Saturday, February 28, 2009

Role of Men sermons -- must reads

Pastor Matt Chandler has three sermons I heartily recommend to you, guys. They're on the role of men.

Go here, look down the page for these three sermons:

Defining Masculinity
The Role of Men (Part 1)
Matt Chandler

Men as Husbands
The Role of Men (Part 2)
Matt Chandler

Men as Fathers
The Role of Men (Part 3)
Matt Chandler

Both the audio and transcripts (hooray for we readers!) are available there.

Biblical, insightful, challenging, encouraging, funny, and strong.

P.S. I know there are some wives reading this blog, so make sure your man reads these.

Proposed US Budget -- Concerns

President Obama's budget proposal, heading to Congress now, is generating a lot of concerns.

Gene Veith compiles some information here, for example, tallying near a trillion dollars in additional taxes over 10 years.

I'm not a fan of the proposed cap and trade strategy around carbon emissions, because I believe people grossly underestimate the economic drag on businesses and consumers, and it creates a huge "here's a new revenue stream we can manipulate" temptation for Congress.

Given the extra tax pressures on fossil fuel-based industries, I think we can assume there will be higher gas prices. Some have proposed that this is designed to make alternative fuels and electricity sources more cost effective. As we saw in 2008, higher gas prices lead quickly to higher prices for many products.

In general, business taxes will increase. Capital gains taxes will increase.

I realize we've had progressive taxation laws for decades, but this proposal appears to be accelerating the effect. Eliminating the itemized deduction for individuals earning more than $250,000 seems like class warfare. If you want to help homeowners and the construction industry, why eliminate the deduction for mortgage interest, at any income level?

And the direction appears to be pushing people to rely upon Government services rather than charities. There are mixed stories out there about eliminating charitable deductions. Giving by Christians should not be influenced only by tax policies, but it will be. And please show me examples of government run services that are superior to private services doing the same work.

I have to wonder how all this squares with consistent promises that if you make less than $250,000 your taxes won't be raised a penny.

I haven' t read through the original proposal. I have tried to look at a variety of news sources to get past biased viewpoints to something closer to facts. Some of the tax law changes are scheduled to take effect in 2010, 2011, or later -- under the presumption that the economy will improve, and there will be more rich people again to tax? Keep in mind, too, that this will not emerge from Congress without some changes. But the general directions are concerning.

One Day

Mark Batterson shares a wonderful, powerful thought about the biblical phrase "one day."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not "Debt is Dumb," But Christ!

Matt Chandler makes some great points here -- points I think men as leaders need to grasp about communicating well (even if you're not preaching).

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Education is what survives when what one has learned has been forgotten.
- B. F. Skinner

Sacred Reminder

The programs aren’t sacred.
The methods aren’t sacred.
The ministries aren’t sacred.
The service times aren’t sacred.
The communication style isn’t sacred.
The committees aren’t sacred.
The bylaws aren’t sacred.
The denomination isn’t sacred.
The style of music isn’t sacred.
The color of the carpet isn’t sacred.
The font that used in the bulletin isn’t sacred.
The only thing thats sacred is the mission of Jesus.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded…

(From Scott Hodge)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Procrastination is a weakness for most of us. We're so skilled at rationalization that we paint procrastination with the colors of virtue!

Check out this advice on overcoming procrastination, and be more productive with your energy and time.

Our True Enemies Now

These are days when we need mental toughness.

With the drumbeat of disappointing news about the world economy, political situations, continuing struggles everywhere, people are increasingly discouraged and distracted.

Remember that our focus must be on Jesus Christ.

Remember that God is always at work, and will never leave us or forsake us.

Our true enemies now are doubt and fear. Be bold, be gentle -- confident in Christ, and unafraid. Renew these qualities in yourself today, and influence others to do the same.

Collecting Wisdom About Leadership

You -- yes, you -- are called to leadership roles. You can choose to abdicate, but you cannot outsource leadership roles.

