Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The preacher said all my sins is warshed away, including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in Yazoo.

In case you missed this great video: "Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pastors."

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nobody takes a picture of something they want to forget.

I got this from a friend. It's a good bull pictorial story, if ever I saw one. Indeed, a picture can say a thousand words. (You can click to enlarge each photo.)


Friday, July 24, 2009

Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

Are all "Rated R" movies created equal?

To me there can be a world of difference at times and some PG-13 movies are more troublesome than some Rated R.

Talking about television and movies, John Piper share's a great insight.
"I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching."

(full article; cf. Warning: This Bible passage is Rated R by Robert Hall)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coffee is for closers only.

What makes a person evangelistic?

What makes a church evangelistic?

Is evangelism a process or a result?

I think many would label a person or a church evangelistic if it got results. Am I right? Would you?

I submit to you that's false, particularly because it credits the person with that which only God can do (cf. John 6:44).
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
-1 Corinthians 3:5-8, ESV (emphasis mine)
We plant seeds. We water seeds. We are evangelistic.

But ... God causes the growth by opening hearts to respond to our message of the Gospel (e.g., Acts 16:14), we then rejoice with the angels in heaven because that sinner has repented (Luke 15:10).

It's less about you and I "doing it right," meaning a slick presentation and all the right words to say, but all about God using the power of the true Gospel as it comes through the lips of His impotent people (cf. Rom 1:16).
"Successful witnessing is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God."
-first heard in Campus Crusade for Christ
What makes a person evangelistic? I'm thinking ... A person who shares the Gospel is evangelistic. That person should also ...
  • Prepare by knowing the Gospel well.
  • Pray for opportunities to evangelize.
  • Pray for lost friends and family to be receptive and
  • Pray for God to change hearts of those hearing the Gospel.
  • Provide time to spend with person being evangelized, demonstrating care and the gravity of the discussion.
  • Pray for those with whom you've planted seeds that they would be watered (by the involvement of himself/herself or others) and would come to fruition (as the Spirit regenerates that person to respond in faith).
What makes a church evangelistic? I'm thinking ... An evangelistic church communicates the Gospel in its various ministries is evangelistic, for the benefit of the unconverted to be saved and for the benefit of the converted that they would be nourished, encouraged, and equipped to share that message with others. That church should also ...
  • Encourage its members to be evangelistic, so they realize their responsibility.
  • Encourages interaction with non-Christians by avoiding overloading weekly schedules.
  • Equip its members through repetition and discipleship to know the Gospel.
  • Exemplifies evangelistic priority by its leadership.
  • Empowers people, not programs, to plant and water seeds.
In my book, a person or a church doing those things gets a cup of coffee. If coffee was for closers only, only God would get coffee.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down for you.

Watching the Cardinals & the disAstros reminded me that 40 years ago humans walked on the moon. Thanks to Lance for reminding me of my favorite Brian Regan bit.

This was/is glorious AND so true! What if the lunar landing happened today, rather than in 1969? What would the media coverage look like?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm sorry. It's just that I've never seen people celebrate mediocrity the way you do.

We continue with our series based on The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do, by Mark Atteberry. The following are some notes from the Sunday school lesson (taught by Cody Dixon) at Providence Church.

DUMB MOVE #8: Settling for Mediocrity

“When we hear the word excellence, we think of God, the Bible, and all sorts of secular businesses, celebrities, and sports teams, but, apparently, we don’t think of the church.”

Sadly, when it comes to church, people often feel at liberty to slack off and not give their best, to not strive for excellence.

3 Reasons Excellence Matters:

1. God loves excellence.

God is consumed with His glory and does everything to the end of His glory, creation, salvation, governing providence, etc. Nothing is done half-baked.

2. The Bible commands excellence. (cf. Col 3:23-24; 1 Cor 10:31)

3. People respond to excellence.

“Everyone talks about how expensive Disney is, but people just keep paying the money no matter how high the prices get because they know they’re getting the best.”

“… we’ll probably get one chance to make a good impression.”

What does excellence require?

“Excellence is intentional. It happens when people make a conscious choice to meet its requirements.”

