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Showing posts from October, 2012

Wind-Up Wednesday: Guy on a Buffalo

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Wind-Up Wednesday: Just like an old-school watch, some of us need to be wound up and energized to face the rest of the week.

I was introduced to this by a fellow blogger, Kevin DeYoung, on his Monday morning humor post. I can't exactly say why I enjoy it, but it is hilarious. If you like this one, there are several more episodes on YouTube. Enjoy!


He Causes It To Happen

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"By the breath of God, ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen." -Job 37:10-13
Do you ever wonder why crazy weather events happen? Do ever sit and stand amazed and the raw power of creation? Do you ask why such things take place? Job gives us a part of the answer in this passage. God is the one who causes these things to take place for whatever reason He decides. If you don't like that truth, then you have to deny God's Word, because it says it right there.

God's control means God is powerful to act in whatever way He sees fit. This should fill the Christian with confidence, knowing God is actually able to answer prayer and work in and for His creation. An impotent God means a God who …

Sunday Singables: "By Grace Alone"

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"By Grace Alone" words by Martin Luther (1483-1546), music by David Ward, released by ReformedPraise.org (2002)



Click Here to listen to "By Grace Alone", performed by David "Doc" Harris and Brielle Stallard

Happy Reformation Sunday everyone. This is a very special Sunday for me as we remember the anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation way back on October 31, 1517. Tradition places Martin Luther as the main instigator of this second great schism of the church, and so I'm featuring one of his less well known songs today. We do this song regularly at our church and I hope you are encouraged by it.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

Proper worship should stem from a proper knowledge of our place and status in light of who God is. When we are humbled by the fact that God did everything to accomplish salvation for us, we focus solely on Him and not ourselves. Without that realization our worship becomes tainted with thoughts focused on…

2 + 2 = TRUTH

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Some people really like math. I have to admit that I only went through High School geometry in my math career, but I've always been intrigued by the consistency of numbers. Anything multiplied by zero will always be zero. Anything added to one will be one more than it was. Nothing can change these mathematical facts. But why is that? Why are these equations always true? Are they true because we write them down? Does writing 2+2=4 make it so?

Math is an amazing language, but, like any other written language, it simply represents something else. Writing down 2+2=4 simply reflects a truth that is already out there. Now it's just written down so we can remember it or communicate it to someone else. Writing it down doesn't make it true though. You would never tell someone, "2+2=4 because I saw it written in a book somewhere." The equation is true because it is. We see it reflected all over the place. If you have two pancakes, then two more, you'll have had four p…

84 Million Lights and Still Blind

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(click on the image to enlarge... you won't be disappointed)
Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim His handiwork. Are you ever impressed with God's creative ability as you look at the stars? One of the benefits to living in the country is that the stars are beautiful on a clear evening. You can see so many of them! When I gaze up to the heavens on those crisp evenings I am reminded of just how big this universe is and how small I am. I think, along with the David in Psalm 8, "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him...?" How can you not be humbled at the majesty of it all?

A recent photograph was just put together that has 9 billion pixels (9 gigapixels). A sample of that picture is shown above. So far, scientists have identified 173 million different celestial bodies, 84 million of which are stars in this image. That is …

Wind-Up Wednesday: Undecided Voters

Wind-Up Wednesday: Just like an old-school watch, some of us need to be wound up and energized to face the rest of the week.
While SNL may have a lost a little over the years, they were dead-on with this funny skit on the Undecided Voter. If you've already seen it, enjoy it again.

A Wide Receiver Receives Christ

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The following conversation took place today on ESPN.  It addresses ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith's response to Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall's conversion to evangelical Christianity. I applaud Brandon Marshall's use of scripture and his desire to apply his belief's and convictions to all of life. Stephen seems to want to compartmentalize his beliefs and keep them in church on Sunday. I think this is an excellent example of the wide range of "Christianity" in our culture. Whether you like the Bears or think Marshall's conversion is genuine or not, it is evident that he is trying to apply scripture to all aspects of his life, letting scripture govern his decisions. I think that is an example we all should follow, as well as knowing from scripture why we should live as Christ called us to live.



So, what did you think? Were they both right? Was Smith correct in saying that new believers should keep the preaching to themselves for a while? Was Marshall …

Sunday Singables: "Let Your Kingdom Come"

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"Let Your Kingdom Come" by Bob Kauflin, released by Sovereign Grace on their album Valley of Vision (2006)


This is a song I was first introduced to a few years ago after purchasing Valley of Vision from Sovereign Grace Ministries, an album based upon the book of puritan prayers with the same title. Many of the songs on the album are excellent for worship, but since I am only doing one per week, we'll start with this upbeat one. I'm not sure why, but for now you can actually download this song for free from their website. Just click here and then click "download" next to Let Your Kingdom Come on their list of the songs on the album.


