Thursday, March 31, 2011

"I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out" -Johnny Firstgrader

The Buffalo Sabres minor league affiliate, the Portland Pirates, have an annual "School Day" game that is played during day time hours so kids can attend. This year's game had 3600 elementary students in attendance.

Check out what happened-

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breakfast Song

On the lighter side of eternal destiny discussions is this offering about heaven...

Does he know for sure they're won't be bacon in heaven? I'm sure what I think about that.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Griffin is Beast (yes, I said that right)

I just saw this on Sports Center and had to post it. Yes, basketball is still lame (is there a college tourney going on right now?), but Blake Griffin is beast (as they say).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Great story of perseverance and determination...


Exceptional Job Reviewing Rob Bell's Book

I read Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" last week. Besides manipulating and distorting the statements of several important figures in Church history, mishandling the text of Scripture, and constantly bashing anyone who believes the words of Christ about hell are true, it's a great book.

I was mad as H-E-double hockey sticks reading this book. Rob Bell is just an old school liberal in hip clothes, glasses, and hair. I stick with my designation of him as a wolf.

I came across Kevin DeYoung's review of the book last week but waited to finish reading the book myself. DeYoung does a tremendous job reviewing this book. You simply must read what he says. Check out DeYoung's review "God is still Holy and what you learned in Sunday School is still true: A review of Love Wins"here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Operation "Ambush the Brothers Felich" = total victory

By way of update on my planned military operation against my nerf-gun toting boys and despite the mettling words of Osama Bin Currey- my attack went off flawlessly and left none standing. So what if they weren't armed at the time of their demise.

UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, Osama Bin Currey and his son unlawfully attacked me in my house but I fended them off effectively with my Raider CS-35.

Two of my favorite songs performed by John Daker

I don't know John Daker or anything much about this clip.

You have to watch it to appreciate.

He attempts two of my favorite songs. It's memorable.

Operation "Ambush the Brothers Felich" about to commence

For months, lo maybe years, I have taken cheap shots, surprise attacks, and outright massacres from my sons and their nerf guns. I have minded my own business and been taken out with merciless head shots. I have taken the higher road despite being ambushed in the middle of a deep sleep. I have sought to de-escalate the violence of manifold nerf gun assaults by trying to ignore the perpetual sound of a cocking plastic gun seconds before a barrage of styrofoam darts have pummeled me in the chest.

Today the injustice stops. No more Mr. Nice guy. Please notice the above gun. It is the Raider CS-35. For those of my readers not schooled in military/firearm language-The "35" stands for a carrying drum capacity of 35 rounds. I bought it today along with an extra 32 rounds to be stored in my front hoodie pocket for easy reloading.

Today at approximately 3:40 CST my boys will be dropped off from school by an unwitting accomplice to what will transpire. At approximately 3:41 CST the last of the boys will have passed the threshold of my front door. Seconds after the last son passes said threshold, I will burst forth from behind the piano and unleash a furious ambush like none other seen in this house nor witnessed in modern times anywhere.

The attack will be swift, relentless, merciless, and decisive. I will take no prisoners. They will be sorry they ever messed with me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Apparently the rule doesn't apply to him...

I know I'm not the only one who remembers this statement in light of our country's current military action in Libya:

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." - Sen. Barack Obama December 20, 2007.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Deja vu all over again?

History has a way of repeating itself. As it relates to presidential repetitions, the stakes seem to get higher and higher.

Hmmmm...what does this current situation remind you of? Do you get a certain vibe from our leadership?

It's not the late 70's and lots of things are different in the world...but I think I know what this reminds me of...

Friday, March 18, 2011

MUST LISTEN: Interview with Martin Bashir

I posted the Martin Bashir (MSNBC) interview with Rob Bell a few days ago.

Today I came across this excellent, revealing interview with Martin Bashir where he explains his research about Rob Bell's book. Wow again!

He covers church history, biblical interpretation, his Islamic upbringing, the emerging church, honest journalism, his attendance of a PCA church in NYC (Redeemer NY/Tim Keller), and profession as a committed Christian.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

John Owen on the obedience of Christ for us

John Owen's book "The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ" is absolutely masterful. Every sentence is thoughtful and valuable.

In his chapter about the active obedience of Christ, he says some important things. Jesus didn't obey the law to become qualified to be our representative- He was our righteous representative by virtue of the incarnation (God taking on human likeness). He didn't become righteous by obeying the Law, He already was. He obeyed the law in our stead to "fulfill all righteousness" and be our surety. I know, that's deep stuff. Owen is way deep.

I want to share something Owen wrote on this subject I found especially edifying-

"He (Christ) became man for the church, namely, to become thereby the surety of the covenant, and representative of the whole...He was born to us, and given to us, lived for us, and died for us, obeyed for us, and suffered for us; that by the obedience of one many might be made righteous. This was the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this is the faith of the catholic church. And what he did for us, is imputed unto us. This is included in the very notion of his doing it for us, which cannot be spoken in any sense, unless that which he so did, be imputed unto us."

