Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Other resources: C.J. Mahaney's book, Humility: True Greatness is amazing, and written by someone who truly attempts, by God's grace, to live it out.
Some of Mahaney's ideas were used by Mark Driscoll in a sermon on Philippians:
What do you think? Has Wright changed drastically recently and Obama was genuinely surprised at the things being said? Is he just trying to distance himself now that it's affecting the campaign? Do you believe this is really the first time he's heard these types of things from Wright?
Either way, it's interesting to see that he's now gone from defending certain comments to vehemently denouncing them. The comments he refers to are the same ones that surfaced months ago. What changed?
Also, check out this article by Thabiti Anyabwile. He uses the Wright situation to give advice to younger pastors on how things could (I think should) have been handled. WELL worth the read.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
If you're a Christian and have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, here's a brief introduction on the differences between "Calvinists" and "Arminians." It essentially has to do with how God saves sinners. Does God offer salvation and hope people will make a free will choice to follow Him, or does He choose people and change their hearts so that they will follow Him? It may sound unimportant, but this shapes your view of God, and thus is extremely important to understand why you believe either way.
Here's a clip from Mark Driscoll examining the differences. Also, if you want a little more depth, Tim Challies did a series examining the differences, which you can find here.
*Disclaimer: Driscoll is a Calvinist, but I think he does a good job of presenting both sides here.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in and then commit to never leave
So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees...
Love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for...
Leah, by God's grace, I will do everything I can to love you right for the rest of our lives.
"I once spied [our man] with his iPod blasting in his ears while he was looking at his lap top and talking on his cell phone! It made my week. He seldom reads, but was able to get a 3.5 GPA at the university by his native smarts, a lot of BS, and plenty of easy classes filled with PowerPoint graphics, film clips, and so on. And he thanks God for all of it. How I love this kind of faith. It is positively contagious in America: so much money, so much freedom, so little knowledge. We are doing well here, Wormwood..."
Update 4/29: The Washington Post has a review of "Screwtape," a play adapted from Lewis' book. This sounds very interesting:
"...audience members interested in spiritual reflection will certainly find food for thought -- and mortification -- in this dramatization. But the fiendish reality the production conjures is colorful enough to appeal to theatergoers of any, or no, religious persuasion. The Devil is an equal-opportunity entertainer."
Saturday, April 26, 2008
View the entire lecture here (you'll have to select C.J.'s as they have all the sermons from the conference).
Thursday, April 24, 2008
1) Rickey… on referring to himself in the third person: “Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”There's 25 of them here. Trust me, they're worth the time.
2) In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.
4) Ricky called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”
7) Moments after breaking Lou Brock's stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd - with Brock mere feet next to him - "Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time."
15) A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”
Put a governor on your life. Make as much as you can, give as much as you can, and save what you need to in order to be a responsible non-borrower. Then do retirement with some minimalistic plan that frees you up for gospel ministry till the day you drop.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Terrance Moore from the Atlanta Journal Constitution has a good story on Smoltz and the game last night.
Now, despite the fact that my wife has a somewhat-creepy crush on him, John is, and will be until he retires, my favorite player. Not only is he a great competitor who can dominate on the mound in any circumstances, he is a man of integrity and a man of God who follows Jesus Christ. His charity work has been well-documented, and he routinely speaks at events for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and has shared his testimony on "Faith Day" for the Atlanta Braves.
In an interview with "Sharing the Victory" magazine about FCA, John said: "People ask me how I can go out and pitch in front of 45-50 thousand people. I tell them I'm not pitching for 45-50 thousand people. I'm pitching for One."
Here's an article from CBN about Smoltz, and here's some videos to commemorate this milestone for John:
A recap of the game where it happened (he struck out 10 in the game in 7 innings):
The tribute they showed on the video board at Turner Field in Atlanta when it happened (done by a hand-held camera, so it's not perfect, but still worth seeing):
Congrats John, and thanks.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Brent Bozell (Townhall.com)
"Everyone should take the opportunity to see "Expelled" -- if nothing else, as a bracing antidote to the atheism-friendly culture of PC liberalism."
