Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Life is not whatnot, and it's none of your business.

One of the bigger beatings in my life is the dreaded and feared "ice breaker" that is designed to get total strangers to "open up" and share some personal information. I realize the intent is to develop a relationship, but these often happen in settings where we'll never see each other again.

So, what's the point? Having been tasked to come up with ice breakers in the past, I found these interesting.

Do you have any you'd like to add?

Top Ten WORST Small Group Ice Breakers

10. Share the worst sin you’ve ever committed.

9. If you were God, who would you punish first?

8. Which person in this group do you think needs to find Jesus the most?

7. Which people at your church do you wish would find a different church, and why?

6. If you could erase any verse out of the Bible, which one would it be?

5. Share the juiciest piece of gossip you know so we can pray about it.

4. If you could have anything from your neighbor’s house, what would it be?

3. What’s your favorite of The 10 Commandments to break?

2. If you could change anything about your spouse, what would it be?

1. If you could commit any sin and get away with it, what would it be?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I just figured if I was going to make the world a better place I would do it with cookies

I had coffee with a buddy today and on his cup was the following:
Growing up, my parents always said, "You will leave this world the same way you came into it: with nothing." It made me realize that the only things we do in this world that count are those things that make the world a better place for those who will come behind us.
--Tyrone B. Hayes (biologist, herpetologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer)
I know what a biologist is and I can guess at an Emerging Explorer (goes to an Emergent or Emerging Church, right?), but isn't a herpetologist someone who studies snakes? Is he a snake handler? We don't actually go for that at our church, but I'd be curious to ask him how he's done in his roles at making the world a better place.

Incidentally, you can scope out all of Starbuck's The Way I See It slooge, but their site does require cookies.

Speaking of cookies ...

I watched a movie tonight that arrived in today's post courtesy of Netflix, Stanger than Fiction. I thought the film was brilliant, particularly the literary underpinnings.

Anyway, Harold Crick realizes that his life is the product of a novelist and his life unfolds as she writes it, while she is writing it.

Crick meets and is intrigued by Miss Pascal, a baker who dropped out of law school. She said, "I just figured if I was going to make the world a better place I would do it with cookies."

Having seen that Hayes quote earlier in the day, these words got my attention. (Hold that thought ...)

Crick learns that part of the plot is that his character will die, so he's pondering his life and how to spend what remains of it. He asks his friend, "If you knew you were going to die, and relatively soon, what would you do?"

I found it more than a bit theologically interesting, from the perspective of God being the author of a story in which we are characters. It brought to mind issues of determinism and confidence in the author/Author.

Aside from the concept of living a life already planned out by an Author and not necessarily being happy with the way it goes or the outcome, I had to record both of these quotes for further reflection. I don't take this as a sign that I will die soon, but if I do I guess we saw it coming.


Yet every day people die and fewer than we like to realize are really prepared for it.

In the scheme of eternity, my life (and yours) is but a vapor. Since we know we are going to die, and relatively soon, what should we do?

What are you doing to make the world a better place? What means a better place?

Potentially contrary to those folks cited above, I see the world as a better place if God's glory is better spread, in my life and the lives of others.

That means more than my/our personal holiness with regard to our spiritual disciplines and our self-discipline with regard to avoidance of sin, though that's huge. It also means being agents of God's grace in the lives of others that they might experience joy as I/we serve them for the reputation of Christ.

So ... what are you doing to make the world a better place?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

I peg you as a "glass is half empty" kind of guy. Am I right?

Recently, I shared the fruit of my cogitation about the benefit of being a pessimist.

I thought this was worthwhile to share, another perspective on things.

Immediately I thought of Philippians 2:14. This really does reflect a half-empty mindset, but in wry sort of way.

The Pessimist by Benjamin Franklin King

Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food,
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.

Nothing to breathe but air
Quick as a flash 't is gone;
Nowhere to fall but off,
Nowhere to stand but on.

Nothing to comb but hair,
Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
Nothing to weep but tears,
Nothing to bury but dead.

Nothing to sing but songs,
Ah, well, alas! alack!
Nowhere to go but out,
Nowhere to come but back.

Nothing to see but sights,
Nothing to quench but thirst,
Nothing to have but what we've got;
Thus thro' life we are cursed.

Nothing to strike but a gait;
Everything moves that goes.
Nothing at all but common sense
Can ever withstand these woes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Our fathers were our models for God. If they bailed, what does that tell you about God?

I was asked yesterday if I would bring the girls some McDonald's for lunch at school. To their delight, I said I would.

However, I was thinking lunches started at 12PM, but they started at 11AM. In other words, instead of joy for lunch, they got disappointed as their father let them down. They wound up buying their lunch instead.

There's not much like the build up of excitement, only to be let down. That's a humbling thing to let your kids down.

What could I do but apologize and ask forgiveness?

Well, I also took the opportunity to show the contrast between an earthly, physical father who could prove unreliable and a heavenly, spiritual Father who was always and forever reliable to His children.

Christians have a Father who gives good gifts to His children (Matt 7:9-11) and works all things for their good (Rom 8:28). He is reliable and never lets us down. Although He doesn't always give us what we want, He always gives us what we need. Plus, unlike human fathers, our Heavenly Father ALWAYS keeps His promises.

Being a father is a huge responsibility, especially because our children will certainly see us as models for God, an eternal & heavenly Father.

My girls were justifiably disppointed, but they forgave me ... even before I told them I would make it up to them by taking them to Chuck E. Cheese tonight.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything.

Coming from the Cardinals (N.B. 9 of the 50 greatest wore the birds on the bat) and the National League, I see the Gold Glove as perhaps the most impressive award a baseball player can receive. It is awarded yearly to a player in each league (yes, even the spare DH-lovin' AL gets to play) who is regarded as the best defensively at his position.

Fans can vote on the All Time Gold Glover at each position and I encourage you to do so, especially if you know much about the history of the game. Far too many folks will merely pick names with which they are familiar, but do a little research first.

(* indicates Cardinals player; number in parenthesis indicates # of Gold Glove awards; ... indicates there could be more as this is an active player)

Some of these guys were absolutely phenomenal, men who could catch a fly with chopsticks!

My first team:
P – Bob Gibson* (9)
C – Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (12...)
1B - Keith Hernandez* (11) (and Mets)
2B - Brooks Robinson (16)
3B – Scott Rolen* (7...)
SS – Ozzie Smith* (13)
OF – Roberto Clemente (12)
OF – Willie Mays (12)
OF – Jim Edmonds* (8...)

