

Why not? If other theatrical sports are currently accepted, why not professional wrestling? Can you see The Undertaker wearing the gold medal in 2014?

The Word Became Flesh...

I have been working with my son AJ on a long memory verse this week for school: John 1:1-14.

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

What a passage!

I particularly enjoy comparing verse 1 and 14.

(1)In the beginning was the word...(14)and the Word became flesh.

(1)and the Word was with God
...(14)and dwelt among us.

(1)and the Word was God...(14)full of grace and truth.

Do you see what God has done on our behalf? It could be no more amazing than the incarnation. Paul writes to the Philippians concerning Christ who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

The eternal Word- the one who was with God, who is God, who is the creator of all things, including flesh, now becomes flesh. I have studied this biblical reality off and on for many years, yet working on John 1 with my son has struck me afresh. The bible is clear about the incarnation- the only way man can be saved- God has to do it Himself for us. Wow. The eternal one subjected Himself to time, space, and creaturehood. Harry Reasoner said it well-

My guess is that the whole story- that a virgin was selected by God to bear His Son as a way of showing His love and concern for man- is not an idea that has been popular with theologians in spite of all the lip service they have given it. It is a somewhat illogical idea, and theologians love logic almost as much as they love God. It is so revolutionary a thought that it probably could only come from a God who is beyond logic and beyond theology.

The Word became flesh. What a demotion! But here’s the clincher- He didn’t come in the form of a human King. Yes, we know He is King, but He does not come dressed in splendor. Quite the opposite- a bondservant born of a lowly woman, to die on a cross.

I told AJ I didn't care if he memorized all 14 verses perfectly verbatim, but I absolutely did not want him to lose the incredible revelation this passage gives.

Biden enters Lent with no problem...

Pro-abortion/Pro-contraceptive Vice President Biden received his ashes from the Roman Catholic Church this past Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My last observation, I promise...

I did my best to watch the men's "short program" in figure skating last night. A few observations:

1. If I never see sequins, sparklies, fuzzies, and spandex on men again, that would be more than fine.

2. There's no way figure skating should be an olympic sport. It's a theatrical competition at best.

3. Most of the routines look just about the same, only slight variations, despite Scott Hamilton and his female sidekick's laudible attempts to pump up our perception of this or that performance.

Finally, there is a good article worth reading here.

OK, no more comments from me on figure skating, particularly men's figure skating.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A worthy Olympic sport...

Today begins the greatest of the winter Olympic sporting events- the hockey tournament.

Team USA is strong but clearly the underdog to home country and gold medal favorite, Canada. Unfortunately, hockey is one of the few things Canada is good at.

Obviously I would love to see Team USA spank Canada, but it will be tough. Finland, Sweden, and Russia are tough also. It'll be an exciting tournament and a welcome break from figure skating.

I'm elated that Team USA will be wearing the retro-1980 Olympic jersey in honor of the greatest accomplishment in team sports history.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alec Motyer on Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. - Paul to the Philippians (1:6)

"Salvation would be a wretchedly unsure thing if it had no other foundation than my having chosen Christ. The human will blows hot and cold, is firm and unstable by fits and starts; it offers no security of tenure. But it is the will of God that is the ground of salvation. No-one would be saved had not the Lord been moved by his own spontaneous and unexplained love to choose his people before the world was, and, at the decisive moment, to open our hearts to hear, understand and accept 'the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation'. This, then, is assurance: God has willed my salvation."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 Olympic thought from Reepicheep

I have only one thought going in to this 21st Winter Olympics- a major international multi-sport event being held through to February 28 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Are you ready?

No "sport" that fails to provide an outcome in terms of goals, time, or distance should be in the Olympics. Period.

Alrighty then, now that I got that off my chest- Let the Games begin!!!

I'm just sayin'

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hartman exits KC without deserved fanfare...thus is the way of MLS

My youngest son whirled around the stairs to come look at the computer monitor that announced the Wizards had signed a new goalie from the Danish League...yes, the Danish League. Being a savvy fan already at the age of 7, Jordan said, "But we have Kevin Hartman".

Well, according to Down the Byline, we don't have Kevin Hartman any more. The new goalie was signed as a replacement for Hartman. So, three solid years of service by Kevin Hartman ends without even a whimper. Apparently he wanted more than the $150K the Wizards paid him last year? The word isn't exactly out on the details- which seldom make sense in MLS anyways. A few minutes later Jordan returned sad-faced with his circa 2007 Wizards jersey on sulking about the idea of Hartman not playing for the Wizards this year.

You see my young son Jordan knows something about Kevin Hartman. Over the past three seasons the Wizards squeaked in to the playoffs twice (07 and 08) in large part due to the play of veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. Despite being unduly snubbed by the all-star popularity contest the past few seasons, Hartman’s statistics were very respectable in his three seasons in KC. Even last year, a relatively poor one for the club, he had a 1.40 GAA in his 13th MLS campaign. Most impressively, however, in his three years in KC, he played every regular season game- 90 total.

