Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

The following are some thoughts and quotes with regard to Expository Preaching, some of which I typically share with preaching students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here's a video clip from John Piper on the Power of Scripture and Doctrine to start us off. (HT Benji)





A couple of quick definitions/descriptions:

York (SBTS prof) & Decker, Preaching with Bold Assurance
"Expository preaching is defined not by a style nor by a particular methodology, but by the end result of explaining and applying the meaning of the text. Expository preaching is any kind of preaching that shows people the meaning of a biblical text and leads them to apply it to their lives."


Robinson, Biblical Preaching
"Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to his hearers."


Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching
"Biblical preaching moves from doctrinal exposition to life instruction."

"A grammar lesson is not a sermon. A sermon is not a textual summary, a systematics discourse, or a history lecture. Mere lectures are pre-sermons because they dispense information without relevant application that focuses listeners on their obligations to Christ and his ministry to them." (which he credits to Jay Adams in Preaching with Purpose)

"present the Word; explain what it says; and exhort based on what it means. This is expository preaching."


J. I . Packer, "Why Preach?"
“The purpose of preaching is not to stir people to action while bypassing their minds, so that they never see what reason God gives them for doing what the preacher requires of them (that is manipulation); nor is the purpose to stock people’s minds with truth, no matter how vital and clear, which then lies fallow and does not become the seedbed and source of changed lives (that is academicism).”


Al Mohler, (See "Expository Preaching and the Recovery of Christian Worship," Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3)
"Expository preaching is that mode of Christian preaching that takes as its central purpose the presentation and application of the text of the Bible. All other issues and concerns are subordinated to the central task of presenting the biblical text. As the word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth the meaning and message of the biblical text and makes clear how the word of God establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God."

"Expository preaching begins with the preacher's determination to present and explain the text of the Bible to his congregation. This simple starting point is a major issue of division in contemporary homiletics for many preachers assume that they must begin with a human problem or question and then work backward to the biblical text. On the contrary, expository preaching begins with the text and works from the text to apply its truth to the lives of believers. If this determination and commitment are not clear at the outset, something other than expository preaching will result."

"Authentic expository preaching is marked by three distinct marks or characteristics: authority, reverence, and centrality. Expository preaching is authoritative because it stands upon the very authority of the Bible as the word of God. Such preaching requires and reinforces a sense of reverent expectation on the part of God's people. Finally, expository preaching demands the central place in Christian worship and is respected as the event through which the living God speaks to his people."


John Stott, Between Two Worlds
"We should be praying that God will raise up a new generation of Christian communicators who are determined to bridge the chasm; who struggle to relate God’s unchanging Word to our ever-changing world; who refuse to sacrifice truth to relevance or relevance to truth; but who resolve instead in equal measure to be faithful to Scripture and pertinent to today."

"What did the original author intend his words to mean? That was the question. Moreover it is a question which can with patience be answered, and answered confidently…the biblical authors were honest men, not deceivers and their writings intended to be understood.”


Gunny's Sine qua non of Expository Preaching
"Expository preaching presents the intended meaning of the biblical author/Author in a manner that is relevant to the contemporary listener."


If our goal in all preaching (& teaching) is life change to the glory of God (and I can't see how it's not), then our listeners should leave knowing what the text meant in the original context, what the text means for the contemporary audience, and how the text should be applied in their little world. They should be motivated to that end through our exhortation and should be expected to do it (reliant on the Spirit, of course).

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hey, Jane ... get me off this crazy thing ... called love.

Dining out with the family Monday night I noticed the entrance of a group of 3 people that I quickly deduced was comprised of a mom and elementary school aged son and the boyfriend.

I'm a bit of a people watcher by nature, but one thing stood out to me early on. There was prayer before the meal.

Now, my family prays before we eat and I know many others do as well. It's not a test of orthodoxy or orthopraxy for me, but that's how we roll. Others may not, particularly in a restaurant, and I'm sure they have their own rationale.

But in my experience it's typically a corporate activity, either the family as a group prays or it does not.

Putting aside the question of "oughtness" for a moment, what struck me was that the mom & son turned toward each other and with impressive form (i.e., hands together in their laps, heads bowed, and eyes closed so they wouldn't get distracted) thanked their Maker for their meal.

The boyfriend? He did not. In fact, he kind of looked up at the ceiling in a manner that expressed his irritation or at least incredulity at their practice.

You know where this is going, don't you?

I felt for this mother with no ring on her finger. I'm sure she's thinking that it would be nice to have a husband and particularly to have a father-type for her son.

I so wanted to call time out and tell her, "He's not the one."

This is a lady to whom her spirituality is of vital importance and has taught her son to value the same. But she's entertaining the idea of this man being Mr. Right and he clearly doesn't hold similar values.

I know I don't know all there is to know and I don't want to be presumptuous, but it's nothing new, this oft repeated story. Not only would she be wrong to enter into a marriage where they would be "unequally yoked" (2 Cor 6:14), but she would only be continually frustrated with a man who could not be her spiritual leader and would not be a role model of a godly man for her son.

