Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Touch and Gos

Great post over at the Google Earth Blog on using Google Earth and GPS to track where you have flown. The post is located here. Link. Google Earth is helping the world see the capabilities inherent in visualizing what we do on a geospatial platform.

Culture Wars

Answers in Genesis has a great blog post today on the culture wars going on between secular humanism and Christianity. The post is located here. Link. I believe your view on creation versus evolution is at the base of all differences in the current worldview and the Christian worldview. How do we solve this problem?

Check it out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This Week at The Gate: Feb 20

Brothers and Sisters,

I hope you were as blessed by what the Lord spoke through Jonathan McIntosh as I was last week. What a great evening! This week we have another great evening in store from McKendree's own Pine. They will be in concert at The Gate on Friday evening. I can hardly wait to hear them sing and minister to us.

Here's a little better breakdown of what we have planned in the near future:

Monday February 20
Men's/Women's Bible Studies at The Gate. I am sorry that I am a day or two late again on publishing this, but the Bible Studies are going great!
Prayer Meeting

Thursday February 23
There will be no Thursday Night Alive! service this week. But, The Gate will be open from 7:30 until 9:30 if you would like to come and hang out.

Friday February 24
McKendree's own Pine will be in concert at The Gate at 7:00pm. For more information on local concerts visit the WIBI website located at:

Thursday March 2
Thursday Night Alive! at 7:30 with our guest speaker Marc Sikma. We are really excited to have Marc with us next Thursday. Marc is a McKendree grad who is planting a church in St Charles County called Matthais' Lot. You can get more information here:

We'll see you there!

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois, 62254. Here is a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate's location. Link. God bless you all.

Dick Cheney's Accidental Shooting on Google Earth

The Google Earth Blog has a post on Dick Cheney's accidental shooting. The schematic now shows up on Google Earth. The post is located here. Link.

Thanks to the Jeremy W. Crampton of the All Points Blog for the link.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Latest Read: Mere Christianity

I started reading a new book today. I can't believe I have been a Christian this long and haven't read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis yet. I know it is required reading in a lot of Seminaries, but I just haven't quite gotten to it yet. Today I made it thorugh the preface. I am bogged down in good stuff already. C.S. Lewis amazes me with his insight and illustrations.

Two of my favorite quotes from the preface come from the last two paragraphs. Lewis talks about Christianity being a series of hallways and rooms. He wrote,

I hope no reader will suppose that 'mere' Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions- as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in... (p. xv)

And then Lewis adds in the final paragraph,

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house. (p. xvi)

Wow, what insight and what a great illustration.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gay Marriage—How Should A Christian Respond To It?

Answers in Genisis posted an article yesterday on the Christian response to gay marriage. After I read the article I realized it was part 10 of the series War of the Worldviews, an advertizement for Ken Ham's new book. The article states,

This message of tolerance for gays and lesbians comes not only from Hollywood, but also from our public education system. The gay marriage issue is at the center of the worldview wars...

Read more here. Link.

I wish the article would have gone a little deeper into the War of the Worldviews, but as a teaser for Ken Ham's book it worked. It sounds interesteing enough to invest the time and money to read it.

The Geo Web

With the unveiling of Google Earth a couple of months ago interest continues to build in the usefulness of geospatial information. GeoConnexion Magazine posted a great article on where the geospatial information industry is going with regards to geographic information on the web. The article states,

The location of all places and things is rapidly becoming an important commodity. Increasingly, locations of all things or places of interest are being published on the Web with multiple identities based on specific community interests. For example, coffee shops with WI-FI connections will be tagged as locations where coffee is served as well as locations where WI-FI is available; one location, many identities...

Read more here. Link.

How Is The Emergent Church "Post-Liberal"?

The JollyBlogger has posted this interesting article over on his blog. The article asks several pointed questions about the Emerging Church. Such as,

I have heard it said that the emergent church is "post-conservative" and "post-liberal," i.e. it seeks to transcend the "modernistic" debates between conservatives and liberals. It offers a third way which critiques both conservatives and liberals.

The "post-conservative" part I get. It seems that, though emergent is still a movement in search of a definition and identity, it is clear in defining itself in opposition to traditional conservative evangelicalism. In other words I often read and hear emergent types speaking of how they differ with the church that has gone before them, and the particulars of the church they are different from usually sounds like the particulars of conservative evangelical churches. Fair enough, emergent says its "post-conservative" so they are being consistent with themselves.

What I haven't heard the emergent folks do is describe wherein they differ from liberalism. It may be that, being a conservative, I have blinders on and am only paying attention to the things they say about my team, and am missing something. And if so, then I would like to know in what ways the emerging church is "post-liberal?" ...

Read more here. Link.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Gate Is Now Open In The Afternoon

I just wanted to get the word out that The Gate is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 until 6 pm. We have decided to open up The Gate as a place for you to study, rest, relax, listen to music, and just generally hang out. We have spent a lot of time trying to make the building more comfortable for you to hang out in. If we have much of a demand we will look at opening the building more often.

