Monday, December 31, 2007

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

Read the Most Popular Myths in Science.
"1. It takes seven years to digest gum
While it may prove a bit more difficult to break down than organic foodstuffs, chewing gum gets no special treatment from the digestive system. Doctors figure this old wives' tale was invented to prevent kids from swallowing the rubbery substance."

Watch the video of Evel Knievel sharing his testimony at his baptism.
"I said I've had a life better than any king, any president, or any prince. Hogwash! I didn't have Jesus Christ in my life."

Read as one Roman Catholic challenges the idea that the church started celebrating Christmas on December 25 in order to peacefully and syncretismtically celebrate when the pagans did.
"Everybody knows that Christmas is really just a warmed-over Celebration of the Feast of the Sol Invictus ... Guess what? Everybody's wrong!"

Read MSNBC's 10 Most Memorable Quotes of 2007.

Read this gem from Don Whitney: Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday. (HT Rev) Some GREAT self-evaluation slooge for your sanctification pleasure.
2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

Read about (or watch) the Garland, Texas, girl who won Hannah Montana tickets and a trip with a false essay. Heart strings were pulled thanks to an essay that started with "My daddy died this year in Iraq ..." Well, okay, he didn't. There was no such soldier in Iraq, let alone one who died there. But the store is still going to honor the prize anyway. I guess I'm okay with that ... as long as her mom doesn't get to go.
"We told a 6-year-old today that she was going to see Hannah Montana, and we're not going to renege on that."

Sweet! They did renege after all. Read the story and particularly note the attitude of the mom. Think she's gonna have some issues later with her daughter and telling the truth? (Or watch the Channel 11 new piece.)
"We wrote whatever we could to win," she said. "It said to write an essay. It never said it had to be true. I never said it was true. ... It was just an essay. We wrote whatever we could to win."

Read 7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe (HT Timothy)

I haven't heard what happened Christmas morning, but read as one shares the "Top Things I Hope NOT to Find Under My Tree in the Morning."

Read about how the people and Congress prevailed. The new $1 "presidential" coins will move the "In God we trust" from the edge of the coin to the front or back.
"This legislation directs the Secretary of the Treasury to move the inscription as soon as 'practicable' after enactment of the bill. The United States Mint plans to make this change beginning with the 2009 Presidential $1 Coins, which will coincide with the introduction of the first new Native American $1 Coins."

Read as Anthony Bradley shares his daily experience at Starbucks as an occasion to challenge "racial stereotypes."
"Since 1994, I've been trying to convince white evangelicals that most black people are not 'urban,' 'poor,' 'on welfare' or even need to be around white people. No one believes me."

Scope out these pictures of kids scared by Santa. My favorite is #11.

Cremation has become more popular, so this should come as no surprise. Check out EternaHUGS, a cuddly alternative to the urn. (Tempting, but it's still a pine box for me, painted maroon, of course.)
"With the loss of her beloved husband of 26 years, a grieving wife was overcome by the desire to maintain a closeness to her soul mate. The urn that she had chosen, although beautiful, was cold and hard and failed to reflect the warm, loving man with whom she had shared her life. It occurred to her that his spirit would be better embodied in something soft and huggable; it was then that the original EternaBearTM was born."

The voters have spoken. The most admired man & woman of 2007 was George W. Bush and Hillary R. Clinton, respectively. They both have quite a streak going, though the margin of victory has narrowed for both. (HT Ray Fowler)
"For the sixth year in a row, President George W. Bush is the most admired man and Sen. Hillary Clinton the most admired woman in Gallup’s annual survey. But neither winner had a very decisive win this year, with former President Bill Clinton nearly tying Bush and Hillary Clinton barely topping talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. This is the seventh time Bush has been most admired man and the 12th time Clinton has been most admired woman."

See Reuter's Top Pictures of 2007.

Read the new information that is forcing me to rethink my stance on Mike Huckabee.
"Growing up, Mr. Huckabee said, he was a St. Louis Cardinals fan because St. Louis was geographically closest to his hometown of Hope, Ark. He often listened on the radio when Bob Gibson was pitching, he said."

Check out Denny Burk's Top 10 YouTube videos of 2007.

Browse the American Society of Magazine Editors' Magazine Covers of 2007.

View Fred Thompson's newest commercial featuring endorsements. Read as to why another blogger is "still leaning towards Fred" as well. Go, Fred, Go!

Read about Fred Thompson's campaign apologies to Mike Huckabee.
"We apologize for pointing out that as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee offered in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That’s something he’d probably just as soon no one talk about."

See the Astronomy Pictures of the Year for 2007.

Read this wild story about how an adopted son finds his birth mother after giving up the search years earlier. They work together at Wal-Mart.
"When Christine Tallady was hired last April, she had no idea the young delivery driver to whom she was introduced was her son."

Pastors, read Thus Saith the Radio: Does Christian radio have more influence over your flock than you do?

Some Romney perspectives:
Pro - Romney Is the Real Deal (HT NCGuy)
Con - Could you vote for a man who abides by Moronish wisdom?

Read about those selling "reservations" for heaven. (HT Phil D) This is presumably for those "worried their good deeds might not be good enough" to get them in. Of course, it's not a matter of reservations. It's not even a question of what you know, but WHO you know. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Read about Romney having to "backpedal ... again." It seems he's not been a hunter all his life nor did he march with Martin Luther King nor did he "see" his father march with Martin Luther King nor did he get the endorsement of the NRA when he ran for governor ...

Read about Huckabee's statements that a candidate's faith is not relevant to the presidency. Well, if it's not relevant, should candidates (Huck included) cater to the evangelicals as the best "Chrsitian candidate" for president?
“I don't think it's relevant to the presidency. I really don't. ... We ought to be talking about education and health care and energy independence and all these other things.”