Since I'm assuming this man is not the "smart" choice for her, one she would make with her head, I can only assume her motivation is founded in her "heart."

Would she say something as trite and yet as powerful as, "We're in love?"
As the father of 3 daughters, this worries me.

It's hard to reason with one in love. Just ask Percy Sledge:
When a man loves a woman,
Can't keep his mind on nothing else.
He'll trade the world
For the good thing he's found.
If she's bad he can't see it.
She can do no wrong.
Turn his back on his best friend,
If he put her down.

The key, it seems to me, is to protect ourselves from "falling in love" with those who we should not commit our love to.

Ladies and gentlemen, don't get on that crazy thing called love, for it's too hard to get off once you're on.

This is the whole point of "courting" being preferred to "dating." In courting you're exploring the possibility of marriage and the relationship is moving in that direction. In dating, people are typically setting their sights on the shorter-term, but often emotional (or other) attachments occur that complicate matters.

Of course, in this whole process the role of the Christian community comes into play and can be a huge asset. I just hope that young lady at the restaurant has other Christians in her life that have the capital built up to be able to have her ear AND they have the courage to act in her best interest.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

Read about how the US Supreme Court agrees to review handgun ban in Washington, DC.
"In 2003, Washington resident Dick Heller, who lives in one of the city's tougher neighborhoods, lodged a suit against the local authorities saying his constitutional right to bear arms was being violated. Although his case was initially rejected, he won on appeal to a federal appeals court in March [2008]."


Read my comments (and Ray's) on a blog post about Mike Huckabee's sermon at Prestonwood Baptist on Jeremiah 29:11. (Check out the sermon transcript and video in that same post.)


Read some thoughts on praying in groups and in church prayer meetings.
"But I can’t stress this too strongly…if you really care only a tiny bit about Aunt Mildred and see her very seldom, don’t bring her up with the saints to pray about! Even your prayer requests need to encourage the saints and praying about people we don’t know and that not even the person requesting prayer cares about is absolutely discouraging."


Read as Anthony Carter of Non Nobis Domine shares "50 Things I Love about Politics." I'm not so sure I could have some up with 50. It might be easier for me to eat 5o eggs. Why'd he have to say "50" anyway?


Check out the Visual Dictionary.


Kummer at Gospel Driven Children’s Ministry shares links to free Christmas craft ideas for kids.


Read as the Arkansas Times labels Mike Huckabee as a "Flip-Flopper" on the abortion issue with regard to leaving it up to the individual states: "Mike Huckabee: For states' rights before he was against states' rights."
John Hawkins: Switching gears again, do you think we should overturn Roe v. Wade?

Mike Huckabee: It would please me because I think Roe v. Wade is based on a real stretch of Constitutional application -- that somehow there is a greater privacy issue in the abortion concern -- than there is a human life issue -- and that the federal government should be making that decision as opposed to states making that decision.

So, I've never felt that it was a legitimate manner in which to address this and, first of all, it should be left to the states, the 10th Amendment, but secondly, to somehow believe that the taking of an innocent, unborn human life is about privacy and not about that unborn life is ludicrous.


Read as Al Mohler of SBTS wonders at parental behavior in "Freak Dancing" -- When Parents Advocate Misbehavior.
"Freak dancing" is well known throughout the nation, and it involves what can only be described as "sexually charged" physical contact and movement. But many of the kids in Argyle were "disgusted" that freak dancing was banned at the homecoming dance, so they left. That might be fairly easy to understand. After all, adolescents are expected to exhibit adolescent patterns of misbehavior. What makes this story so interesting is that so many parents responded by joining their adolescents in immature response. In fact, their protest of the superintendent's policy is shocking.


Read a Primer on the Problem of Evil at Parchment and Pen.
"This problem is the single greatest apologetic issue that Christians face today. In a postmodern world, people’s questions, objections, and problems with the Christian worldview are usually connected to the reality of evil in the world and their attempts to harmonize this reality with the seemingly contradictory notion of an all-powerful, all-good God."


Read Rethinking the Five-Second Rule with regard to food dropped on the floor.
"In 2003, a then-high school science intern at the University of Illinois, Jillian Clarke, conducted a survey and found that slightly more than half of adult men and 70 percent of adult women knew about the five-second rule and many said they followed it. Clarke then conducted an experiment to find out if various food became contaminated with bacteria after just five seconds on the floor."


Read about the Aggies smoking the Longhorns like a cheap cigar ... again, as Coach Fran goes out on top. How's THAT feel, t-sips?
"It's really hard," Texas defensive back Brandon Foster said. "You never enjoy losing, but losing to the Aggies is just even worse."


Read Lionel's thoughts on Modesty and Christian Women. (See also my thoughts on modesty encompassing more than just dress.)
"We have a new fad among professing Christians today, the fad of being sexy. Now how a Christian can want to be labeled sexy from anyone other than their spouse is cause for great concern."


