Friday, July 29, 2011

Hey, Lou, don't you think we should have a prayer? We're all not savages like Cerrano.

Some thoughts regarding prayer ...

"Don't pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God."
~Phillips Brooks

A prayer written by Blaise Pascal: “I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory … You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master, do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.”

"But how is a life, in a great measure prayerless, consistent with an holy life? To lead an holy life is to lead a life devoted to God; a life of worshipping and serving God; a life consecrated to the service of God. But how doth he lead such a life who doth not so much as maintain the duty of prayer? How can such a man be said to walk by the Spirit and to be a servant of the Most High God? An holy life is a life of faith. The life that true Christians live in the world they live by the faith of the Son of God. But who can believe that man lives by faith who lives without prayer, which, is the natural expression of faith? Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life; and to say a man lives a life of faith, and yet lives a prayerless life, is every whit as inconsistent and incredible, as to say, that a man lives without breathing. A prayerless life is so far from being an holy life, that it is a profane life. He that lives so, lives like an heathen, who calleth not on God's name; he that lives a prayerless life, lives without God in the world."
~Jonathan Edwards, from sermon "Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer"

"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
~Jesus in Luke 18:13-14


Monday, July 25, 2011

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

Read the Texas Monthly article explaining Governor Rick Perry to the Yankee.

Read about 5 reasons the pro-life movement is winning.

Check out Conservative Reformed Mafia's new page detailing the contributing bloggers.

Read this reminder that social security is not an "entitlement."

Read 6 things Americans should know about the 2nd Amendment.

Read about shooting on a shoestring, for the thrifty who would don't want to outsource home defense.

Read about the most inexpensive firearms to own & shoot.

Read about the woman arrested for groping a TSA agent's breast.

Read about federal funds used for sidewalks to nowhere.

Read about dog heroes needing new homes.

Read about President Obama's use of executive order to pass gun restrictions in border states.

Read about the origin of the 21 gun salute.

Check out 10 characteristics of good leadership.

Read about Tim Kurkjian's description of the Cardinals vs. Reds rivalry as a "heated" one.

Read the Harvard report that 4th of July parades are right-wing.

Read the article about his focus & fire being the things that still drive Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa to success and toward Cooperstown.

Check out these truths we dare not speak about illegal immigration.

Check out these 50 US health care statistics that will absolutely astonish you.

Read about 10 things you might not know about America's independence.

Read Congressman Allen West's newsletter where he documents grievances regarding the Declaration of Independence.

Read about the niece of Martin Luther the King drawing parallels between slavery and abortion.

Read an explanation of Charles Krauthammer's success.

Check out the website "Answering Muslims."

Read Al Mohler's article, "When the Church Bows to the State: Gay Bishops in the Church of England."

Read about the TSA standing by the actions of the agents who accosted the 95 year old woman in Florida, including the removal of her adult diaper.

Check out the top 10 Lakers moments of 2010-11.

Read this tipping guide.

Read about the Peoria mob terrorizing the neighborhood, including shouts of "Kill all the white people."

Read about the security breach at JFK airport after a man flew to Los Angeles without a ticket or an ID.

Read the Washington Times article arguing that Ronald Reagan's vision lives on ... in Texas.

Read about the TSA missing a loaded .40 cal Glock in a man's carry-on bag.

Read the USA Today article about how Texas wins in the economic shift.

Read "Defending Darth: Death Star PR Gripes About TIME's 'Top 10 Worst Fictional Fathers' List."

Read about Muslims, and only Muslims, getting prayer rooms in San Diego public (i.e., taxpayer funded) schools.

Read about the Norwegian 14 year old who committed suicide after being gang raped by Muslim immigrants.

Read about the TSA expanding pat downs and check points to other modes of transportation.

Read about the problems in England with pedophile gang rapes by Muslims who feel justified via the Koran.

Read about affirmative action's demoralizing and racist results.

Check out what teachers' unions won't tell you about school layoffs.

Read about welfare at its worst as this baby-maker is the family's breadwinner.

Check out this groundbreaking US Supreme Court decision regarding the 9th & 10th amendments.

Read about why other people's children matter too.

Read about (recipient of bailout) General Motors to invest $540 million in Mexico to build automobiles.

Read about Sheila Jackson Lee's concerns that "Christian militants" might bring down this country.

Read these top 10 pet owner mistakes.

