Friday, February 29, 2008

That's just something ugly people say.

A nice reminder of the futility of the superficial ...

Even Stars Have Bad Days

Our culture tends to idolize and/or glamorize many of these people, but really they're just like us.

It's helpful to see these folks age and/or catch them when they've not had the opportunity sit in the make-up chair for 4 hours.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
-Proverbs 31:30, ESV

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I’ll be a good guy; I promise. I ain’t gonna do nothin’ wrong. I ain’t gonna leave no hair in the sink or nothin’ like that.

In light of an earlier post, Lance thought I would like this.

He has no idea how right he was.
Rick Astley Would Never ...

For context ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

Join me in mourning the passing of William F. Buckley, Jr. (HT Oil)

I used to eat him up in my political heyday and was once a devoted subscriber and reader of National Review. He's a stalwart and pillar of/for conservatism his passing symbolizes the end of an era, just as we're on the eve of a "not so conservative" receiving the Republican Party's nomination.

From William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard:
"For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was pretty much the first intelligent, witty, well-educated conservative one saw on television. He legitimized conservatism as an intellectual movement and therefore as a political movement."

He also gained notoriety in 1965 when he ran for mayor of New York City on a lark against a liberal Republican who eventually became a Democrat.
When asked what he would do if he won the race, Buckley issued his classic response, "I'd demand a recount." During one televised debate, Buckley declined to use his allotted rebuttal time and instead replied, "I am satisfied to sit back and contemplate my own former eloquence."

I always appreciated him because he was a throwback to my brand of conservatism, that of Barry Goldwater.

The end of era, folks, and perhaps a sign of things to come.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

That techno-rock you guys listen to is gutless.

I was browsing my TiVo guide recently and came across VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders. I share them with you because they took me on a trip down memory lane and I invite you to join me on that journey.

I was particularly nostalgic concerning numbers 91, 86, 59, 37 (cf. Valley Girl), and 18.

Some of these bring to mind strong memories of particular times, places, and people. I had #24 on 8-track and blasted it through my first "Jam Box" back in the day. Number 96 is one of the first videos I remember on MTv.

Some of them beat me down beyond all measure 89, 83, 55 (no offense, Oil), and 1.

At least one of these artists really shouldn't be on the "one-hit wonder" list, Twisted Sister. Some folks even had 3 of their albums. Quiet Riot is marginal, as is Ratt.

Any of these do a little something for ya?

100. Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas
99. No Rain, Blind Melon
98. Two of Hearts, Stacey Q
97. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
96. I Want Candy, Bow Wow Wow
95. Harper Valley P.T.A., Jeannie C. Riley
94. What's Up, 4 Non Blondes
93. Don't Give Up on Us, David Soul
92. T'Pau, Heart & Soul
91. Electric Avenue, Eddy Grant
90. Don't Wanna Fall in Love, Jane Child
89. Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cyrus
88. Barbie Girl, Aqua
87. Don't Leave Me This Way, Thelma Houston
86. Bust a Move, Young MC
85. Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum
84. You Gotta Be, Des'ree
83. Safety Dance, Men without Hats
82. I know What Boys Like, The Waitresses
81. Just a Friend, Biz Markie
80. Cum on Feel the Noize, Quiet Riot
79. Puttin' on the Ritz, Taco
78. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Crash Test Dummies
77. What I Am, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
76. We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off, Jermaine Stewart
75. I've Never Been to Me, Charlene
74. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat), Digable Planets
73. Convoy, C.W. McCall
72. Maniac, Michael Sembello
71. How Bizarre, OMC
70. The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Vicki Lawrence
69. Funky Town, Lipps Inc.
68. A Girl Like You, Edwyn Collins
67. Epic, Faith No More
66. Mambo No. 5, Lou Bega
65. In My House, The Mary Jane Girls
64. You Get What You Give, New Radicals
63. Jump Around, House Of Pain
62. Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades, Timbuk 3
61. Round And Round, Ratt
60. More, More, More, Andrea True Connection
59. 867-5309/Jenny, Tommy Tutone
58. What Is Love?, Haddaway
57. Smokin' In The Boys Room, Brownsville Station
56. Lovin' You, Minnie Riperton
55. It's Raining Men, Weather Girls
54. Makin' It, David Naughton
53. Somebody's Watching Me, Rockwell
52. Genius Of Love, Tom Tom Club
51. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers
50. I Touch Myself, The Divinyls
49. Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson
48. True, Spandau Ballet
47. Rock & Roll, Part 2, Gary Glitter
46. Don't Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
45. Lovefool, The Cardigans
44. Rock Me Amadeus, Falco
43. How Do You Talk To An Angel, The Heights
42. Hot Child In The City, Nick Gilder
41. Relax, Frankie Goes To Hollywood
40. In A Big Country, Big Country
39. Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve
38. Me & Mrs. Jones, Billy Paul
37. I Melt With You, Modern English
36. Turning Japanese, The Vapors
35. Bitch, Meredith Brooks
34. Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band
33. Got To Be Real, Cheryl Lynn
32. Hot Hot Hot, Buster Poindexter
31. Unbelievable, EMF
30. Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
29. Pass The Dutchie, Musical Youth
28. It Takes Two, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
27. Pop Musik, M
26. Stumblin' In, Suzi Quatro
25. Too Shy, Kajagoogoo
24. Whip It, Devo
23. Tubthumping, Chumbawumba
22. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
21. Cars, Gary Numan
20. She Blinded Me With Science, Thomas Dolby
19. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly
18. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinéad O'Connor
17. We're Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister
16. Rapper's Delight, Sugarhill Gang
15. 96 Tears, ? And The Mysterians
14. Groove Is In The Heart, Deee-Lite
13. The Hustle, Van McCoy
12. Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-A-Lot
11. You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone
10. 99 Luftballoons, Nena
9. Rico Suave, Gerardo
8. Take On Me, A-Ha
7. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
6. Who Let The Dogs Out, Baha Men
5. Mickey, Toni Basil
4. I'm Too Sexy, Right Said Fred
3. Come On Eileen, Dexy's Midnight Runners
2. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
1. The Macarena, Los Del Rio

Monday, February 25, 2008

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

A GREAT little bit with Mike Huckabee on SNL.