Read Justin Taylor's thoughts and suggestions regarding commenting on blogs.


Rank your most necessary technological gadgetry. (HT Tank) I've included my rankings in the comments section and would be curious to see yours as well.
"Technology is everywhere. Whether at home, in the office or on the go, gadgets and gizmos of every shape, size and ring tone constantly surround us. But which ones do you feel are truly needed? Rank your favorites and see how they compare with other CNN.com users."



Much to the bewilderment of Providence Church's own Mark Landers I am a book marker-upper. It probably takes me 2-3 times longer to read a book because I write in the margins and underline and circle and doodle and write notes in the front & back flaps. I know that's desecration to some of you, but ... I heartily recommend you read On Marking Books: Thoughts from Mortimer J. Adler. Incidentally, Adler's How to Read a Book is a classic and a highly suggested read as well.
"I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love."


I've read a fair amount about the aversion of many preachers to speak to the issue of the wrath of God (e.g.). Which brings to mind the following summary of the liberal gospel by H. Richard Niebuhr: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” I also found this from Ravi Zacharias: “It is because God’s wrath is real that His mercy is relevant. Unless you have a real wrath, a real anger, the Biblical concepts of long-suffering, of mercy, and of grace are robbed of their meaning.” (HT Benji)

"Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it - what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone."
- Carlos Castaneda

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things.

A while back Stephanie "tagged" me with this whammie, but I just finally got around to handling up on my business.

It's been almost 5 months, but some of these are harder questions than others.


1. WHAT WERE YOU DOING 10 YEARS AGO?
Earliers in '97 I had been ordained and was serving as the associate pastor of a SBC church. I was in my last year of seminary, writing a thesis on "Seeking in the Evangelism of Jonathan Edwards." Mary Ellen and I had no children yet and were trying to decide between going the pastoral ministry route or in the direction of the more academic, so I was candidating a bit and had put in an application at Oxford University.


2. WHAT WERE YOU DOING 1 YEAR AGO?
Serving as the pastor of Providence Church, a plant in Garland, Texas, and bemoaning the state of Aggie football.


3. FIVE SNACKS YOU ENJOY.
BBQ Ruffles; peanuts; beef jerkey; Chili Cheese Fritos; and ice cream (Blue Bell, the best ice cream in the country).


4. FIVE SONGS YOU KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God; How Great Thou Art; Be Thou My Vision; To God Be the Glory; and The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.


5. FIVE THINGS YOU’D DO IF YOU WERE A MILLIONAIRE.
Build Providence Church its own building; Buy some land for future family residence; upgrade to a Harley Heritage; Put in a pool and invite all of you over to celebrate with catering done by White Castle; and adopt a slew of overseas orphans.


6. FIVE BAD HABITS.
Waiting until the day after my inspection expires to renew so I can get an extra month; Leaving stacks of cag on my desk; Staying up too late; Eating competitively, always needing to get my money's worth at the buffet; and uh ... seeing as how this post took me so long, procrastination has to make the list.


7. FIVE THINGS YOU LIKE DOING.
Watching sports (e.g., Cardinals, Cowboys, Aggies, Mighty Lakers, Little Mavericks, Stars), particularly with my son; Riding my Harley; Swimming with the kids; Doing missions work in Deutschland; and Going to church with my family.


8. FIVE THINGS YOU WOULD NEVER WEAR AGAIN.
Members-Only jacket; Thick, brightly colored shoes laces with my Nike high-tops; Bikini swim trunks; High school letter jacket or ring; and a Tail (how many of you know what I'm talking about?).


I believe I'm supposed to "tag" some other bloggers to "entertain" us as well. I'll tag Lance, Rev, Brent, Matt, and Jay the Bennett.


If you lads would post a link to your response in the comments section it would be greatly appreciated. And it better not take you 5 months to handle up either!

*However, if you're a reader and/or comment-er, I'd certainly be interested in your responses to any and/or all of the above items.*

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alright, I'm going to need for you to retard your anger level a few notches and listen to me, can you do that?

Some quick thoughts on community, with regard to church that is.

"Community" is a bit of a buzz word in the church world and you would at times wonder how the church existed all these years without an emphasis on "authentic community."

That aside, it's been my experience and thinking that it's kind of a double-edged sword. People clamor for community, but then when the effects of community kick in, positive or negative, they would like a refund, or back away, or start looking for another community.

For example, when people get close enough to you to start helping you grow in sanctification by pointing out (self-)destructive behavior, fences come up with the tenderness.

Smaller churches can be appealing for the (seemingly) increased potential for community, but when those who love you in the community start to give you the business for sleeping through church, what do you do?

The irony is that God gives us community (i.e., our local church) to aid in our sanctification. Those people are there to help us see things we won't/can't see in ourselves. Those people will also give you the opportunity to forgive those who sin against you, to restore the relationship. Those people will give you the opportunity to be patient with a brother or sister who is well behind you on the road to holiness.

