Friday, August 29, 2008

Are you saying you'll flunk us if we don't change the world?

I meant to hit this earlier in the day, even before John McCain dropped his bomb.

Obama's platform is obviously one of "Change." But, even if you're discontent, change comes in 2 flavors, positive and negative.

Remember, Hitler brought change to Deutschland. Castro brought change to Cuba. Lenin brought change to Russia. Coach Franchione brought change to Aggie football, taking a contending team to the heights of mediocrity. RC was starting to look pretty good, wasn't he?

Regardless of who wins in November, expect much change. It may take years or decades to know if that change was/is for the better, however.

Mr. Change looked pretty good last night, this rhetorician would say. He spoke well and his speech had some nice zingers "Eight is enough" and some good emotive aspects.

I thought he ventured into the realm of playing dirty a few times where McCain is concerned, which kind of surprised me, but overall, I was impressed with his presentation. I don't think he did himself any favors in picking Joe Biden as his running mate, but he did last night.

Today, I was shocked to hear of John McCain's running mate, or matess, Sarah Palin (seemingly no relation to Michael). I'd never heard of her and was initially discouraged by what seemed a "Hail Mary" play. I had been hoping for J.C. Watts, not because I had any notion he would be the pick, but I've always been a fan.

Mrs. Palin is staunchly pro-life, earning some real credibility in that area by refusing elective abortion on her fifth child, who has Down's Syndrome. At age 44, she has about the same amount of experience as Obama, but I like hers better being of the executive variety, having served as Alaska's governor.

She's a lifetime member of the NRA, which jazzes me as well. Who wouldn't value that in a woman?! Her oldest son is shipping out to Iraq, so she's got credibility to talk to the issue beyond, "I met this mom who has a son in Iraq" like the vast majority of politicians.

Unlike those who haven't lived outside of DC in decades, she's not a Washington insider, so I'm thinking if your thing is change, you've got a better bet with her than all these senators. Personally, I've never been a fan of a senator being president anyway.

The more I learned, the more I liked the pick. I'm sure priority #1 is not to let your VP candidate hurt you, but in my mind she has helped the ticket immensely. Not only might she appeal to women, since the Republican party now seems the one that cares about women and empowering them, unlike the Dems who kicked their female to the curb in favor of two dudes.

She might be able to score a few disgruntled Hillary supporters, but a true conservative like myself can feel a lot better about voting GOP in this election. My entrenched apathy toward this election started to really thaw today.

I'm all for change and I think she's got the capacity to bring about good change. Win, lose, or draw in November, I think she's the brightest star the GOP has where presidential politics are concerned. On his 72nd birthday, McCain gave himself and the GOP a gift.

P.S. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech this morning is linked on Conservative Reformed Mafia for your viewing pleasure.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

Upon winning "Comment of the Week" on Monday, Lance asked, "Who's leading in the 'comment of week category'---me or Oilcan?"

So, I tallied up the results for 2008 thus far. At the end of the year, the one with the most "Comments of the Week" will win the gold medal and a prize. I don't know what that prize is just yet, but it will be good, very good. Suggestions? We will also award silver & bronze medals.

Current 2008 Standings:
6-Oilcan (1/21, 3/10, 5/25, 6/9, 7/7*, 7/21)
5-Timothy (1/28, 2/4, 5/5, 6/30, 7/28)
4-Lance (2/11, 4/28, 6/2, 8/25)
4-Rev (3/3, 3/24, 5/12, 6/16)
3-Kelly (6/23*, 7/14, 8/4)
3-Sean Crowe (5/19, 6/23*, 8/18)
2-Reepicheep (4/14, 8/11)
2-Lionel Woods (2/25, 7/7)
2-Chris Brauns (3/17, 3/31)
2-Mark T (1/14, 2/18)
1-etoc (4/21)
1-selahV (4/7)
1-Blackhaw (1/7)

* On 6/23 & 7/7 we had 2 comments that were so good they shared "Comment of the Week" honors.

(It should be noted, at least for bragging rights, that there were 4 "Comment of the Week" winners in December of 2007, including one by Lance (12/10) and Lionel Woods (12/31). Victories were also scored by Matthew Bradley (12/17) and Luke Bobo (12/24). As this will be a recurring annual award, it seemed best to limit the contest & prize to 2008, but that is to the detriment of Lance & Lionel Woods, even though those will count in the "all time" figures and toward Hall of Fame consideration.)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If I'm here and you're here, doesn't that make it OUR time?

Anybody know what the Dow did yesterday? Just about every news cast shares that bit of information, the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

I contend that factoid is a waste of my time. It's also a waste of OUR time, because I will try to convince you that it's a waste of your time.