Read as Lance at Blaque Tulip examines the rationale behind Black History Month.
"If the end of our struggle is a 2500 square foot four bedroom, two and half bath, two car garage in the suburbs then our struggle and view of history is a dismal failure."

Read Heather MacDonald on The Campus Rape Myth: The reality: bogus statistics, feminist victimology, and university-approved sex toys.

Read as Gabrielle explains How to be the Girl that Gets Got: Lessons from Isaac and Rebekah.

Read about new research that suggests Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity.

Check out Jim Kang's exhortation: Commit Yourself to a Local Church for the Glory of God
Part 1 - What is a church?
Part 2 - Why should I become a church member?
Part 3 - How to become a church member?
Part 4 - Responsibilities of a church member

Read how Good Ideas Distract Groups From Generating Great Ideas.

Read as Stephen Altrogge asks, Does God Care About Exercise?

Read Why Eating a Big Mac is Cheaper than Eating a Salad.

For you writers out there, read How to Schedule Your Writing Like a Professional Writer.

Read John & Noel Piper's thoughts on The Family: Together in God's Presence, regarding how to approach having your kids with you in worship.
"Sunday worship service is not useless to children just because much of it goes over their heads. They can and will grow into this new language faster than we think—if positive and happy attitudes are fostered by the parents."

Read why Why Perfect Dates Make Lousy Partners.

Check out C.J. Mahaney on Confessing Sin, being prompted by Andy Pettite. (HT Benji)
"If my so-called confession extends beyond a very specific (acknowledgement of sin) sentence or two, then I am most likely excusing my sin, and requesting understanding for my sin, rather than sincerely asking forgiveness because of my sin."

Check out a new blog, Spiritual Matters, from a longtime friend and former cubicle neighbor, Mark Turner.

Read the The Ten Most Absurd Statements in the Book of Romans from Matt Waymeyer.
6. Because it arouses sinful passions, the Law itself is evil and sinful (Rom 7:7).

Read about Obsolete Skills.
  • Adjusting rabbit ears on top of a TV
  • Be Kind - Rewind
  • Formatting a floppy
  • Recording television with a VCR

Read as Tyris of Black and Reformed Ministries asks, Is Black History Important? (Be sure to peruse the comments as well.)

Read as Joe Carter explains Why Pro-Life Presidents Matter.
"Christians have an obligation to the most vulnerable members of our society to elect politicians who have both a robust view of human dignity and the temerity to govern accordingly. We betray this duty when we downplay the role the executive branch in advancing the pro-life cause. Judges and legislators matter; but presidents matter too."

Read Mark Dever on the Bondage of Guidance. Read C.J. Mahaney's Response from a Reformed Charismatic.

Read about President Bush being praised by Bob Geldof (i.e., Pink) for his relief efforts in Africa.

Read about Mark Turner's buddy, Eric Redmond, to speak at the Founders breakfast at the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis this summer.

Read as Stand to Reason asks, Can Atheists Believe in Moral Values?

Read about the change of heart whereby the NFL will allow churches to show the Superbowl.

Read Monty Python's John Cleese's Letter to America.

Read about Scam callers preying on churches’ compassion.

Read Wayne Grudem on The Myth of Mutual Submission as an Interpretation of Ephesians 5:21.

Read about Angry White Men and the political landscape.

Read as Tim Challies asks, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Mark Driscoll? (think musically along the lines of Maria & the Sound of Music)

Read Abraham Piper on Listening to God through Other People.

Read as Justin Taylor shares some endorsements of the book In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement, by Packer & Dever.

Check out Ray Fowler's tribute to the recently deceased Larry Norman, including videos.

Check out Al Mohler at DTS recently where he spoke in chapel all week: Atheism Remix: The New Atheism as a Challenge to Christian Theology.
The New Atheism and the Endgame of Secularism
The New Atheism and the Assault on Theism
The New Atheism and the Defense of Theism
The New Atheism and the Future of Christianity

Read Peter Mead on Feeling Down in the Ministry.

Comment of the Week:
"Until white churches, and black churches make the necessary sacrifices to be one church we can forget anything else. It is funny how so many Christians would rather push this responsibility on voters instead of being a catalyst for change where they have the most influence, their homes and their churches." (Lionel Woods)
"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also - if you love them enough."
- George Washington Carver


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baby steps to four o'clock. Baby steps to four o'clock.

The following is an article I wrote that came out today in the local paper, The Murphy Messenger.

It's obviously about the progress seen since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. In some respects they are giant leaps, yet in other ways we're only taken baby steps.
“The Dream: Progress Report”

In honor of Black History Month, we pause to fill out a progress report.