But being confronted with our shortcomings doesn't feel nice at all. Being wronged and overlooking it or seeking to fix it biblically aren't any fun.

So, what's the answer?

Practically, folks will often ...

1. Keep things to a very superficial level. Those who aren't close to you, don't know you, and really can't hurt you. This is the easiest, particularly in a larger church where you think nothing of it when you don't have many close relationships. There's the illusion of peace and a few tender people or troublemakers won't have the same potential for derailing the church's health, but this is truly only the appearance of intimate community.

2. Poison the community by harboring ill feelings toward one who you feel has wronged you, knowingly or not, it doesn't matter. Biblically, reconciliation is not optional. Paul stopped down in his letter to the Philippians to "waste" 2 verses so 2 ladies could reconcile (Phil 4:2-3).

3. Leave the church because you got tender with someone. It's easier to mail it in, assuming folks at the other church will be different. Of course, after a few churches one has to wonder if it's not the individual with the problem, not these many collections of people. I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course, because the group is no more perfect than the people of which it is comprised.

So, the easy route is to get tender and leave, hoping folks will call to ask why, so there can a laundry list revealed of insensitive people.

If we took a poll, I'm confident this would be in the top 3 reasons, if not THE top reason, as to why people leave a church. Pastors, can I get an "Amen"?

It doesn't have to be tenderness with a leader, though that helps accelerate the process.

Somebody didn't reach out enough to me. Somebody didn't invite me to his/her bit. Somebody wasn't receptive to my reaching out. Somebody hurt my feelings. Someone got tender with me over something I said or did that I don't think was any big deal. I was sick and missed 2 Sundays and nobody called or came by to ask about me. I slept through 2 Sundays because I was tired from being out too late the night before and someone asked me why I wasn't at church.

The worst is some combination of #2 & #3, whereby the root of bitterness grows so the poison permeates before the leaving, whereby more leave in the process.

How is God honored in any of that? How impressive is the Gospel that it makes superficial friends of God's people or that it makes friends of those who are alike?

What's impressive is a Gospel that saves from wrath and makes us pure. What's impressive is a Gospel that changes hearts so that we can love unlovely and we can love in spite of our differences and in spite of wronging and being wronged.

Authentic community is not easy, to create or maintain. And we also have to be careful what we wish for. We just might get it.

And in the process of REALLY getting to know other sinners saved by grace, you may find them hard to love ... and they may find you hard to love.

But that's when we get to practice the "one anothers" of Scripture:
  • Forgive one another - only possible when you've been wronged.
  • Be kind to one another - natural when they're kind to you, otherwise not so much.
  • Accept one another - this can only happen when the person doesn't meet your expectations and/or standards of behavior or knowledge.
  • Bear one another's burdens - you have your own, which is heavy enough, right?
  • Encourage one another - the discouraged can bring you down, or you can bring them up.
  • Honor one another - spotlighting another person certainly is contrary to our human nature.
  • Love one another - even loving those who don't deserve it, just as God loved the undeserving, us included.
  • Comfort one another - when something bad happens to another, you can say, "Be warm; be fed," or you can give them spiritual comfort.
  • Teach one another - nobody likes a know-it-all, so they may not listen.
  • Pray for one another - we all like to be prayed for, but few put the needs of others before their own, which is demonstrated in prayers for others (beyond, "God, please fix that guy!").
Once we REALLY get to know each other, we're much harder to love, but that's the nature of authentic Christian community, loving those who are hard to love. And that's the nature of a community that is impressive to the watching world.

For more on conflict resolution, check out The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, Ken Sande. (HT Kyle Kerby)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

I gotta get me some of these, dance shoes for father and daughter.

I'm not a fan of the whole daylight savings time bit. Read about one VERY interesting complication that arose from it whereby the second-born twin was born before the first: Daylight-Saving Causes Twin Arrival Pickle.
"Everyone knows the pecking order in a family has everything to do with age. The oldest sibling usually rules the roost. But what if you get cheated out of the title because of Daylight Saving Time?"


Read the report that employers are concerned with more than just competence, but want to hire people who get along well with others. Would you hire someone more efficient to the neglect of "libeability" or would you prefer to sacrifice some efficiency to create a more congenial workplace?
"In this bloggable, cell phone camera world, your brand on the inside is going to be your brand on the outside. If you have a bunch of jerks, your brand is going to be a jerk," said Tim Sanders, former leadership coach at Yahoo Inc. and author of "The Likeability Factor."


Read brotherhank's thoughts on birth control. You might find some surprises.
Part 1 - Luther, Calvin, and Pink on the Call to be “Married with Children”
Part 2 - “The Five Points Of Birth Control-ism,” And Why They’re A Hard Pill To Swallow
Part 3 - A Theological Birth Control Quiz
Part 4 - Baptist born. Baptist bred. And when I die, I’ll be Baptist dead.

Watch this video detailing the "Business of Death," a very lucrative industry.