"...sometimes a vote with the wallet at the box office can be quite meaningful. In the case of Expelled, it is not only a vote for a diversity of film topics, it is also a vote for the preservation of free speech and scientific inquiry."
C. Michael Patton (Reclaiming the Mind)
"I don’t really like propaganda. I don’t like spins. I don’t like misrepresentation. Even though I am all for the ID movement, I highly expected this movie to make my face red. It did not. In fact, I think that the producers and writers proposed a humble agenda and accomplished this, giving people a educational video that should well outlast its Hollywood light."
Douglas Groothuis (The Constructive Curmudgeon)
"While the major news outlets are viciously attacking “Expelled” as creationist propaganda (and they didn't have to actually see it to say that), the fact is that the film reveals a systematic, unfair, and deeply un-American suppression of ID thought in the academy. The Darwinian inquisitors make Joseph McCarthy look like a girl scout. "
Sunday, April 20, 2008
You can also go to T4G.org for more information and the audio from all of the talks.
Friday, April 18, 2008
"...the record really hits the high note with soaring worship on "Signature of Divine (Yahweh)," a song that arguably packs more punch lyrically and musically than a lot of songs coming from the worship genre today."You can also hear samples from their album, The Heat, at the very bottom of this page.
Tapping into what may be a growing market, a plastic surgeon has written and published a book for the children of women who have cosmetic surgery procedures like breast implants, tummy tucks and nose jobs. 'My Beautiful Mommy' by Dr. Michael Salzhauer aims to reassure kids that Mom's bruises and bandages are just temporary, and that the new, improved mommy won't be different, just 'prettier.'Joshua Harris has more on his blog.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
This is getting really disgusting...
Update 11/8: so now there's some controversy over whether she actually did this or it's just "creative fiction." Either way, it's still repulsive...
Here is the sentence that she refused to allow:
"Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life."Seriously? She doesn't want people to speak for the weak and value human life? That's interesting.
If you happened to be a member on Facebook, you can join a group there that will be fasting for Larry next week. Even if you aren't, please join if fasting next Monday if you want.
We love you Larry and will be praying for you.
He explains how Eckhart's philosophy was born out of a checkered history and a book that "wanted to be written."
He goes on to detail Oprah's support of Scientology and Rhonda Byrnes The Secret. I realize that many people idolize Oprah and I don't deny that she does many good things with her power, but it's about time people started to wake up to what she's actually promoting. Coming from anyone else, she'd probably just be laughed at.
Oprah’s response to this: "It’s like Michelangelo says the angel’s in the marble and he just cuts away the marble."
Well, not quite.
His books, "The Power of Now" and "A New Earth," are the same gobbledygook as most New Age stuff. They’re all about self-empowering and how to find out who we are. "Awakening" is Tolle’s key word. Tolle is very busy enforcing moments of silence and showing his readers how to find their "pain-body."
Nothing new there. And nothing new for Oprah, who’s now so wildly wealthy that she’s exceeded literally any famous person she might interview. Parade magazine puts her 2007 income at $260 million, the most of any celebrity and $150 million more than Steven Spielberg, the most successful filmmaker of all time. So what can she do besides anoint presidential candidates or start a religion?
For another perspective, check out this good (although a little dated) article by Mark Driscoll on Oprah.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Check out Justin Taylor (one of the managing editors) with some more details.
And check out some of these endorsements (if you know me or read my blog at all, you'll understand why I'm excited about this):
The ESV is a dream come true for me. The rightful heir to a great line of historic translations, it provides the continuity and modern accuracy I longed for. Now the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible study notes is breathtaking. Oh how precious is the written Word of God.
The ESV Study Bible is the most important resource that has been given to the emerging generation of Bible students and teachers. The ESV Study Bible is the best. Period.
Wow! Concise, lucid, enlightening—the ESV Study Bible is an amazing resource. With its textual fidelity, doctrinal substance, and artistic beauty, the ESV Study Bible will be an immense help to all who hunger for God-breathed Scripture. I wholeheartedly recommend this exceptional resource.
