Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Our most unusual present yesterday comes from my Sister-In-Law Wanda. She sent us a Roomba. A Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner that will clean a room without any help and dock itself in a charging station when it is done. We watched it work for a few hours yesterday and this morning and it is incredible. Thanks Wanda!
Saturday, December 25, 2004
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find the baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger."
Luke 2:9-12 (NASB)
Praise God for His goodness!
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
John Piper in The Passion of Jesus Christ: 50 Reasons Why He Came to Die wrote about being crucified with Christ by writing that,
A Christ-inhabited, Christ-sustained, Christ-strenghtened me. That's what Christ died to bring about. That's what a Christian is. The other way it speaks of the new self is this: It lives by trusting Christ moment by moment. "The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Piper 2004, 87)
What better time to experience the rebirth of our lives and the meaningfulness that knowing Christ brings to our lives than during the celebration of His birth.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
It was a long trip to Hawaii, but I am finally back home! Most people try to make me feel like I was priveleged to go to Hawaii for two weeks in December, but it was a 100% working trip. I stayed at the nicest hotel in Waikiki, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, I had a nice rental car, the weather was perfect (80 degrees every day), and the food was incredible. But, contrast all that with my work schedule and connectivity with the world: the 2 weeks I was in Hawaii I left the hotel every morning at 5:00 and returned back at 8:00 in the evening. I worked every day and it was dark when I left for work and dark when I returned. The security classification of the exercise I was working at made it very difficult to use the phone, and the 400 people there had 6 unclassified computers with internet connections to share from. So my connection with the rest of the world was limited to my personal cell phone and whatever internet connection I could get at the hotel ($10 a day for web tv which didn't work well). Oh, well, time to suffer for the Lord!
The entire time I was in Hawaii I kept thinking that this is one of my images of hell. I am working in paradise whith no capability to enjoy it, and I am cut off from all my friends and family that are only a whisper away due to technology. The next time I go to Hawaii I hope I will be on vacation with my family.
Anyhow, with the little bit of time I spent online there I did get a change to read most of the blogs I hang out in, but didn't take the time to do any commenting on them or posting on mine. I thought it would take too much time away from others on a shared internet connection. Thanks for all the great posts, and I'm going to start commenting and posting again soon.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Then 2 weeks ago, while I was on a business trip, I received the news that Sudarsun had trusted his life to Christ. Praise God!!! Sudarsun did what many of us have never done. He trusted his life to Christ without growing up in a Judeo-Christian (or pseudo Judeo-Christian) society like ours. When we that have grown up here in the West make a decision to follow Christ we might be ridiculed by our friends and family, but most likely not suffer any real persecution for our decision. When Sudarsun made the commitment to Christ it required a shift in the foundations of all that has been taught to him. When you grow up a Hindu it starts a huge change in your life to now proclaim to be a follower of Christ. His friends and family in Nepal will probably have a harder time understanding his decision than any of us will.
Throughout this whole process Sudarsun has kept a remarkable online journal. I think each of us can learn so much from his writings. It is located here. Link. I get excited every time I read it. His approach to Christianity is so fresh and different from most of us who have grown up in the West. We grow up knowing all the facts about Christ that have been drilled into us from attending church and then have our Christian friends try to persuade through reason or emotion to turn our lives over to His Lordship. It only requires a very minimal level of faith to become a Christian in our world. Sudarsun's journey, though, has been just the opposite. He stepped out in faith and dedicated his life to the Lord before he knew all the facts and answers. His decision took a level of faith that most of us have never seen. With fewer and fewer people being exposed to "Christian" principles in our increasingly postmodern society I think Sudarsun's experience is one that will be repeated time and again among our friends. The old method of making a decision to follow Christ with your head and following it through with a decision to follow from your heart will give way to more people stepping out in faith to follow from their heart and then letting their head follow. I think this puts a huge new emphasis on the value of discipleship in the lives of new Christians.
Sudarsun was kind enough to let me link to his journal. Please keep him in your prayers.
(14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
(20) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Thank You Lord for the opportunity to know You and Your only Son Jesus Christ. And thank You that You know and give more abundantly beyond all that we could ever ask or think. We give You the glory Lord. Amen
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Another quote from John Piper. This time from The Passion of Jesus Christ (An even better book than his Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ):
The world will bring its condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). No one successfully. If they reject us, he accepts us. If they hate us, he loves us. If they afflict us, he refines us by the fire. If they kill us, he makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous. (Piper, p. 43)
The world does everything to try to make Christ's death powerless, but they cannot succeed. God has already made it powerful and we are his testimony to the world through our changed lives.
Monday, November 22, 2004
I just finished reading Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper. Pretty good book. He had a quote that I liked very much.