My second team:
P - Greg Maddux
C - Johnny Bench
1B – Bill White* (7)
2B – Joe Morgan (5)
3B - Ken Boyer* (5)
SS - Omar Vizquel
OF – Curt Flood* (7)
OF - Carl Yastrzemski
OF - Ken Griffey, Jr.

I've worked hard to overcome a Cardinals bias, but my selections are guys who are, will be, or could be Hall of Famers.

I keep wavering between Keith Hernandez and Bill White. I actually went with Bill White on the ballot, but upon reconsideration, I've gone with Hernandez, though I hate to play him after he defected to The Mets.

What say you, fan of the great game? Who do you put on the diamond?

HT: Rev. for the discovery.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.

I've been known to peculiarly use and/or abuse the Queen's English. Chief among the Indians, however, is the word SLOOGE.

I'm often asked, "What means slooge?" by people at church, SWBTS students (e.g., "What is the origin and technical definition of 'slooge'?" this semester), or friends through the miracle of the Internet.

Well, I guess it's time to reveal the story behind it.

Slooge is a word I concocted back in my college days at Texas A&M University. (insert loud "Whoop!" here) In the Corps of Cadets you're already disposed to have a peculiar vocabulary. It was similar in sound to a word my ol' lady, Chia, had in high school, but quite different in meaning.

Slooge didn't have much time in the spotlight, however, for years. But has grown in popularity and worldwide use.

So, Slooge is a word that can be used in many ways and has various meanings.

1. Slooge can refer to biblical texts that rock your socks off with the bigness of God and the pitiful puniness of humanity.
Back in 1996 a fellow seminarian was really wrestling with some Calvinism vs. Arminianism issues. He knew of my propensity for Reformed theology, so he asked me for my best argument for Calvinism. He said he would be going to Boston over Christmas break and that he would read it.

Not having that much time I instead typed up a project that had been years in the making. For two consecutive years I went through the Bible each year and made note of passages that were contrary to our contemporary understand of God and humanity.

Since I came to such conclusions sola Scriptura, I thought he might as well. (It's a misconception that everyone who holds to the sovereignty of God in salvation got the idea from Calvin, as James pointed out.)

I compiled verses demonstrating the depth of human depravity, the article by which Calvinism stands for falls for many, and the absolute sovereign control of God over His universe, EVEN over allegedly autonomous human beings (e.g., Prov 21:1).

In other words, the list demonstrated from Scripture that God has the ability and privilege to do with this planet and its inhabitants anything He so desires (cf. Ps 115:3) as He worked with a people on a planet, both of which were created for His glory.

Since hearing some of those verses and arguments prior led this brother to say, "That's some serious slooge," I decided to call it the Slooge Sheet (pdf).

After Christmas break he came back and said, "Wow! The slooge." He was in. Whenever we'd talk about theological concepts where it was hard to comprehend, he'd say, "Hey, the slooge."

2. Slooge is generally (I say, for it's hard to pin down) used as a noun to describe your stuff (similar to cag) or some stuff. Instead of telling your daughter that she left her backpack and jacket and McDonald's toy in your car, you might say, "You need to get your slooge out of Daddy's car" and she'll know what that means.

Context is key to understanding if slooge is a good or a bad thing, especially when using it as a noun. Sometimes it's neutral, like in the above example, but like in Oz, you have to ask, "Are you a good slooge or a bad slooge?" by the context.

For example, if someone wants to be friends with that slooge, it is obviously good. Conversely, if you hear, "C'mon! You got your slooge all over my cag." you know it's not so good.

3. Slooge can be a noun, but is not limited to such.
Slooge can be used as a verb. For example, if your baby girl sneezes all over your white shirt while you're feeding her carrots, you could say, "She slooged me!" (and I did say that).

The adjectival use is permitted as well. For example, if your cookie is in the milk too long, it gets all sloogey. A mutant boy who is undesirable for your daughter can be a sloogey boy.

I've heard the adverbial use, but it's a bit strained. For example, "He sloogily made his way through life." I would suggest sticking with the noun, verb, and/or adjectival usage.

After dispensing two tickets to the "Gun Show," Anchorman Ron Burgundy was asked about the lexical range of slooge. He tried to fake it, but ultimately had to come clean:
I'm sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don't know what it means. I'll be honest, I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
But, you won't have to fake it. Now you know ... and knowing is half the battle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan. I've got to go home.

One of my heroes is Martin Luther, whom I have previously mentioned. He shares a characteristic with another stalwart of the faith, John Calvin. Both wound up being major players in the Protestant Reformation, but both seemed reluctant.

Luther, you may recall, did not intend to break away from Rome, but was rather excommunicated and called a heretic. After being unwanted and having no potential to bring about reform of the church, his only recourse was to start another one.

William Shakespeare noted that, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

John Calvin would be in the third category. Born in France in 1509, he had humble beginnings, but a brilliant mind. He wrote commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible and at age 27 he published the first edition of his monumental Institutes of the Christian Religion. He wanted only to be a scholar, but was thrust into much more.

While Calvin was passing through Geneva, Farel tried to persuade Calvin to stay and pastor the church and lead the community. Calvin was not particularly interested, so Farel strenuously insisted, saying, “May God condemn your repose, and the calm you seek for study, if before such a great need you withdraw, and refuse your succor and help.”

Calvin caved, later saying, “Terrified by his words, and conscious of my own timidity and cowardice, I gave up my journey and attempted to apply whatever gift I had in defense of my faith.” Calvin went on to be a major cog in the machinery of the Protestant Reformation as a writer, a pastor, and community leader.

You know ...

You may not be the next John Calvin, but consider me your Farel and I am thrusting you into greatness. If you’re a Christian, God has gifted you for His service: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10, ESV)

You may not be great on a national scale, but you can certainly be great in impact in the lives of those with whom you come in contact. You are likely already great in the eyes of your children.

But to be truly great, make an impact on the lives of others to the glory of God.

Like Luther before him, Calvin embraced sola Fide, faith alone, as the “article by which the church stands or falls.” Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for the sin of others and rose again showing God’s satisfaction with that substitutionary sacrifice. Trust in Christ and Christ alone, solus Christus, for a righteousness that comes as a gift for those who believe.

If you have, recognize that you are a child of God, equipped for greatness, even if you have to have that greatness thrust upon you.

Incidentally, being great means being both embraced and rejected. Some will love you. Others will hate you. The following demonstrate the mixed reaction to John Calvin.

