Monthly Archives: February 2012

You Don’t Get to Pick Your Own Nickname

I would generally be content to stay out of the fray when it comes to the new “nickname” that the SBC has informally adopted.  As a commenter shared on one of the posts over at SBCvoices, everyone learns in elementary school that you don’t get to pick your own nickname.  I had a friend in college who desperately wanted a nickname and asked us to give him one.  Unfortunately the first thing that came out was “muffin” which was said as a joke, and it stuck.  Here is a funny video of a nickname mishap that I just had to share because it reminded of that story at the time and it seems fitting now too.

The SBC has decided that they want to be know as the Great Commission Baptist Convention.  It isn’t a formal or legal name change, so it has earned the distinction of a voluntary nickname.  I really don’t have a whole lot of feelings about this one way or the other.  If anything, I think it is kind of silly and I fear that it has the potential to be seen as dishonest.  I was in Amway when they tried the Quixstar business online as a way of getting around bad feelings about the Amway name.  It didn’t work.  I don’t imagine that an informal change of name will do much different for the SBC, but time will tell.

Of course, self-picked nicknames hardly ever stick.  Look at Chad Johnson.  He legally changed his name to a couple of numbers just to force people to call him that and now he has had to change it back because his new bride-to-be didn’t want to be called by that silly name.  Self-chosen nicknames are rarely a good idea.

Categories: blogging, church, Fun, Humor, ministry, Southern Baptist, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Sermon for 2/19/12

We had a wonderful time together in the Lord this week.  We were privileged to get a report from a member of our local Gideon camp on the work that they do and have a chance to contribute to that work as well.  For those of you unfamiliar with their mission and ministry, I invite you to check them out and support their efforts to spread the Word of God to the nations.

The sermon this week deals with Jesus’ yoke and the call He gives to us to take on that yoke.  Notes are available below for your study and to follow along with the sermon.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

The Master’s Yoke

Matthew 11:25-30

Sermon notes 2/19/12

  1. Finding Rest

    1. Jeremiah 6:16-21

    2. Hebrews 4:1-13

      1. Rest is connected with obedience

      2. Rest isn’t realized until eternity

  2. A Yoke and a Burden

    1. Jeremiah 5:1-5

    2. Acts 15:10 – Yoke is Torah

    3. Matthew 23:2-3 – Burden is obligation (Luke 11:46)

    4. Galatians 5:1-6

  3. Learn from the Master

    1. Easy yokes and light burdens – Matthew 23:2-3

    2. Micah 4:2-3

      1. 1 John 5:1-3

      2. Hebrews 12:3-17

Categories: Commandments, Disciples, Epistles, Gospel, Matthew, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

The Problem of All or Nothing

God is holy and perfect and commands us to be “perfect as He is perfect.”  Perfection: it is a standard that we all know we cannot keep.  Those who spend a great deal of time thinking about it are in real danger of driving themselves crazy.  It is this insistence of perfections that drives the “wretched urgency” that Michael Spencer, AKA the Internet Monk, used to opine about back in the day.

But we humans have a hard time with not taking this the other direction entirely.  Since we know we can’t be perfect, we have developed whole theological systems that essentially say, “why bother.”  Jesus paid it all, you can do nothing; so just fall on Him and do nothing.  What’s wrong with this?  You are saved by grace and that not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  Right?!?  So just sit back and relax and quit.  Be still and know that I am God, if you will.

It is the problem of all or nothing.  If all isn’t enough, then why bother.  If nothing will get me there, then why not.

I saw an interesting quote from Dallas Willard posted by a friend of mine.

“In most churches we’re not only saved by grace, we’re paralyzed by it. We’re afraid to do anything that might be a “work.” The funny thing is we will preach to people for an hour that they can’t do anything to be saved, and then sing to them for a half an hour trying to get them to do something. This is confusing. People need to see that action is a receptacle for grace, not a substitute for it. Grace is God acting in our lives to do things we can’t do on our own. Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.” -Dallas Willard

This is the problem of all or nothing boiled down into a couple of sentences.  That same Bible that tells you that there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, still calls you to a life of service and obedience once you have been saved.  Keep reading from that quote I earlier pulled from Ephesians:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  – Ephesians 2:8-10

The problem is that if you don’t take all of Scripture to place a single verse in good context, you may find that nothing you say makes good sense.

