Friday, June 30, 2006

I Know This Is Late, But...

I was just clicking around and came across an interview Brian McLaren gave. I can't seem to locate a date, but I'm guessing it's pretty old. Even still I'd like to poke around, you'll just have to forgive my tardiness.

You were involved in controversy when the Kentucky Baptist Convention rescinded your invitation to speak because of a controversial paragraph in your book 'A Generous Orthodoxy.' You said, in part, that making disciples doesn't necessarily "equal making adherents to the Christian religion." Did you think the dis-invitation was justified?

When I go to speak somewhere, I'm a guest so I'm not offended if someone would invite me and then decide they would rather not have me. And [the Kentucky Baptist Convention] were very kind and polite in the way they did it.

When you wrote that paragraph, did you feel it would make waves or did it seem natural to write?

I knew it would be seen as controversial to some people. If they had asked me for further explanation, I would have told them that this is an especially important issue for Americans to think about right now. Since the invasion of Iraq, there are millions of Christians around the world who now are in danger. If they associate with a Christian religion, that makes them seem to be associated with the United States for a whole number of reasons. It becomes dangerous and impossible for people who want to follow Jesus in their lives to identify as Christians. Very often if youÂ’re in a Muslim country, and you identify as a Christian, youÂ’re set up for exclusion and bad treatment. In some cases, worse.
Source, underlined emphasis mine.

I'm going to put it quite simply and keep this short. Christianity does not equal the right to an easy life. If the apostles and countless others had been unwilling to die for the name of Christ, where would the church be today? Christ Himself told us that we very well might lose our families, possibly even our very lives for following Him. So, where do we come up with the excuse that it is ok to live and expect it not to be any more true for us. Jesus told the man on the shore to follow Him and let the dead bury their own. He's calling us to forsake what we once had if it keeps us from following Him! Why do we think this means our lives are going to be easy?

Yes, people die for the name of Christ. But you know what, He's worth it...isn't He? Yes, I'm speaking from a position where my life isn't in danger for Christ, but does that make what I'm saying any less true? Christ calls us to be separate from the world, from our old lives. And that means you must be willing to be associated as a follower of Chist. Yes, there are people who do many things which mar the title Christian, but does that give us license to abandon the path He has laid out? If anything it should make us passionate to reclaim the title, to show that those people don'necessarily represent all Christians, and in fact may not even truly represent Christ Himself.

Has Noah's Ark Been Found?

ABC is featuring a story which seems to indicate that this is a possibility. Part of me would love for it to be the actual ark, but part of me sort of hopes that the ark remains evasive.

"There's this idea, if we can prove that the ark existed then we can prove that the story existed, and more importantly, we can prove that God existed," said Bruce Feiler, author of "Where God Was Born."

And this is exactly my point. Why do we need to prove that God existed? Are the skeptics going to be convinced? Hardly. Why is it not enough to simply have faith that what the Bible says is true? Yes, it would be neat, but no our focus simply should not - must not be to prove anything. God has proven Himself, and all will see and have to admit that He is Lord. Proving He exists does nothing if the Holy Spirit has not quickened someone to believe. As for the believers, if we must see tangible evidence, can it really be called faith?

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Joyfully Walking in the Light

A friend of mine recently asked me for a few verses that deal with the hope we, as Christians, have in a world of darkness and a time of darkness. I smiled and gave her three verses that fill me with an endless hope. Sometimes it is easy to look around at the world and see everything that is going on and get discouraged, even in Christ this happens. Unlike the world we have a promise of everlasting life, of an abundant life (though this doesn't necessarily mean what it seems to), and a future awaiting us in which we will joyfully worship the Lord for eternity.

And so, having now this promise we must press onward joyfully doing His Will. When we came to Him, when we accepted His sacrifice for our salvation we received not only a promise of heaven, not only have we been brought into a family,not only have our sins been washed clean - our wrong doings are no longer counted against us - but we also have the distinct honor and privilege of doing His Work that He has set before us. We have the honor of being able to display (in part) the greatness of His Son's glory by laying down our old lives and following Him. What a joyful work He has given us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). How joyful is that work, especially when we understand that He has gone before us, and as long as we walk the path He has laid before us we will not walk in darkness, we will not be alone, and our victory was purchased at Calvary so we have nothing left to fear.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Psalm 40

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
(Psalms 40:1-17)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Can I Be A Girl For A Minute?

Ok, thanks. At the Target website you can customize your own jeans! I'm so excited.

::end girliness::

A Mother's Faith in Action


Warren to North Korea

And then, he told the crowd, "I've received another invitation." Warren said North Korea would allow him to preach in a stadium seating 15,000, but that he could preach in a larger venue if he could fill the seats.


Alan Bennett, a self-employed worshipper from Orange County, said he was "shocked" to hear the news, but said it was "awesome. ... I was really taken aback that they would allow a Christian speaker, let alone an evangelist," to preach.

Since 2001, the State Department has designated North Korea a "country of particular concern" for religious freedom violations. Religious freedom essentially does not exist in the highly centralized state, where Kim Jong Il reigns as Supreme Being.

The communist regime prohibits citizens from belonging to unauthorized religious groups. And its authorized groups are largely propaganda, organized for the benefit of foreigners, according to a 2005 U.S. State Department report on International Religious Freedom.

Believers who proselytize or have ties to evangelical groups in China are arrested, tortured or executed, the report said....
Source (emphasis mine)

Does this strike anyone else as odd? They're inviting a well known Christian leader to come speak? He goes on to admit that the government might be using him to draw out Christians, but that he will "use them," as well. But why? Why would the North Korean government take such a step just to draw people out. The persecuted church remains strong, surely bringing in a well known leader and then arresting, and possibly slaughtering, believers that come to see him is not the best way to go about getting them. One it is going to make them look awful in the media's eyes (and rightfully so), but even more than that the persecution hasn't worked. The church remains even now, so I don't imagine they think this could be an effective way to stomp out Christianity. Though you never know, they just might think that. But Christ's message has been chased down since He walked the earth. People have been beaten and killed for His message, and yet it remains to this day. Persecution will not bring an end to true Christianity, it never has and never will.

Want my theory? The North Korean government views Kim Jong Il as Supreme Being, right? Why invite someone who might draw people away from that? Why bring competition upon yourself? Perhaps he understands that Warren's version of Christianity is of little threat, that the gospel he brings lacks the true power of the Cross, perhaps this is why Warren is so welcomed? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Just a thought.

Homosexual Club Flags Removed From School

A pro-family group is hailing the removal of a "homosexual pride" flag from the wall of a Michigan high school.

For almost two years, conservatives have been protesting the presence of a rainbow flag displayed by the Diversity Club at Howell High School. Students even formed a Traditional Values Club in response to the school's allowance of homosexual activism on campus. Last Thursday (June 22) officials at the school took down the rainbow flag, the Christian flag displayed by the Traditional Values Club, and those of all other campus clubs.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, says public outcry forced school officials to reverse what he describes as "one of the most outrageous examples of political correctness ever seen in Michigan."

"This rainbow flag, which is [a] universally recognized [gay pride symbol] ... had been flying at Howell High since the day after the 2004 election, specifically to protest voter approval of a marriage protection amendment to our state constitution," Glenn explains. "And when parents and students protested to the school board, the school board reacted by having a formal flag dedication ceremony for the so-called 'gay pride' flag."