The glory of Jesus Christ is that he is always out of sync with the world and therefore always relevant for the world. If he fit nicely, he would be of little use. (Piper p. 93)
Jesus Christ is always relevant because he is out of sync! I like it.
Next Monday I leave again for 2 weeks of work in Hawaii. We will be teaching airlift mission planners how to use our software during a military exercise in the Pacific. It is an incredible chance to introduce a large military audience to our software and to show them what it can do. And, most people would love the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii during the cold months of late fall and early winter, but I guess I'm just tired of traveling. Our work schedule will be very busy without much time to enjoy being in Hawaii. We will arrive in Hawaii and spend a couple of days with a normal work schedule and then we will go on 12 hour shifts for about a week and a half straight. One of us will work from 6am to 6pm and the other will work from 6pm to 6am. I don't imagine we will have a day off the whole time we are there. Sounds like a dream job doesn't it? At least there are lots of billable hours!
I haven't had a lot of opportunity to post much here during the last couple of weeks and probably won't have a chance to post much over the next couple of weeks. It has been a mixture of a lack of time and a wireless internet connection that hasn't worked well. But, it doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about you all. I appreciate your prayers and although I haven't posted much I have tried to read your blogs anytime I get near a computer.
Take care and God bless you and I hope to be blogging with you again soon.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Although I have only been gone for a couple of weeks I have thought a lot about my family. I appreciate and love them more than I ever have and miss them alot. It is so touching to hear my wife, son, and daughter on the phone when I'm away. You really learn not to take them for granted. The year I had to leave them behind when the Air Force sent me to Korea was a horrible one and being away from home again really helps me to think out my priorities and decide what is important in my life. This is the longest I have been gone since Korea and I guess I don't like being gone any longer, but it is rewarding to know that they can function so well when I am gone. It makes me feel like a successful husband and father to hear them doing so well.
My other family, the ministry to McKendree College, seems to be able to go on well without me also. In the 2 weeks I have been gone my students have had the privelege to lead 5 new believers to Christ. They are such an awesome group of students and I don't know why God has chosen me to lead and mentor them, but when I leave for a couple of weeks and they are so faithful for the Lord and bold in their faith it makes me feel successful as a leader and mentor.
I hate being gone, but I know that seeing how the Lord continues to bless those at home while I'm gone makes it seem like the effort while I'm there is well worth it. I am not boasting, because it is the Lord who is blessing. And praise God he continues to bless us!
Sunday, November 07, 2004
For any of you that have been praying for him, thank you so much. But, please don't stop now, continue to pray. He will face horrible persecution from his fellow Hindus at college and back home in Nepal. Pray that the Lord will fill him so much that they will see it is futile to presecute him. Pray that he can be a strong witness for the Lord to his friends and family and that rather than him coming to know the Lord being the end of your prayers that he will only be the tip of the iceberg to come. I truly sense that he will have a significant impact on his family and friends.
It has been a great week. Last Sunday another of the students led her roomate to the Lord. We have some incredible Christians at our ministry who are affecting everyone they come across. They are so bold in the faith that it excites me what the Lord is capable of doing on the McKendree Campus through them.
I am sorry to be on a business trip this week and sure would like to have been there when this happened. But, if it takes me leaving town for a few days to have students make commitments to the Lord then I am willing to live my life on the road!
Take care and God bless each of you.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
1. Our Republican primary Senate candidate dropped out of the race after he won the primary election due to his soon to be ex-wife accusing him of pressuring her to have public sexual encounters. Did we replace him with the candidate who came in second place? No, we replaced him with Alan Keys, who is from Maryland. I ranted and raved over New York electing Hilary Clinton as their Senator when she didn't live in New York, and in the same light I think it was wrong for the Illinois Republican Party to select someone from outside our state as its candidate. I voiced my opinion by voting for Barak O'Bama, the Democrat candidate for the Senate. I don't think the Illinois Republican Party gave me an alternative.
2. I was even more upset when on about half of the lines on the ballot the Democrat candidate was running unopposed. That is stupid. I had no alternative and I don't like the fact that my party didn't give me a legitimate choice. And, the ones that were on the ballot weren't highly publicized. Erin Zweigert was running agains the incumbent long-term Congressman Jerry Costello. She is a great candidate, but I don't think many people have heard of her. We have got to do a better job.
My answer? Rather than abandon the Republican party I will make a commitment to it. In some form or another I will be on the ballot when we vote in 2006 (the next time we elect our Illinois and US Congressional Representatives). We have to give the voters of Illinois a choice.
