Wednesday, November 30, 2005

No ember lasts long by itself

D. L. Moody was visiting a prominent Chicago citizen when the idea of church membership and involvement came up."I believe I can be just as good a Christian outside the church as I can be inside it," the man said.

Moody said nothing. Instead, he moved to the fireplace, blazing against the winter outside, removed one burning coal, and placed it on the hearth.

The two men sat together and watched the ember die out.
"I see," the other man said.

Citation: Keith Long, Room to Grow (Hendrickson, 1999), quoted in Men of Integrity (3.2).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


A friend who studied under Howard Hendricks passed along this quote from him: "Do not ask for volunteers. Satan will raise his hand every time."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Jesus was born to die

Jesus was born to die as a sacrifice to ransom His people from destruction. Think about the incredible mixture of joy and suffering that Jesus knew he would experience after he laid aside His glory and became a little baby. There would be all the goofiness of being in a child'sbody. The struggles of the flesh. He would taste the joys and pains of being in a family -- with sin-satured parents and siblings and neighbors. He would know some hunger and pain.

There would also be beautiful country to enjoy and experience. After he tookup his ministry, he would see the joy in the eyes and heartsof people whom he would heal. He would experience laughter and celebrations -- weddings, parties, dinners withtax collectors. Think of the joy that would come as hecommanded demons to come out of people and stop tormenting them. Think of the thrill of seeing people repent of their sins and begin following his commands. Imagine his enjoyment of walking along the roads with his disciples,and teaching the crowds. Imagine his sweet times offellowship with the heavenly Father in prayer.

But Jesuswould also anticipate people misunderstanding him, rejectinghim, spitting on him, calling him horrible names,beating him, ripping open his back with whips, pounding nails into his flesh. He would experience the full physical and psychological suffering of the cross.
Jesus knew all these things as he laidaside His glory, stepped over the threshold of eternity into limited time and space, and entered into humanity as a baby.There would be joys in those 33 years, but many awful timesas well.

So at Christmas it is good to celebrate the coming of the Lord. But let us remember that Jesus came to die. The wonder of the Lord coming this way, to experiencethis life, for us, for me, needs to fill our minds andhearts this season.

Jesus foreknew ALL ofthis -- and still did it.You see, He is the only one who can walk by sight. We can't handle walking by sight, when it gets down to it -- we'd balk. We'd fail. Our loving Father knows we can't handle it, so He calls us to walk by faith. Faith in Jesus.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

16 Red Letter Commands of Jesus

Tony Morgan has identified 16 one word commands of Jesus. This is brilliant! Very helpful. Check it out now.
Cotton Mather’s Characterization of William Bradford

William Bradford was certainly used by God to preserve the Puritan colony at Plymouth. Check out this characterization of the man by Cotton Mather:

“He was indeed a person of a well-tempered spirit, or else it had been scarce possible for him to have kept the affairs of Plymouth in so good a temper for thirty-seven years together... The leader of a people in a wilderness had need be a Moses; and if a Moses had not led the people of Plymouth Colony, when this worthy person was their governour, the people had never with so much unanimity and importunity still called him to lead them.

He was a person for study as well as action; and hence, notwithstanding the difficulties through which he had passed in his youth, he attained unto a notable skill in languages... He was also well skilled in History, in Antiquity, and in Philosophy; and for Theology he became so versed in it, that he was an irrefragable disputant against the errors, especially those of Anabaptism, which with trouble he saw rising in his colony... But the crown of all was his holy, prayerful, watchful, and fruitful walk with God, wherein he was very exemplary.”

How would you compare, brother? Let us purpose to be bold & gentle men
Remembering Some Law

Iraq Liberation Act (passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1998):

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

This passed the House 360-38 and the Senate 94-0.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Flat Tax?

I recommend Flat Tax Revolution. It's a straightforward read, plenty of detail.

Forbes does a great job outlining the "hidden" impacts that the current tax system makes, and gives excellent reasoning why a national sales tax would not be nearly as effective.

I'm an advocate of the flat tax strategy, but I'm not sure I agree with the exact formulation Forbes proposes here. (And I'm still scratching my head wondering how people come up with the rate -- 13% for some, 17% for Forbes. If 10% works as a tithe, why does the federal government need more?)

So part of the reason I recommend this book is because it gives you additional details and insights so you can start wrestling with it. We're Christians, and we should be the best thinkers on the planet -- in the Church we have the mind of Christ.

It's too bad that so many people will be put off the concept because a "super wealthy" guy like Steve Forbes is promoting it.