In Christ We Have A New Beginning

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:8-10, emphasis mine)

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul spends quite a bit of time discussing the importance of the resurrection as there are some who are teaching there is no resurrection. Paul casts down this idea by saying if there is no resurrection then we have had faith in Christ in vain. If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not resurrected and his (and our) faith is all for naught and we are all still in our sin. He goes on to reiterate that Christ is resurrected, that He showed Himself to Cephas, the disciples, to James, to over five hundred others, and finally to Paul who was then called Saul. Paul tells the readers that he isn't worthy to be an apostle as he persecuted the church, yet Christ still called him to be one and by the grace of God he labors abundantly.

Sometimes we cat glimpses of ourselves and we realize that we are not worthy to be called after His name. But praise God it is not by our worthiness that we are called, but by Christ's! Previous failures mean nothing when we come to Christ, because now we have a strength and a guide that is outside of ourselves, truly it is not us doing the work anymore but Him through us. The past has no bearing on the future when we are in Christ. Like Paul we find a new beginning, as dark and sinful as our past was, Christ can lift us up to do great things, and all me must do is trust and obey.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

176 Year Old Tortoise Dies


My Son Likes to Shop at Hobby Lobby

It is a little odd.

I had to go buy a new zipper today and ended up buying the kids sidewalk chalk, paints, and two adorable wooden crosses that can hang on the wall to paint (William picked out a Noah's ark one for him and one with flowers for his sissy). He actually picked out around $70 worth of stuff, but I put my foot down after $8. He's a silly kid.

What the heck is wrong with high schools?

Really, what the heck.

(AgapePress) - A Christian attorney says a Colorado high school was wrong to withhold a valedictorian's diploma because her commencement speech encouraged people to learn about Jesus Christ.

Erica Corder, an 18-year-old graduating senior at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, used her commencement speech to speak about the death and resurrection of Christ and to urge listeners to learn more about his sacrifice. After the valedictory address, however, school officials told Corder she would not receive her diploma until she wrote an e-mail to the school community's students and parents, apologizing for her comments.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Florida-based Liberty Counsel, believes the school acted inappropriately. "Frankly, schools have no right to withhold a diploma," he argues. "That diploma is earned. It's just like if you already worked at your job, and you get paid after the fact; what you do on vacation or off work does not have any bearing on whether you're going to get paid."

Corder's case has a number of "very disturbing components," Staver says, "because after she gave her speech, she was threatened that her diploma would be withheld unless she wrote an e-mail apologizing to the seniors in her class." But Corder had already "earned" her diploma, he insists, and as the valedictorian, "she was entitled to the diploma, and the school should not have forced her to give this apologizing e-mail."

The pro-family attorney feels this has been one of the most egregious incidences of abuse of power by school officials at graduation that he has ever encountered. Until this situation in Colorado, he notes, "I've never seen a case where a diploma is withheld because someone gave a religious message. I believe that was obviously illegal to do that."

In fact, Staver believes it was unconstitutional for the school to censor the Christian valedictorian's message. The Liberty Counsel spokesman has sent a letter to school district officials on Corder's behalf, informing them that, under the Constitution of the United States, she has the right to share her faith. He says even though Corder agreed to write parents and fellow graduates an apology letter, a lawsuit against the school is still warranted.

Chargest Against Youth Pastor Dropped

A youth pastor in California was arrested for evangelizing at a local mall. The mall security "arrested" him and he was booked with battery trespassing. All for talking to people about Jesus. Amazing. The charges were later dropped. Story here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Warren's Mission Is To Evangelize, But Not Create Converts?

I'm so confused.

The other secret to his success is his passion for God and Jesus. Warren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus — a testament to his savvy message-tailoring. But make no mistake, the driving purpose of an evangelical church is to evangelize, and it is Warren’s devotion to spreading the words of the Christian Bible that drive his ministry.

Good for him and his flock — and not so bad for us either. His teachings apply to 95 percent of all people, regardless of religious belief. As he put it to a group of rabbis at a conference last year — using a metaphor that might be described as a Paulian slip: “Eat the fish and throw away the bones.”

Warren told Wolfson his interest is in helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews. He said there are more than enough Christian souls to deal with for starters.
Source, emphasis mine

So, he loves Jesus enough to not talk about Him, and is so concerned with spreading the Gospel and seeing all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that he isn't concerned with converting Jews? Yea...ok.

Why is it that so many people act as if Jesus is a dirty word? The Jews surely wouldn't have died if Jesus was mentioned in their presence, and perhaps there may have even been some in the crowd that NEEDED and were ready to hear about Jesus. Warren let the opportunity slip right by. I can see not beating these people over the heads with the New Testament, but seriously, avoiding Jesus all together can't be the best solution either.

I realize that putting Jesus out there isn't always the most...comfortable thing, often the mere mention of Christ ruling your life will bring odd glances from the unbeliever, perhaps even a few rolled eyes. But you know what? He is worth it! He's worth being ostrisized for! Now, I'll be the first to admit I sometimes let Jesus take the back seat, but is it right? Hardly, and little by little I'm learning not to do it. If Jesus is powerful enough to save my soul, shouldn't I therefore be compelled to share Him with those around me? If I don't take the oppertunity to share Christ, who will? I can't bet that anyone else will, and I really don't want to stand before my Lord one day and have to say, "Yea, I never told my neighbor about You...and he died."

Don't Waste Your Life Looking At The Sky

Or a website of the sky. I love it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Battle Is Not Ours

Tell me why, I don't understand.
Tell me why, or show me your hand.
Tell me why because I can't see my way through ~
What now...should ~

(music plays )

(drums play)

The battle is not ours
We look to God above~
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love

I will not be afraid
I will not run and hide~
For there is noting I can't face
when God is at my side
No, there is nothing I can't face
when God is at my side

The battle is not ours
We look to God above
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love ~

- Veggie Tales

The Thankfulness Song

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
Thats an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!

- Veggie Tales

Tale of a Lost (Stolen) Cell Phone

The beginning of this month a girl found a misplaced cell phone and decided to keep it instead of answering the text messages to the phone offering a reward for its return. BIG mistake. Guys, if you find something, try to find the owner lest you end up like this girl (warning: mild swearing). Almost a month later, countless emails, and many an update via the website the girl was arrested and the cell phone is being returned to the rightful owner. New York Times even has an article.

High School Shuts the Mic Off Because of Jesus

A constitutional attorney is denouncing a Las Vegas school district for pulling the plug on a Christian student's commencement speech because it referred to her faith in Jesus Christ. At a recent graduation ceremony, Clark County School District (CCSD) officials cut the microphone on Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb after she began reading a speech that contained Bible verses and references to God.

The district officials claim McComb's speech amounted to religious proselytizing and could have been perceived as school-sponsored, thus making it a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. But Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Florida-based pro-family legal organization Liberty Counsel, says the high school valedictorian has every right to take the school district to court over the incident.
In vetting McComb's speech, school officials stripped it of biblical references and approved an edited version, cutting six mentions of God or Christ and omitting two biblical references. At the graduation exercises, however, the teen commencement speaker felt compelled to deviate from the edited version. "God's the biggest part of my life," she says. "Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my Lord and Savior."

For the Foothill High School graduate, it all boiled down to her faith and her fundamental First Amendment right to free speech. For those reasons , she asserts, she chose in this instance to rebel against authority for the first time in her life. And, according to an Associated Press report, a sympathetic crowd of nearly 400 graduates and their families booed angrily at the school officials for several minutes after they cut McComb's microphone.