1. Excellence requires courage.

… to challenge the status quo.

2. Excellence requires giftedness.

“One of the greatest obstacles to excellence in the church is the mismanagement of God’s gifts.”
  • Some people are ignorant of their gifts.
  • Some people know their gifts but refuse to serve in those areas.
  • Some people know their gifts are lacking but insist on serving in those areas anyway.
“No one ever wants to admit that he’s not the right person for the job, but sometimes it’s the truth. Excellence requires that we serve in areas where we can do the most good … and the least harm.”

3. Excellence requires money.
  • Fact #1: Quality costs more, but generally pays for itself in the long run.
  • Fact #2: Quality equipment and resources will be a blessing to your servants.
  • Fact #3: High quality always makes a great first impression.
  • Fact #4: A commitment to quality says something about your love for the Lord.
4. Excellence requires thorough planning and preparation.

“The bottom line is that a lack of preparation and planning in the Lord’s work is the straightest road to mediocrity.”

5. Excellence requires perseverance.

Excellence is not easily achieved and is the fruit of prolonged efforts.

Discussion Questions:
  1. When speaking of excellence, why would church not be one of the first things Christians would think of?
  2. “Name some areas where you feel your church demonstrates excellence. Are there some areas where you feel improvement is needed? What, specifically, could you do to improve the quality of those areas?”
  3. Why do people often put forth less effort where church is concerned (e.g., punctuality, reliability, follow through on commitments, diligence, etc.) than in other areas of their lives (e.g., job, sports activities, clubs, physical family functions, etc.)? Doesn’t the Lord and His Bride deserve better?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

I came across this question about a month ago:
"Which would you rather have in your church, legalists or alcoholics?"

For discussion purposes, I'm defining legalist in the following manner:
"A legalist [in the realm of the biblical Christian] is one who elevates human rules/laws to the point where they are equated to or trump God's laws, considering violation of those human precepts to be sinful when done by others."
In other words, it's calling something sin that the Bible does not, particularly in the lives of others. I have no problem, for example, with a person making a rule for himself/herself to help prevent sin, but it becomes legalism when others are held to that rule as well. For example, it may be wise to say, "To avoid being drunk, I will never drink."

That being said, we return to the original question:
"Which would you rather have in your church, legalists or alcoholics?"

There's no doubt in my mind. I would rather have alcoholics in my church and for the following reasons:
  1. Alcoholics tend to know their struggles, knowing drunkeness to be sinful. Legalists not only don't see their legalism as sinful behavior, but they actually see it as righteous. They take pride in their ability to perform according to those human standards, creating a pride and arrogance that are hard to combat.
  2. Alcoholics tend to know what it's like to struggle with sin and they are more compassionate and encouraging to others in the church who struggle with sin. The legalists tend to be the least compassionate and encouraging people you'll meet in church, loving you only when you're meeting their standards of behavior.

As you probably assume, I do not regard the consumption of alcohol as sinful in and of itself, whether it be in a cough medicine, vinegar, or beverage alcohol. However, I am convinced the Bible condemns drunkenness.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

They think he's a righteous dude.

John Calvin (i.e., Jean Cauvin) was born 10 July 1509.

If not for sin, he would have celebrated his 500th birthday today. Of course, if not for sin, we would have never had his great teaching concerning justification by faith alone.

If you've never read his Institutes of the Christian Religion, you might be surprised to know that's not some polemic for T.U.L.I.P., but a very nice treatment of Christianity in general. In it's beginning we learn that "the sum of human wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves."

That's always stuck with me. The more I know of the holiness of God, the more I know of my need and dependence on a gracious God who is at the same time forgiving and sin avenging.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Frenchie.

P.S. Check out Ligonier Ministries' special today only: Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology for a donation of any amount. This one day offer can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-435-4343.

The book is a collection of authors (e.g., Jerry Bridges, John MacArthur, Sinclair Ferguson, Jay Adams, and Tom Ascol) writing about Calvin's life & theology. John Piper has high praise for the authors: "To my knowledge, there never has been a collection of authors of any edited volume under whose ministry I would rather sit than these."


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.

