Friday, October 17, 2008

Why Do Politicians Want Us To Panic?

John Mark Reynolds explains why political candidates try to incite panic in the public. He also warns us to worry about things we can actually change.

When the public, and the candidates, begin to panic, we "should resolutely mind our own business in this crisis, act charitably toward neighbors in need, comfort the fearful, and resolutely vote against those who would use this crisis to expand their power. The temptation to respond to every trouble brought to our attention by the media is a snare and a delusion."

When we begin to worry about the world, we forget about the things in our sphere of influence. If you worry globally, you become inept locally. "I have students who panic about poverty in the Sudan, but who are disinterested in the poor of our hometown." Is there anything worse than ignoring those needy around you because you are interested in someone's needs you cannot help? If everyone helped those in their direct sphere of influence, wouldn't the global problems begin to wane?

"Our actual neighbor who wants and needs our help is our business, but our culture makes it easier to know the troubles of someone else’s neighbor (across the world), than our physical compatriot. If we are not careful our compassion will be drained by images of all the suffering of mankind in general to the point that we have nothing left to give the particular unemployed fellow in the apartment across the way."

But this kind of idea is contrary to what the candidates want you to think about. They want you to panic, they need you to vote for them. If you are panicking and looking across the nation, and the world, you will want "change" which is the platform both candidates are running on. Different types of change, but change nonetheless.

Reynolds continues, "Politicians generally think every election is the most important of our lifetime, because for them it is." This election is not necessarily more important for my day to day life than any other before it, but I do have a duty to vote my values and conscience for a candidate.

Hopefully, I will vote without fear or dread, but instead with my Christian worldview.

According to Reynolds, the traditional Christian votes "that government will protect our right to life, our absolute liberty to do good deeds, and our pursuit of happiness."

"Government cannot create real rights, such as life, goodness, or happiness, so most traditional Christians wish government to have a restricted role. We want government that defends God-given rights, not government that is god."

This standard makes both candidates seem like socialists, on the one hand we have a man who would (if he could) redistribute all wealth. On the other, the candidate wants to bail out companies responsible for the "recession" we are (and here is where we panic) inevitably in and will be in for years. They both want government which is too big for me.

But the choice is not hard. I will let Reynolds sum up:

"Only one team will protect innocent human life at all stages of development, and only one even pretends to limit the scope and power of government. Only one team lacks messianic pretense, so dangerous in this time. Both teams have promise, but only one has the humility to limit their promises."

"As a result, based on my hopes and not my fears, based on optimism and not anger, I will be voting for Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin."

Yes, I will be voting McCain, Palin!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Independents should vote for McCain

I believe Independents should vote for McCain. A few good reasons for this can be found here.

Socialism abounds

I am astounded by how much both Candidates seem to be pushing socialist policies. When we take from some to give to others this is a socialist ideal. There are three main problems with socialism.

First, it teaches those who work they will not be benefited by working hard. Why work hard if the things you work for will be taken from you.

Second, it teaches those who do not work they do not need to work because someone (govt.) will bail them out. Again, why work hard if you can be dependent and get everything you need.

Third, this takes away the job of the church. The church is called to take care of the poor. You can't be generous, or charitable, if you are compelled. The govt cannot be charitable... it is a contradiction in terms.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When I "went green" I signed up for this?!?...

C. Michael Patton captures my thoughts on the "green" movement perfectly on his blog. He (like I) does not have a problem with helping the environment, in fact it is one of the duties of a Christian to be a good steward of the environment...

But the "green" movement seems to come with some other baggage...

He writes:

"I think that it is important to distinguish here the difference between “going green” and a biblically based concern for the stewardship of God’s creation. In my mind, “going green” has massive political overtones that not only speak to a concern for the environment, but a prioritized concern for the environment that highlights many “green” issues to the neglect of those that are much more important."

This is my concern exactly. To be an environmentalist it seems you must neglect human beings. Greenies seem to be for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and an overall neglect for human needs. This seems to be because they think we are raping the environment or something, that we should go back to our natural roots. Well, as Greg Koukl of STR says, "The difference between “just doing what comes naturally” and principled self-restraint is called civilization." I will take civilization any day over what comes naturally.

We also tend to forget, as Christians, where we fall in this creation of God. We are the creation made is His image. We are His most beautiful creation. Saving a penguin is nice, but not at the expense of a Human. Saving a tree is good, but not at the expense of a human.

When someone asks me to think of the most beautiful thing in the world I usually think of an area untouched by man. However, I hope I never forget that when man creates he is reflecting part of God. This is part of how we are made in God's image. When we create we glorify God. This does not mean every creation we make is good, but the process of creating is good. If you don't believe me go see the work of a master artist or architect. A master creates something in harmony with its surroundings. A master enhances the beauty already there. (I hear maybe the best example of this is Michelangelo's David. I hope to see it some day.)

We should preserve the beauty of our environment, but don't forget the hierarchy. Man is God's greatest creation on this planet, don't go green, become a steward.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Legislation to oppose

Here is california new legislation is being considered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill is AB 2567. This bill would make May 22nd Harvey Milk Day. Harvey Milk will be honored in schools every May 22nd. Who is Harvey Milk you might ask? Wikipedia describes Milk as "an American politician who was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, as a city supervisor in San Francisco." Milk was open about his homosexuality and the fact he considered religion to be dangerous.