How Great Thou Art

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

The Instrumentals

Ok, confession. I was a band geek/ nerd. I think aside from the library I spent more time in the band room than doing anything else. And I loved it. The school I graduated from had a long standing tradition of excellence in the music department, and I'm proud to say that I helped to contribute a small part to that. Being in band I was exposed to countless songs, some of which I hated, and some of which brought tears to my eyes performing them. And so here are just a few that I've performed as well as just some other songs that I love.

Mayflower Overture by Ron Nelson
Prelude and Fugue
Sursum Corda composed by Edward Elgar
Fantasia in G by Timothy Mahr
Traumerei by Robert Schumann
Moonlight Sonata Movement 2 by Beethoven
Thy Word by Michael W. Smith
Sonata Number 3 by Rachmanioff
Fantasi Impromptu C#m by Chopin
Nocturne, E flat major, op. 9 by Chopin
Gymnopedie no 1 by Erik Satie
Gnossienne no 1 by Erik Satie

I could go on, but honestly we'd be here all day concerning this single post.

Love Song For A Savior

Jars of Clay was the first band I heard after I accepted Christ, this song was one of the first songs I'd heard, thus the band and the song became one of my favorites. And while I don't listen to them (or anything) much anymore this song remains one of my favorites.

in open fields of wild flowers
she breathes the air and flies away
she thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
someday she'll understand the meaning of it all
he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close a heartbeat or a song on her lips
someday she'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call her and she will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

sitting silent wearing sunday best
the sermon echoes through the walls
a great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can't feel the chains on their souls

he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close a heartbeat or a song on our lips
someday we'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call us and we will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and we'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

it seems too easy to call you "Savior"
not close enough to call you "God"
so as i sit and think of words i can mention
to show my devotion

i want to fall in love with you

This Day

It’s six a.m
I’m so tired
The alarm sounds
And the new day begins
Before I go
And disturb this peaceful moment
I look to you

I want to say a prayer
Before my feet can hit the ground
Lord I give this day to you

I’m amazed how you forgive me
Yesterday seems so far behind
It’s a brand new day
And every day’s a new beginning
I look to you


Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in
And watch the day begin
I wanna watch the day begin

Repeat chorus

- Audio Adrenaline

I know it's not the most profound song, but still it touches me.

Song Lyrics Day

Today I thought it would be fun to post lyrics to various songs that I like. Yea, it's a lame idea, but it is entertaining me so deal with it. Besides all these songs have, at one point or another, meant a lot to me and have reminded me of the Lord. Sadly, there are some songs that I can't post lyrics to because they are instrumental, so they'll get their own post listing them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Go to the Gates and Declare His Message

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.
Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. (Jeremiah 26:8-9, 11)

Jeremiah is sent by God to stand in the gates of the temple and speak out against the evil the Israelites are committing, judgment is coming unless they repent. In response to the message he brings the priests and prophets seek to kill him. They've spent their time telling people things will be fine, that the nation is prospering, that they are truly serving God though they surely are aware of the fact that they haven't been. Their pride and sinful desires keep them from falling to the floor in repentance and look to remove the reproach (Jeremiah) from their midst.

Jeremiah in a step of great faith further pushes, exhorting them to repent but also making it clear that his conscience is clear, he has faithfully spoken the Word the Lord has given him:

Then spoke Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.
(Jeremiah 26:12-15)

Sadly we see this mirrored even today in our churches. Many of them have gone off to please men and in doing so have built up idols in the Lord's temple (their hearts), and though they may still claim to love God above all and desire to serve Him, quite often this is just not the case.

And so we're sent to our brethren, our loving Father has given us a Word for His lost children (even those who refuse to believe they are lost) and like Jeremiah we're called to stand at the gates and call out to them. We're sent to call the world...and the repentance before it is too late for them to repent.

More than likely they will refuse to hear, they may seek to silence the message by calling the messenger a liar, or by sending us away and removing us from their congregations, and eventually seek to kill us. Indeed we see this happening already around the world, but eventually this refusal to repent and accept the truth will lead to blood shed in every country.

But even when it comes to that we're called to stand, as Jeremiah did, and exhort our lost brothers and sisters to turn back to the true God, to the true Gospel. We must have faith that God's will shall be done, and if they kill us for the message we bring so be it. They'll be unable to stand before God and say they weren't aware of their sin for they will have killed to hide it. But you can't hide anything from God, and eventually He will bring judgment upon those who refuse to repent. Despite the possible risk of loss for us we must remain faithful to the Word He has given us lest we should stand before Him knowing we haven't warned the people of coming destruction.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Last Year: Father Arrested. This Year: Son Jumped

Last year a Massachusetts father was arrested for refusing to leave his son in a kindergarten class without the assurance that he'd be able to opt his child out of any pro-homosexual curriculum. This year the son has been beaten up at school, officials believe it may be in response to the parents filing a lawsuit against the school.

The young son of a Massachusetts pro-family activist was physically assaulted by fellow elementary school students on the two-year anniversary of same-sex "marriage" in the state.

On May 17, first-grader Jacob Parker was beaten up by a group of eight to ten kids on the playground at Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington. Just weeks before the assault, his father and mother had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school.

Last year, David Parker was arrested and jailed for refusing to leave the school until officials agreed to grant him the right to opt his son out of classroom discussions on homosexuality. The Massachusetts father believes the assault was incited by parents who are upset with his opposition to homosexuality.


The pro-family advocate suspects the physical attack on his son may have occurred because parents and school officials are angry over his stand for traditional marriage in Massachusetts and have allowed these feelings to influence kids who attend Estabrook Elementary. Also, he notes, back issues of the "biased" Lexington Minuteman newspaper were placed on a table in the school library for children to read the local coverage of the lawsuit.

What do you call cheese that isn't yours??


NACHO (you know, Not yo' cheese) CHEESE!!!

hahaha I love my friend Shelly. She's such a goof! I hope you laughed because I sure did. In fact, I'm still laughing.

A Word From Jeremiah

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1-4)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hey! Let's Ignore the Bible!

"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.

Interesting. We shouldn't follow what the Bible says. Good to know.
::goes out and performs a human sacrifice while wearing nothing but her underwear::

Come on, people. The Bible says we should dress modestly, is that one of those things we should ignore? How about human sacrifice? Perhaps we should start cooking our toddlers up. The Bible says quite clearly that homosexuality is sin, to bust out the KJV, "an abomination" in the eyes of God. So, why is it some people feel it is alright to dismiss this out of hand? Just because they don't like to hear it? People don't like hearing they are sinners and that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but they should still hear that right? Right. So, why on earth would you choose to dismiss something that Scripture is just as specific about?

Psalm 63

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

In God I Have Put My Trust

To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.
Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living. (Psalm 56)

Let Them Return Unto Thee

I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. (Jeremiah 15:17, emphasis mine)

Jeremiah doesn't join together with those who mock God and His righteousness. He sits separated from those who may pay lip service but do not worship in their heart and spirit. He sees God's hand in his separation, he is frustrated - disgusted even - by the sin of those around him. God has caused him to be incapable of being complacent about sin. He cares, and he cares deeply. He understands that these people who were called by God, who claim to serve Him, are marring the Lord's name. Their behavior, their attitudes dishonor the name of the One who has called them. Surely the pagans that surround them must look at these people and say, "Look at them. They claim to serve the God of gods, yet they do not seem to be any different than us. If their God is greater, why do they do things that our unlawful people would do?"

Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. (Jeremiah 15:19, emphasis mine)

God calls us to maintain our separation from the world, do not return to it, do not return to our previous lives but to remain steadfast in our following Him. Our differences shall be a light to the world, should not the unbeliever be able to see we are different? We're called to be holy as our Father is holy (Leviticus 11:44, Matthew 5:48), and to let our light shine before all men so that they might glorify the God that works through us (Matthew 5:16). And on top of that we have a duty to each other, to our brethren in Christ to point out their sin (I'm not saying beat them in the head with their Bibles, but sin must be addressed). We cannot turn a blind eye to something that can send our brothers and sisters tumbling down the road to destruction and in the process mar their witness for Christ and lead others into temptation as well (1 Corinthians 5).

Hundreds of years before it was written Jeremiah's pleas to the Israelites to turn back from their wickedness seems to foreshadow James:

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jeremiah On The Word of The Lord

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them;" (Jeremiah 15:16) to eat is to be sustained, to be nurished by what you're eating. Jeremiah is saying here that in the midst of his persecution, in the midst of his hardship, in the midst of what must have seemed like a spiritual wilderness he found God's Word and was nurished by it.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

He continues, "and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Here we see Jeremiah rejoicing because he knows the Word. It is in the Word of God that we find God's love, patience, righteousness, and glory displayed (at least until the return of Christ!) most clearly. He knows the Word and because of that knowledge he rejoices. He's being persecuted, people hate him because he is a reproach to their sinful lives and still he finds joy! It is in knowing and embracing the Word of the Lord that we can rejoice when those around us who do not know the Lord would be weeping and crying out about their misfortune.

We rejoice in knowing that we are "called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Ignorance of God's Word often leads to doubt, sadness, and hopelessness. But as we learn and grow in the Lord, when we come to understand this God who knew us before we were born, this God who guides and protects us, this same God who created the heavens is calling us to Him we can rejoice and experience a deep setting joy and peace that is not dependant upon our current situations. It is in knowing God as revealed through His Word that we find this joy. And I rejoice in the fact that He cares so much for us that He has chosen to give us His Word as a constant reminder of His ever loving presence in the lives of those who serve Him.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Couples go to U.S. to pick baby's sex

The Chinese want boys and the Canadians want girls. If they have enough money, they come to the United States to choose the sex of their babies.
Well-off foreign couples are getting around laws banning sex selection in their home countries by coming to American soil — where it's legal — for medical procedures that can give them the boy, or girl, they want.
"Some people spend $50,000 to $70,000 for a BMW car and think nothing of it, but this is a life that's going to be with us forever," said Robert, an Australian who asked that his last name not be used to protect the family's privacy.
He and his wife, Joanna, have two boys. Now they want a girl. Australia only allows gender selection of embryos to avoid an inherited disease.
The United States' lack of regulation means a growing global market for a few fertility clinics. These businesses advertise in airline magazines or post Web sites aimed at luring clients worldwide.
Foes call it "consumer eugenics" and say it opens the door to a future where parents will choose their babies' hair color, eye color and potential to grow tall enough to play basketball. U.S. doctors are catering to the same gender bias that has led to female infanticide in China and India, opponents said.
"What you're saying is it's better you don't exist than be the wrong gender for my family. And that's a shocking assertion," said Matthew Eppinette, director of research at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, a Christian bioethics group.
Source, emphasis mine.

I can't decide what bothers me more, the fact that these couples are willing to seek out people to do this, or the fact that these doctors have no ethical issues with it.

Oh, I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free to destroy and manipulate thousands of babies...Not quite as catchy, is it? Yea.

Man Drives with Wife's Head, Kills Two Others in Accident

BOISE, Idaho - A man transporting his wife‘s severed head in a pickup truck crashed into an oncoming car, killing a woman and her 4-year-old daughter, police said. The impact sent the head flying onto the road.

Time, 51, who was not injured, told officers he was involved in his wife‘s death, investigators said.

An autopsy was scheduled next week to determine Theresa Time‘s cause of death, Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris said.

"It was one of the more horrific and complex crime scenes on memory," Hightower said. "A woman and her child killed in a crash, and a severed head from an earlier homicide: It‘s nothing short of bizarre and tragic."

Give Me The Manna

If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it's been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it's been plateaued for 20 years, you've got to set in for the duration!

I'm saying some people are going to have to die or leave. Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but itÂ’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.

Well, you learn something new every day. I had no idea that God had them wander around in the wilderness because he wanted to kill the Israelites! Here I thought they wandered the desert because of their hardened hearts towards God. I thought their refusal to trust and obey God was why they were in the wilderness? I think this isn't quite the same thing, Mr. Warren. The people who died in the wilderness refused to trust and follow God, it was their stubborn disobedience and distrust of God that kept them out of the promised land. But you're saying that even though they sincerely loved God and wanted to follow Him they needed to be killed off? Don't you think that is a little different than someone who has solid Biblical concerns with your teachings?

You're saying that anyone who doesn't agree with *your* vision for their church is in rebellion to God and essentially will never enter that promised land, simply because they don't share your vision? You're not quite Moses, Mr. Warren. Moses was bringing the Israelites out of slavery, he was the voice God used to deliver the people. God, through Moses, spoke words to the Israelites that would cause them to live peacefully, productively, healthfully, and most importantly, in a way that would cause all the nations to stop and wonder. The Word God gave Moses would, when followed in heart and deed, would bring glory to God. The Word given to the Israelites would set them apart from the world, there would be a major difference between God's people and the people of the world.

Yet you're calling us to go back into the world. To measure ourselves by the world's standards rather than by God's. You're calling us to be the same, show the lost that we're all the same as them, but we aren't! We're called to be seperate! We're called to seek first the will of our Father, but the way you talk it seems as if we're supposed to be more concerned with looking *cool* in the eyes of the world.

Well, Mr. Warren, if your promised land is all about numbers, being hip, and has very little to do with hungering for the Word and seeking God's glory above all, then I think I'll just hang out here in what you consider the wilderness. Better to live on the manna God sends than to fool myself into thinking that the chips and dip you offer is better when it is almost completely devoid of what I need to survive.

Bill Gates to Retire

That's right folks, over the next two years he'll be phasing himself out. Details here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

You Just Never Know

David posted this.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

The Kingdom is a Treasure

For a long time I considered myself a Christian, you see once upon a time I'd had a run in with Jesus and had realized He was exactly who He said He was. But somehow I managed to stray, the hardness of my own heart led me away to follow the voice of one who was not my Shepherd. But I really never thought much about it, I thought I was following God, I realize now how lost I was. Sometimes I think that is even more difficult, calling someone off a path that they are sure leads to God can be more difficult than calling someone who knows they aren't following God. But you see, I think in part my problem was when I began to stray is that I really didn't have much of a foundation. I didn't read my Bible on regular basis, or even a semi-regular basis, the "church" I was in didn't preach on sin, and was absorbed in the latest movements to hit the Body. They were more focused on making everyone feel good about themselves than really displaying God's glory through His Word. It isn't their fault I strayed, that lies on my shoulders, but they most certainly weren't doing their job by calling me back from the brink of sin. Years when by and this continued, I got more lost and the place I called my church just kept on going their own way as well.