“Calvin was one of those strong and consistent men of history who people either liked or disliked, adored or abhorred.” -Lewis W. Spitz, Lutheran Historian

ADORED . . .
“ . . . he was the most Christian man of his age.” -Ernst Renan, French Historian

“The longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon, English Preacher

“The strength of that heretic consisted in this, that money never had the slightest charm for him. If I had such servants my dominion would extend from sea to sea.” -Pope Pius IV, Roman Pontiff at time of Calvin’s death

“Taking into account all his failings, he must be reckoned as one of the greatest and best of men whom God raised up in the history of Christianity.” -Philip Schaff, Historian

“Few great Christian leaders have suffered quite so much misunderstanding as John Calvin. He has often been dismissed as a theologian without humanity. In fact, the very reverse is much nearer the truth. . . . He was a man of deep and lasting affection, passionately concerned for the cause of Christ in the world; a man who burned himself out for the gospel.” -Banner of Truth Trust

“To omit Calvin from the forces of Western evolution, is to read history with one eye shut.” -Lord John Morley, English Scholar

“The sixteenth century was a great century. It was the century of Raphael and Michelangelo, of Spenser and Shakespeare, of Erasmus and Rabelais, of Copernicus and Galileo, of Luther and Calvin. Of all the figures that gave greatness to this century, none left a more lasting heritage than Calvin.” -Georgia Harkness, Theologian

“Calvin is the man who, next to St. Paul, has done most good to mankind.” William Cunningham, Scottish Theologian


ABHORRED . . .
“If Calvin ever wrote anything in favor of religious liberty, it was a typographical error.” -Roland Bainton, Yale Church Historian

[Calvin] “belonged to the ranks of the greatest haters in history.” -Eric Fromm, Author

“Calvin has, I believe, caused untold millions of souls to be damned.” -Jimmy Swaggart, Preacher

“Better with Beza in hell than with Calvin in heaven!” -A saying coined by Calvin’s enemies in Geneva

[Calvin was] “the cruel and the unopposed dictator of Geneva.” -Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

“The famous Calvin, whom we regard as the Apostle of Geneva, raised himself up to the rank of Pope of the Protestants.” -Voltaire, French Enlightenment Philosopher

“But we shall always find it hard to love the man who darkened the human soul with the most absurd and blasphemous conception of God in all the long and honored history of nonsense.” -Will Durant, Historian

“It was the fact that Calvin’s own character was compulsive-neurotic which transformed the God of Love as experienced and taught by Jesus, into a compulsive character, bearing absolutely diabolical traits in his reprobatory practice.” -Oskar Pfister, Freudian Psychologist
You may not write the Institutes or start a Reformation or even follow old Obi-Wan on some idealistic crusade, but God can still use you for the advancement of His kingdom as His glory fills the earth.

It may be risky to your own greatness in the eyes of some, but a servant of Christ longs to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant," for they drown out all others.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

And, you know, he's got emotional problems, man.

A poem from my youth that I found/find particularly insightful was Richard Cory. (See also song by that name by the greatness of Simon & Garfunkel.)

It's a story about a man who was envied by many because he was winsome in conversation, elegant in appearance, and weathy among the needy.

However, all of these were not enough. He had problems not solved by all that he had going for him.

Richard Cory
Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,
We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored, and imperially slim.


And he was always quietly arrayed,

And he was always human when he talked;

But still he fluttered pulses when he said,

“Good morning,” and he glittered when he walked.


And he was rich -- yes, richer than a king,

And admirably schooled in every grace:

In fine, we thought that he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place.


So on we worked, and waited for the light,

And went without the meat, and cursed the bread,

And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.

---- Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

Such a poem may or may not have intended meaning that points to the universal need humans have for that which transcends them, a relationship with God.

Like Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you, O Lord.

One can have a multitude of stuff and be discontent, even trying to find contentment in drugs or alcohol or excitement. Conversely, like Paul we learn to be content in want or in plenty, because we can do all things through Christ, who gives us the strength to be content (Phil 4:11-13).

If after looking for love and fulfillment in all the wrong places you've yet to see the source of contentment, I encourage you to find contentment in Christ.

Not only is He God who took on humanity, but after living a perfect, holy, and sinless life He was murdered as an expression of humanity's hatred for God and as an execution of God's loving plan for humanity (Acts 2:22-24).

His resurrection from the dead shows God's acceptance of His death as payment for the sins of His people (John 10:11). Trust in Jesus Christ for payment for your sin, turning from your self, your sinfulness, and your pursuit of joy in inferior things. Doing so brings justification, a right standing with God through Christ.

For those who believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, Richard Cory makes sense. It makes sense to us that a person could seemingly have it all, yet have nothing in reality. Conversely, if one has Christ, though he/she seemingly has nothing else, he/she has it all.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Maybe you've got the right idea. If you start out depressed, everything is kind of a pleasant surprise.

Sitting around a campfire last night with my Los Guys I came upon the following thought. I tried it out on them and it was received favorably, for the most part. There was, of course, a hater in the house, but I think I'm on to something. Am I wrong?
"Only the pessimist can be pleasantly surprised."
-Gunny

If you like it, feel free to use it. Like my preaching professor Timothy Warren once said, "If my bullet fits your gun, man, shoot it."

Some corroborating cogitation:
"The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. " - George F. Will

Thursday, February 15, 2007

When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.

In chapter 20 of the book that bears his name, Jeremiah complained to God:
O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. (20:7)

On Sunday nights our adult Bible study at Providence Church is in the format of a exposition of chapter (e.g., 2 Samuel 16 on 2/11), which is followed by a time of Q&A. In my mind, it's during Q&A that you really earn your money as a teacher. That's a time that separates the men from the boys.

This week the issue of whether or not it's okay to lie to your enemies came up, since Hushai lies to Absalom in 2 Sam 16.

The issue is this, sometimes you see God's people lying for what they perceive to be good reason and not being explicitly reprimanded or punished. For example Rahab was actually praised for her actions (Heb 11:31), though it entailed lying.

As well, there are numerous passages that state pretty clearly that on occasion God deceives His enemies. Is it ever okay to lie? Are there some instances where it becomes the lesser of two evils? Is it always forbidden?

The issue becomes complicated when we note passages where God certainly appears to intentionally decive His enemies.

My favorite passage of such intrigue is 1 Kings 22:13-23 where God ensures false prophets will tell the king to go into battle where he will be victorious, but God wants him to go into battle to smoke him. The following interchange brings this to bear:
18And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?" 19And Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 20and the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another. 21Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, 'I will entice him.' 22And the LORD said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.' 23Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you." (ESV)
To those who refuse to love the truth, God will bring punishment in the form of a delusion so that they believe what is false in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12:
11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (ESV)
Are we allowed to deceive our enemies? What about as a punishment or recompense for their sin/wickedness? What about in warfare? Can a Christian wear camo to conceal his position? Can a Christian playing running back deceive the linebacker into thinking he's going right, only to juke him outta his socks by going to the left?