Someone equipped a dear friend with a pager when he was battling cancer earlier this year. Then the pager number was distributed to hundreds of his friends and fellow CrossTrainers. Whenever we thought about him, and were praying for him, we dialed the pager number. My friends pager was buzzing constantly, a powerful reminder of the prayers of the saints.

More recently we've adapted this to email and text messaging. Now I'm sending out email messages that just have


in the subject line. That's it. But the recipient knows that I'm praying for them, and they're not in the battle alone. Give this a try -- it's easy on you, and powerful for others.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Half-time Encouragement

I'm called to encourage other men. So I really appreciated this wonderful "Get Back in the Game!" column by Clark Cothern. Get it, read it. And then let's get back into service!
The Bush Administration Didn't Lie about WMD

I have resisted the urge to post about the inane, despicable, grandstanding, do-you-think-people-just-don't-remember?, why-are-you-giving-the-enemy-ammunition?, treasoness behavior of Democrat party leaders and elected representatives who claim the Bush administration lied about WMD to get us into war in Iraq.

There is plenty of documentation available for those who actually care to check facts rather than swallow elephant-sized 'sound bites.' Start with this excellent summary by Norman Podheretz, "Who is Lying About Iraq?"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Get Some Quiet!

The Screwtape Letters is a popular book in our home, so this article caught my attention:

"A Kingdom of Noise: A Screwtape Letter for the Media Age"

Read it and enjoy. And then here's my challenge -- what can you do today to get some quiet? God is speaking, and there are things you will not hear in the presence of manufactured noise.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Prepare for Narnia Discussions

Our family is really looking forward to the new movie coming out, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on December 9th.

Check out Roaring Narnia for resources and ideas about discussions around this movie.
Get over it!

John Piper answers objections about going into missions. Great responses from the wise and tender heart of a Scripture-soaked challenger!
Recommended American History Books

Marvin Olasky -- whom I do not always agree with, but always read -- has some excellent ideas for good books to help you and your kids appreciate American history. I've read nearly all his suggested books, concurring wholeheartedly with his recommendations.
"Jedi Christians"

For those of you interested in the Star Wars saga, or who have children interested in it, check out this interview with Dick Staub, author of "Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters."

I love what A.W. Tozer told his father, about the secret to knowing God: "Young man, read the Bible and pray every day and you'll grow like a weed!"

Friday, November 11, 2005

Praise is Hard, Revealing

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -- Abraham Lincoln

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives." -- Proverbs 27:21

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yesterday at CrossTrainers we held a Medal of Faithfulness ceremony to honor four men -- including my good friend Rick Holmertz -- who had gone home to be with the Lord in the past few months. This was a wonderful, tender time celebrating their strong walks and that they finished well, and the legacy echoing forward through their families.

My dad, dead now for four years, was likewise honored at a ceremony like this. I burst into tears when saw his pictures again yesterday. I think about him every day (in fact, I wear his beloved watch to remind me of him), and miss him terribly.

A good friend pointed out to me when he died that the reason we hurt so much is that we weren't built to say goodbye. It wasn't in our original design. There's wisdom in that.

But most of the chest pains I experienced yesterday were because God did some work in me. "Get rid of this stupid stuff that doesn't belong in the life I have for you." One of the best quotes of 2005 is "Don't get stuck on stupid." Apparently in military training they say that pain is the feeling of fear leaving your body. Well, as men, sometimes it's not fear leaving your body, it's stupid stuff leaving your heart.

Semper Fi, Jesus. With your help, I will be semper fi.
385 years ago -- A Seminal Event

The Mayflower Compact was signed 385 years ago on November 11, 1620. This was the critical forerunner document to the US Constitution, a huge break from conventional ways of thinking. No one but the Puritans could have made this covenantal kind of agreement.

Worth reading again today:

"IN THE name of God, Amen.
We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the 11 of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domine 1620."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Riots in France

It's useful to talk with your older children about the riots in France. Why aren't immigrants rioting in the US? The seeds for this rebellion against the French society was seeded, watered, and fertilized over many years. The social structures there do not give them any economic equality, and the Muslims are not interested in conforming to the "French" way of living.

Read Thomas Sowell's excellent column for good insights.

