Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good summary Charlie!

I recently made a comment on Facebook about not watching any of the ongoing Republican National Convention.  Frankly, I think the rhetoric of political conventions amounts to an "in house" pep rally.  I have never wasted a moment watching a convention speech, that I can least not on purpose.

To be clear, I think Christians should be involved in the political process.  They should be learned and careful about the positions of various candidates, rally behind those who support righteous causes, and some should run for office.  I just think party conventions are lame and amount to preaching to the choir.

I received a negative comment or two about my less than enthusiastic consideration of convention speeches.  I was accused of possibly causing parishioners to become disengaged in the political process because of my dissing convention speeches.  I do admit a touch of cynicism during "silly season".  Anyways, one of my parishioners was watching the exchange and put in to words exactly how I feel about politics and elections. Check out how Charlie captured my thoughts, using words in a far more articulate way than I could ever muster-

Disengagement from the mechanations of pop politics is not the same thing as disengagement from the process of changing a culture. You could only equate the two if you believed that society can only be changed by pop political maneuvering. In other words, Tony (in all his disengaged cynicism) is only rejecting the savior of our society IF the savior of our society is the reindeer game we know as "Election Cycle Silliness." 

 But politics is not our savior. Government is not our savior. The world hangs in the balance of no man's whim. The savior of our culture, if it is to be saved, is Christ -- because He is the King of all creation. And if our culture is to be saved, it will be saved only through repentance and concession. If this is true (and it is), then that means Tony is more engaged in the salvation of Western Civilization than most people who know him. He and men like him are the point of the spear. By preaching repentance and submission to Christ, Tony is leading us into the breach. He just likes to take pot shots at false saviors as he passes by their mangled carcasses.

What resonates most with what Charlie says is the point about repentance and submission to Christ.  This is what our society needs, nothing less.  Sure, I'll hold my nose and vote for Romney this November, but it's with no allusions about things getting much better.  "Better" will only happen when God grants His church wide scale repentance, which, in turn, I pray will lead to blessing our nation with holiness.   I do think God can do this, by the way.

And yes...I do like to take pot shots at false saviors.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


This is my seventh year coaching school soccer.

I started when we had only junior high students and have been moving them up as we have added grades. When our school merged with another two years ago, it was our first crack at an actual varsity program. This year will be our first year as full members of the Kansas State athletic sanctioning body with a chance to compete in the state playoffs. We have a super tough schedule with lots of big public schools as opponents.

Every team is special to me, but this team has several seniors I have coached since they were in 6th grade. They have put up with me for seven seasons. I don't like to brag (much), but check out the soccer t-shirt mascot I helped design for this year-

Monday, August 20, 2012


There are many excellent websites out there.  I want to alert you to a new one my good friend Pastor Brian Albert has spearheaded.

The new site is called "Gospel Crier" and it features contributions from several Kansas City area pastors, including yours truly.

It is our prayer the site serves as a helpful resource and genuine encouragement to our readership.

Check it out here.

Gospel Crier

A bumper sticker I might consider...

Got this from one of the Schaeffer boys today-

It replaces this one-

But here's a good one too-

Obama will be tough to beat in November

I sincerely hope President Obama doesn't get re-elected in November.

It's not that I think Romney-Ryan would be much better, although Ryan gives me some hope about influencing Romney. Have I mentioned Ryan is a bow hunter?

Niall Ferguson just wrote a post that lays out some solid reasons another four years of Obama would be bad.

Read his post here-

Why Barack Obama Needs to Go by Niall Ferguson

In his post, Ferguson notes the following-

"Nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits."

If Ferguson's ratio is correct, it seems to be a distinct advantage for the more pro-government candidate. With half the population in some way on the government take, I can't help thinking many of them will almost automatically vote for Obama.  You can't bet a more "big government" President/candidate than Obama.

It's going to be a close one in November, that much seems sure.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

B.B. Warfield on "The emotional life of our Lord"

One of the great Princeton theologians, B.B. Warfield, wrote on the emotional life of Jesus. Commenting on Jesus' emotional agony in the Garden of Eden where we are told he was "greatly troubled", the former president of the once great Princeton Seminary wrote-

“The primary idea of ‘troubled’ is loathing aversion, perhaps not unmixed with despondency. While Jesus’ self-description as overwhelmed with sorrow expresses a sorrow, or perhaps we would be better to say a mental pain, a distress which hems Him in on every side, from which there is therefore no escape.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Who Am I?

This short video is the brain child of my good friend and fellow pastor, Brian Albert.  It includes a few of us KC area pastors.  Check it out.