Yes, his stats are sound, but they don’t tell the whole story of his time in KC. Obviously there are all sorts of variables that lead to the outcome of 90 minute matches; however a good case can be made for Kevin Hartman being the reason Kansas City didn't lose 5 games more than they did in each of the last two seasons.

To appreciate Hartman’s value to Kansas City it must be noted that he spent his time playing in KC with only one consistent piece in front of him, Jimmy Conrad, over three full seasons. His other defenders have been changing almost every game and were laden with converted midfielders and rookie fullbacks. Quite frankly, the Wizards have been a very unsettled team over Hartman's tenure with them, but his professionalism and consistency kept them in most matches.

When Hartman came to Kansas City last season his credentials were obvious- he led the league in most all time goalkeeping categories. First in shut outs and wins and in the upper ranks of all the major goalkeeping categories. He had a solid season in 2007, yet most would probably say he was in decline. During the off season however, Hartman dropped 20 pounds and put together a 2008 campaign that was most impressive. It’s doubtful many people will look back on Hartman’s career and pick the 2008 season as one of his best, especially having won goalkeeper of the year in 1999 and two MLS titles with L.A. in 2002 and 2005, but from a contribution to his team perspective, Hartman did some remarkable thing that year at a stage of his career when you would not expect such an impact from him. His 2009 campaign was statistically on par with 2008 with an even shakier defense in front of him most of the season. Ending the 2009 season Hartman was still a very productive goalie, certainly one of the most reliable and experienced.

As for his career, Hartman eclipsed 300 games played in MLS. No one has done that. He is second in all time minutes played. It’s true that Hartman isn’t Buffon or Dida, but it would be easy enough to argue he has put together the best goalkeeping career in MLS history. Kevin Hartman is an amazing story when you consider he had to prove himself at every level before ascending. He essentially played for three high school teams and two different colleges. He had to start his career with the Galaxy behind the legendary Campos, win back his job in L.A. from Matt Reis, and then re-establish himself in KC after 10 seasons on a different team. In every place he has proved to be strong enough to be a major factor in his team’s success. These last couple of years in KC have been no different for Kevin Hartman, and the Wizards got him for a mere $150,000. Talk about a deal.

So, my son doesn't get the move and either do I. We give up one of the greatest MLS goalies to ever play in apparent exchange for a 2nd tier Danish goalkeeper? Did Hartman really want that much more money? Why is my son wearing his circa 2007 Wizards jersey, you ask? Because it has Kevin Hartman's signature in the middle of the back.

What do I tell Jordan when he asks where Claudio Lopez went?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Dark Summit" reveals our dark hearts

"Dark Summit" by Nick Heil is an account of the 2006 Spring climbing season on Mt. Everest where an unusual number of climbers died trying to climb the world's tallest mountain.

Under particular scrutiny that year was the seeming lack of ethics that allowed 40 different climbers to pass incapacitated British climber David Sharp en route to the summit. Sharp eventually died on the northeast ridge of Everest igniting a firestorm of debate about the selfishness summiting Everest had seemed to fuel.

Of interest to me was author Nick Heil's reflections on the human condition and how attempting to climb a mountain like Everest reveals something sinister in us (human beings). Heil writes-

"...the modern circus on Everest had exposed something essential about who we are as human beings- an insight that reverberated among climbers and non-climbers alike. More specifically, the cavalcade of deaths during 2006 raised the highly uncomfortable possibility that, in fact, we are not all in this together- that we are simply the latest edition of a complex species tenuously drawn together into social systems that mask our genetic predilection toward selfishness and competition. The argument, followed to its logical conclusion, had less and less to do with climbing mountains and more to do with the foundations of human sociology, and it challenged some of our most cherished assumptions about the roots of compassion and altruism." (Dark Summit, Heil, p.234)

Heil's observations carry a naturalistic, evolutionary tone regarding human sociology, but he does recognize something about human beings that is true- we're not rooted in goodness and compassion as so often suggested. At our core we're depraved and wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9, Genesis 6:5, Psalm 51:, 58:3, Ephesians 2:1-5, etc.)

Every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. Obsession, desperation, and physical peril can bring out our deepest efforts to self-preserve and do some despicable things. Tales from the great mountains of the world are replete with the truth about human beings when shown for who they really are.

Only redemption in Christ changes who we are at the core (2 Corinthians 5:17). Even as redeemed people our "old man" could certainly rear his head under duress (Galatians 5). Sin is powerful. Our nature is corrupt. There's no evil act we're incapable of committing.

This realization about who we are ought to drive us to Christ once again- the only One who has defeated sin (Hebrews 9, Romans 6) and can give us the power to see it defeated in our lives as he moves us upward to the only summit that really counts- Glory (Romans 8).