But God in His great mercy was calling me back to Him, and one night I hit the floor in tears. A trial like I'd never experienced had just knocked the wind right out of me and I realized there was no way I'd make it through on my own. In the early morning hours of the following day I realized how I hadn't been following God. Oh, I may have been using His name and claiming to know Him, but I most certainly wasn't following Him. I easily fell into the latter category of John 14:23-24:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

After that night I discovered a deep rooted hunger for God's Word. I just couldn't seem to get enough of it. And the more I studied the more I understood God. And it continues to this day. You see, before this trial I'd never studied the Word and because I'd never studied I really didn't have firm grasp on who God was. I knew Jesus was sent to the cross because of my sins, but I didn't know it in my heart, I hadn't let it take root there. And because I didn't know the Word I wasn't able to understand just how precious Christ's sacrifice was, I wasn't able to see the value of the Cross in a life changing way. I wasn't able to comprehend that losing just about everything I held dear to me was worth the loss if I'd gained Christ.

Ah, but when we get that glimpse, when God opens His Word to us, when we begin to understand the value of living a life in submission to God, when we really begin to grasp that we can and will be changed drastically. Why are people all around the world dying for the name of Jesus? Why are people seeing the Bible and their relationship with God as more important than a house, food, water, or their very lives? It's because they've opened their hearts to Him and allowed Him to show them His magnificence!

I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (Psalms 119:162)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)

Oh, how I want Him to open my heart like this, to be willing to risk everything to call Him my own.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In the Name of the Lord

At what point do our sacrifices become unacceptable? Does God have a standard for how we are to approach Him, or can we simply come however we see fit? It is becoming more and more common to hear that we can come as we please and so long as we are sincere God will accept it. We can take the physical side of yoga and remove it from the intertwined spiritual aspects without concern. We can take things that originally were found in other religions and slap the name of Jesus on it and that will make it "Christian." Or will it? And can we really do a service in the name of God and demand reward for it? If I do x, y, and z do I force God's hand into giving me what I want? If I do 10 prayers does that mean I will get what I want? And if I'm willing to do 100 prayers will I get 10 times as many blessings? Is God a genie that is willing to give whatever we want so long as we bring something, anything to Him? If we just rub that little bottle He'll answer our prayers, after all He has to. Doesn't He?

To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. (Jeremiah 6:20)

It seems to me that we can't just do whatever we want and expect God to accept it. If we can pick and choose our methods for approaching God from other religions, why then shouldn't we just be able to follow those other religions and still come to God? If God is going to accept certain aspects of false religions as a way to come to Him, why then would He insist that coming to Him through Christ's sacrifice is the only way (John 14:6)?

If we could make sacrifices to God in whatever manner we wanted, why would He kill Aaron's sons in Leviticus for doing this very thing?

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled. And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus 10:1-11)

If God is a God of order, and we know He is, then why would He be so disorderly that man could choose to do whatever he wanted? This idea contradicts all of Scripture. He set up the world in a specific order, the way the ark was to be built, He had Abraham come to a specific mountain to offer Isaac in sacrifice, He brought the Israelites out of Egypt along a specific path, specific ways for how the tabernacle was to be laid out, even the way the land was divided once they were able to enter the land was very specific and left no doubt as to who lived where. God was so specific that He gave over a hundred prophecies concerning the coming of His Son. So, if God is going to be that detail oriented in everything else, why do we seem to think that He doesn't have specific things He will and will not allow as valid ways of worshiping Him?

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(Matthew 7:22-23)

Likewise just doing the "right" thing isn't good enough. Our hearts must be engaged, we must serve because we long to see God glorified, not to attempt to use our servanthood as something to dangle over God's head. He wants us to do what He commands because we love Him, to desire His glorification over all else. God doesn't do half way. Christ said that those who love anyone more than Him are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37), He shot down the Pharisees outward righteousness because they were not doing their works out of a pure heart (Matthew 23:25). Clearly doing "good" to appear righteous is not righteous at all, one must do good because God has commanded us to do so and one must do that work faithfully with a clean heart to the glory of God.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (Colossians 3:23)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Google To Take Over The World

Seriously. Google Calendars! And it will let you share the calendar with people as well as send alerts to your cell phone. I love Google.

On Psalm 124

A Song of degrees of David.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
Then they had swallowed us up quick
, when their wrath was kindled against us:
Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:1-8, emphasis mine)

Simply beautiful. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side we would be consumed, truly how could we stand if not for the Lord? I have seen this truth displayed so well in my own life. There have been things that I'm sure I would have never been able to manage if God hadn't been there leading me through. Things I'm sure could have broken me, made me endlessly bitter, even some things could have killed me if God had not been there. But He was there, and continues to be there. And when the trials come He lifts me back up off my knees and leads me through. I rejoice in knowing He has gone before me, all I have to do is walk the path He has laid out...And I don't even have to do that in my strength, but in His.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Food Review: Southern Chicken with Corn Fritters

I made this a few weeks ago for my family, I enjoyed it. My daughter devoured the corn fritters.

4 chicken portions
Flour for coating
Matzo meal for coating
2 eggs beaten
6TBSP margarine
3 TBSP corn oil
2/3 c soy milk
1 c flour, sifted
8 oz canned corn kernels, drained

Coat the chicken with flour, then dip into the beaten eggs, then into the matzo meal pressing firmly. Chill for 10 minutes to allow the coating to set.

Heat half the margarine and half the oil in a large skillet. Fry chicken until brown, remove with slotted spoon and place in an oven proof dish. Cover and bake @ 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the remaining egg to soy milk and mix. Stir in flour, then season to taste. Stir in corn.

Heat the remaining margarine and oil in skillet and drop table spoons of batter in and fry until brown. Remove with slotted spoon and keep hot.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Truthfully We Can Know The Truth

The truth can be difficult to hear, especially if you try to convince yourself that there is no truth. You can squirm and disagree and argue all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that there is a truth that can be known, a truth that does not change, a perfect truth. And you're not going to find it within yourself as some would have you believe.

People defend their resistance to the truth by saying that everything is subject to our interpretation. But is it? Is God's truth, as revealed through the Bible, subject to our personal gut check? If something convicts us do we get to reject it simply because it doesn't make us feel good? Hardly.

People like Neale would have us believe that everything is relative and that whatever makes me feel good is true for me, and whatever makes you feel good is true for you. So, if being an Islamic terrorist makes you feel justified then go for it! If joining a community to drink some special Kool-aid is going to make you feel accepted and loved, then obviously that's what you should do. GIVE ME A BREAK, ok? When has everyone doing whatever they wanted made anything better? Look around you, most people are doing whatever is "true" for them and the world is a mess! But Neale would have us believe it is all the Church's fault, trying to force people into believing what they believe, etc. And yes, it is partially our fault as we still sin, but let us not chalk it all up to human error. Just because I screw up doesn't make Jesus' statements any less true.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Jesus understood the idolatry of the human heart, He knew we want to go our own way and declare ourselves God, but He also knew that this belief will lead to nothing but destruction. And so we find written in the pages of Scripture instruction, guidance, a moral compass, AND most importantly we find the message of Salvation. In Christ, through Christ. He understood our flesh wants to live it up and fill every lustful desire, but He tells us "[i]f any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me, " (Matthew 16:24) ah but that doesn't sound very fun does it?! But Jesus is the truth, He speaks the truth, and that truth is found within our Bibles. So, when the text that is declared to be God inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) says that destruction is coming for anyone that rejects Him (Matthew 3:10, Matthew 7:13, Matthew 24:51, Philippians 3:19, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 20:10-15) and speaks of old things passing away and a new heaven and a new earth coming (Revelation 21:1), you can be sure it is true.

