Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sheet Music

Recommended for husbands: Great Sex for the Glory of God, from True Spirituality. 
It's Not What You Know, But What You Do With What You Know

Some people I know lament that they aren't getting better teaching.  You've probably heard the comments: "It's the same stuff, over and over again!  I'm bored.  I wish we learned something new." 

There are two relevant issues at this point. 

First, the way you live the Christian life is the same way you came into the Body -- by faith, in the power of Christ.  So in an important way we will always be working on the "basics."

Second, we don't advance without obedience to what we know.  Oswald Chambers wrote about this:
"Examine where you have become sluggish, where you began losing interest spiritually, and you will find that it goes back to a point where you did not do something  you knew  you should do. When the Spirit of God prompts me to do something, it is imperative thatI do it immediately.  Waiting until a "more convenient time"inevitably produces spiritual drowsiness.  Every time I obey something God tells me, the result is a spiritual"growth spurt".   Conversely, every time I delay obedience, spiritual"downsizing" results."When you know that you should do something and you do it, immediately you know more."

Thanks to John Stanford for sending this out on his AO notes yesterday -- the timing was terrific!
Let us appreciate our history!

John LeBoutillier helps us understand our ancestors:

"One of the key motivators for the early American settlers was their fervent desire to communicate with God directly -- something forbidden by European Christianity in the 17th century. ... America was unique in every way. Yes, vast natural resources and potential great material wealth awaited the settlers. But none of that would have worked without the Guiding Hand of a God who selected a certain type of man and woman to come and become Americans. Today's New Leftists don't want to hear any of this; they are the ones who have ripped the soul out of this country and tried to replace it with Big Government. But if America is to survive -- and if we are to become again a country of happy people -- the American people need to revive their personal relationships with God first. They need to ask God to help them. He will show us the way. He always does."

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Church Calls the Government to Account

The Federalist published this letter (unnamed author): "The 'separation of church and state,' a political notion intended to preclude the establishment of a national religion, is now being used not only to remove references to God from public view, but to preclude Churches from 'undermining' the state by teaching morality contrary to what has become 'legally acceptable' behavior. Not only does this ultimately negate our fundamental right to freedom of religion, it does, in fact, establish hedonism as our national religion."
Nine Ways

John Piper's list of Nine Ways to Know That the Gospel of Christ Is True is worth reviewing,  and sharing with your kids. 
What about tatoos and piercings?

Doug Phillips has a useful commentary on tattoos, body mutilations, and piercings.   There's enough Scripture here to help you think through it.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Getting Started Blogging

    Some readers of this blog has inquired how to get started with their own blog.  There are excellent instructions available at www.blogger.com, but a great tutorial is also available at Feedster.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Atom Feed for This Blog

For those of you using XML feeds to monitor blogs and other web sites, the feed information for this blog is


Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out this nice introduction to RSS, Really Simple Syndication.  And save yourself time!


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Seeing Jesus Christ

John Piper had a sermon in April 2001 titled "Know Your Sin."  Here's a fabulous illustration from this sermon:

No, you don't need to experiment with particular sins in order to know the power of sin in your life. Think of it this way. Someone says: How can you really know the power of the temptation to lust – say to look at Internet nudity – if you've never given in and experienced it? Let me give an answer in a parable. There are three men – women, you supply the necessary changes to make the parable fit your situation – and each of the three stands beside a pit of lewdness and sin. Three ropes extend out of the pit, one bound around each man's waist. The strength of this narrow cord is one-hundred-pound test.

The first man begins to be pulled into the pit that looks exciting, but that he knows is deadly. Five pounds of pressure, ten pounds, fifteen pounds. He resists and fights back. Twenty pounds, twenty-five. He digs in his heels with all his might. Thirty pounds, thirty-five pounds, and the rope starts to squeeze and he stops resisting and jumps in. Click goes the mouse button.
The second man begins to be pulled into the pit. Five pounds of pressure, ten pounds, fifteen pounds. He resists and fights back. Twenty pounds, twenty-five pounds. He digs in his heels. Thirty pounds, thirty-five pounds, and the rope starts to squeeze. He says, No! and fights back. Forty pounds, forty-five pounds, fifty pounds, fifty-five pounds. It's harder to breathe as the rope tightens around his stomach and it begins to hurt. Sixty pounds, and he stops resisting and jumps into the pit. Click.

