Friday, April 30, 2010
The first part of this statement- "work out your own salvation" - has been wrongly wrenched out of context by those who try to make salvation a matter of our efforts. When read in the greater context of Philippians and the bible, we realize it is God who grants us salvation through faith in Christ (and his finished work) then proceeds to manifest this reality by our changed lives. The second part of the statement above- "it is God who works in you..."- is necessary to properly understand the call for us to work out our own salvation.
I like what George Muller said- "We are to 'work out' what God in his grace has 'worked in' ."
Dr. Boice also made a helpful observation about this passage- "The verse does not say, 'work for your salvation' or 'work toward your salvation' or 'work at your salvation'. It says 'work out your salvation.' And no one can work his salvation out unless God has already worked it in."
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake. The photos were reputed to have been taken off site near the Black Sea, but the film footage the Chinese now have was shot on location on Mt. Ararat. In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions. During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubabyazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.
See the full post here. Hat Tip: Fr. Andrew Strobl
If this guy is right, talk about a tough feat to carry out a hoax- lugging an old wooden structure up 13,000 ft on Mt. Ararat!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The search for Noah's Ark has been going on for centuries. Is it possible a new claim of discovery is true?
See the article here.
UPDATE: Here's a few more slides of the discovery. If it's not the Ark, I wonder what wood structure, with no nails, would be 13,000 feet up a mountain?
Disney has missed a chance for a huge pay day. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe did so well because Disney followed the book so closely. As is the case with any blockbuster movie, big money is made by repeat attenders. I know several people (myself included) who saw the first film at least three times in the theater. Prince Caspian, while not a bad movie on it's own, simply didn't follow the book closely enough. I had no interest in seeing it twice in the theater. This is where that film failed to rake in the bucks necessary to merit the next installment.
So Disney ditched Dawn Treader and 20th Century Fox picks it up. I'm cautious, but it seems-according to production sources- Dawn Treader has been done right, more of a return to close adherence to the book. I hope such is the case. Lewis' work needs no help from modern producers. If 20th Century Fox delivers a film that matches the accuracy of the first installment, they are in for a huge pay day, and deservedly so.
We'll find out soon enough.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I just read a relatively recent (2002) short essay by him about Christian Education. After bluntly stating Christians shouldn't send their children to American public schools (due to the godlessness of the worldview promoted by the same and the lost opportunity to fulfill Deuteronomy 6), he does grant a particular value in having Christian teachers in public schools. He says some things worth contemplating-
I grant that there are Christian teachers in the public school system, and I am grateful for them. They are front-line missionaries. It is true that their lips must often be closed; that is also true in other circumstances where there are enemies of the gospel, such as in Muslim countries. But they do have occasional opportunities to speak to their colleagues and students about Jesus, and these are not to be despised. Such people should understand their role. Their work is not to educate Christian kids. They should be honest and direct their Christian friends to send their children elsewhere. In the public school setting they can never hope to teach Christian young people as it should be done, at least while keeping their jobs. Their job is to perform a service for their government employer, and in that situation to present, as much as possible, a witness of word and life. There are subtle ways, too, in which they can present a witness, even in class. They can, for example, present internal critiques of secular philosophies, showing that they degenerate into nonsense under analysis. As such, they will be providing a good intellectual service for their students, while calling the whole secularist ideology into question. And imagine the student discovering outside of class that this teacher, a skeptic of all types of thinking in the classroom, is really a Christian!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
After reading Horton's post linked below, I thought again of the profit that comes from being refreshed about the nature of "The Church". The Westminster Confession of Faith does a tremendous job capturing the bible's teaching on this important question in the 25th Chapter-
CHAP. XXV. - Of the Church.
1. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
3. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto.
4. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
5. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will.
6. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof.
Dr. Michael Horton has a great post that speaks of the difference between a movement and a church. I particularly appreciated the way he addressed the recent trend for people who are broadly evangelical calling themselves "Reformed". Read his entire post here.
Here's a helpful quote from his post:
"Reformed” has a specific meaning. It’s not defined by movements, parachurch ministries, or powerful leaders, but by a confession that is lived out in concrete contexts across a variety of times and places. The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort) define what it means to be Reformed. Like Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Anabaptism, Reformed Christianity is a particular tradition. It’s not defined by a few fundamentals, but by a whole system of faith and practice. If being Reformed can be reduced to believing in the sovereignty of God and election, then Thomas Aquinas is as Reformed as R. C. Sproul. However, the Reformed confession is a lot more than that. Even the way it talks about these doctrines is framed within a wider context of covenant theology.