We don’t handle this dilemma well.  Might I suggest a solution with a little humor in it.

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” – G.K. Chesterton

Stop making it all or nothing.  God takes care of it all, but not so that you can do nothing until eternity.  Rest period doesn’t start until then.  In the meantime, do all that you can, badly if you must.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Fun, Grace, Humor, Love, Salvation, theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Facebook in the Twilight Zone

Instead of a group of funny Friday videos, I thought I would share just one amusement for the week.  I have spent most of the week sick with a sinus infection, so I haven’t done a whole lot.  I was watching a classic Twilight Zone episode with the kids last night though and thought I would show them one of my all time favorite episodes.  It can be found on youtube in three clips, the first and last of which is below.

The story is about a guy who pays for his paper on the way to work and the quarter he flips into the tray lands on edge.  From that moment on, he can hear others thoughts around him.  It is kind of a funny episode.

This last clip shows him at work.  The speech he makes about how bad it was to hear everyone else’s thoughts (just around the 2:15 mark onward) is what made me think of Facebook in the first place.  It is kind of like seeing everybody naked.  Figures that a young male college student would be the one who came up with the original idea.  This post might have lost a little of its funny, but no worries.

Penny for your thoughts?

Categories: America, blogging, Culture, Fun, Humor, Signs of the Times, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Growing Sense of Anavah

Last year’s “one word” was growth.  I always had a sense that it was more than just a word for the year.  I even blogged about the fact that growth is integral to life itself.  If we aren’t growing, we start dying.  I am beginning to see that continue to play out in this year as well, as my understanding of anavah finds its way on the path.

There are a growing number of responsibilities that have been finding their way to me.  These are things that I really haven’t sought out, they just sort of happen before I realize it.  In fact, I am becoming extremely aware of the fact that my propensity to be willing to “serve” in whatever capacity is asked of me is going to have to come to a halt; if I wish to remain sane and able to see my family.  It used to be that no one asked much of me, so saying yes and being willing to serve wasn’t a big deal.  I had plenty of time to do those things.  Not anymore.

Beginning late last year, I suddenly found myself in a leadership position with the Dakota Baptist Convention and have picked up another role within the convention in the form of Disaster Relief work as well.  My wife and I have been promoted to the role of commander for our AWANA club here in Langdon this school year also.  All of this is stretching me and causing me to think more about this idea of anavah and filling my space.  Incidentally, and I suppose somewhat ironically, I have been given another exhortation by another doctor that I need to lose some more weight (which will have me filling up a little less space in a spatial sense).

All of this means that I am truly finding my proper space more than I ever imagined already this year.  It would seem that anavah is becoming more fitting than I would have ever guessed.  I am excited to see how God continues to use this awareness in the days to come.  I know many of the things that I anticipate on the horizon, but I know that He has things I cannot possible imagine in store as well.

Categories: Anavah, Growth, ministry, One Word, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Sermon for 2/12/12

We are continuing our series looking at some of the difficult and/or misunderstood sayings of Jesus this week.  This Sunday we examined Matthew 11 and the discussion of John the Baptist and his role.  The notes are available for you to follow along or study further and as always, your comments are welcome if you would like to leave one.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

A Violent Kingdom

Matthew 11:1-19

Sermon notes 2/12/12

  1. Doubting John – v. 1-6

    1. John’s question

    2. Jesus’ answer

      1. Isaiah 35:3-7

      2. Isaiah 61:1-2

  2. The Elijah who is to come – v. 7-11

    1. The prophet preparing the way

    2. Malachi 3:1

    3. Greater and Lesser – Matthew 3:11

  3. Entering the Kingdom by Violence? – v. 12-19

    1. The breaker – Micah 2:12-13

    2. Hard to please – v. 16-19

      1. Micah 2:6-11

      2. Wisdom’s deeds


Categories: Gospel, Isaiah, Matthew, Micah, Podcasts, Sermon | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Sermon for 2/5/12

Sorry this one is getting posted a few days late.  We had a dear lady in our church go home to be with the Lord late last week and the funeral arrangements meant that we had family and public visitation on Sunday night and a funeral on Monday afternoon.  This lady, Marge, and her husband (who passed a few years ago), were vital members of our congregation for many years, going back to the beginning of the church in the 70’s.  Please remember them in your prayers, that the Lord would give the family comfort in a time of loss.