The DJIA consists of 30 of the largest and most widely held public companies in the United States. If the Dow is up, the average price of those stocks is up. If it is down, the average price is down.

You know how many companies there are being traded? I asked Deion and he said, "Thousands, consequently millions."

For the common (wo)man who owns no stocks, this stat might suggest a trend, but only if monitoring these figures for an extended period of time. But who does that? Plus, how effective is that limited sample size statistically?

For you peeps who own stock, wouldn't you benefit more from knowing how your stocks did? The Dow could tank, but your stock in Pancho's could continue to rise. Even if you had stock in one of those 30 DJIA companies, yours could be up, while the other 29 are down, or vice versa.

For brokers and other stock junkies, isn't there something more helpful in giving you information about the market as a whole or your portfolio, etc.? (Rhetorical question)

Am I missing something or isn't the reporting of the Dow Jones Industrial Average a colossal waste of our time?


Monday, August 25, 2008

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

This, your toddler gots to see ... Pimp My Stroller. That ride is dope.

Read (Part 1, 2, and 3) John MacArthur on killing the sin in your life.

Read about the Frisco HOA hassling a man for wanting to park a new F-150 in the driveway. Apparently it's not classy enough. (HT Kelly)

Read about the firsts that would be accomplished if Joe Biden becomes Vice-President.

Read J. Wizzle's thoughts on Biden for VP ... thumbs down.

Read Reepicheep's thoughts on Biden for VP ... thumbs up.

Read about the blind Frenchman fined for drunk driving.

Read Debbie Kaufman's thoughts on expressions like "if we had not done ... then he/she wouldn't have come to Christ."

Read about the Italian priest organizing a beauty pageant for nuns.

Read Bishop Joe's Top 5 Reasons Youth Camps Are Bunk.

Read Rabbi Benji Magness' interview of Gunny regarding preaching.

Read Bob Kauflin's thoughts on what we (should) wear to worship God.

Read Eric Redmond's thoughts on John the Baptist's Relevance.

Check out Ray Fowler's Olympic Quick Takes, including some nostalgic video action.

Check out this warning label generator.

Read about the lesson in leadership Thomas White experienced during the chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Kudos to Dr. Paige Patterson.

Read about the Bizarre Origins of 8 Wedding Traditions.

Check out some details (e.g., table of contents, first chapter, etc.) on the new book by Carrick, The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards.

Read about the bus confusion that landed an Arizona 6 year old boy in Mexico.

Check out an analysis of the favorite songs of Obama & McCain. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read about college presidents lobbying to have the drinking age lowered to 18. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read about the man who caught a record 21 lbs 1 oz catfish ... with his daughter's Barbie fishing rod.

Download for FREE the sermon series "In the World, but Not of the World" by Mahaney, Harris, and Kauflin. (HT Between Two Worlds)

Read about the man who has purchased a new Cadillac every year for the past 53 years.

Read Thabiti Anyabwile's answer to the following question: “How should a Christian relate to Old Testament laws?”

Scope out Rev's list of greatest games at Texas Stadium.

Read Anthony Bradley's contention that recycling is a myth for the gullible. "Recycling is emotional, not environmental."

Read about the teen who set his house on fire while trying to burn spiders. This could happen to me, so I guess this isn't that remarkable.

Read a list of 70 things to do before having children.

Read what Rick Warren really thinks about politics in this WSJ piece by Naomi Schaefer Riley. (HT Tim Challies)

Read about Japanese surrogate mother giving birth at age 61.

Check out Joe Thorn's questions for sermon hearers to solicit their candid feedback.

Match the professional sports teams with their prior names and locations.

Read CNN's report about the trend toward more modesty in young ladies' fashion. (HT Josh Harris)

Read about the Ohio 11th grader who got perfect scores on the ACT & SAT.

Read the Art of Spending Minutes to Save Hours.

Read about the stillborn baby that came back to life after being in the refrigerator.

Read the Meaning of Church Membership and Accountability from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where John Piper is pastor.

Read about the 85 year old armed woman who made her intruder call the police.

Read this edgy piece arguing against Obama's candidacy because the presidency is not an entry level position.

Comment of the Week:
"Is it true that when C-section babies leave a building, they exit through the window? Steven Wright says so, but I've not snoped it." (Lance)
Listen to yesterday's sermon at Providence Church on Philippians 4:8-9, "Get Your Mind Right."
"If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives."
-Marlon Brando


Friday, August 22, 2008

Impossible to see, the future is.

At Pancho's Mexican Buffet tonight I grabbed one of those free newspaper type whammies.