Less than 45 years ago the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the following: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”

Since that time many things have transpired for black people, especially in the political arena. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation in US schools and public places, invalidating Jim Crow laws. A second black man has been appointed to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall was the first in 1961 and Clarence Thomas was appointed in 1991.

We’ve seen the first black Secretary of State, 4th in line to succeed the presidency, in Collin Powell in 2000. In 2004 we saw the first black woman Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

We are at a historic time where we could very well have the first black nominee for president in 46 year old Barak Obama. In a country where black people have been regarded as property and then 3/5 of a human being, that’s quite a shift in perspective.

That doesn’t mean that people of all ethnicities live in perfect harmony in these somewhat united states. But that speaks volumes, I would submit, to the legacy of Dr. King and others like him for valiantly stood firm against injustice.

Yet, with stories such as the “Jena 6” from last year, we know we still have a distance to travel before we fully live out the true meaning of our creed, that all people are created equal, which means they should be treated with dignity and respect.

Some of you can remember white schools and black schools. Some of you can remember white and “colored” drinking fountains.

It can be hard to watch a tree grow seeing it day by day, but with the passing of years an acorn becomes a great oak. It’s encouraging to see the acorn of Dr. King’s dream spreading its branches through each passing year as progress is made.
P.S. What might we hope to see in the next 45 years?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.

I recently came across a list of suggested "awkward" questions friends should ask one another to encourage each other unto godliness.

It has provoked me to share the questions I've used with a group of guys for accountability purposes.

I once heard Chuck Swindoll say something to the effect of, "Your accountability partner can ask you anything he wants, otherwise you're not really accountable."

What questions are the awkward ones you've asked or been asked? Any suggestions to add to such a list as mine?
  1. Have you spent daily time in the Scriptures and in prayer? What’s your level of satisfaction with the time you spent with the Lord this week?
  2. What are you praying for? Describe your prayers for self, others, praise, confession, etc.
  3. Do you have any known sin in your life of which you have not repented? What are you planning to do about it?
  4. Have you been faithfully involved (e.g., attendance, financial support, service, prayer, etc.) in your church?
  5. Have you been exposed to any sexually explicit materials? How/why did this occur? How might you prevent it in the future?
  6. Have you been with a person of the opposite sex in such a way that was inappropriate or could have looked to others as though you were using poor judgment?
  7. How have you been tempted this week? How did you respond? Has there been any one dominant sin that plagued you this week?
  8. Have you made time to spend quality time with your family?
  9. What did you do this week to enhance your relationship with your spouse? Are you fun to live with?
  10. How are you using your spiritual gift(s)?
  11. What are you doing to further your role as the spiritual leader of the house? Or, if that's not your role, what are you doing to further the spirituality of your home?
  12. Have you been completely above reproach in your financial dealings? (e.g., spending a significant amount of money without spouse awareness or not praying about expenditures?)
  13. Have you compromised your integrity this week? If so, how?
  14. Are there any areas of your life that you are not trusting God to control?
  15. Are you sharing the Gospel with the lost? How? Have you fulfilled your calling as a Christian this week, by living in a way that others would be drawn to Jesus Christ, whom you serve?
  16. Is your spouse and/or family competing for your time and attention?
  17. Have you controlled your tongue (e.g. gossip, profanity, outbursts, half-truths or outright lies)?
  18. Do you owe anyone an apology?
  19. Are you doing whatever you do to the glory of God?
  20. Are you taking care of your body through proper exercise, eating, and sleeping habits?
  • BONUS: Have you lied regarding any of the above?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

He was wondering how a man weighing 600 pounds could teach people about self-discipline.

Recently, I came across the following 8 questions, some of which I've also wondered about.

I've added two of my own at the end.

1. Why do phones and calculators/computers have different number pads? To wit:



2. Why do hockey games have 3 periods rather than 2 halves or 4 quarters? And why are points used to determine standings, rather than straight won-loss percentages?

3. How are railroads able to use freight cars that belong to other railroads? United doesn’t fly jets belonging to Southwest — so why should Burlington Northern let Norfolk Southern use its freight cars?

4. Why is whiskey sold in fifths?

5. There’s a metric scale for measuring just about everything — weight, distance, volume, even temperature (Celsius is derived from the metric system) — except for one thing — time. How come there’s never been a metric calendar/time system, with, say, 10 metric months of 10 metric days each, each metric day composed of 10 metric hours, each metric hour composed of 100 metric minutes, and each metric minute composed of 100 metric seconds (which would be different from the seconds currently used)? (I’m surprised that countries that use the metric system have no problem with the “non-metric” way we measure time).

6. Why is Newfoundland a half hour different from other time zones?

7. Why don’t doctors dispense medicine or employ pharmacists in their offices, so we can have one-stop health care and save a trip to the drugstore?

8. Why don’t cell phones have dial tones?

9. If you share the hair on your arm (for example) the hair will grow back. However, it only grows back to a certain length and then it stops growing. How does it know how long to get and than grow no further?

10. If my internal body temperature (and yours) is to be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then why am I not cold with an external temperature less than that (say 95 degrees) and only warm when the outside temperature exceeds my 98.6?

Monday, February 18, 2008

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

A little post-Valentine's Day humor. I'll bet he had to buy more than another "iced latte" to get out of the dog house.

Read about 10 things that won't "Change" no matter who gets elected.
"2. The partisan divide: Politicians have been promising to bridge the divisions in Washington ever since Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton. It's a lot harder than it looks."