Read about the BYU prof who asserts that Mormons aren't ashamed of pre-1978 segregation.
Passages in the Book of Mormon say dark skin is a sign of divine disfavor and a punishment from God. The church’s sacred writings describe mixed-race offspring as accursed and portray dark-skinned American Indians, for example, as “loathsome” and “an idle people full of mischief.”

Mormons believe that these passages are the word of God, as sacred as the Bible itself. Good Mormons do not believe the ban on blacks was immoral, Brigham Young University religion professor Robert Millet said, adding, “It isn’t something we’re ashamed of. It isn’t something we feel was inappropriate.”

Watch comedian Steve Harvey exhort the crowd to give it up for Jesus. Indeed, you'd never see this from a white comedian, where it's hip to knock Jesus & Christianity. (HT Anthony Bradley)

Read about an area where the Lone Star State REALLY excels. While capital punishment is dwindling in popularity nationwide, the same is not true in Texas, where over 60% of executions took place this year.
"For the first time in the modern history of the death penalty, more than 60 percent of all American executions took place in Texas."

Scope out Christianity Today's list of The Best Christian Albums of 2007.

Scope out The Times' list of 100 Best Films of 2007.

Read Joshua Harris' thoughts on Affluenza
Part 1: The Real Money Problem
Part 2: The Deception of Greed
Part 3: Greed Destroys Us
Part 4: Our Unique Vulnerability
Part 5 - Guarding Against All Kinds of Greed
Part 6 - Spending and Materialism

This is the coolest automotive feature I've seen in a long time: The Disappearing Cardoor. It's no space age polymer, but I want that.

Read about the woman who was "escorted" off the Fort Worth bus for reading her Bible out loud to her children. (Or watch the Channel 11 new bit from Sunday night.)

Comment of the Week:
"Does Piper's publisher hate him? That brother is always selling something for dirt cheap." (from Lionel Woods)

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
-Benjamin Franklin


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Prediction? Pain.

I don't normally do this, but I feel compelled to tell you something ...

my predictions for the NFL playoffs.

Care to share your predictions as well?

(5)NY Football Giants beat (4)Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(6)Washington Redskins beat (3)Seattle Seahawks

(5)Giants lose to (2)Green Bay Packers
(6)Redskins lose to (1)Dallas Cowboys

(2)Packers lose to (1)Cowboys

AFC: (I know ... nobody cares)
(5)Jacksonville Jaguars beat (4)Pittsburgh Steelers
(6)Tennessee Titans lose to (3)San Diego Chargers

(5)Jaguars lose to (1)New England Patriots
(3)Chargers lose to (2)Indianapolis Colts

(2)Colts lose to (1)Patriots

Superbowl ... well, I know what I WANT to happen, but I'm not so sure. I have to go with it even though I have my doubts ...
Patriots perfect season comes to an end as Romo pulls a Joe Namath to win Dallas a record 6th Superbowl victory (bringing them to 6-3 in "the dance")

CAVEAT: These are my predictions, but not necessarily what I'd like to see happen. Given my druthers, I'd rather see the Patriots lose to the Jaguars or at least the Colts.

Beating the Colts would be ideal to avenge our close loss in Superbowl V back in 1971.

Get your rest, TO. We're gonna need you in the playoffs.

How would "one and done" be for the Patriots?

Okay ... I'll admit it: Hater in the house.

Your predictions and/or preferences?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The following is based on actual events. Only the names, locations and events have been changed.

Brent Thomas is a blogger (Colossians Three Sixteen) and a gentleman. His "Weekly Town Crier" Friday posts inspired my "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays" posts.

He does some neat things, including his end of the year reflections.

He posted mine last year and this year's follows:

2007: A Year of Slooge With Eric “Gunny” Hartman

Eric “Gunny” Hartman is one of our most vital weapons in the war on terror. Ever ready for the battle, Gunny pastors Providence Church in Garland, TX, teaches at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a proud ally of the Fellowship of Reformed Churches and blogs here about various and sundry items. A beacon of hope in a dark and dreary world, our ally and friend Gunny always stands ready to defend the defenseless in the war on slooge everywhere. Wait, is slooge good or bad? I’m still not sure; is it good or bad? Let’s see if Gunny can help us understand (and please let me know afterwards if you have any better understanding of the world of slooge or not):

Musical Discovery:

Music with which I got reacquainted:

Books that made an impression:

Passings I found most notable:

  • Dan Fogelberg
  • Evel Knievel
  • Jerry Falwell
  • D. James Kennedy
  • Norman Mailer

Most interesting movies I saw for the first time:

  • Premonition
  • Wild Hogs
  • Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  • The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Stranger than Fiction
  • Daddy's Little Girls
  • Gridiron Gang
  • Glory Road
  • Ratatouille

“What the sheol?” Moments:

  • Virginia Tech Massacre
  • Massacre of Brittany Spears’ scalp
  • "nappy headed hos"
  • The president of the Evangelical Theological Society (Francis Beckwith) returns to Roman Catholicism
  • "... like such as in South Africa and the Iraq"
  • Appalachian State upsetting Michigan (and the copycat crimes that were rampant the rest of the season)
  • Michael Vick’s dog fighting slooge
  • The Little Mavericks getting bounced in the first round of the NBA playoffs … after the MVP endowed team won 67 games
  • "Don't taze me, bro!"

Scripture on my mind:

  • Psalm 9:1-2: I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (ESV; our church’s theme verse for 2007)
  • Jeremiah 9:23-24: Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (ESV)

Personal Highlights:

  • Coaching a soccer team of 6 year old girls - As a first-timer, it was a challenge, but with such a great group of girls my heart was warmed just being around them and seeing them enjoy themselves.
  • Getting to speak at the Fellowship of Reformed Churches‘ annual conference on “The Character of God in Everyday Life” (hear Gunny’s message here).