Ligonier Ministries, in honor of John Calvin's 500th birthday is offering the black leather (ESV) Reformation Study Bible for ANY AMOUNT.

Today only, get a black leather Reformation Study Bible for a donation of any amount. This is a call-in offer only and is not available online. To take advantage of this special one-day offer, call 800-435-4343 today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. (No substitutions. Color maps not included.)

"The Reformation Study Bible is a milestone in evangelical publishing. This magnificent resource offers insightful commentary, study notes, and background material on every book of the Bible, written by some of the most faithful and insightful evangelical scholars of our times. The notes combine theological clarity with genuine scholarship and practical application. This is a serious study Bible for serious students, and it belongs in every Christian's library."
-- Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?

Tomorrow is the 8th of July, which affords us some neat numerical slooge.

At five minutes and six seconds after 4 AM on the 8th of July this year, the time and date will be ...

04:05:06 07/08/09


Monday, July 06, 2009

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

I don't eat boiled eggs, but if I did, this is how I would quickly peel them.

Read Bob Kauflin's thoughts on the question, "Should July 4th affect our Sunday planning?"

Check out this neat visual illusion that helps understand the effectiveness of the curve ball. (HT Phil Johnson)

Read about the Houston suburb pastor who was hospitalized after being tazered by a police officer. Really, this will be an interesting case to follow.

Read 5 myths about America's origins.

Read about the strange ingredients in fireworks.

Read Tom Ascol's thoughts on the 2009 SBC annual meeting.

Read about the warrant out for the arrest of a Killeen mother ... because she hasn't returned a library book.

Read about the man who allegedly sprayed his wife with the water hose for smoking.

Check out this inspiring story of 3 brothers serving in Afghanistan. (HT Jade)

Check out these great National Geographic photos of the Statue of Liberty, rare views inside and out.

Read about the woman who was dead in her home for 5 years before discovered.

Read about the young woman who was hit by a train, while she was laying on the tracks to clear her mind.

Check out Keith Mathison's list of the top 5 commentaries on every book of the Bible.

Learn about the stunning new technology that will allow parents to hold a life size model of their unborn child in their hand.

Check out these 4 simple tips for decluttering your home.

Read (Part 1 - Part 2) Chuck Swindoll's "Stuff I've Learned" after nearly 50 years in ministry.

You've got to watch this FoxNews video clip. Among other things @2:19 Bill Clinton identifies himself as a Calvinist! (HT Tom Ascol)

Read about an Oregon man's wallet being returned ... after 63 years.

Read about Helen Thomas hitting the White House for a lack of transparency.

Read about the woman stealing from ladies' purses while they are kneeling in worship.

Check out some intriguing pairs and trios who died on the same day, in addition, of course, to Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

Learn about the pet python who strangled the family's 2 year old daughter. Am I the only one who thinks it's whacked to have a snake for a pet?

Read John F. MacArthur's sermon entitled, "Can God Bless America?"

Read about the McDonald's drive-thru employee accused of spitting on a police officer's Egg McMuffin.

Check out 11 literary references people make without realizing it.

Read about Alaska's Rat Island finally being free of rats after 229 years.

Learn about 7 medical myths which are widely believed.

Read about the Bronx teen who awoke about 10AM Sunday morning to find a boa constrictor. I think that would motivate me to get to church.

Read about 2 California elementary schools having to extend their school year until July 31st, due to a clerical error. Unbelievable! "A mistake in the length of state-permitted short days means students at two elementary schools must stay in school till July 31, or the district will lose $7 million in state funds."

Read Chris Braun's post about the "problem" of Esther.

Read about the government of Venezuela banning Coke Zero, citing unspecified health dangers.

Read Al Mohler's thoughts on the Gov. Sanford adultery.

Check out this picture of what 1960s folks would have thought of Twittering.

Read about the phenomenon of being self-conscious during worship.

Read about a parking space in Boston selling for $300,000.

Read an egalitarian's perception of the link between Calvinism & complementarianism.

Read about hard financial times in Britain leading to fewer divorces.

Find out how many sermons one must preach before he can preach well.

Read about a "Good Samaritan" mugged while helping a motorist.