If the legislation is passed the bill calls for Milk to be honored by exercises recognizing his accomplishments. The wording is vague enough to not limit these exercises as well. This is a direct attack on Family Values and would further indoctrinate our children sexually.

If you would like to oppose this legislation call 916-445-2841... then press 1 for English, and then 2 to voice your opinion. At this point the bill AB 2567 will come up under option 1... press 1, then press 2 to oppose this legislation.

Remember 1-2-1-2

Recommended Book

I have been reading Herbert Schlossberg's Idols for Destruction recently. I cannot recommend this book too much. This book is by far the best treatment of our American culture and the idols we worship through our assumption of ideas against God's word. Schlossberg is unparalleled in his analysis and ability to cut through our untried worldview assumptions. If you want to engage our culture thoughtfully and be able to impact the people in it the best way is to take away the unmentioned ideas at the heart of their worldview. This in turn will change their behavior by necessarily, and Schlossberg cuts right to the heart of the matter. Idols for Destruction is a must.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My reasons for my vote

I am not registered to any party the last time I checked. As a Christian, I don't feel I should affiliate myself to anything but God's party. I am no theocrat, but I do serve a King.

That being said, I do find myself consistently voting for one party over another. (Although I have voted Dem in the past, the Pubs do grab my vote probably 80-85% of the time.) After a lot of thought I think I have the words to defend my reasons for voting this way so consistently.

The number one reason I vote this way is I believe in wedge issues. Both parties seem to agree on so much, but there are a couple issues which are clear cut.

For example, although Democrats are commonly pointed to as the party which 'cares for the poor' I personally do not know one Republican who says they think we shouldn't care for the poor, they just disagree on the means, not the ends. Both parties believe the poor should be taken care of, but one party believes this should be done by bigger government, while the other believes people should have the opportunity to do so as private citizens. The disagreement is in the how, not the what.

This seems to be the case for many issues. Poverty, economics, defense, foreign policy, crime, and on and on seems to be issues along this line. There is agreement about what needs to be done, but not how to do it. Because of this, on these issues, at least both sides are trying for the same goal, and even if I don't agree with their idea of how the things should be run I can still be confident they will try and not take the issue lightly.

However, wedge issues cannot fall into this category. These are issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and so on. In cases like these the disagreements is not only on the means, but also the ends! Democrats consistently posit for the "right for a woman to choose" while Republicans as a party consistently denounce abortion. There is disagreement on the what, as well as the how!

Because of this I cannot in good conscience vote for many Dems. Instead I will use the clear cut issues to determine my vote.

This election my vote goes for McCain-Palin.


I can now post again. I am now working again and this means I have Internet access. Hopefully I can get back into the habit.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I will be back

Sorry about not posting for a while, we have recently bought a home and do not have the internet yet. We should have it up and running soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On ad hominem

There is something peculiar about truth... it is true no matter what. Truth from any source is still true.

In this, the election year, you will probably hear many attacks against the candidates character. Although these kind of things can help to establish patterns (like honesty, or overall laziness), they cannot however speak to the truth the candidates might be speaking.

For example, assuming base 10, 2 + 2 = 4 all the time. Not just some of the time; not most of the time, but all the time. If we speak to someone from my church and they say the answer is 4, this is correct the same way if we speak to someone from a mental asylum or a math genius and they say it is 4. Who the person is has no bearing on the truthfulness of the answer.

This can mean a lot to Christians. We need to evaluate things for the truth they correspond to. To attack some one's character instead of the merits of their argument is called the ad hominem attack.

Christians love to make ad hominem attacks because, I believe, it helps us to quickly resolve what we think about an issue. In this way we do not need to do the hard work of evaluating truth, instead we will measure character.

As Christ said he is the truth, we also should be striving to seek truth, and stand for truth. John 18:37 states Jesus came to "testify to the truth." This should be the goal of our lives. A Christian has no real room for the ad hominem.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Gospel without the Kingdom of God

I sat in a lecture hall tonight while one of my theological/philosophical heroes lectured to my apologetics program. I have to say J.P. Moreland has always astounded me, but tonight he was phenomenal.

The nature of the lecture focused on the Kingdom of God.

Moreland started by asserting that the Kingdom of God might be the central theme of the scriptures. The OT was the unfolding of the Kingdom; the NT exhibits the Kingdom clearly. Jesus' central message was the Kingdom, the book of acts is about the expanding of the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, Moreland says, we as a church have largely ignored the Kingdom of God until recently.

Moreland went on to define the Kingdom of God as "the realm in which the will of God is carried out." This exhibits itself in two ways: in the laws of nature, and the hearts and mind of those who are actively placing themselves under Jesus' leadership.

God wants to extend his role, by assimilating more and more Christians who choose to be "co-laborers" with God to produce Goodness, Truth and Beauty. This is who we are as Christians, we are constantly aligning ourselves with his will.