Read John Piper's prayer for his church, Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I wouldn't be surprised if your church's leaders appreciated such a prayer as well.

Read Top Ten Things to Say on Returning Home with Conference Book Plunder. Some of these are very similar to what I've heard from my wife, after she's been out saving us all kinds of money.

You have until the end of November to download a FREE, professional, unabridged audio version of Jonathan Edwards's classic, Religious Affections, from ChristianAudio. Use coupon code Nov2007. (HT The Convecticle)


Read
some good stuff from Mark Driscoll, Eleven Aspects of the Atonement.
"Jesus Our Justification - People want righteousness, which is why hard firm religions attract people. When you go to the bathroom, that's about how impressed I am with your righteousness. Our righteousness is described by the Bible as human excrement and menstrual rags. God hates religion. He despises it. You must call sinners to repentance, and also call "righteous" people to repent of their religious righteousness. Righteousness is GIFT righteousness. It is the righteousness of God. “Jesus was the most despised thing in all creation on the cross” (Luther). Righteousness only comes from faith in Christ. When we stand before God it will be imputed righteousness—that is what will appear on our resume. I trust Jesus."


144 years ago today President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address. But what if President Lincoln were a modern CEO? Today his Gettysburg Address would be given as a Powerpoint presentation. Scope out what this might have looked like.
"Good morning. Just a second while I get this connection to work. Do I press this button here? Function-F7? No, that's not right. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to reboot. Hold on a minute. Um, my name is Abe Lincoln and I'm your president. While we're waiting, I want to thank Judge David Wills, chairman of the committee supervising the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. It's great to be here, Dave, and you and the committee are doing a great job. Gee, sometimes this new technology does have glitches, but we couldn't live without it, could we? Oh - is it ready? OK, here we go:"


I'm hoping this is on Thursday's menu, Bacon Wrapped Turkey.


Scope out Baseball Pitches Illustrated: A fan’s guide to identifying pitches. For example, the Cutter.

85-95 mph

  • Breaks away from a right handed hitter (RHH) as it reaches the plate.
  • Mix of a slider and a fastball. Faster than a slider but with more movement than a fastball.


Read as Fred Thompson outlines his strategy to undo Roe vs. Wade.

Read 10 Great Bible Verses for World Kindness Day.

Read Waiting for Good Joe: Do coffee shops discriminate against women?
"Men get their coffee 20 seconds earlier than do women. (There is also evidence that blacks wait longer than whites, the young wait longer than the old, and the ugly wait longer than the beautiful. But these effects are statistically not as persuasive.)"


For when you have stack of time, check out 150 Monty Python sketches on video. Here's an inspiring video about the black knight to inspire you.


Read about How to Improve Your Social Skills: 8 Tips from the Last 2500 Years.

From the "I did not know that file" ... read about Caligynephobia: the fear of beautiful women. No kidding, but this is a malady that can be treated.

Read about this series of pictures: Washington, DC on $85 a Day.
"Fun with perspective around Washington, DC. The US $5, $10, $20 and $50 notes feature the Lincoln Memorial, US Treasury, White House and Capitol respectively."


Read about the study that determined that Most adults who attended religious services as a child are glad they did.
"Seventy-three percent of adults who attended worship services at some point before age 18 feel this attendance has had a positive influence on their life, including 40% who feel it has had a highly positive influence. Eighteen percent say their attendance as a child did not influence their life at all, while just 8% feel it had a negative influence on their life (including only 2% who feel childhood religious attendance had a highly negative influence on them)."


"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
-Abraham Lincoln

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place? You think that's air you're breathing now?

Big news today in the world of baseball, particularly among 2 VERY high profile free agents.

Alex Rodriguez looks to be going to back to the Yankees for big bucks, at least $300 million if he can get the career home run record.

The free agent who currently holds the record had a less stellar day, for Bonds has been officially called a liar and a cheater by a federal grand jury.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds was indicted Thursday for perjury and obstruction of justice, charged with lying when he told a federal grand jury that he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs.

The indictment unsealed Thursday against baseball's home-run king culminated a four-year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes.

"During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment read. (read the rest)

On the one hand, this has been suspected for quite some time, but this is pretty heavy to have more to go on than before & after pictures.

"Seven-hundred-sixty-two has the authenticity of a curbside Rolex, the honor of Ben Johnson's 9.79."
-Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci

Mark McGwire is facing difficulty getting into the Hall of Fame, primarily based on suspicion.

What does this do to Barry's chances? Is he automatically OUT if convicted?

What does it say about baseball if you have the man with the most hits (Pete Rose) and the man with the most homers (Bonds) NOT in the hall of fame?

Fat guy in a little coat ...

I'm riding along in my automobile, nobody beside me; I'm at the wheel.

As a car went by me I noticed the cross hanging from the rear view mirror. It was a crystal or glass one that captured the light nicely.

But I also noted that about 8-10 inches away, prominently displayed on the dashboard was ... a radar detector.