Read about how "Artificial sweeteners may contribute more to weight gain than food rich in sugar."

Read This, Retire Rich (from the Men's Wealth Financial Center at
"It took our in-house financial guru decades to learn these wealth-building rules. It'll take you about 10 minutes"

In honor of Black History Month, read about Famous Firsts by African Americans.

Read James Galyon's accolades for Bob Fu, a leading advocate for the persecuted Church in China who won the John Leland Religious Liberty Award.

Last Monday we shared Against Music*. Now read Some More Thoughts on Music from Greg Gilbert.

Read 50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily.

"One In, One Out: Avoid clutter by adopting a replacement-only standard. Every time you but something new, you throw out or donate something old. For example, you buy a new shirt, you get rid of an old one. (Variation: One in, Two Out — useful when you begin to feel overwhelmed by your possessions.)"

Read as Pulpit Magazine asks, "Does the Bible mandate home school?"

Read about what Paul would have said had he addressed announcements in church. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read Don Whitney's Ten Questions to Ask to Turn a Conversation Toward the Gospel. (HT Brent Thomas)
"10. I often like to pray for people I meet; how can I pray for you?"

Read Anthony Bradley's thoughts on "Interracial Marriage" in “Separate but equal” in marriage. There were 219 comments at last count and some of them are more than a little heated.
"The fastest way for a preacher to get fired from a conservative Southern church today is to sanction interracial marriages from the pulpit."

Check out the "funniest attack ad of the political season," courtesy of Ray Fowler.

Read about the difference campaign spending makes.
"It isn’t the money that is boosting Obama. Rather, it’s the fact that he is a strong candidate that is attracting both the money and the votes."

Read about how non-New Yorkers perceive New York.

Read a physiological understanding of why we kiss.
"Kisses can convey important information about the status and future of a relationship. At the extreme, a bad first kiss can abruptly curtail a couple’s future."

Read as Denny Burk attempts to ask and answer the question, "If God is sovereign, why pray?"

Read as John Piper answers the question, "What makes the humble happy?"

Read Nathan Williams' review of Kaiser's Toward an Exegetical Theology, a book I require in seminary class. His review contains some great selected quotes as well.
“Exegesis is never an end in itself. Its purposes are never fully realized until it begins to take into account the problems of transferring what has been learned from the text over to the waiting Church.” (p. 149)

Read Leo Babauta's list of 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life.
"11. All that stuff that’s stressing you out — it won’t matter in 5 years, let alone 15. When things are happening to you right now, they mean all the world. I had deadlines and projects and people breathing down my neck, and my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t regret the hard work (see above) but I think I would have been less stressed if I could have just realized that it wouldn’t matter a single bit just a few years down the road. Perspective is a good thing to learn."

Check this out ... Cheeseburger in a can. Perhaps simultaneously both the best and worst thing ever seen. (HT Missy)

Read as Steve Sailer gives the best indicator of whether a state will swing Red or Blue in a presidential election: The cost of buying a home and raising a family.

Read Leslie's review/recommendation of Definitely, Maybe: When Harry Met Sally meets How I Met Your Mother.
"This movie is not your typical chick flick. Most chick flicks have no turns or surprises, hardly any depth and I never feel what the characters are feeling."

Read as Garth Sundem reveals how to make better decisions.
"With Valentine's Day around the corner, don't trust your instincts when it comes to selecting a mate. Human decision making is seriously flawed - but it can be fixed with a few simple sums."

Read Al Mohler's piece Has God Called You? Discerning the Call to Preach.

Read about the 30-day sex challenge The Relevant Church of Tampa has issued to its congregation. (HT AJF)
"Single men and women can't have sex for 30 days, and married couples are urged to have it every day."

Read Dr. James Galyon's Not Anabaptist.
"It is for these reasons, among others, that many early Baptists rejected the label Anabaptist."

Read about the study that found that Identical twins not as identical as believed.

Read as Jim Kang exhorts the reader to Commit Yourself to a Local Church for the Glory of God.
"It is too common to see people today that are “dating” a church out of selfish convenience and in some instances it’s not uncommon to see people who are “two-timing” with another church or another ministry."

Read this offering from Brother Hank: Steady The Knees: Confessions of a Christian Pro-Life Activist.

Read as Tim Challies' asks, Is Forgiveness Conditional or Unconditional?

Read a collection of quote Chris Brauns has compiled on Conditional Forgiveness.

Read as Lionel Woods tackles the issue of a believer under the law: Law, Gospel, or Both?

Read Nathan Busenitz (of Pulpit Magazine) on the NT Christian's relationship to the OT law: You, Me and Moses.

Read about Eric Redmond being used as an example of how Southern Baptists have to diversify to survive.

Read Ed Stetzer's forward to Bob Roberts' new book on Church Multiplication.

Scope out Bruce Tomaso's Bible Love Quiz.
7. Hosea once purchased his wife, Gomer, with what currency?
  1. Silver
  2. Barley
  3. Wine
  4. All of the above

Read Matthew Cornell's Three indecisiveness phrases, and when (not) to use them.

Check out the Fall 2007 (Volume 18, Number 2)issue of The Master's Journal (of The Master's Seminary), An Issue Devoted to an Examination of New Covenant Theology. As he reads the articles, Michael Adams will be blogging about it.

Read about the Supreme Court judging 5 "age bias" cases.
"There is only one anti-bias law — the one against discrimination based on age — that would cover all nine Supreme Court justices, if such laws applied to them."