Owen then gives a very poignant pastoral exhortation about the importance of Christ's obedience imputed to believers (somewhat unusual in a doctrinal treatise)-

"And I think men ought to be wary, that they do not by distinctions and studied evasions, for the defense of their own private opinions, shake the foundations of christian religion. And I am sure it will be easier for them, as it is in the Proverb, to wrest the club out of the hand of Hercules, then to dispossess the minds of true believers of this persuasion; that what the Lord Christ did in obedience unto God according unto the law, he designed in his love and grace to do it for them."

Wow! I can't tell you how much Owen's insights on this topic bless me.

Things won't change until the dollar is destroyed

Despite looking and sounding and depressing as ever...Ron Paul once again hits the nail on the head.

He's right- the destruction of the dollar and mass inflation will be the only time we'll see any cuts in government spending. It's profound but scary what Paul said- "There's just too many people getting checks".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Martin Bashir catches a Serpent


Who would ever guess an MSNBC host would ask all the right questions to show Rob Bell for the squirmy serpent he is?

Martin Bashir is my new hero.

DOUBLE WOW...don't you think?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Biblicist VS Lutheran

I'm not a Lutheran, but I'm more Lutheran than "biblicist". I did worship at a Lutheran (LCMS) church while in Colorado last summer. It was a blessing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jeremiah Burroughs on the Gospel

The gospel of Christ in general is this: It is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. More largely it is this: As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again...Namely, the second person of the Trinity takes man's nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction by keeping the law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him...And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and they they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

- Jeremiah Burroughs

Friday, March 11, 2011

Historic Dunk

I just don't like basketball. My sons play so I go to there games, but I'd be lying to say I have grown to appreciate the game. It's pretty clear only tall people can advance very far up the basketball ranks. Spud Webb...yeah, yeah. A sport where a person who is 6'7 is considered a "small forward" just isn't for short, squatty, Sicilians.

Nevertheless, while at lunch today I saw the following clip on a flat screen. Pretty cool.

I told my sons I would give them $100 if they could ever dunk a basketball. Truth be told, I used to be able to "get rim" when I was a senior in high school, I just couldn't get my wrist over the rim to throw the ball down- plus I could barely palm a basketball. I fully anticipate at least one of my sons will be able to dunk some day, so I'll set a couple hundred aside.

Pray for Japan

I'm sure you have seen the news of the Tsunami that struck Japan earlier today. Join me in praying for the Japanese people and the Church in that land during the difficult days that will come.

I just read the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, which is the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s. Apparently it was the fifth largest earthquake in the last 100 years.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fasting from Lent (relax..just kidding...sort of)

Before I came to Redeemer in 1997 there was a modified observation of the church calendar with particular recognition given to Advent/Christmas and Holy Week/Easter. We acknowledge various church calendar dates on the bulletin, but we don't practice Lent officially. I have never been compelled to suggest altering our practice to the Session, nor have any of the elders seen the need to do more than we currently do in so far as special observations are concerned.

I am very comfortable with our practice but do not suggest differing decisions and practices by other churches are somehow wrong. I'm only blogging on this because of how many questions I get about church calendar issues in general and Lent in particular. Since we're so "liturgical" in our worship approach, I understand and appreciate the question.

I grew up Roman Catholic so I understand their take on Lent. I also know plenty of protestants who observe ("celebrate" hardly seems the right word) Lent. I think most Lenten observations are within the pale of Christian liberty, but I don't prefer making a big deal of it.

Don't get me wrong, fasting is biblical. I practice it from time to time myself and find it very edifying. I just don't think fasting ought to be a "look what I'm doing thing". I know some, probably many, would argue that Lenten fasts are not about bragging or telling everyone how holy you are- I get that. For me, however, slapping ashes on my head and talking of what I'm giving ups seems off base. I just wish I could give up sinning. The rest of it is a freedom I have in Christ, so why give it up...unless it has become sinful? There's no merit in publicly stating you are giving something up that God doesn't say you have to give up. Jesus doesn't love you more for giving up something that's not a sin. In fact, Jesus doesn't love you more or less for anything you do. Now, fasting is helpful to draw you closer to dependence upon God, that's great, I just think it should be done privately as the need arises (I know...when don't we need to be more dependent upon God?). It's a matter of Christian liberty in my opinion. Many would say Lenten fasts are for the purpose of identifying with the suffering of Christ as preparation for Holy Week and Easter. OK? If you say so. I just don't see how giving up Diet Coke or Facebook necessarily accomplishes such a goal- but again- Christian liberty. People in my church come from a wide range of Christian traditions. I actually provide a bible reading/family worship schedule for those who want to do something special during Lent as a build up to Holy Week and Easter. Did I mention Christian liberty?

