Thursday, January 31, 2008

Did Your Church Make The Grade?

IX Marks Ministries graded itself on how well it met its stated goals for 2007 and set a standard for the '08 year that it hopes to accomplish. This is a very humbling method of being honest and open about your weaknesses and successes.

In addition to that, different models of "church" are put forth and scrutinized by scriptural principles in a very revealing way and Mark Dever starts off the newsletter with this statement:

I want you to try a thought excercise. Suppose a business school class on non-profit organizations assigns its students the task of building a successful church. And assume all the students are non-Christians. Could they succeed?

Sure they could! With the right poll-tested mothods, just about anyone can draw a crowd. If ambience sells coffee, why not use it to sell Jesus? If music sells clothing, why not use it to market the church? The church might even win a "Most Innovative!" award.

Yet think about this: what does it say about God if we need to market his glory and gospel with the same tools we use to sell toothpaste and laundry detergent? Is he really that desperate?

God is so much more glorious. He has declared a mighty gospel and then backed up his words by changing a group of people. There's the church's appeal: The wisdom of God. The might of God. The love of God. On display in the lives of a changed people for all the world to see!

Is your church relying on natural appeal or supernatural? Whose glory does it display?

These are challenging words that need to honestly be thought through by anyone in a position of authority over a church body as one day, you must give an account for how you handled the bride of Christ.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-How would the church God has placed you over measure up?
-If you are not in a position of leadership, how would you say your church stacks up?
-Do you think it wise to throw your cards on the table when it comes to how well you are meeting certain goals within your local body? Is this a good form of accountability? If yes, why? If no, why not?
-Do you think Piper is correct (in the article) that missions exist because worship doesn't?

Overcoming Sin & Temptation: John Owen Style

Some of you may or may not know this, but I hold John Owen in high esteem. It was from The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (it is free to sign up to read the pdf or word documents. The tex file is free without signing up) that I first understood the importance of theological undergirding. Until that point, application was king and theology was left for those who wanted to be stiff-necked. Through God using that book to convict my soul of the importance of having good, correct doctrine, I am now able to correctly apply scripture via my theological foundation rooted in the very words of God (this is the same way scripture is set up as well. Look at the epistles or letters in the NT. First comes the theological foundation and then the ethic/applicatoin). I owe a great deal to John Owen and the labors of his pen for he helped me to work out for whom did Christ die and to what extent did His death reach.

With that being said, Tim Challies started a reading challenge going through the classics. One of Owen's other works is on the list. It is called Overcoming Sin & Temptation. Challies breaks down chapter 11 in his most current post and it is well worth the read. Do stop by and take a look at it.

If any of you are thinking of picking up a work by Owen, let me quote for you the first thing I ever read by Owen. This is in the "letter to the reader" section of The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

To the reader.

Reader, If thou intendest to go any farther, I would entreat thee to stay here a little. If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again, รข€” thou hast had thy entertainment; farewell! With him that resolves a serious view of the following discourse, and really desireth satisfaction from the word and Christian reason, about the great things contained therein, I desire a few words in the portal. Divers things there are of no small consideration to the business we have in hand, which I am persuaded thou canst not be unacquainted with; and therefore I will not trouble thee with a needless repetition of them.

It is a difficult read, but well worth the time invested; again, it changed my whole Christian world view. It took me over 2 years to read through The Death of Death in the Death of Christ due to the english verbage and Owen's style of writing (Passive Voice) along with the fact that I wanted to learn from it and not just read through it.

You can read more on Challies here.

Some questions:
-What are some books that have shaped and formed your world view?
-Did you ever read a book, agree with it and years later come to the realization that it was wrong?
-What do you think of Owen's statement to the reader? Do you think it would be beneficial if we all approached reading with that high of a regard?
-Isn't it great that resources of this caliber are available for free to us? All we have to do is read them.

Is This How One Summons God?

The co-pilot of a packed Heathrow-bound plane had to be dragged screaming from his cockpit after apparently suffering a mental breakdown in mid-air.

Horrified passengers on the flight from Canada saw the man being pinned down by fellow crew members as he yelled loudly and demanded to "speak to God".


The co-pilot was shackled by his ankles and handcuffed to a seat as the jet was forced to make an emergency landing at the Republic of Ireland's Shannon Airport.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Why does it seem like the invocation of God is attached to situations such as this?
-What would be your thoughts if you were on that plane?
-Do you think it was handled appropriately or should protocol be ammended?
-What do you think caused this man to act like he did an hour from landing the plane?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Methodology Behind The Gospel Presentation Towards Muslims

How do we present the gospel to Muslims? I have been studying and praying through this for several weeks and have come to the realization that I will not have an answer overnight. Getting to the truth will take much more time, thought and prayer.
In the next few days, I hope to lay out what I have been learning and give a brief but descriptive overview of methods of contextualization in the Muslim world. Please join and grow with me in this discussion!

If this at all peaks your interest I would encourage you to dialogue with her on this and help her to think through it as this is something she is passionate about and longs to serve the Lord in.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-After reading on contextualization, what are your thoughts concerning it?
-Can Muslims remain "muslim" and still be followers of Christ?
-Should we be "seeker sensitive" when it comes to witnessing to Muslims?
-Does Acts speak to how one should spread the Gospel message? How Does Paul do it? John? Peter?

Urban Legend Proved True

The last things Mohammed Salim remembered were the knees pinning him to the ground, the guns pointed at his head, and, finally, the injection that sent him into oblivion.

When he awoke, he was in agonizing pain, uncertain where he was or why he was wearing a hospital gown.

"We have taken your kidney," a masked man calmly explained. "If you tell anyone, we'll shoot you."

Salim was one of the last victims in an organ transplant racket that police believe sold up to 500 kidneys to clients who traveled to India from around the world over the past nine years.

The article goes on:

"I don't know how I will survive," said Salim, whose five children were at the hospital. "I am the only earner in the family and the doctors said I can't do heavy work."

Shakeel Ahmed, 28, was in the hospital bed next to Salim, wincing in pain as he told his story. He is unmarried and has no children, but he is responsible for five nieces and nephews, he said.

"I'm sad, I'm angry. I don't know how I will care for them," Ahmed said, pointing to his elderly parents sitting on the foot of his bed. "Why me?"

You can read more here.
The urban legend account is documented here.

Some questions:
-Does this bring home the fact that man is sinful at his core?
-What were your initial thoughts upon reading this?
-What if this was you? Your wife?
-How should we respond to such things as this?
-What do you think will become of these victims?

Mohler On "God, Moral Judgment, And The Death Penalty"

In a fascinating new look at capital punishment, Professor Walter Berns of Georgetown University argues that support of the death penalty is tied to belief in God. He documents the link between secularization and declining support for capital punishment.

Mohler quotes:

A world so lacking in passion lacks the necessary components of punishment. Punishment has its origins in the demand for justice, and justice is demanded by angry, morally indignant men, men who are angry when someone else is robbed, raped, or murdered, men utterly unlike Camus's Meursault. This anger is an expression of their caring, and the just society needs citizens who care for each other, and for the community of which they are parts. One of the purposes of punishment, particularly capital punishment, is to recognize the legitimacy of that righteous anger and to satisfy and thereby to reward it. In this way, the death penalty, when duly or deliberately imposed, serves to strengthen the moral sentiments required by a self-governing community.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What do you think about the observations made in the article?
-Do you find that Walter Berns' correlations between the death penalty and religion is accurate?
-What are your views on the death penalty?
-What does the Bible say about this issue?