I fully admit, by the way, that my face is best suited for radio.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Church should be boring (so to speak)

A seminary classmate of mine (from way back) posted this on his Facebook page. I thought it was worth sharing-

Church should be boring and it is only the boring church that changes you. What changes you more? Fifty years of marriage or an exciting six month affair? The exciting church is simply silly because it is church based on what you want and like. Nothing could be further from the faith. The exciting church is spiritual pornography, a spiritual blockbuster, a spiritual video game, a spiritual rock concert. You can’t live in any of those places. They are not real. Church needs to be real. If there is a spectrum with "exciting" on one end and "boring" on the other end, then to which end of the spectrum would these activities be closer: working a nine to five job? caring for a spouse after being married 30 years? raising several children? learning? practicing? serving someone extremely needy? cleaning? exercising? There is no doubt these activities are closer to the boring end of things. Yet they are all very important and profound activities. They are all things God wants us to be faithful in through the boredom and difficulty. So why have we fallen for the lie that the Church's worship (hymnody, liturgy, preaching, sacraments) should be exciting and if it is not then the church is "dead" and we should divorce it or quit it?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stay Awake this Fall!

I recently preached the whole thirteenth chapter of Mark in one sermon.  I did so to avoid missing the bottom line.  I keyed on this passage-

"Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:35-36 

The bottom line of the Olivet sermon by Christ and recorded in the gospels is for believers to recognize the importance of standing firm in Him, even as opposition comes. In this way, we have to be alert spiritually. Jesus exact exhortation- "stay awake". We have to be ever mindful of our need for Christ. To “stand” in Christ means to trust in Him, rely upon Him, and rest in Him. Standing in Christ is a way of depicting someone who does not trust his or her own ability, but rather wholly believes on Jesus and His righteousness.

In the above passage from Mark 13, Jesus warns his beloved disciples of the terrible persecution they and other believers would endure. They’ll need to be awake and ready for the opposition they’ll receive. We can’t just let life happen, too much is at stake. As summer quickly draws to a close, it is a great time to exhort my brethren to stay awake spiritually. Staying awake is aided greatly by availing ourselves of God’s means of grace and the encouraging benefits of His covenant community. Staying awake means the power of His Word, the encouragement of His people, and engaging in His joyful service.  Don’t let your Fall schedule just happen or it will control you. Find ways to make your time commitments with spiritual priorities in mind.

My recent whitewater rafting trip in Colorado accents the urgency of Christ when He bids his disciples to stay awake. We had a young lady in our raft who didn’t realize how much would be expected of her to row and follow the precise directions of our guide. As we set off she couldn’t follow his commands well and we almost got in to trouble. He pulled our boat aside and looked right at her and said- “do you understand how serious this is that you follow my instructions?” As we embarked again, she continued to have trouble following the guide’s directions and he pulled us over a second time. This time he said- “Are you able to follow my instructions”? Now she was crying and unhappy with the guide. We took off again, but once more found ourselves in some trouble, now lodged between two big rocks with the water crashing around us. The guide shook us free, but in so doing, dumped the struggling young lady in the Arkansas River. Her father grabbed her life preserver, so she was safe, but two of her well-manicured nails did not survive and she had a bloody knee. I expected some compassion from the guide, but due to the serious nature of such a raft trip, he once again confronted her, saying, “You will need to be able to follow all my instructions going forward, can you commit to this? If not, we’ll have to drop you off at a spot up the river where our driver can come and get you.” The stakes were too high for her to not be ready and able to do her part. She struggled to the end and the guide had to lead us to less exciting water at times, but she did improve and we all lived. Jesus tells us Christians- “This is serious, stay awake!” Now, Jesus would never throw us out of the boat, nor is He saying we are God’s children because of our devotion to Him. He is saying to his beloved children- things are going to get rough, you must be spiritually alert. Children of God, you are owned by God through Christ and His work. Don’t be lulled in to spiritual lethargy but rather use this exhortation as an occasion to seek God’s grace and guidance in ordering your life and priorities heading in to the Fall. Let’s stay awake together!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why does Paul Ryan tip the scales for me?

I am reasonably certain President Obama will edge out Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election.  I understand most readers of my blog are social and fiscal conservatives, so it seems utterly illogical that anyone would vote for the tax and spend, anti-traditional morals, incumbent.  I understand that disbelief, however I have come to believe the number of people on the government take is so huge, it skews people's thinking about what is actually best for the country.  In other words, there is a massive group of people somehow dependent on the government for a large portion of their livelihood, and when push comes to shove, they don't want to move a guy like Obama out in favor of a potential cost-cutter, like Romney.

Now, I'm not at all excited about Romney. If I vote for him, it's solely because I think four more years of Obama would be much worse.

To be totally honest, I have toyed with the idea of not voting at all.  I think President Obama has been very bad for our country on several levels.  I think Mitt Romney promises to be only slightly better. I'm just sick of it all.

Well, no more toying with that!  I'm voting. And here's the reason-

Romney's new running mate, Paul Ryan, is a bow hunter!!!!

That settles it!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"You're Wrong" is not equal to "I hate you"

Dan Guinn, a friend and parishioner at Redeemer, not to mention director of the Francis Schaeffer Studies site, provided a very helpful graphic in these wacky days of name calling as soon as one person disagrees with another.