I was so unique, now I feel skin deep,
Count on makeup to cover it all,
Cryng myself to sleep, because I cannot keep their attrention,
Thought I could be strong, but its killing me,
Does someone hear my cry, I'm dying for new life
I want to be beautiful, and make you stand in awe,
Look inside my heart, and be amazed,
I want to hear you say, who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love,
Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me,
Fighting to make the mirror happy,
Trying to find whatever is missing,
Won't you help me back to glory,
You make me beautiful, You make me stand in awe,
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed,
I love to hear you say, who I am is quite enough,
You make me worthy of love,
This is a pitcure of Bethany from her album
Pretty incredible lyrics, even better voice and instruments. Hard to believe this was written and performed by a 16 year old! You've got to get her CD. She speaks to my heart every time I listen to it.
I'm going on some business trips with Northrop Grumman over the next couple of weeks to teach some software classes. Here's what my schedule looks like:
November 5-10: Wrightstown, New Jersey (at McGuire Air Force Base) about 45 minutes from Phildelphia.
November 13-20: Vacaville, California (at Travis Air Force Base) on the north edge of the San Francisco Bay Area
If you live in either of those areas and would like to get together please leave a comment below or E-Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Under the Constitution, if no candidate gets an absolute majority of the electors, the president is elected by the House, with each state's delegation getting one vote. Currently, Republicans control 30 state delegations in the House, Democrats 16, and 4 are tied. That means that if today's House were voting and George W. Bush and John Kerry each had 269 electoral votes, Bush would be elected. But it is the House to be elected November 2 that votes. Will the Republicans still have a majority of state delegations in the House?
The answer is almost certainly yes....My prognosis: Republicans are very unlikely to lose more than two delegations. That would leave them with 28 delegations, a solid win for Bush.
One more thing. If the electoral vote is 269-269, the vice president is elected by the Senate that assembles on January 3. If Democrats have a majority, they will elect John Edwards. If Republicans have a majority, or 50 senators plus Dick Cheney as the incumbent vice president, they will elect Dick Cheney.
Wow, is this ever a call to play well with others? The possibility exists for a Bush/Edwards White House. Incredible!
Saturday, October 30, 2004
We were studying John Chapter 13 two weeks ago during our Wednesday Night Bible Study at The Gate when we read about the Lord's Supper (13:1-4) and Jesus Washing the Disciple's Feet (13:5-20). I asked if any of our brothers and sisters had been in a foot washing ceremony before. Most of them said they had. So I asked them, "Did you feel more comfortable having your feet washed or washing someone else's feet?" It was unanimous, every one there said they felt more comfortable washing someone else's feet. Why is that? I think it has something to do with what Scott and Erin are exploring in their blogs.
We read in the Bible that God treasures us and has sent His Son to restore us to Him, that we are his bride, but it is so hard to believe. We know and believe that God loves our brothers and sisters and delights in them, and believe that we find worth in the Body of Christ, but have such a hard time understanding God's love for us individually.
Just before the Lords Supper, in John Chapter 12 we see Mary anointing Jesus. She was pouring perfume on the feet of Jesus and wiping it off with her hair. Judas was upset with Mary and told her that the perfume should have been sold and the year's wages that it cost be used to feed the poor. Jesus then rebukes Judas. Christ's example of foot washing is all about servanthood. And, we rightly use this as the Lord's example to us when we serve and love others. But, what about letting others serve us? We should be using Christ's example of letting Mary anoint Him as an example to show us that it is also ok for people to serve us, lavish love on us, and even more importantly, for us to not be ashamed to admit that God loves us unconditionally. Christ believed it and acted upon it. Of course, He was perfect and was more intimate with the Father than we will ever know.
As hard as it is for us to have our feet washed or anointed by others we should follow Christ's example and accept it and act upon it. It validates the calling of Christ in the lives of others and shows us that we are valuable in His sight. We may not ever get accustomed to it, but we can learn lessons from it. I will never feel comfortable in having some else wash my feet, or lavishing love on me, but it makes the Body of Christ stronger, more unified, and more Christlike, so I'll take one for the team!
Friday, October 29, 2004
To all my good friends living here in St Louis I can only say that the Cardinals had a great year and our consolation is that Wednesday was the official start of football season.
There's still one more curse out there lingering
Its the Curse of the Goat put on the Chicago Cubs. Hopefully this one won't last too much longer.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
This should be a great World Series. Thank you Jim Edmonds, you saved the game. What a great catch!
Unfortunately, now my family has to put up with another week of non-stop baseball games on TV. I don't know if I will ever get a chance to watch the Survivor and Apprentice episodes we taped last night. Who cares!