Providence Church Highlights:

  • Having a joint worship service with North Garland Baptist Fellowship, a predominatly African American congregation that shares our passion for ethnic diversity.
  • Playing the role of Bruce Dickinson (yes, THE Bruce Dickinson) during our re-enactment of the “Cowbell” SNL skit at our annual talent show.
  • Celebrating our 1 year anniversary with a fish fry & picnic.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

when a rapper gets a shiny new tooth

(The following is an article I wrote that was in the Murphy Messenger.)

There are just a few shopping days left until Christmas, so I hope you’re on top of things.

Of course, “tis better to give than to receive,” but we will be receiving some things with varying degrees of joy. Some gifts we will really appreciate and others … uh, well, we say to ourselves, “It’s the thought that counts.” But, is it? Is it really the thought that counts?

Is it better to get a dynamite gift that didn’t require a great deal of thought? For example, a sizable gift card to your favorite store.

Or is it better to receive that thoughtful gift that doesn’t really jazz you? For example, that fruit cake that nobody will eat (no offense intended to my late Grandma Collins) or the Right Guard I got from my Great Aunt one year (was there a hidden message?).

There is a possibility, however, that we’ve created a false dichotomy. It is possible to have a gift which is the product of heartfelt thought but is also a great gift in and of itself.

This is seen in Christmas and the reason for the season. In giving Jesus to the world, God has expressed His love:
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Roman 5:8)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus was given as the only means of salvation from the penalty of our sin. We owed a debt we could not pay and Christ paid a debt He did not owe.

The reason we give gifts is because such a great gift was given to us. Our gifts will always pale in comparison with regard to heartfelt thought and intrinsic value, but as followers of Christ we love because He has loved us. We forgive because He has forgiven us.

Let me encourage you to show your appreciation for such a wonderful gift by selecting one of the churches advertised in this edition to participate in their Christmas services or any Sunday service. With “New Year’s Resolutions” right around the corner, put “finding a church home” on the list, but in the category of those you actually intend to keep.

(Here's are some suggested means of finding a good church.)

We don’t always have great joy when we write out the “Thank you” cards for the fruit cake or the deodorant, but there is much joy in gathering to celebrate the dear Savior’s birth.

“O Come, Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

If a boy has been chosen, a boy shall be King!

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12, ESV)

Merry Christmas from the Hartman family to yours!

2007 has come and gone in the twinkling of an eye and it was a relatively smooth year.

One of the greatest joys in our life has been Providence Church. We’re blessed to be a part of such a great church family, but church planting is not for the faint of heart. It can be exhausting for all involved, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences to be a part of a new work of God’s grace. We have great people working with the kids, and our “Pot Providence” fellowship meals every two months help us better connect with each other as a church family.

Sarah Beth (8-1/2) dabbled in softball, dance, and gymnastics, but her passion was her art classes. She enjoys 3rd grade and even signed up to take Spanish after school. She has a great collection of “Littlest Pet Shops” and would devote her every waking hour to Webkins if we’d allow it.

Rachel (6-1/2) also had a busy year, being involved in t-ball, dance, and soccer. But there is no doubt that soccer is still her favorite. She still has a great affection for monkeys and has started a pretty extensive Mark McGwire collection. She’s enjoying 1st grade as a “Hunt Hound.”

Eric Jr. (4-1/2) enjoyed his first season of t-ball and still likes Lightning McQueen and Batman. His favorite activity, however, is sitting next to his dad (after bedtime) on the couch, as they eat chips and “watch Cardinals” or “watch Cowboys.” Growing up in the era of TiVo he has never yet wondered how sports can be ready for our viewing at a moment’s notice.

(2-1/2) has really become demonstrative and loves to boss her brother around, cutting him no slack at all. She’s picked up the nickname “Hopscotch” and is a big fan of the Doodlebops and Rocky, the boxer, not the squirrel. She cannot go to sleep without her stuffed cat, Sophie (whom she calls “Soph”) and her blanket (whom she calls “Blank”). Every night it seems we’re all scouring the house to “find Soph & Blank” for her.

Mary Ellen was an assistant teacher at a church’s preschool and did some substitute teaching. She also started a “Keepers of the Home” group for young girls to become resourceful and godly women. She continues to play her violin at church each week and helps write the children’s church curriculum.

Gunny celebrated 10 years as an ordained minister and the 1 year anniversary of Providence Church. He coached Rachel’s soccer team, which was perhaps the highlight of his year, and he also got to speak on “The Holiness of God and His People” at the Fellowship of Reformed Churches' annual conference. He regrets neglecting his Harley and his PhD studies this year.

Life is good because we serve an amazing God. He is so worthy of our praise and service. We are thankful for His daily mercy, grace, and providential care.

At Christmas, of course, we’re thankful for the incarnation, where God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 24, 2007

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

Avail thyself of this ... Desiring God Ministries is offering The Pleasures of God for $4.99. That's a sweet deal for Christmas! I took my Sunday school class through this a few years back and it was awesome. Buy them in bulk for your church and they won't go to waste.

Get in on the ground floor as Lance of the Scrawny Pulpit starts a new blogging experience on January 1 with Solid Food for Fellow Pilgrims.

Read George Will Lowers the Hammer on Huckabee, courtesy of Denny Burk.

Read 13 Ways to Bless Missionaries Without Paying for Postage.

Read Peter Mead's thoughts on That Time Before [Preachers] Speak.

Read this NY Times piece: An (Un)easy Guide to Holiday Tipping.

Read about Huck and Rudy now running neck & neck.
"Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has led most national polls since early in the year, saw his support drop from 29 percent to 23 percent in the survey. His one-point lead over Huckabee was well within the poll's 4.8 percentage point margin of error."

Read these thoughts on Charity: where people give and why.
"Whom do you give to, and why? How important is anonymity — or, conversely, how important is the recognition? How consistent are you in your causes, and what makes you change your thinking? Do you prefer microcharities and/or people you know, or do you prefer big institutional charities, and why? How important is the tax deduction in your giving — and, since it rewards money but not time, does it make you less likely to donate your time? What are some particular charities that you love? If you were the King of Charity for a day, what would you change about the state of charitable giving?"