For years now I've read books systematically, aiming for 2 books per week in secular areas of business (including leadership). I believe leaders are readers. In 2008 I read through all the books in the Personal MBA Reading List, and benefited enormously.

But in the past three years I have found the best material has been available on the blogs of skilled leaders with a heart to share what they have learned. The information content is dense, focused, highly valuable. It's consumable, memorable, and easily shared with others.

I was delighted to learn yesterday that the Exponential Network has compiled the best-of-the-best blog posts on leadership into a free ebook. They have many of my favorite bloggers (Batterson, Noble, Godin) and some new to me (Goeschal). What a terrific way to help the continuing education and encouragement of leaders!

This is 281 pages of gold, men. No charge. Get it, and read with a pen in hand.

How to Nudge the World

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little..." — Tom Stoppard


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prayer: Not Legalism, but Duty

John Piper gives us helpful instruction about the importance of prayer. This is from a sermon, but you could build a greatfamily devotion around this:

But the hard truth is that most Christians don’t pray very much. They pray at meals—unless they’re still stuck in the adolescent stage of calling good habits legalism. They whisper prayers before tough meetings. They say something brief as they crawl into bed. But very few set aside set times to pray alone—and fewer still think it is worth it to meet with others to pray. And we wonder why our faith is weak. And our hope is feeble. And our passion for Christ is small.

The Duty of Prayer
And meanwhile the devil is whispering all over this room: “The pastor is getting legalistic now. He’s starting to use guilt now. He’s getting out the law now.” To which I say, “To hell with the devil and all of his destructive lies. Be free!” Is it true that intentional, regular, disciplined, earnest, Christ-dependent, God-glorifying, joyful prayer is a duty? Do I go to pray with many of you on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., and Wednesday at 5:45 p.m., and Friday at 6:30 a.m., and Saturday at 4:45 p.m., and Sunday at 8:15 a.m. out of duty? Is it a discipline? You can call it that. It’s a duty the way it’s the duty of a scuba diver to put on his air tank before he goes underwater. It’s a duty the way pilots listen to air traffic controllers. It’s a duty the way soldiers in combat clean their rifles and load their guns. It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food. It’s a duty the way thirsty people drink water. It’s a duty the way a deaf man puts in his hearing aid. It’s a duty the way a diabetic takes his insulin. It’s a duty the way Pooh Bear looks for honey. It’s a duty the way pirates look for gold.


Gratitude Over Technological Progress

Lewis C.K. visits with Conan O'Brian and using humor effectively, points out a curious fact about human nature: we're not very grateful for technological progress.

What can you and I do today to exercise our gratitude muscles?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Things You Don't Say To Your Wife

Hollow and Deceptive Philosophies

Colossians 2:8 gives us a strong command ("See to it") to guard ourselves against worldviews and thinking patterns not grounded in Jesus Christ:

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

There is a lot of good advice and counsel available in this world. There are also many false teachers who are skilled at persuasive rhetoric.

Here is our guide, then: If the instruction does not have Christ at the center, then it as best hollow, and may well be deceptive.

Looking at financial advice for what to do with your 401K, or counsel for guiding your teenager through difficult years, or instruction about pursuing additional education? Prayerfully ask if Christ is at the center. If not, it may be still be useful, but it is hollow.

Be Done with Opinion Polls

I'm done with opinion polls. I can hardly believe how prevalent they have become in our news media; they're frequently cited now in newspapers, radio, and TV news.

I encourage you to be done with them, too.

Here's why: paying attention to opinion polls fosters a greater willingness to let your convictions be established or changed by what other people say and think. (Actually, more dangerous than that -- what is reported that other people think and say.)