Thursday, October 21, 2004
The first baseball game I remember watching on TV was the St Louis Cardinals vs the Boston Red Sox world series finale (I think it was in 1967). It was wonderful. I have grown up since then and the Cardinals are now my hometown team. But, my memories of that first baseball game on TV has lingered in my mind over the years and I have cheered the Cardinals and the Red Sox, though more passionately for the Cardinals since that first game. Tonight the Cardinals have the chance to help me relive that 1967 World Series. If the Cardinals win tonight they will meet the Red Sox in a dramatic rematch. Carl Yastremski, Jim Lonborg, Bob Gibson, and Lou Brock are all long gone, but they have been replaced by Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols, and Jim Edmonds. If the Cardinals can win tonight it will make for a great World Series.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. 48"What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! 50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
51He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
The part I hadn't thought about before was verse 51 and 52. I am still mulling this over in my mind, so don't be too harsh. Up until last night I thought that this meant that Caiaphas made a God-uninspired prophecy from his position as high priest that Jesus must die for the good of the Pharisees (and by default all Jews). But after I reread this last night I think that John is saying that the Holy Spirit caused Caiaphas (an unbeliever) to prophesy about the death of Jesus, and that God would use this to bring not only the Jews, but the Gentiles together in one body of Christ? I think it does. It shows me that God sometimes uses unclean vessels to accomplish His holy will.
Praise God that even when I, as a sinner saved by grace, fall and I am at less than my best He can still use me inspite of myself to affect the lives of others for His kingdom.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
I like the simpleness of this template's lines.
Monday, October 11, 2004
First I wanted to say a big "Thank You" to those of you who were praying for our conference. It went well and the students I talked to were blown away.
It was an exciting weekend. Friday night's Bebo Norman, Jason Morant, and Bethany Dillon concert was unbelievable. Bebo is the most recognizable name among the group and although I have heard many of his songs I couldn't name any of them before the concert. He played for about 2 hours and was very good. Jason Morant lead off the concert and I had been told that he is one of the new up and coming worship leaders. He was incredible. Bethany played in the middle and I'll have to say that I was the most impressed with her lyrics, voice and attitude. I was flooored when Bebo later announced that she is only 16 yars old. She is going to be a super star if she doesn't burn out. I can't believe a 16 year old can write such intimate love songs about God. What a talent.
After the concert Jason and Bethany went with us to the AXIOM04 Conference and kicked it off with leading us in an hour of worship. No one wanted to leave Friday night when they were done. The Holy Spirit was moving among us.
Saturday morning we all crawled out of bed and went to the formal portion of the conference. Aubrey Spears was the keynote speaker. I have heard so much over the last few years about how the stand up and lecture style of preaching won't be very effective in emerging generation churches, but Aubrey didn't use any slides, film clips, interactive props, or anything but himself and the Bible. And he found a way to grasp everyone's attention in the way he clearly explained God's Word. His use of metaphors was outstanding. He may be the best preacher at reaching the emerging generation I have heard so far.
Here's a picture of Aubrey.
Check out his website and if you ever see his name on the guest speaker's list don't think twice. Attend it.
The AXIOM breakout sessions went pretty well. I had some technical difficulties (the VCR ate my tape of Independence Day, and the second breakout session my powerpoint slides wouldn't work), but the students hung in there and the list of references of what I found in the Bible regarding War was very popular. I have them electronically if any of you would like them. Just E-Mail me at email@example.com and I'll send you a copy.
All in all it was a super conference. I am looking forward to next year. but, I felt like I over did it this year. Serving as the point of contact for both my church and collegiate ministry students attending the conference, leading two breakout sessions, representing the host church for the conference, and working all day at my civilian job on Friday while trying to put everything together wore me out. By about 4:00 on Saturday afternoon I was almost unconscious. But, it was a good exhaustion, and well worth the effort. Next year should be even better with the conference hopefully being hosted at another location. Then I'll just have to worry about my own college students and maybe speaking. Much......less......stress!!!!!!
Thursday, October 07, 2004
If you are planning on attending AXIOM04 I hope to see you there. It will be an incredible, life changing conference.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Friday, October 01, 2004
The theme for AXIOM04 is "Your Word Is Truth." I blogged about AXIOM earlier here. Link.
Here are the breakout sessions for Saturday at AXIOM:
1. The Truth about the World: Creation or Evolution Neal Adrian (physics professor)
2. The World through the Word’s Eyes – Michelle Robinson (missionary to Azerbiajan)
3. The Word on War – Rick Marshall (Retired Air Force Navigator and McKendree College BCM Director)
4. The Basic Foundations for the Christian Faith - Mike Cariker (Youth Pastor First O’Fallon)
5. Common Assumptions – Jim Smith (BCM director at Univ. of Illinois)
6. The Word of Truth or the Word of Tolerance – Phil Nelson (Collegiate Evangelist)
7. Reaching Gay and Lesbian-identified persons with the Love of Christ - Yvette Schneider (Writer for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and executive for Living in Victory)
We will be taking AXIOM sign ups until the conference starts. Please see me to get signed up. The cost is $35 for the conference on Saturday and a ticket to the Bebo Norman/Bethany Dillon/Jason Morant concert on Friday night. The McKendree BCM and the FBC O'Fallon College and Career Department will pay for $25 worth of your ticket so the cost for you is only $10. That price is hard to beat. An AXIOM04 Worship CD and Lunch on Sturday is included in the price. To receive the discounted price you must register for AXIOM04 by Wednesday October 6.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
We had 2 Buddhist students from Nepal attend last night's Bible Study. One of our sisters in Christ is a good friend of theirs and brought them with her. We showed them our love for them and shared with them what it is like to live in a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. They heard the Gospel in a loving, compassionate way, and felt our love for God and each other. I pray they will return next week.
