Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thinking about Joseph's Righteousness

John Ortberg has a wonderful essay about Joseph's righteousness, and his decision to sacrifice his reputation to take Mary to be his wife. Recommended. We don't have a single recorded word of Joseph in the Bible, but he is a rich example for us to study.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Computers Enable People to Live Forever?

Ray Kurzweil is a very smart man, and has written extensively about his confidence that computers and medical technology (e.g., nanobots that will repair human tissue) will effectively allow humans to live forever. See this blog post for a good jumping off point on that theme.

A few thoughts on this idea:

1. This is a sad idea. Given the frustrations of life, and the grinding nature of sin in human relationships -- irrespective of the perfection of the human body and our thinking capacity -- I suspect such "eternal" life would be a Faustian bargain. There is no way these technologies address our fundamental problems of being.

2. This is an arrogant idea. There is a Creator, and He is sovereign over all our steps. One car accident, one tornado, one slippery kitchen floor... there are damages to the human body that cannot be overcome by technological repairs.

3. May our Lord save us from situations where we are tempted to sin because we have technological options that far outstrip our wisdom.

4. I can hear Thomas a Kempis speaking: "What good is it to live long if we do not live well?" (from The Imitation of the Christ)

5. We have not learned the lessons from the Tower of Babel. I'm certainly in favor of medical advances to help people. But we have a strong tendency to pursue these things because we want to become gods.

Monday, November 27, 2006


One of my delights is to be a greeter at our church. I stand outside one of the main doors, shaking hands with people, opening the doors, and escorting the older ladies who need an extra measure of honor and help. I pray for people as they come in. I pray for the people I don't see, too -- including those in the hundreds of homes that have been built around our church building in the past four years. I'm asking God for 500 men.

Yesterday we had a vistor from another church, a man who also greets and loves it. "I call myself a hand-warmer," he told me. "Everyone needs a warm hand in the morning."

I like the title. It fits. Hand-warmer.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Is Your View of God Big Enough?

Here's a fun joke sent to me by a friend:
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for
lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.The nun made a note,
and posted on the apple tray, "Take only one. God is watching."Moving further
along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of
chocolate chip cookies.A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is
watching the apples."

Made me wonder -- in what ways do I need to enlarge my view of God?
Be a Lion Chaser, Not a Scaredy-Cat

I highly recommend Mark Batterson's book, In the Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day. He begins with the story of Beneniah, who chased a lion into a pit and killed it, then later became the leader of King David's bodyguard. Meaty, readable, thought-provoking, funny -- get it, read it, grow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What Are You Filling Your Life With?

Like many of you, I struggle to enjoy family relationships as much as I know I should. So I was humbled to read this short article from a home-schooling mom who is intentional about caring for souls in her home.

A few excerpts:

"Everyone fills their lives. The question is, what will we fill it with? When most people consider simplifying their lives for the better, the first thing they restrict are the children. Children make noise, cost money, and wake in the middle of the night. They are hard work if you are going to raise them right. Yet I can think of no sweeter means to enjoy the simple, good things in life than alongside God’s gift of children.

Children are not the obstacles that keep us from enjoying the good life, so long as your definition of good things is not material. It takes careful thought to live simply, to nurture good character that will stand against a consumer-driven culture. I want our children to look back on their childhoods and remember family reading times that lasted too late and bowls of cherries that sat on the kitchen countertop. As I think through the things that fill our lives, I aim to purge the clutter and embrace the things that matter, especially the eternal souls in my care. "
Disturbing Decision by the Church of England

The Church of England is now saying it's ok to allow "severely deformed" babies to die by withholding treatment.

There's a whole run of rational arguments they offer, but I don't see any Scriptural support.

Check out this article for the full story.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Prayer Guide

John Piper compiles a list of what to pray for -- using your wartime walkie-talkie. Great resource, highly recommended!
Mayflower Compact

On this day in 1620 our forebears signed one of the most important documents in American history.

"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."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Would Jesus Tax?

There's a good bit of controversy between Christians about economic issues -- often boiled down into overly simplistic viewpoints of

Jesus wants us to help the poor, not the rich, so we should tax the rich and give to the poor!


Jesus loves capitalists because capitalism is freedom!

Guys, it just isn't this simple. If it was, I think we'd have more specific economic direction (I mean specific macroeconomic direction that the Treasury Department should use) in the Gospels.

I appreciated this article because the author tries to work through some of the complexity.
US Elections

Most of the candidates I voted for in Iowa did not get elected. And most of the candidates I would have supported across the country did not get elected.

This was not a surprise.

Pundits and pollsters will spend days and weeks gloating, bemoaning, and interpreting the results. We also do, driven by an almost compulsive need to understand complicated systems in simplistic, linear terms.

But while disappointed I am celebrating, too. I'm very grateful to live in a free country, where I have so many civic privileges, even if this world is not my home. And I have a new list of leaders to pray for.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote of the Week

Kevin Nelstead points us to this one:

"People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."
D. A. Carson, For the Love of God

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ministry Burnout? Run with Jesus Instead

Hey, if you're feeling a lot of burdens in your ministry, check out what I wrote to teachers on my other blog, Teach to Change Lives. This truth applies for whatever ministry work God has called you to, men -- including our husband and father roles.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Two Good Articles on Climate Change

I really appreciate the detail and approach in Climate Non-Conformity and Stern Review. The Nicholas Stern report from the UK got a lot of media attention -- not surprising given it's conclusions -- and so it's helpful to get some additonal facts and analysis about Stern's analysis and methods.
How to Be Spiritually-Minded

John Piper gives us excellent counsel about turning our minds toward God.
Santorum Speech Worth Reading

I'm not a Pennsylvanian, but I was impressed reading through this speech by Rick Santorum. I think he clearly "gets" that we're at war.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Coarseness of Speech

Words mean things. It has bugged me for years now to hear kids say, "That's so gay!" when they aren't referring to it being happy or homosexual. And now I hear adults saying it! Grrrrr. Political leftists co-opt the word liberal and anarchists trying to pitch themselves as progressives.

Leaders bear an extra responsibility for using words well. In today's world a man who doesn't use coarse words is the man who stands out for Jesus and respecting others.

Randy Ehle gives us good advice about our words.
The M Word

We have a lot of euphemisms and excuses and rationalizations on this topic -- guys, I encourage you to read Perry Noble's counsel.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm a Day Late!

Yesterday was a day to celebrate, but I missed it. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517.

I've always wondered what he was thinking about when he did that. I'm sure he didn't appreciate at the time where it would all lead to, for the Church or for him personally.