Get Off The Couch, You're Starting To Look Older!

Being a couch potato in your free time could make you a decade older biologically than someone who is physically active, according to a major study of people's "chromosomal clocks".

On average, the least active (getting just 16 minutes exercise a week) had telomeres 200 base pairs shorter than the most active (exercising 3 hours a week), which translates to them being about 10 years biologically older.

The team previously showed that smoking and obesity can shorten telomere length to the equivalent of 10 years. But they found that exercise and telomere length were linked independently of whether people smoked or were overweight.

Tim Spector and his collegues put in the time and research to draw this conclusion.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Does this motiviate you to be more active?
-What does sitting at a desk all day do to you?
-Why do you think people don't exercise regularly?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Does This Change Things? Will It?

With the present state of popular opinion concerning our President, and given that elections are less than a year away at which time a minority (but in all probability a large minority) will be dissappointed at their loss and at who was elected, I thought I would post these two links below.

Link one can be found here.
Link two can be found here.

Some questions:
-Does this change anything for you?
-Will this change anything for you if you are in the minority?
-Did you know this truth existed?
-How does knowing this affect you in other areas that do not involve the Presidency?

Great CD's 6USD Great Books 5USD February Only!

From February 1 through February 29, Sovereign Grace will be selling all our CDs for six dollars. With free shipping. In addition, we’ll be selling our Pursuit of Godliness books for five dollars, also with free shipping. Of course you can download the CDs and not worry about shipping (great idea if you’re outside the U.S.).That means that for the month of February you can buy Valley of Vision, In a Little While, Savior, Worship God Live, You and You Alone, Upward, Songs for the Cross Centered Life, and every other Sovereign Grace produced CD for just six dollars. CD or download. As many as you want or can give away. You’ll also be able to purchase Why Small Groups, How Can I Change, and our three other Pursuit of Godliness books for five bucks. In addition, we’ll be selling our two-volume songbook, with over 250 songs, for $40. And that’s not all (suddenly I feel like a Ronco knives infomercial). During February all our piano scores can be downloaded for $1. Full sets will only be $6.Why are we doing this? A few reasons. The primary mission of Sovereign Grace Ministries is to serve Sovereign Grace pastors who are giving their lives to build Gospel-centered local churches. We want to do everything we can to help them serve the people they lead. Providing Christ-exalting, biblically faithful music and books in one of the ways we can do that. We also want to make it as easy as possible for other churches and individuals to have access to what we produce.

You can read more here.
You can purchase books here.
You can purchase music here.

A suggestion:
-The book called Humility is a great humbling read.

Some questions:
-Do you think it is more important to have theologically sound music sung in Church worship services or emotionally driven music sung in Church worship services?
-Do you think it is a good thing to offer products like this for cheaper prices or like Desiring God Ministries does for free if need be?

Dead Bodies Piled High, Holocaust Float To Appear On Parade Route


"Really, it makes no sense addressing this theme with drums and dancing girls," said Sergio Niskier, president of the Israelite Federation in Rio de Janeiro state, referring to the slaughter of Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.
"There are still survivors of that horror who have the marks of that tragedy on their skin," he said.

Rio's Carnival is famed for the parades by samba schools with glitzy floats and costumes and street parties where costumed revelers drink and dance all night.

The elaborately decorated floats are a key part of each samba school's presentation, along with thousands of dancers and drummers led by near naked Carnival queens.

When questioned concerning the float's appropriateness in the parade, Viradouro said that it is done respectfully and will be the only float that does not have dancers on top. After all, the theme of the parade is "shockers".

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Is this appropriate?
-Do you think a venue of another nature would be better suited to handle such a message?
-Do you see any good coming out of this?
-What are your thoughts concerning the holocaust?
-Why do you think the Roman Catholic Church does not allow for Mary or Jesus to be displayed during the parade but they have yet to deny this float entrance into the parade?

Ignorance Doesn't Make The Suffering Stop


A new IRC survey has found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998 – the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II. The vast majority died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition—easily preventable and treatable conditions when people have access to health care and nutritious food.

1.5 million of those deaths were in the past 2 years. Approximately 40,000 die each month.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What is the responsibility of Christendom concerning issues of this nature?
-What, if any, Biblical responsibility lies on the shoulders of individual Christians who live in the United States?
-Can you grasp losing the entire state of Colorado in less than a decade? That is equal to the death toll in the Congo currently.
-Should we neglect those around us in order to fund or help those there? What does scripture say?

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Great Story

THE GREAT STORY (also known as the Universe Story, Epic of Evolution, or Evolutionary Epic) is humanity's common creation story. It is the 14 billion year science-based sacred story of cosmic genesis, from the formation of the galaxies and the origin of Earth life, to the development of self-reflective consciousness and human technology, to the emergence of comprehensive compassion and tools to assist humanity in being a blessing the larger body of life.

What makes the Great Story unique? According to those who are proponents of the view:

1. The Great Story is the story of the changing story. Whenever a new discovery is made in the sciences, this creation story changes. Change is to be welcomed — not feared.

2. The Great Story is a creation story that is not yet over. Evolutionary change at all levels (cosmos, planetary, life, culture) will continue into the future, and we humans bear a responsibility for how the story will continue on Earth.

3. The Great Story is a new creation story shaped with a planetary perspective to which all cultures contribute. Because the scientific enterprise is now global in scope, this story necessarily has its origins and ongoing influences centered at the scale of the whole Earth — influenced by peoples of all ethnicities, all religious traditions, and hailing from all bioregions. (This is the unity character.)

4. The Great Story is radically open to multiple interpretations. Because the empirical and theoretical sciences search entirely for material explanations of the world, whenever one ventures into the realm of meaning or into the realm of spirit, the interpretations necessarily go beyond the science. And yet, make meaning we must! Humans are intrinsically meaning-makers, whether we construe that meaning to be innate in the cosmos or created by the human mind. (This is the diversity character.)

5. The Great Story manifests synergistic coherence between science, religion, and the needs of today's world. Because the creation stories of classical religions and primary peoples were birthed well prior to the discoveries of an evolutionary universe, these stories can at best be reconciled with scientific awareness. In contrast, The Great Story grounds its celebratory creation story on the contributions of the scientific endeavor, and the interpretations are nuanced to be empowering for today's concerns.

You can read more here.
You can here some of their songs, including We Are Made of Stardust here.
You can view their children's curriculum here.

Some questions:
-What do you think is the purpose of this "religion/science"?
-Do you find the 5 points compelling?
-Do you think "The Great Story" is an appropriate name for this belief system?
-What are your thoughts of the materials available on their website?
-How would you rate We Are Made of Stardust (remember it is a chant used in a ritual)?

Sellotape Pencils In The Wind



Sometimes you find something and it "sticks" in your head... for days. This was one of those things. It is a song performed by Flight of the Conchords (some of their content is pretty risque' so be forewarned- this one is safe though). Enjoy!