I actually laughed out loud at the juxtaposition of those 2 objects, and what they symbolized.

The 1st is the emblem of suffering and shame identifying the Lord Jesus and His followers. It represents selflessness and subjection to the will of God.

The 2nd represents a person who wants to break the law, but avoid the potential penalties therein.

Christians bear the obligation to obey the laws of the land, as is seen in Romans 13:1.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (ESV)
Rebellion against "the man" is really rebellion against God, with the caveat, of course, that we disobey any rules or laws that would necessitate our breaking the laws or rules of God Himself.

I understand that folks falter at times, but the radar detector seems to me a pretty good indication that there is no intention of obeying the law to the glory of God.

There are certain things that just don't go together, they just don't fit.

A fat guy in a little coat, for example, and a Christian sporting a radar detector.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our choices are what make us who we are. We always have the choice to do what's right.

Fred Thompson's candidacy got a pretty sizable shot in the arm today.



Fred was endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee. NRLC is the nation's largest pro-life organization representing over 3,000 local chapters in all 50 states.

From the press release:
“As the first major grassroots organization to enter the Republican presidential race, National Right to Life is proud to endorse Fred Thompson,” stated Wanda Franz, Ph.D., president of National Right to Life. “Our endorsement is a testament to Senator Thompson’s long-standing pro-life record, his commitment to unborn children, and our belief in his ability to win.”


Personally, I've been on the "Fred for President" bandwagon even before he was.

I know this is a crazy election coming up for a variety of reasons, but Fred seems to bring gravitas, electability, and a staunch pro-life profile to the table. I don't see anyone else in the race with such a strong skill set.

Fred is a professing Christian with a great record in the pro-life category. His pro-life commitment has been questioned, but our choices are what make us who we are. And Fred's voting record speaks for itself.

From the press release:
"Fred Thompson has had a strong, consistent pro-life record throughout his political career. Thompson opposes abortion and believes the 1973 abortion on demand Supreme Court decision was wrongly decided and must be reversed. During his eight years in the United States Senate, he always opposed using tax dollars to promote or pay for abortion and supported the many pro-life measures such as parental notice and consent."

Go, Fred, Go. Keep on doin' what's right.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

Watch some vintage R.C. Sproul, speaking to the imputation of sin & righteousness. (HT Hank)



Read The Ultimate Reading List — Classics That Endure.


Read this warning about Raising Pharisees.
"It is the sad testimony of church history that the works and expressions of sacrificial love and devotion of one generation of Christians can quickly turn into legalistic rules and regulations for the next. The convictions of the first generation become the caprice of the second. It is sad and shameful how quickly the Object of wonder and worship of a generation can become the boredom and betrayal of the next. Hypocrisy is an imminent and evident threat to the church of Jesus Christ."


If you never have, read Roger Nicole's "Polemic Theology:
How to Deal with Those Who Differ from Us.
"
"There are three major questions that we must ask; and I would like to emphasize very strongly that, in my judgment, we need to ask them precisely in the right order: (1) What do I owe the person who differs from me? (2) What can I learn from the person who differs from me? (3) How can I cope with the person who differs from me?"


Want to be the Lord of the Living Room this Thanksgiving? Then read How to Win at Monopoly® - a Surefire Strategy.


Ever thought about a theology of sleep?
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3)
"5. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping! If you’re a sluggard, be convicted and ashamed. But if you decide to go to sleep at a decent hour after a full day and there are not vital things that you need to do or pressing needs that you need to take care of, go to sleep peacefully. God designed you to need sleep. Don’t argue with Michelangelo about the colors he used in the Sistine Chapel, and don’t argue with God about His master architecture of the human body." (from Part 3)


Speaking of sleep ... read Why You Need More, Scratch That, Less Sleep.
"researchers outlined a stark conundrum: lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, too much sleep doubles the risk for non-cardiovascular-related deaths."

Read also Get more sleep- be happier at work.
"It’s a classic dilemma: We want to get more work done, so we work longer hours and sleep less. This in turn makes us less efficient at work, so we work even longer hours and sleep even less and, boom, you have a negative spiral going."


Read about Explaining the Gospel to a Child. But remember ...
"The gospel is the same message for every age group. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, 'We must be careful that we do not modify the gospel to suit various age groups. There is no such thing as a special gospel for the young, a special gospel for the middle-aged, and a special gospel for the aged. There is only one gospel, and we must always be careful not to tamper and tinker with the gospel as a result of recognizing these age distinctions. At the same time, there is a difference in applying this one and only gospel to the different age groups; but it is a difference which has reference only to method and procedure.' (Knowing the Times [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1989], 2.)"


Read 13 Bible Stories You Must Teach Every Child.


It's sad this is necessary, but let's all take the Preacher's Pledge. If you do, they'll give you a FREE copy of The Power of Integrity in Preaching (ebook).
"I will make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching.

I may use other resources such as commentaries and web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture.

As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God's Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me."