It’s intriguing to me that people can call themselves Reformed today when they don’t embrace this covenant theology. This goes to the heart of how we read the Bible, not just a few doctrines here or there.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
I have eaten asparagus every possible way there is to eat it. Blanched, stir-fried, baked, roasted, broiled, grilled, raw, with my eyes closed, nose plugged, and doused in all manner of gravies, sauces, and spices...it doesn't matter- Asparagus just plain tastes like crap no matter what. Don't anyone disagree with me- there's no arguing against this.
I want to like asparagus because there are less than four calories per spear, it’s low in calories, and is also one of the best sources of folic acid, not to mention a little fiber and protein, but the atrocious taste prohibits me.
I have come to a possible conclusion. I wonder, maybe asparagus was never meant to be eaten until mankind fell in to sin? Perhaps asparagus is a punishment for sin? Notice God's Word to Adam after his Fall in to sin by eating of the forbidden tree-
Genesis 3:17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
Could this explain the punishing, torturous, indeed cursed experience of eating asparagus?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Now we all know something about Iceland. They have a very angry volcano that is making life difficult for all of Europe. Three Redeemer members are on a mission trip to Moldova where they are now stuck until the smoke clears and Air Moldova can carry them to Frankfurt and back to the States. One of those stranded mission team members is "Woody", who posts comments almost daily on this blog.
I could be wrong, but besides this volcano currently erupting, there's not much to say about Iceland, is there? It seems like a generally boring place. Oh, I do remember a reference to Iceland in "Dumb and Dumber"- an endangered Icelandic Snow Owl was accidentally killed by Lloyd when uncorking a bottle of champagne at a benefit for the preservation of it's kind. Also, I heard on a news report there are only 330,000 residents of Iceland and it's hideously cold there all the time, hence ICEland. Clever.
OK, here's the thing Iceland- you don't have much going for you, let's just be honest. One thing you do have going for you are some amazing natural wonders, including this volcano that's reeking so much havoc and drawing world attention upon you. So, I have to ask- What's up with the ridiculous name you gave the volcano? What kind of Norse whiskey was someone drinking when they decided to call a volcano Eyjafjallajökull?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The Isaiah passage first-
Isaiah 45: 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. 25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”
Now Paul's letter to the Philippians concerning Jesus-
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
How did I miss this before?
I could- with no qualms, problems, or hesitation- preach Philippians 2:9-11 every week for a long, long time.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Simply put, it’s a poor and injured offense (Boston) facing a great goaltender (Miller) on one end, and an average and improving offense (Buffalo) facing a great goaltender (Rask) on the other end. They’re similar profiles on the surface as far as strengths and weaknesses, but one gets the feeling that this year’s Sabres exude positive energy and overachievement, while this year’s Bruins exude negative energy and underachievement. Therefore, it’s hard to see this series going any more than six games.
The Sabres don’t get much respect, but then again, most people haven’t watched them that closely. Yes, Buffalo wins because of Ryan Miller, but they also win because they play really well as a team – A team that’s largely intact from last season. The Sabres stand a very good chance of making it at least as far as the Conference Finals, likely facing a much more depleted opponent in the second round.
HAT TIP: The always smiley Jon Meyers
Now let us fall before the majesty of our great God, acknowledging our faults, and praying that he will make us ever more conscious of them. May this lead us to a right repentance, and make us grow and increase in faith, as true sacrifices to him. Since our Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our redemption, let us also seek to dedicate ourselves fully to him. May we be led by him to persevere, so that in life and in death we seek no other contentment or rest than to acquiesce in his good will. May we glory in nothing other than the salvation which he has purchased for us. May this grace not only be granted to us, but to all peoples and nations on earth.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
American College of Pediatricians: There is no scientific evidence that anyone is born gay or transgendered.
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2010
Contact: Den Trumbull, MD, FCP, Vice President
Website contact: www.FactsAboutYouth.com
Email contact: info@FactsAboutYouth.com
Physicians Caution Educators on Dealing with Sexual Orientation and Gender Confusion
The American College of Pediatricians cautions educators about the management of students experiencing same-sex attraction or exhibiting symptoms of gender confusion. These concerns are outlined in a letter and fact sheet sent by College president Thomas Benton, MD, to all 14, 800 school district superintendents in the U.S. Dr. Benton also alerts them to a new Web resource, FactsAboutYouth.com, which was created by a coalition of health professionals to provide factual information to educators, parents, and students about sexual development.