Read about how Romney's campaign motivates fellow Mormons to dip into pockets.
"Mitt Romney's Mormon religion is enough of an obstacle for him among some voters that the Republican presidential candidate was prompted to give a much- advertised speech on faith last week.

There is one area, however, where the former Massachusetts governor's religious affiliation gives him an important advantage: money. Fellow Mormons are pouring millions into his candidacy and promoting his campaign."

Read as Rev shares A Different Christmas Poem.
"A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child."

Read as Luke Bobo asks (1) Are we a culture of cheaters? and (2) Do cheaters win?

Dig this: Instead of collecting it, an Ohio church hands out money.

Read about Desiring God's suggested gift for your pastor. I should have put this on my wish list as well!

Read Joshua Harris' thoughts on Affluenza
Part 1: The Real Money Problem
Part 2: The Deception of Greed
Part 3: Greed Destroys Us
Part 4: Our Unique Vulnerability

Read about the upcoming Hobbit movie, part of the Lord of the Rings slooge.

Read Lionel Woods' thoughts on "The New Phariseeical Movement." (P.S. If you've not check out his site, it's worth it just to hear his great background jam.)

Check out Time Magazine's 10 Biggest Religion Stories of 2007.

Read Denny Burk's thoughts on the incarnation.
"How could any of this be? God is in the flesh now! I cannot get my little pea-brain to comprehend it, yet this is precisely what the Bible teaches."

Read as Johnny Mac answers the question, Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that a true believer can lose his salvation?

Comment of the Week:

"... our young girls are under relentless pressure to look older before their minds catch up. what is more tragic is that some moms are struggle with identity too and when they 'grow up' they want to be just like their teenage daughter." (from Luke Bobo)

“Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind.”
--"Kris Kringle" in Miracle on 34th Street


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall

The Cowboys were humiliated on Sunday, at least the offense was. They were humiliated ... at home ... to the hated Eagles. I'm not sure I'd call that match up a "rivalry," but it got me to thinking about this year's team and what's lacking.

It's not a stretch to think that the Cowboys will make it to the Superbowl this year, but I find myself thinking that there's just a little something missing from a Superbowl run ... a rival.

Winning something is all the more sweet when there's a rival to overcome. Winning in the 90s was great because we got to rub the 49ers noses in it.

I got to thinking about the need for rivals and then to my favorite rivalries. This may be different than "the greatest rivalries" that some sports show may list. Michigan & Notre Dame may be great, but I don't care, so it's not great to me.

--- Be thinking about YOUR favorite rivalries in sports and/or which you think are the greatest. ---

I'll share my favorite rivalries.

Cardinals vs. Cubs - I grew up a Cardinals fan and there's always been great joy in beating the Cubbies. They're the team you love to beat. They're not typically a rival for winning the division, but over the years some great games have been played.

Lakers vs. Celtics (1980s) - After writing a book report about a man named "Lew Alcinder" in 3rd grade, I was forever thereafter a fan of the Mighty Lakers, the new home of "Kareem." How great were those games in the 80s with Lakers (Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Rambis, Scott, Nixon, McAdoo, Cooper, etc.) matching up with the Celtics (Bird, Parrish, McHale, DJ, Ainge, Walton, etc.), particularly in the NBA Finals? That was the Golden Era of the NBA for sure.

Cowboys vs. Redskins - As long as I can remember I've been a Cowboys fan, even while living in Kentucky and Alabama and other parts of the globe that my dad's Army career took us. This rivalry tends to work best when at least one of the teams is good, which is probably why the rivalry has been its weakest the past five years.

Back in the day those 2 teams really hated each other. I remember the recent game where the Cowboys were up by 13 with less than 2 minutes left and the Redskins smoked us with 2 big touchdown passes. I was so mad. But, there were our "paycheck players" yucking it up afterward, smokin' & jokin' with the Redskins as though they were teenagers hanging out at the mall.

Aggies vs. Longhorns - I'm an Aggie, so this one needs little explanation. However, I will point out that the Ags have smoked the t-sips like a cheap cigar the past 2 years in a row. Who's your daddy?

Cowboys vs. 49ers (1990s) - I still rejoice to see the 49ers watching the playoffs on their television screens, but the rivalry has dissipated. With Michael Irvin & Steve Young all friendly-like, you know it's over. I appreciate T.O. trying to resurrect it a few years back when his celebrations on "The Star," but all that did was show us that Emmitt still cared and that George Teague should be in the "Ring of Honor."

Still, in the 90s we had a great rivalry. Remember Kenny Norton, Jr. turning traitor on us by going to San Fran? Remember really turning up the hate meter when Deion left Atlanta for San Fran? Remember how you felt being down 21-3 in the NFC Championship game in '94 inside like the first 3 minutes of the game? I refused to watch the Superbowl that year, knowing that the Cowboys should have been the ones whipping up on the Lightning Bolts to the tune of 55-10.
November 12th 1995 (PM) was the 2nd time ever for me to preach and it was hard dragging my badself up to church to share our obligation to "Serve the Living God" after losing that game, a turning point in the rivalry. Honestly, we were fortunate that SF lost to Green Bay in the '95-96 playoffs so we could play them in the NFC Championship Game instead.

I was not a Barry hater, but I'm thinking that if Jimmy had stayed in Dallas, 5 Superbowls in a row, without a doubt. This rivalry also taught me that the chief characteristic of a fan is rooting for the laundry, a uniform. I loathed nobody more than Deion ... until he became a Cowboy. Then I was a big fan all of the sudden. I'm even warming up to T.O. this year.

Stars vs. Red Wings - This one really kicked in for me in '98 when the Stars were bounced by Wing in the Western Conference Finals. I never had any particular players who bear my ire, but the uniform in general. In both our trips to the Stanley Cup Finals ('99 & 2000) we were fortunate that Lanche knocked off Wing, because I don't think we could have taken Wing in a 7-game series either year. This rivalry died some, but not for me. I got particularly tender (even with the Stars) when Brett Hull AND Derrian Hatcher (my favorite Star) wound up wearing the hated red & white.