The classic example is always where you're at the door to your home in Nazi Germany and you're asked if you're hiding Jews in your house. You are. What do you say?

Scripture says that God does not lie (1 Sam 15:29; Titus 1:2) nor even change His mind (Num 23:19). So, God is not a liar.

But ... God does deceive His enemies and God uses the sinful actions of wicked people to accomplish His purposes (cf. cross of Jesus, Acts 2:22-24), though He is in no way the author of evil.

That being said, I'm not quite ready to take the next step (though perhaps it be logical) that we are allowed to lie ... circumstances permitting.

I've heard it said that evildoers don't deserve the truth. That is true, but who does? Nobody deserves the truth, except God, who is truth (John 14:6).

Now, that doesn't mean I give full disclosure to the Nazis, but at least in theory I think I should not lie to them. I can certainly see me getting more than a bit Clintonesque on them, however.

Q: Is there any Jews here?
A: Hmm. I guess that depends of your definition of "is," now doesn't it?

Further, perhaps we have to ask, like Pilate, "What is truth?"

I know some wise and learned humans would differ with me on this, but I'm having to give God line item veto on how He does things. When push comes to shove, I may tell the Nazis that the Jews are hiding at the end of a long walk on a short pier, but my goal going in would be to do whatever I could to avoid lying.

But ... does that mean I can shoot 'em instead? Your thoughts?

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The key to a woman's heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.

According to FoxNews, one of the ten most spectacularly awful gifts you can give on Valetine's Day is a four-course elegant meal at White Castle. (HT Tank)
Make your Valentine’s day STEAMY!

Take your Valentine to White Castle on Wednesday, February 14 between 5 and 8 p.m. and enjoy hostess seating, candlelit dining and your own server. Reservations are required, so check the list below for participating Castles near you!

Special this year, you can also treat your honey to a romantic White Castle dinner in your home! Cupid’s Crave Kits include eight cheeseburgers, one sack of fries, two regular soft drinks, coupons and keepsake items to heat up your homespun romance. Now, ain’t that sweet?

* Cupid’s Crave Kits are not available at all locations. Reservations are required.
Now, this might be a gift unappeciated by many (including Mrs. Gunny), but I can assure you that some would find this the best Valentine's Day dining ever. If I could only work it so we're in a White Castle area in mid-February. That way I should show some culinary love.

While thinking about love and showing it, how about a little John Piper?
Love is doing what will enthrall the beloved with the greatest and longest joy. What will enthrall the beloved this way is the glory of God. Love means doing all we can, at whatever cost to ourselves, to help people be enthralled with the glory of God. When they are, they are satisfied and God is glorified. Therefore loving people and glorifying God are one.”

Okay, back to the concoction that is Valentine's Day, I said all that to say this ...

What is the worst Valentine's Day gift you have ever given or received? Would your Valentine agree with you?

I know not everybody acknowledges the day. Should we boycott or girlcott it? I've even known some intentionally break up with their honey right before to avoid depletion of funds (only to figure out that IT really IS love in March). But, many of us have been sucked into Hallmark's tomfoolery.

So, to you I ask: What's the worst Valentine's Day gift you have ever given or received?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

You know the Nazis had pieces of flair they made the Jews wear.

Recently I was at Barnes & Noble getting a book, a Christian book actually. My local Christian bookstores had let me down, but the heathen were able to hook me up.

While there I spent a little time looking around and remembered John Piper's comment last week: "All you need to open a book store is a coffee shop." It was a happenin' place.

Well, I thought I would investigate what kind of stuff the mainstream humans are interested in by way of scoping out what kinds of books were on display.

One thing in particular struck me ... there were stacks of books related to Adolph Hitler. There were even a few books dealing with the love life of Hitler (e.g., Hitler and Women: The Love Life of Adoph Hitler). I thought, what sicko would want to know about such a thing?!

There were books about how Hitler could have won World War II, which I can understand from the standpoint of a historian or a military strategist.

But I came away with an impression that there's a fascination with a man who was pretty wicked, particularly with regard to his treatment of the Jewish people.

Previously, I had expressed thoughts on the Holocaust and its link to the Enlightenment (cf. From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany), but I found it disturbing that we could be so preoccupied with such a one as Hitler.

What does that say about the American public that there is such a fascination with evil?

Monday, February 12, 2007

They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

That may be familiar for some of you as you recall Captain James T. Kirk articulating the mission of his ship and crew. However, you don’t have to be the captain of a spaceship to have a mission.

Corporations, schools, and even churches have mission statements. This is a summary of the purpose of the organization. The entity will evaluate things that compete for its resources (money, time, etc.) and decide which ones are central to the mission. It’s a reminder that there are many things that can be done by the organization, but the best are those that are in line with the mission.

With my students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I repeated reinforce the idea that the goal of all preaching and teaching is life change to the glory of God. They know they are longing to see sanctification (and/or justification) among the audience as they strive for life change (cognitive, affective, and/or behavioral) to the glory of God.

That, of course, is my mission whenever I prepare or deliver a sermon ... to see God glorified in the lifes of those who listen as they are changed by the Word of God preached.

However, have you ever heard of a personal mission statement? Have you considered what your own mission is for the short time you are on this planet? I have formulated my own mission statement that I try to use in determining how I will spend my resources.

When I became a Christian my purpose in life changed. Having been brought to God through Christ’s death for me on the cross, I feel compelled to share that message of hope with others. My personal mission statement is that in my relationships and in my resources I would strive “To glorify God by knowing Christ better and to making Him better known.

Take some time and come up with your own personal mission statement. Think through the priorities in your life and make sure your mission statement keeps the main thing the main thing. As you do, I challenge to you think about where Jesus Christ fits into your mission.

After you’ve made a mission statement, the harder part will be putting it into action. There will be difficult times when you will have to prioritize and sacrifice certain things for the sake of the mission. By God’s grace may you pursue and accomplish your mission.

I'm encouraged that even my boy who is three is learning about his mission at church. Part of the catechism work entails him asking and answering the questions: Who made you? and Why did God make you? But for us as well, God made us and He made us for His glory.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it . . . come up with a personal mission statement and evaluate that which you do accordingly.

If you've already crafted one, I'd love to hear it. Who knows, it might help the rest of us construct or tweak ours.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What do you get from a glut of TV? A pain in the neck and an IQ of 3.

When I was a kid I watched a ton of television, and I was particulary fond of sitcoms. Thus, I was intrigued to see a nostalgic special on well known tv expressions.

Can you identify the show or event from which each quote/phrase originated?