The nature of this Kingdom can be described in 4 basic ways:
1. Now, but not yet: It is here now, it is actually here, but it is not as much as it will be
2. Signs and Wonders: specifically healings. Moreland cites 3 verses here (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; and 11:4-5) and examples from around the world happening today.
3. The Kingdom is subversive and counter-cultural: we should be radical; this is best explained by the inversions of Christianity: We find well being not in circumstances, but living a Kingdom life; The greatest in the Kingdom are the humblest; A pure heart is more important than a great intellect; etc. Another example Moreland gave of the Kingdom being subversive is that Jesus was often not nice! He asks us to consider Matthew 22 (specifically verses 23- 33).
4. Lastly, the Kingdom was taught by Jesus. He also proclaimed it, and demonstrated it. If we look at the sermon on the mount with fresh eyes we will see Jesus is telling us how to live the good life, and how to be a good man.

There are three huge implications of this Kingdom principle, but I want to focus on only one right now.

Moreland stated we should preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He says the model of we have fallen and Jesus is the only way to be saved is true, but it does not give us any real reason for continued discipleship after conversion. This is something I have been thinking about recently a lot. Why don't Christians want to live the "abundant life?" If Moreland is right it might be because of our evangelistic tactics. We do not stress the abundant life in our evangelism. So we are justified by faith (1 Cor 15:3-8), but then we need to preach the continuation. We were meant (telos) to live the abundant life, we were meant to flourish.

We must have discipleship with Jesus; we must live in the Kingdom; experience intimacy with the Triune God; and this will have continuity into the next life.

Wow! The implications of this talk are staggering to me. I will probably be reflecting on this for a long time. Maybe it will require further posting.

For now, I will pray to live in the Kingdom more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

On this the 4th

If you haven't read the Declaration of Independence you should. Pay special attention to the reasons given for leaving the crown. Notice its mentions of God.

One of my greatest ongoing frustrations is the misinformation given to students regarding the reasons we seceded from the English. It all sounds well and good. If you ask anyone who paid any kind of attention in 11 grade US History, they will tell you: "We left the crown because of economic reasons."

They even have a catchy little jingle, "Taxation without representation."

Although, this did play a small part in the reasons for revolution, there were more pressing reasons given by our founders. (Who, contrary to education again, were exceedingly religious, by the way. Twenty-four of them had seminary degrees!)

In the Declaration of Independence, Taxation without Representation is mentioned only once, while other issues, such as abolishment of slavery, religious liberty, and King George's abuse of Judges are mentioned more.

The founding fathers based most of the Declaration of Independence on the book the Two Treatises of Government which references the Bible over 1700 times.

Even the idea of our 3 branches of government (Executive, Judicial, and Legislative) comes from Isaiah 33:22. This verse describes God as King, Lawgiver, and Judge.

I am not sure if I would have been for the war against Britain. I have a feeling I would have been a loyalist, but the government the founders established was new and unique. It was a government designed to let a nation thrive in its Christian roots, and give glory to God, while also being amazingly practical to solving the problems of people by governing.

As we move further and further away from this foundation, we will see more and more breakdown of our society.

On this the 4th of July, let us celebrate our beginnings as truly as we can. We need to go back to our religious (Christian) roots.

An amazing post on a letter from John Adams to his wife on July 3rd, 1776 can be found at under the title Happy Birthday

*Much of the information in this post was from a talk given for Worldview Weekend by David Barton.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Psalm 100: A praiseworthy praise

Sorry I have been out, but I am back. My adventure into God's holy word brings me to my favorite chapter in all the Bible: Psalm 100. I am not kidding, this is the first chapter of the Bible my dad had me memorize. It has stuck with me all these years. It has a special place in my heart.

The psalmist begins by urging us to praise God, and he continues this beautifully through all 5 verses. The prose used is undeniably beautiful. I happen to think the psalms can rival any other writings in terms of beauty.

I especially enjoy the crux of this chapter, the beginning of verse three: Know that the Lord is God!

There is so much packed into that statement! Know that the Lord is God!

If I can live my life following this verse, I will serve Him undeniably. Over the years I have found amazing depths to this chapter of scripture. (As we can find with most all of scripture) I urge you to meditate on these words. Its very short, read it 20-30 times. Let it sink in. Let it permeate you. In other words:

"Know that the Lord is God!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This Week

I will be "on assignment" at Wheatstone Academy this week. Just kidding... I am really there to observe. But I do not know if and when I might be able to post. We shall see!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This just in: No TV is not the end of the world!!!

I am almost a month into my no-TV experiment. We have not had any kind of TV signal in our house for a little while.

It has not been as tough as I had originally thought it was. I have spent a lot more time reading and preparing my curriculum for next year. Also, there has been a lot of time for blogging (which I thoroughly enjoy and think is much more worthwhile.)

The one thing I have not been able to do, that I have wanted to do more of, is add to the spiritual disciplines. I really need to work these into my life. I know they will benefit my walk with God. If you remember if you could be praying for this I would very much appreciate it.

Psalm 79: All for His Glory!

Psalm 79 is written during a low point in the history of the Israelites. The temple has been destroyed, as well as Jerusalem. The Psalmist pleads with God to be vengeful, retributive against the enemies who destroy.

This Psalm begins, very graphically, by explaining what has happened: Enemies have, invaded your chosen land, polluted your holy temple, they have made blood flow like water, and no one can bury the dead.

What is interesting is the Psalmist seems to blame fellow Israelites for this. He asks, "How long will this go on, O Lord? Will you stay angry forever? How long will your rage burn like fire?" I thought the Lord would be angry with the enemies, but this seems to make it seem God is angry with Israel, and because of this God has let these enemies attack the country.