Though we've not had any good encounters in the playoffs lately, I still root for the Red Wings to eat it ... Reno-style.

Cardinals vs. disAstros - This one rivals the Longhorns for personal intensity and animosity. In fact, when Rachel was 2 I got in trouble from Mom for teaching Rachel to answer the question, "What do you think of the disAstros?" with "We hate 'em."

During baseball season I check the scores of 2 teams, the Cardinals and the disAstros, and a "W" for the former is just as good as a "L" for the latter. Since the wacky creation of the present divisions, the DisAstros have been the chief competition for the division title.

Honorable Mention: Mavericks vs. Spurs, Rocky vs. Apollo, and the Von Erichs vs. the Fabulous Freebirds.

What are your favorite rivalries in sports? OR What do you think are the greatest rivalries in sports? OR What teams do you love to "hate"?

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Monday, December 17, 2007

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

Read one pastor's greatest fear: What Scares Me Most as a Pastor. (Presumably more than Jar Jar)

Check out this great collection of links: The Golden Compass Christian Response Roundup.

Read about the dilemma some black churches have with regard to Kwanza: Some churches conflicted over Kwanzaa.
“One of the primary reasons people celebrate Kwanzaa is because the belief is somehow our self-worth is inherent or wrapped up in our culture,” said Murrow, an evangelical Christian, in an interview.

“Our self-worth only comes from knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, so we can't really do both.”

Read about the shady past of he who is Saint Kwanza, its creator, Maulana Karenga (formerly Ron Ron Everett).
On September 17, 1971, Karenga was sentenced to one to ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment. The charges stemmed from a May 9, 1970 incident in which Karenga and two others tortured two women who Karenga believed had tried to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water.

A year later the Los Angeles Times described the events: 'Deborah Jones, who once was given the title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.'

Read about the the Lottie Moon behind the "Lottie Moon Christmas Offering" for International Missions or listen to a sermon about her from Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. (You may also give online or through a local SBC church. Either way, 100% of the tax-deductible funds go toward international missions efforts.)

Read about why we should Expect Conflict.
"But, in a fallen world, the reality is the opposite. When a local church really begins to follow Christ, then they can expect conflict. It is certain. In fact, a lack of conflict, may be a warning sign!"

Read Rich Lowry's National Review about the potential for the Republican party to commit "Huckacide" due to Huckabee's un-electability.
"Democrats have to be looking at Huckabee the way Republicans once regarded Dean — as a shiny Christmas present that is too good to be true."

Read about why one Fightin' Texas Aggie is Done with Huckabee.

Listen to the audio from the recent Fellowship of Reformed Churches' "The Character of God in Everyday Life" conference. My address was on "The Holiness of God and His People" and I'd be interested in your feedback.

Read Joshua Harris' thoughts on Affluenza
Part 1: The Real Money Problem
Part 2: The Deception of Greed

Read some thoughts and historic quotes from Dr. Sam Lamerson On Dealing with Criticism. (HT Ray Fowler)

Read as Jesse Johnson explains that evangelism at his church is a practice not a program. (HT Ray Fowler)
“The man [asked me], ‘What does your church do for evangelism?’ ‘We evangelize,’ I answered … At Grace Church, our philosophy of evangelism hinges on the idea that evangelism is not a program. A church does not transform a community through activities and events … Rather, a church impacts its community through the lives of its members.”

Read about the bio of the man behind the recent church & YWAM murders in Colorado. Matthew Murray (age 24) is not the stereotypical mass murderer, for example, raised in church and homeschooled: "Homeschooled, conservative family, murderous?"

This is likely in bad taste, but I don't mind having fun at a wife beater's expense. Read the article from the NY Post detailing the passing of Ike Turner: Ike "Beats" Tina to Death. (I guess you need a bit of history here ... when Ike & Tina Turner were together back in the day he was a "domestic abuser.")

Read this bit of irony: Gennifer Flowers may vote for Hillary. (But would Hillary vote for Gennifer Flowers?)
"In the 1992 presidential race, the former television reporter [Flowers] claimed to have had a 12-year affair with then-candidate and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. Clinton initially denied the allegation, but later, during his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, acknowledged a single sexual encounter with Flowers."

R.I.P. Dan Fogelberg, a musical artist with whom I had only recently renewed my affection, to the tune of buying one of his CDs late Saturday night, mere hours before he died at 56 after a bout with prostate cancer. Some of my favorite Dan Fogelberg tunes: Longer, Same Old Lang Syne, and Leader of the Band:

to TV theme music and songs from the past & present. (HT Ray Fowler)

Let me tell you somethin, brother ... Read about the resurrection of American Gladiators, a show for those too highbrow to watch "professional" wrestling. The new host, interestingly enough, is Terry Gene Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan).

Read about Questions your Doctor Didn't Used to Ask.

Find out ... How far can you go after the gas light in your car comes on?

Read about the ethics in reviewing books.
"76.5 percent think it's never ethical to review a book without reading the whole thing."

Check out the Batmobile's official website. (HT Brent)

Comment of the Week:
You might also confidently assert that your line goes back to Noah. We seldom stop to think that we are all descended from Noah as surely as Adam. The line of every single person you read about in Genesis prior to Noah (other than those from whom he descended) was extinguished. (Matthew Bradley)

"If Al Gore invented the Internet, I invented spell check."
- Dan Quayle, US Vice President from 1989-1993


Thursday, December 13, 2007

It makes a man ... a better man, a great athlete ... a super athlete ...

Today Senator George Mitchell's report (read; pdf) regarding the (ab)use of steroids and human growth hormone (i.e., "performance enhancing drugs") came out. Many prolific players' names were mentioned as "evildoers" and it certainly puts many "Hall of Fame" careers in doubt.