The following are some of those I found memorable among TV Land's Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases:
Aay! (with thumbs up)
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Hey, hey, hey (Dwayne)
HEY HEY HEY (Albert)
D'oh!
Stifle!
What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?
We are two wild and crazy guys!
The tribe has spoken.
Is that your final answer?
Good night, John Boy.
Let's be careful out there.
Who loves ya, baby?
Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.
Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?
Up your nose with a rubber hose.
Gee, Mrs. Cleaver ...
I can't believe I ate that whole thing?
Say good night, Gracie.
Dynamite!
Well, isn't that special?
How sweet it is!
That's hot.
There's just one more thing.
We've got a really big show.
Silly rabbit, Trix is for kids.
Elizabeth, I'm coming to join you, honey. This is the big one!
Do you believe in miracles?
Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Tastes great. Less filling.
You rang?
How you doin'?
Two thumbs up!
You look mahvelous!
It is much better to look good than to feel good.
I want my MTv!
If it hadn't been for those meddling kids.
You know what? You got spunk. I hate spunk!
Boss, da plane! de plane!
No soup for you!
Come on down!
Sock it to me.
Would you believe ...?
Sorry about that, Chief.
Missed it by *that* much.
Time to make the donuts.
Homey don't play that.
Whassup?!
Norm!
Jane, you ignorant slut.
It keeps going and going and going ...
It takes a licking ... and keeps on ticking.
The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat
Smile, you're on Candid Camera.
Live long and prosper.
Yada Yada Yada ... (FYI Yada in Hebrew is to know)
Book 'em, Dano.
Space, the final frontier ...
Yabba dabba do!
Where's the beef? Wendy's
5-Ask not what your country can do for you ...
4- Baby, you're the greatest.
3-You're fired! The Apprentice
2-One small step for man ...
1-Heeeeere's Johnny!

Can you identify the show or event from which each quote/phrase originated?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do you think I'd speak for you? I don't even know your language.

Stephanie has "tagged" me to address 6 areas in which I could be described as weird. I'm still in the process of narrowing the list, but in the mean time I will share one of those as its length merits its own post.

As my wife would say, I have my own lingo, my own language that can be confusing at times for those new to the program. The following is a list of words or phrases that I (mis)use, things out of the ordinary.

Some of these are my own creation (e.g., slooge), but the vast majority I have picked up over the years and internalized from various places (e.g., Aggieland, England), often to the point of not even realizing their uniqueness. Many of these are not unique to me, but are used by other weird people as well.

Most should be self-explanatory, but if not I've tried to assist in understanding. But, if something is still fuzzy, leave me a comment and I'll attempt to rectify.

Let me help you learn a new language, by giving you these "Gunnisms" for your linguistic pleasure.