Out of curiosity, I read my horoscope for this week:
"Cooperation and teamwork among family members and friends, are excellent now, and a successful collective accomplishment is also likely. Lucky numbers: 20, 21, 25, 29, 40, 43" (sic)

It got me thinking about how silly astrology is, not to mention the deviltry aspect of it.

The Bible prohibits such tomfoolery being used for guidance in life's decisions (e.g., Is 47:13-14), but, even from a scientific perspective it has problems.

First, it treats the sun & moon as planets and yet doesn't take into account the planets that were unseen back in the day.

Second, the whole thing is geared around your birth date and time. But why? What difference does it make if you leave the womb on Thursday versus Friday? Why not instead gauge from conception, the moment life begins and the person's DNA, etc. begins to form?

Third, the whole thing is geo-centric as opposed to understanding that it is the sun which is orbited at the center of the solar system.

Some like to look to the stars to learn about their future and what they should do. There's nothing wrong with looking to the stars per se, just be sure to see the clearly intended message.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
-Psalm 19:1 (ESV)

(cf. John Piper's 1981 sermon "Jesus Versus the Occult.")


Thursday, August 21, 2008

What the Bible calls a “psychological edge”

Most are familiar with, at most, one hymn by Augustus Toplady, Rock of Ages. Here's another of which you should be aware. (HT Anthony Carter)

A Debtor to Mercy Alone

by Augustus Montague Toplady

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is yea and amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.
(emphasis mine)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You have to be prepared for the possibility that God does not like you.

The following is the gist of a message I gave at the Wylie High School Baccalaureate service in 2002.
I vaguely remember my own Baccalaureate Service. I remember it as an excuse to wear the cap & gown early, but the religious significance was lost on me. It is my hope and prayer that my words will not fall on deaf ears, but will help impart wisdom as you being the next stage of your journey with Christ.

In Proverbs 3 we read ...
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.

And in Proverbs 4 we are admonished ...
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

I'll read Proverbs 4:5 once again for emphasis.
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

I'm no King Solomon, but here are some insights, some bits of wisdom that I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that I offer for your spiritual insight.

I’ll talk and you’ll listen and, hopefully, we’ll finish at the same time. There just may be a quiz at the end, so be ready. Trust me, everybody else is wrong on these.

I share with you today “Gunny's five life lessons.” They will be presented in the form of 5 problems and 5 biblical solutions will follow in respective order.

1. Life is not fair; don’t expect it to be. Some folks are smarter, prettier, wealthier, more talented, etc. than you. Some folks will cheat and seem to get ahead, but God sees all (good and bad). 2 Cor 5:10 says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” There will be a day of reckoning. Just remember, you never want justice from God, but only mercy. Remember as well that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb 11:6) and He may actually be blessing those who have less as their dependence on His grows.

2. Life is a roller coaster ride, filled with many peaks and valleys. Your situation will soon change, facing a future with with many ups and downs and much instability. Some may be motivated about graduation, some apprehensive. You will never be able to sustain the highs and the lows unpredictably come and go as well. But God alone is stable and able to get you through the valleys. Just don’t forget the Lord in the peaks, lest He bring another low to draw you back to Him.

3. People tend to reject the ends, the extremes. Picture humanity in every imaginable category on a bell curve. People can’t handle or relate to those who are too smart or too dumb, too poor or too rich, to beautiful or too ugly, even those too committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Resist the pull to the middle. Resist the pull to mediocrity. Resist the pull to fit in. Never stifle your God-given talents and never let anyone diminish your passionate zeal for Christ. If you follow Christ biblically, you will be rejected, even by those who profess to be Christians.

4. People operate according to the Law of WIIFM. Ingrained in humanity is the Law of WIIFM, an acrostic for the “Law of What’s In It For Me?” Their hearts are wicked (Jer 17:9) and self-fixated. Thus, people will always disappoint you, but God will not. You will at some point be tempted to adopt the policy of DTA, “Don’t Trust Anybody.” But you can’t live that way. You have to trust people (e.g., other drivers on the road, the kid who prepares your Ultimate Cheeseburger at Jack in the Box, etc.). The key is to trust some people with some things, some people with nothing, and few, if any, with everything. Wisdom will enable you to realize who fits into each category. But God can always be trusted, for Christ never leaves nor forsakes those who trust in Him and God works all things to the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28).