Read about Michael New, a soldier in hot water for refusal to wear the UN insignia & uniform instead of that to which he pledged allegiance.

Read about Kosovo Muslims desecrating a church, using it as a public toilet, waste dump.

Read about Texas & California being two different options of examples to follow regarding fiscal policies.

Read about the document imaging expert informing the FBI that President Obama's certificate of live birth is a forgery.

Read about the Tennessee Planned Parenthood business losing tax payer funding.

Check out the FoxNews video clip suggesting that the mainstream media is "picking on" Sarah Palin.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.

"Likewise, the church in our day is to be holy. The church is not a voluntary association to be governed as its members see fit, but a dwelling place of God. It ought to be structured according the orders of its commander, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our families and our homes are to reflect the spiritual purity, beauty, and orderliness that was temporarily pictured through the tabernacle and is now supremely set forth in Jesus Christ Himself."
~Vern Poythress, The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses

But, Vern ... and I hope it's okay to call you "Vern" ... methinks a big problem in the churches in the US of A is that they are seen as and operate as "a voluntary association to be governed as its members see fit."

Consequently, their families don't "reflect the spiritual purity, beauty, and orderliness" they ought. It may or may not be a uniquely American problem, but "We the people" is great for ordering a nation, but for a church it must be "You, the Lord, Jesus."

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friends can tell each other anything, if they have their "friends" hats on.

Some notes (including some things cut in delivery) from my sermon today ("How to Win Enemies and Influence People") at Providence Church on Galatians 4:16
Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? (ESV)
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People:
1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.

In contrast, Paul doesn't soften the truth to make or keep friends, nor should we.

Paul’s potentially harsh words:
• 1:6 embracing another gospel, deserting Christ
• 3:1,3 "foolish" Galatians who’ve been bewitched
• 4:8-9 implied they’re becoming idolators

Ironically, Paul had been warmly received because of the truth, in spite of his limitations. Now, in spite of the former great relationship, Paul is treated like an enemy because of the truth.

3 Areas wherein we might make enemies by telling the truth:
  1. Evangelism – Telling someone they are sinners in need of an exclusive Savior. (N.B. Solus Christus - "His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.")
  2. Sin (hypothetically/generically defining sin & specifically ("You are sinning by doing X."))
  3. Doctrinal Precision (e.g., Reformed theology & orthodoxy)
“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” ~John Calvin

“There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.” ~Martin Luther

You probably won’t make many enemies being tolerant and accepting all ideas as equally valid.

"He that hath truth on his side is a fool as well as a coward if he is afraid to own it because of other men's opinions." ~Daniel Defoe

3 Practical Suggestions:

1. Speak the truth in love. (Eph 4:15)

Far too many of us pursue certainty over truth. (Prov 23:23)

• Truth – Don’t compromise … but don’t be an obnoxious, arrogant, petty nitpicker.
“Doctrine divides” … yes, it divides truth, from error & blasphemy from praise.

• Love – Prioritize what’s best for Christ and the person, not yourself. Beware of cowardice under the guise of being loving.

Evangelism - These are the words of Jesus, not mine. (e.g., John 14:6)
Not arrogant or perfect - I recognized that I'm a sinful human being who can only be right with God because of another (i.e., Jesus).

"To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable." ~Barry Goldwater
Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.

Check your motives … love?
Q: Am I really saying this because I care about this person and I can care about Christ’s reputation?
N.B. I’m not asking myself do I love that person and do I love Jesus? I’m asking myself is that what’s motivating me in this moment. It may very well be that I learn something about myself and get to speak the truth in love to myself in the process.

2. Reckon yourself dead in Christ (Gal 2:20)

Phil 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

It will probably never happen here (though it's happening worldwide), but determine beforehand the worst they can do is kill you and you're already dead.

John 15:18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Matt 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake.

Risk hurting feelings …
"You've got to run the risk of offending the people you love the most, to bring them to Christ." ~Walter Martin

3. Be open to receiving a rebuke, especially from those who care about you.

Remember, you may very well be God’s instrument of restoration.
James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I meant I was implying I didn't understand.

Some grammatical clarifications, not that I'm implying that you're ignorantly misusing the Queen's English.