  1. Spare (as in a bench warmer type human)
  2. HT (hat tip, as in tip of the cap to acknowledge/designate source, showing appreciation by imitation)
  3. Rest on that (stop doing)
  4. At ease the ______ (stop doing something or saying or making noise)
  5. I got mine (selfish behavior to the detriment of others)
  6. Dethawed (combination of defrost & thaw)
  7. Slooge
  8. Good/Bad bull (something really good/bad, impressively so)
  9. thousands, consequently millions (HT Deion Sanders)
  10. Whippin' (as in, that song is a whippin', or it's whippin' me)
  11. There's no question (HT Troy Aikman)
  12. This _______ really ties the room together. (i.e., it's good; HT The Big Lebowski)
  13. What's the ... uh?
  14. Eyeballs (cue for kids to say, "CLICK" and look at Daddy & listen)
  15. Woo-hoo (code for sexual activity, as in to have woo-hoo)
  16. Goozfraba (used to create calming effect, HT Anger Management)
  17. Settle (as in settle down or calm down)
  18. Scene (as in someone's situation, his/her scene)
  19. Scene? (what's the story/situation?)
  20. The miracle, or the miracle of the internet
  21. Peeps (people, as in Providence (Church) Peeps)
  22. Yutes (youths, HT My Cousin Vinny)
  23. Little people (kids, as opposed to Big people)
  24. Vanilla folders (as opposed to Manilla)
  25. the head (bathroom, HT USMC)
  26. feed (chow, as in What's for feed?)
  27. Your bit (your particular part or contribution)
  28. Rumble (going to Fist City, fight)
  29. Big bag of nuthin' (having no answer, argument, plan, etc.)
  30. It's go time (conflict coming to a head)
  31. You got served (your manhood has been challenged)
  32. It's on (you have responded and it's nearly go time)
  33. L-2 school bag (My Aggie book envelope)
  34. Gun mobile (what the kids calls my car)
  35. Pot Providence (what other churches call a "pot luck" meal)
  36. I never! (expression of denialHT, Brave Sir Robin)
  37. Negative, Ghost-Rider, the pattern is full. (HT Top Gun)
  38. Education space (one's back end)
  39. Teenage-girled me (as in talking on the phone like a teenage-girl)
  40. Johnny Mac, RC Sproula, The Pipe
  41. May ginoita! (HT Apostle Paul, may it never be!)
  42. Unstable (something off-kilter, likely makes one uncomfortable)
  43. What does your text say? (what's your Bible say)
  44. It is what it is. (HT Hans Kellner)
  45. It's all 'G' (as in "It's all good.")
  46. Comfy short-pants (instead of long pants or jeans, for comfort)
  47. Whiskey Tango (White Trash)
  48. Enlisted (behavior or item(s) associated with immaturity or low class)
  49. The bag (bed, as in hit "the sack")
  50. Baggin' it (sleeping or blowing off something, presumably due to sleep)
  51. Food awareness (exhortation to keep elbows out of food on plate)
  52. That's how I roll (my Modus Operandi)
  53. The bad Ag (when one, particularly me, does something to whip others)
  54. Evil doers (bad folks in various genres (e.g., church, jihad, etc.))
  55. Solid (something cool, HT Undercover Brother)
  56. Is it? (insurmountable comeback to another's assertion/argument)
  57. mutant boy (originally this kid that we saw at the McDonald's playground, but now a whole category of unruly boys)
  58. The AID (any and all ailments, can be localized (e.g., foot aid, mouth aid))
  59. Sloogey boy (mutant boy who has the audacity to try to converse with my girls)
  60. The hood (where I reside)
  61. Man crush (a studly guy whom I admire greatly)
  62. I wanna be friends with it (something that is GOOD, perhaps even breath-taking; HT Ron Burgundy)
  63. Street cred (what I have to be able to relate to the peeps in my hood)
  64. Package (put something off for later)
  65. Distancing (making sure I'm not associated with an idea or situation)
  66. Savin' it (not exposing others to gas, savin' it for an open area)
  67. Aggie word? (are you truly not lying?)
  68. Skeered (REALLY scared)
  69. Check (acknowledged and will comply)
  70. Queue (line in which one waits)
  71. Post (mail)
  72. No más (no more)
  73. Sound off (speak louder)
  74. DisAstros (spare baseball team in Houston)
  75. Paws (hands)
  76. Za (pizza)
  77. Whammy
  78. Cag (your stuff)
  79. Keepin' it real
  80. You have derailed.
  81. Up in this piece
  82. Up in here, up in here
  83. Your bad self
  84. Beats me down (see whips me)
  85. Spectacles (eye glasses)
  86. Nappies (diapers)
  87. Push chair (baby stroller)
  88. Joe (as in cup of, coffee)
  89. Kwan (the totality of something, HT Rod Tidwell)
  90. 220, 221, whatever it takes (HT Mr. Mom)
  91. That's affirmative
  92. Copy that (I understand)
  93. Shoe up (cue for kids to put their shoes in in preparation for leaving)
  94. Jammy up (cue for kids to put their pajamas on in preparation for the bag)
  95. Macht schnell! (hurry up, HT Deutschland)
  96. tender (as in a grown man got tender when another grown man was not sensitive to his needs)
  97. sweet, clean ______
  98. cog/cogitate (to think about deeply, to ponder, HT Aggie Corps of Cadets)
  99. not so much
  100. guess not (when a guy was supposed to be somewhere or do something and you say, "You were supposed to be there" and he says, "Guess not"; HT Oilcan)
  101. garden variety (adj., as in something within the realm of normalcy)
  102. Bling Bling
  103. grill (i.e., teeth, smile, face)
  104. Get your _______ on (e.g., snack, drink, Christ (remember movie Saved?), church, etc.)
  105. That ______ did a little something for me (meaning I liked it)
  106. How that's __________ treatin' you? (how is it? ... e.g., How's that Frosty treatin' you?)
  107. sports fans (group of people, particularly my kids; HT The Great Santini)
  108. HABU (H.A.B.U. = hook a brother up)
  109. What the Sheol? (N.B. Sheol is one of the Hebrew words translated in an English Bible as "hell")
  110. I don't know what that issss. (HT Deion Sanders)
  111. sad (as in someone being depressed)
  112. tomfoolery
  113. shenanigans
  114. the "A-row" (the front row; HT Lynn Gillette)
  115. scene control (having control of one's own life, as opposed to it being governed by externals such as another person of life in general)
  116. good poynt (good point; HT Greggo)
  117. sumpin sumpin (aka sumthin' sumthin')
  118. rubbish
  119. good things/Mazel Tov!
  120. peace out
  121. Word, Word up, Word to your mother
  122. smoked him/her (what the kids say I've done when I pass another person on the road)
  123. smoked his/her bag
  124. tools (cutlery, HT Aggie Corps of Cadets)
  125. right in his/her wheelhouse (where he/she wants it; HT baseball)
  126. bogart (to hog or keep to oneself)
  127. Afghanistan (long name for blanket thingie called an afghan)
  128. chop chop (macht schnell; hurry up)
  129. N.B. (Latin abbreviation for Note Bene, to note well)
  130. King Jimmy (aka King James Version)
  131. Reno-style (as in not just eatin' it, but eatin' it Reno-style; HT Will Ferrell as Janet Reno on Saturday Night Live)
  132. Napoleonesque (of or relating to Napoleon Dynamite)
  133. The diet starts tomorrow. (It's not just a saying; it's a way of life. HT Oilcan; there's a corollary: This all has to be gone by midnight.)
  134. Chocolate Moo (chocolate milk)
  135. the down low (aka "the D.L.", keeping something quiet)
  136. reload (n. a refill, v. to refill; particularly a beverage)
  137. In my mind ... (preamble to clarify that the statement to be made is not necessarily universally espoused; HT Jerry Jones)
  138. hork (pinch, lift, nick, steal, snatch, swipe, abscond, filch, cop, recon; HT Strange Brew)
  139. my bad (my incorrectly, my not good; my adjective)
  140. tired head (what you get when you're worn out thinking about something, your brain gets tired and starts to hurt)
  141. large, as in 50 large (grand or thousand, as in $50,000)
  142. bones (dollars)
  143. over the line (the foul you call when a person says something that could be construed as racist, blue, or contributing to the merriment of bashing, belittling & carrying on)
  144. I feel ya (I understand) or I'm feelin' that (I'm digging that)
  145. sub-par
  146. no screaming? (Really?)
  147. mash (mashed potatoes)
  148. change of pace (one a little different, as in a "change of pace burger")
  149. workmanlike (not impressive or very good, but adequate)
  150. When in Rome (something to be used when not applicable; HT Ron Burgundy)
  151. instamatically (right this instand, right now; HT Paulie, Rocky's brother-in-law)
  152. then the terrorists have already won (what will happen if people don't do what I want)
  153. ______ Nazi (person (self-)designated to be in charge of something, which may entail rationing, keeping track of inventory, or otherwise policing; HT Soup Nazi)
  154. waffle factor (the factor in the equation of life whereby you have to plan for what could go wrong (i.e., get waffled)
  155. grode (dirt/dirty, as in to "grode it out" is to make dirty and grody in content means dirty language or movie, etc.)
Did I miss any?

N.B. I am updating the list as the comments come rolling in with my omissions.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lance & Gunny Go to White Castle

(4/23/2007 ... This just in ... free audio of all 20 years' of Desiring God pastors conferences is available for downloading.)

Lance Ward, pastor of Rowlett Bible Fellowship, and I met up this week at the Desiring God conference for pastors in Minneapolis (Dr. John Piper pictured in the middle). It was great to rekindle a great friendship with a brother with whom I attended seminary and shared many great times working at Insurance Depot, a time in my life I might otherwise like to forget.

This year's theme was the Holiness of God. However, I will not give a recap of the sessions, since you may download the audio of each and there are excellent summaries of each session on the Desiring God blog (just check for the dates of February 5-7). Instead, I will interact with some of the thoughts provoked over the course of the conference in a few different posts in the upcoming days, Deo volente.

But, I will tell you up front that RC Sproul was the keynote speaker. For my money, he's the Sam Adams of conference speakers, "always a good choice," but particularly so with the theme.


I was introduced to Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor in the Cayman Islands. His talk entitled,"The Glory of Pervasive Holiness in the Life of a Pastor" was just outstanding. He was so good, that he was actually our first "victim" with the camera.

Lance and I invited Dr. Piper to come with us to dinner at White Castle, but he couldn't. Mrs. Piper was kind enough later to tell us they had other plans. (And I'm sure they didn't involve taking two groupies from Texas to White Castle.)