5. People are more important than things. But the temptation is to sacrifice people for things. We need to prioritize relationships over getting stuff. Don’t wait too long to learn this. Some of your parents may have recently learned this or perhaps won’t until they have grandchildren. Some of your parents had to buy you a dog so you could know what love was supposed to look like. Don’t make the mistake of far too many who look back on their lives wishing they had shown more love to people they cared about. People don’t reflect and wish they had spent more time getting ahead or regret family time. Of course, God Himself demonstrates the value of people and His love for them in sending the Lord Jesus Christ as a payment for the sins of those who would believe in Christ. (cf. Rom 5:8)

It is my hope and prayer that God will open your eyes to see the beauty and majesty of Christ, God in the flesh who gave His life to pay for the sins of others. God raised Him from the dead to show His acceptance of payment for those who believe in Jesus. I pray that you will have a relationship with God through Christ as the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, drives you to the cross for forgiveness and hope. Apart from that reality, these words of mine will at best put a Band-Aid over the gaping wound that is sin.

Monday, August 18, 2008

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

Okay, this video is only funny because it's so close to reality! (HT Ross)

Read Al Mohler's contention that Americans are remodeling the doctrine of hell.

Ponder who is the greatest American athlete ever. (HT Jade)

Read about the cruelty to women in Pakistan. (HT Jade) See a similar Fox News piece.

Learn Hero Training 101: Evacuating the Wounded.

Match the manly celebrity with his "girlie" middle name.

Read the US News & World Report article that abortion rates have dropped to their lowest in decades. (HT James Grant) However, 1.2 million is still abominable!

Read Tim Challies' thoughts on the real chief end for many evangelical churches and potentially "balancing" two of them.

Read the comments section of a Denny Burk post dealing with gender inclusive language as some complementarians and egalitarians square off. (Warning: Some rather technical discussions therein regarding the Greek language)

Watch a video clip at Non Nobis Domine of a toddler entertaining some and spiritually invigorating others with his tongues in a church service. You won't believe your eyes.

Read John MacArthur's thoughts on the biggest problem with contemporary Christian music. Is it style or substance?

Read about cookie maker Mrs. Fields filing for bankruptcy.

Read about the girl (age 16) who died while driving drunk, only to have her texting heralded as the main problem. Where should I start? Perhaps with her mom, based on her comment.

Read about 300 Bibles confiscated from American Christians at the airport in China.

Read the transcript of Saturday night's Saddleback (Rick Warren) forum with Obama & McCain. Or watch the videos.

Read Reepicheep's thoughts on Saturday night's Saddleback forum with Obama & McCain.

Read Denny Burk's thoughts on the Obama & McCain forum: Advantage McCain.

Read CNN's write up about the Obama & McCain forum.

Read about a church's experience with eliminating the weekly worship bulletin. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read about the decree regarding inappropriate touching of altar boys issued by the Roman Catholic bishop in Ohio. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read about the stigma of the unmarried man. (HT Anthony Bradley)

Read 5 questions to ask when evaluating music for church use.

View a timeline of events in the life of W.A. Criswell, including his endorsement of Roe v. Wade in 1973 and nomination of Adrian Rogers as SBC president in 1979. (HT Brother Hank)

Read James Galyon's thoughts on the so-called "Harmonious Society" China is creating where Christians are concerned.

Read Trevin Wax's thoughts on bedtime prayers with children. (HT Ray Fowler)

Read thoughts on the question, "Does teaching children to pray equal treating them as saved?"

Read about "white Americans" no longer being a majority by 2042.

Read Brent Thomas' thoughts on church planting as missions as well as missions vs. evangelism.

Read some quotes from Calvin Miller's, Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition compiled by Jay the Bennett.

Read Rick Phillips' thoughts on discipling Christian children. (HT Tim Challies)

Read about why children lie. (HT Tim Challies)

Read Johnny Mac's thoughts on restoration of a pastor who committed adultery.

Read 50 things Anthony Carter likes about politics.

Read as John Piper addresses, "How should I spend my time?"

Read Joe Thorn's thoughts on "Gospel-Centered Assimilation."

Read about Michael Phelps' 12,000 calories per day diet. (HT Justin Taylor)

Read Thabiti Anyabwile’s answer to the following question: "What would you say to a twentysomething who is convinced that her routine of watching online sermons and occasionally attending area church bible studies is her 'church'?" What would you say?

Check out what followed the family's beagle through their dog door.

Read Thabiti Anyabwile's explanation of Expositional Listening.

Read Pat Buchanan's Roman Catholic case against Obama. (HT Tim Challies)

Listen to a debate about baptism between Robert Strimple and Fred Malone. (HT Justin Taylor)

Scope out a list of resources for (Christian) women.

Comment of the Week:
"Ahhh yes. Baxter is indeed wise, so long as he is speaking English. After all, he knows I don't speak Spanish." (Sean Crowe)
Listen to yesterday's sermon at Providence Church on Philippians 4:4-7, "Pathway to Peace"
"Assumptions are the termites of relationships."
-Henry Winkler


Thursday, August 14, 2008

I ain't gonna leave no hair in the sink or nothing like that.