Comment of the Week:
"In addition to the promoting sin and glorifying evil standards, which seem very wise, I sometimes measure a song by whether it promotes my sense of internal peace, or disturbs it. Some styles of singing and/or music immediately give me a sense of inner turmoil, disturbance. But I realize this is subjective, and that people will disagree on what they personally consider "disturbing." Some kinds of very intense screaming found in some Christian hard rock today, for example, troubles me. I have also heard singing in some "Christian" songs in which the voices were electronically altered to the point where they almost sound demonic, and yet, they sing lyrics that are probably okay. But the sound of the voice doesn't fit with the lyrics." (Mark T)
"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation."
-Henry Kissinger


Thursday, February 14, 2008

so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.

The first time, I let it go. But now I'm really disturbed.

Rachel just got her 2nd credit card application in the mail. Rachel is in elementary school.

What's wrong with this picture?

I know we're a capitalistic society that depends on people spending money to keep things moving along, but are we so chomping at the bit that we're trying to suck 1st graders into the world of consumer debt?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm expressing my inner anguish through the majesty of song.

Okay, either I'm losing my mind or the music world is off its axis, bold as love.

I'm station jumping in my car and on MIX 102.9 (local pop station in Dallas) I hear "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me.

Earlier that very same day I had heard Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" on KLTY, one of the local "Christian" stations. I had heard it reported that they played it, but my blood still boiled when I heard it.

The latter no longer surprises me, having either personally heard or got from reliable witnesses the playing of the following on the Christian station:
  • I Need You - Lea Ann Rimes
  • If I Lose My Faith in You - Sting
  • Time after Time - Cyndi Lauper
  • Peaceful, Easy Feeling - Eagles
  • Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFarin
  • Proud To Be An American - Lee Greenwood
  • Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
  • The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
  • Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  • Beautiful Day - U2
  • Kyrie Eleison - Mister Mister
  • Lean on Me - Bill Withers
  • In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
  • Because You Love Me - Celine Dion
  • Love Is the Answer - England Dan & John Ford Coley
  • Where Are You Going - Dave Matthews Band
(Perhaps I'm just tender that Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" has been snubbed thus far.)

I heard two others last week that my wife could validate, but I can't remember them. I was about to come unglued and so wished I would have written them down. I just thought they were so heinous I would not be able to forget them. My bad.

Admittedly, at least some of these songs are being sung by (presumably) Christian artists, but I'm not sure that makes it a Christian song.

I also realize that for some they only know these songs via a Christian station by a Christian, but is that what makes a secular song a Christian song?

But, hearing "I Can Only Imagine" on "regular" radio motivates me to ask: Are these helpful labels anymore (i.e., "secular" and "Christian") when it comes to music? Were they ever?

1. What constitutes "Christian" music?

For me that's a more difficult question to answer than "What may I listen to?"

It's easier for me to have stuff that's "off limits" (that list may be different for others). But for me there are two things that can disqualify a song:
  • Does it promote sin?
  • Does it glorify evil?
There's a lot of gray out there, but these are two questions that I have found helpful.

2. What governs/guides your musical experiences?


Monday, February 11, 2008

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

In honor of the pro-bowl yesterday, here's a tribute to a perennial pro-bowler and one of my favorite Cowboys of all time.

Read about how instead of deriding those of the evangelical faith, this non-evangelical thinks the liberals should join forces with evangelicals.
"... few would dare make a pejorative comment about Barack Obama’s race or Hillary Clinton’s sex. Yet it would be easy to get away with deriding Mike Huckabee’s religious faith.

Bleeding-heart liberals could accomplish far more if they reached out to build common cause with bleeding-heart conservatives."

Read about why Greg Gilbert of IX Marks is "Against Music."
I wonder if the whole “excellence in praise and worship music” phenomenon we’ve seen over the past few years—for all the good it’s done—hasn’t also had some less-than-desirable effects on young Christians. I wonder if it hasn’t created a generation of functional mystics who gauge their relationship with God by emotional experience rather than the objective reality of redemption.


I am really afraid that we’ve managed to create a generation of anemic Christians who are spiritually dependent on excellent music. Their sense of spiritual well-being is based on feeling “close to God,” their feeling close to God is based on their “ability to worship,” and being able to worship depends on big crowds singing great music.

Read about CBS' Andy Rooney shooting down an evangelism attempt on his behalf.
"I think it's sad you people believe in that stuff."

Read Fred Sanders' thoughts on the Top 12 Theology Books that help in knowing God.

Read about thoughts of Leno vs. Letterman regarding quality and popularity.
"How has the prince of pandering attained such a chokehold on the American viewer? What dark magic does he wield? After all these years, is it time for comedy snobs to accept that Leno’s reign is not a fluke—that his combination of skills and style is, in some baffling but real way, better than Letterman’s?"

Learn why paper cuts are so painful.

Read the about the passing of Roy Scheider (age 75), the man who killed Jaws, making it safe to go back in the water.

Read about NASA sending the Beatles' song "Across the Universe" to outer space.
"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" McCartney said in a message to the space agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."

Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, characterized the song's transmission as a significant event.

"I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe," she said.

Read about the challenges faced by 24 over a change in public opinion.
"24, which debuted shortly after 9/11, captured a cultural moment. Jack Bauer was more than the hero we needed, he was the answer to our prayers. No matter what terrorists, drug dealers, and recalcitrant family members threw at him, Jack struck back calmly, elegantly and with deadly force.

