Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Few Random Pieces Sewn Together

This week has the potential to be pretty crazy.  There is still the threat of flooding in the south and now they are dealing with a monster snowstorm for the second week in a row down that way as well.  For those who might be wondering how the flood situation stands, the rivers have receded some thanks to the cold last week.  This week may warm up a bit and the extra snow isn’t expected to impact anything right away, but there is talk that the river will probably crest again in mid-April.  That is kind of tough news for all of those fighting the floodwaters now.

So far the flood hasn’t had a big impact.  There was a breach at a Lutheran school campus in town, but it was contained to the campus itself and only damaged a couple of buildings.  In a way, it was a testimony of God using the worst for the best as the principal of the school was brought to a couple of briefings and was able to testify about God’s provision and care for them during this time.  According to one of our state staff, “Yesterday morning on live t.v. at the daily city briefing, the school board president gave glory to Jesus Christ for His faithfulness to them. His testimony has been the talk of the town since.”  The main concern right now is the stability of the dikes during this current storm and possible high winds that it is bringing along with a possible foot of snow.

The people we know in the danger zone are all doing well.  Some of the Southern Baptist disaster relief teams are already in the area preparing meals and such.  Please pray for all of those who are in these areas.

The service yesterday was really good as well.  We had a time of prayer for the flood areas before the preaching started.  I am still managing to preach for nearly 40 minutes at a stretch, which is baffling to me.  Yesterday’s sermon was on 1 Corinthians 10, but I had to save part of the chapter for further treatment with chapter 11 and part for chapters 12-14.

Yesterday was also our youngest child’s fifth birthday, which is a milestone of sorts.  She is quite the “big girl” now.  She happens to share a birthday with a lady in our church and so this year and last year has asked to do a joint birthday party.  It is quite a sight.  We have a few kids running around the house along with some of the older folks from our church all gathered to celebrate two birthdays.  My daughter tried to invite almost everyone in town to come and certainly everyone in church that she saw.  It was a fun day.

Categories: adventures in the cold, Christianity, church, family birthday AllieRose, Prayer Needs, Southern Baptist | 2 Comments

Murderous Pride

I almost lost my lunch earlier today when I ran across this article suggesting the need for an “abortion pride” movement.  I don’t suppose I should have been as surprised as I was, but there it was:

He complains that women who have abortions are “rarely encouraged to take pride in their decisions.” Calling abortion a “courageous and noble moral choice,” Appel wrote, “Women who step up to the ethical plate and have the strength to say, ‘This is the wrong time,’ or ‘This is the wrong fetus,’ should hold their heads high in the streets.”

This quote tells you all you need  to know about the moral vacuum that exists today.  Killing a child is considered by some a “courageous and noble moral choice.”  Don’t just murder your baby, be proud that you did it.  I daresay that this movement wouldn’t be as successful as he might hope if I didn’t know the depths of human depravity.  Who says that the Bible doesn’t speak to modern man.  Paul wrote of this attitude nearly 2000 years ago:

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32) (emphasis mine)

Sounds like God might have seen this coming.  Or maybe it is just the fact that there really is nothing new under the sun.  Pride is a sure indicator of rebellion against God and in this case, pride is murderous.

Categories: Abortion, Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Culture, politics, Signs of the Times, Truth | 6 Comments

Sunday Morning 3/29/09

Here is the sermon for this Sunday.  I am going to try placing a player on the page so you can look at the notes here without clicking to another spot. 

If you want to download the podcast or subscribe to it, click on this link instead.

We had a couple of minutes of prayer time at the beginning of the service for all of those affected by the flooding in the Red River valley and surrounding areas.  I took out the long silence, since that doesn’t work well in an audio format.  If you would like to take your own time to pray for those people, please feel free to pause the feed.

Learning from History and Example

Sermon Notes for 3/29/09 (1 Corinthians 10)

  1. A sense of belonging

    1. A lesson from God’s chosen people to His chosen people

    2. What does “baptism into Moses” mean?

    3. The rock in the desert – John 4:10-11; Zechariah 14:8

  2. Learning from the mistakes of others

    1. Shun evil – Pr. 10:23; 13:19

    2. Proverbs 16:22; 19:25; 24:32

    3. Putting Christ to the test – (John 3:14; Numbers 21:4-6)

  3. The Lord’s Table vs. the table of demons

    1. This is an obvious reference to communion

    2. Anything that doesn’t come from God is demonic in origin

  4. Set me free

    1. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should

    2. Don’t let others provoke you to wrong

    3. Do everything to God’s glory

Categories: 1 Corinthians, Podcasts, Sermon | 1 Comment

A Love/Hate Relationship

God is love.  Simple but profound statement that is backed up by Scripture over and over again.  Put the words God and love in a search of the Bible and you will get flooded with results.  Put the words God and hate in a similar search and prepare to be underwhelmed.  Do a little broader search of just the term love or hate and the results are similar.  Love outpaces hate in Scripture by about 6 to 1.  God is love is what John said in his epistle 1 John.

