Friday, December 31, 2010

Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know?

A little something provocative for those pondering New Year's resolutions:
"Effort is the single most overrated trait in producing success. People rank it as the best predictor of success when in reality it is one of the least significant factors. Effort, by itself, is a terrible predictor of outcomes because inefficient effort is a tremendous source of discouragement, leaving people to conclude that they can never succeed since even expending maximum effort has not produced results."

-M. Scherneck (1998) "The Relationship Between Self-Esteem and Academic Performance," PhD dissertation, State University of New York at Albany

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

True or False: There is a difference between being a Christian who is an American instead of being an American who is a Christian.

  • If true, what's that difference?
  • If true, which, if either, would you use to classify yourself?

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

All this happens pretty soon and you ain't ready.

By request, the following is a poem I shared in our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service last night at Providence Church.
'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed.
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter.
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "it's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound.
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!
(author unknown)

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

He will change poopy diapers. -- Does he have to use the word "poopy"?

Children are a blessing, a great gift from God. However, that doesn't mean that every aspect of every stage of their life feels like a blessing.

As my children get older, I am enjoying the blessing of certain things no longer being a part of our lives.

The following are the top 5 things I'm glad are no longer part of our lives and I hope to never revisit them ever again:
  1. Diapers
  2. Runny noses that need to be wiped by someone else
  3. Sippy cups
  4. Teletubbies
  5. The Wiggles

There are more those 5 beat me down like nobody's business and I'm glad they're in my rear view mirror. Any you might suggest?

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"To whom," brother! "To whom," brother! "To whom," brother!

One of the more confused issues of grammar is the "Who" vs. "Whom" usage. "Who" is nominative case, while "whom" is accusative case.

Rule: Use the he/him method to decide which word is correct.
  • he = who
  • him = whom
Examples:
Who/Whom wrote the letter?
He wrote the letter. Therefore, who is correct.

For who/whom should I vote?
Should I vote for him? Therefore, whom is correct.

We all know who/whom pulled that prank.
This sentence contains two clauses: We all know and who/whom pulled that prank. We are interested in the second clause because it contains the who/whom. He pulled that prank. Therefore, who is correct. (Are you starting to sound like a hooting owl yet?)

We want to know on who/whom the prank was pulled.
This sentence contains two clauses: We want to know and the prank was pulled on who/whom. Again, we are interested in the second clause because it contains the who/whom. The prank was pulled on him. Therefore, whom is correct.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

It's over, Anakin; I have the high ground.

I've never actually got up and walked out on a movie, though I've been tempted many times. But, I was never so close to leaving in disgust as when watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. That's the one where Anakin becomes Darth Vader and the bridge is made between Attack of the Clones (II) and A New Hope (IV).

I can vividly still remember the exact point in the movie, because I still cringe when I encounter it. I checked out when Obi Wan exclaimed, "It's over, Anakin; I have the high ground."

While I was ranting about this again at Whataburger, Cody Dixon came across another blog post feeling my pain.

The blogger does a nice job of examining all the evidence for and against having the high ground in battle. The results might surprise you. For example, "Yoda vs. Sidious : Sidious vs. Luke : Vader vs. Luke ...They all had the high ground but lost!!!!!!"

This is but one of my criticisms of inconsistency of the series, but it's the biggest groaner, even trumping Obi Wan's, "So, what I said was true ... from a certain point of view" in Return of the Jedi (VI). But, of course, only a Sith deals in absolutes. (HT Obi Wan)

Read the entire post: The High Ground?!....Really!?

Watch Obi Wan jump the shark.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

We're on a mission from God.

John Piper asks and answers the following intriguing question: Is the unique biblical task of the church's missionary enterprise
  1. to win as many individuals to Christ as possible before He returns, or
  2. to win some individuals (i.e., plant a church) among all the peoples of the earth before He returns?
How would you respond?