But by the sixth, and most recent, season, Jack's strikes became harder to condone. In fact, his tendency to break fingers, shoot kneecaps, and administer pain-causing drugs to elicit information seemed uncomfortably like, well, torture."

Read When My Friends Wound Me, by Stephen Altrogge.
"Have you ever started to switch lanes while driving, only to notice at the last second that a car is lurking in your blind spot? Yeah, you know the feeling. It takes everything in you not to let out a high-pitched, banshee-like scream of terror. We've got blind spiritual blind spots as well, and we need the faithful correction of friends to open our eyes."

Read about higher education opportunities through the Bethlehem Institute, church where John Piper is the pastor.

Pastor Joe Thorn's 9 Reasons to Run. Warning, he does venture into the world of meddling.
"8. You probably need to run. Just look at yourself."

Read about this shocker! The once thought hip Mark Driscoll was spotted NOT using a Mac, but a Dell ... in public. I'll bet he drives a minivan as well.
"Yeah, I knew he used a Dell, but I never thought he would in public. It has really devastated many of our church planters," stated Darren Patrick, pastor of The Journey in St. Louis.

Sure there is pressure on a game show, but read about the dumbest quiz show answers ever.
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22,1963?

Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

Read one man's thoughts on the near extinction of the leisurely Sunday afternoon church supper and its replacements.
Those were the days when children played on their own for hours while adults spent Sunday afternoons in conversation. The church seemed like one big family, said Hamilton, the 44-year-old pastor of Springfield Church of the Brethren in Akron.

This is good bull. Watch a "mission" of 207 people who "froze" in place for 5 minutes in Grand Central Station. Click for more info. (HT Lance)

Read about Carl Trueman's disdain for the "soul patch," whether it be follicular or linguistic.
"First, let’s try to avoid the proliferation of a trendy, almost Gnostic, vocabulary to express things which, frankly, have been regarded as part and parcel of Christian common sense for generations."

Read about the Supreme Court of Nebraska outlawing electrocution as a means of execution.
"The decision erased Nebraska's distinction as the only state with electrocution as its sole means of execution. State courts are left with the ability to sentence people to death but no way to carry out the penalty."

Read about baby names that lose their luster (e.g., Britney).

Read about the California college that has suspended blood drives in protest over a ban on gay donors. Morality aside, who are they really hurting here?

Check out WTS-Dallas prof Elliott Greene's sermon at Providence Church yesterday: Crux Sola est Nostra Theologia.

Check out
this snow-induced 36 car wreck in Gates, NY. (HT Jade)

Read about how unborn twins saved their mother's life by dislodging a cancerous cervical tumor. Wow!
Shortly after becoming pregnant, Stepney of Cheam in South-West London was taken to the hospital after suffering what was believed to be a miscarriage. Soon doctors realized she was still pregnant, but had developed life-threatening cervical cancer. Stepney declined to have an abortion and doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London agreed to give her reduced chemotherapy in the hope of stopping the cancer spreading during the pregnancy.

But it wasn't the chemo that ultimately saved Stepney. "I couldn't believe it when the doctors told me that the babies had dislodged the tumor," she said. "I'd felt them kicking, but I didn't realize just how important their kicking would turn out to be. I owe my life to my girls, and that's why I could have never agreed with a termination."

Check out Lance Ward's thoughts on 2 Timothy 2:10, one of the chief verses that keeps me going in pastoral ministry.

Vote for the new Texas license plate for 2009. Voting ends 2/11 at noon. (HT Oilcan)

Read 7 Church Leadership Mistakes to Avoid from Rick Warren.
"Complacency is the enemy of a good leader. If God says go for it, stick your neck out! Never stop depending on the Lord. Stop coasting. Take some risks in faith. Push the envelope. Attempt something that cannot be explained in the power of the flesh. Say to yourself, “What am I going to try in my ministry this next year that I know is bound to fail unless God bails me out?” Unless God is your only safety net, you’re not truly living by faith. Depend on the Lord."

Check out where Justin Taylor shared some stuff from Wayne Grudem on why poor nations stay poor.

Read as John MacArthur addresses the True Measure of Success.

Read a distressing "Top 10" list, the Top 10 Countries with regard to Christian Persecution. North Korea was chief. The US didn't make the top 10. There's a subtle message there.

Read US Health Report news that 1 in 4 women will suffer "intimate partner violence" at some time in their lives. That's an epidemic.

Read The Shepherd's Scrapbook's Top (30) Books of 2007.

Comment of the Week:
"My next favorite moment [from the DG pastors conference] was discussing the ecclesiology of Kenny Rogers as we rode the light rail to the airport.

What an appropriate finish to a profound couple of days, for now I know 'the best thing I can hope for.'" (Lance)
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge."
-Daniel J. Boorstin


Thursday, February 07, 2008

God made men. Men made slaves.

(The following is an article I wrote that came out today in our local newspaper, The Murphy Messenger.)

“Remembering a Pioneer”

In honor of Black History Month, we examine a pioneer in the realm of the black church and Christian missions.

George Leile was born a slave on a plantation in Virginia around 1750. He would later belong to a Baptist deacon in Georgia. After his dramatic conversion to Christianity in 1773, Leile was set free to become a traveling preacher. Ordained May 20, 1775, Leile is recognized as the first ordained black Baptist pastor in Georgia. In Savannah, he founded the first “African Baptist” church in North America, which is still in existence today.