“As pediatricians, our primary interest is in the health and well-being of children and youth,” Dr. Den Trumbull, Vice President of the College explains. “We are increasingly concerned that in too many instances, misinformation or incorrect assumptions are guiding well-intentioned educators to adopt policies that are actually harmful to those youth dealing with sexual confusion.”
The College reminds school superintendents that it is not uncommon for adolescents to experience transient confusion about their sexual orientation and that most students will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged. For this reason, schools should not seek to develop policy which “affirms” or encourages these non-heterosexual attractions among students who may merely be experimenting or experiencing temporary sexual confusion. Such premature labeling can lead some adolescents to engage in homosexual behaviors that carry serious physical and mental health risks.
There is no scientific evidence that anyone is born gay or transgendered. Therefore, the College further advises that schools should not teach or imply to students that homosexual attraction is innate, always life-long and unchangeable. Research has shown that therapy to restore heterosexual attraction can be effective for many people.
Optimal health and respect for all students can only be achieved within a school by first respecting the rights of students and parents to accurate information and to self-determination. It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school’s role to diagnose or attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not the school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.
The American College of Pediatricians is a national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children. The College produces sound policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and to influence society in the endeavor of childrearing.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Here's a hard-hitting gem from Vincent Cheung where he is commenting on the progression of Philippians 2 starting with Jesus in eternity, then becoming man, submitting himself to humiliation and death, but ultimately rising and being exalted and worshiped by all.
Because of Christ's willing sacrifice and submission, God exalted him to the highest place, so that all must worship him. But was not Christ God to begin with? Yes, but now we are referring to his state of incarnation, since we know that Christ has retained his human attributes in his resurrection. All must bow to him, and this includes all the false gods and false prophets in the non-Christian religions. Mohammed and Joseph Smith are now forced to bow to Jesus Christ from their place in hell, in the midst of their extreme agony – not as sincere worshipers, of course, but as the defeated enemies of Christ – even as their deceived followers think that these false prophets can lead them to heaven. As Peter writes, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time" (1 Peter 5:6). If you will humble yourself under God, he will lift you up, although he will do that according to his time and his plan.
Friday, April 9, 2010
This summer I am collaborating with Coach Chico Chiriboga (RPC Member and gifted soccer instructor) to introduce a new camp (July 4-10) to the regular Horn Creek Camp line-up. It’s the normal Horn Creek Camp week plus a 90-minute soccer camp component in the mornings with Coach Chico leading and myself assisting. I will speak in the evenings during the family gathering time. The rest of the time is totally open for family fun and free time at the beautiful Horn Creek camp. There’s hiking, fishing, swimming, water slides, horse rides, and tons of other great activities within a short drive of the camp. Also, our old friend Nathan Clark George will be one of the worship leaders!
The soccer component is primarily for children aged 3-13, but we’ll find a way for any who are interested to participate. It's not hard core, it'll be great fun for all. Chico is stellar at teaching great skills and concepts while making it a blast for all who participate.
In order to launch this new camp, Horn Creek has reduced the cost by $100 per person for this special week. PLUS, they have given Chico and I special invitation coupons worth an additional $200 off the total price. If you are interested in going, just email me or leave a comment with your email address and I will email you a coupon.
With the discounts, a family of five could attend this week of camp for around $1400!!! That’s an all-inclusive family vacation in the Sangre De Cristo mountains for $200 or less per day for your whole family. I just don’t think you’ll find a better deal anywhere.
Go to the Horn Creek site to check out details here. You'll see the special soccer camp on the first page.
The dates are July 4-10. Register soon, this is a GREAT deal and spaces are limited.
Pastor Tony and Coach Chico
Another long time congressman who is in political trouble with his constituents for voting a fiscal monstrosity of a "health care" bill in to law announced his retirement this week.
Bart Stupak, 9-term congressman from Michigan, will leave a seat open that is almost sure to be claimed by a Republican.
Make no mistake, these "retirements" of various Obama supporting congress people are like unto rats scurrying off a ship they helped to sink rather than victorious public servants who secured health care (and other unfunded entitlements) for their constituents and fellow countrymen and are now riding off in to the sunset.
