Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fridays Are for Fun Stuff

Anyone who has ever watched a reality TV show surely realizes that there isn’t a lot that is “real” in most of them, but Fox took this to a new low of sorts.


The image comes courtesy of InsideTV at ew.com.  They have helpfully circled the duplicated portions that the TV show photoshopped in to make the crowd at the audition appear bigger.  My favorite line though was the comment about if only they could photoshop in more ratings.

The next item would be a lot funnier if there weren’t so many confused people who thought that Scientology is true.  An old video from 1990 has gone viral on the web and it is pretty funny.  Cheesy and sad at the same time.

With lyrics like these: “Knowing the truth will set us free, Take us from clear to eternity, For a future we thought would never be, We stand tall.”  The only Truth that will set you free is Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life.  The way they have corrupted the idea almost makes me want to throw up, but I have decided to laugh instead.

Lastly, there are days where I am glad that Arkansas was the land of my birth and then there are days when I am more inclined to look for a paper bag and a new home state.  Reading this story yesterday inspired more of the latter reaction.  The guy wants to ship himself in a crate and stay connected to an online game for 7 days.  The picture alone is worth a laugh as is his vague answer about “bio-break” accommodations.

Categories: America, Culture, False Teachers, Fun, Heresy, Humor | 2 Comments

Thanks Dad: I Notice Numbers

I mentioned it a long time back on this blog when I was nearing some milestone number of comments at the time, that I have picked up a small fascination with numbers thanks, in no small part I am sure, to my dad.  So, it was with some amusement that I noticed earlier this evening after I tweeted a story about the community spirit in Minot during the flooding, I now stand at 665 tweets all time.  I used to joke that Twitter was evil, although not at the level of say Apple products, so I thought I would put in a humorous tweet for my 666th message of 140 characters or less.  Then, I remembered that my posts here also auto-generate a tweet now, so I figured I would do a post instead that would then generate an automatic 666th tweet.

This might be more evil than I originally intended.  🙂

Honestly, I know that a whole lot of Christians have a lot of hangups about the whole 666 number and it is not my intention to poke fun at them, but I am more than willing to poke fun at the superstition of the whole thing.  I know people who have been afraid of having anything that had the number 666 on it at all (I bet this blog post is really getting to some of them right now if they ever read it).  All I have to say is, don’t worry about it.  God didn’t give us that information to make us scared of a few numbers on a page or anywhere else.  God does deal in numbers at times.  There are lots of significant numbers in the Bible and God has used some of these things before.  But some people have been known to get carried away with the whole thing at times also.

So, here is to my 666th tweet that will result from the promotion of this blog post.  May it have a fun time out there in the ether.  May you have a fun time reading about it as well.

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TULIPY: The Acronym for Hyper-Calvinists (i.e. 6-pointers)

I have had a flash of inspiration.  Perhaps someone, somewhere has already done this before, but I can’t say that I have seen it elsewhere so I thought I would give it a whirl.  I run in some blog circles where people complain about hyper-Calvinists.  I have a dear brother in the Lord who was burned so bad by a group of extreme hyper-Calvinists (we referred to them as 6.5 pointers in humorous love) that he would nearly froth at the mouth at the mere mention of Calvinism at all.  This post should not be taken as a diatribe against Calvinism as a whole or even all that seriously.  It is meant in a spirit of levity to encourage potential discussion.  I love my brothers and sisters who are serious Calvinists and who are passionate for the Lord and the Gospel.

Please further note that I am not a 5-point Calvinist.  I am probably more like a 2-3 pointer if anything, but I will try to describe the points with some accuracy up through my own addition.  These descriptions will be intermingled with my observations as well.  With all that said, here is the acronym spelled out for posterity.

T – Total Depravity

Ok, we all pretty much get that and know what it means I would think.  Man is totally depraved.  Scripture makes this point repeatedly, and one episode of Jerry Springer will drive this point home to even the most reluctant of individuals I would think.  The other point behind this however is that man is completely helpless regarding his salvation.  We don’t even look for salvation on our own.

U – Unconditional Election

We can not earn God’s grace and cannot merit salvation.  There is nothing within us that makes God love us, He just does.  All our righteousness is filthy rags type of things are the general point of this point.  From my perspective, the idea behind this is generally right, but I hesitate to do much explaining about how God does these things.  Even Paul was eventually rendered speechless in this regard (see the end of Romans 11).

L – Limited Atonement

Since not everyone is saved based on the words of Jesus, it follows that Jesus’ death must not be effective for all people in the end of all things.  This particular point is generally arrived at through logical means in my experience.  Both those who support it and those who argue against it can cite John 3:16 as it becomes a discussion/argument of who is covered by whosoever.

I – Irresistible Grace

This is the teaching that God’s grace is irresistible to those who are elected to salvation and they will respond to the call of God through the Spirit.  This is also a hotly debatable topic, mostly because simple observation yields plenty of examples of people who hear the clear Gospel message and don’t respond to it.  Frankly, I think it is more amazing that anyone can reject God at all.  This doctrine reflects that in some means, but I think any attempt to explain why some reject God’s call by placing them in a category of “unelected” or whatever is not correct.

P – Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine simply states that those who are called, elected and chosen will remain in the faith without fail as God is capable of keeping them.  This sentiment is perfectly biblical and true as far as it goes.  I think the main problem in applying it stems from the fact that we never can know who is who from our limited perspective.  In fact, many of the problems of Calvinist theology and much of the rest of theology is our extremely limited understanding and perspective.

Y – You’re Irrelevant

This one is all mine, but you may have seen it coming.  Given all of the above as absolutely true, many have moved on to another very logical point.  It doesn’t matter what we do, since God has planned it all ahead of time.  This comes out in various ways.  I have seen a church that did no external evangelism.  They preached the Gospel in Sunday morning service and expected God to draw those who were called to their building.  I have seen others who assume that because everything is up to God, it absolutely doesn’t matter what you do about anything.  Ultimately you are either chosen or not chosen, so just live your life and trust God(I mean why not do it anyway right) and He will do everything.

Let me say it once again.  I love my Calvinist brothers and sisters.  I will work alongside you all day long to share the Gospel and make disciples for Jesus Christ.  I just wanted to write a post that points out the all too real end of taking this theology to its logical conclusions (I have seen it far too often for my liking).  The only thing that can keep us from going there is the reminder that while all of these points may be true from God’s perspective; we are not God and they don’t work from our limited perspective.

Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, Fun, Gospel, Grace, Humor, Questions, Salvation, Southern Baptist, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Morning Sermon for 6/19/11

Hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day.  We had a great group of people and a larger than average number of little ones in the congregation as well.  God is so good.  The message this week deals with the commandment to honor our father and mother.  The sermon notes are unavailable for this week as I just used a handwritten copy, but the texts are taken from Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:1-4 and Matthew 15:1-9.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

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Funny Friday Post – Laughter Is Good Medicine

We all have to laugh at ourselves.  I am grateful for a year where I don’t feel the need to place a bag over my head following a rather quite SBC annual meeting down in Phoenix.  However, in the post-convention glow, there was a side discussion that developed in one of the threads at SBC Voices that started talking the alcohol thing again.  I pretty much avoided it until I saw someone throw in a Luther quote that I haven’t tried to source, but which sounds like it could be legit (Steve, maybe you can help me with this one):

Whoever drinks beer he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long does not sin; whoever does not sin enters Heaven! Let us drink beer!” – Luther

I felt so inspired by the comment that I had to post up a video of a song I recently overheard on the Mark Gungor show.

I jokingly referred to it as a possible Lutheran hymn in the comment as well.  Based on the drinking that goes on in this neck of the woods, it might actually be one for all I know.  I just like the band in the video clip.  That is my kinda deal right there.

Another comment thread in the aftermath of SBC2011 was about the issue of homosexuality.  You might wander what is so funny about it, but a commenter accidentally referred to homophones when he meant to say homophobe (interesting that my spellchecker knows which of those two word is legitimate anyway).  That inspired another trip down memory lane for this classic video that explains what homophones are all about.

In other bizarre news, San Francisco is now considering a ban on goldfish.  I would like to think that this is just a crazy prank for April Fool’s Day that someone has mistimed, but the news story makes it abundantly clear that these guys are not playing with a full deck in SF.

The recommendation to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is part of the commission’s ongoing efforts to discourage “impulse buys” of animals.

The commission’s ban would cover pet stores and breeders in the City. It comes after more than a year of study and findings that aquarium fish are often mass bred under inhumane conditions or stripped from the wild.

The story earlier notes that they have already banned kittens, puppies and hamsters.  Clearly SF is not a pet-friendly place.  I bet there is a huge black market.  Next, they may go after sea-monkeys.

Finally, in liberal madness world, the culture of “Don’t Blame It On Me” is in full swing with the latest Congressional scandal.  To think that Wes King’s song is almost prophetic at this point (you can listen to Blame It on Me on Rhapsody for free).  Sometimes I really do wonder how these people  like Garafalo can say this kind of stuff with a straight face, because I sure can’t listen to it with a straight face.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Culture of Death

I read a disturbing news story a day or so ago courtesy of Vox Day’s blog.  Doctors in Belgium are using organs from patients who have been euthanized (I already have a problem with that part) as transplants organs for other patients.  According to the article from the UK Daily Mail mentions that around 1/4 of all lung transplants come from “donors” who were killed by doctors in the hospital as well.

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002, so this isn’t an overnight slide.  It is apparent that the dreaded “slippery slope” isn’t a fallacy in this case.  Doctors in Belgium are far more casual about this whole thing than doctors in other countries who aren’t euthanizing patients:

Dr Peter Saunders, of Care Not Killing, an umbrella group of more than 50 British medical, disability and religious charities opposed to euthanasia, said he was shocked by the report.

‘I was amazed at how nonchalantly the issue was dealt with as if killing patients and then harvesting their organs was the most natural thing in the world,’ he said.