We celebrate our 15th anniversary today. I pause to reflect on the vast changes during that time and our humble origins to where we are now by God's blessed providence.

Though we fail to meet expectations, God exceeds them.

God is good. All the time.
All the time. God is good.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. -Proverbs 18:22

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You're so wise. You're like a miniature Buddha, covered with hair.

A list of wisdom nuggets I came across. I'm planning to print off a copy for each of my kids, perhaps to hang in their rooms. But, then I realized that I probably need a copy as well.
  1. If you open it, close it.
  2. If you turn it on, turn it off.
  3. If you unlock it, lock it up.
  4. If you break it, admit it.
  5. If you can't fix it, call in someone who can.
  6. If you borrow it, return it.
  7. If you value it, take care of it.
  8. If you make a mess, clean it up.
  9. If you move it, put it back.
  10. If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, ask permission.
  11. If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
  12. If it's none of your business, don't ask questions.
  13. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  14. If it will brighten someone's day, say it.
  15. If it will tarnish someone's reputation, keep it to yourself.
-Author Unknown

Monday, August 11, 2008

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

As a newly acclimated Facebook-er, I couldn't resist sharing this diddy. (HT Erik Kowalker)

Read the running commentary from Michael McKinley's time spent watching TBN. As a public service, he watches TBN so we don't have to.

Read about the controversy over an Indian surrogate baby as her Japanese parents are divorcing.

Check out the new slooge available at (HT Tim Challies) If anyone wanted to throw some love my way, I'm partial to the Whitefield, Luther, and Huss.

Read an explanation of why the "I" is capitalized (unique to English) by Caroline Winter. (HT Tim Challies)

Read Justin Taylor's thoughts on what to do when your favorite theologians disagree.

Read why lead singers should never go solo.

Read 5 hermeneutics fallacies in much children's curricula by John Walton. (HT Justin Taylor)

Read Michael Silver's argument that Favre is to blame for the nasty divorce from the Packers.

Read the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read about Americans experiencing Obama overload, feeling they've heard too much about him lately.

Read about the top 15 albums by women. (Sorry, Oilcan, Bette Midler didn't make the list.)

Read about Lindsay Lohan's rumored plans to marry ... female DJ Samantha Rosen.

Read about Lindsay Lohan's father's assertions that he will not walk her down the aisle because of his Christian faith.

Read about the trend of outlawing popcorn in British cinemas.

Read as Anthony Bradley asks, "Why do men hide salaries from each other?"

Read about Disney executives squashing rumors that next season is Miley Cyrus' last season for Hannah Montana, even though those rumors were started by Miley Cyrus.

Read about the new code of conduct for fans at NFL games.

Check out the 10 Manliest Superheroes.

Check out the 9 Unmanliest Superheroes.

Read about 6 Television Firsts (from Canned Laughter to Dropping the “D” Word).

Read Mark Driscoll's thoughts on his conversation with Wayne Grudem.

Read about the Top 10 (Summer) Olympics Moments. (HT Ray Fowler)

Learn why Tony Felich is leery of (contemporary) Olympic success.

Read about the trail of Cheetohs giving away the burglars of a vending machine.

Scope out a copy of the notes (pdf) Mark Dever takes into the pulpit as part of Joshua Harris' preaching notes series. If you'd like you can listen to the sermon here.

Read about Angela Tuttle being elected constable by one vote, her own.

Read Dan Edelen's thoughts on That Nutty Small Group Dialectic.

Read about 2 babies born on 08-08-08 at 8:08am who weighted 8lbs 8oz.

Check out some great resources for leading in the home compiled by Colin Adams.

Read about the man who found cocaine in the used police car he purchased.

Read S. M. Hutchens make a case that egalitarianism is "anthropological heresy." (HT Denny Burk)

Read about the drunk driver who stopped at a police deputy's house at 4AM to ask for directions.

Read about Chris Brauns' experience of a deathbed scene where a spouse of 40+ years was departing.

Read about 7,000 police cases being reopened due to DNA error.

Purchase John Piper's new book, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, for only $5.

Read about German policewomen getting "bullet-proof bras."

Read about the water boarding attraction at the amusement park. This you gotta check out. "It don't Gitmo better than this!"

Check out all the audio from Mark Driscoll's recent UK tour.

Read about the woman attacked by a bear while gardening.

Read about a woman protecting herself against a lion with a machete.

Check out (pdf) the ESV Study Bible notes for the entire book of Jonah.