Don't Steal That Song, It May Not Be Legal!

Music fans around the world faced confusion today as it was announced they would be able to download unlimited, free songs without breaking the law.

A revamped online file-sharing service had vowed to offer a catalogue of 30million free songs that are compatible with iPods, but record labels have denied they had granted permission to share the songs.


...Warner Music said it had not authorised the use of its tracks by Qtrax - and later Universal Music Group and EMI followed suit, saying they did not have licensing deals with Qtrax and discussions were continuing.

You can read more here.

An observation:
-As quick as it came, in all probability, it is gone.

Steal That Song, It's Legal!

With CD sales in free fall and legal downloads yet to fill the gap, the music industry has reluctantly embraced the file-sharing technology that threatened to destroy it. Qtrax (the site is currently down so I linked to the google cache page of the site so you can still see it), a digital service announced today, promises a catalogue of more than 25 million songs that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks.

The service has been endorsed by the very same record companies - including EMI, Universal Music and Warner Music – that have chased file-sharers through the courts in a doomed attempt to prevent piracy. The gamble is that fans will put up with a limited amount of advertising around the Qtrax website’s jukebox in return for authorised use of almost every song available.


The singer James Blunt gave Qtrax a cautious welcome. “I’m amazed that we now accept that people steal music,” he said. “I was taught not to steal sweets from a sweet shop. But I want to learn how this service works, given the condition the music industry is in.”

You can read more here.

Update: Qtrax is back up. Check it out here.

Some questions:
-Would you deal with Digital Rights Management and advertising for free music?
-What do you think about this? Blunt's statement?
-If you currently use iTunes or another service, will you move to Qtrax?
-Does this seem right to you?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Abortion: A Thing Of Which To Celebrate!

Denny Burk picked up on this article that has since been removed from Yale Daily News and replaced with an explanation of why the week long event was held.

Students who walked into WLH 119 on Tuesday night were greeted with models of the female pelvis complete with fallopian tubes, cervixes, vaginas — and papayas on which to perform mock abortions. . .
The presenters began by showing the students different surgical tools used during different stages of a pregnancy and ticking off statistics about the safety and number of abortions performed in the United States. Eighty-five percent of counties in America do not have any abortion providers, Evans said.
Evans and Rasha Khoury MED ‘08, another member of Medical Students for Choice, who said she plans to become a gynecologist and expects to perform abortions, went on to describe one of the most common abortion procedures, manual vacuum aspiration, which “creates suction to evacuate pregnancy,” Evans said. The technique is a good option because the device involved is reusable and relatively cheap, she said.


You can read more here.
You can read the actual story picked up by Free Republic (b/c Yale tooke it down) here.
You can read the "clarification" for why the event took place here.

Some questions:
-Should abortion be a thing that we come together over and celebrate by performing mock abortions?
-What thoughts come to mind when you read the excerpt above?
-If you are for abortion rights, do you find the above commendable?
-What do you think of the "clarification" and the need to clarify?
-Would you ever throw a party like this?

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Lord Gave & The Lord Has Taken Away; Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

Imagine with me if you will, you are a missionary called by God to speak truth to the indigenous peoples of third world countries. Now imagine you have a wife and kids and they support you in all your endeavors to see the Gospel reach those who have never heard it in hopes that God may save some. God has truly blessed you and equipped you for your work beyond your wildest dreams and He continues to bless you through the ministry of your wife and children.

Isn’t that a great picture of what the gospel is to look like? A husband being obedient to God, a wife supporting her husband and the Lord blessing them with children and many are coming to know the Lord through their work; isn't that a great picture of the gospel according to Ephesians 5?

That was the life and story of a young man who dedicated his entire being to spreading the Gospel. Now the circumstances have changed. This young man’s family was left behind in the states while he went back over on a two week trip to the land where God had called them. One thing occurred that will change this young man's life forever. His wife was in a car wreck which took her life but miraculously the children were spared. He traveled over 2 days to get back to the states not knowing of these events. He traveled unaware of the fate that had befallen his wife. Death is a terrible enemy. His life will never be the same. Greeted at the airport, not by his wife and children, but by the deacons of his church. I can only imagine the look on his face when he heard the news. I can only imagine the amount of tears he has shed since the news reached his ears in that airport terminal.

What to do? How do you comfort one who just lost their bride? How do you comfort the one who’s entire world has been turned upside down? What words can man utter that would lesson the pain?

This young man has his faith being put to the test. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Does that really make it any easier to swallow?

My prayer for this young man is as follows:
May the Lord who is gracious and merciful to us; may the Lord who saw fit to allow us to hope in something more than the blood of goats and bulls; may the Lord who has indeed blessed us with a hope of something far greater than any earthly good see fit to grant you great grace during this time of trial. May the Lord of all things, both in Heaven and Earth and below the Earth, see fit to grant you peace that withstands the onslaught of doubt and fear. May our God who unanimously defeated Satan, sin, and death grant you comfort not known to common man so that you may be given to trust in His plans more so than your feeble understanding. May the God who gives and takes away see fit to honor Himself and bring Himself much glory by the work of your hands in your obedient trust in faith that He indeed knows what is best for you. May the Lord grant you much discernment during this time of great grieving and may that feed your passion all the more for the cause of Christ as He is truly gracious and merciful to us in that He sent His Son to die for an undeserving people to call His own.

You, your children, and your ministry will remain in my prayers to the only One who can truly comfort you during this time of great tribulation. May your faith and endurance be an encouragment to Christians the world over until the Lord Himself returns to gather up His own. May God grant you much peace my brother.

You can read more particulars here.

CA Boy Flies To TN To Hijack Plane

I heard about this on the radio this morning and it is a little close to home. A boy was found with duct tape, hand cuffs, and rope in his possession in Nashville, TN. The boy is 16 years old and flew from California to Nashville so he could allegedly hijack a Southwest Airlines plane and fly it into a Hannah Montana concert. The parents were unaware of where their child was or what he was up to, but yet he had a mock cockpit at his home.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-How does a 16 year old purchase a ticket and board a plane without his parent's knowledge?
-Why do you think he wanted to fly it into a Hannah Montana concert?
-What do you think would be just punishment for this boy?
-Should the parents share in the punishment as well?

First For Fridays

Take a moment. Think. What would be a topic you could post here that would follow with a lively discussion? Now that you thought about it, post it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bigfoot Found... On Mars!

I have proof!

You can view it here.
The original NASA image can be found here. (see if you can find it).

No questions will be taken at this time.



UPDATE:


I did not want to have to do this, but I had to bring out the comparison chart. See below.




Please note the similarities:

1. Both are blurry. (this is a common trait amongst bigfoots and is the most compelling and common feature they have).

2. Both are pictured as walking (this too is common amongst bigfoots).

3. Notice how both are posing and in the process of looking towards the camera. This is often the gaze earth bigfoots give when photographed. It is good to know that this carries over to other planets as well.

4. Also take note of their pose. Like humans, they too have symbols they like to give in photographs. Often times we give peace symbols or gang symbols, well they raise an arm. The meaning is yet to be known.