Luther to the devil, through Christ

Nathan alerted me to an excellent article by Carl Trueman you really must read here.

In Trueman's post he alludes to a famous interchange between Luther and the Devil (pictured above where Luther throws his inkwell at Satan). Luther describes being accused of filthy sin by the Devil as follows-

“Martin, you are a liar, greedy, lecherous, a blasphemer, a hypocrite. You cannot stand before God.” To which Luther would respond: “Well, yes, I am. And, indeed, Satan, you do not know the half of it. I have done much worse than that and if you care to give me your full list, I can no doubt add to it and help make it more complete. But you know what? My Savior has died for all my sins—those you mention, those I could add and, indeed, those I have committed but am so wicked that I am unaware of having done so. It does not change the fact that Christ has died for all of them; his blood is sufficient; and on the Day of Judgment I shall be exonerated because he has taken all my sins on himself and clothed me in his own perfect righteousness.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

From a mother's heart...

My mother has given me many thoughtful gifts but this one may stand above them all:

Now where to put it? My basement mancave or my office mancave?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Men's Conference in Hughson, CA

Having never been to the land of fruits and nuts (literally), I jumped at the chance to speak at a men's conference in Hughson, CA. It was sponsored by the Northern California Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The hosting church was Sovereign Grace Community Church pastored by Mark Richline.

My topic was "Equipping Kingdom Women". I was essentially encouraging my brothers to embrace a biblical view of manhood and womanhood and be proactive in understanding, encouraging, and equipping the women in our lives (sisters, wives, mothers, daughters, etc) for ministry in God's Kingdom. The men were very interactive and engaged. I was personally blessed by my time of teaching and fellowship with them.

I particularly enjoyed staying with Pastor Mark and his sweet family. I also met several hunters in the congregation and had the joy of hanging out with one of the church elders Saturday afternoon checking out his almond farm and exchanging hunting tales against the backdrop of his impressive wall of elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and whitetail deer shoulder mounts. Worshiping at a different church this morning without any preaching or worship leading duties was also a blessing, I very much appreciated Pastor Mark's sermon from Ephesians 1 on Adoption before I headed to the airport.

The picture above is what much of Hughson and it's outskirts look like some time next month when the almond trees start blossoming. Hughson is about 90 miles from Sacramento and is predominantly agrarian, specifically with citrus groves (fruits) and almonds (nuts) as the main crops. By the way, in the Central Valley, as they call it, almond is pronounced "a-mend" with a long a sound. Very interesting.

I can certainly see why parts of California like this are so appealing. Gorgeous weather year round, beautiful scenery, and multiple species of animals to make in to sweet shoulder mounts for one's man-cave inventory needs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Risky for husbands to ask (thanks alot Lou Priolo!)

As a brotherly challenge to the men I will be speaking to this weekend in California, I'm going to present eleven questions Lou Priolo suggests we (husbands) should pose to our wives. Asking these questions will help us to build intimacy with our wives. Asking these questions will help us to better understand our helpmates. Indeed, Scripture bids us to live with our wives in an understanding way.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. - 1 Peter 1:7

1. If you could change three things about me that would make me more Christ-like, what would you change?

2. Do I have any other annoying mannerisms or irritating idiosyncrasies that you would like to see me change?

3. How does it make you feel when I…(name something that you know displeases her)?

4. What goes through your mind when I… (name something that you know displeases her)?

5. What do you want from me that I’m not giving you at the moment I…(name something you know displeases her)?

6. What specifically would you like to see me do to change in this area (name something that you know displeases her)?

7. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our marriage?

8. What would it take to make our marriage a ten?

9 What is your opinion about…?

10. What personal goals do you have for your life? How can I help you achieve them?

11. Do you have any needs or desires that you believe I ought to be meeting or fulfilling better than I do? What are they?

(these questions are found in "The Complete Husband" by Lou Priolo)

I confess to not having asked all these questions of my own wife yet. Thankfully she doesn't read my blog too regularly so I might get away with not having to ask these myself. But for you, the faithful Reepicheep reader, you have now been challenged to try these out with your wife!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's a sick feeling when you realize you have no real friends...

I guess I just don't get it. I'm feeling betrayed and abandoned as reality sets in.

I used to think I had many good friends and several people who loved me.

I now realize such a sense of being cherished and accepted was a lie, a figment of my pathetic imagination. Thankfully, I am convinced my wife was also deceived and therefore not complicitous in this 38-year ruse. The jury is still out on my parents, the facts concerning their knowledge have not been established at the time of this posting.

Why has no one introduced me to Nutella before now?

On one hand I am exuberant to have been introduced to Nutella very recently. On the other hand, the fact that so many have known me and known of Nutella, but have failed to introduce me earlier, makes me question the authenticity of almost all my earthly relationships.

Why people? Why?

Please, no token apologies. It's too late.