Read about 10 stories behind Dr. Seuss books.

Read about the prosecutor wanting to ban fast food toys.

Check out the name tag I'd like to wear to my upcoming high school reunion.

Check out some video clips on of what we can gain from Calvin today.

Read about a daughter who broke her mom's legs while learning to drive.

Read (Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3) Tom Ascol's Long Journey in Church Discipline.

Read about the Washington judge deciding a 6AM blaring car horn is not protected free speech.

Check out Matt Waymeyer's 9 Hindrances to Fruitful Intercessory Prayer.

Read about QB Steve McNair's death being ruled a homicide.

Read 7 keys to creating a great list by Joshua Harris.

Read about a Missouri family's Christmas card photo surprisingly being used in advertising campaigns in the Czech Republic.

Read Randy Alcorn's alarming post about birth control pills potentially causing abortions.

Read about the problem of "groping" on Tokyo trains leading to requests for men only & women only train cars.

Check out these free training materials for Sunday school teachers.

Check out the 11 people every youth group "needs."

Read William Mounce's thoughts on whether or not Jesus was rude to his mother, Mary, in John 2:4.

Read some insightful words from D.A. Carson on worshiping worship.
"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."
– Martin Luther King, Jr.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

We continue with our series based on The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do, by Mark Atteberry. The following are some notes from my Sunday school lesson at Providence Church.

DUMB MOVE #7: Missing Golden Opportunities

Outreach "programs" are good and all … “But sometimes I wonder if we haven’t overlooked and undervalued those moments that can’t be structured to fit into a program.”

5 Practical Lessons from Acts 8:26-38, Philip’s Encounter with the Eunuch

Lesson #1 Some opportunities, if they are missed, will be lost forever.

“ask God to open your eyes and help you recognize whatever divine appointments He has set up for you.”

“The kingdom can be advanced or hindered depending on your readiness.”

Lesson #2 … God will give special opportunities to those who are committed and prepared.

Remember the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.”

“The single most important thing you can do to prepare yourself to be used by God is study the Scriptures.”

Lesson #3 … Some opportunities are much larger than they first appear.

“Clearly, you cannot know when you look at an opportunity what its potential is.”

Lesson #4 … Some opportunities bear immediate fruit for the kingdom.

Lesson #5 … The goal of every opportunity should be to point people to Jesus.

3 Reasons Opportunities Are Easy to Miss:
  1. We have our own hurts and needs to contend with.
  2. People are great actors.
  3. The pace of our lives.

Discussion Questions:
  1. “Some opportunities are larger than they first appear. Can you think of a time when you seized what you thought was a small opportunity, only to have it produce a huge result?”
  2. “One of the reasons we miss opportunities to serve is because people are such good actors. What about you? Do you pretend to be happy and healthy even when you’re hurting?” … “How could you be more genuine about your needs without becoming a chronic complainer?”
  3. How can we slow down the pace of our lives to better see and take advantage of opportunities?
  4. What can be done to cultivate a passion for the lost?

“So one of the biggest challenges we face is to become more aware of the opportunities around us. We need to take our eyes off ourselves. We need to look for subtle signs of distress in people who may be too proud or too afraid to admit they’re struggling. And we need to slow down.”

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

All right, remember - alcohol equals puke, equals smelly mess, equals nobody likes you!

I had a discussion once with a Baptist brother who was convinced the consumption of an alcoholic beverage in any amount was sinful, the context of which was the use of wine and grape juice in the Lord's Supper.

I was trying to show from the Scriptures that drunkeness was prohibited and that historically God's people, including the Lord Jesus, have had liberty with regard to moderate alcoholic consumption.

Yet, he was adamant that alcohol was sinful in and of itself.

At one point I made mention of the fact that there is alcohol in some cough medicines and even vinegar (i.e., soured wine). I was curious if it was sinful to consume those, but he said it was not.

When pressed on what I felt was an inconsistency, he explained that there was no way anyone was ever going to get drunk on cough medicine or vinegar.

As you might imagine, the conversation ended abruptly as I pointed out that even he really didn't regard the sin as being consumption of alcohol, but drunkeness. He did not, however, agree with me.


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