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois. Here is a link to a map of The Gate. Link.

God bless you all and I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Be Mine!

I remember celebrating Valentines Day in the good old days when I attended elementary school. Life was pretty simple. Before we left for school in the morning my parents never missed a Valentines Day opportunity to give us the little heart shaped boxes filled with Sees candy and a nice card. After we got to school I remember celebrating Valentines Day in class by passing around cute little cards with Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Dino on them that said “Be Mine!” and little candy hearts and chocolate.

We had a sugar “hangover” for a couple of days after “consuming mass quantities” of normally forbidden candy. It must have been a horrible experience for my teachers.

Today as adults we still celebrate with candy, flowers, and sometimes with a fun evening out. Either way, whether in school or at home, we are celebrating what it feels like to be loved. We want others to know we care for them and desire to be with them. And, we are celebrating what if feels like to have others care for us and desire to be with us. But, most of the time, these valentines left me feeling hollow inside.

What left me hollow was the ramp up for Valentines Day. I had a strategy; every year, when I passed out my valentines I always had a list. I ranked my classmates, always giving the best cards and treats to those who were my “real” friends. I gave the left-overs to those I tolerated or didn’t care that much for. And, if I ran out, then the people near the bottom of the list didn’t deserve gifts or candy anyhow. Never once did I go out in search of the perfect valentine card for someone I had a fight with earlier in the year, or someone I was competing against for a spot on the football or softball team, or the guy who hit me in the head with the dodge ball every day at recess. They were always at the bottom of the list.

Lately I have begun to understand that we already have the best valentine of all, God’s Word. The Bible is God’s love story between Himself and his creation. God desired to have fellowship and share His creation with another being, and he created us from the dust just to be with us. Since the creation of Adam and Eve we have constantly turned our backs on God, and given Him less than He deserves, but He continues to pour His love out on us, desires to be with us, and cares for us. God’s Word is the only true valentine; the only one that doesn’t leave us feeling hollow. Over the last year this concept has grown on me a lot. When I read the Word of God, whether it is in Genesis or Revelation, I now hear God say over and over again, “Be Mine”, “I Desire You”, “I Care For You”. We are not the left-overs, we are all at the top of God’s valentine list. We don’t get the crumbs, but the full-course of God’s love. Valentines Day now serves as my day of reinforcement of how much the Creator of the Universe loves and cares for me. I heard Him say several times this morning as I was reading His Word, “I love you”, “I want you”, “I desire You”, “Be Mine!”

Monday, February 13, 2006

Office Productivity Quote for the Week

Directions Magazine, a leading electronic mapping magazine has a blog called the All Points Blog. The quote of the week is a great one. Link. Referring to office productivity it says:

I haven't seen a productivity killer like this since Google Earth premiered and the nation's cubicle dwellers spent the next three days zooming around cyberspace looking for UFOs at Area 51.

The truth is that when Google Earth came out my office was glued to the screen examining the visualization cabilities and seemless transition from large scale to small scale and back and forth. It is great stuff and has kept us pretty busy playing with the program. If you haven't seen it yeat please click on the link above and start exploring.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

An Apology On Behalf Of My Christian Bretheren

Adam Feldman has a great Blog with a super post on how we as Christians may be winning the political battles and losing the war in people's hearts. It is located here. Link.

We have had several local serevice men and women die in the war over the last three years. It is an emotional gut wrenching experience to have family and friends sacrifice everything for our country. I am especially sensitive to it being a retired Air Force Officer. As Christians we have an opportunity to provide comfort and serve the families left behind in their time of grief. One group in particular, the group led by Fred Phelps that Adam cites in his post, has shown unbelievable insensitivity by protesting with anti-gay rallies at service men and women's funerals. As a Christian this infuriates me. We need to show these unfortunate families Christ's love, not use their grief as an opportunity to bash our political beliefs over a grieving crowd. I believe Fred Phelps, although he desires to raise awareness of the anti-gay stance (one that I applaud him on), has chosen the wrong battleground to fight on. It is giving Christians a black eye in the mind of the public.

In John 2:13-16 the Bible says,

(13) The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (14) In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and [He also found] the money changers sitting there. (15) After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers' coins and overturned the tables. (16) He told those who were selling doves, "Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father's house into a marketplace!"

I believe this group has turned an opportunity to minister to hurting people into a political agenda marketplace. As Adam did, I am afraid I must apologize on their behalf for all the damage they have done.

Licensed to Preach the Gospel

During last night's worship service my church, FBC O'Fallon, voted to license me as a minister to "Preach the Gospel". I am very humbled. As the Baptist Collegiate Ministry Director and Campus Minister to McKendree College I appreciate the church's validation of my calling to ministry and the recognition and support it brings to the BCM program by FBC O'Fallon licensing me. It is an important step in others finding worth in has been driving me for the last couple of years. But, I find the wording of the license to "Preach the Gospel" a little awkward. It seems strange to me that you should require a license to preach. Each of us that believe Jesus Christ is Lord are called to spread the good news that only He has ransomed us from death and provided access to the Father.

