Thursday, October 29, 2009

Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora.

In honor of the upcoming Reformation Day on Saturday, a plethora of Reformation Day (October 31, 1517) links for your reading pleasure.

Read the lyrics of the Reformation Polka.

Read James Galyon's overview of Luther & the Reformation's birth.

Read Martin Luther's 95 Theses.

Read about the 5 Solas per James Montgomery Boice.

Read Gunny's thoughts on Sola Scriptura.

Read Reepicheep's piece about the biography of Luther leading up to and including his conversion.

Watch a video of D. James Kennedy explaining the significance of Reformation Day. (HT James Galyon)

Read a short selection from Roland Bainton's Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther.

Read some insight into the relationship between Martin Luther and his beloved Katie.

Read Erasmus' In Praise of Folly.

Read Gunny's thoughts on pre-Reformer John Huss.

Read Luther's thoughts on lazy pastors.

Luther's thoughts on God's punishment.

Check out John Piper's notes & audio of his biography of Martin Luther.

Read Gunny's reflections on the life of John Calvin.

Check out Tim Challies' 2008 collection of Reformation Day items.

Check out some Reformation Art.

Read Luther's explanation of his seal/rose.

Read Gunny's suggested acrostic to replace TULIP as the expression of Reformed soteriology.

Read Tom Ascol's thoughts on John Calvin and how his readers celebrated Calvin's 500th birthday.

Other suggestions?
"Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God's majesty."
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.1.3

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.

What to think of multi-site church campuses?

Doubtless, you're familiar with a trend in church growth. Instead of planting new churches, many churches are instead opening up another "campus," where those who assemble typically watch the preaching done at the main campus via live feed or rebroadcast.

What should we think of the practice?

There are obviously reasons to do it that way. For example, you can keep control over the doctrine and practice over the new group. You have name recognition, of the church and/or preacher, that will draw a crowd.

But, aren't there drawbacks as well?

Why not take the 6 greatest preachers in a denomination and offer to broadcast them into each church, instead of having some 2nd rate pastor labor through sermon construction amid his other duties?

Seriously, can you imagine how much time would be available if a pastor didn't have to preach that Sunday morning sermon?

What is lost in that approach? You could say you lose the ability for the pastor to really shepherd those people. But I've long since held that's going to be the case in a mega church anyway, where the pastors/elders are not really able to effectively shepherd the masses of people whose names they don't even know.

Of course, in the typical mega church the folks are already watching the preacher on a screen, so does it matter if it's live or if he's really in the building?

Anyone have firsthand experience in the multisite church? Your thoughts? What were the pros? the cons?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the multisite church idea, but the more I think about it, the more I come to realize it's really the mega church approach that I don't like, not just the multisite approach.

Here's a Christianity Today LINK to various responses to the following question:
"Should Multisite Campuses Be Church Plants Instead?"


Friday, October 16, 2009

As the French say, that certain "I don't know what."

I keep on noticing the prevalence of Schadenfreude among my children. Yeah, they were not familiar with the term either. It's a German word referring to taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. They love to see each other get in trouble or have bad things happen to them, but that's a post on depravity we'll save for another day.

But, for your learning pleasure, I share some other neat terms from the Fatherland, terms that tend to express an idea better than English might.
  • An sich - in itself
  • Backpfeifengesicht - German compound word for a face that should be hit
  • Besserwisser - "better knower," somebody who knows better or best and who does not hesitate to inform the others about it; akin to a "know-it-all"
  • Dasein - existence or being there, an entity's potentiality1
  • Doppelgänger - "double goer" - a ghostly double, look-alike, or clone of a person
  • Dummkopf - "dummy head"
  • Fahrvergnügen - enjoyment derived from driving
  • Freispiel - free play or free game
  • Gemütlichkeit - connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time
  • Gesundheit - health
  • Heilsgeschichte - salvation history, God's positive saving actions throughout history
  • Hinterland - remote area, back country
  • Kaputt - out of order
  • Kitsch - cheap, sentimental, gaudy items of popular culture, trinkets
  • Schadenfreude - pleasure in someone else's misfortune
  • Schweinehund - "pig dog," common term of insult
  • Sitz im Leben - setting in life, context
  • Spielzeug - play thing, toy
  • Übermensch - overman or superman2
  • Verboten - forbidden
  • Verstehen - understanding
  • Wanderlust - a strong need or desire to travel
  • Weltanschauung - world view
  • Wunderbar - wonderful
  • Wunderkind - wonder kid, miracle child
  • Zeitgeist - spirit of the time

See also nunchi, a Korean word for the innate ability to sense what would be the wrong thing to say in a situation (and presumably the ability to then not say it).