Read about how Weather Channel founder calls "Global Warming" the "Greatest Scam Ever."
"It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus."


Read as Adrian Warnock addresses the question, Is Ephesians the Greatest Book in the Bible? (*Caveat: In some ways that seems a silly question, but I'll ask one you can answer. Which book(s) of the Bible have you found most helpful to you personally? For Gunny it's Romans, Ephesians, and John.)


Read the only time management tip you ever need: Cut off activities at the point of diminishing returns.
"Break down the productivity of any activity and you’ll find a similar distribution. The beginning brings in the big results until the peak is reached, followed by a sharp decline. The trick is cutting off each activity right after the peak and switching to something new, where high levels of efficiency are possible."


Just in case that didn't work, read about Time Management for Pastors.
"Many church members see their pastor for only one hour a week. They might be shocked to discover that pastors live in a 24/7 career. While legitimate and urgent needs do occur at all times, some people feel they can call on a pastor at any time for any need. To make matters even worse, some pastors feel the need to be 'indispensable,' and over-schedule their lives to minister in any and every situation."



Listen to audio files from the recent Expositors Conference with Steve Lawson and John MacArthur. (HT the Unashamed Workman)


Register for the Character of God in Everyday Life conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that will occur THIS Saturday.


Read about 20 Good Books Made Into Not-So-Good Movies.


Read C.J. Mahaney's "The Idol Factory" (a pdf collection of Scripture references and pertinent quotes).


Download the FREE mp3 of A Biblical Understanding of Eating.


Read about trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board voting to censure and suspend member and blogger Wade Burleson.
The censure motion stated that Burleson had "repeatedly failed" to abide by provisions in the code of conduct adopted in March 2006 governing trustee service, including requirements that trustees "refrain from public criticism of Board approved actions" and "scrupulously avoid either the fact or the appearance" of having disclosed information or private conversations from trustees meetings.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-Thomas A. Edison

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

No, I like all you Navy boys. Everytime we gotta go some place to fight, you fellas always give us a ride.

November 10th is regarded as the "birthday" of the United States Marine Corps. So, I'd like to wish those who are "always faithful" a Happy 232nd Birthday.

JOURNAL OF THE CONTINENTIAL CONGRESS
(Philadelphia) Friday, November 10, 1775

Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.


And a few "ou-rah" quotes for your motivational pleasure:

"The Continental ship Providence, now lying at Boston, is bound on a short cruise, immediately; a few good men are wanted to make up her complement."
-Marine Captain William Jones, Providence Gazette, 20 March 1779.


"you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
-Captain Henry P. "Jim" Crowe, USMC, Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943.

"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
-Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, 16 March 1945.


"The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps."

-General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC, to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, 5 May 1946.

"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world."

-General Douglas MacArthur, USA, outskirts of Seoul, 21 September 1950.


"Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they've ever made a difference in the world. Marines don't have that problem."
-Ronald Reagan


From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.

Tonight I got to watch my first hockey game of the season ... and what a game it was.

The Stars beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1, but the Star of the evening was Mike Modano.

Not only did he score two goals, including the game winner, but in doing so he tied and subsequently passed the record for most points scored by a U.S. born player.
"Modano, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 Entry Draft, has played his entire career with the Stars franchise, beginning with the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. The native of Livonia, Mich., has 511 goals and 722 assists in 1,253 games."

In case you didn't hear him counting, that's 1233 points (combination of assists and goals).

Modano's record breaker was the sweetest play in hockey, a short-handed goal. The 37 year old still has some speed after all these years.

The win also moved the Stars ahead of the Sharks in the standings for 1st place in the division.

Congratulations to he who wears #9 on his back, but is #1 in the record books.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I loathe the bus.

We often thing of certain vocations as being those that are in the category of heroes, for example firefighters, police officers, and military personnel.

I don't disagree, but those are also all jobs that I personally wouldn't mind doing. In fact, I would enjoy them.

But what about the "unsung" heroes?

What about those who do jobs that are necessary, unglamorous, underpaid, and generally a beating?

I thought of one such job this morning as I went with my daughter's 1st grade class on a field trip.

Boarding the bus I struck up a good conversation with the driver, donned in a lovely Aggie hat. My nerves were nearly shot by the time we arrived at our destination some 30 minutes or so later. Yet, the driver was still friendly with the kids and adults.

He repeated the same process on the return trip.

I thought to myself: "No way they could pay me enough to do this job, including the whip of driving around such a mammoth beast. Yet, how many of these folks are out there, picking up kids in the early AM (ours get on the bus at 0645) fulfilling a great need?"

As a student I hated the bus, especially in high school. I still loathe the bus. One of the high points of high school was when Joey's grandpa gave him a truck so we could opt out of the bus. Amen, Oil?

So, until the 6th of November 2007 I had no appreciation for the unsung hero of the school bus driver. But, for those about to roll, we salute you.