I can't imagine still going through my life leaning on my own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5), all I remember is how lost I was, how distraught, how miserable. But in Christ I have a loving Father who protects and guides me, I have something that doesn't change to line myself up with to see if I am in error. And this God through His Word tells me to be a servant, to be lowly, to care for others rather than seeking to lift myself up. People can blame whoever they want all they want, but the fact remains that the mess this world is in isn't God's fault. We've all departed and rejected the truth in order to seek out our heart's sinful desires, so when someone comes along and says that we can't know the truth all they're really doing is feeding into this lie that nothing matters. I can do what I want, because it is true for me. Hogwash.

In this everything is relative world, I lean upon the one constant, the one truth. The God who is revealed through the Bible.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Posting Question

For anyone who stumbles upon this and uses blogger to create your posts, when you create a post do you still get the option at the bottom of the window to edit the date and time of when the post gets listed?

For example, I used to be able to create a post at 4am, publish it, and have the blog say it was published at 4pm. Now that option seems to have gone away. I even gave in and checked it in IE, and it is still not giving me the option. ::shudder:: Yes, I was that irritated that I opened IE. I'm going to get some counseling right after I get this figured out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Attacked By Wolves!

Carla narrowly escaped with her life from a pack of wolves in her back yard....or not. It is a great read, pretty frightening actually. Darn Calvinists trying to eat people again.

The Canaanite Woman: A Woman of Scripture

[Today we'll wrap up the (Gentile) Women of Scripture series, you can find Ruth here, the woman at the well here, and Rahab here.]

Can I be honest? This woman and her interaction with Jesus had me scratching my head for a good three days. Really, go read Matthew 15:21-28. I mean at first Jesus ignores her pleas for mercy, (I can count on my hand the times Jesus doesn't reply to someone) then because she keeps crying out the disciples turn to Him and basically say, "Look, Jesus, You should send her away. She keeps crying, she's getting on our nerves, should we tell her to go for You?!" And finally He responds by telling her that He has come for the lost children of Israel, He's come for the Jew. And so she bows herself down in submission to Him (she obviously knows He is the Messiah) and worships Him. And still He seems to want to dissuade her:

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. (Matthew 15:26)

Boy, if Jesus had said that to me when I'd been pleading for the life of my child I'd probably just sit and cry (or I'd be shocked at least for a moment). But not this woman, she was there to fight, she knew He could deliver her daughter from the spirits and refused to give up.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. (Matthew 15:27)

Oh, she's a quick one! And so Jesus marvels at her, can you imagine? Jesus just sitting there for a moment, jaw agape. He sees that she has "great" faith and sends her on her way with the assurance that her daughter will be fine.

Now that aside, how does this apply to our faith, what lesson can we pull from this, how does this connect to the other three women of our series? Truth be told I started this series because I was studying Pentecost. And what is one of the things that happened at Pentecost? The Gentile was brought into the family of God. The lost were found and redeemed. The faith went from the Jew to the Jew and the Gentile. God opened up the gates and declared for all to come. The Jew, the widow, the fatherless, the stranger, everyone can come! But you must believe.

One verse really stuck out to me (verse 27) and that's where God started me at with this woman. The crumbs. Jesus says it isn't right for Him to take what is for the Jew to give to a dog and the woman retorts, "Yes, but even the dogs are fed crumbs." The dogs get the crumbs, the left overs! What struck me so significantly about this verse is that I had just been studying the Law of the Old Testament, and in that God commands that when one harvests their crop they must leave some for the widow, the fatherless, and the stranger that is amongst them. It is as if this woman who wasn't a Jews and probably didn't know the Law understood this concept. Jesus came to feed the Israelites first, but the crumbs, the left-overs were rightfully for the stranger.

It strikes me that while crumbs may not sound great, or that God loves the Jews more, we have to keep in mind that the Jews walked all those years in the wilderness being fed by God. And what did He choose to feed them? Manna...Crumbs from heaven! And those crumbs were enough, heck they were more than enough! Left-overs in the field were more than enough to sustain Ruth. God's crumbs are plenty, and are something to rejoice over!

Admittedly this can be hard to hear, especially for all us non-Jews. Our pride tends to puff up, but really let us consider this. God isn't a respecter of persons, the Bible tells us that repeatedly. So, obviously God isn't playing favorites, He doesn't love them more than us, so what's the deal?

I have two children. They're both small and I love them both. But the fact remains that my boy is nearly two years older than my girl. Now, I give my son bigger portions of food, I give him food that takes a little more effort to eat. Does this mean that I love my little girl any less? Do I love her with an inferior love because I don't think she is ready for steak just yet? I love her just as I love my son, and truthfully it is the very fact that I love her that keeps me from giving her things she isn't ready for! I give her just what she needs lest she be overwhelmed or choke.

Similarly God loves us. The Jews started out with the manna that fell from the sky just as crumbs would fall from a table. And you know what? That was exactly enough to take care of them, and it taught them to depend only upon God. It taught them to wait beneath that table eagerly expecting those crumbs to fall. And they weren't under that table eating crumbs for eternity, when God determined they were ready He brought them up to the table and gave them the next step up. And so the Gentiles are brought in. For a time we need to learn that same dependence, that same eagerness, that same persistent pursuit of food, of His provision. And when we get to the point where He decides we are ready for more than just crumbs He'll step us up to the corn. He'll bring us to it, but out of love for us He will not give us more than we are ready for. And so we must wait upon the Lord.

One last thing about this woman. When she approaches Jesus she's pleading for mercy, and for the deliverance of her daughter from evil spirits. We see in this woman a child-like faith. She knows who Jesus is, she knows what He is capable of, she knows that He can do this work and save her daughter. She asks Him to have mercy on her, why and what is this mercy she desires? She asks for Him to deliver her daughter, and in doing so He will have mercy upon her. Any parent knows how heart wrenching it is to see a child being afflicted. Do our hearts not break for our children when they are hurt, do we not cry out for deliverance when we see them going astray? And when our child heals, or returns from disobedience do we not rejoice? In delivering the daughter He is being merciful to the parents. And this is what the woman cries out for. She knows He can do this, and she has it in her mind that she will not leave until she hears from God. She'll wait there behind Him for as long as it takes, but she will hear Him answer. She knows He can answer and refuses to let a slight delay in that answer deter her. She hears those around her saying He will not answer, that she should give up and go home, she hears all this and still she has faith. He will answer, but she must wait.

We are called to have this faith. To know that God does hear us, and that even though He might seem silent, He might seem as if He will never answer, we know He will. It may not be what we want to hear all the time, but He will answer. He hears us when we call, we can be sure of that. Sometimes it is beneficial for us to have to wait. But He will answer in His timing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Google Spread Sheets

I'm excited. I don't use spread sheets much, but this is definitely good, especially for a budget (which is what I'm using to test it out). I love Google.

Rahab: A Woman of Scripture

[Today we'll take a look at the next person in the (Gentile) Women of Scripture series, you can find Ruth here, and the woman at the well here.]

In the second chapter of Joshua two spies are sent to Jericho from the Israelite camp, upon coming to the city they hide in the home of a harlot named Rahab. I've always wondered, when she let them into her house did she immediately realize these men were not native to the city? Did their speech betray them? If she did know who these men were before the king sent for them, then she'd probably been ready to hide them from the very beginning. Another question I've had, how exactly did the king and his advisers know the spies were in her house? Did someone see them enter? Surely she wasn't the only woman of her...occupation, so perhaps someone saw them enter her house. Perhaps one of her competitors was trying to put her out of business. However it came about the king knew the men had been there and sent people to capture them.