Read about a thief being hijacked of the truck he had stolen.

Read about postal worker laboring to have kilts approved as official uniform.

Watch 6 video clips of the Stephen Curtis Chapman family on Larry King Live talking about their tragic loss.

Read about the landlord ramming his Humer into the renter's house because they were behind on their rent.

Check out some old John Piper slooge recently posted on the Desiring God site.

Read about the Ohio woman who billed Michigan $16 for unexpected construction delays.

Read about the grandmother arrested for driving with a three-year old on the roof.

Read about Paris Hilton's hot political opinions of McCain and energy issues.

Read about the 71 year-old Cincinnati preacher convicted of road rage, including a handgun.

Read about the man who repeatedly called 911 when the slot machine "stole" his money.

Read about the man who called 911 because he sandwich had no sauce.

Comment of the Week:
"oh my. I just threw up in my mouth watching that video." (Reepicheep)
Listen to yesterday's sermon at Providence Church on Philippians 4:2-3, "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?"
"I'm frustrated by your apathy."
-Alanis Morissette, "What I Really Want"


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I can't make it rain. I can harness the wind, but I ain't its creator.

I taught on the following topic in the Veritas Sunday school class at Providence Church this past Sunday.

The following question came to mind while walking around Disney World: Should a Christian complain about the weather?

Most do and it's an easy conversation starter, but if ...
  • God is in charge of the weather (and He is*)
  • God's people are to be content in Christ regardless of circumstances (Phil 2:14, 4:10-13)
  • complaining shows a lack of faith/trust in God

then ... it seems to me that we ought not to complain about the weather, though we can should/prayerfully petition God in the realm of weather (cf. Solomon's prayer: 1 Kings 8:35-36; Elijah's prayer: James 5:17-18 & 1 Kings 17-18).

Easier said than done, however especially during a Texas summer.

"He who complains of the weather complains of the God who ordained the weather!"
-William Law

Incidentally, what message was sent by Jesus in Mark 4:35-41 regarding His identity? (cf. Ps 107:29)

*Some weather related texts to validate that God, not "Mother Nature" controls the weather.
  • Deut 11:13-14 And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.
  • Joshua 10:11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
  • 1 Sam 12:17-18 Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
  • Job 28:25-28 "Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass? Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew?"
  • Job 36:32 He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark.
  • Job 37:3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
  • Job 37:6 For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
  • Job 37:11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning.
  • Job 37:13 Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.
  • Job 37:15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
  • Ps 107:25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
  • Ps 107:29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
  • Ps 147:8 He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
  • Ps 147:18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
  • Is 29:5b-6 And in an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
  • Isaiah 45:7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity,I am the Lord, who does all these things.
  • Jer 10:13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
  • and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. (cf. 51:16)
  • Jer 14:22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.
  • Amos 4:7 I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither
  • Jonah 1:4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. (cf. 1:11-16)
  • Zech 14:17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.
  • Matt 5:45 For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • Mark 4:35-41 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
  • Acts 14:17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
  • Rev 16:21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Abby who? Abby Normal.

STRESS TEST (HT Billie Hartman)

I am not sure exactly how this works, but this is amazingly accurate.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at the Mayo Clinic and later at Fletcher Medical Center in Burlington.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find many differences between the two dolphins.

The more differences a person finds, the more stress that person is experiencing.

Look at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may need to take a vacation.


Monday, August 04, 2008

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

They do "love the Lordy." Now I know the true reason my church has not been growing as fast as some others: We're not spinning anything, which we should be if Jesus spins us right round, baby, right round, like a record, baby. We need a "Holy Ghost Ho-Down" apparently to start a "love train." Incidentally, when did waving one's hands in the air become the international sign of apathy? (HT Vitamin Z)

Read the update on Tom Ascol's condition after having been stuck by lightning. He is the executive director of Founders Ministries and an Aggie, class of '79. He's a good ambassador for the Reformed Baptist position and your prayers would be greatly appreciated by his family.

Read Tom Ascol's personal account of being struck by lightning, if you haven't already.

Read Jay the Bennett's Philosophy of Youth Ministry.

Read about the national Ligonier conference in March on the Holiness of God. Speakers include RC Sproul, Al Mohler, D.A. Carson, Alistair Begg, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Sinclair Ferguson.

Read about the dirty cop who would extort free drinks from Starbucks.

Read J.I. Packer's thoughts on the theological issues we should study to prepare us for the next 50 years of theological fidelity.

Check out the most recent installment of "Stuff White People Like" ... Facebook.

Read an interview with Tom Schreiner of SBTS about his book New Testament Theology and related topics.