C. J. Mahaney:
I can’t imagine a greater gift to the body of Christ than the ESV Study Bible. It is a potent combination indeed: the reliability and readability of the ESV translation, supplemented by the best of modern and faithful scholarship, packaged in an accessible and attractive format. A Christian could make no wiser investment for himself, a pastor could recommend no better resource for his congregation.
"No one but God knows Sen. Obama's heart, but we are left with his words. In this case, the words are very similar to what is so often heard from political figures. When speaking of their own faith they often speak of how it functions. Sen. Clinton spoke this way at the "Compassion Forum" at Messiah College on Sunday night, but we must note that Republicans often speak the same way -- valuing "faith" as if faith has no object."You hear this from regular people all the time also, talking about how their faith has helped them through difficult times. Obviously, it can do that, but let us be very clear when speaking about our faith. Faith it not the end but the means to another object: the man Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as a substitution for our sins, rose again and is seated at God's right hand.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"I believe the potential for life begins at conception," Clinton said. "For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. ... I have concluded, after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, ... that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society."
The New York senator added that abortion should remain legal, safe and rare.
1) The statement that individuals must be entrusted to "make this profound decision" is scary and shows a profound trust in people. It's a very post-modern statement that says the person who becomes pregnant has the best-functioning moral compass and should be responsible for determining if a human lives or dies.
2) I also don't understand her reasoning that abortion should be rare. I don't think this statement is just a way to try and placate Independents that don't really like abortion. I think she really means it. But if it's not a child anyway, why does it matter if they are rare? Why should we try to limit them if there is truly nothing wrong with it?
"This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? ... What I know, as I've said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates."I find this fascinating. He hasn't come to a firm resolution? He's not sure if it's a child or not, but in the meantime it's ok to kill them because they may or may not be living humans yet? I was under the impression that he had considered the issue and knew for certain what he believed about when life began (apparently only at 9 months, healthy, and when the mother says so...see here). To say that he's not even certain makes his support even more disconcerting to me.
Overall, the debate was quite interesting and I think the fact that the discussion was had was a good thing. I truly hope that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are really Christians. It's hard for me to understand how they can hold certain beliefs if they are, but there are also things I think I can learn from their version of faith. I think the social aspect of liberal Christianity is something sorely missing in many evangelical congregations. Reminds me to follow the Christ of the Bible, and only Him.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In case you missed it, scroll down to Thursday, April 10th to see the clip.
Do Hard Things is an extraordinary book. In fact, I believe it will prove to be one of the most life-changing, family-changing, church-changing and culture-changing books of this generation.
Alex and Brett are the real deal, Christ-centered young men of character and vision, committed to serving Jesus with humility and excellence.
I read countless books but this is one of the most unique, defining and important ones I've ever seen. It is paradigm-shifting, revolutionary, liberating and hope-instilling. While I'd love for every teenager to read Do Hard Things, I'm just as eager for every parent, church leader and educator to read it.
God spoke to me and encouraged and challenged me through Do Hard Things. If you do the hard thing of saying no to distractions and yes to this remarkable book, I guarantee you'll be richly rewarded.
Friday, April 11, 2008
To test my hypothesis, I showed the confidential proofs to some of our newly converted, well-tattooed indie rockers and they reported that it looked “filthy” and “sick”—for those of you who wear khaki pleated pants and tuck in your shirt, this is a really good endorsement. So, thank you Crossway for the “filthy sick” ESV Study Bible.
Speaking of my dad, I'm going to brag on him for a second. Before playing in the A's minor league system, the "White LeRoy" played at UK and achieved the following honors I could locate:
First Team All-SEC (1976)
All SEC Eastern Division (1975, 1976, 1977)
GTE Academic All-American
- First Team (1976)
- Second Team (1977)
Academic All-SEC (1976, 1977)
Check here for the proof.