The message this week begins our look at a few of the “macaroni” issues in Scripture.  That is to say, issues where changes in language and/or unawareness of the meaning of the phrase has led to problems in understanding what our Master or Scripture is trying to say.  I mention this in the message itself, but I will say it for those who follow along here.  I do not pretend to have perfect understanding, and I am always glad to hear from those who see these things differently.  Feel free to leave a comment or question on these posts.  This week we are looking at Peter’s keys and binding and loosing.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Keys to the Kingdom

Matthew 16:13-20

Sermon notes 2/5/12

  1. What are the Keys of the Kingdom?

    1. An OT picture – Isaiah 22:15-22

    2. A Steward’s authority

      1. Matthew 19:27-29; Luke 22:24-30

      2. Binding and Loosing

  2. The real meaning of binding and loosing – Matthew 18:18-20

    1. Bind – Forbid

    2. Loose – Permit

    3. Legal decisions and authority

  3. What does it mean for us?

    1. This is Key – Open the door – Revelation 3:7-13

    2. Authority has limits

      1. Cannot rewrite God’s Word

      2. Interpretation – Acts 15:19-21

      3. Fulfilling the Law

    3. Building Stones – 1 Peter 2:1-12

Categories: Disciples, Epistles, Gospel, Isaiah, Matthew, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Funny Friday Again – A Time to Laugh

I haven’t been doing as much blogging lately, and I haven’t been stockpiling as much funny material for Fridays either.  But I found a couple of things that make me chuckle anyway so I am throwing them out there this week.  In honor of the fact that the winter up here in North Dakota has been the mildest by far of the 5 total that we have experienced in this part of the country, I present you this story that finally (not really, but one can dream) nails shut the coffin on the “global warming hysteria.”  Never mind that they took to calling it “climate change” a few years back just so they could play this kind of stuff as well.  We are now potentially headed for a mini ice age, just like we were in the 70’s.  I assume the credit for placing these images side by side should go to the website referenced in the watermark although I saw them elsewhere.  Things like this amuse me.  If you want to debate the “science” that asserts that man has a profound impact on the climate and has either made the planet warmer or colder at some point in the past, you are simply going to add to the humor.  You are welcome to comment, but don’t expect me to take it seriously.

In other amusements, I decided to check up on my old standby – youtube for some fun stuff.  The Lutheran satire channel has uploaded several funny videos since I last ran one, but this one on creeds was particularly good in my view.

Since the most popular post on this blog still hasn’t managed to answer the question of what translation Joel Osteen uses (Can anyone tell from looking at his Bible in the video perhaps?  Seriously, in two years time not one commenter has been able to cite a single translation that says what he said and it isn’t like that post hasn’t spawned a lot of traffic from others looking for the same info.  If any of Joel’s churchgoers do stop by here, please ask him for us.  We would simply like to know.), I figured I would throw out a bone in passing about that odd little creed that he uses as well.  I imagine most of the people who say it every week have no conception of it as a creed.  Maybe this can be a fun learning experience.

Oh, and since yesterday was Groundhog Day, I thought I would bookend the post by posting something I saw on twitter yesterday from another North Dakota resident:

We finally have enough snow on the ground that it looks like it is early December or something.  Not complaining about it myself so much either, but all of this thawing and refreezing stuff is not a lot of fun.  Have a great weekend.


Categories: adventures in the cold, Christianity, climate, Fun, Fun in the Northland, global warming, Humor, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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