Now, notice the differences:

1. This is the only difference and can be explained scientifically: One is over 6 feet tall while the other is only 2 inches tall. This is a product of the Martian atmospheric pressure as compared to the pressure on Earth. Very simple really.

Inbreeding Promotes Longer Living?

Marry your cousin to have long-lived kids? Inbreeding is not usually mooted as the key to longevity, but Giuseppe Passarino of the University of Calabria in Rende, Italy, thinks it might be. "Everyone knows that inbreeding is bad - it increases your chances of catching a range of diseases," he says. "But on the other hand, our study suggests that if inbreds don't get those diseases when they're young, they might have a better chance of long life."

You can read a little more here. (You can read a lot more if you have a subscription)
You can read an article based on the above "subscription only" article here.
You can read more on the topic of human inbreeding here.

A suggestion:
-Don't think too long on this or else you might gross yourself out.

Some questions:
-Why is inbreeding a taboo?
-What does scripture say concerning this issue?
-Even if it would make your children live longer, does that mean that this should be a viable option?
-Why did the royal families not seem to have a problem with it?

Recent Comment Secton To Side Bar Addition

Several of my readers have asked about the comment section on my blog. Others I have told about in hopes that they would add it so I could keep up better with the conversations on their blogs. This was an area where Wordpress had Blogger beat, but a user came up with a method to add a comment section and it works great. I have been using it since I started blogging as it helps readers to know where the conversations are and what topics have peaked the interests of others and along the same lines, it peaks the interest of those who are just clicking through.

So, with that being said, I thought I would post a link to the site that allowed me to add this feature to my blog.

You can find it here.

Some questions:
-Did you find this useful?
-Have you since added this widget to your blog?
-Have you found that it promotes further dialogue on topics?
-If you used it but got rid of it, what led to its removal?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Potentially Oldest Human Skull Fossil Found

An almost complete human skull fossil that could date back 100,000 years was unearthed in Henan last month, Chinese archaeologists announced Tuesday.
"It is the greatest discovery in China after the Peking Man and Upper Cave Man skull fossils were found in Beijing early last century, and will shed light on a critical period of human evolution," said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-How do we know we can trust the dates ascribed to Fossils?
-Are there instances where a fossil was found but it was known to be of a different date than what was assigned to it?
-Can humans be 100,000+ years old?
-Are they referring to micro-evolution in the statement above?

An Unanswered Letter To Joel Osteen

The below is an email I sent to Joel Osteen's Church after having a lengthy discussion with a friend of mine concerning Joel's stance on numerous issues including this one (my friend holds Joel Osteen in high regard). We had a very good dialogue and talked through the issue in a very respectable manner. That led me to write this letter to Joel Osteen himself.

____________________________________________________
Hi, I know this is not going directly to Joel, but I would ask that you forward it along to him as I care about what he teaches and think this is a matter of importance upon which he should consider his statements.

In his interview with Chris Wallace back in December he made some comments concerning Mormonism (he validated it as a part of Christendom) that are simply not true. After his validation he went on to state that he hasn't really thought about them or studied them. My contention is this: if he is ignorant (I do not mean this in any harsh or mean sense of the word) of what Mormonism is, why validate it as part of Christianity?

The problem with such a statement is that it has the potential to lead many astray from the truth because he just told all of the watching audience that a Mormon is a true Christian. That is a pretty wide blanket statement that does not stand up to the test of scripture. Unless he recants of this view and repents for misleading those who are under his influence, he will be judged more harshly by God Himself (James 3.1; Mt. 18.6-7)

If I may, I would encourage Joel to read a paper I wrote while back at University on Mormonism. All sources are primary sources (Pro Mormon Material) save for one. It is titled: The Mormon Document: (Mormonism: Questions & Conflicts). Here is the link The main point of the paper is to examine Mormonism by its own prophets and teachings and see how it fares and then compare and contrast it with Protestantism. I think this would do him much good in the way of educating him on Mormonism and it would further provide him with a better answer the next time he chooses to do an interview and the question of Mormonism comes up again.

Please do not just write this email off but please do forward it along to Joel. Thank you for your time. Feel free to email me any questions or concerns you may have.

Here is where I first learned of this dialogue.

Here is the article from which the above link gets the quote.

Here is the transcript itself.
____________________________________________________

I never recieved a response to this email and it was sent to info [at] joel osteen [dot]com back on the fourth of January. I had hoped for a response by now.

Some questions:
-What do you think of Joel's statements concerning Mormonism?
-Do you think the above letter was harsh and truthful? In love and truthful? Or just plain wrong in its assessment?
-Do you agree with my assessment of Joel's actions?
-How should Christians go about correcting fellow believers in Christ?
-Do you think Joel Osteen is a Christian?

Christianity & Islam Unite For Peace? Updated

I blogged on this a while back (you can read it here along with the original letter). Time 2 Change Churches also wrote against it here.


Since then Denny Burk has picked up on this story along with the fact that even though several prominent Christian evangelicals have signed the list, at least two prominent figures have not.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler and Dr. John Piper were not among the signatories, and both of them have spoken publicly against “A Christian Response.”

You can view and listen their responses here.

Some questions:
-Does this change your view of the letter at all?
-Do you think the arguments presented against are convincing?
-Why do you think multiple evangelicals have signed in approval of the list, but these two have not?
-Which stance do you think is correct?

Why We Take Communion Weekly

In another post, the question was asked how often do you take communion. I thought I would follow up with why we do it weekly. I will provide a written explanation as well as a spoken one from this past Sunday's sermon on Romans 13 by Lee Tankersley. Here is the written explanation below as stated on our website:

Taking Communion Weekly

There are mainly two reasons why we take communion every Sunday. The first is that Scripture shows this was a common practice in the early church. In Acts 2:42 we read that the early believers were devoting “themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.” This is seen even more clearly in Acts 20:7 as Luke writes, “On the first day of the week when we were gathered together to break bread …” In this verse Luke lists communion as their purpose for gathering on the first day of the week. Also, when Paul writes to the Corinthians in order to give them instruction regarding communion in 1 Corinthians 11, he begins the section writing, “When you come together” (v. 20), showing that he anticipated them coming to the table every week as they gathered in worship.

The second reason we celebrate communion weekly is because it appears that the ordinances (i.e. baptism and communion) were given to the church in order that we might visibly proclaim that we have heard and received the Word of the Lord. In baptism, we do this in an unrepeatable event, showing that we have heard and received the Word of Christ. In communion, we have a repeatable ordinance that shows the same thing continually in the life of a believer. And because we hear the proclamation of God’s Word every Sunday and each believer is called to receive and obey that Word, we choose to proclaim our reception of the Word by that means given by the Lord himself – communion. In doing so, we welcome all believers who are in good standing with an evangelical church to join us.


The audio for the sermon is here (which includes the call to communion towards the end of the sermon).
The manuscript for the sermon is here.
You can read more on our corporate worship here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on doing communion weekly?
-Currently we are preaching through the book of Romans, do you think the handling of Romans 13 was done correctly? What about the application at the end?
-Do you think scripture supports the idea of partaking in communion as often as we come together?
-Are there restrictions on communion that should be adhered to?
-If you listened to the sermon, do you think there is a benefit to preaching expositionally?
-Do you find it beneficial that the entire text that is preached is read?