Rahab sends them on a wild goose chase by telling them the spies have left. She knows the Lord has given them the land, she has heard about the Red Sea, the various battles, and she understands that the city will not be able to stand. In fact, she tells the spies how the men of Jericho have no courage because they have all heard of these things. This is why the king seeks them out, no doubt to prevent their return to the Israelites. She asks that since she protected them that they would protect her and her family. They tell her that they will, but she must hang a scarlet rope out her window.

This gentile woman heard of all that the Lord had done for the Israelites and when given the opportunity to serve or reject Him she embraces and protects what He has trusted her with. God sent these men to her, He gave her this opportunity and she responds faithfully.

This reminds me of our lives, how God has given us a most precious treasure, how He has entrusted us with His word, with His message. When we first hear the Gospel message, when we understand the value of it, when we begin to understand the strength of God, the holiness of God, the glory as it is displayed in the Gospel, when we embrace this message the enemy comes knocking. You see he knows how dangerous this message is, that this Word that has entered our hearts means the sure destruction of his plans, and so he seeks it out to destroy it. But we must guard our hearts and protect the message, we must not open the door and let the kings men take the spies away.

These men coming to her was a merciful act on the part of God, had they not gone and all this transpired Rahab would have died with the rest of the city. But God had a plan for her, He loved her and was calling her to the family, and it was His love for her that enabled her to love and serve Him.

The scarlet thread is an act of faith. She puts herself out there, marks herself as the harlot that hid these men and trusts the men (and by implication, God) will stay true to their word and save her. When we come to Christ, we must lay it all out in faith, trusting God is an honest God and will forgive our sins.

Can you imagine how frightening it must have been to stay in that house and trust she would be safe when the attack came? How difficult it must have been to not run away? The faith it took to stay in the midst of that terror astounds me. But she stayed, and God did save her.

And He will save us when we trust Him. When God tells us to stay we must. When God tells us to have peace we must. When God speaks a promise to us, you can be sure it shall come to pass exactly as He has said. We must rest in Him as Rahab did, and have confidence that He will bring us through.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

End of the World Blog Spotting

People sure are fixated. It's quite funny.

Carla is sure the world is ending because the cat didn't come home and the coffee maker is acting up.

Frenzyboard has been dreading this for an entire 24 hours, has declared that it is 6/6/6, and wonders if we are dead yet.

Editor at Large has a list of useful endtimes phone numbers and websites you might want to check out. Sooner Thought has the same list. Truly it is the end times when two blogs post the exact same thing!

And of course no End Times post would be complete without the Left Behind people declaring that the Rapture comes today!

The Woman at The Well: A Woman of Scripture

[Yesterday we kicked off the (Gentile) Women of Scripture series, you can find Ruth here]

In John 4 Jesus is traveling with His disciples and comes to rest at a well, the disciples go off to find some food while Jesus rests. And as He rests this woman, this Samaritan woman comes to draw some water. Jesus turns to her, and despite all the many cultural reasons why a Jewish man would never address a Samaritan woman He asks her for a drink, He asks her to serve Him. To say she is blown away is the understatement of the year.

When we first hear God's call, when we first realize He wants us to serve Him our response very often is, "Do You know who You are talking to? I mean, really Jesus, You must not know or there is just no way You'd be talking to me!" But He says to us that it is we who don't understand. If we really understood at that point who He was, we wouldn't question why He is calling us. When He calls it can seem odd to us, after all why would God be talking to me?! But still He calls, He sees us going about our business, going back to the same temporal well to fill our needs each day, trying desperately to feel whole, and when He offers that living water, when He offers Himself to us we're amazed because we'd never imagined anything could fill us so that the luster of the world seems to fade. We try to make our lives "better," more complete by our own strength, but this emptiness we feel, this emptiness we try to distract ourselves from can only be filled by God. When He offers this living water, this thing that can make us thirst again we get excited, we cry out just as the woman did, "Lord, give me this water!"

But then He tells us to go get our husband - we have no husband but have been laying down with man after man, temporary fix after temporary fix, sin after sin. I imagine the woman's heart sunk a little as He told her to get her husband, I imagine her shame as she told Him she had no husband. Perhaps she thought, "Oh no, He won't take me now. He won't give me that living water, He won't fill this need now. I've messed up and now He will revoke His offer." Instead of withdrawing, however, He probes further.

The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (John 4:17-18)

You see we cannot hide anything from God. We can't hide our actions, our thoughts, or even our desires from Him. He sees it all and in spite of this He is still calling. Do you remember? Can you imagine it? The way her heart must of rejoiced! He knew everything about her and still He called her! He calls us to bring forth our "husbands," the idols in our lives to present what we having trying to fill our lives with. I think there are two reasons for this. First, we bring these things forth and must admit to ourselves and to God that we have had idols in our lives, and in bringing them into the light we are able to see that the Glory of God is so much greater than anything. We have the opportunity to rejoice as He shows us the fallacy in our lives. He calls us to bring forth that man, that job, that drug, that TV show, that CD, whatever it is we are using to distract ourselves from Him He tells us, "Bring it here! Set it next to me! I'm going to show you my greatness, so go and get this thing, this powerless thing that has been crafted by man's hand. Go and get it, and I will show you nothing can stand, nothing can over power the beauty of My Glory. Go, get it, I know it's there, bring it forth and release it!"

Can you imagine the excitement as He declared to her that He was the Messiah? As He confirmed her suspicions? Can you hear the joy in her voice as she rushed to tell everyone the Messiah had come? And for some it is like that, someone in their life receives the call and it causes them to wonder, perhaps they even accept that what this person says is the truth as many of the people in John 4:39 did. But those people weren't content with just hearing it from the woman, they needed to hear it from God's own lips, they needed to experience God for themselves. And so it is with us, we cannot ride the back of another, we must go down to that well and meet Jesus for ourselves, we must hear Him ourselves, we must because everything else is a sad substitute to really knowing Him. We must hear His call from His own lips. And when we go down to that well, then we will believe not just because this woman's life has been turned inside out, but because our own lives have been turned upside down. And so it is with the Church. We are called to tell the world about our wonderful Savior, but ultimately we can only point the way. They may believe what they say, but they can only believe because God has enabled them to. We love Him because He loved us first.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Leper Who Came Back

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests.
And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
(Luke 17:11-19)

How I long to be like that leper that turned back! How often do we take God's deliverance for granted? How often have I cried out for mercy and when I received it I went on my way rather than falling to my knees in thanksgiving? Oh how I long to see my heart transformed, to see in those moments that God is glorified and has given me another opportunity to lift His name up. Oh, I want faith like that!

How I Love Moments Like This

You know sometimes I just catch a glimpse of God's love, a glimpse that is much more clear than my every day understanding. Sometimes it just hits me, overwhelms me really, and I can scarcely believe the mercy, grace, and love He has bestowed upon me. Honestly I can't explain it, I don't even understand it sometimes. All I know is that He has chosen me, has called me, has redeemed me, loves me, and protects me despite the fact that I have done nothing to deserve it and countless things against Him. And it's enough. It is more than enough. My God is here with me, and is willing to use little ol' me as an instrument to display His Glory. Truly astounding. I love moments like this, the realization of His love has been freshened this past weekend. I hate becoming complacent about it, about the cross, about the sacrifice Christ made, but I let myself become so far to often. But He has answered a long standing prayer, and will continue to answer a prayer...Soften my heart, peel back the layers of hardness and transform me, ah how it amazes me how He's already moved in this prayer! And how I rejoice in knowing He will continue! Truly God is good.