1 - Dasein was famously examined by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time. It is derived from da-sein, which literally means "being-there/here," though Heidegger was not fond of this translation. Heidegger chose this term as a synonym for "human entity" in order to emphasize the critical importance "being" has for our understanding and interpretation of the world.

2 - Übermensch was made famous as a concept by Friedrich Nietzsche, who declared the Übermensch as a goal for humanity, overcoming the herd, in his book Also Sprach Zarathustra.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Get in there you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!

I had to share this poem, recommended to me by one of my fellow elders, one who could empathize firsthand with the author.

James Whitcomb Riley

We had our posey garden
That the women loved so well.
I loved it too but better still
I loved the stronger smell
That filled the evening breezes
So full of homely cheer
And told the night-o’ertaken tramp
That human life was near.
On lazy August afternoons:
It made a little bower
Delightful, where my grandsire sat
And whiled away an hour.
For there the summer morning
Its very cares entwined.
And berry bushes reddened
In the teeming soil behind.
All day fat spiders spun their webs
To catch the buzzing flies.
That flitted to and from the house
Where Ma was baking pies.
And once a swarm of hornets bold
Had built a palace there.
And stung my unsuspecting aunt –
I must not tell you where.
Then father took a flaming pole
That was a happy day –
He nearly burned the building up
But the hornets left to stay.
When summer bloom began to fade
And winter to carouse,
We banked the little building
With a heap of hemlock boughs.
But when the crust was on the snow
And the sullen skies were gray,
In sooth the building was no place
Where one could wish to stay.
We did our duties promptly;
There one purpose swayed the mind.
We tarried not nor lingered long
On what we left behind.
The torture of that icy seat
Would made a Spartan sob,
For needs must scrape the goose flesh
With a lacerating cob.
That from a frost-encrusted nail
Was suspended by a string –
My father was a frugal man
And wasted not a thing.
When grandpa had to “go out back”
And make his morning call,
We’d bundled up the dear old man
With a muffler and a shawl.
I knew the hole on which he sat
‘Twas padded all around,
And once I dared to sit there;
‘Twas all too wide, I found.
My loins were all too little
And I jack-knifed there to stay;
They had to come and get me out
Or I’d have passed away.
Then father said ambition
Was a thing small boys should shun,
And I must use the children’s hole
Till childhood days were done.
But still I marvel at the craft
That cut those holes so true;
The baby hole and the slender hole
That fitted Sister Sue.
That dear old country landmark!
I’ve tramped around a not
And in the lap of luxury
My lot has been to sit,
But ere I die I‘ll eat the fruit
Of trees I robbed of yore,
Then seek the shanty where my name
Is carved upon the door.
I ween the old familiar smell
Will soothe my jaded soul;
I’m now a man, but none the less
I’ll try the children’s hole.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

The following are some of my notes from Sunday's sermon at Providence Church,"Fasting and Feasting."
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18, ESV)
Click to listen:

Principle & Application:
  • Principle - Do your righteous deeds to please God, not to impress others (Matthew 6:1)
  • Application - Giving (6:2-4); Prayer (6:5-15); and Fasting (6:16-18)

Definition: Fasting - “a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.” (Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life)

10 major categories of purpose in fasting:
  1. To Strengthen Prayer
  2. To Seek God’s Guidance
  3. To Express Grief
  4. To Seek Deliverance or Protection
  5. To Express Repentance and Return to God
  6. To Humble Oneself Before God
  7. To Express Concern for the Work of God
  8. To Minister to the Needs of Others – Giving away the money you’d have spent on food.
  9. To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Yourself to God
  10. To Express Love and Worship to God
(Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life)