I really touched up the pciture to make it look this way. I would never put my son out there on the windshield! But, please don't tell him that.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The concert is in the evening and just today I heard that George W. Bush will be speaking that afternoon in our church. What an incredible weekend we have lined up. The traffic will be horrible, but I am a Bush fan as are most of my students. God is working in our group and I am excited at what is going on.
Praise God for the work of His Spirit in our lives!
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I wish the Canadian teams could succeed at a better rate. Several hockey teams have moved from Canada to the US, and now it looks like the Expos will be moving. It was just 3 short years ago when Bud Selig wanted to close down the Twins and Expos franchises. Now the Twins have won the American Leage Central Division the last 2 years. I'll be cheering them on through the World Series unless they play the Cardinals.
I thought the most depressing game in baseball was last summer. I blogged about it here. Link. Basically it was an all Canadian game during interleague play between the Toronto blue Jays ane the Montreal Expos. What was depressing is that it was a home game for Montreal and they were playing it in Puerto Rico. That had to be a slap in the face for all Canadians.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Thanks for the help. Your brother in the Lord,
Friday, September 24, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
On a slightly different tangent: Rudy Carrasco has a shot at throwing out the first ball at LA's (my hometown) Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. Link. Good job Rudy.... don't bounce it!
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Here it is:
Debt, Be Not Proud
Last week the congressional budget office announced their latest forecast for the deficit of this year. They said the deficit would be over $420 billion which is the largest in dollar-terms ever. That got a lot of play. What didn't get as much play was that it looks as though the deficit is going to be about 50 billion dollars less than the previous forecast made in May. Why is the deficit dropping? The CBO was very clear about this: The deficit is dropping because revenues are rising. By the way, almost no ink was given to the fact that their forecast showed falling deficits in seven of the next ten fiscal years.
That's last week's news. Here's this week's update: On Monday the federal government released the latest treasurer's report and it turns out at this point when we are just a few weeks away from the end of the fiscal year and there's practically no guess-work left to be done, revenues have risen even more dramatically than the CBO estimated. We're up over $80 billion this year.
There's a war aspect to this, too. It's clear that the "deficit growth is due to tax cuts" theory is blown away by the evidence. The deficit growth is due to spending increases, some of which is war-related. But so what? We've always borrowed money in times of war. In fact, the stock market was created in the modern world originally as a place to trade war bonds as Niall Ferguson demonstrated in his well-researched book, "The Cash Nexus." The founders did it,
and debated afterwards about whose debt it was. Lincoln did it, Wilson did it, FDR did it and so did Reagan. Critics who blast Bush for running deficits in time of war are holding him to a standard that they do not impose on presidents of the past. By the way, while we're on the subject, the oft-repeated Democratic talking point that we have never before cut taxes at the beginning of a war is simply false. FDR cut cap gains at the beginning of WWII (although he did raise marginal rates). Kennedy cut taxes at the beginning of Vietnam, and Reagan cut taxes at the beginning of the roll-back phase of the Cold War. On a smaller scale, even Clinton himself cut cap gains taxes at the beginning of the Yugoslavian conflict.
Sometimes I wonder where the mainstream media is more deficient: In their knowledge of economics or in their knowledge of history. I guess we'll call it a tie.
Provides lots of ideas for thought. What are yours?
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Friday, September 17, 2004
Spend a little time with your Pastor and let them know they are appreciated.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Every time I read Scott's Blog and hear about the amazing things New Horizons is doing in the streets in Mission, BC, or when I read Biscotti Brain's Blog and The Off Shore Fisherman's Blog about what is going on in their church I am staggered at how little I am doing to make a difference in my community. How many times do we settle for the routine we have known our whole life when we could really be making a difference in thelives of others? I am convicted that I am in a routine and not doing enough to share Jesus with those I am not comfortable with. This post by Off Shore Fisherman is particularly convicting to me. Link. How do we live the gospel before a lost world? If Jesus were our true role model we should all be honored when we are approached by others saying, "Do you have a place for them, our Church just isn't the right fit? Could we send them here?". I can't think of a question that could be more flattering to a Pastor. I understand that churches each have pesonalities, but being missional means that we take the gospel into today's culture. Some churches are stuck in the routine and can't make the transition to being missional, but others do and thrive on it. Praise God for the differences they are making in people's lives! God loves the Samaritans, skateboarders, college students, even the kids at the canal.