He goes on later, "Do not hold us accountable for the sins of earlier generations!" Clearly, the Psalmist is arguing for Israel being the reason for the lack of protection by God.

But then the crux of the passage is expressed. The Psalmist asks for God to help, for His own glory. "Help us, O God, our deliverer! For the sake of your glorious reputation, rescue us! Forgive our sins for the sake of your reputation! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our very eyes may the shed blood of your servants be avenged among the nations!"

This is amazing! I am learning about this more and more. Everything God does is for his glory. It even seems as though we can appeal to God on this ground. He will save because it glorifies Himself.

The Psalmist appeals, "Why should other countries be able to talk bad about you God? Show them your vengeance. Forgive us because it will glorify you!" The more I think about this, the more I am struck by its importance. John Piper had a commentary just today on this concept at

The Psalm ends by a promise of the Psalmist that if God will save them they will forever thank Him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Its over, or maybe a one game playoff?

Tonight is the night. Tonight we see if the Lackers... sorry the Lakers have anything left in the tank. Tonight we see if the Celtics are everything and the Lakers are nothing. Tonight Laker fans either look to next year (what a front line that will be, and with Kobe too) or they look to Thursday.

Tonight is huge for a sports fan like me. But Thursday would be bigger.

Praying for the leaders in the country: Psalm 72

My exploration of scripture has led me to Psalm 72.

Psalm 72 is a prayer for the leader of Israel. Most likely this was Solomon at the time. This prayer is so the king will lead well. If the king leads well the people will prosper.

This psalm is a perfect example of the If-then principle. This means there is a correlation referenced in the Psalm. In other words... the psalmist says... if this happens then this will happen. This is not a hard and fast rule, but instead just a general application to life. If this then this will most likely happen.

The if is the psalmist asking God to bless the king "with the ability to make just decisions!
Grant the king’s son the ability to make fair decisions!"

Almost the whole rest of the psalm is focused on the then. There is quite a list of things that will happen. Here is just a short number of what will happen if the king makes just and fair decisions:

1. People will be fairly judged
2. The less fortunate will be defended
3. People will fear God
4. The godly will flourish
5. There will be peace
6. The needy will be rescued

There are many other things that happen if the ruler makes good, wise decisions.

The Psalm finishes by praising God who "alone accomplishes amazing things" and "deserves praise forever"

To apply to today, do we pray for our leaders? Do we ask God to help them make wise, just decisions? Do we ask Him to help them be help to the weary and oppressed? We should. If we do we might be able to see the end of this Psalm come to fruition.

"May his majestic splendor fill the whole earth!"


Monday, June 16, 2008

A misplaced plea

An article on planet wisdom calls for women to dress more modestly during the summer.

Josh Wiehagen explains even though girls want to fashionable, "I can’t say I’m always completely impressed with the . . . coverage."

He goes on to write about how Christians are called to a very tall standard. We are called be completely pure. We are to flee sexual immorality.

Wiehagen's point is that its hard enough to be sexually pure when ladies are completely covered, let alone when they are wearing things which are made specifically to make lust happen. (Mini-skirts and low-cut shirts ARE made for this reason, no matter how much we pretend they are not. For example, a girl might say, "I just want to look good." This begs the question, "For whom?")

I agree with Wiehagen, girls do need to think about the reaction they are really getting. As he points out, "what my flesh would like to see is not what I need to dwell on. And if you think about it, it’s not what you’d want me to dwell on, either." If girls truly thought about the reaction they are getting, they would want to cover up more.

Unfortunately, I think Wiehagen's plea is wrongly focused. I don't think modesty should be asked for, instead it is beauty. I think Wiehagen is actually asking for beauty and he doesn't even know it. This is why he ends with this scripture:

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.” (1Peter 3:3-5, NLT)

There is a huge difference between modesty and beauty. While being modest is important, it is also subjective. It changes from person to person, and context to context.

Don't believe me? Try this... can a 3 year old baby run around without a shirt on? Or is it immodest for certain rural tribes' women to not wear shirts? We can easily see both of these situations are not immodest, but this same situation would be very immodest in certain contexts.

Beauty on the other hand is objective, not subjective. Beauty has a standard.

Again, you may not agree, but I think you should. You might think, "Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder." No it is not. Plain and simple. And you don't want it to be either.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then there is no standard to strive for. Anything anyone does/wears can be beautiful to them. I am sorry for the blunt and vivid picture coming, but to take the roof off of this argument, I don't know anyone who would say a murderous rape and rampage is a beautiful thing. And the people who might say it is beautiful are probably insane.

But there is a standard for beauty. It is God. He is the Beauty all beauty strives to be like. And if we keep this in mind, we realize this is really what we are appealing to when we ask ladies to "be more modest." We are asking them to dress up to the standard God wants. Look amazing! God looks amazing! Your relationship with God will be beautiful, when you are trying to please him, and this radiates off you. True Beauty is more an experience, and being in line with God's wishes for how we look, sound, interact in our daily lives. When we are in true alignment with the purposes God made for us we are being a reflection of the harmony of the Holy Trinity.

So, again, I would love ladies to wear more, but because of Beauty, not because of modesty. Modesty is a good thing, but is so much less satisfying then striving for true beauty.

A very good commentary on the nature of beauty can be found in a 9 part series by John Mark Reynolds.