“In Scripture we see several purposes for fasting. It’s part of the discipline of self-control; it’s a way of sharing that we depend on God alone and draw all our strength and resources from him; it’s a way of focusing totally on him when seeking his guidance and help, and of showing that you really are in earnest in your quest; it’s also, at times, an expression of sorrow and deep repentance, something that a person or community will do in order to acknowledge failure before God and seek his mercy.” (J.I. Packer)

“It is sobering to realize that the very first statement Jesus made about fasting dealt with the question of motive. To use good things to our own ends is always the sign of false religion...Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained...Fasting reminds us that we are sustained by ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matt. 4:4)...Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!” (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline)

How NOT to fast (Matt 6:16) - Looking somber, complaining about hunger, telling people who don’t need to know. (Cf. Luke 18:9-14)

Per the prophets, without right conduct fasting was/is in vain (e.g., Isaiah 58:1-12; Jer 14:11-12)

Hot to fast (Matt 6:17-18) - Fast for God’s eyes, not to impress others.

Fasting is feasting, but on a different kind of food. (Matt. 4:4; Deut 8:3)

Fasting is a good reminder of our frailty and dependence on God and that nothing else in life really satisfies but the Lord Himself.

“Now, remember, you will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything else but Christ." (Charles Spurgeon)

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Friday, October 09, 2009

You're talking about stuff I haven't done yet in the past tense and it's driving me crazy.

We don't often get all political up in this piece and this isn't so much a political comment as more a rhetorical question to express incredulity.

By now you've heard that Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Normally, I don't get too concerned about these things because they're so subjective and often make little sense to my small brain.

But this time I have to ask one question: What was so impressive and peace creating about Obama's thirteen (13) days as president* that merited a nomination, let alone dominance over the rest of the planet of peace pursuers?

I personally made peace many times among my kiddos during 2008 where there was no peace and I didn't even get a nomination? That's an outrage!

Seriously, and interestingly enough, at least one commentator thinks Obama should turn it down. That might be a great PR move, actually. Rush Limbaugh thinks this is a "greater embarrassment" (for Obama) than not getting the Olympics.

P.S. I wonder if Kanye is going to show up at the award ceremony to suggest someone he deems more worthy.
The deadline for 2009 nominations for said Nobel Peace Prize was February 1st, 2009.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Swing away, Merrill. Merrill ... swing away.

The baseball playoffs (schedule) start tomorrow, so it's prediction time. Yours are most welcome.

10/7/2009 UDPATE: This just in, Vegas oddsmakers pick Cardinals & Yankees in the World Series.

Cardinals at Dodgers - Cardinals
Rockies at Phillies - Rockies

Tigers/Twins* at Yankees - Yankees
Red Sox at Angels - Red Sox

Rockies at Cardinals - Cardinals

Red Sox at Yankees - Yankees

World Series
Cardinals at Yankees - Cardinals Win!

  • NL: With the Cardinals top 3 in their pitching rotation and Pujols & Holliday, they have a chance against anybody. That being said, the Cardinals match up MUCH better against the Dodgers than the Rockies or Phillies. The key will be the pitching. Worst case scenario, Carpenter pitches Game 1 & Game 5 in LA. He could still pitch Game 3 & Game 7 in the NLCS, with Wainright & Pinero in Games 1 & 2 and 5 & 6. Ideal would be finishing off the Dodgers in 4 games to start Carpenter, Wainwright, and Pinero in Games 1-3 and 5-7 in the NLCS. Either way, some off days favor the Cardinals being able to maximize their starting pitching.
  • AL: The Yankees & Red Sox shouldn't have much difficulty in the first round, even though the Red Sox start on the road. I wouldn't be surprised by another epic match up in the ALCS, but I think the Yankees have upgraded a bit, but I wouldn't say the same for Boston.

*Regardless of who wins the one-game playoff tonight, neither poses much of a threat to NY. However, I am rooting for the Twins after the Cabrera's recent incident of potent drunkeness and spousal physicality. I just wish the sport commentators were more upset about the latter than the potential "distraction" he's caused the Tigers.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

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

How to Work a Crowd, by Alexis Bauer.

Read John MacArthur on How to Kill Sin in Your Life.