I.e. vs E.g.
  • I.e. (Latin, id est = "that is") - The abbreviation is used to express the sentiment "in other words." Usage: We went to a movie (i.e., "Star Wars"). In other words, the movie seen was "Star Wars."
  • E.g. (Latin exempli gratia = "for example") - The abbreviation is used to suggest applicable examples. Usage: Let's go to a movie (e.g., "Star Wars"). Here, "Star Wars" is one among many movies you might go see. So, the e.g., could have been "Star Wars," "Jaws," or "Rocky," etc.
Sympathize vs. Empathize
  • Sympathize - the emotional affinity in which whatever affects one person affects another person
  • Empathize - the ability to recognize and experientially feel the emotion of another, typically as a result of a prior similar experience (empathy typically encompasses sympathy)
Presume vs. Assume
  • Presume - to believe something to be true without proof of non-contradictory evidence (e.g., The defendant is presumed innocent.)
  • Assume - often used similarly, but assume means to suppose, postulate, or claim something is true without checking or confirming it
Farther vs. Further
  • Farther - refers to physical distance
  • Further - refers to an extension of time or degree (It's "furthermore," never "farthermore.")
Who? vs. Whom?
  • Who - used when referring to the subject
  • Whom - used when referring to the object (Use the he/him method to decide which pronoun is correct: He=Who & Him=Whom, for example, "Who kicked whom? He kicked him.") (see my previous post for more)
Implying vs. Inferring
  • Imply - for the giver of information to suggest indirectly; to put the suggestion into the message
  • Infer - for the receiver of information to make a guess or conclusion in light of certain evidence; to take the suggestion out of the message (A speaker can imply, but a listener can only infer.)
Alas vs. Alack
  • Alas - used to express sorrow or grief
  • Alack - more old school way to say "alas"
Regardless vs. Irregardless
  • Regardless - without regard for or despite something
  • Irregardless - commonly used the same way, though somewhat nonsensically, since the "ir" should be used for negation rendering the term a double negative meaning "not without regard for/to"

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Friday, July 01, 2011

We're not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe.

Last night I noticed the Cardinals had played 82 games, pretty much the halfway point of a 162 game season.

Any surprises this season?

I'm thinking 2. First, the Cleveland Indians. Who expected them to do much? I know I didn't. Pretty much the division winners are playoff teams, so no shock there.

However, the biggest surprise of 2011 so far has been the St. Louis Cardinals and their improbable success that has at least kept them competitive.

If you've been following them, it's nothing short of unfathomable that they're in first place in the division at this point. Granted, the competition in the division seems down this year, but still.

Former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter started the season 1-7 and looked like he was aiming at the sweet spot of the opposition's bats, giving up far too many home runs. The Cardinals lost the best starting pitcher (Adam Wainwright) for the season in Spring Training. They would have been better off had they lost their all-star closer (Ryan Franklin) before the season, since all he could do was blown saves or surrender leads. Last year he had 2 blown saves. This year, he blew 4 of his first 5 saves chances, before losing that role. Sporting a 8.46 ERA, he was completely cut from the team this week.

But it's not just the pitching staff that's taken a hit. The starting 3B Freese has missed significant time with injury, necessitating a move of Albert Pujols at times to play third. But, Albert himself has had his worst start ever. He got record streaks for games without a homer and no extra base hits. He seemed to have turned a corner and then broke his arm/wrist, putting him on the DL for 4-6 weeks. So, far they have a losing record in his absence.

All-star Matt Holliday has missed some time with injury and you'd think there's no way they'd be anywhere but the division's cellar, right? Well, some young kids have stepped up, but on a team that's been surprising this season, the highlight surprise has been Lance Berkman.

Berkman gets my vote for Cardinals MVP so far. It pains me so to applaud the former disAstros slugger who was always my most hated opposition player. He was always such a Cardinals killer.

It was almost as bad for me as when the Cowboys signed Terrell Owens. I remember when I heard the announcement thinking, C'mon, we're not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe, are we? This can't go well, can it?

But, unlike Owens, Berkman bounced back from a sub-par 2010 that left many convinced he was done. Now, I'm a fan. He's been the most consistent offensive player and it's been consistently good. In fact, he leads the team in homers & RBI and much of that has been rather clutch.

I said all that to say this. With Wainwright's season ending injury, Albert's slow start, and Franklin's meltdown, I thought the team should start thinking about 2012 back in April.

But, if Albert can come back healthy and if they can string together a few nice runs, they can win the division. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way with Berkman, fans are indebted to him for keeping hope alive in 2011.

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