On Reading the Bible (Well) pt II

A few days ago I wrote about reading the Bible well. I have noticed people have not been taught how to read the Bible for everything it gives. Instead we are stuck in a world of privatization, where the only application from scripture is for the individual. The problem with this is God revealed the Bible for everyone. Scripture has an original meaning, and we need to understand what God's intention for the message was. Without this we can fall into the trap of internal faith without any real base to stand on.

With this in mind we looked at Revelation 3:14-22. We discovered many people misinterpret this passage, and it can be disastrous for some believers. I have actually heard pastors say God would rather us be completely against Him if we are not going to be "on fire" or "sold out" for Him.

We examined the passage and found, within the context of the time, this is probably not what God was saying at all! Instead, God wants us to stay close to Him the source of being cool and refreshing, or hot and therapeutic. Jesus was using a cultural aspect to show the citizens of Laodicea that they were not close to Him anymore. No, they were far from Him, like lukewarm water, they tasted nasty to Jesus.

How can we avoid this problem? How should we read the Bible?

I have found there are 5 basic, and easy, steps to be able to read the Bible well.

1. Read the passage!

Read the whole passage. Don't just read a verse. Verses are meant to be seen in the larger context of a message.

2. Understand to whom it is being written.

If the passage is directed to exiled Israelites, it might have different cultural considerations then if it was written to brand new Christians in the 1st century.

3. Determine what God was saying to the people He was speaking to.

With the context and culture in mind we can probably understand more about what God was telling them.

4. Seek out and extract the transcendent (timeless) principles.

As mentioned earlier, God's word is written for everyone. It is sufficient for a knowledge of saving grace. If we can see both the cultural and scriptural context then we can see what is the principle God is communicating to everyone.

5. Apply this transcendent principle to the culture and life you live.

We can take what God has told everyone, and apply it to the ways we live. This will ensure we are at least trying to connect with the body of believers.

Christianity is not a private religion. It does have private aspects, but always within the context of the community/church (the body of believers). In order for this to work, we need to see what God wants everyone to know.

In part 3: The 5 Steps applied.

Psalm 67

Ah, today we have a short chapter: Psalm 67.

This song is an urging to thank the Lord for all he has done.

I am struck most by the fact the Psalmist asks for God's blessing on his people. God loves to give His people good gifts and we should ask for them.

It often seems we tip toe around asking for great things from God. Why is this? God is a loving Father; what loving Father doesn't love to give his children good gifts?

Bless us Father, Bless us God.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Psalm 62

I am in the middle of a bunch of Psalms which cry out for the mercy of God.

Psalm 62 is no exception to this. In this Psalm the writer calls for God's protection, he has enemies plotting against him.

David warns men not to trust in their evil ways, or the ways they try to gain apart from God. David knows if we live apart from God, all the wealth in the world will not produce what it promises to produce. Sin never follows through.

This Psalm caught my eye because of the last two verses though. They are different than the other verses before.

"God has declared one principle; two principles I have heard: God is strong, and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do."

God is powerful and hold us accountable for how we live. This is a scary thought. We are not perfect, and God's standard is perfection (Himself). This is why we need a savior.

Lord, help me to remember my need for a savior.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Reading the Bible (Well) part 1

Too many of my students have no idea how to read the Bible (well). Unfortunately, this is not limited to younger students, but most people don't read the Bible for all it is worth.

We have privatized our religion so much we do not understand the principles in the Bible are meant for everyone, not just a subjective interpretation. We explain what the Bible means in light of what we already believe, or in light of a wrong interpretation because of our cultural influences, not the intended culture.

There are so many examples of this it is hard to pick just one, but if I must, I must.

Today's culture loves to say we "want to be on fire for God." I have no problem with people wanting to be on fire for God. In fact, in light of what that means in today's society, I think being on fire for Him would be a very good thing.

Unfortunately, we should not let this kind of cultural context skew the principles set forth in the Bible.

In Revelation 3:14-22, John writes the words of Jesus to the church in Laodicea. Christians commonly misinterpret this passage and come to what can be a disastrous conclusion based on this misinterpretation. The main verses in question are 15 and 16:

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth!"

The common interpretation of this passage is that God wants us to be "on fire" for Him, or not for Him at all. Can you see where our cultural influence comes in? Do you think all cultures have used "on fire" to mean spiritual fervor for God? Is God really saying He would rather have people against Him completely, then to mess up and only try to follow Him sometimes?

Horribly, believers have bought into this interpretation of the passage, but this is probably not what it means!

Laodicea was a landlocked city. They had no water source of their own. Because of this they needed to pipe in their water from two nearby towns, Colossae and Hierapolis. The water in Hieropolis was warm and used as medicine. It came from a natural hot spring. The water in Colossae was cool and refreshing. You might think of a cool mountain spring.

Laodicea did not have either warm or cool water. Instead, by the time the water reached Laodicea, it would be lukewarm and nasty. This is the kind of water people might actually spit out.

With this in mind it makes much more sense to see the passage as meaning we should stay close to our source (God) and do the job he has given us. We can be people who are refreshing, or people who heal, but if we stray from our source (again God) we will become lukewarm and nasty. Does God want us to be "on fire" for Him? Of course, but He also doesn't say he would rather us be against him if we are not "on fire."

