Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slow learning dog...(of course)

There is a statement about being as dumb as a rock...not to be applied in this situation, of course.

18 Years

I have been blessed by God to have a godly wife. Today marks 18 years of marriage to the most beautiful, gracious, sober-minded woman since pre-Fall Eve.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John R.W. Stott 1921-2011

The Church lost a great pastor-teacher today. John Stott went to Christ at the age of 90 after a lifetime of ministry.

In my fourteen years of regular expositional bible preaching, I have used no other commentator more consistently than John Stott.

By God's grace he left a huge library of edifying books and commentaries for the Church to benefit in the ages to come.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remembering Mitch Hedberg

The death of incredibly talented, but drug-addicted, singer Amy Winehouse this week reminded me of one of my favorite comedians who died of a drug overdose a few years ago. I have watched these clips dozens of times but laugh anew every time I watch them again-

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kamara half bike

We sat in a heat index of 110 on Saturday night...but Kei Kamara's sweet half-bicycle goal made it worth it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Right to Bear Arms

The picture says it all...


In rapid succession Mark records several dramatic demonstrations of Jesus' power in his Gospel account.

I love how he captures the immediate reaction by witnesses-

After casting a demon from a man in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28), Mark writes, "And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

After Jesus healed the paralytic lowered through a ceiling by his friends (Mark 2:1-12), Mark writes- "And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

After calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee Mark 4:35-41) Mark writes, "And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

After freeing Legion from thousands of demons (Mark 5:1-20) and sending him for to the Decapolis to proclaim what the Lord had done, Mark writes- "and everyone marvelled".

After healing the chronically ill woman and raising Jarius' daughter from the dead (Mark 5:22-43), Mark writes- "they were immediately overcome with amazement."

Mark likes the word "amazing". Why? Because Jesus is amazing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A List of the Worst Christian Cliche's

Here is a great post by Karen Prior on the various Christian cliche's circulating. Be sure to read the comments as well-

Very funny, but poignant stuff!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rubio nails it

I don't know much about Marco Rubio, but I know he's right about what he says here...

I would love to see a Chris Christie/Marco Rubio ticket run for Prez/VP.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mountains bring perspective

Horn Peak is a magnificent looking mountain in the midst of the Sangre De Cristo range of southwest Colorado. I have summitted this 13,487 foot mountain four times as of last week. It is a grueling climb with some challenging rock scrambling above tree line from a false peak to the summit.

The picture below was taken by a group of climbers ascending the mountain behind us (my wife, two older sons, and myself) last Tuesday. Look how small we are!!

This picture below brings even more perspective on how small we really are.

The man who took these pictures of us at the summit reflected on a poignant quotation from Francis Schaeffer-

"And as I walked I looked up at the Dents with their swirling mists so high above me. I thought how our dear Lord comes into more proper perspective in our thinking in such a place as this - for the higher the mountains, the more understandable is the glory of Him who made them and who holds them in His hand. But the other side is also true: man also comes into his proper place. As the Lord gains in greatness, in comparison to the mountains, so man diminishes.

As it is with space, it is also true of time. My letters from here go to so many countries, and in these last few years I have found friends in many of them. As I have learned the history of these lands, from those who tell the history from their hearts, time has come to mean something different to me than it ever did before, when time was measured only by the short scope of the hurrying clock or cold dates on a page of the history book. But as time falls into its proper place, again God seems to grow greater by comparison, and again it has the opposite effect on man. As the mountains shrink him down to size, so also does time."

HT: Andrew Caudal

When pigs floated...

The fifth chapter of Mark begins with a wild account. It happens the same night in which Jesus calms a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee. He and the disciples are crossing the top section of the Sea as they come to the shoreline of "the country of the Gerasenes". Wherever the city was actually located, it was in the Decapolis, a Gentile region on the east side of the Sea.

No sooner did Jesus' boat hit the shore than He was confronted with a bizarre scene-

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”

We have in this man one of the most pathetic pictures of humanity you could ever imagine. He was almost completely stripped of his identity and utterly animalized by the demons who oppressed and possessed him. It's hard to imagine a more miserable person on earth. Who could possibly free him?

The power encounter that ensues is just as shocking as the introduction to the howling, cutting, supernaturally strong, demoniac-

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea.

Wow. There were enough demons in this man to fill a herd of 2,000 pigs! The man's name designation, "Legion", implies there could have been many more (in Roman military terms, a Legion could have 6,000 foot soldiers and 120 horsemen). We know very little about demons based on the biblical record, but this instance seems to be an extra-extraordinary encounter. Just as in other cases of Jesus confronting demons, these demons try to gain control over Christ by identifying Him. They recognize Him to be Deity, so turn to begging for a reprieve of some sort. The demons must not have known the pigs would run in to the Sean and drown, but then again, that isn't the real thrust of the story. This story is about the Lordship of Christ over the demons and His compassion on a miserable, enslaved human being. The demons where doing their best to bludgeon the image of God in man as they tormented this poor soul. Jesus put an end to it and gave good insight in to the eventual fate of all demons. On a very practical, personal level, this story of Jesus and the Gerasene Demoniac teaches us-

If Jesus can free a man plagued by thousands of demons and beyond human help, He can set you free from whatever enslaves you- so you can testify about what the Lord has done.

Look at the various reactions from those who witnessed the events and you will see what I mean-

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.

By many accounts, salted pork was a staple meat of the Roman army. Raising swine was big business for many outside Israel (of course). Losing 2,000 hogs would have been big news. The herdsmen are quick to report what they have seen, no doubt in shock about the incident, but also worried about the financial ramifications of 2,000 inedible floating pig carcasses. Those who confirmed the story and considered the event further freaked out and begged Jesus to leave. They didn't want the economy upset. Perhaps their desire for Jesus to leave was founded on something deeper- they didn't like the conviction Jesus brought upon them- they just wanted him gone. It's really amazing when you think about it- they would rather have their pigs than see a person like Legion (whom they all knew very well) be freed from his unspeakable agony! The economy and the status quo were more important than freeing a demoniac! People can be pretty heartless.

A major point of this story is revealed by the response of the man-

As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Jesus wasn't being mean to the man by declining his request to come along. Jesus was commissioning the man to go tell others in the Decapolis about Him. At this point Jesus was giving the former demoniac a more immediate commission than He was giving His struggling disciples! Further, this man was a Gentile. The Gentile leg of the Great Commission wasn't going to officially begin for a couple years, but this man was commissioned to go tell Gentiles about "what the Lord had done" for him and the mercy shown to him.

I think one of the main lessons we can draw from this incredible story, once again, is this-

If Jesus can free a man plagued by thousands of demons and beyond human help, He can set you free from whatever enslaves you- so you can testify about what the Lord has done.

Every person who has been touched by the grace of God in Christ has a story to tell. Go tell it.

Scripture references are from Mark 5:1-20 (ESV)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More knee testing...

I don't really enjoy climbing mountains as such, but this year I've been trying to do things I did before my knee injury, surgery and rehab. I'm almost 8 months past surgery, so I tried to climb Horn Peak again. The climb went well, the descent was very slow going with my knee. Still, I praise God for His grace that allows for modern medicine to address wrecked knees like mine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Unfortunately this wonder goal was scored against my Sporting KC team...but fortunately, it wasn't enough to win the game. One of the nicest goals of the year for sure.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who doesn't love bottle rockets?

I'm posting this awesome video as a way of kicking off July 4 celebrations. Hat tip to Jon Meyers for alerting me to this super manly clip.

There's just not a whole lot cooler than shooting off bottle rockets....legally and safely, of course.