So, who or what does God hate?  Well, the results might surprise you.  Contrary to the “teachings” of a church I don’t wish to even promote in the slightest, God doesn’t “hate” gays.  Go look for the Scripture that says He does.  You won’t find it.  Does God hate and detest homosexual acts?  Scripture is plain in saying repeatedly that He does.  But He separates the person from the behaviour in a way that we just don’t understand.  If you go looking for individuals or people that God hates as opposed to attitudes or actions, the list gets pretty short.  God hated Esau according to the Bible (Mal. 1:2, and quoted by Paul in Romans 9), but though the word hate is used here it seems it is more intended as an antonym to love in this context showing God’s care of Israel.

David speaks of God’s hate in Psalm 5:

4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.

5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.

6 You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.

7 But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Of course, if God hates all who do wrong, it would mean that He hates all of us, for we all do wrong.  Yet again, God is love and as John says, “God so loved the world. . .”

Proverbs six contains the only other direct reference I could find to God “hating” an individual in any way and it reads like this:

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (emphasis mine)

In this last verse, God hates someone who stirs up hate.  How does that grab you?  The common thread in all of these except the Esau quotation is that the “hatred” of God is tied to the actions of a person and not to the person themselves.  It can easily be argued that any hatred for Esau could be a result of Esau despising his God-given birthright.

So who or what does God hate?  God hates evil and by extension those who consistently practice evil and/or love evil.  If God hates someone or something, He is right in doing so. (Psalm 51:4; Romans 3:4)

In any case, God hasn’t given us any room to harbor hate personally.  The most specific example is the entire chapter of 1 John 4 in conjuction with most of the book itself, but the clincher is in these two verses:

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The next time you are tempted to throw the word hate out there about somebody or maybe even something.  Perhaps it would be good to remember this passage.

I will say one last thing.  I am keeping my eye on some “predictions” from some hatemongering prophets of doom and may post again later on this subject.

What do you think?  Can we justify hate biblically?  Does God give us the permission to hate for Him on His behalf?

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Culture, False Teachers, Gospel, Grace, Love, Truth | 2 Comments

The Printed Church

I saw this article a few days ago and it hit me kind of funny.  Apparently, there is someone in Congress who is floating the idea of the government subsidising newspapers so they can keep printing.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

Because newspaper profits have been falling in recent years, “no substantial loss of federal revenue” was expected under the legislation, Cardin’s office said in a statement.

The restriction from making political endorsements can’t be a big deal really.  When was the last time that you heard someone change their vote because a newspaper endorsed a candidate?  But the restriction reminds me of the same type of strongarm tactic that the government pulls with churches who might wish to speak out about politics in some ways.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating more culture warfare.  But pastors in pulpits should have a right to say whatever they wish, without the government breathing down their necks.  I would caution the bigger churches in particular that if the government starts getting desperate for money, they should watch their backs.  After all, part of the reason these guys don’t mind giving “tax-exempt” status to newspapers is that they wouldn’t get any money from them anyway according to the article.  Can you imagine what they would do if they start contemplating the $$$ that they could bring in from large churches that have built themselves “tax-free” over the last couple of decades?  Don’t laugh, they have already flexed their muscle in that direction before and won’t hesitate to do it again.

As a church, we can’t be concerned with running afoul of the IRS as much as we should be concerned with running afoul of the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth in any case.  As the writer in Hebrews says,

5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” 6So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Categories: Christianity, church, Culture, politics, Signs of the Times | Leave a comment

Writing from the Heart

The scariest thing about writing songs for me is turning them loose for other people to hear.  I have found a way to record songs “demo style” at the church using the same method that I use to record sermons essentially.  When I listen to myself sing on the recording I am reminded why most people don’t like to hear themselves on recordings.  I would think I should have gotten used to it doing radio all of those years, but I don’t know if you ever do.  Your voice just doesn’t sound right when you hear it in playback because you are hearing it from the outside.  For everyone else, it sounds exactly normal (it’s the way they normally hear it), but for the person who recorded it, it sounds funny.  I think this is the same reason that movies stars don’t watch themselves on film generally and why nobody likes to look at themselves in photos either.

But God has given me some inspiration to write a couple of songs lately, and while the recordings are pretty rough sounding to me.  I wanted to share one of them here if anyone who reads regularly was interested in hearing them.  I have titled this song “Drowned in a Flood of Tears.”  Fair warning that my piano playing isn’t the greatest and I know this has a couple of spots I want to fix and rerecord already.

Categories: Love, Music, personal, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Ice Packs and Global Warming?!?

I have pictures of the areas around the house that are packed with ice.  The first three are a panorama effect off of our back steps around about half of the back yard.  The fourth one is down the side of the house along the outside of the backyard fence to the left of where the last backyard photo is taken.  The last photo is the front view to the street.  You can see a large pool of ice on the far right of the picture and the large bank of snow/ice that borders our driveway on the left side of the picture.  That is our mailbox in the center of frame.  I include this as anecdotal evidence for this story on the myth of global warming.