You can look at these surface issues, but here's the thing to talk with your kids about -- what are the heart issues involved?
Good Insights -- on heathens and the First Amendment

"Many of our people, without knowing it, are Christian heathen, and demand as much missionary effort as the heathen of foreign lands." -- Booker T. Washington

"Why...must government be neutral about religion? Because, we are told, the First Amendment demands it by forbidding any 'establishment of religion.' But this is nonsense. The First Amendment says nothing of the sort, and I wish atheists would read it as literally as they think most Christians read the Bible. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof' means something very different from 'Government must be neutral about religion.' It bars the Congress of the United States from legislation that either establishes a religion or prohibits its free exercise. This left the states free to do both, and for a long time they did. Several states had official religions as late as the 1830s. You may deplore this, but don't say the Constitution bans it, because it plainly doesn't. Now we are told that the Constitution forbids everything from a moment of silence in the classroom to the phrase under God in the Pledge of Allegiance!" —Joseph Sobran

Monday, November 07, 2005

About Gas Prices

I filled up on gas at $1.99 yesterday. I'm sure the Des Moines Register post a major headline "Bush Causes Gas to Fall $1 in 75 Days" any time now. (After all, if it was Bush's fault the price went up to $3, surely he gets the credit for making it go down $1?)

Alan Reynolds writes a nice column about oil profits, prices and politics. "If prices or crude oil and gasoline really rise and fall at the whim of U.S. petroleum companies, why would oil and gas prices ever fall?"

Make sure your kids get some basic economics so they can be good citizens.

Fun quote from Ann Coulter: "Minority Leader Harry Reid dramatically invoked an obscure Senate rule to close the Senate for two hours, putatively in order to rehash old arguments about the Iraq war in closed session. In other words, Reid demanded more transparency in government by shutting the doors, throwing out the public, dimming the lights, and turning off the TV cameras in the chambers of the U.S. Senate. "

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fun Picture

These "make your own sign" sites continuing to pop-up -- so let's enjoy. Hat Tip : B.R.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

25 Years Ago

Ronald Reagan was elected President 25 years ago yesterday -- Nov 4, 1980.

President Reagan reduced taxes and took firm stands that helped end the Cold War.

But for the husbands and fathers who read this blog, I want to emphasize one thing about Ronald Reagan that we need to emulate more: his optimism.

Our families need us to identify hope in the future, see potential for progress, and have confidence in God working out his plans. Are there tough days ahead, likely tougher than some in the past? You bet. But we're God's guys in this situation, and God plus anyone is a majority force.

I think about what they tell the Navy Seals in training: "You can do three to ten times what you think you can do." God promises us much bigger harvests than that (30, 60, and 100-fold!).

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." (Philippians 3:13-16)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Allah is not God

There is a lot of hooha and multiculturalist talk about Allah being God, or the same as the Christian God. This

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Jennifer Roback Morse has a useful insight about male-bashing feminists: "Male-bashing has developed into a full-blown art-form in this country. And strangely enough, the male-bashing is often accompanied by the presumption that men and women are the same in every significant way. No one seems to notice the logical conclusion: if men are bad, and women and men are the same, ergo, women must be bad."
Appropriate Anger

We get all hung up on anger. Anger is a serious spiritual problem. I personally really struggle with anger (rage, actually) because there was a period in my pre-Christian life when I cultivated rage and hate for its power.

Christian men do need to get angry, just at the right things, people, and events. That's why I can recommend Doug Giles column, where he rails against milquetoast passivity. He has two great recommendations:

"1. Don’t unleash your anger on your loved ones, friends or pets (unless you have a cat).
2. Don’t waste your wrath on the inconsequential. For example, I wanted to get really peeved at the people down here in Miami who are screaming for the government to take care of them post-Wilma because they did not take care of themselves pre-Wilma as they were warned to do. Instead of getting wound-up, I decided that I would chill out with one of my stockpiled Coronas and a beautiful Cuesta Rey #9 in my hurricane-shuttered, generator-powered, canned-food-filled, fully armored home. Remember, soldier, anger has a shelf life. Use it sparingly and wisely. "

Anger has a shelf-life. That's a great insight.
The Problem with Utility as a Measure of Good

I'm a reasonable fan of technological progress. I'm not completely blind to the spiritual and cultural problems technological advances have created, and will continue to accelerate. (The real problems of mankind haven't changed in thousands of years.)

These days I watch the fascination of the Internet and Web 2.0 and the Google "brain." People get excited, people get rich.

Most of the arguments for going forward are utilitarian: X technology helps people do Y better, so it must be good.

Simon Ings, a science fiction writer, said this: "When our machines overtook us, too complex and efficient for us to control, they did it so fast and so smoothly and so usefully, only a fool or a prophet would have dared complain."

May the Lord help us to be fools and prophets at the right time.
Thinking about Suitcase Nukes

There's an excellent article by Brendan Miniter that reviews the "suitcase nukes" information. Read this, think about why we want to believe it. Let's work to be discerning men, not gullible.