We need to be men of God, focusing our attention on God, and drawing our beliefs and convictions from God.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fighting the Temptation to Be Lazy

I love Perry Noble's counsel here for leaders (applies to leadership in the home as well as church and community):

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, A WORKMAN…”
One of the biggest temptations for a leader is to become lazy and the begin to expect God to do what HE has clearly commanded the leader to do.
It is my responsibility as a leader to make sure I am prepared to preach God’s Word every Sunday.
It is my responsibility as a leader to make sure that I am growing in my faith and in my leadership abilities.
It is my responsibility as a leader to work hard, to put time, effort and energy into the things God has called me to lead.
One of the most dangerous things a leader can do is put their leadership on cruise control. God didn’t call us to cruise…He called us to create…and that ONLY comes through us being willing to roll up our sleeves and WORK HARD.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Religious Is Your State?

While this analysis of the religious across the United States is interesting, I'm concerned that people will draw the wrong conclusions.

The article does not give us the survey questions, or how the sampling was done, so I have to be immediately on guard. Surveys are extremely difficult to do well, and intrepretation must be cautious.

Our news media have "trained" us to love surveys and use the results to drive decisions. This is a dangerous direction.

In this case, if you live in one of the "Bible belt" states, are you supposed to feel superior and smug? Complacent about witnessing about Jesus? (There remain not-yet believers around you.)

If you live in a more "secularized" state, are you supposed to be envious of your brothers and sisters elsewhere? Or take more pride that you're in a mission field and they aren't?

The issue boils down to this: Do you know Jesus yourself? What are you doing {today!} as a disciple of Jesus? Whom are you influencing and for whose glory?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Three Rules for Success in Business

When I left academia and took a position with a large corporation, my father gave me his "three rules for success in business." They are

1. Always tell the truth

2. As far as #1 allows, make your boss look good

3. Always be very nice to the receptionists and secretaries, because they can choose not to help you.

More than 15 years of experience in that corporation has proved the wisdom of these three rules!

God Is Not Procrastinating

Have you ever considered how long God waits between the big milestone points of history? Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden. Four thousand years later God sends His son Jesus. The Church has now been waiting another two thousand years for the second coming of King Jesus, looking forward to the new heaven and new earth.

In the human perspective, long delays usually mean something is hard to accomplish. And we tend to procrastinate rather than tackle hard things, don’t we?

God is not procrastinating.

We learn from the Bible that God’s timing is perfect (though we may not understand it). For example, God the Father sends His son Jesus in the “fullness of time” (see Galatians 4:4) – when the time is right.

Fixing what is wrong with the world is not going to be difficult for God. To illustrate this, read what will happen to Satan:

“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him…”

(Revelation 20:1-3) Note the ordinariness of this account. It’s one angel who does this – not an army, not a super-special hero angel, not even a named angel. (Let’s call him “Bob.”) There is no spectacular fight, no massive resistance, and no doubt that one angel is adequate to do the job. There is no evidence that this unnamed angel gets a medal of commendation for service “above and beyond the call of duty.”

Take encouragement from this, and enlarge your confidence that our God is able and will set everything right – in the fullness of time. This hope helps us endure all things as ministers of reconciliation and grace to people in darkness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weighing the Alternatives

I've written before that Christians should be, and must be, the best thinkers on the planet. A common perception of Christians is that we're dogmatists and dittoheads, rather than thinkers.

One of the most important skills you can develop in yourself (yes, you can really do this), and foster in your family, is the ability to weigh the merits and problems of multiple perspectives.

If you like an idea, practice thinking through the alternatives. If you a critical of an idea, practice thinking through the alternatives.

When you are thinking through and through, remember:
* We are not intrinsically good people, but sinners.
* We are not intrinsically logical or rational beings (though we excel at rationalizing)
* Cause and effect are rarely close in time and space.
* We have biases and filters which make it difficult to see clearly all aspects of complex problems
* This world is not our home. We live in Babylon, which will only be fully transformed when Christ comes again.
* We are the created, not the Creator

The Two Biggest Drivers of Human Behavior

To ponder:

"The two biggest drivers of human behavior are the desire for
significance and contribution." -- Frank Kern

Listening to The Word

Eugene Peterson advocates lectio divina, a process of listening to God's Word as poetry, allowing it to seep into our souls.