Please Lord, help us all to be plain clothes Christians and live out the gospel in the midst of a lost world!
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
If we are striving to create community through blogging, then Christians who blog are part of creating an online Body of Christ. We are all part of a bigger whole. There are lots of people out there blogging, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord I believe Christian bloggers have so much more to bond us together.
This coming Sunday night I will be walking my students at the McKendree College Student Ministry through an exercise in using our spiritual gifts. During the exercise we will build walls out of piles of rocks. Each student will dedicate their rock, put their name on it, decorate it uniquely, bring it forward, and place it in the wall. The wall is one of my metaphors for the Body of Christ. It is the same for the online Body of Christ.
All of us would probably agree that it is important for the Body of Christ to use their spiritual gifts. God gave us these gifts for us to use in building His Kingdom; for equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12, NASB). Just as in the local church, the online Body of Christ is a place where these needs should be met, communities are built, and something worthwhile can be made out of something useless. Ephesians 4:16 (NASB) in discussing the Body of Christ says,
From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
This can ony happen if we each do our part and use those special gifts the Lord gave us when we came to know Him.
How do we do this in the context of the blogosphere? In some ways we are already doing this. There are a several blogs I read frequently that I can say are exercising the gift of teaching. They have taught me something I couldn't have learned any other way. I am amazed each day that there is such an incredible depth of dialogue in the blogosphere. There are a couple of blogs that I read daily because they are so encouraging to me and are exercising the gift of encouragement. Each of us in the online Christian community can fill the same roles that we do in the local body of Christ.
So, as I though about how much I wish my blog was like my friends blog I finally realized that as a member of the online body of Christ I am being exactly what the Lord wants me to be. The blogosphere allows me to be myself, to exercise those gifts that the Lord has uniquely blessed me with and to help build a useful wall out of useless discarded material. I shouldn't try or want to be the head, when my gift is to be the arm or the leg. The body would be incomplete without any one of us. Praise God that we each fill a need in His wonderful body.
I enjoy blogging because it allows us to be a rock in the wall of community
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Every time we meet I am impressed with the spiritual maturity of the students who attend and the moving of the Holy Spirit when we just let go. It is so rewarding to see student peer ministery. I know I am supposed to be developing the future leaders of the church, but they do so much more for me than I could ever do for them. I can hardly wait for each Wednesday or Sunday Night to come along to see what direction the Lord will lead us.
Sunday Night I will be teaching on something the Lord has laid on my heart. I don't teach too often at The Gate, but I feel the Lord has something for me to say to kick off the new school year. Please pray for the students!
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Another sad fact: I also noticed last night that there is only 1 faculty member left from the department when I entered the PhD program in 1999. There has been an almost universal swap oout of older faculty with newer faculty. Who knows, I may end up outlasting them all!
The first 2 years of the program consisted of classroom work. I was excited to get that complete, but the last 3 years I have only managed to complete my written exams, oral exams, my foreign language requirement, and my dissertation proposal. Althoug I spent a year living in Korea I haven't completed that much in the last 3 years. Anyhow, I feel a little more excited about completing the program and actually see light at the end of the tunnel.
It kind of reminds me of our Christian walk. When we first come to know the Lord we are excited and feel like nothing can hold us down. But, as the time goes by it is easy to get into a routine and lose a little of that excitement. It takes revival in our lives for us to remember what life was like the moment we first trusted Jesus. And, it takes commitment each and every day for us to complete the task of spreading His gospel to every corner of the world.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
I was hit twice today by circumstances that the Lord has put in my path. First, was in my daily reading this morning covering Luke Chapter 1. Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, was performing his priestly duties and was selected to fulfill the once in a lifetime task of burning incense inside the Temple. While in the Temple he saw the angel of the Lord who told Zacharias that he and his wife would have a son who will turn the sons of Israel back to the Lord (Luke 1:16). Zacharias said how will I know for certain, which means that he doubted the Lord. The angel then tells Zacharias that he will be silent until the birth of his son.
It got me thinking that by not following what I feel is the Lord's will I am doing the same thing that Zacharias did. I am doubting the Lord. I think I need to spend some more time in prayer.
The other circumstance today is not quite so spiritual. In my fortune cookie after lunch I received a fortune that read You always know the right times to be assertive or to simply wait. One of the issues I have been praying about is about how long I continue to pray for circumstances to align to proceed. I have been praying that the Lord would reveal His will so that I will know when it is time beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have been knocking on the door of God's will in prayer and I want Him to show me whether I should continue to keep knocking at the door through prayer, while waiting, or open the door and go to work. The Lord is a great and awesome God and serving Him is an incredible responsibility.