The study of this passage has made it obvious we need to be more careful to interpret passages correctly, in the context they were intended.

In part two we will learn the easy steps to remember what to do in studying a passage.

The 57th Psalm

Today's adventure in scripture was provided by Psalm 57.

This Psalm is a plea for God's protection.

I am always amazed at the things David will make songs about. You could almost say David is one of the first people to make angry, almost hard-core-like lyrics.

I lie down among those who want to devour me;
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are a sharp sword.

Yep, David has a way with words.

In this Psalm, I am struck by David's confindence in God at the end. The situation with his enemies has not been resolved yet, but David acts like it has.

I am determined, O God! I am determined!
I will sing and praise you!
Awake, my soul!
Awake, O stringed instrument and harp!
I will wake up at dawn!

David knows God will take care of his enemies. Notice it does not say God what way God will take care of it, but that He will.

David ends with one of the most amazing requests anyone can make of God:

"May your splendor cover the whole earth!"

Let it be

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I am genuinely disturbed

A couple days ago STR linked to a Todd Bentley video.

Here are some highlights of the post, New Movement of the Spirit. So What?

Melinda begins by wondering why so many people who call themselves Christians have acquired a taste for the weird. "A lot of Christians have a taste for the weird, as though the weirder something is the more likely that the Holy Spirit is behind it. The Spirit could be behind some weird things, but it's sure not a sign of the Spirit's working."

Melinda then uses an argument from Greg Koukl explaining why we can never be left behind if we don't grab onto these new movements of the Holy Spirit. Even if the Spirit is in this so what?

We know what we need to know to live spiritually fulfilled lives. It is recorded in scripture. This is essentially what Paul is telling Timothy in II Tim 3:10-4:8. When we live according to Scripture we cannot go wrong. Holding to orthodoxy might possibly be the most important way to keep from being led astray by empty philosophies and deceitful arguments.

Why does Bentley not use scripture in his sermons (at least the excerpt we have seen)? We need to able to test and approve what is of God, and what isn't. God can work in anyway he chooses, but as for me I will hold to the orthodoxy of Christianity, because I know I cannot go wrong with Christ. I think it was C. S. Lewis who first pointed out to me (again I think in Mere Christianity) that in Christianity we should always be striving to find out what the original idea was. If it is new it is wrong... it is no longer Christian.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This could be it

Tonight might be (in actuality) the last chance for the Good Guys.

The Lakers need to play desperate ball tonight. If they go down 3-0, we can smooch them goodbye.

But on to something you don't know.

Being a young 'un, my only memory of the Magic-Bird era, is a sweet memory. Magic's hook shot... need I say more?

Cool story

This is a cool story.

It is always nice to see history unearthed.

Not the only one thinking about TV

Mark Matlock has posted an article about TV. This article is enlightening and encouraging to me in light of my ongoing escapade to see what happens without a constant TV source in my life.

He bigins by telling of a realization he had. He has watched over a months worth of ER! He has seen every episode, and has watched over 300 hours. Unfortunately, this is not the only show he watches. The TV is a life sucking force!

Mark closes with two verses about laziness: Ecclesiastes 10:18 and Proverbs 12:24.

Mark states he will not fully give up TV, but will be more careful about his consumption of it.

I am just glad to know I am not the only one.

The ongoing quest for truth- Psalm 51

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in Psalm 51.

David is repenting of the sin he has committed against God. He has been confronted by Nathan as to his sin with Bathsheba, not to mention the murder of Uriah. Psalm 51 is the natural outpouring of a guilty man who has realized his filthy heart compared to the perfect God.

I think this passage is a great example of our reaction if we truly understand our sin and God's holiness.

One can never go wrong by beginning everyday by repenting for the ways we depart from the ways of God. If I can remember to sing the song written after verses 10-12, I think my heart will be more focused on hearing God's will for my day.

Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from Thy presence O Lord
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me, the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me


As a side note, I find it interesting when David talks about the Holy Spirit. Is this the Holy Spirit we think of? Often it seems we equate the HS with only arriving at the day of Pentecost, but this passage (and Isaiah 63:10-11) seem to suggest the HS was also present before this time. Hmmm... something to chew on.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Isn't it still marriage?

A gay pastor has been united with his partner for the first time in the U.S.

Reverend Gene Robinson decided to be united to his partner of 20 years over a year ago. The ceremony was kept small and private because of security concerns.

New Hampshire's law grants gay couples the "rights and responsibilities of marriage, which includes inheritance and other rights enjoyed by married couples."

Doesn't this mean they are married? Why are we calling it a "civil union?"

This is just one more way we can see liberal theology and politics being pushed by trying to not garner attention. Even though it is called a civil union it is marriage, plain and simple. The Bible does not agree with this kind of marriage. A marriage is explicitly between a man and a woman. "and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?" (Matt 19:5). Another verse speaks similarly, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family" (Genesis 2:24). These verses do not leave room for a man-man or woman-woman relationship to be considered for marriage.

There has been much controversy regarding Robinson's posting to the Bishop of New Hampshire for the Episcopal Church. "Conservative Anglicans worldwide have denounced his consecration and called for repentance."

Traditionally, the Church has considered homosexual relationships to be a sin. This is the same as any sexual immorality. Sex outside of the purpose God created it for, is sin. God created sex for Procreation, Recreation, and Unity. These 3 purposes are only truly fulfilled in the context of a monogamous heterosexual marriage relationship.