Read about the Chick-fil-A founder's prescribed punishment for the girls who vandalized his home to the tune of $30,000. (HT Timothy)

Read about the man who lost his prosthetic leg while skydiving.

Read about new legislation that defines pregnancy in such a way that birth control pills and IUDs could be regarded as abortion. (HT Brent Thomas)

Read Denny Burk's thoughts on why "conscientious Christians" should oppose Obama's candidacy.

Read that loud music increases the rate of drinking in a bar.

Read Why College Men Aren't Ready to Marry by Steve Watters.

Read Why College Women Aren't Ready to Marry by Bethany Torode.

Read about the Feminization of the American Male from Top to Toe by Randy Stinson on the Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood's blog. (HT Tim Challies)

Read about the woman in Canada who gave birth to baby #18.

Read about Fernando Tatis coming out of baseball retirement so he could make money to help his church buy land and build. (HT Ray Fowler) Also, when Tatis was with the Cardinals he hit 2 grand slams in a game ... in the same inning!

Read about the man who got 2 holes in one in the same round at age 66.

Read John Smulo's 5 reasons he hates telling people he's a Christian.

Read Jon Nelson's 6 reasons he loves telling people he's a Christian.

Read the Most Important Thing I Learned in Seminary by Dr. Peter Beck. (HT Jay the Bennett)

Read about the golden retriever that adopted tiger cubs at a Kansas zoo.

Read about the US House of Representatives apologizing for slavery and Jim Crow laws. (HT Reformed Blacks of America)

Read the Top 25 Tips to Help Prepare Your Home for Sale in a Slow Market.

Read "Homeschooling is NOT the Gospel" by Brian Sandifer, a homeschooler.

Read about the doorman who hit the $5 million lottery, but said he'd keep his job. That was until he got fired.

Read about the Together for Adoption Conference (T4A).

Check out some good gas prices cartoons assembled by Zach Nielsen.

Buy Brian Regan's new comedy DVD, especially if you enjoyed his video clip last Monday. (HT Lance Ward)

Read Joe Thorn's 8 topics that can naturally connect to the Christian faith to transition to evangelistic discussion.

Read How to Read the Bible Aloud to Children by Tony Kummer.

Read about a Greyhound bus incident whereby a man stabbed and decapitated another man and "waved the severed head at horrified witnesses standing outside." (HT Anthony Bradley)

Read about the fight where one man hit the other with a shovel and got his nose bitten off as retribution. Yes, they had been been drinking heavily.

Read 13 Marks of Manhood according to Dr. Al Mohler.

Read about the 10 Richest People of All Time and How They Made Their Fortunes.

Read about the difference between Socialism and Communism.

Ponder how much to bequeath each child: Which of Your Kids Should Get More?

Read about the boy who turned in his counterfeiting mom.

Read Ed Stetzer's analysis of the ranking of "SBC blogs."

Read 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week.

Check out the varying phases of the Walmart logo, now sans hyphen.

Read the 10 best quotes from Batman: The Dark Knight.

Read about the US Military's Sleep Reduction Program.

Read Steve Camp's Top 10 signs you are visiting a Submerging Church.

Comment of the Week:
"Flair is usually the first 'FB addiction'! :)" (Kelly)
Listen to yesterday's sermon at Providence Church on Philippians 3:17--4:1, "Mimicking the Model Christian."
"Don't fight a battle if you don't gain anything by winning."
-General George S. Patton


Saturday, August 02, 2008

And now you must go into the forest and cut down the largest tree with ... a herring!

Who will win the National League Central?

The Cardinals have 50 games left and they are presently 4 games behind the Cubs for 1st place.

Of those 50 games:
Home games = 25
Away games = 25

Games against teams that are .500 or better = 20
Games against teams that are sub .500 = 30

Home games vs. .500+ = 10
Home games vs. sub .500 = 15

Away games vs. .500+ = 10
Away games vs. sub .500 = 15

Cardinals Home record = 31-25
Cardinals Away record = 31-25

If the Cardinals kept those winning percentages ...
Remaining home games = 14-11
Remaining away games = 14-11
Going 28-22 in their last 52 games,
finishing 90-76.
(I think they will need at least 93 to win the division.)

The Cubs remaining 52 games:
Home games = 27
Away games = 25

Games against teams that are .500 or better = 28
Games against teams that are sub .500 = 24

Home games vs. .500+ = 15
Home games vs. sub .500 = 12

Away games vs. .500+ = 13
Away games vs. sub .500 = 12

Cubs Home record = 39-15
Cubs Away record = 26-30

If the Cubs kept those winning percentages ...
Remaining home games = 19-8
Remaining away games = 11-14
Going 30-22 in their last 52 games,
finishing 95-67. (5 games ahead)

The Cubs are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Cardinals are 5-5. That will not do.