With the temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit (reportedly -30 with the wind chill on Monday night), we decided to take a cab to White Castle, which is always an experience. We had many great conversations with some interesting people inside. But, I have to thank those local boys for the tip to take the bus back to the hotel.

Incidentally, I'm thinking if I ever need a job, my dream job is available in Minneapolis. (You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see me with the sign to understand.)

White Castle wasn't the only fine dining I experienced. I also went to Burger King in the Minneapolis Airport for dinner tonight, where I got a Quad Stacker. That's 4 pieces of beef, 4 pieces of cheese, and 8 pieces of bacon (allegedly 1,000 calories and 68 grams of fat). I had it my way by going with barbeque sauce instead of the slooge sauce, however. I ate like a man, man, 'cause that thing was good.

It was a little messy, but good, particularly due to it's exemplary MTB ratio (Meat to Bun). In fact, it was so good that I had two. But, not to worry, I balanced it all out with a Diet Coke.

Thanks to Lance for going to White Castle and thanks be to God for a great time of instruction, singing, conversation, and getting caught up with some DTS connections (e.g,. Lance Ward, Benji Magness (you still need to come by some time so we can chat futher), and Mike Ernst).



Now, I just have to figure out where's the next conference near a White Castle.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

How much you want to make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?

In light of the Superbowl this Sunday, here are some football terms used to describe ecclesiastical phenomena. I'm sure you've seen similar compilations, but I've added a few and tweaked some.

I've commented before about Americans' greater fidelity and patience for sports than for church. Hey, no excuses. Play like a champion.

Incidentally, you better not skip church tonight for the Superbowl. That's what TiVo is for!

Excessive timeouts: too many stories told by the pastor to cover up for lack of exegetical work

Eligible receiver: one who receives the Word and puts it into practice

Winning percentage: progressive sanctification unfolding

Quarterback Sneak: when the pastor makes a move that the elders and/or deacons weren’t prepared for

Scrimmage: informal meeting of ministry leaders to divide resources

Extra Point: when you thought you heard the pastor say, in conclusion” at least fifteen minutes earlier

Draw Play: what children do with the hymnal during worship

Benchwarmer: Those who never get involved in church ministry

Sidelines: where lukewarm Christians are, watching the plays unfold

Running back: a Sunday school teacher not afraid to meet the opponent head on by faithfully proclaiming biblical truth

Linebacker: one who defends the faith against all enemies, foreign and domestic

Back Judge: one who only criticizes and never gets in the game

Nose tackle: method employed to keep church gossip to a minimum

Assistant coach: an assistant or associate pastor

Stiff Arm: (1) necessary for the overly huggy greeter (2) not laying hands on anyone quickly.

Off-season: summer when church attendance drops dramatically

Overtime: sermon continues into the start of the football game

Coin toss: passing the offering plate

Pigskin: spiral ham at the church "Pot Providence" dinner

Punt: where the pastor doesn't understand the text, so he explains the meaning of the Greek words instead

Punt return: in response to the pastor's punt when the seminary student corrects his use of the Greek

Defensive holding: gripping the back of the pew in front of you when under conviction

Delay of game: tense time when one is singing a "special" but the CD is not cued to the correct song

Offensive guard: those who give a stern look to anyone aiming to leave early

Quick count: quick count of congregation to be certain there are enough communion cups prepared

Dead ball: awkward silence in the sermon when the pastor is waiting for an amen that never comes

Roster: official list of church members, some of which are have moved or have died

Unnecessary roughness: where gossiping has become a spiritual gift

Formation: theose with whom we gather in the foyer after the service

Signals: silent communication between the music director and musicians

Time Out: when the pastor hasn't prepared and decides he is led by the Spirit to have a testimonial Sunday instead

Field Goal: getting at least something out of a poorly prepared sermon

Safety: evidence that nobody on the elder board has the pastor's back

Touchdown: during the sermon when one hears and recognizes the necessity of change to conform to the ways of God

Special teams: church finance committee

Fumble: when the preacher mispronounces Old Testament names when reading the passage, a recovery is when he is at least consistent with the mispronunciation

Penalty Flag: when someone loving confronts an errant teacher, as the Bereans did with Paul

Game ball: the Bible

Home-field advantage: when seasoned veterans know where are the hot & cold spots in the sanctuary

Nickel back: when the sermon goes five minutes over and you punish him with less offering

Dime back: giving a tenth of your income to the church

Huddle: laying on of hands in prayer

Head coach: the senior pastor

Reverse: an Arminian who became Reformed or vice versa

Too many men on the field: congregational form of government (mob rule)

Interference: the noisy children around you who are more entertaining the follow than the sermon

Incompletion: one who never showed up for his/her baptismal date

Unsportsmanlike conduct: gossip about another member

Half-time: the period between Sunday School and the main worship service when some sneak out and some sneak in

Man in Motion: making a potty run during the service

Staying in the Pocket: what happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord's work

Two-minute Warning: the point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and people start zipping up their Bibles

Instant Replay: the pastor had a busy week and just rehashes old material

Sudden Death: what happens to a church where sin is tolerated

Trap: you're called on for the closing prayer and miss your cue

End Run: taking the long way to your seat to avoid talking to someone

Flex Defense: the ability to see all the points of the sermon as pertaining only to others

Halfback Option: not returning for evening services

Screen Play: using video and/or PowerPoint as part of worship, particularly in a church large enough that folks watch the screen and not the people

Blitz: the mass exodus to get to the favorite restaurants as quickly as possible

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Bible says not to or you end up goin' to Hades. Some folks calls it Hell; I call it Hades.

My good friend, and fellow Cardinals fan, James W. Galyon took a break from blogging about HELL to speak to the other side of the coin in the post entitled, "Everybody Heaven-bound?"

It got me to thinking of that mindset that so many have. What really whips me is so many people, even professing Christians, see heaven as the default.

In other words, everyone's going to heaven unless they louse it up.

Now, there are different theories as to what louses it up (e.g., REALLY BAD sin, conscious rejection of Jesus, people worse than the person making the call, etc.), but that's fundamentally a flawed perspective.

The reality is that everyone starts off with the default of going to hell. We are all, by nature, objects of wrath. Unless God, who is rich in mercy, makes us alive in Christ, nothing changes for a person.
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved
-Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)

Why? Why is the default hell?

Because they have sinned against a holy God, by their nature and their actions. They inherit a guilt from Adam via imputation (Rom 5:12-21) and unless their sin is imputed to Christ and His righteousness to them (2 Cor 5:21), then they stay on their current path.