Steve makes an important point. We can disregard the national polls. They don't matter. It is only the swing states that are too close to call where the polls matter.
I remember George W. Bush being interviewed after he was declared the winner of the 2000 election. I thought his statement was very telliing. The Democrats kept making statements that Bush "stole" the election and wasn't the rightful winner because he didn't win the popular vote. I kow that I'm paraphrasing, but Bush said something like "You're right, I didn't win the popular vote. But my goal wasn't to win the popular vote, but to win the electoral vote. We don't elect our President from the popular vote. If we did, I would have run my campaign to target more popular votes."
How many of us forget what happened in 2000. Maybe electing our President by the electoral college isn't the best way to run an election, and I would support a switch to electing the President using popular vote. But right now we still use the electoral college system, and s long as it remains the system we use polls taken in states where the outcome is already assured is meaningless.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
I felt the call to plant a church about 10 years ago, and have been praying daily about it for the last 6 years or so and feel more clear about it today than ever. Praise God for a group who will mentor new church planters and has thier priorities in the right place.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Mela was gracious and happy to be with the Nakamura family. She immediately bonded with the children, Dr Nakamura, and his mother Nana (who also filled the role as the family maid). I sensed that the Nakamura children genuinely liked Mela and that she was sincere in her actions toward the family. Mela became a very close to Nana and left her the $50,000. Mela wasn't a talker, she was a doer. She could talk if needed, but preferred to show her love through her actions.
Tammy, on the other hand, made herself look like a fool. She was constantly talking about how much she was bringing to the Biggins family, kept telling the children that they were overweight and needed to eat healthier, expected everyone else to serve her while she slept in in the morning, and wouldn't allow the children to listen to rap music because, "it gives me a headache." She did a good job divvying up the $50,000, but came across as pushy, selfish, insincere, and a real pain in the neck. The Biggins family obviously didn't like Tammy. At one point Mela's husband says about Tammy, "she acts like she wants to save our family, but I don't think our family needs saving."
I think the show provides a lesson to each of us who call on the name of Christ. How many Christians do you know who have gone out to save the world with the attitude of Tammy? They talk a great talk, but coat the gospel in their own cultural biases, and end up tainting the good news. They not only want to save the world, but want the world to be a clone of themselves. I think we would be much more effective if we took the path of Mela. Be a doer, not a talker. Be willing to let others have their own way if possible. Basically we need to learn to play well with others! We're living in an age where being a "missional" Christian is increasingly important. We shouldn't be trying to make clones of ourselves, but of Christ.
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30 NASB)
Seriously though, only 10 Days, 3 Hours, and 55 Minutes, and 39 Seconds left to the start of the University of Nebraska opening football game against Western Illinois. With the Cornhuskers change to a West Coast offense it should be an interesting year. Probably more exciting than the last few years.
You can check out all the good information on Huskerpedia. Link.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Man, will I be happy when this election is over and we can get back to living again!
Monday, August 23, 2004
Friday, August 20, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
The church and its worship are not intended solely for believers, but the true purpose of the church is as broad as the purposes of God. It is the 'missio Dei'- the mission of God. It includes all that God includes...The 'missio Dei' includes worship but evangelism, ministry, encouragement, and pastoral care as well.
Some church attendees are being drawn to Christ and are "called" but have not yet committed to Christ. The Bible refers to the church as the "ekklesia"- those "called out ones" who have made a commitment to follow Christ. When the called are brought together, the planter must present God's message in such a way that it challenges believers and also encourages unbelievers toward commitment.
I think that so many times we see worship and evangelism as two separate things. Worship targets the believers and evangelism targets the unbelievers. But, worship is what links us together. Believers doing what God created us to do, worship, is the greatest source of evangelism for unbelievers. Lets stop separating worship and evangelism and interweave them together in our quest to walk with the Lord.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
There are two conversions- one temporal and one eternal. The first conversion is the conversion to community. With few exceptions, people come to Christ after they have journeyed with other Christians- examining them and considering their claims. They can come into community at any point....
The journey is not intended to be the same for each people group, worldview, or culture... For each culture, the misperceptions and reasons for rejection are different. The only thing that remains constant is the journey.