It's only too bad Stupak "served" for nine full terms. Just ridiculous. A clear example of why term limits should be law.
Even more interesting to me is a statement from the owner:
“ Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and directing our attention to things more important than our business. If it took seven days to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work. Through the years, I have never wavered from that position." —S. Truett Cathy
I appreciate and respect Chick-Fil-A's practice of not opening on Sundays. I am always in favor of patronizing organizations like Chick-Fil-A, however...
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I've watched quite a bit of soccer in my lifetime. I have never seen a player better than Lionel Messi (Tomi Ardiles not withstanding). He just scored 4 goals in a game yesterday against a very good Arsenal team.
He may be the greatest soccer player of all time.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Do you see what I am driving at, my friends? The evidence of the truth of Christianity must be taken as a whole. The direct evidence for the resurrection must be taken together with the total picture of Jesus in the Gospels, and then that must be taken in connection with the evidence for the existence of God and the tremendous need of man which is caused by sin. If you take the Bible as a whole you have a grand consistent account of God, of the world and of human life. If you reject the Bible, and particularly if you reject the fact of the resurrection, you have a jumble of meaningless and detached bits of information that dance before your imagination in a wild and riotous rout.
Oh, that God would open men’s eyes that they might see, that they might detect the grand sweep and power of His testimony to Himself in His Word! Oh, that He would take away the terrible blindness of men’s minds! Has He taken away the blindness of your minds, my friends? Do you know the risen Christ today as your Savior and your Lord? If you do not yet know Him, will you not bow before Him at this hour and say, "My Lord and my God!"
I guess I should be happy that less babies died in my state in 2009 than any of the previous 20 years?
According to reported figures, the 9,472 abortions in 2009 were the lowest reported number since 1990. There were 1,171, or about 11 percent, fewer abortions last year than the year before, the largest one-year decline in more than a decade. This is largely because George Tiller was murdered and therefore could not "practice".
Abortion numbers declining is a good thing, but I find the reminder that approximately 200,000 babies have been put to death in Kansas since 1990 staggering and shocking.
And to think, we're a small state with relatively low abortion numbers. God help us all.
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
It's appropriately haunting. We sang it last night at the Good Friday service.
Words: Johann Heerman, 1630; translated from German to English by Robert S. Bridges, 1899.
Music: Herzliebster Jesu, Johann Crüger, 1640.
Friday, April 2, 2010
"An assortment of ruminations while sailing toward Aslan's Country"
Reepicheep, the mouse of C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, was on a journey to reach "Aslan's Country", a metaphor for the Christian's journey to heaven. This blog is one man's assorted musings and reflections while journeying to glory (heaven). There are myriads of far better pastor's blogs to read on the internet. If you have limited time to peruse various blogs, I can suggest at least ten you should check out regularly instead of this one- I mean that seriously. I mostly blog for my parishners, family, and friends, though I welcome people who happen upon Reepicheep and am thrilled when I make new friends this way. Very simply I aim to encourage, alert, inform, learn, and spur on thinking and analysis. In the end, I hope it will have all glorified God.
Here's a longer quote from "Dawn Treader" where Reepicheep speaks of his determined journey to "Aslan's Country":
"My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia."
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Long ago, the evangelist D. L. Moody responded to criticisms of his message and pragmatic methods with the quip, “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” We can be so proud of getting the gospel right while we don’t bother to get the gospel out to those who need it. Furthermore, we can be self-confident in our theological integrity while ignoring the Word of God when it impinges on questions of social concern. Yet the answer is not “deeds over creeds,” but to be re-introduced to the creeds that generate the deeds that are the fruit of genuine faith. Getting the gospel right and getting the gospel out, as well as loving and serving our neighbors, comprise the callings of the church and of Christians in the world. However, confusing these is always disastrous for our message and mission.
Choosing a mascot is one of the thousands of decisions to be made.
The Heritage Christian Academy school board and administration discussed various possibilities and narrowed it down to three choices for the students to vote on today. Here are the finalists (can you guess which one was my suggestion?):
1. The Sabres
2. The Defenders
3. The Chargers
Though I submitted the first one, I really like the Chargers. Whichever it is, the above picture is a rough prototype of our mascot's picture. Each suggestion represents a biblical theme.
By tomorrow we shall know our school mascot...