The third man begins to be pulled into the pit. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five pounds of pressure. He resists and fights back. Thirty, thirty-five, forty, and the rope starts to squeeze. He says, No! and fights back. Fifty pounds, sixty. It's harder to breathe as the rope tightens around his stomach and begins to hurt. Seventy pounds and his feet start to slip toward the pit. He cries out for help, and reaches out to grab a branch – shaped like a cross. In the distance he sees his wife going about her business, trusting him; he sees his children playing, and in their hearts admiring him. And beyond them all, he sees Jesus Christ with a gash in his side standing, with both hands lifted and fists clenched and smiling. And filled with passion, the third man holds fast. Seventy-five, eighty, eighty-five pounds, and the rope cuts into his sides and the pain stabs. Ninety, ninety-five and the tears flow unbidden down his cheeks. One hundred and the rope snaps. No click.

Question: which of these men knows the full power of temptation?

If this were a message on lust I would look around this room and say, "Are there any soldiers here? Does anyone in this room have blood on his shirt and scars on his side? Do you know the power of temptation? Or do you just jump in before its power is spent?"


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Great quote
"Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."    (Jonathan Edwards)
Keeping Up
There are now more than 3 million blogs, but the data shows that remarkable few Americans know about blogs or read them. 
(If you want to follow political news, Betsy's Page is worth scanning regularly.  I'm amazed that she can compile so much information.  She's a history and civics teacher with a politically conservative viewpoint.   Her contributions to blogging can save you a bunch of time. )
What are the consequences of this information trend. 
We're trying to sip from firehoses.  More and larger firehoses are on the way.  (The future is already here, but it is not evenly distributed yet.)  Bots and agents and RSS feeds are coming in to pull selective information out from the multiple streams and present them to you automatically. 
"Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied. " -- Richard Foster (derived from thoughts Martin Luther expressed, I believe, in Table Talks)
There is a kind of pseudo-wisdom and psuedo-knowledge that comes from being "up to date with current events."  It's appealing to us, probably because (a) it's easier and faster than pursuing genuine wisdom and knowledge, and (b) we can enjoy legalistic pleasure from knowing more than the next guy. 
Being bold and gentle, men, may require us to fast from the media, particularly since it is likely to be a primary interference to Biblical wisdom from a God-changed heart.  
What's Your Assessment of the PC USA Decision?
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has endorsed economic divestiture from Israel, a tactic used to help bring down Apartheid in South Africa years ago. 
I'm astounded to read the committee's recommendations, particularly the one calling for Israel to lay aside arrogant ways and enter into negotiations with the Palestinians.  The PLO thugs who are "leading" these people have declined to accept huge concessions from Israel before.  That experimental approach has been tried, and Israel doesn't need to do the experiment again to know the results.  I pray that God will raise us just and moral leadership for this hurting people.  A significant fraction of the Palestinians in Israel are Christians.
Dennis Prager has some scathing words about this decision.  Though orthodox Jew and not Christian, he publicly distances himself from the PC USA. 
What is your response, Christian?  When it is ok to disagree with other believers, and how?  Talk about this with your children. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

A Presidential Running Mate
Here's a terrific story about our President encouraging a young soldier who lost his leg in Afganistan.  Worth reading.  Share it with your kids. 
Is there anyone within your sphere of influence who might benefit from running a few miles with you? 
Why Do They Hate Israel?
Herbert London has identified 7 reasons.  These are all secular reasons.  But they derive from the blessings of the Lord on the nation of Israel.  His covenant with them endures. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Our future state, should Kerry be elected

Ben Shapiro projects what is likely to transpire in the US, should John Kerry be elected president.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Role of Technology in Churches

I continue to believe that Community is what the church offers that the world seeks desperately -- experiencing the Spirit-crafted fellowship with the Father and with one another (in families, in small groups, in congregations). Healthy relationships, and intimacy. Courage and care. Relationships based in the power of Christ, for the honor and service of Jesus.

So how does technology help or hinder this?

It clearly isn't required -- see Acts 2:42-47. And this is good news! Keep in mind that less than 50% of the world's population have ever made a phone call, and less than 35% have access to the Internet. God is not limited by our technological advances :-).

It may help attract some people, or facilitate larger numbers. I've been astounded to read about Fellowship Church in Dallas and their extensive use of information and presentation technology. If you are interested in these topics, check out Terry Storch's blog.