As a hint, I offer the following texts: Rev 5:9-10; Gen 12:1-3; Ps 67:1-3; Rom 15:18-21.

Let me suggest that this is an important question and one that ought to drive our missions & evangelism efforts and resource allocations.

Not only am I convinced of my answer, I'm also convinced that sometimes the other option is used to justify efforts toward the alternative.

In other words, I'm convinced that the mission really is some from every tribe, tongue, people, and ethnicity. I'm also convinced that some believe it's the first option (as many as possible), but will try to validate resource allocation to the seemingly more difficult missions work by speaking to the great (numerical) fruitfulness in a foreign land.

In other words, "Send your missions money here (with me), because I can get you a better ROI (Return on Investment). Why send it where there aren't droves of people professing faith in Jesus?"

The answer may well have to do with the difficulty of walking an unpaved road, but a road leading to those without the Gospel.
“I only want men who will go where the road is not paved.”
~ Dr. David Livingstone, missionary in Africa

“I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, 'Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.'”
~ Paul, apostle to the ethnicities (Rom 15:20-21)

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

And this here's the TV. 2 hours a day, either educational or football, so you don't ruin your appreciation of the finer things.

Keeping with acrostics, I spend time in pre-marital counseling talking about S.M.I.R.K., 5 areas of potential conflict in marriage. I encourage couples to think and talk through these issues ahead of time, preferably prior to engagement ... but who am I kidding?

S … Sexuality
  • To what extent have you shared your sexual past?
  • What boundaries have you set prior to marriage?
  • How important is the sexual side of a marriage relationship?
  • How important is it to your potential spouse?
  • How have past experiences impacted your views regarding sexuality?
  • How does Bible address these issues so that your views might differ from the culture's?
M … Money
  • Who will write out the checks, etc. to pay the bills?
  • Who will balance the check book?
  • Have you constructed a budget?
  • How will big decisions be determined? Small decisions?
  • Will you both work? Either way, how will household tasks be performed?
  • Have you written a will?
  • What are your thoughts and goals regarding debt, savings, and retirement?
  • How does Bible address these issues so that your views might differ from the culture's?
I … In-Laws
  • What boundaries have you established where family is concerned?
  • What are the in-laws’ expectations of their new son/daughter-in-law?
  • Have you discussed how you will handle family holidays?
  • If there is divorce in your families, what have you learned from such exposure/experience? What are the grounds for divorce for you?
  • How does Bible address these issues so that your views might differ from the culture's?
R … Religion
  • How are your religious journeys/backgrounds different?
  • What spiritual/church issues have you already discussed?
  • Any compromises reached?
  • What is your plan for developing the family’s spiritual growth?
  • What is your anticipated participation in your church (e.g., attendance, finances, responsibilities, etc.)?
  • How does Bible address these issues so that your views might differ from the culture's?
K … Kids
  • If both parents work, who will look after the children?
  • To what extent have you discussed your plans regarding children (e.g., how many, contraception, discipline, attire, religious instruction, schooling, etc.)?
  • In the event of your deaths, who would raise your children?
  • How do your children feel about the marriage? How have you discussed the upcoming changes?
  • How does Bible address these issues so that your views might differ from the culture's?

General Questions:
  • Why do you think you should get married?
  • What counsel did you receive to encourage you to marriage?
  • How do your families feel about you getting married?
  • Are you in love? How do you know?
  • What do you enjoy doing together?
  • If one spouse is not going to be a stay-at-home parent, how will you allocate household chores?
  • How do you demonstrate love to your potential spouse? How does your spouse prefer to be loved?
  • What are your plans for conflict resolution?

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Any man forgets his number spends the night in the box.

A few acrostics I've found useful teaching devices, especially with die Kinder.

FAITH
Forsaking
All
I
Trust
Him

GRACE
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

ACTS
Adoration
Confession
Thanksgiving
Supplication

FROG
Fully
Rely
On
God

BIBLE
Basic
Instructions
Before
Leaving
Earth

JOY
Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

TULIP*
Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints
*Though not an acrostic without difficulties.