New Book By Scot McKnight & His Blog Post

I recieved an email this morning from Amazon saying that since I reviewed a book by Joel B. Green, I might also like this book with a preorder price tag of $130.00: Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?: An Investigation of the Accusations Against Jesus (Library of New Testament Studies, the). It is written by Scot McKnight. Take a look at an excerpt from one of his latest blog posts below.

Surprised by Hope 2
9:50 PM PST, January 22, 2008
A key word for Tom Wright in his book
Surprised by Hope: is “muddle.” That word best describes how so many Christians think about life after death and resurrection and the like. Wright aims to end the muddle. One of the finest forms of theology is to enter into a problem and resolve it; another is to clarify muddle. Wright does that in this book.

Wright begins with the muddle in his own church, illustrated by the famous lines of Canon Henry Scott Holland (St. Paul’s), and it might good for you to look through this poem to see what you think is Christian theology and what is not … it’s a good test case for this book.

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Wright calls this into question, not only because it is not Christian theology but also because it is ripped from its context and suggests Holland had different ideas than he had. Here’s how Wright responds: “It offers hollow comfort. By itself, without comment, it simply tells lies. It is not even a parody of Christian hope. Instead, it simply denies that there is any problem, any need for hope in the first place” (14). Then he contrasts that with the famous lines of John Donne, “Death be not proud … Death, thou shalt die.”

Somehow Christians have oscillated between death as a vile enemy and a welcome friend. He knows “heaven” is not understood properly by most Christians — we’ll get to this later in this series — and then he enters into more of the muddle.


You can read the rest here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on the poem? McKnight's assessment of the poem?
-What is your view of death and Heaven?
-Would you pay 130USD for this book?
-If God was not in Heaven would you still look forward to going when you die if you could go there?

Invention Of The Flying Plastic Disc: Frisbee

On this day in 1957, machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs--now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.

What did our canine friends do with all of their time before this flying piece of plastic came on the market?

You can read more on the history of the Frisbee here.

Some questions:
-Millions of dollars were made with this little piece of molded plastic. Can you come up with something simpler and better?
-What are some interesting games you made up while playing with the frisbee?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Israel Wants Automated Artificial Intelligence Run Weapon Systems

...Israeli military leaders have begun early planning for a new, robotic defense system, armed with enough artificial intelligence that it "could take over completely" from flesh-and-blood operators.


In the future, and “under very complex scenarios,” Milo said, the envisioned super system would be able to generate a level of supreme situational awareness and snap intuitive capabilities that could surpass the very best wartime commanders.

“We’re talking about something that sees everything and calculates everything and makes decisions that can only be made through a real revolution in BMC4ISR [Battle Management/Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance],” he said. “We’re not there yet, and it could take a decade. But this is our vision and we’re running in that direction.”


You can read more here.


Some questions:
-Does this seem similar to the ideology that the movie I, Robot was warning against?
-What do you think about the concept of a fully automated weapon system that functions without human input?
-If a mistake is made, who is responsible for that mistake if the system is fully automated?

Republican Bid Made Easier: Thompson Drops Out

"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort."
-Fred Thompson
You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think Thompson would be a viable Vice Presidential candidate?
-Does this help you in your presidential voting decision?
-Does this dissappoint you or is it about time he finally dropped out?

Paid Too Much For Your Home? Sue Your Buying Agent

Marty Ummel believes she paid too much for her house. So do millions of other people who bought at the peak of the housing boom.
What makes Ummel different is that she is suing her agent, saying it was all his fault.
Ummel claims that the agent hid the information that similar homes in the neighborhood were selling for less because he feared she would back out and he would lose his $30,000 commission.


"When your house appreciates $100,000 in the first six months, you're not quite as concerned that maybe the valuation was $25,000 or $50,000 off," said Clifford Horner of the law firm Horner & Singer. "But when your house goes down, you ask: 'Who might have led me astray here?' "
Agents representing buyers rarely had the opportunity to make mistakes during the last real estate boom, in the late 1980s, because the job hardly existed then. For decades, residential transactions almost always involved brokers who, whatever assistance they gave the buyer, legally represented only the seller.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Is sueing always the right answer? Is it ever the right answer?
-Before a Christian sets out to sue someone, what can they glean from this passage?
-What are your thoughts concerning this situation? Was this lady wronged?

35 Years Worth Of Stuggling With Roe V. Wade

I posted on this back in October of last year and thought I would repost it due to today being the 35th year since the courts have ruled to tip their hats to women seeking abortion. Who would have thought that 35 years later, our nation would still be fighting over Roe v. Wade.
________________________
A recent film that is on limited release in the U.S. by filmmaker Tony Kaye, known for American History X, attempts to show both sides of the abortion argument. Here is a quote from the article below.One scene depicts a doctor sifting through a surgical tray after performing a late-term abortion, where the grisly residue of an arm, a foot and part of a face can be clearly made out."It's about as shocking as any motion picture can ever get. It's illegal to film someone being killed," said Kaye.They may be the kind of images used by anti-abortion activists, but Kaye also doesn't shy from showing pictures of a kneeling and bent-over naked woman who died after performing a botched abortion on herself with a wire coat hanger.

You can read more here.
You can see the trailer here.

Some questions:
-Would you watch this film?
-What are your thoughts on abortion?
-If you have watched it, did it change your views on abortion?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Physics Ramblings On Cornerstone's Invitation

Bill over at Physics Ramblings has written on how Cornerstone (the church of which I am a member) applies the sermon to non-believers and how a plea with the unbeliever is made. I would urge you to read it and leave your comments there.

You can read "RSVP to whom?" here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts about invitation time?
-Do you think Charles Finney's message and style was a good thing for the church (he brought about the modern altar call)?
-How do you present the gospel to unbelievers (and believers) during your sermon time?
-Do you do communion weekly? If so, why? If not, why not?

Creflo Dollar: Prosperity Gospel

Why in the world would you think the son of God would come here poor?

You can watch the 12 minute interview here.

Some questions:
-What do you think of the prosperity gospel?
-In the context provided in the video, is Creflo Dollar correct in his assessment of Christ?
-Is it honorable for Dollar to "stand up for the privacy act for all churches" by keeping his financial records hidden?
-Does personal testimony in affirmation of the prosperity gospel trump what scripture teaches concerning the Gospel?
-Was Jesus a rich man as Creflo Dollar teaches (in the video)? Does scripture support this?

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
You can read the rest here.

Some questions:
-How do you view King's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement?
-Have you ever read the letter linked to above? Do you find it inspiring?
-How do you celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
-If King was still alive today, do you think he would be pleased with the progress made thus far?
-What are your thoughts concerning his assessment of the "white" churches of the south?

Friday, January 18, 2008

WSJ Critiques The Church's Use Of Discipline

I linked to a story reported on by the Wall Street Journal concerning Church discipline on my "In the news" section as posted by Denny Burk. Tim Ellsworth has picked this up and wrote a little concerning it.

You can read on Tim's blog here.
You can read on Denny's blog here.
You can get some biblical insight on Church discipline here.
You can read the original story in the Wall Stree Journal here.