Part of the description:
You have probably been told at some point in your life, “You just need to read the Bible,” or “You just need to study the Scriptures.” But, if you are like most people, nobody has ever taken you by the hand and said, “Before you jump into the Bible, let me introduce you to it first. Let me walk you through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, show you the lay of the land, and give you a bit of confidence as you read and study for yourself.” That is just what Clarifying The Bible does.
If you would like to feel more comfortable as you dive into the greatest Book ever written, then Clarifying The Bible is for you!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I'll try to remember this the next time I sacrifice all else to spend 3 hours praying in front of my TV during an Atlanta Braves game...
Interestingly enough, they closed the show last night with the top 8 contestants singing "Shout to the Lord," a Christian praise song. I love that this song was sung during prime time during a show that reached millions and millions of people. I don't know for sure what their motivation in choosing this song was, but the performance was amazing and Christ was glorified either way. Gives me chills seeing that done on a show like american idol.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tough to ignore the actions and statistics detailed here. How do they defend the fact that the abortion rate is FAR higher among black women without sounding racist? Hard not to.
And as a side note, the picture above is my nephew A.J. How anyone could consider this beautiful baby anything less than a gift from the Lord to be treasured is beyond me. He is not a punishment, regardless of what any mis-guided politician might say.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
John Piper posts C.S. Lewis' 5 Tips for Clear Writing and Talking.
- Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.
- Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
- Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose."
- In writing, don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful" when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers "Please, will you do my job for me."
- Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite
*Sorry about the language a couple times in this, but I thought it was still worth watching.
The same exercise would be fun to do for sports analysts. Words like amazing, great, and unbelievable are used to describe the 2nd guy off the bench on a mid-major basketball team. I'm not even just talking about Dicky V; they all make it sound as if these performances are so amazing as to defy description. Question, though: If so many "unbelievable" plays are being made every day, at some point shouldn't we start believing?
Monday, April 7, 2008
The other night, he was prepared to make his first start in 31 and a half months, only to strain a pectoral muscle (completely unrelated to his other injuries and a fluke). Emotionally, that had to be tough.
But this line by Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution was great:
"Mike Hampton suddenly has the durability of a Peep in a microwave."Ouch.
Reminded me of this article my dad wrote about 5 years ago about the way many businesspeople react when the economy starts to go south. Pretty timely for today's circumstances as well, in business, sports, and really life in general.
Other members of the 2008 class included: , , coach Pat Riley, Adrian Dantley, coach , and NBA team owner Bill Davidson.
Anyway, just for fun, check out this clip from ESPN of Dicky V imploring IU to re-hire Bob Knight as their basketball coach. Knight's reaction is priceless...
Saturday, April 5, 2008
If you are interested at all in learning some about the persecuted church in China, read Randy's book Safely Home. I had the privilege of reading it while living in Shanghai and much of what is detailed in the book still goes on today, based on conversations with some Chinese friends we made and some missionary friends we know living in China.
Very convicting to think about as I prepare to go to Faith Bible Church in Cincinnati, OH tomorrow morning, where I will sing loudly without fear and hear the Bible preached without threat. Reminds me of this audio clip from Mark Driscoll about how American Christians sometimes lose perspective on what persecution truly is.
It's kind of long, but quite humorous and convicting as well.
The most telling line is when we learn that "she" wrote in an article that people need to "define for themselves" what normal is. How very post-modern...define the truth for yourself, and anything goes. The whole thing is very sad. This woman has a God-give desire to have children, but complicates everything instead. I'm sure her desires will cause her to love the child well, but the child will be deprived of a true father. Hopefully, he or she will grow to know his or her Heavenly Father, for whom no one is beyond reach.
For a little more on the transgendered movement and as a contrast to Oprah-ethics, check out this article by Al Mohler.
Once again, let's remember what is at stake. Christians see the reality of biological identity as a gift--one important way the Creator has told us who we are and how we are to glorify Him with our lives. To deny this is to deny the Creator's goodness, and to deny who He made us to be.