  • Any other ones you've found helpful?

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Friday, December 03, 2010

You're killin' me, Smalls!

If I was before a congressional sports tribunal, I would repeatedly assert that, "I'm not here to talk about the present." This NFL season was over before it warmed up.

However, I am here to talk about the past, the NFL past. In particular, I can't hold my tongue after watching the NFL Network's Top 100 NFL players of all time.

The Top 10:
10. Dick Butkus, LB
9. Don Hutson, WR
8. Peyton Manning, QB
7. Reggie White, DE
6. Johnny Unitas, QB
5. Walter Payton, RB
4. Joe Montana, QB
3. Lawrence Taylor, LB
2. Jim Brown, RB
1. Jerry Rice, WR

Up front, I'm a Cowboys fan, but I found the list to be rather biased in an anti-Cowboys fashion.

The top Cowboy? Bob Lilly at #26. Emmitt Smith at #28.

Jerry Rice at #1?! Really? I'm not gonna argue that Emmitt should be in the top 10, but I will argue that if Rice is #1, then clearly Emmitt should be in the top 10.

Rice: Most receiving records ... over 18 years. Not a big surprise there. Emmit: Most rushing records ... over 14 years.

Rice & Emmitt ... both 3 Superbowl rings and both one Superbowl MVP. Emmitt: 1 NFL MVP. Rice: Zero. (Manning 4, and many others 3)

Yeah, but Emmitt had that great line! But, didn't Rice have some pretty decent QBs (namely, Hall of Famers Montana & Young)?

I'm not saying Emmitt should be #1, but #28? It seems to me that the criteria used to elevate Rice would naturally secure a high ranking for Emmitt, but clearly that wasn't the case.

Much of the top 10 didn't bother me, but that seemed a strange #1. Jim Brown would be my #1.

Anyone else feelin' me on Rice at #1?

FYI: Cowboys in the Top 100:
#26 Bob Lilly
#28 Emmitt Smith
#46 Roger Staubach
#62 Randy White
#77 Tony Dorsett
#80 Troy Aikman
#92 Michael Irvin
#95 Larry Allen

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Callin' it your "job" don't make it right, boss.

7 quotes from "Touching Sensitive Areas, or TSA For Short" by Doug Wilson. (HT Ron H)
  • "I do not say this as one who believes that the radical Muslim threat is tiny. I think that I actually take it more seriously that our government does. If they were worried about terrorists, they would be looking for terrorists, and not for my nail clippers. Their procedures are risible, their hubris astounding, their reasons justifying that hubris minimal, and their folly incandescent."
  • "We are being told that we must surrender some of our liberties because we are in a war on terror. I see. And when is this war likely to end, and will we, or our grandchildren, or great grandchildren, get our liberties back at that time? Ah, I thought not."
  • "Some might object that my invocation of Orwell above is overblown, but if Orwell were to come back now, what do you think he would be more shocked by -- the number of cameras all over the UK or the number of people who had read his book and yet did not see any connection?"
  • "So then, let's talk about political correctness and sexuality for a moment. As it stands, the ladies are patted down by women, and the men by men. Could we agree then, that lesbians and homosexual men ought to pat down nobody?"
  • "Not satisfied with having their panties in a wad, they are now trying to help us rearrange our panties. There needs to be a way for a civilized people to say, 'Back off, perv,' and not have to then worry about being frogmarched out of the airport, and fined for maintaining your decency."
  • "We need to spend all that money on hunting terrorists. We should be looking for certain kinds of people, not certain kinds of objects."
  • "When they are done securing our liberties, we can all rest easy. The radical Muslims can never get at our liberties now. We don't have them anymore. Our liberties are in a box in a TSA warehouse, along with 10,000 nail clippers."

Please read the whole article here.

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