Why I recommend this song for worship-

This is a great song to worship with, especially as a call to worship. Christ tells us to pray "Thy Kingdom come" as a part of the Lord's prayer, and this song really echoes that sentiment. I believe the Kingdom of God is at hand, as Christ told us, yet there are many aspects th…

Do we need vacations?

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I love to take vacations. Whether it is sight-seeing or just being lazy on a beach somewhere, I find them very refreshing. Maybe you like vacations too. But, do we need vacations? Can we function properly without them? Have you ever felt guilty for taking a vacation, knowing that there are perhaps billions of people around the world who never get one, and that in past centuries, even in this country, vacations were a luxury most couldn't afford?

I have often wrestled with this idea. "Need" is such a strong word. There are few things that we have that we actually need. Most are wants or preferences. So, where do vacations fit in? As a want, a preference, or an actual need? Some people boast that they never take a day off. In our culture of workaholics and chasing our careers, vacations are things some people never take advantage of. Many in my profession of full-time vocational ministry speak of their devotion to the church by never taking a break, always ready to serve.…

Wind-Up Wednesday: Paper Horses and Kids

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Yesterday was a deep thinking kind of day. I blogged about death and went on to read through Leviticus, Numbers, and listen to 6 hours of lectures about the Old Testament and Evangelism. Top that off with a Presidential debate and you have a day full of important things that need to be remembered. If you are at all like me, sometimes you need a break from those things in order to recharge, or wind down, or maybe wind up to get ready for the second half of the week. Thus begins a new feature for this blog: Wind-Up Wednesdays: a time to get re-energized to finish up the week. Another blog I follow, Kevin DeYoung's (linked on the side of this blog), has "Monday Morning Humor" for all of us pastors that need a little pick-me-up after a long day of ministry on Sunday. This is in that same vein. Some of these will be from him, others will be funny things I discover along the way. If you have ideas for future Wednesdays, please let me know.


I found this on another blog from a f…

The End of The End

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"It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." -Solomon from Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
These wise words of Solomon cut to the heart of our culture. I live in a college town and am "Facebook friends" with many students in college. Every weekend I see students heading off to their houses of mirth and feasting, trying to put off thoughts of "The End" of all mankind, death. We all try to do this. No one likes to think about losing the ones we love. We even have a holiday where scary deathlike things are dressed up and kids get candy. We distract ourselves however we can from being confronted with the thing we will all face.

This wasn't always the case. Jonathan Edwards, one of t…

Sunday Singables: "Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul"

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"Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul" by Anne Steele (1717-1778), music by Kevin Twit, released by Indelible Grace on their first album and by the BBC Chapel Band on Gospel Worship (2004).


Click here to listen: sung and played by David "Doc" Harris --> "Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul"

This is one of my favorite songs. It can be done congregationally, but is more often a special music number. The original hymn by Anne Steele has 39 verses. You can read them here if you'd like. This hymn was born out of a very tragic life, but speaks volumes about trusting in the Lord at all times. I first heard it at college and love how one of our profs sings it. It's him on the recording linked above. I hope you are encouraged by it.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

Each of us comes to worship on Sunday from a different point in life. Some are excited to be there. Some are tired. Others have a pasted smile on their face. Maybe some would rather be anywhere else, bu…

Abortion? Have some conviction.

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There was a lot you could walk away with from last night's Vice-Presidential debate. Maybe it was the smiling, the interruptions, the water consumption... I came away from it with my own opinions, some of which I'll keep to myself. However, one thing I think needs to be thought through is both of these men's responses to the questions regarding abortion. Some of the pundits thought it was inappropriate to ask such a question as, "How does your personal faith influence how you will govern, specifically regarding abortion." However, I thought it very appropriate. How seriously would these men take their religious convictions: as general guidelines or as foundations for how they live?

As far as their responses, I have to say I was disappointed with both of them. Both agreed that they believe life begins at conception, as the Catholic church teaches. However, this led to them to different conclusions. VP Biden said that while he may believe this, he won't impose…

Be Where You Are

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This week has been rather full for me. I'm beginning to feel the weight of assignments, ministry responsibilities, conflicts that need resolving, people that I need to catch up with, etc. Surely you have experienced those same seasons of life. Maybe you are even in one right now. It's difficult to focus on any one thing, much less multi-task, with the million things swirling around in your head. This reminded me a bit of this picture of Luke Skywalker (click to embigify it), trying to block out everything and focus on the task at hand. Now, I don't have a whole rebel resistance relying on me to take out the base of the enemy, but I do have my fair share of things that grab my attention.