The English Baptist William Carey is commonly known as the “Father of the Modern Missions Movement,” but George Leile predated him by a decade. In 1783, Leile was forced to leave his homeland and wound up in Jamaica, where he started the first Baptist church on the island.

In 1888, biographer E. K. Love wrote: “When he had established a church in the towns he made for the interior to unfurl the gospel banner to those who were sitting in darkness and in the region of the shadow of death.”

The details of his death are uncertain, but his legacy is not. His name is not well known, though it should be.

Love wrote: “This man doubtless has long since finished his labors and has entered the saints' rest. We have no date of his death, nor the latter end of his work. But he will be remembered, and his name honored, both here and in Jamaica while memory holds its place. Whatever the negro Baptists here and in Jamaica are, they owe it to his humble beginning. And whatever may be written of either of us, it cannot be complete if his name is left out. His record is here, there and in heaven.”
- - - - - - - - -
From a letter George Leile wrote to Dr. Rippon of London in 1891:
"I cannot tell what is my age, as I have no account of the time of my birth; but I suppose I am about 40 years old. I have a wife and four children. My wife was baptized by me in Savannah, and I have every satisfaction in life from her. She is much the same age as myself. My eldest son is 19 years, my next son 17, the third fourteen, and the last child a girl of 11 years. They are all members of the church. My occupation is a farmer, but as the seasons in this part of the country are uncertain, I also keep a team of horses and wagons for the carrying of goods from one place to another, which I attend myself, with the assistance of my sons, and by this way of life have gained the good will of the public, who recommend me to business and to some very principal work for Government. I have a few books, some good old authors and sermons, and one large Bible that was given me by a gentleman. A good many of our members can read and are all desirous to learn. They will be very thankful for a few books to read on Sundays and other days. I agree to election, redemption, the fall of Adam, regeneration and perseverance, knowing the promise is to all who endure, in grace, faith and good works to the end, shall be saved."

More about Leile from Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: The Modern Age (2007):
“He often preached on Sunday evenings at the Kiokee [Baptist] Church, and his preaching was received by black and white alike. Leile was hesitant about seeking church membership because of his color, but his master encouraged him and was in fact even more delighted to discover that he seemed to have a gift for preaching.” (p. 585)
“George Leile was a gifted evangelistic preacher who knew how to present the gospel in the language of his people.” (p. 586)

Related Information:
History of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. E.K. Love (1888)

First African Baptist Church (Savannah, GA) - “The Oldest Black Church in North America”

Jamaica Baptist Union
"The JBU traces its beginning to George Leile, a 'free black slave' from Atlanta Georgia who came to Jamaica in 1783 and started preaching in Kingston. His work grew and spread to other parts of the island. The Baptist Missionary Society (UK) was invited to support the work, and in 1814 they sent the first missionary to the island. The ministry continued to grow and expand under the British."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lance, Benji, Casey, Chad, Cody, Garold, Ross and Gunny Go to White Castle.

Like 2006 & 2007, I was in Minneapolis this week for the 2008 Desiring God pastors conference.

They're blogging (about) the conference if you want to check it out.

D. A. Carson was great, but, for me, Crawford Loritts (2nd from left) stole the show.

Crawford Loritts had 4 lessons about courage in The Call to Courage from Joshua 1:1-9, with the commissioning of Joshua after Moses' death. I heartily recommend his talk as well as the Q&A session with all the speakers (Carson, Loritts, Piper, and Livingstone).

I also recommend that pastors prayerfully consider going next year (to the conference and to White Castle).

As another has done, I'll share the Top 10 things I look forward to regarding this conference each year.
  1. Being a part of the paparazzi who pounces on "The Pipe" et al for a photo op
  2. Seeing seminary buddies again (e.g., Mike Ernst and Shane Freeman)
  3. Great times of worship with my brothers from various and sundry places
  4. Catching up with the conference regulars (e.g., Larry Newcomer, Benji Magness, Ross Strader, and Casey Jones)
  5. Making some new friends (e.g., Jay Collier, Garold Timmons, and Chad Barnes)
  6. Getting to White Castle - This has included walking (2006), a cab (2007), and the bus (2007 & 2008). This year's bus ride was interesting as we were packed in like sardines during rush hour and Texan Casey Jones tried his best to have a friendly conversation with a woman who clearly just wanted to get home. Finally, she informed him, "You need to get used to the way we do things in Minnesota; we keep to ourselves on the bus." I also love that when we tell folks we're trying to get to White Castle, the locals invariably ask, "Why do you wanna go there?"
  7. Getting better acquainted with men I have primarily known online (e.g., Tom Ascol (pictured) and Abraham Piper).
  8. Getting to visit with my local peeps (e.g., Brent Thomas, Tim Presson, Chris Blake, Cody Dixon (of Providence Church), and Lance Ward, my wingman and ol' lady at the conference)
  9. Making my joy complete by sharing in culinary excellence with the brethren at White Castle - How's that for an agape feast?!
  10. Having my heart stirred toward greater affection and commitment for the Lord Jesus - Priceless!

If you went, I'm curious as to what you most appreciate(d) about this conference.


Monday, February 04, 2008

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

A future singing dentist? Where does this 10 year-old girl live? I'm hoping it's not too far for her family to commute to Providence Church. Gabi, like most 4th graders I assume you're reading my blog, so join us Sunday in Garland! (HT Renita)

Read about Not For Sale, modern day abolitionists.

Read some good insight on How to Craft a Good Sermon … or a Great One. (HT Gene E)

Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one? Read about 24-hour medical marijuana vending machines in Los Angeles.