The Cardinals have 9 games left with the Cubs (6 away, 3 home). The percentages would say the Cardinals go 4-5 in those games, thereby losing a game in the standings. I contend that the Cardinals must go 6-3 (thereby gaining 3 games) to have a chance to win the division.

That will not be easy, even if the schedule slightly favors the Cardinals. In fact, it might be easier to cut down the largest tree in the forest with ... a herring.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

I said, "Keep an eye on them," not "turn them into the cast of Grease."

What I learned taking the family to Disney World ...
  1. Dressing the whole family in matching outfits may look nerdy, but it is effective in finding one another in a crowd.
  2. You can really spend a lot of time in lines waiting for rides. It's then that you really appreciate how much your kids feel the need to be rescued from boredom.
  3. Indoor shows are a good way to cool off, taking advantage of their air conditioning. (HT Oilcan)
  4. Complaining relieves stress (or at least gives the feeling/illusion thereof). Listening to the complaining of others really intensifies stress. Corollary: The complaining of others pales in comparison to my own.
  5. Disney, like many other places in American society, is not designed for families of 6+. You will often have to ride and dine in separate groups.
  6. Use the Fastpass feature whereby you scan your ticket and then return later to avoid the line, trying not to look smug at those in the queue. You can only Fastpass so many at a time, so plan your strategy, hitting the hottest or most prized rides first. (Insider secret: You can't return earlier than your time window, but you can return later.)
  7. I can understand why people put leashes on their children. I don't endorse it, necessarily, but I understand it.
  8. Modesty (or lack thereof) is seemingly unrelated to body size/shape or chronological age.
  9. The "fanny pack" may be practical, but I'm still not a fan of it being an accessory for a grown man.
  10. You should always check the hotel alarm clock to make sure it's not set for 4:45AM, thereby awakening people prematurely.
  11. All Krispy Kreme locations are not created equal, some are quite bad with rude employees, stale donuts, and limited coffee selection.
  12. Kids can be very disappointed when you get the whole family in swimming attire and learn after you're there that the condo's pool is closed. The least they could do is have a moose out front to tell you. Perhaps even a person who can say more than, "Pool's closed" would be nice. I felt like Fletch in the "So you're saying she moved out" conversation.
  13. Having lunch in the castle with the princesses is at the opposite end of cheap, but it was the highlight of the week for some of the kids.
  14. It can rain a fair amount in Orlando and a pancho or umbrella might be helpful. I didn't mind getting wet, but a Wal-Mart pancho would probably be about 1/3 the cost of the same one sold in a different package at Disney World.
  15. Customer service is not so good in a tourist area.
  16. Customers can be really rude to the help, which may contribute to the #13 above.
  17. Duration of sleep can't overcome quality of sleep when the bed is horrible. After all the walking and standing in line in the heat, I could have used some good sleep. Instead I couldn't sleep on that miserable bed for more than 1.5 hours at a time and each morning I got up with the addition of a new pain (e.g., back, neck, knees, etc.). Oh, bringing my own "crunchy" pillow would have been wise as well.
  18. Kids don't always give you much notice regarding their potty needs. Too frequently we heard, "I have to go to potty ... REALLY BAD!" with no prior notice.
  19. If we have to make a potty stop, we're all going. I don't care if a kid doesn't have to go. 3 exits after you rejoin Interstate traffic someone will likely have a need in that department.
  20. I discovered a great Italian fast food joint called Fazoli's and their "unlimited" bread sticks are outstanding. I ate like a dozen of them for dessert and I'm not even a bread fan. (Incidentally, they say they're unlimited and ready with a smile, but after the 2nd trip, I got no smile.) Oh, and they have Cherry Coke on tap.
  21. Kids really like to boss each other around, especially with regard to the toys of others.
  22. Vacation is hard work. After 3 days of Disneying, we took a day off to enjoy the pool which finally opened. After 2 full days of driving on either side, I could have used a few days to recover from vacation.
  23. Disney World is actually like 7 different parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios, Typhon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney Area.
  24. My suggested minimal age for a kid is 3. I wouldn't want the whip of dealing with strollers and/or diapers. There are still a few rides (e.g., roller coasters) that would be inaccessible at age 3 (height restrictions), but they really enjoy themselves. 3 is okay, but 4 would be even better. Our plan, Lord willing, is to go again in 3 years, when our youngest is 6.
  25. High School Musical 2 may not do much for you the 1st time, but after watching (or listening to) it every day for 2 weeks, the songs really start to grow on you.


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