Scripture is clear in its treatment of homosexuality, as it is clear in its treatment of any sexual immorality. Homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible, and therefore according to God. Two great articles on this can be found here and here. Stand to Reason also has many resources regarding this issue.

Anytime any "new ideas" or "revelation" comes forward which explains away a traditional sin, a good place to look is 2 Timothy 3. In this chapter Paul explains to Timothy that we should hold onto traditional, Biblical teaching. Greg Koukl explains this best at

We need to stand strong, and not let the empty philosphies of man try to sway our opinion from the Biblical perspective. Let us pray for Rev. Robinson, and his partner.

The side to truth always wins.

Salmonella Tomatoes?

McDonalds has stopped serving raw tomatoes because of a link to salmonella.

Does anyone go to McDonalds for the tomatoes?

Experimental Withdrawals

So, we are on our second week of No-TV! I have not found it hard, but only frustrating. I have only watched two things in the past two weeks. I visited my parents to watch both NBA finals games.

I have found more time to read, but I am realizing how much time I really did fill up with the BOOB-TOOB. After a little while in the day I run out of things to do. I really am quite pathetic if I cannot fill my day without TV.

Gotta keep working at it.

The 47th Psalm

My ongoing adventure into the scripture has brought me to Psalm 47 today.

This is a Psalm made to praise God and thank Him for what He has done. (By the way, thanking and praising are two different things. You praise God for who He is, but you thank Him for what He has done.)

I am struck by the specificity of the ways God thinks about His people. Verse 4 says God picked out their land specially.

God has authority over all the earth.

Through my readings of the Psalms I am more and more convinced we should praise Him at all times, not just when we "feel" like it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A plea for help and forgiveness-- Psalm 39

Psalm 39 caught my attention today.

This is a song of sorrow and pleading. David is realizing the darkness of his heart and how his life is far too short to make up for the problem.

David cries out to the only being who can truly understand his plight.

“O Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass. Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor. Surely people go through life as mere ghosts. Surely they accumulate worthless wealth without knowing who will eventually haul it away.” (4-6)

David has tapped into a profound truth. We live too short! Our lives are not long enough for us to save ourselves. We need to find redemption in something outside ourselves.

The truth is, no matter how long we could possibly live we cannot live long enough to help ourselves. When the standard is God (perfection), once perfection is lost it can never be regained. That's the nature of perfection... it can never be less then perfect, or else it will never be perfect. The only thing we can hope in is something outside of us, more powerful than us, and perfect to redeem us.

In verse 12, David also abandons all stoicism. He pleads with God, "Hear my prayer, O Lord Listen to my cry for help! Do not ignore my sobbing!" This is an example of how we will respond if we truly know the separation we have created from God for ourselves. To be unholy in God's presence has only one true response, a sobbing heart and pleading mind.

Anni of D-Day

On this day in 1944, allied troops invaded a European beaches, forever changing the worst war this world has yet seen.

The courage of men sent by their countries to fight has never ceased to amaze me. No matter your stance on the war in Iraq, a quick prayer for those in service is always appropriate.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lakers Fall, Pau Gasol, and a faker named Paul

Pierce is a faker. Brilliant move, but I am sure most people who are carried, and then wheelchaired, are usually hurt and don't come bouncing back. Really got the gullible Boston crowd into it though, and a win is a win.

Pau disapeared a little near the end. He can't do that... he needs to be a cog in the offense.

Even though the Lakers couldn't pull it off tonight, I think they showed sunday's game will be theirs.

Just to get attention for an ubsubstantiated claim

A man climbed a 52 story building today. What some people will do just to get attention to their cause.

Once at the top of the building the man brandished a banner stating "Global Warming kills more people than a 9/11 every week."

How, exactly, do you quantify how many people global warming kills? I am not against the cause to "save the environment," but I don't think it is possible to quantify how many people die each week from global warming, because global warming, by its own nature, cannot kill.

Global warming does not kill anyone! Storms, heat, or other environmental factors might kill people, but not global warming.

We have had storms, and heat waves long before we have known about "global warming." People have died because of natural disasters for at least as long as I have been alive. How do we know which storms are because of global warming? Can you point to a storm and say, "this storm wouldn't have happened if we didn't have climate change?"

Out climber might have been better served if he climbed the building and shouted, "SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!" He sure would have had his intellectual integrity intact.

Photo from AP.

Hmmm... Psalm 34

Today's venture into Scripture brought me Psalm 34.

This is an amazing Psalm of praise to the Lord. The introductory sentence suggests this was written by David after his encounter with King Achish of Gath in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. There is some speculation because Achish is not named; instead the word Abimelech is used. This may just be a title (like King, or Majesty).

David exudes oodles of confidence in this Psalm. He has witnessed the Lord's provision in keeping him from harm. David makes so many bold statements of praise. I want to focus on just three of these statements.

In verse 3 David exclaims, "Magnify the Lord with me! Let’s praise his name together!"

What a confident exclamation! David proclaims people should magnify the Lord with him! Magnify means to increase or make greater. How can a human make the God of the universe, the God in whom we live, move and have our being, greater? It is very presumptious of David to make this statement, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't try. David wants to glorify God by making Him known to all people. One way to do this is to help others see God, and what He has done, even more. We should all follow David's brashness.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good!" is the next statement I want to note.