If you're a believer, be reminded of what we live for. If you're not a Christian, I encourage you to listen and be open to the Good News that God sent his son Jesus Christ to die in our place for our sins, paying the punishment that we deserved, drawing us to Himself to give us forgiveness and eternal life. God bless you all!
"...which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel..." 2 Timothy 1:10
Friday, April 4, 2008
While I whole-heartedly admit my bias, I must unequivocally state that my wife, Leah Robbins, is the greatest photographer on the face of the planet...ok, that's just silly because I don't know every photographer on the face of the planet, but she truly is amazing and talented. Her business, Leah Robbins Photography, specializes in weddings, but she also does portraits of families, children, babies, etc.
Her website is here for you to see for yourself:
http://www.leahrobbins.com. Like I said, I'm biased, but the results of her talent are not. You can also keep up with her work on her blog here: http://leahrobbins.blogspot.com.
I believe that God gives us talent in order to glorify Him through that talent. Leah does this. Her creativity reflects the creativity of the Creator. Her camera and God-given eye portrays his creation in a way that captures a small part of the glory He instilled in that creation to point us to Him. He created people, emotions, families, love, children, light, shadows, etc. Leah's pictures evoke a feeling of wonder that can only come from beholding God and what He has made.
Thanks Leah, for allowing me to see a reflection of God in your work and for doing it in a way that only serves to glorify Him even more. You are amazing.
Here a link to probably my favorite slideshow she's put together. My sister, Jen, recently had her 2nd child, A.J. and Leah was there, documenting the birth and capturing the grace given us in A.J.
That's right, Leah is disappointed now because she has now lost her husband to the Atlanta Braves until October (hopefully October, that is). Now I hesitate to use the word "obsessive," but I just can't really think of another word with a less-negative connotation to describe my relationship with the team (albeit a relationship they don't know they're in and don't really reciprocate...). "Devoted," maybe? Nope, not strong enough honestly.
My Atlanta Braves (ay, they're mine...) are off to a slow 1-3 start, but neither that nor the torrential downpour can dampen my spirits. We're getting back on track this year after 2 sub-Atlanta Braves seasons. No Mike Hampton injuries, Bobby Cox ejections, or Jeff Franceour first pitch groundouts to shortstop are going to stop us. Neither will Johan Santana, David Wright, Ryan Howard, or Chase Utley. Or Billy Wagner, Carlos Beltran, Jimmy Rollins, or Cole Hamels. Wait, we are going to win the NL East, right?
Of course we are. We're going 159-3, right? Seems like that's what baseball fans expect of their teams. Are those expectation unrealistic? Or am I too "devoted"?
(Just to clarify, Leah never takes 2nd to baseball for me...at least not purposely. Besides, she has an unashamedly devoted crush on John Smoltz anyway.)
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Anyone born around the same year as me (1982) is familiar with the Karate Kid. Great movie. Profound wisdom...
Anyway, great video by the band No More Kings for their song "Sweep the Leg." Good song, hysterical video. Don't miss the cameo at the beginning either. Another person everyone my generation is very familiar with.
Does anyone actually fit neatly into these? They are definitely humorous, though.
(From the title of my blog, you can guess where I lean, but I prefer "biblical" to Reformed or Calvinist.)
While the desire to understand the Trinity is admirable, the results are not, and this book is dangerous in large part because of the audience at which it is aimed. Young people, likely still fairly shallow in their faith and undeveloped in their discernment. I include myself in this category, which is why I read guys who know MUCH more than me.
One such person is Tim Challies, who has a great review of the book at his site. He is an amazing reviewer who also wrote a book called The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment.
Also, pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, in his latest sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity, contributed his critique of The Shack as well. Many of his points appear to be borrowed from Challies' review, but they are both worth the time.
But Obama's record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion -- a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called "too close to infanticide." Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois State Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy -- hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.
Also yesterday, another good article by Randy Alcorn, a very active pro-life author and speaker. Interesting discussion about Planned Parenthood. I wonder how much all of this will come up in the campaign this year?