Read about the health care workers in NY willing to lose their jobs instead of receiving the mandated H1N1 flu shot. (HT Timothy)

Check out the CNN article on the 12 Most Annoying Types of Facebookers.

Read about What Baptists Can Learn from Calvin.

Check out TIME Magazine's Tools for Managing Your Online Life after Death.

Check out the 100 Best Blogs for Homeschooling Moms.

Read a nice explanation of why I reject the label "anabaptist" and distance accordingly.

Read Tom Ascol's Christian response to national blasphemy day.

Read Chris Brauns' assertion that You're not swearing if you use the word, "Submit."

Learn (Part 1 - Part 2) the characteristics of a good Sunday school teacher.

Check out this video clip where the congressman asks to see a constituents ID before allowing him to ask a question, though his party would prefer to not ID anyone to be able to vote.

Read the Wall Street Journal article about How Facebook Ruins Friendships.

Check out Stuff Christians Like #615: Making sure everyone online knows you're married.

Learn about the group Conservatives for Parents' Rights.

Read of 6 reasons pastors should blog.

Read Anselm's Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man) online for free.

Read James Galyon on Deaconesses in SBC Life.

Check out the audio from the Founders Conference Southwest on "The Foolishness of Preaching."

Check out Gunny & Executive Director of Founder Ministries Tom Ascol sporting their tricked out name tags at said conference.

Read John Piper on the Marks of a Spiritual Leader.

Read Carolyn Mahaney's piece entitled, "A Mother's Discipline Should Point Daughters to God's Truths."

Read Tim Challies' great piece on comparing (and contrasting) marital contentment with a husband and congregational contentment with the preacher. "But where my wife remains content with her husband, I see so many Christians who struggle to be content with their pastors."

Read about how much harder it is to be a Cowboys cheerleader than a Cowboys football player.

Check out Timmy Brister's reminder about continual repentance.

Read Timothy George's Christianity Today piece on John Calvin, the Comeback Kid.

Read Voddie Baucham's contrasting of the Hall of Fame acceptance speeches of Michael Jordan and David Robinson in his blog entry, "Be Like David ... Not Like Mike."

Read ESPN's Rick Reilly's similar thoughts: "Be Like Michael Jordan? No thanks." (HT Jade)

Check out "Some thoughts on the various misconceptions about Calvinism, Explained to those who still doubt the validity of its "Doctrines of Grace."

Read the Christianity Today piece on the "Mommy Wars," topics about which moms vehemently have opinions they share with one another.

Read a review of The Shack by Trevin Wax.

Read about the controversy in the NJ public school regarding accusations of partisan indoctrination wherein students were taught songs praising President Barak Hussein Obama. (HT Sean Crowe) (The video can be found here.)

Read Al Mohler's article on the abortion of Down's Syndrome babies, "Will Babies with Down's Syndrome Just Disappear?"

Check out 10 songs disowned by the people who made them famous. These are the songs they hope to never have to sing again.

Read Tony Felich's thoughts on the "Offense of the Cross."

Read the letter from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, sent to Scottish Minister Kenny MacAskill regarding the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. (HT Jade)

Read the following Pyromaniacs article: Sometimes fellowship is better than a fight. Sometimes not.

Read a great interview of David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe Ministries.

Check out this video clip, describing the situation in which the woman was implanted with the wrong embryo! (HT Jade)

Read about a studying finding Homeschoolers Scoring "Well Above" Their Public School Peers.

Check out the Newsweek photo essay on Athletes Who Should Have Stayed Retired.

Read some thoughts on the Sissification of the Church.

Check out this homograph homophone venn diagram.

Read about Classical, Theistic and Spiritual Evolutionism.

Check out 13 ways to bless missionaries without paying for postage.

Read Al Mohler's thoughts on the Hidden Reality of Abortion -- Empowering Men.

Read John Piper's concise articulation of the "5 Points of Calvinism" or "TULIP."

Read Judith Reisman's explanation as to why many (self included) are not Roman Polanski fans, but only if you have a strong stomach.

Read the Newsweek piece that asks, "Do Facebook Friends Provide the Same Support as Those In Real Life?"
"Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously."
-G.K. Chesterton. (HT Jeff Wright)


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