To quote AC-DC, all of humanity in Adam starts off on a "Highway to hell" (didn't know they were orthodox theologians, did ya?). It's only through taking the off-ramp of justification through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that anyone gets to a different destination.

The reason this is important is that folks often speak of who deserves to go to hell. The answer they give is rarely "everybody," but everybody deserves to go to hell. Nobody deserves to go to heaven; nobody even deserves to get a chance to hear the Gospel.

I've heard it said that if people reject Christ they deserve to go to hell. Or sometimes unbelief is the reason for going to hell. But, prior to believing, everyone who is a Christian was at one time a non-believer, so that is clearly not the unpardonable sin.

Weren't Christ-lovers at one time Christ-rejectors? Weren't they repulsed by the Light of the World (John 8:12) because they loved the darkness and hated the light? (John 3:19-20)

But folks don't like the idea of depravity that penetrates the extent of our being. They prefer to think of all as being okay, in general, at least for those who are not mass murderers.

The reason these ideas are helpful is that we can appease our uneasiness just a bit because the only people that have to go to hell, that really deserve to go to hell, are the ones who consciously reject Jesus Christ.

But this presupposes that all start out with a positive relationship to God and that rejection of Jesus changes that. However, all of humanity stands guilty before God and under His wrath.
For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
-Romans 5:19 (ESV)
When a person rejects Christ, God's wrath remains on that person (John 3:36). In other words, there is no change in that person's condition or ultimate destination.

This raises questions for some about God's fairness, because not all get a fair shake. Some are born with Christian parents and hear the good news from an early age. Some will live their whole lives without ever hearing the name of Christ.

"That's not gracious enough, God!" some might say or at least think. But, they misunderstand grace. Grace is God's unmerited favor. By its very nature, nobody deserves grace.

If God saved only one person and sent the rest to hell, He would be infintely more gracious than He need be. As my Greek prof, Elliott Greene, used to say, "God doesn't owe us anything, except hell, and He could charge us rent if He wanted to."

I've also heard it said, "My god wouldn't send anyone to hell." My response is that "he couldn't, because your god is a figment of your imagination." The biblical God can and will.

Hell's not for the weekend, folks. It's not this great party, but everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (i.e., demons). It is the eternal punishment for those whose sins are not paid for by another.

Either Jesus Christ, an infinite being, pays a finite death for one's sin or that finite individual will pay an infinite punishment where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Because hell is real, we are concerned for those who are not justified by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.

It's because we care that we are evangelistic. We call all take a page out of Spurgeon's playbook:
"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon

If we have genuine Christian love, we should follow in the footsteps of Edwards in wanting that which is beneficial for others.
...they that have the spirit of charity, or Christian love, have a spirit to seek the good of their fellow creatures. Thus the apostle commands (Phil. 2:4), “Look not every man on his own things; but every man also on the things of others.” We ought to seek the spiritual good of others; and if we have a Christian spirit, we shall desire and seek their spiritual welfare and happiness, their salvation from hell, and that they may glorify and enjoy God forever. And the same spirit will dispose us to desire and seek the temporal prosperity of others, as says the apostle (1 Cor. 10:24), “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” And we should so seek their pleasure, that therein we can, at the same time, seek their profit, as again it is said by the apostle (1 Cor. 10:33), “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved;” and again Rom. 15:2), “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”

But more particularly, under this head, I would remark, that a spirit of charity, or Christian love, as exercised toward our fellow creatures, is opposite to a selfish spirit, as it is a sympathizing and merciful spirit. It disposes persons to consider not only their own difficulties, but also the burdens and afflictions of others, and the difficulties of their circumstances, and to esteem the case of those who are in straits and necessities as their own. A person of selfish spirit is ready to make much of the afflictions that he himself is under, as if his privations or sufferings were greater than those of anybody else; and if he is not in suffering, he is ready to think he is not called to spare what he has in possession, for the sake of helping others. A selfish man is not apt to discern the wants of others, but rather to overlook them, and can hardly be persuaded to see or feel them. But a man of charitable spirit is apt to see the afflictions of others, and to take notice of their aggravation, and to be filled with concern for them, as he would be for himself if under difficulties. And he is ready, also, to help them, and take delight in supplying their necessities, and relieving their difficulties. He rejoices to obey that injunction of the apostle (Col. 3:12), “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness;” and to cherish the spirit of “wisdom (Jam. 3:17) that is from above,” which is “full of mercy;” and, like the good man spoken of by the Psalmist (Psa. 37:26), to be “merciful,” that is, full of mercy.

And as it is a sympathizing and merciful spirit, so the spirit of charity, as exercised toward our fellow creatures, is the opposite of a selfish, inasmuch as it is a liberal spirit. It not only seeks the good of others that are in affliction, but it is ready to communicate to all, and forward to promote their good, as there may be opportunity. To do good, and to communicate, it forgets not (Heb. 13:16); but obeys the exhortation (Gal. 6:10), “As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men.” But on this point I need not enlarge, having already dwelt upon it at length in the lecture on “Charity is kind.”

And as the spirit of charity, or Christian love, is opposed to a selfish spirit, in that it is merciful and liberal so it is in this, also, that it disposes a person to be public-spirited. A man of a right spirit is not a man of narrow and private views, but is greatly interested and concerned for the good of the community to which he belongs, and particularly of the city or village in which he resides, and for the true welfare of the society of which he is a member. God commanded the Jews that were carried away captive to Babylon, to seek the good of that city, though it was not their native place, but only the city of their captivity. His injunction was (Jer. 29:7), “Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it.” And a man of truly Christian spirit will be earnest for the good of his country, and of the place of his residence, and will be disposed to lay himself out for its improvement. A man was recommended to Christ by the Jews (Luke 7:5), as one that loved their nation and had built them a synagogue; and it is spoken of as a very provoking thing to God, with respect to some in Israel (Amos 6:6), that they were “not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” And it is recorded, to the everlasting honor of Esther (Est. 4:16), that she herself fasted and prayed, and stirred up others to fast and pray, for the welfare of her people. And the apostle Paul (Rom. 9:1-3) expresses the deepest concern for the welfare of his countrymen. And those that are possessed of the spirit of Christian charity are of a more enlarged spirit still; for they are concerned, not only for the thrift of the community, but for the welfare of the Church of God, and of all the people of God individually. Of such a spirit was Moses, the man of God, and therefore he earnestly interceded for God’s visible people, and declared himself ready to die that they might be spared (Exo. 32:11, 32). And of such a spirit was Paul, who was so concerned for the welfare of all, both Jews and Gentiles, that he was willing to become as they were (1 Cor. 9:19-23), if possibly he might save some of them.
-Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits (his book of expositions of 1 Cor 13)

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