Iowa State Prison to Close Bible Program

An Iowa prison has been ordered to close it's Bible program and repay the state over one million dollars. Details here.

The InnerChange Freedom Initiative was implemented in Newton in 1999. State prison officials have said they hired the religious group to improve inmate behavior and reduce recidivism — not promote Christianity.

Give me a break, ok? I'm not trying to sound like a snot, but give me a break. You hire a Christian oranization, full of Christians, and then expect them not to promote Christianity? Someone is either half asleep on the job, or needs their head examined.

Ruth and Naomi: Women of Scripture

Naomi and her family lived in Bethlehem during a famine, but rather than riding out the famine they decided to leave. Famines were generally understood to be of the hand of God, usually brought about by sin and corruption seeping into the hearts of the people. In this aspect it could be argued that famines were most often a direct result of the people walking in disobedience outside of the will of God. And as we all know, being outside of the will of God has consequences.

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. (Deuteronomy 28:38-39)

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
(Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

So, the famine was a result of sin, of disobedience, of an unwillingness to humble themselves before the Lord. Rather than seeing God's great patience and mercy in this they see it as trouble and run away. God sent this as a wake up call. Can you not hear His heart pleading, "My beloved children, turn back to Me! Do you not see what your disobedience brings? Your land and lives are in great peril. Turn back and walk in My loving protection!" But Naomi and her family refuse and turn their backs on the God who loves them all in order to join hands with an unbelieving world and try to prosper in their own strength. This, of course, is directly against what God commands of them in Deuteronomy 26:3, "Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever." This further disobedience leads to further destruction - Naomi's husband dies. In this God is being merciful, Naomi and her two sons are still alive, they easily could have returned to Israel but refused to do so.

Instead her son's go against God's commandment and marry foreign women. The sons die, now only the women are left. One family's disobedience has not only brought devastating results in their lives, but has directly affected the lives of two other women. After all this Naomi gets wind that the famine has passed in Bethlehem and decides to return. Now, at first glance one breathes a sigh of relief because she's returning. Perhaps all this trouble has caused her to understand how she needs God and she's willing to trust Him now. Sadly, I'm not sure this was the case. Notice she only returns after the famine passes. They left because life got rough and now she returns because life got even more rough. And so she prepares to head home. She bids her daughters in law farewell, and after some convincing one daughter decides to return to her family, to her friends, to her old life, to the gods of her youth. But in Ruth we something truly remarkable. We see a heart called by God. In the midst of what must have been a sad and frightening time we see a woman who has gotten a glimpse of God's glory and has been changed by it.

We see a woman who is unable to turn her back and forget what she has seen. We see a woman who, upon hearing the call on her life, turns away from everything she has ever known in order to follow the God of her mother in law. She leaves behind her friends, her family, the idols of her home land, even any opportunity she would have had to get remarried and be cared for. She trusts God, and despite the difficulties that laid before her she sets off with Naomi.

In Naomi's family we see people who were brought up knowing God, yet their hearts refuse Him and they turn away to serve their desires. We see a family who knew God on some level but chose to ignore Him. They went out to find food and prosperity and found only destruction.

Upon her return to Bethlehem Naomi declares that she should be called Mara (bitter). She says that she went out full and returned empty. Still she seems unwilling to accept the sins she and her family committed and refuses to look at God's grace in all of it. She didn't come back empty - she came back! She was alive and able to return! God had sparred her life, yet she sees only the death. And as if her life weren't enough He blessed her with a loyal daughter in law who sought to care for her. But still she cries out "I have nothing!"

This is quite the contrast to Ruth. She has lost just as much as Naomi and yet we never hear these complaints from her. Perhaps she, like Paul, counted the costs and realized everything she lost was nothing if she'd gained God. She is willing to step out in faith and do the work He provides her. Sunrise to sunset she is in the fields collecting food to feed her and Naomi.

You see, God has seen all of this. He has seen the devastation and hardship, He has seen Ruth's faithfulness. People who had heard about Him and sat under His teaching all their lives didn't seem to get it, but Ruth did. She'd only just heard about Him, just come to Him, and yet she shows more character, more faith than those around her. With a child-like faith she sets out. God put a specific field in front of her, ironically enough it is the field of the husband He has determined to give her, and told her to work it. He says, "Here is your work, I've determined this is what is best for you. Do the work and trust that it will be enough." God knows all she needs, He knows she essentially has no family, but by seeking God she has been brought into His family and eventually He blesses her with a godly husband with a heart for serving the Lord. He knows she needs food and a roof over her head, and He provides the means to receive those. But beyond that He gives her time. Time to unlearn her old way of life, time to learn about Him. Time to learn to trust Him first and foremost.

You see, if He had given her Boaz right after coming to Bethlehem she would have been more likely to focus on him. She would see him as the one who protects and provides for her, and yes this is true he would be, but God protects and provides for him, so really anything Boaz is able to give her would have been by the hand of God. And she needed time to learn that. In all of this we see that God gave her the highest treasure, Himself. The gods of her youth had no power, now she had an all powerful God caring for her. She was hell bound and He called her to the salvation which can only be found in Him. God in His great mercy rescued her from a life that would have ended in the destruction of her life, He called her out of the world that didn't care for her and could provide nothing of lasting value for her. He saved her from her sins. The ones He had originally reached out to turned their backs on Him, yet He used this sin to bring in a Gentile woman and join her with the faithful in worship of Him.

We cannot read the book of Ruth without seeing God's passion for calling the lost, without seeing what He desires for the believer - to draw them to Himself in faithful submission to His will. He longs to provide and protect, to make us part of the family with Him as the head. He longs to redeem us from our sin. He longs for us to wake up and see His glory and that there is nothing this world could ever offer that compares to that.

Naomi had it backwards, she didn't leave full and come back empty. She left with nothing because she was leaving God, and came back with everything to gain. And that everything, the beginning and the end was God.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm Stealing a Joke...

From The Thirsty Theologian. Enjoy.

The king of a primitive tribe was so well loved by his people that they hired one of their artisans to carve an ornate throne to celebrate the anniversary of his coronation.

When they presented it to him, he was so delighted that he had the throne hauled into his grass hut immediately. There, he faced a dilemma: what to do with the old throne. For lack of a better idea, he had it hauled up into his attic.

That very night, while he was sleeping, the sticks and grass of the attic floor gave way under the weight of the old throne, which fell on the king and killed him.

The moral of the story: People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

Women of Scripture Series

Tomorrow I will be starting a short series, I'm not really sure what to call the series quite yet, but it is a study into the lives of four Gentile women in Scripture that were brought into the family of God. These women are fabulous depictions of faith at work, and I believe there is an endless wealth of knowledge and encouragement that can be gleaned from their lives as God unfolds their stories for us. And as their lives unfold I believe we can gain an even deeper appreciation for God's grace, His mercy, and above all His glory. These stories help remind me that it is often the small stuff, the things the world wouldn't see as miraculous that are truly from the hand of God. If we sit around waiting for the seas to part we're going to miss all the little things that go on around us each day that are as much a blessing as that would be. I'm not going to tell you who the women are ahead of time, though you'd probably be able to guess at least a couple of them. So, come back tomorrow and we'll get started. One a day until I run out of notes. I'll see you soon.


Here are the links to the articles:
Woman one.
Woman two.
Woman three.
Woman four.