[For point of reference, Mark McGwire never tested positive for anything, but due to a refusal to "talk about the past" his potential Hall of Fame status is doubtful at best. He was notably absent from this list. (See?! I told ya so!)

P.S. Read as Stephen Dubner asks, "Is Today Mark McGwire's Best Day in Years?"]

Here we have a credible report implicating the likes of MVPS and a 7-time Cy Young award winning pitcher (i.e., Roger Clemens).

Actually, I'm pleased to see some pitchers' names on there. I've long held that roids were a pitcher's malady as well, but only the hitters get the scrutiny.

I was most disappointed Chuck Knoblauch's name came up. He was a good Texas Aggie whom I watched play college ball back in the day.

Some of these guys were turned in some mediocre careers and so were probably never suspected. But if it makes a great athlete a super athlete, then it would make a mediocre athlete a good athlete and a poor athlete a mediocre athlete. The roids can only take you so far.

The report was pretty Yankee-intensive, wasn't it? Yet, no Jeter or A-Rod.

So ... how do the Hall of Fame writers go about determining who is dirty and who is not? What role does suspicion play versus more credible evidence, etc.?

How innocent are players until proven guilty? What does it take for a player to be "proven" guilty?

In case you've not read the report ...

Here's the list of players that appear in the report: (HT Reepicheep; Here is an annotated list, indicating page number where player is referenced and the context/accusation)
1. Roger Clemens
2. Jack Cust
3. Tim Laker
4. Josias Manzanillo
5. Todd Hundley
6. Brian Roberts
7. Miguel Tejada
8. Paul Lo Duca
9. Barry Bonds
10. Andy Pettitte
11. Gary Sheffield
12. Eric Gagne
13. Jason Giambi
14. Troy Glaus
16. Gary Matthews Jr.
17. Jose Guillen
18. Rick Ankiel
19. Kevin Brown
20. Benito Santiago
21. Chuck Knoblauch
22. David Justice
23. Mo Vaughn
24. Rondell White
25. Mark Carreon
26. Nook Logan
27. Jay Gibbons
28. Hal Morris
29. Matt Franco
30. Jason Grimsley
31. Gregg Zaun
32. Mike Bell
33. F.P. Santangelo
34. Glenallen Hill
35. Denny Neagle
36. Ron Villone
37. Ryan Franklin
38. Chris Donnels
39. Todd Williams
40. Phil Hiatt
41. Todd Pratt
42. Kevin Young
43. Mike Lansing
44. Cody McKay
45. Kent Mercker
46. Adam Piatt
47. Jason Christiansen
48. Mike Stanton
49. Stephen Randolph
50. Jerry Hairston Jr.
51. Adam Riggs
52. Bart Miadich
53. Fernando Vina
54. Matt Herges
55. Gary Bennett Jr.
56. Jim Parque
57. Brendan Donnelly
58. Chad Allen
59. Jeff Williams
60. Howie Clark
61. Daniel Naulty
62. Lenny Dykstra
63. David Segui
64. Larry Bigbie

My place is with you. I go where you go.

Just some thoughts on the need for God's presence in our lives, our need to walk with God.

(N.B. That's our need to walk with God; He has no such "need.")

"Abide With Me"

Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see:
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!

- Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you"
-Augustine, Confessions

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
-Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Sometimes it's just that simple and it's simply just what we need.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I could be, but no. Half Irish, half Italian, half Mexican.

Living in this "melting pot" it can be hard at times to know much about our ancestry. Adoption can complicate matters even further.

For example, my mom was adopted and until she was 26 she didn't know the identity of her biological parents.

Recently she found out even more about our lineage, particularly our country of origin, Bohemia.

In addition to myself, another Bohemian of prominence is John Huss, a pre-Reformer we spotlighted recently. Completing the trifecta would be a little Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemia is now (the western) part of the Czech Republic, formerly Czechoslovakia. Bohemia has Germany as its western border, Poland to the northeast, and Austria to the south.

(G'Day, mate!)

My ancestry is of the Lucash family, which immigrated to the United States in 1854.

My great great great great grandparents were Johann Georg Lucash (b. 1753) & Anna Zottin (b. 1760), both from Prague, the capital of Bohemia.

My great great great grandparents were Joseph Ignatz Lucash (1793--1868) & Josepha Elizabeth "Lizzie" nee Kraus. Joseph Ignatz Lucash was 61 years old when his family left Prague for the United States, traveling by ship from Bremen, Germany, to New Orleans, after which they traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.

My great great grandfather was Joseph B. Lucash, Sr. (August 2, 1852-December 3, 1926), who was born in Prague. My great great grandmother was Anastia "Anna" Vratney (April 6, 1863-March8, 1918), who was born in Austria.

Their daughter Laura Evelyn Lucash (11th of 14 kids) married Earl Edwin Keck (d. 1969), my great grandparents.

I had never met any of the above ancestors with the exception of Laura Evelyn Keck (nee Lucash), whom the family called Nana.

However, Joseph Ignatz & Lizzie Lucash and Joseph B. & Anastia are buried in Freeburg, Illinois, which I confirmed during a trip to St. Louis in October. I must say, it was good bull walking around a cemetery seeing monuments to my ancestors as there was a large population of Lucash family represented.

I found myself much more interested in my ancestry than I would have thought. I'd known the Germanic heritage from my father's side of the family and that may have fed my affection for the Fatherland the many times I've been there.

Now, however, I really would like to make a trek to Prague at some point and visit the land of my ancestors, physical and of the faith (i.e., Huss).

Do you know your origin and have you had an opportunity to visit?

(*Some of this information I obtained via a webpage run by my 93rd cousin (or thereabouts), highlighting the History of the Lucash Family. He was even kind enough to add our family; I'm listed at

Monday, December 10, 2007

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

This was painful to watch, but I could not look away from the trainwreck. I really feel for this gal and hope she was having us on or got stage fright, but this is some heinous lack of geography knowledge.