Ice next to the back of the house

Ice next to the back of the house

Backyard ice and snow

Backyard ice and snow

Back fence ice sheet

Back fence ice sheet

View down the alley beside our house

View down the alley beside our house

View to the street in front of our house

View to the street in front of our house

Categories: adventures in the cold, climate, global warming, Humor, personal | 3 Comments

In Need of Prayer

Update 9 – 8:00 pm on 3/28/09 – There is good news today.  The river level at Fargo actually dropped some today, but they are not out of the woods yet.  There was a lot of snow last week and more coming next week that may cause the river to rise again if the weather warms up enough.  Please continue to pray for a gradual thaw and for the river to drop.  There is a lot of pressure on the dike system and it has to hold for as long as a week or more, which is a lot to ask of a temporary dike.  I am going to drop this post into its regular spot for those who wish to check back for more updates.  I will start a new post if conditions warrant or if I have any urgent prayer requests from our friends in the flood zones.  God bless you for your prayers.

Update 8 – 12:10 am on 3/28/09 – There are quite a few evacuations taking place in the Fargo area now.  The river is at an all time high already and hasn’t yet reached its crest.  The city has done pretty much everything they can do and it is a waiting game for the most part now.  Our friends who are in the area are still there as far as I know at this point.  Please continue to pray for all of those people and for the dikes that they have erected.  The river is supposed to stay at its peak crest for 3 to 7 days, which is a long time for that entire system to have to hold out.  I will leave this post at the top of the blog for another day maybe, but will only update if I have any news to pass along.  Thank you again to all who are praying.

Update 7 – 11:20 pm on 3/26/09 – The news out of Fargo is grim.  I talked to one of our friends who is down there and they are making plans for possible evacuation.  The news reported that one of the hospitals in Fargo is evacuating 180 patients tonight to other hospitals as far away as Minneapolis and Sioux Falls and Bismarck.  There have already been evacuations in some of the south neighborhoods.  The river is now projected to crest above all historic levels and the dike systems that have been put in place may not be high enough.  They are trying to add another feet of height to the entire wall in the next 24 hours.  Please continue praying for those who are working so hard.

Continue reading

Categories: climate, personal, Prayer Needs | 17 Comments

Sunday Morning 3/22/09

Here is the link for this morning’s sermon.  If you want to subscribe to the podcast or download it you can click on this link instead.  The sermon text is from 1 Corinthians 8 and 9.  The notes from the bulletin insert are below.  May God richly bless you through His word.

One note to those who listen.  There is at least one “bonus sermon” in the middle of this one, maybe two.  Which explains why it ran just over 40 minutes this time.

Getting Along and Following Christ

Sermon Notes for 3/22/09 (1 Corinthians 8-9)

  1. Don’t be a “know-it-all”

    1. No matter how much you know, you don’t know it all – v. 1-3

    2. Food sacrificed to idols – v. 1-13

    3. Compare this to Romans 14-15 and the weak and the strong

  2. A minister’s life

    1. Ministers are just like everyone else. 1 Corinthians 9:1-7

    2. Jesus’ brother and the wives of apostles

    3. Even preachers have to make a living

  3. A life of calling

    1. What does it mean to be all things to all people?

  4. Contending for the Prize

    1. What is the prize?

    2. What does Paul mean by being disqualified?

      1. 2 Corinthians 13:5-8 and Titus 1:13-16

Categories: 1 Corinthians, Podcasts, Sermon | Tags: | Leave a comment

Is There Anything That Isn’t Regulated?

I ran across this strange news story tonight while I was taking a break from an assignment.  Apparently, even though God causes rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous, in some western states it is “unrighteous” to keep some of the rain that falls.   I would have thought it was a joke if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes:

Holstrom’s violation is the fancifully painted 55-gallon buckets underneath the gutters of her farmhouse on a mesa 15 miles from the resort town of Telluride. The barrels catch rain and snowmelt, which Holstrom uses to irrigate the small vegetable garden she and her husband maintain.

But according to the state of Colorado, the rain that falls on Holstrom’s property is not hers to keep. It should be allowed to fall to the ground and flow unimpeded into surrounding creeks and streams, the law states, to become the property of farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that have bought the rights to those waterways.

And if you are still prone to shake your head at this in disbelief like I was, it is obvious that these guys take this thing pretty seriously.

Those laws, some of them more than a century old, have governed the development of the region since pioneer days.

“If you try to collect rainwater, well, that water really belongs to someone else,” said Doug Kemper, executive director of the Colorado Water Congress. “We get into a very detailed accounting on every little drop.”

Frank Jaeger of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, on the arid foothills south of Denver, sees water harvesting as an insidious attempt to take water from entities that have paid dearly for the resource.

I have heard of bean counters before, but this is more ridiculous than I ever imagined, and it isn’t even new.  I am dumbfounded that these laws are over a century old.  This officially qualifies as one of the silliest things I have ever seen, and I have seen some really dumb stuff.  Is it possible that we have already past the point of recovery of the freedom that our founders envisioned?

Categories: climate, Humor, politics, Signs of the Times | 4 Comments

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