He rightly points out that we can slip into Bible study as an autopsy on a dead thing, dissecting and probing to find out how the mechanics work.

I loved this section:

"In the last class I taught at Regent, a young woman came up to me and was very irritated.

"Dr. Peterson," she said, "three times during the lecture you did not say anything for twenty seconds. I know because I timed you. I'm from Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, teachers go: Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! I want my money's worth."

We're going to have people like that, people who want very polished and efficient teaching. But when I see people in my congregation taking notes during the sermon, I stop and say, "Put your pencils away. I want you to listen. Listen to the Word of God. It's not something for you to figure out; it's something for you to respond to."

The whole interview is good. What can you do today to listen to the living Word, and help others do so also? It might mean less polish, more depth, more effectiveness.

Chess, Religion, and Living Under Grace

I loved chess as a young person, and every few years I dust off some of my chess books and think again and play a few games. I taught my children how to play, because I firmly believed it was a good avenue to think constructively more than one move ahead. (My observation is simple: if more humans thought "more than one move ahead" in their decisions in life, we'd suffer many fewer problems!)

So I was delighted to read this short essay by Michael Spenser (aka, "the Internet Monk") comparing his love of chess, religion, and life in the kingdom of God. Excerpt:

"Chess is a very unforgiving game, especially against any competent player. If you want to know what I mean, set your chess computer to the level of anything above an amateur and see what happens to you if you play anything less than perfection.

Chess isn’t a game for blunderers and people who make serious errors. You can tell a computer to take it all back, but after years of making the same mistakes, that sort of cheap grace doesn’t go very far in making a real player.

I’m not mentally equipped to play the game well. My ability to concentrate is sporadic. My mind works with multiple topics and makes quick judgments. I see my own actions, but rarely calculate consequences with any real accuracy. My move always seems like the best move. I like to believe that my errors will be overlooked, and of course, that’s never the case.

So I have a house full of nice chess sets and books. I can keep a game going while I’m working on other things. (I’m getting cooked right now by Sigma Chess.) I can teach the game, appreciate the game, tell you stories about great chess players. But I’m a very poor player and always will be.

Sound familiar? Anyone?

I know a lot about Jesus. I have a lot of books about him. I know stories about great Christians. I’m a very good teacher of the basics of Christianity. I’m great at explaining how to get started. I have all the standard information memorized.

I study the Bible, and I know it well. I teach it and I can answer most of your questions. I think I’m right most of the time, too. (Surprised?)

I enjoy the music, the worship, the fellowship, the discussion. I can play the songs. I can lead in prayer and preach a good sermon. I like liturgy, church history, reformation theology…even Christian blogs.

I’m an educated minister, a trained amateur theologian and a writer with a decent reputation. I have a lot of mail saying I’ve been helpful to people wanting to live this Christian life. I’ve tried to pass my faith on to my children and to live it out at home.

But, like chess, living out the life of a disciple can a very unforgiving business. I blunder, make wrong moves, throw away opportunities and live by a double standard. God can’t point at me with any pride and say “There’s someone doing it right.”

I’m just not very good at following Jesus. I’m a “poor player.” I collect the stuff, the stories and the information. I hang around and admire, even hope to imitate. But I’m not much of a player at living out this Jesus business.

I’m better than the beginners, but I’m nowhere near the saints. I have a lot of “know” and very little “do” in my Christianity. I’m more of a fan than a follower.

Of course, religion is like chess. The Kingdom of God, thankfully, is not."

Read the whole essay, and be encouraged.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Postmodern Economics

Gene Veith comments on the US congress passing the stimulus bill. Here is his critical insight: Note the postmodernism of all of this: What we have done to truth we are now doing to economics.”

That is worth pondering. There apparently are no absolute economic truths. Having speculated on these things, and made the bet, now we will have to see what results from the experiment.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

How Far Did Jonah Walk in Whale-Vomit Clothes?