Check out Gunny's posts regarding the expectation of leaders with regard to giving and the benefit of tithing.

Read some Common Parenting Traps from Johnny Mac.
"If you’ve been a parent for any time at all, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that your child came into the world with an insatiable faculty for evil. Even before birth, your baby’s little heart was already programmed for sin and selfishness. The inclination toward depravity is such that, given free reign, every baby has the potential to become a monster."

Read about Lance's FAQs on the Pastor as Visionary.
"Q: In order for a church to thrive, must it have a stated vision and mission?"

Read Are You Ready for a Mormon President? (What evangelicals heard in Romney’s ‘Faith in America' speech.)
Interesting question. Yeah ... I gotta say, "No. Yeah, that would be a 'NO' for me."

Read Brent's thoughts on Romney's speech.
"I have wondered why Romney would assert that 'freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.' To me, neither assertion holds true."

Read about Jeff Wright's thoughts on Romney's speech at Conservative Reformed Mafia:
Part 1 - Romney hit a homerun...or did he?
Part 2 - Pandering Pluralism
Part 3 - Romney's Values and Lincoln's Virtues

Read about The Balancing Act of Evangelism (in the Sunday worship service).
"Present the gospel, or motivate them to return for more, or maybe you can do both?"

Read about the Top 50 Inventions of the Last 50 Years listed by Popular Mechanics in December 2005. What did they miss?

Read some historical background on St. Nicholas from Rev.

Check out the 28 Most Recognizable Guitars. (HT Brent)

Read John MacArthur's thoughts on Forgiveness and Repeat Offenses.
"In fact, it is important to be wary of feigned repentance in cases like the hypothetical one just described. Such deliberately repeated offenses, especially when accompanied by phony repentance, are evidence of a profoundly evil character and a cynical hatred of the truth. John the Baptist was justified in refusing baptism to the Pharisees until they showed the reality of their profession of repentance (Matt. 3:8)."

Read Joe Thorn's thoughts on suburbia evangelism, with thoughts on what is wise and foolish.
"3. The evangescript is perceived as invasive and fake.
The unchurched can spot the evangelistic script before you finish that diagnostic question. If not because they are religiously savvy, it is at least because living in a consumer culture allows them to detect a sales pitch with little effort."

Read the Reformed conferences list for 2008 Tim Challies has compiled.

Scope out the chronicles of the recently deceased Evel Kenievel's injuries over the course of his "career" as a daredevil.
Over 16 years of performing, stuntman Evel Knievel was injured numerous times and had the scars to prove it. Various accounts chronicle a range from 37 broken bones over his career to 431 breaks in one season!

Read Mark Dever's 5 Points of [Giving] Criticism.
5. Out of love for them, not to express your feeling or frustration. It's interesting how my "honesty" can sometimes be inspired by my own frustration. Good criticism should not be "my frustration"-driven, but "your need" driven.

Read What the Church Is Not (Part 1 - Part 2) from Michael J. Svigel.

Read about Mark Altrogge's 8 Ways to Get More Out of Your Bible.

Read what David Mathis had to say about Advent and the Incarnation at the Desiring God Blog.

Became does not mean that he ceased to be God. In becoming man, he did not forsake his divine nature.It means that he became a man by taking on human nature in addition to his divine nature. It is essential to the incarnation—and very helpful throughout all theology—to recognize that divinity and humanity are not mutually exclusive. The Son of God didn’t have to pick between being God and being man. He could be both at the same time. The eternal Word became a man. "

Read about Paul Pressler's endorsement of Fred Thompson.
"As a young attorney and family man, Judge Pressler was deeply concerned over the theological drift he saw in the Southern Baptist Convention. He was one of the two chief architects of the "Conservative Resurgence" of the SBC in the late '70s and early '80s. Because of his tireless efforts, he is revered among Southern Baptists as a warrior and hero."

Read John Gibson's response to the recent mall shootings: "No Sympathy for Omaha Mall Shooter" (HT Tank)
"With all due respect to those who think these baby-faced killers need help, I'll volunteer. I'll help walk them to a jailhouse door. I'll help them to a high window to jump out of. I'll help them lift a pill to their lips and gulp it down. But I won't help them clean up their reputations with phony sympathy for their alleged plight."

Check out the Steven Wright material shared by Rev.
  • Do you think that when they asked George Washington for ID that he just whipped out a quarter?
  • I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.
  • If it’s a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone, somewhere is making a penny.

Read about Nehemiah’s Wall Found in Jerusalem (At a conference in Tel Aviv, an archaeological discovery is unveiled that proves biblical history true.) (HT Mark L)

Read as Pat Buchanan asks the question, "Can Diversity Destroy Us?"
On the Great Seal of the United States, first suggested by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, there was to be emblazoned a new motto: "E Pluribus Unum" — "Out of many, one." It was in their unity, not their diversity, that the strength of the colonies resided. ... This generation is witnessing the Deconstruction of America. Out of one, many.

Different folks have different reasons for opposing divorce, now there's motivation for those who love the environment. Read about how divorce is bad for the environment.

In the past, I've introduced you to the tombstone generator and the church sign generator, but now you can handle up on some dog tags.

Read Donald Whitney's thoughts on the evangelistic power of asking the question, "How can I pray for you?"
"It's a short, easily remembered question. You can use it with longtime friends or with people you've just met. It doesn't seem too personal or pushy for those who'd rather give you a shallow answer just now, and yet it often leads to a full hearing of the gospel."

Get a personalized Sharpie. (HT Brent)

Read a series of posts on the Emerging Church Movement from Brian McLaughlin. (HT Chris Brauns)

Read about 5 (or perhaps 6) Streams of the Reformed Baptist Renewal Movement.