There are plenty of traditions we Christians observe- some are helpful, others not so much. I love the specific focus on Christ's passion, death, and resurrection that Holy week promotes, I'm just not very in to the gloom and ashes of the usual Lent observations (those that actually last past Ash Wednesday). Our denomination allows for a pretty wide latitude of practices (despite some who will cry Regulative Principle of Worship foul), so our Session leads the way it does. I will say that a time of quiet introspection about my sin as a way to prepare me to think about the Lord's sacrifice for me is extremely helpful and....well...a big part of the Lord's Supper. I'm glad we celebrate that every week.

Well, that's really all I have to say about Lent so don't expect me to get in to responding to comments. Don't forget Christian liberty on this subject.

But...if I did observe Lent, I would give up petting dogs, eating beans, going to Home Depot, and hunting during March. How's that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

For the dog lovers...

Your sins are forgiven! But you still have to miss soccer and track this spring...

I preached on Mark 2 a couple weeks ago where Jesus heals the paralytic dropped through the ceiling by his friends. You remember the story, right? As soon as the man lands in front of Jesus inside the house, the Lord says "Your sins are forgiven". Kind of an unusual response when the guy came for physical healing. Of course, Jesus was acknowledging the faith of the friends (and presumably the paralytic) by pronouncing the forgiveness of sins. Their faith was displayed by the effort they took to bring the man to Jesus in such an extreme way. As you also know, Jesus proceeded to heal the man outright and the man walked out of the house and down the street on his own power. It's a very powerful, memorable story.

On Saturday I was sitting in an urgent care clinic with my son AJ who hurt his foot. We both knew it was broken but were waiting for a doctor to read the xrays. A.J. has been training for soccer and track very faithfully this winter and was really ready to have great seasons in both this spring. This injury has really bummed him out.

As we sat in the room waiting for the doctor, AJ said- "I hope he comes in and says 'your sins are forgiven'". I knew he was referring to the Mark 2 story, but responded immediately saying, "A.J., you know your sins are forgiven in Christ, right?".

I loved what the mopey guy said next- "Yeah Dad, I know, but you know what happens next in the story..."

Well, poor A.J. didn't get the same results as the paralytic and had to leave on his crutches. Nevertheless, and far more importantly, he knows his sins are forgiven.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Year with Foster baby!

Our oldest son was born on March 5 and it's also the day we welcomed our little foster baby in to our home last year. We've had her for a whole year! Isn't she a cutie? Shari took the picture above after getting her some flip flops (apparently a female rite of passage?). We can't show her face, but trust me, she's SUPER cute.

She was five weeks old when we got her. She had 12 fractures in her ribs and a fractured leg. I know, that sounds so awful. She cried pretty consistently for the first few weeks. She's a smiley one now...most of the time (sorry Redeemer nursery workers!).

There is a good "chance" (not that we believe in such a thing) that we will be able to adopt her. We appreciate your prayers concerning that.

Birthday blessings to A.J.

My eldest son was born 12 years ago today. He's displaying two of his gifts- Lucky Charms and Lego's.

A.J. and I are birds of a feather. He's a mini-me in a sense, but thankfully his very own man in so many ways. It is true that our personalities are alike, but I wasn't as spiritually aware when I was 12. He's been teaching me new things about faith and life for a while now. I really look forward to the years we have ahead together, by God's grace.

Unfortunately he messed his foot up at a friend's house yesterday, so we're going to be heading to the urgent care clinic to get it x-rayed on his 12th birthday. I told you he was like me...UPDATE: It's busted. 6-8 week recovery.

Dear A.J.,

May the Lord, mighty God, bless, preserve you and keep you.
May He give you peace, perfect peace, and courage in every endeavor.
Lift up your eyes and see His face, and His grace forever.
May the Lord, mighty God, bless, preserve you and keep you!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Excellent lining for your bird's cage (The New York Times)

The New York Times said this about the nation's $14 trillion debt:

"It's all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more broke than a family with a mortgage or a college loan."

Wow. Really?

Mortgages are a fact of life for most people and one form of debt that can be used wisely. Most mortgages are on property that appreciates. College loans aren't in the same category, but not all together out of the realm of a "helpful" debt. In either case, the wisdom of using debt is connected to appreciation and how fast one can pay it off. Virtually any household with a mortgage or college loan is working diligently to pay it off as all debt is a form of slavery (Proverbs 22:7).

The New York Times really compares our nation's ballooning national debt with a household having a mortgage or college loan? The national debt is growing exponentially, we're not paying it off.

Who reads such a trash publication?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

John Owen on the imperfections of our "good" works

I'm reading John Owen's great book on the doctrine of justification by faith through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

In an effort to show us how imperfect even our best good works are, note what Owen says-

“It hath been often and well observed, that if a man, the best of men, were left to choose the best of his works that ever he performed, and theron to enter into judgment with God, if only under this notion, that he hath answered and fulfilled the condition required of him, as unto his acceptation with God, it would be his wisest course, to renounce it, and betake himself unto grace and mercy alone.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011