A good friend dropped me a note encouraging me to try Here's his hilarious excerpt:

"Need to know where Jesus went when He was in Gadara or how far Jonah had to walk in whale-vomit clothes when he finally went to Ninevah? This tool is better than any Bible Atlas and sure beats the heck out of the maps in the back of your Bible! And no wonder; it actually harnesses the power of Google Maps! Try it out here: "

It is a fun and easy tool. Just put in the book of the Bible and chapter, all the place names are linked to a Google map. The interactivity makes it more interesting for working with others, too -- like your kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

About "The Shack"

I'm asked about once a week for my thoughts on the controversial book, "The Shack."

I haven't read it. It's not in my reading pile. I might read it someday, but right now I'm compelled to read lots of other books and articles.

You can find pro and con reviews all over the Internet. This may be the most helpful review I've seen, so I 'm going to steer you there. I have high regard for the folks at Stand to Reason.

Being Wise about Creation Care

My friend Kevin Nelstead points us to "21 Reasons that Evangelicals Don't 'Get' Creation Care."

There are helpful insights there. I'm guilty of some of this, at least.

There are serious ditches on both sides of a wise road here. For example, the Swiss constitution "requires respect for “the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms.” Sound ok until you learn about the laws created out of their stance:

"Now their parliament has decreed that Swiss goldfish, too, must be treated with dignity. And not because they are gold, but because they are fish. Beginning in September, a new law will set rigorous standards for the treatment of all “social animals.” Swiss aquariums must have an opaque side to allow the fish to live in a natural cycle of day and night. It will also be an offense to keep a lone goldfish, guinea pig, or budgerigar."

And they appear to be moving on to laws protecting plants, as well.

Part of this is obviously that we, being imperfect but sincere humans, can't help but build up bodies of law to control (fix?) what are really problems of the heart. Animal cruelty is wrong, but some of the applications of animal cruelty laws become ridiculous. Especially when human beings don't always qualify as animals.

I appreciate Kevin bringing the importance of Creation care to my attention. I need that, to avoid the ditch. I need God's wisdom and a transformed heart to avoid the ditches on both sides of the road!

Going off TV

Michael Spenser writes a humorous article about going off network or cable TV, or as he puts it, "preparing to meet the void." He and his wife will still have DVDs and Netflix and their fast internet connection (he has to get his baseball games somehow!).

I suspect this will actually be a trend we will see amplified.

It's not a bad one.

When Atheists Gather

Leslie Sillars gives us "Our Smear Campaign," a biting and hilarious psuedo-letter written by an atheist to fellow atheists. It's in the same spirit as The Screwtape Letters. Brilliant!

Insights from Jeremiah 29 on the Culture War

David Van Drunen recommends those of us deeply concerned about the problems of American culture to study Jeremiah 29.

"Two extremes they were to avoid. First, they were not to shun involvement in pagan Babylonian culture. Second, they were not to become so involved that they lost sight of their true destiny or the true destiny of Babylon. Instead, they were to do their various cultural tasks, building homes, planting farms, raising families, while all along recognizing the temporary and limited nature of the work they did."

"So many who are on the front lines speak as if America once was in some manner the Promised Land and that the culture war has been engaged recently to restore America to that position it once held. Such talk is not only remarkably short-sighted but also theologically untenable. America never was paradise, never will be paradise, and the culture war is not some recently begun phenomenon which will terminate anywhere short of the supernatural intervention of Christ's coming. If we choose political tactics in fighting the culture war, then we should be prepared to keep using them indefinitely, because the political challenges to our cultural dreams will never die.