‘Given that half of all euthanasia cases in Belgium are involuntary it must be only a matter of time before the organs are taken from patients who are euthanised without their consent.
That last paragraph is almost more frightening than the original topic.  Involuntary euthanasia is politispeak for legalized murder.  Lest you think we are not that bad, I would remind you that millions of unborn babies are “involuntarily euthanized” every year by those who should be protecting them, their mothers.
We no longer consider life precious in modern society.  You can chalk it up to the undermining of the truth that we are created by God and the resulting conclusion that all life is precious.  That would be the place that I will pin the bulk of the blame.  What has resulted is a culture of death.  Ironically, much of it is possible because we are in many ways more disconnected from death than the generations that came before us.  This disconnect has made death seem less real in my opinion.  I am saddened to see what this has brought about in Belgium and sobered to think that it wouldn’t take very long for us to find our way to this same place in America.  There are already states in the US with a form of “assisted suicide” measures on the books.  We are on the slide; it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the bottom.
Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, Culture, Health, Science, Signs of the Times, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intelligent Writing

I have been one of the “smart kids” all of my life.  It isn’t something I talk about much.  Those who know me well just know this and I imagine those who read here frequently probably suspected it at times.  I don’t spend much time thinking about it, but recent news gave me a chance to test my communication skills and accessibility for readers for my blog.

Give some credit to Sarah Palin and her emails.  I have now discovered that there is an online tool that assesses the reading level of a given text.  Hat tip goes to Vox Day for linking up the text readablility engine.  I put a few of my blog posts through it and discovered that I tend to write at about a 10-12 grade level.  Some of the posts were as low as 8 and some were up closer to 14.  The score indicates “the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading.”  This might explain why I don’t reach a particularly large audience.  It also explains why I frequently have issues in online discussions I suppose.  I have been accused of talking over people’s heads before.  I guess my writing style is reflective of this as well.

Let the reader be warned that my writing might require more than one pass to digest.  I will probably run some of my posts through this thing in the future.  It will depend on what I am intending the post to be as far as readability.  For this post I was able to adjust it to a 6.84 after an initial score of 9.68 on the Flesch Kincaid Grade level scale by taking some of their recommendations.  I doubt I will do this for many of my posts, but it is something I will notice in the future.

Categories: Fun, Growth, Humor, personal, Science | 4 Comments

Sunday Morning 6/12/11

Another blessed week in the great northland.  We had a wonderful time in the Lord this week as summer is beginning to peek through in these parts.  We are starting a new series of messages covering the 10 Commandments this week.    The primary text I am using for the commandments themselves is from Deuteronomy 5, but there is a lot of moving around in Scripture this week as I establish God’s relationship with us.  Commandments come in relationship with God and we have been brought into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  Notes are below the audio stream.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Commandment in Covenant

Deuteronomy 5:1-7

Sermon notes 6/12/11

  1. God’s Commandments Come in Relationship

    1. Covenant is with us – Jeremiah 31:31-34

      1. Hebrews 8:8-12; Romans 11:24

      2. I am the Lord Your God

      3. Romans 2:25-29; 3:28-31

    2. He has redeemed us from bondage as well

      1. Romans 6:15-23

      2. Romans 8:12-17; Ezekiel 36:25-28

  2. No God beside/before me

    1. Covenant relationship means exclusivity (marriage)

    2. Ezekiel 16

    3. An unbreakable bond – Ez. 16:59-63; 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Categories: Commandments, Deuteronomy, Disciples, Forgiveness, Podcasts, Romans, Sermon | Leave a comment

Overcoming Evil with Good

Randy Alcorn has long been one of my favorite authors.  He is adept at communicating difficult truths in an accessible manner.  His book entitled, The Goodness of God, is another book that hits this mark well.

Many people struggle with the question of evil.  Why does God allow evil when we believe He can do away with it completely? Questions like this give atheists ammunition for questioning the Christian faith and mocking the God who created them.  Randy’s straightforward approach is a breath of fresh air.  He doesn’t duck the hard questions or try to get around dealing with the tough issues involved in the question of evil.  Evil doesn’t have to be a stumbling block as it is one of the surest indicators that God’s Word is right.  God has explained why evil exists and that evil is not the “ideal” way that things are supposed to be forever.

Randy begins by talking about the origin of evil and suffering and proceeds to get people to work through the implications of evil and suffering in the real world.  I highly recommend this book for those who are struggling with why life seems less than perfect and for those who may be mad at God for the evil they see in their own life or the lives of those around them.  Randy doesn’t pretend to give all the answers, but He does point people to the Source of those answers and brings great perspective to the problem and how we are to respond as Christians to evil in this world.

One final thing, in order to be faithfully transparent, I must also mention that  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Funny Stuff for Friday – Mark Gungor

I am always in process of deciding how I want to do things and the funny Friday thing is something I like, but I am going to keep tinkering with I suppose.  I want to direct you toward someone who truly is funny, but is also very informative and helpful.  His marriage seminar is called Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage and includes amazing insights like these:

If you aren’t laughing, I can’t help you any more than this.  He also says some things that are profound, even though we should honestly know this stuff already. I love the quote where he says that successful marriage isn’t about finding the right person, it is about doing the right things.

And frankly, I am now hooked on his podcast show, which is equal shares funny, poignant, serious, and maybe just a little over the top at times (in a good way).  It is worth checking out all on its own.

 

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