Some questions:
-Is discipline required for a church to be a true church?
-What does scripture teach concerning discipline?
-If discipline is ignored, is it sin?
-Can a church be a truly healthy church and not practice discipline?

Wally The Wiener: The XXXChurch Has Done It Again

Galations C4V16 blogs on the marketing gimmick employed by a certain church to bring about awareness concerning pornography addictions.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think such gimmicks are neccessary?
-Do you think this is appropriate for the children to see that attend church there?
-Should these issue be handled differently than from a pulpit? If not, should children be escorted out during that portion of the service?
-Where does discernment enter into this picture?

First For Fridays

First commentor post on whatever you like and see if you get any responses!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

9 Marks Ministries

Several readers of this blog are pastors/elders/overseers. I have read some discussion on other blogs concerning what constitutes the position of pastor, who wields the power and what of Church polity.

9 Marks Ministries is a ministry of Capital Hill Baptist Church and Dr. Mark Dever. If anyone is looking to go into the ministry or has questions about what a Biblical Church should look like, you will want to frequent this site often.

A couple of books to start off with of Dever's would be 9 Marks of a Healthy Church (This book looks at what scripture says constitutes a biblically healthy church and relays those via 9 marks). I read this while back at University and found it eye opening to say the least. Here are the 9 marks as laid out by Dever:

1. Expositional Preaching
2. Biblical Theology
3. A Biblical Understanding of the Good News
4. A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5. A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
6. A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
7. Biblical Church Discipline
8. A Concern for Promoting Christian Discipleship and Growth
9. Biblical Church Leadership

I would also recommend Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life. It is a collection of historic Baptist writings and well worth the read for anyone looking to please God with how the church under their care is run.

I would dare say these should be required reading for anyone who steps into the pulpit every Sunday to exhort the people of God to honor Him by obeying His word so that they might be blessed and He may be glorified.

You can read the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church in its entirety here.
You can read Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life in its entirety here.
You can visit 9 Marks Ministries (and see a short synopsis of the 9 marks) here.
If you are looking for information or need some biblical advice about church leadership, you can contact my church here.

Some questions:
-Do you agree with the 9 marks laid out by Dever concerning health in the local church?
-How is your church run? Does it glorify God? Is it Biblical?
-If you have read these books, did they help shape your view of your ministry (or of the view of your pastor's ministry)?
-After reading these do you plan to change anything?
-What are your thoughts on church discipline?

Wedgewords

I ran across this blog this evening and I think I will be frequenting it often. I would encourage you to take a look as well. (By the way, if you see his post on Douglas Wilson but don't know who Douglas Wilson is, I would encourage you to pick up one of his books: Reforming Marriage and Future Men would be good places to start).

You can visit the site here (or on my side bar).

13 Year Old Girl Arrested For Inappropriately Touching Boys

Two boys have reported that a 13 year old girl touched them through their clothing in a sexual way. Apparently the boys asked the girl to stop and she did not. The girl was subsequently questioned, arrested and placed in a facility. Below is a quote from the article.

The detective has heard a little of what the community has been saying publicly about the arrest and some folks seem upset officers arrested a 13-year-old girl.

But police, he said, are gender-blind.“Reverse the genders and if a boy, generally speaking, if a boy touches a girl inappropriately on the school bus and the school district and the police don’t take action, can you imagine the outcry there would be?” Turney said.

Turney said Wednesday that no bail amount has been set for the girl.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Why do you think the public is upset about the arrest of this 13 year old girl?
-Do you think the detective is right in his observation concerning the reversal of genders?
-Why is it that women/girls tend to be given the benefit of the doubt more often than not in situations such as this while men/boys are presumed guilty more often than not?
-Is it okay to make generalizations such as that? Do the statistics allow for such assumptions?

Calvinism: Losing Its Place As A Dirty Word

The pastor of First Baptist Church in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, for 27 years, Joe Elam only encountered Calvinism once during his ministry—and it left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Though forbidden to do so, a former youth pastor at his church secretly taught predestination to teens, Elam said, sowing seeds of lingering division among several families.


"It was a wake-up call for us," said Elam, who recently led the Arbuckle Baptist Association to adopt a motion calling on the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma to rebuke Reformed theology. It sent copies of the motion to all members of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee.

"We would like to see Southern Baptists become aware that [their] money is being used to teach Calvinism in our seminaries," Elam said.

Long considered more Arminian in orientation—emphasizing an individual's need to respond to the gospel rather than God's election in salvation—the nation's largest Protestant denomination is grappling with doctrines of grace and election amid a seminary-led revival.

Now, according to the article, over 30% of seminary students identify themselves as Calvinists while only 10% of the pastors currenlty preaching in Southern Baptist Churches identify with the reformed faith. This shows a growing resurgence in the doctrines of grace and could very well lead to a "reformation" amongst the Southern Baptist Convention or a split amongst the evangelical denomination.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Does this matter to you? Should it?
-Is Calvinism (reformed theology) biblical? If no, what scriptural (not emotional) basis does this claim stand upon?
-Why is Calvinism seen as a dirty word amongst most Southern Baptist circles?
-Why do you think those in seminary today are increasingly accepting this form of theology over Armenianism?
-Do you agree with the Doctrines of Grace as linked to above?

Strange Ebay Experience

My wife and I recently purchased a newer car for her and decided to sell her car on ebay, which we did. We sold it to a guy out of MS who flew up to Memphis and drove to Jackson to pick it up. He made a $500 deposit (required by the terms of my auction) and paid the rest upon arrival. Due to flight issues he was unable to show up until around 9-10pm at night and we met him and I even filled up the car with gas for him. He was very pleased with the car and he and his fiancee' drove it back to MS. Great transaction right?

A few weeks later I get an email and here is the email chain in its entirety with only the names changed:
_______________________________________________________
Ebay buyer:
We Arrived back home at 8am. You gave us a silver key that does not work in the car? Would you like us to mail it to you? I am having the car looked over by Honda Friday. Thank you, God Bless and may the new years light fill your souls and lives with Happiness!

Me:
Glad you guys made it. I was concerned about you all driving all the way back the same night. As for the silver key, don't worry about it. Just toss it. I hope your finacee gets many years out of that car. I know my wife sure loved it. Merry Christmas.

Ebay Buyer:
can you please leave me feedback! Thanks, John Doe

Me:
Sure, I just don't leave feedback until I recieve it. Hope all is well with you.

Me:
I was unsure if you got my last email. I will leave you feedback once you leave me yours. Thanks again for purchasing the car. I hope it is as good for your fiancee' as it was for us.