However, this is not to say that we as Christians should not participate in the culture war, and it does not mean that all the methods or goals of those on the frontlines of the culture war are wrong. Not at all. God commanded the people in Jeremiah 29 to seek the peace and prosperity of the city in which they lived, and this applies to us as well. We know that a nation with increasing numbers of cocaine-addicts, abortions, thefts, child-abuse cases, illiterates, etc., etc., will not retain desirable levels of peace and prosperity for long. Therefore we do have an obligation to do things which will, if not eliminate such things, at least substantially reduce their rate of occurrence. The peace and prosperity of our society, not to mention our personal peace and prosperity, depend on it. And the political sphere certainly is one of the institutions of culture which will make its indelible stamp on the peace and prosperity of the society. Christians therefore should have an interest in the political process when their form of government allows it, as ours does. To turn our backs on politics would mean to turn our backs in part to the command of God to seek the peace and prosperity of our nation. We may debate amongst ourselves which political positions to promote and how much emphasis should be given to the political process, but the interest and involvement in politics which we see among the "religious right" is in itself a good thing. But, it must always be accompanied by the realization that we are participating in the politics of Babylon. What should we hope to gain by our cultural, including political, activity? Only a relatively better life for society, ourselves, and our children in the years to come than what we would otherwise face. We seek not the destruction of our enemies, but simply a modestly better society which in the future will face exactly the same kinds of threats and require the same sort of opposition. Perhaps we can turn America back to the culture of the 1950's. But the 1960's will always follow."

Read the whole article (6 pages). Recommended.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Change the World Through Your Tribe

Seth Godin's book Tribes is excellent. I think Christian men, and Christian leaders, should read it.

If you don't want to read it, check out this video interview to whet your appetite, and get some insights.

HT: Matt Perman

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Making A Way Forward for Victory

Another insight from reading "The Victors," by Stephen Ambrose.

The Royal Winnipegs (a Canadian group, all volunteers) landed at Sword Beach on D-Day. The Germans had presighted machine gun firing lines and were pouring murderous fire on a platoon as they approached a roll of barbed wire and a strip of land mines. The strategy to get through the wire was to use a bangalore torpedo to blow a gap through the wire, and then they could run forward to attack the machine gun positions. The Royal Winnipegs had already lost many men getting to the wire; it was a death zone. The only hope of survival was to move forward off that beach.

The torpedo failed to explode. Machine gun fire continued to pour on their position. There were no other torpedos available.

One of the soldiers [Ambrose does not list his name] threw himself facedown on the wire so that others could cross on his back to safety.

There's a great illustration here for us. Jesus fell upon the cross to make a way for us, his physical body reconciling us to God. (See Colossians 1:21-22)

We are ambassadors for Christ, living for His greater purposes, putting others ahead of our own interests, extending ourselves and suffering that others might live. What barbed wire do we need to fall on so others have an escape, our very bodies creating a safe path? What obstacles and difficulties must we flatten so others can move forward out of certain death?

Eisenhower on Leadership

Another insight from reading "The Victors," by Stephen Ambrose.

In the weeks leading up to D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote this to his son at West Point: "The one quality that can be developed by studious reflection and practice is the leadership of men."

Later, in the introduction to his memoirs, Eisenhower wrote:

"Optimism and pessimism are infectious and they spread more rapidly from the head downward than in any other direction. The habit [of a cheerful and hopeful attitude] tends to minimize potentialities within the individual himself to become demoralized. It has the most extraordinary effect upon all with whom he comes into contact. With this clear realization, I firmly determined that my mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory -- that any pessimism and discouragement I might ever feel would be reserved for my pillow. I adopted a policy of circulating through the whole force to the full limit imposed by physical considerations. I did my best to meet everyone from general to private with a smile, a pat on the back and a definite interest in his problems."

These are key lessons for leadership in our families, churches, neighborhoods, and businesses. They must be learned and put into practice! These are exactly the times which call for a cheerful and hopeful attitude -- and with our security resting in Christ Almighty, we should be cheerful and hopeful.

Runners Are Targets

I'm rereading a terrific book about D-Day and the redemption of France from Nazi occupation, titled "The Victors," by Stephen Ambrose. He interviewed hundreds of survivors of these battles and shares their stories and perspectives. It's amazing and humbling to read what these young men accomplished.