This comes in verse 8. David is making a profound statement about the reality of God. He is not distant! He is able to be experienced. There are few experiences we understand more than taste. Taste is palpable. God can be experienced in this way as well. But in order to understand, we have to actually test it out. No one understands a fine wine until having trusted that people are right when they say there is no taste experience better. In the same way, a continued testing of what the Lord has to offer will leave one with an understanding of a finer life.

Lastly, (though not exhaustively) I want to focus on verse 10. "Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing."

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing??? Can this be true? Do those who know and follow God have everything? Certainly not! Anyone can see that Christians fall on hard times just as much (and sometimes more) than non-Christians. So what does David mean by this? David is contending for the prodigious providence and fulfillment knowing God brings. When one truly knows and experiences life with God, then one truly lacks nothing, because God is all that is needed. A life with God is lacking in nothing, because we were created for the purpose of knowing and glorifying Him.

There are many more nuggets of wisdom in this passage of scripture. Some, like verse 10, are true, but hard to trust. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is This Really It?

I have been contending the current atmosphere in the Democratic Party is truly giving the Reps a fighters chance.

This should be an easy race for the Dems, but with the speculation floating around, and the earlier (and current) backbiting within party lines, I do believe they are leaving the door open for McCain.

We will see what happens if Hilary really does concede on Saturday.

The Escalation Continues

More urges to attack Isreal by militant people.

Things have really been coming to a point.

Prayer is important right now.

This can't be good for either Isreal or peaceloving muslims.

What is truth?

STR has opened a discussion on how the so called New Atheists are actually helping Christianity in a blog post called The Four Horsemen.

These men are complaining about the privatization of religion. People often will not even let their religious ideas be questioned which is a product of the separation of the realm of knowledge and the realm of religion. Because of this separation, religious people now feel no need to defend their religious beliefs because there is really no truth in them, instead it is only preference.

Christianity is founded on truth. If the New Atheists bring us back to a culture which has a worldview including verifiable religious claims it can only be good for Christianity, which is a religion with a foundation of a historically verifiable fact at its center: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Again, is this good for the party?

A friend of mine has blogged about the possibility of an Obama/Clinton ticket.

I see the Democratic party as increasing in suspicion and infighting. Can this be good for the general election?

As I blogged yesterday, I am not sure this level of speculation is good.

This should be a landslide year for the Dems, but they seem to be more and more wanting to make it close. As John Mark Reynolds has explained, multiple times, in a close race anything can happen. Is this good for the party?

On Psalm 33

Today brought me to Psalm 33.

This passage is to be a reminder to us to praise the Lord. We must remember what He has done. We should sing a new song (3). This is awesome. God wants us to be creative and praise in new ways. This is because He is always giving new mercies and new levels of grace.

In order, this Psalm reminds us God has: done only fair and just things; stayed faithful; created the heavens, universe, stars, and the waters; He spoke the world into existence; frustrated the plans of man; decreed events; watched us from where He lives; formed our hearts and kept record of our lives; noticed those who follow Him; saved and sustained lives; and has delivered.

He still does this today! Our reasonable response is a life devoted to Him.

Praise Him!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Experiment Begins

This last week my wife and I decided we will not be recieving any Television Signals in our home for quite some time. We have canceled our cable, and do not have rabbit ears. I wonder how this will go.

I hope this turns out to better me as a person, but I honestly do not know what will happen. I love TV and Movies, but I think I will be better able to experience real life without the life-sucking influence of the TV in my life.

Guess I need to learn to interact with the world again... (insert sinister music here)

This can't be good for the party campaign, can it?

Clinton will not concede today.

This kind of back and forth can only marginalize the party base right?

I don't know. I am really curious.

Bold Faced Terrorism

Today the President of Iran predicted the future.

He has said the Nation of Israel will be destroyed, even if his own country is not able to perform the task.

I don't know if this makes anyone else scared at the audacity of someone like this, but for someone to be this bold takes a very seared conscience.

This reminds me of the stories of KKK leaders openly calling for the destruction of darker skined people. The only difference here is that a leader of a Nation is doing this.

Daily Scripture- Psalm 30:

Today I read Psalm 30.

This Psalm begins with David praising the Lord. He is singing of the wonderful things God has done. This culminates in David declaring, "For his anger lasts only a brief moment,
and his good favor restores one’s life"

Next David tells of the terror of God's wrath. "Then you rejected me and I was terrified." For a man who was a shepherd and fought lions and bears with only a staff and slingshot, I do not think he takes the term "terrified" lightly.

Then David cries out for mercy. He pleads, "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me!
O Lord, deliver me!"

When God responds to David's cry, we see David praising the Lord Almighty. He informs us, "So now my heart will sing to you and not be silent; O Lord my God, I will always give thanks to you."

Two things really stand out about this passage to me. First, David's insistence of God's goodness and grace given to all mankind. In verse 5, David declares God's anger only lasts for a moment, but God's grace and goodness can restore life. This is a declaration of God's love overcoming his anger.

Second, I am struck by the fact that David was right about always giving thanks to God. David's words, even today, are still praising God. Those who follow God live on in the legacy they leave. God blesses those who follow. David is also praising the Lord in heaven.