Ebay Buyer:
I did receive your last mail, however we have been very busy. I don't understand why you will not leave me feedback considering that I sent you $500 via PayPal and handed you $1,800 in person in a timely fashion. You are a very selfish man and I can not believe that you would be so egotistical. Being a man of the cloth I think you should ask God to teach you how to be Humble and a better follower. Sincerely, God Bless Rev. John Doe

Me:
Whoa now. No need for accusations. That is the policy I go by (as do numerous other sellers) on ebay. I fail to see how that constitutes as selfishness or egotistical. I think if you have read my messages to you, you would see that I have a genuine concern for you and your fiancee' and your liking the car. Even my last message was meant to encourage you and wish you well. I appreciate the timely payment and the up front 500 deposit and all of that will be reflected in the positive feedback I leave for you concerning this sell. The only thing is, I leave it when I recieve it. I got burned once before on the issue and I do not want to be in that predicament again. I hope that makes sense as I in no way intended to frustrate you on the issue. I would also encourage you to be careful in how you pass judgement as by that same standard you too will be judged. By the way, you never let me know how things checked out for the car at the Honda shop you told me you were taking it to. Have a good day John Doe and tell your fiancee' I wish her well.
___________________________________________________
That was the last email in the exchange and it was sent a few weeks ago without a response. Sometimes I do not understand how seemingly rationale human beings can employ faulty logic based on emotionalism and jump to the conclusions they do... although, I am sure I am guilty of the same as well.

Sword & Trowel Discuss Worldviews, A Snake And The Gospel

Here is an excerpt:

The Christian worldview alone makes sense out of reality. And at the center of the Christian worldview is the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we think about the gospel in the context of this story we understand that a more deadly snake was present than the one that bit Paul. The people of Malta were held hostage to a worldview whose author was the serpent who deceived our first parents. Every false worldview is a Satanic lie that fastens itself like a snake to the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor 4:3-4). Nothing short of the gospel of Jesus Christ can break the hold of this snake.

If you have not already visited Sword & Trowel, I would encourage you to do so as there are many theological gems there.

You can read more here.

Why Does One Draw Gasps & The Other Laughs?

Is there a difference between this: "I have a telegram from the White House. They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."

And this:

The Black White Supremacist by Dave Chappelle

***Warning: the video contains language and subject matter that is offensive***

Some questions:
-What is the difference between the two?
-Which one is more appalling?
-What makes one "funny" and the other "inappropriate" in society's eyes?
-Does this appear to be a double standard?

Al Mohler On A Woman As Head Of State

Denny Burk has posted on Dr. Al Mohler and his thoughts on a woman as head of state. Burk said: On Tuesday, Dr. Mohler discussed whether Christians should be concerned with the prospect of having a woman as head of state. He and callers discussed how God-ordained roles for men and women are to be realized in the secular world.

You can listen to the podcast and read more on Denny Burk's site here.

Some questions:
-Should a woman be head of state?
-If a woman stood for your ideals and a man did not, would you vote for the woman?
-Does the Bible speak to this issue? If so, in what context- family? Church? Head of State?
-Is it a sexist position to believe a woman should be limited to certain roles (as well as a man)?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hillary Will Be President & Britney Will Commit Suicide

At least, that is what Mexico's most prominent grand warlock, Antonio Vasquez Alba, saw in his Tarot card reading.

You can read a little more here.

You can read more on Mexico's ocult here.

Some questions:
-Do you think divination is real?
-Does the Bible speak to divination?
-Do you think there is any merit in such predictions?
-Why does the possibility of knowing the future peak our interest as humans?

Another Day In The Neighborhood

1. Challies has been labeled a Fundamentalist and found solice in Psalm 19.
2. Coffee Refills is going with a snow them over the past couple posts (at least she is updating).
3. Denny Burk is looking at the connection between Obama's church and Louis Farrakhan.
4. GalationsC4V16 is clearing up misunderstandings concerning Christianity.
5. Last Row is dealing with the claims of UK atheists who say they are "Cultural Christians".
6. Misawa has posted a riveting video detailing a 911 call and questions the Brady campaign.
7. Not Your Typical Negro is discussing gay rights (but has not updated since November).
8. Oversight Of Souls will be out of pocket for a while as he is training over 60 pastors in Nepal.
9. Physics Ramblings is discussing Newtonian Perihelions, whatever those are.
10. Please Don't Call Me For Advice is doing some self reflection (no pun intended).
11. Sword & Trowel has added a new contributor to their ranks.
12. The Bench Stone (formerly The Mind Of A Young Pastor) is discussing salvation.
13. The Silent Holocron is preparing for his next sermon.
14. This Life has given a name to her absence from her blog.
15. Tim Ellsworth is branching out to the air waves (you can listen to him this evening live).
16. Time 2 Change Churches! is witnessing electronically to those of his former fold: Mormons.

And that my friends is what is going on in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Old Earth, Young Earth: Which is it?

I had a discussion with a fellow church member and friend of mine concerning his view of creation as he is an old earth creationist. For the record, I do not come down on either side as I have yet to study it at a length to form an informed opinion on the subject and I do not view it as a salvation issue. I then was reading a fellow blogger's blog post on a literal six day creation and this peaked my interest a little more on the topic.

Here are some links to arguments presented to me for the Young Earth model.
-Answers In Genesis as to why 6 days.
-Answers In Genesis deals with Death.
-Prayer Thoughts as to why the Bible should usually be taken literally.
-Answers In Genesis.

Here is a resource I found for the Old Earth model.
-Answers In Creation Deals with the problem of death before sin.
-Answers In Creation Rebuts Answers In Genesis concerning evolution.
-Answers In Creation.

Here is a neutral resource that lays out the pros and cons in a short synopsis.
-Third Mill weighs the pros and cons of both.

From what I have above, it appears as if the Answers In Creation links make more sense and logically flow while the Answers In Genesis links appear to resort more to emotions.

Again, I have not studied this in depth and I am not going to form a world view concerning the age of the earth based just on these three sources above but I would like your input and thoughts on the subject.

UFO Sighting Equals End Times For Christians?

Several dozen people—including a pilot, county constable and business owners—insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.
"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times," said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. "It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."
While federal officials insist there's a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said the object's lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane. People in several towns who reported seeing it over several weeks have offered similar descriptions of the object.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should Christians be so gullable as to believe that UFO sightings means the end is near?
-What biblical support is there for such a belief?
-How should one address this issue?
-Are aliens and alien crafts in opposition to scripture?

Raising The Bar And Ushering Boys To Manhood



I first read about these guys over on Denny Burk's website and then a recent publication by Tim Ellsworth concerning the bar being lowered for teenagers led me to this post. Alex and Brett Harris are twins who decided to take seriously the call by Paul in which he tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his age but show yourself an example in speech, conduct, purity, love and faith. So what do they do? They start a rebelution.

You can visit there site here.

You can listen to an interview with Alex and Brett with Dr. Mohler here. ( I recommend you listen to this one.)

If you want to read more by Tim Ellsworth, you can do so here.

Some questions:
-Why is the mentality that "kids will be kids" accepted as an excuse for childish behavior?
-Should kids be indoctrinated in to thinking that childhood is better than adulthood so as to make them want to continue in their childish ways?
-Do you think Alex and Brett are on to something worth looking into?
-Why does culture accept teenagers acting as immature children as the norm? Should higher standards be enforced and if so, by whom?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Homosexuality Comes With A High Price

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among gay men during sex, researchers said on Monday.
They said methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is beginning to appear outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Sexually active gay men in San Francisco are 13 times more likely to be infected than their heterosexual neighbors, the researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


The best way to avoid infection is by washing the hands or genitals with soap and water, Diep said.