Read about how the Atlanta School Board Might Ban Sagging (Pants). (HT Non Nobis Domine)

Read about Germany's declaration that Scientology is unconstitutional, which may lead to be its being banned. Kudos to the Fatherland!
"Germany does not recognize Scientology as a religion. seeing it as a cult masquerading as a church to make money."

Read about Brian McLaren's upcoming visit to Dallas. I caught him in 2000 in Dallas where there were about 20 of us, but this looks a bit more organized and to cost more than the FREE admission I got.
"McLaren's insights don't come cheap. Tickets are $99 if you buy them by Dec. 15, and after that. ($79 for students.)"

Click on the image to read predictions made in the Ladies Home Journal (in 1900) about What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years. (HT Paleo-Future)
The following is one of the few predictions that did not come true, but I wish it would, the alphabet revision, that is.
"There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second."

Pastors, you might want to get in on this sweet Advent sale this week at Desiring God. $5 for the "Brothers—Feel, Think, Preach God" DVD. That's a sweeter deal than I got!

Read about the Cowboys winning something for the first time since 1998, the NFC East Championship. 12-1 is pretty sweet and this Tony Romo is pretty good, even though I've never tried his ribs.

Read about these 14 Offbeat Clauses in Baseball Contracts.
2. Rollie Fingers, Oakland Athletics
Former A’s owner Charlie Finley never thought of a gimmick he wouldn’t try, including a mechanical rabbit that delivered fresh balls to the umpire and hiring a 13-year-old MC Hammer as his “Executive V.P.” In 1972, Finley offered his players cash for growing a mustache by Father’s Day, thereby giving birth to reliever Fingers’ trademark handlebar ‘stache. The A’s went on to win the World Series that season, and Fingers’ contract for 1973 contained a $300 bonus for growing the mustache as well as $100 for the purchase of mustache wax.

Read about Michael Vick getting sentenced to 23 months in prison for his dogfighting slooge.

Read about tribute Gunny's sister (affectionately known as "Grimer Worm Tongue") gave their mom on her birthday.

Comment of the Week comes from Lance of the Scrawny Pulpit on Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays:
"Some of my most memorable Christmas toys were of the Knievel genre, including the pump-up motorcycle and accompanying Knievel "doll" (a G. I. Joe in a white jumpsuit), the travel van, complete with tools and a ramp, and that rocket-thingy, in which he attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon.

Once, my sister attempted to break the legs off of Mr. Knievel, so I gave her the business."

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."
- Ernest Benn, publicist (1875 - 1954)


Friday, December 07, 2007

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or maybe his head wasn't screwed on just right.

(*The following is adapted from an article that appears in this week's edition of the Murphy Messenger.*)

How Do You Respond to Christmas?

People respond to Christmas in various ways.

Some celebrate with decorations inside and outside the house. Some respond by demonstrating love to others, including gift giving. Some rejoice in the great gift of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, mystified by the miracle of the incarnation.

Yet others see Christmas as merely a time to be fleeced by the department stores, and so they resent the whole Christmas season.

Others vent their hostility toward Christmas (e.g.). Some respond by destroying the Christmas decorations of others. Last year, I remember the children of a family in dismay as they examined a lacerated inflatable Santa and a decapitated Rudolph.

Those hostile to Christmas brought sadness to a family that was hoping to share joy with others.

A variety of responses is nothing new. When Jesus was born, some responded by traveling to worship, but others responded with animosity, like Herod who saw Jesus as a threat and murdered every male child under age 2.

Sadly, some respond with hostility to Christmas and any semblance thereof because they are hostile to Christ.

How do you respond to Christmas? Is it a time of joy and kindness? Is it a time of remembering that great Gift that was given for us as God sent His Son who would die so that others might live? Is it merely a time of commercialism? Is it a time of loneliness?

In my front yard I have a sign which reads, “Wise men still seek Him.”

Yet, it's the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). We must realize that Christ is not an impotent baby, but God in the flesh and One who is not to be trifled with.

Wisdom dictates you greet Christ not with hostility, but in humility seeking forgiveness through His death on the cross.

I hope we all remember the true meaning of Christ’s birth and respond with faith in our hearts and kindness to others.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You go now. No trouble.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis afternoon a former student of mine, Pastor Benji Magness, posted some thoughts from Mark Dever's book What Is a Healthy Church?

These helpful suggestions deal with the issue of how to leave a church and are at the end of the post.

It's important to leave in the right manner, but it's also important to leave for the right reasons, right?

Or to put it another way, it's important to not leave for the wrong reasons, right?

What are valid reasons to leave a church?

One blogger has offered some suggestions (e.g., Preaching and Doctrine).

From my experience as a pastor and in speaking with other pastors, few things are as demotivating or discouraging as when someone leaves the church. For most, it's nearly impossible not to take it personally.

So, pastors, what are some reasons people have had for leaving your church? Which do you find valid? When would you counsel folks that it's right for them to leave?

It seems to me there are 3 questions we could ask and hope to answer:
  1. What are valid reasons to leave a church?
  2. What are invalid reasons to leave a church?
  3. What are reasons that necessitate departure?
I'm going to try to attempt to answer these over the next few posts, but highly welcome your input.

I have become convinced over the years of something I would not have affirmed in the past. Is it ever a sin for a person to leave a church? I would say, "Yes," there are certainly times when a person should not leave.

If there are valid reasons, then there must be invalid reasons. If those reasons are invalid, then leaving is sinful. Right?

Your thoughts?

From Mark Dever's What Is a Healthy Church?

Quick Tips: If You’re Thinking about Leaving a Church ... Before You Decide to Leave
  1. Pray.
  2. Let your current pastor know about your thinking before you move to another church or make your decision to relocate to another city. Ask for his counsel.
  3. Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?
  4. Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships.
  5. Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life—places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3–5).
  6. Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).
If You Go
  1. Don’t divide the body.
  2. Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in this church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred to as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).
  3. Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.
  4. If there has been hurt, then forgive—even as you have been forgiven.

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