I think Stetzer says a lot about the new generations. In the modern world we could persuade unbelievers that Christ is the only way to the Father through empirical evidence. Today it takes our witness, and not just through constantly telling unbelievers about Christ, but leading them to knowledge of Christ through the witness of our lives. Before they understand that God's love is unfailing, they must see the sincerety of it in our lives. We must assure them that God's love means to us exactly what we say it means to us.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Monday, August 09, 2004
Church planting is done properly when leaders make a decision to engage an unchurched world in radical fashion......Today North America needs to be treated as a mission field in the same way that we in the West have approached much of the rest of the world for the past several centuries. (p13)
A missional church is willing and eager to engage the culture with the truths of the gospel. Today, we desperately need persons, churches, and denominations to apply the lens of missiology to the North Ameircan context, not just to international fields. Christendom is dead and missionaries are needed. (p14)
I never thought I would hear a SBC NAMB board member say Christendom is dead! I think we have an admission that we need to change our ways.
Paul did four things in his effort to be culturally relavant:
- He understood the Athenian position on reality.
- He understood an underlying spiritual interest.
- He looked for positive points within their worldview.
- He encouragedd them to find true fulfillment in Christ. (p. 21)
Culturally appropriate evangelism answers the actual questions being asked by a given culture, rather than those questions the church believes the culture should ask. (p. 21)
And my favoriet quote from Stetzer so far:
Indigenous churches look different from culture to culture. Thus, one would expect that a biblically faithful indigenous church would look different in Senegal from an indigenous church in Singapore. One must also expect an indigenous church in Seattle to look different from one in Sellersburg, Indiana. Indigenous churches look different from location to location. Further, they look different from generation to generation. Faithful indigenous churches take their teaching from the unchanging biblical text and apply it to the ever-changing cultural milieu. (p.25)
So far I am impressed with the understanding Stetzer shows of church planting in postmodern times. I will post some quotes here as I work my way through the book. It looks very promising.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
I previewed the first 8 chapters of the DVD and found the video stimulating. I plan on using it to begin a discussion oreinted Bible study at The Gate as we study the Gospel of John for the first half of the school year. It looks like it will be a good tool to use for facilitating small groups to really dig deeper into the gospel.
I'll be previewing the rest of the DVD over the next couple of evenings. I'm excited to see how the rest of it looks.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Monday, August 02, 2004
Kingdom Treasures has a good weekend concert series, but I am a little alarmed at the lack of stock in their bookstore. They have been in and out of business a couple of times over the last couple of years and from their lack of stock I can only imagine they are on their way out again. They absorbed a couple of the Christian Bookstores on our side of town and claim to be the largest Christian bookstore in the St Louis area, but seem to have trouble keeping their head above water. I hope they make a go of it.
Friday, July 30, 2004
2 When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it--But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.
As I watched the highlights of the Democratic National Convention I can't think of a more appropriate verse as it applies to our nation. We are a fragmented country right now. Everyone has a different plan to fix what they believe is wrong with the country. I believe that what we really need right now is a leader who can bring us all together and help us work as one. As I watched the convention I am very concerned with the fragmentation of the Democratic Party itself. They are trying to bring together all the different splintered groups representing the liberal side of the political system under the Democratic Party umbrella by focusing them on what they have in common: their intense hatred for the Republican Party and George W. Bush. I tried to go into the Democratic National Convention with an open mind, to see what good might come out of the convention, but I'm afraid that rallying around a hatred for the Republican Party and George W. Bush just isn't good enough for me. There is just too much out and out hatred on the Democratic side of the ticket this election. Also, each splinter of the Democratic Party has its own agenda that it wants fixed, but there is no overall cohesive plan to integrate these and make this happen. The have several lofty goals, such as providing health care for everyone, inproving education, and forming a real coalition with the UN forces in Iraq. But, there are no details available for how the ticket plans to do this, and frankly the Democrats may win the election, but I don't believe Kerry can pull off any type of a cohesive plan. I will wait to see what the Republican National Convention accomplishes before I make up my mind who to vote for, but right now it doesn't look like I will endorse the Kerry/Edwards ticket.
As far as Proverbs, Romans, and Psalms go, I'll still be faithful to the commitment I made to the Lord. Lately I have been feeling convicted to go deeper; the concepts of justification, grace, and sanctification in the book of Romans have been tugging on my soul very hard over the last few months. Along those lines, I have 3 friends that memorized the entire book of Romans. One of them (David Yong) is a friend I met while living in SongTan, Korea who memorized all of Romans in English (his second language). Now if David can do it in his second language maybe I should at least try to tackle it in my primary language.
Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.........
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Last night Marilyn and I took the kids to the Muny's presentation of The Music Man. It was a solid performance. The weather was perfect, dry and about 65 degrees. It was very nice.
After the Muny we visited another St Louis tradition, Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard. If there is a better place to eat a concrete (similar to Dairy Queen's blizzard) I haven't found it yet. Ted Drewe's has been here for around 75 years and is one of our favorite places to hang out. We hung out until about 1:00am and then headed for home. It was awesome! What a perfect night. It made for a hard time getting up and heading off to work this morning.