I would argue that Diep is wrong and the best way to avoid infection is by not having gay sex.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Why do you think this is affecting gay men moreso than any other demographic in America?
-Why do you think AIDS affected/affects gay men moreso than any other demographic in America?
-Does God still exact judgment or was that just in Biblical times?
-If you are gay, what are your thoughts on this?

An Endorsement For Hillary Clinton?

I am so tired of pink men bombing brown children and rationalizing it as fighting terrorism. I am so tired of pink men telling women (of all colors) what to do with their wombs--which connect with their brains--in case you forgot. I am so tired of pink men telling us we should stay in Iraq for generations. I am so tired of pink men buying bombs and cheating schools. I am so tired of pink men having wives who stand behind them and nod sagely on television. I am so tired of pink men expecting that someone...
-a post by Erica Jong

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Does Erica have a point?
-Based on her article, does she make a convincing argument that it is time for a woman to hold the office of President?
-How has feminism impacted our society? Has it been mostly positive or negative?

Jesus, The Spirit Of God: The Jesus Of Islam

A director who shares the ideas of Iran's hardline president has produced what he says is the first film giving an Islamic view of Jesus Christ, in a bid to show the "common ground" between Muslims and Christians.
Nader Talebzadeh sees his movie, "Jesus, the Spirit of God," as an Islamic answer to Western productions like Mel Gibson's 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ," which he praised as admirable but quite simply "wrong".


Talebzadeh was noted as saying in the interview "It is fascinating for Christians to know that Islam gives such devotion to and has so much knowledge about Jesus."

The bulk of “Jesus, the Spirit of God”, which won an award at the 2007 Religion Today Film Festival in Italy, faithfully follows the traditional tale of Jesus as recounted in the New Testament Gospels, a narrative reproduced in the Holy Quran and accepted by Muslims.
But in Talebzadeh’s movie, God saves Jesus, depicted as a fair-complexioned man with long hair and a beard, from crucifixion and takes him straight to heaven.
“It is frankly said in the Holy Quran that the person who was crucified was not Jesus” but Judas, one of the 12 Apostles and the one the Bible holds betrayed Jesus to the Romans, he said. In his film, it is Judas who is crucified.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-How do we deal with the differences in the two accounts? One must be wrong yeah?
-How do we know which one is correct? By what standard can we know?
-Did Jesus really die on the cross or is Islam correct in that He was never crucified?
-Is it of any significance that both Muhammed and Joseph Smith were "overcome by darkness" before they both recieved revelations from angels?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Highway I-35 Verse 8?

DALLAS, Texas (CNN) -- If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."
Now, is it possible that this "highway" mentioned in Chapter 35 is actually Interstate 35 that runs through six U.S. states, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota? Some Christians have faith that is indeed the case.
The woman who came up with the concept of "Light the Highway" is a Texas minister named Cindy Jacobs.

This morning before leaving for church I saw this on CNN Headline News and thought I would post about it here.

You can read more here.
You can watch the story here.

Some questions:
-Can God use scripture understood to mean one thing to mean another? If yes, is there a way to test and approve this other meaning? If no, how can you be sure?
-If you clicked on the link for Cindy Jacobs, what are your thoughts concerning her ministry as described by the linked site?
-Do you think God honors prayer and action under a false pretense?
-What do you think of the "Light the Highway" ministry (as described in the "Light the Highway" link above)?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Right To Know: Should Adoptees Have It?

A married couple have had their union annulled - after discovering they were twins.
The twins were separated at birth and not told they had any siblings. They were adopted by different families, and - amazingly - as adults they met, fell in love and married.
The High Court ruled the marriage had never been valid and annulled it.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should those who have been given over for adoption be allowed access to their birth records and given knowledge of their siblings?
-Can you imagine the finding out that you married your sibling? Ughh... (shiver)

First For Fridays

I am/have been sick with a head cold. Any home remedies out there?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Politics Through The Eyes Of Women

I call CitizenJane Politics "The Modern Girls' Guide to Picking the Leaders of the Free World" because that's exactly what it's designed to be. This is where you can find plain-English answers to where the candidates really stand on issues. You can also find out when and where to vote, what all that political jargon means, and whether there's a debate next week that you might want to watch on TV. Finally, you'll see politics through the eyes of women instead of the eyes of men. God love 'em, but why are men most of the voices in the political conversation when women are most of the voters?

There is one page, the extra credit page of Citizen Jane Politics that has some good links concerning politics and the presidential election.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Citizen Jane Politics makes the claim that they are non-partisan and independent, but they also claim it is written "through the eyes of women", do you think this skews anything?
-While reviewing Citizen Jane Politics, does the content seem particularly woman oriented?
-Is politics politics regardless of who is reporting on it in the context of male and female?

Alzheimer's Symptons Reversed Almost Instantaneously

A drug used for arthritis can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's "in minutes".
It appears to tackle one of the main features of the disease - inflammation in the brain.


The drug, called
Enbrel, is injected into the spine where it blocks a chemical responsible for damaging the brain and other organs.

A pilot study carried out by U.S. researchers found one patient had his symptoms reversed "in minutes".

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Seeing how this report only involves 15 people's results, do you think it wise to release such information when it has not been approved for Alzheimer's treatment?
-Do you think that releasing information like this is more helpful to the public or more harmful? Why?
-If you have a loved one who is affected by this disease and the FDA has yet to approve the treatment, would you find a way to get this treatment administered to your loved one?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Do You Want To Read About?

Here I pose a question to those who frequent Blogged Down World. If I was to pick one day a week and during the course of that day I would include a certain post with a certain subject, what subject would you want that to be? Would you want the subject to be opinion-filled? Would you want it to be objective (like I try to do on most posts)? Would you want it to religious in nature? Scientific in nature? About video? I ask to see what you are interested in and what type of posts capture your interest. Even if you do not have a suggestion, let me know about what you enjoy reading and conversing.

Physics Ramblings Added To The Sidebar

Bill Nettles is a Christian who happens to be a nuclear physicist, an avid musician, a motorcycle enthusiast and he knows a lot about almost everything I have ever asked him (or he just makes up convincing answers, one of the two :). I say that to say this, he has chosen to keep up his blog and post regularly. I would encourage you to check it out.

You can visit his blog here.

Religous Freedom Denied?

Michael Polk, who is serving time for aggravated assault and robbery, filed the lawsuit against corrections officials in federal court, accusing them of denying him several religious items that he claims are necessary to practice the Asatru religion, which worships ancient Nordic gods like Odin, Thor, Tyr and Heimdal.
"Plaintiff complains that his being denied the right to practice his choice of religion while housed at the Utah State Prison is violating his First Amendment rights," Polk wrote in his lawsuit filed Tuesday.
According to the complaint, Polk claims that he has been a member of the Asatru faith since 2005, and in order to properly practice it he needs numerous items including: a Thor's Hammer, a prayer cloth, a Mead Horn used for drinking Wassail, a drum made of wood and boar skin, a rune staff and a sword.
"Sahs Swords can be made of cardboard due to institutional restrictions," Polk wrote.


You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do prisoners have rights guaranteed to free men or are they limited to privileges?
-Do you find this prisoner's request unreasonable?
-Should tax payers fit the bill for these types of requests?
-Is this any different than a prisoner requesting a Bible?