That leaves many of us in the middle somewhere. Here I am, blogging to encourage Christian men! Let us pray for judicious, God-honoring use of the technology, without making it an idol.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Leaving the job to someone else

Wise husbands and fathers do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. There are simply some tasks and roles that cannot be delegated, nor should not be delayed. Many of these aren't pleasant or convenient.

Thomas Sowell has a nice column about the laughable strategy of delegating international security matters to the U.N. What's true for individual marriages and families happens at the level of nations, also!

Check yourself, men. What needs to be done, by you, now? What needs to be done by you, more consistently?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Learning about the limits of Christian freedom -- from baseball hats

Husbands and fathers, you need to work through David Hansen's story War of the Baseball Caps . The basic story is that the pastor granted permission for some boys to wear baseball hats in the congregational service, because they hadn't had time to wash their hair. The boys began wearing their hats all the time. This became a point of dissension within the congregation.

As you read this, put yourself in the place of the pastor, the boys, the different groups of parents, a visitor to the church, and a member of the church council. How would you handle this situation? What alternatives would you reject, and why?

Thinking through these things in advance takes us to the brink of experience. If we're going to be spiritual leaders in our homes (that is what we're called to be, men), then we need to be able to address the complex issues of Christian freedom.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Good translation

Don't miss Red Skelton's commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance.
Not as Lean, Not as Mean, But Still a Marine

That's the great tagline from Ed Evans, retired Marine, commenting about the cost of liberty.
From Every Nation and Tongue

Pray for our brothers and sisters in North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Pray for their protection from persecution, and their influence.
Another distinctive about America

Dennis Prager addresses the puzzle of why America produces a Michael Moore, but not Germany. Worth reading.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Why fathers should oppose same-sex marriage

Kathleen Parker has some useful insights into why fathers should oppose same-sex marriage -- it's another step towards marginalizing the role of fathers.

The Federal Marriage Amendment comes before the US Senate about July 13. Focus on the Family has some excellent information about the FMA and the process of contacting your senators.

Letting the Bible Teach Us

I'm impressed with C. Matthew McMahon's article Why I am a Calvinist, in part because of its clarity, but also because of these two paragraphs:

When I was 21, I had finished 2 years of Bible college. I went to an Arminian School, learned Arminian doctrine, and read Arminian books. I had no previous learning in religion until I attended that school, so I was indoctrinated in that theology without ever knowing whether it was true or false. In my naïveté I believed what I was taught (Surely not to question doctrine was my own mistake, but being indoctrinated in that way helped me to understand more about what I believe now. So it was the providence of God which kept me in my sin of false doctrine for a time.) Not too long after my second year, a friend of mine, who believed the doctrines of grace Calvinist began to challenge me on many of my "biblical" doctrines. I had a well rounded handle on the doctrine I possessed and propagated it thoroughly among my friends at school. But when this young man challenged me as he did, I was not able to refute him. The reason I was not able to refute his arguments had nothing to do with not understanding my own doctrine, for I did. But he came at me with something I did not expect; the Bible. He proposed a whole new system of doctrine which ran completely contrary to my own beliefs. My understanding of sin was so unbiblical that when he told me to read Romans 3:10-18, I was taken back by Paul’s poignant words. I was challenged by the very book I thought I understood. My views of man, Christ, God, salvation, sin, sovereignty, the will, and others were so warped and twisted that my young friend didn’t even need to rebuke me, for the Scriptures were doing it quite well. I had understood doctrine, it was just not the doctrine of the Bible.
So over the next summer, because of that day and that particular challenge of my friend, I devoted my time to reading through the entire Bible and endeavor to take it as it stood rather than what I wanted to read into it. My prayer was that the Lord would teach me His word by the power of the Holy Spirit so that I would know what it said rather than what I wanted it to say. After three months my views on man, Christ, God, sin, salvation and the like were radically transformed. (you would be amazed at what the Spirit of God will do with such a prayer and a simple reading of the Bible.) The point is this, my theology came out Calvinist without ever knowing what Calvinism was. I had not known what Calvin taught or that he was even a person. But my theology reflected nonetheless. The study of the Word of God transformed me. The Scriptures taught me, instead of me trying to teach it. So we see that being a Calvinist is not following after one man, but submitting under the authority of the Bible.

Would that more Christians approached the Bible this way!

Sunday, July 04, 2004