Romans 10:9-10 says:

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.

We need to be preaching the gospel if we believe in the gospel! It doesn't need to be left up to licensed professionals.

I know it is purely an administrative license, but to be licensed to "Preach the Gospel" seems a little awkwardly worded.

Thank you FBC O'Fallon for putting your trust in me. I won't let you down.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

This Week at The Gate: Feb 6

Brothers and Sisters,

We had a great time with Danny Walls last week. He was awesome in communicating his view of how the Apostles knew what their role was in ministry and how that applies to our lives. I appreciate Danny sharing with us and look forward to hearing how our guest speakers continue to challenge our Christian viewpoint.

This week we have a movie night planned. We will be watching Cinderellaman on the big screen. I will be bringing snacks and drinks and it should be a lot of fun. Please be sure to invite your friends from school. Everything is free.

One last item. I will be presenting my testimony at FBC O'Fallon tomorrow night at the 6:30pm Worship Service and then the church will be voting on licensing me to preach the gospel (it will be a business meeting tomorrow night). You are all invited and I would love to see any of you there that can make it.

Here's what we have planned in the near future:

Wednesday February 8
6:30pm Worship Service at FBC O'Fallon. The service will be a FBC O'Fallon church business meeting that will include a licensing to the ministry vote for me.

Thursday February 9
7:30pm Thursday Night Alive! Movie Night at The Gate. We will be watching Cinderellaman. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Monday February 13
Men's/Women's Bible Studies at The Gate
Prayer Meeting

Thursday February 16
7:30pm Thursday Night Alive! at The Gate. Jonathan McIntosh from The Journey in St Louis will be sharing with us.

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois, 62254. Here is a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate's location. Link.

God bless you all.

Monday, February 06, 2006

February 12, Evolution Sunday?

Answers in Genesis has a good article today titled "In Praise of Darwin This Sunday...In Hundreds of Churches". The article starts out by saying,

This Sunday, over 400 congregations in 49 states in the USA will participate in what could be called a “Darwin praise service.” They will be celebrating (yes, that’s the word that could be used for many of the churches) the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. It’s called “Evolution Sunday.”

The article discusses the crusade of Professor Michale Zimmerman of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh to link science and the Biblical creation account together. The twist is that he is persuading Pastors to give up faith in the Genesis creation account in favor of the Evolution account. It is a very interesting article you can find here. Link.

Another excerpt from the article says,

On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

I find two very incredible items in this article:

First, that you can be a Pastor in a mainline denomination and not believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Personally, if I didn't believe in the Genesis creation account I could never serve in the position of Pastor.

And second, where is the separation of church and state? Pastors are ever increasingly aware that they must strive to be politically correct and vague in their political views or risk inviting lawsuits, but on the other end, this professor is an employee of the State of Wisconsin and yet he can use the university's website and his position to promote his political/religious agenda.

Where is the balance?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It Has Been A Year, And....

I am getting really embarrassed at the way I keep changing jobs. I have been working for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) since Jan 31, 2005. The position I have been in as a Program Manager for the US Air Force's GeoBase Program (electronic map making similar to Google Earth) has been the best job I have had since I retired from the Air Force in 2003. It is a job that was right in line with my Masters Degree in Geographic Information Systems, working in the Air Force's Air Mobility Command where I spent 15 of my 21 years on active duty, and only 12 miles from my house. It was the perfect job, but for some reason that I don't understand I submitted a resume to Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (I know, another 4 letter word), who makes our mapping software and they decided to hire me as their federal representative for the Mid-West region. It is a great job that I didn't think I would get. And, for some reason the Lord led me to apply. So, it is off on another job change on March 1. I have really got to quit doing this and find out what I want to do when I grow up!

Thursday Night Worship at The Gate: Feb 2

Wow, we had another incredible evening at The Gate on Thursday night. Danny Walls, a Youth Pastor from FBC O'Fallon, and a 2003 McKendree College Graduate, spoke about knowing specifically what the Lord has called us to do.

In Acts 6:1-7 The Apostles were called to pray and preach and concentrated on those aspects of ministry. Because they concentrated on what they were called to do and others who were gifted in different ways took on other duties the early church grew at an incredible pace. It was a very applicable message that was exactly what the Lord knew we needed to hear. Danny is a great friend and as McKendree College grad has some pride in ownership of what we are doing at The Gate. As a Youth Pastor, he can also be kind of goofy at times!

We also had a great time hanging out and getting to know one another better. We have been having lots of new students attend on Thursday night and it has been a body building experience to hear each of their stories and become a part of their lives.

The Lord is doing great things in the lives of our students and I am excited at what lies ahead. Bringing McKendree grads back to speak has really blessed me just to hear what the Lord has accomplished through them and to know what the Lord is accomplishing through the lives of our current students. Praise God for what He is doing in their lives.