1, 2 ... Freddy's coming for you. Read about the re-launch of the Nightmare of Elm Street movie series.

Will the real liberal please stand up? Read as Romney and McCain called one another "liberal" while campaigning for Florida. It's been a while since I heard a good round of "I know you are, but what am I?"

Read Why Every Calvinist Must Be Evangelistic.

Read this hot political opinion (HPO) after the Florida primary: McCain didn't just win Florida -- he won the GOP nomination.

Read Jeff Wright urge everyone to unite around Romney: Why conservatives must say 'No' to John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

Read as Joe Carter shares the Case Against Romney.

Read about how some non-Christians feel left out of election.

Read about the findings that cold medications send 7,000 children to the emergency room each year. Phooey! (Yes, that passed spell check.) I can anticipate the pharmacies' response: "Meds don't kill people; doctors kill people."

Read about Pre-Marital Adultery: The Marital Obligations of Single Christians.
"I believe that Christian men and women who are unmarried (and are not called to a life of chastity) have certain present obligations to their future spouse."

Familiar with the "Motivational" posters? Check out these attempts to have fun with the Emerging peeps. They're in alphabetical order, but my favorites were POSTMODERN and UNITY.

Check out C.J. Mahaney's new blog.
"In fact, it was that possibility, that I could somehow serve pastors, members of Sovereign Grace churches and anyone who wanted to listen in, that eventually persuaded me to begin this blog. So, I hope in some small way this does serve you and if not then we will simply close it down and I will hold my well-meaning friends responsible."

Be aware of these Signs that you might be taking this emerging thing too far.
16. You brag that you have never been pinned down theologically on any issue.
13. You are offended when someone says they are going to “Preach the Gospel” or “Teach the truth” believing they should just “Tell a story.”

Read about a REALLY lonely man. Where's Dr. Phil when you need him?
"A lonely Japanese man has been arrested for allegedly calling directory assistance thousands of times because he liked to be scolded by female operators"

Click here to have your computer screen cleaned the old fashioned way.

Listen to the 9 Marks interview with Iain Murray, assistant to the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones and big dog with Banner of Truth.
"Murray discusses the ministries of Lloyd-Jones, Pink and pulls some great lessons from Wesley that Calvinists need to take heed of." (HT FaithbyHearing)

Read about Suzanne Pleshette receiving a posthumous Hollywood Star.

Check out this awesome list of summer 2008 movies, with a synopsis and evaluation (i.e., verdict). File this one away for later at the least.

This is perhaps one of the greatest insights I've seen in a very long time. Read the Church from the World's Window about doing things in public together as a church. (HT Ray Fowler)
"I fear that the visible church is only visible on Sundays and Wednesdays, and even then it is not the church which is visible, but rather just the gathering of cars in a parking lot! Now, I don’t claim to have the perfect answer, or any grand words of wisdom or a deep, profound insight into how the visible church can actually become more visible to the world, but I do have one small suggestion:
* Do more things in public with your church body so that the world will see you together with one another."

On the eve of Super Tuesday, read about how Democrats & Republicans use different methods to pick a nominee. (Now, if someone could just explain to me the difference between a caucus and a primary ...)
"The delegate selection process is designed to keep the campaign going for as long as possible" among Democrats"

Apparently, I'm not the only one who's not a fan of the "spicing up your sex life" slooge that is used to attract a church crowd. Read about folks in Allen, Texas, upset over the ads for the sermon series "MySexLifeStinks.TV."

Read about the 79 year old nun sentenced to jail for sexually abusing 2 teens in the 1960s.

Read an interview with the author of The Sociology of ‘Hooking Up’ - Sex, Dating & Relationships on Campus.
"Q: Was anyone willing to talk openly about the “walk of shame"?
A: Several of the students I interviewed mentioned the “walk of shame,” which refers to a college student, usually female, walking home the next morning after a hookup encounter in the same outfit he/she was wearing the evening prior. Given that students dress differently for “going out” at night than during the daytime, it is obvious to onlookers when a student is doing the walk of shame. One of many interesting things about this phrase is that students use the word “shame” at all. If students accept hooking up and believe that “everybody’s doing it,” then why do they use the term shame when referencing a hookup encounter? I think that phrase actually underscores an important issue: Many students are struggling with the hookup system. For those students who are having trouble making sense of it all, I hope my book will help shed some light on both what is happening and why it is happening."

Ponder the ethics of execution.

Read 10 Tips to Retain More of What You Read Online.

Read about Economics of Recruiting: A new way to predict where top prospects will end up.

Check out the Top 12 Evangelical Christians in Sports Today.

The devil made me do it! Read about the Odessa, Texas, man trying to use this as the explanation for his wife's death: Man says exorcism led to wife's death.

Read about how the Giants shocked the world and gave us an unexpectedly GREAT game in Superbowl XLII. Congratulations to the Manning brothers winning back to back Superbowl MVPs.

Check out these Superbowl commercials. (HT Jade)
Planter's Perfume
A Message Sent by Audi Corrleone (my favorite)
How I would suggest you not AMP up a jumpstart
Coca Cola Jinx

Comment of the Week:
"THE drawback to a bow tie? You have to iron more of your shirt. With a regular tie, you only have to iron the collar, then put on a jack and your good! :)" (Timothy)
"A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."
–Eleanor Roosevelt


Saturday, February 02, 2008

This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Happy Groundhog Day!

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