Are there other such "unsung heroes" out there? What can we do to show our appreciation?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

Buy The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World for $5 (through Friday). This book is based on messages given at the Desiring God 2006 national conference.
"Six of today’s leading pastor-theologians—John Piper, Voddie Baucham, D. A. Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, and David Wells—have joined together to offer Christians a practical, biblical vision of Christ’s supremacy, so they will be better prepared to present the undeniable truth to a searching society."


Read the Top 10 Myths of Divorce.
1. Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.



Read the poll results that some fans think their actions can improve the fortunes of their teams. Honestly, the percentage seems low. I'm assuming prayer is not including in that, lest the percentage dramatically increase.
"one in five sports fans who say they do things in an attempt to bring good luck to their favorite team or avoid jinxing them"


Avail yourself of these 150 Resources to Help You Write Better, Faster, and More Persuasively.
56. Verbix: Did he lay or lie? Which tense should you use? If you're confused, this English conjugator will help you to determine how to use verbs in the proper tense. You can also Ask Oxford if you'd prefer.


Read as Josh Harris asks Why Join a Church?

Watch a clip of Josh Harris speaking about his book Stop Dating the Church, which I wholeheartedly recommend for every Christian.


George H. W. Bush (i.e., #41) has developed a bit of a friendship with William Jefferson Clinton (i.e., #42), particularly as they worked together on humanitarian efforts. However, read how 41 has no intentions of taking it easy on Mrs. Clinton (i.e,. she who would like to be #44) in the upcoming election season. Also, this is interesting:
"Bush also was asked to explain the country's attachment to the Bushes and Clintons. A Bush or Clinton has been on the ballot in every presidential contest since 1980"


With Halloween in our rear view mirror, read these interesting AP survey results with regard to who celebrates and who doesn't, particularly with regard to ethnicity and ideology. I have some theories as to why.
"The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,013 adults conducted from Oct. 16-18. ... 73 percent of whites versus 56 percent of minorities said their children will trick-or-treat on Wednesday. ... Seventy percent of people in the poll who consider themselves liberals and 67 percent of the moderates questioned said they would hand out treats, compared with 55 percent of conservatives."


Read these 10 Tips for How To Find the Essential 20% of a book.
"The 80/20 Rule comes into effect here. This rule states that 80% of the benefit for something comes from 20% of the work. ... For our purposes, in any given book, 80% of the value of the book comes from 20% of the words within it. So our first job in reading is simply to find and read the 20% of the words that contain the value that we need."

Read about USA Today's shocking discovery that people tend to gain weight after they get married. This stuff gets published. I could have told them this!
"When people are dating, there may be more incentive to be thin ... many factors probably contribute to couples' weight, including having children, post-pregnancy pounds, having less time to exercise and eating out more or cooking bigger meals."


Read as Bruce Tomaso ponders a recent controversy over using Twain's Huckleberry Finn in the classroom, particularly because of it's blunt use of what we've grown to see as inappropriately derogatory terms. Should such a book be banned? Should this classic be used to understand era, lest we forget?
"Still, I know enough about teenagers to know that the line between education and titillation can be thin. If just one immature student came away thinking that Twain's prose, or the class's open discussion of it, somehow justified his or her callous use of the N-word, that would be an unfortunate distortion of the lessons."


Read about how Southern Baptists have have provided over 120,000 meals to victims of widfires in California. Mega kudos to my SBC brethren!
"Around 200 Southern Baptist volunteers have worked in Southern California in the aftermath of the two dozen wildfires that have burned more than 500,000 acres. Four fires still are not 100 percent contained, fire officials have said."


Read as John Piper shares some thoughts on what women in combat means in our society, particularly with regard to the state of manhood. The article is entitled Co-ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice.
"If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed."

Read as John Piper elaborates in More on Women in Combat.
"Manhood puts itself forward between the women and the enemy. That is part of what manhood means. That is who we are by God’s design. The courage of women will show itself in a hundred ways. But when a man is around, he will not exploit that courage to fight the battle where he belongs."


Read 10 Ways to Improve Your Mind by Reading the Classics.
2. Improved Writing Ability
Reading the classics is the easiest way to improve your writing. While reading you unconsciously absorb the grammar and style of the author. Why not learn from the best? Great authors have a tendency to take over your mind. After reading, I’ve observed that my thoughts begin to mirror the writer’s style. This influence carries over to writing, helping form clear, rhythmic sentences.


Read about the couple from Hell (MI) who won the state lottery on ... Halloween (i.e., Reformation Day).

Read the many fine articles linked on Tim Challies' Reformation Day Symposium, including this one.

Read about a mother who thought she had her son cremated, only to realize it was not her son after all, but he was still alive.

The Red Sox won the World Series. Read what pitcher Curt Shilling had to say when dispensing his gratitude.
"There are a litany of people that deserve huge kudos for what just happened. From a personal standpoint it starts with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What I have been able to experience, watch, be a part of, just adds to the already overflowing life of incredible memories I am totally undeserving of."


"If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much."
-Donald H. Rumsfeld

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