Because radio communications were sometimes poor, or were not secure, men were assigned to carry messages to forward positions, or between forward positions. This became the most hazardous job in the infantry: every enemy soldier spotting a runner would immediately begin shooting at them. Disrupting communication was key. Runners were automatic targets and bullet magnets. (Allied forces acted the same towards German runners.)

As we carry the Gospel message in battle zones -- and make no mistake, you are in one now -- you will be a target. You're going to be shot at. Don't be surprised by this! Be confident that our Great Commander King Jesus protects us and does not abandon us.

I'll post more from this book soon.

Education is Not...

"Education is not the same as school." -- Seth Godin

"Education is by definition an inefficient process." -- Howie Smith

Ponder these...and pursue education.

Friday, February 06, 2009

150 Years of OoS

Charles Darwin published his book, Origin of Species 150 years ago. You'll probably see lots of press about this, and watch for another round of related stories (such as self-replicating RNA molecules that might be the beginning of life).

I recommend Christians take care before slamming all aspects of evolution. As Marvin Olasky points out, we have no fundamental arguments against microevolution, genetic change within a species. It is good to engage with Darwinists about the meaning of life, because they work very hard to add that context to their worldview.

Keep in mind, too, that Charles Darwin was himself a complicated individual, with many influences in his life. Most of the people I have met who pontificate about evolution have never actually read Origin of Species, and don't realize how much has been added to evolutionary thought that is not in Darwin's book at all. Darwin based his ideas on natural selection of superior individuals in populations, and how this would change the gene pool for that population over time. He did extrapolate with some major leaps of insight to suggest this could account for speciation (developing new kinds of animals).


I have not joined the ranks of Facebook. Sometimes I think I should, and then I hesitate and pull back from the precipice.

A friend pointed out this Newsweek article by Steve Tuttle, and I laughed out loud and said "amen!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

NBC Banned This Commercial

Apparently NBC banned this commercial by a Catholic pro-life group from being played during the SuperBowl. So of course it's getting a lot of attention on YouTube :-)

I can understand why some would take this as a slam against President Obama, but his autobiographies support the facts they used to make their point -- we utterly lack the wisdom to say that what great contributions could come from any particular baby.

The Bible is Clear

I'm amazed at how many people I've heard say, "Oh, the Bible is hard to understand and confusing."

Yes, the Bible has depth will will never exhaust. Yes, there is breadth. Yes, there are aspects of God's power, majesty, might, and ways that we barely comprehend. Yes, God's crummy enemy seeks to confuse people and blind their eyes to the truth of the Gospel message.

But the key messages of the Bible are plain, even to not-yet believers. As Mark Twain said, "It's not the things that I don't understand about the Bible that bother me."

So as a husband and father you need to build confidence in the Word -- for yourself and especially for your family. Read this short blog post by Peter Mead to reinforce this in your heart and mind.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Even A Dim Bulb Lights Up the Darkness

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)
“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

Believers in Jesus Christ are (not will be, or could be, but are) the light of the world, because Jesus is the true light.

The world is full of spiritual darkness. We should not be surprised at this, for the Bible tells us it has been and will be so (though not forever). We should not despair at this fact, either, but be strengthened with all God’s power (Colossians 1:29) and living intentionally to honor the Lord as we love others.

The human eye is exquisitely sensitive to light. If you were in a completely dark space, you could see a lit match 90 miles away.

Think about the night light in your hallway or child’s bedroom. A dinky 2 watt bulb is more than ample to keep you from stumbling even when half-asleep. Even a dim bulb lights up the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it!

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Our Lord Jesus, the persistent rescuer reaching out to save all mankind, uses each of us to help light up dark places and let people see Him in us.

Do not be concerned if you feel your “wattage” is too small for the scope of the darkness. Do not underestimate what God can do to boost your wattage and the transforming light of Christ in you. Let us be deeply thankful that God has given us the light of Christ, and shine more brightly that everyone around us may see Jesus, and worship Him.