The difficult part in the midst of the storm, or maybe tornado, of things trying to get your attention is fully engaging in whatever setting you happen to be in. If you're like me, it is hard to shift from "work" thoughts to "family" thoughts right when you walk in …

Christian YouTube Surprise

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I was recently introduced to a new artist, at least new to me, named Christina Grimmie, via YouTube. She is one of the top subscribed artists on the personal video website. I was very impressed with her vocal range and ability, especially for an 18 year old. As I listened to some of the covers she sang, I came across a very familiar song, "In Christ Alone". Here is someone that has around 300 million hits on her videos, is featured on American Idol's national tour, and she posted a video of herself singing this overtly Christian song in celebration of Easter last year.

Now, I don't personally know this artist or what she believes, but she is using this audience and her talents to share the gospel. It reminds me of Philippians 1:15-18 where Paul rejoices that, whatever the motive, the gospel is proclaimed. I'm hopeful that this artist is what she says, a believer in Christ as her Lord and savior. In an age where so many artists are blatantly against Christianity, …

Sunday Singables: "Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons)"

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"Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons)" by Matt Redman, released on 10,000 Reasons (2011)


This video is a little different than what you'll hear on the CD recording (since this CD is live and this video is a studio recording), but I thought it was nice to actually see the man who wrote it get excited about this song and worship along with it.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

The Psalms are replete with praise to the Lord. I wonder, if you counted them, how quickly you would actually reach 10,000 reasons. It is always appropriate to recall why we should praise the Lord, as this song does in each verse, followed by an opportunity to "Bless the Lord" as a congregation. I love how the verses work through different areas in which we should be thankful, starting with creation, moving to the attributes of God, and ending with our hope of the next life. Wherever someone is as they are called to worship with this song, whether a time of trial, blessing, or weariness, the…

What's thicker: blood or water?

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I just got back from a few days away. It was great to see family and friends, but it always gets me thinking about my larger family, the one I've been adopted into through Christ. Some say blood is thicker than water, pointing to the strong bond of physically related family. However, I think the bond of Christ's blood is even stronger. If you are blessed, like I am, with many believers in your extended family, then you feel that double blessing of knowing you'll be with the ones you love longer than just this life.

Of course, this reminds me of how undeserving I am to be part of this larger family, bound by Christ's blood. There is a song by Sovereign Grace called "The Prodigal" that almost always brings me to tears as it reminds me of how much I've done to be undeserving of Christ's love. But, that is why it is called grace. I can do nothing to earn it. The video below, put to the words of Sovereign Grace's song, really captures what this song is…

The Most Important Thing From Last Night

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What led the discussions in your home last evening or this morning around the breakfast table? There was certainly a lot going on, no matter what you are a fan of. Perhaps it was the excitement that comes from the end of the regular season of baseball. For Cubs fans like me, we instantly begin dreaming about "next year." Maybe your team actually made the playoffs and you were excited for the Athletics or Yankees getting it. Maybe it was having a triple crown winner in baseball for the first time in 45 years.

Maybe the big thing for you was the big Presidential debate. I watched it and feel I have a much better grasp on where the candidates stand on the issues that were discussed. Did you watch the coverage and spin from all the different news channels? Did you stick loyally to Fox News or CNN for the whole night? Were you following your Facebook feed, as I was, and simultaneously laughing and cringing at all the comments? It certainly was a big night for politics.

Maybe you…

A godly response to same-sex attraction

I came across this article in a number of blogs I read (Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition, etc...) and I had to pass it on to the few that read this blog. It is an godly and biblical response to the issue of same-sex attraction. It comes from a recent interview of Vaughan Roberts, author of one my favorite books, God's Big Picture. In the interview the issue of some personal struggles with his own sin come up. One in particular he struggles with is same-sex attraction. Here are some of the questions and his responses:
Does the disclosure that same sex attraction is one of your personal battles mean you are defining yourself as a homosexual? No, it doesn’t. …  All of us are sinners, and sexual sinners. But, if we have turned to Christ, we are new creations, redeemed from slavery to sin through our union with Christ in his death and raised with him by the Spirit to a new life of holiness, while we wait for a glorious future in his presence when he returns. These awesome realities defin…

Striped Sticks and Spotted Sheep

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As I've been plowing my way through Genesis this week I reread the story of Jacob working for his Uncle Laban. You can read it for yourself in Genesis 30:25-43. I love this story because it shows just how clueless we can be to what God is doing, taking credit ourselves for something that we couldn't possibly do.

In this story, Jacob strikes a deal with his Uncle in order to get some wealth for himself. God had been blessing Laban considerably as Jacob had been taking care of his flocks, and now Jacob wants to provide for his own household. The deal they come up with is that all the striped and spotted sheep that are born in the future will go to Jacob and the rest go to Laban. Laban agrees and immediately separates all the sheep that are already spotted. I guess he knew a thing or two about dominant and recessive genes. Despite that, Jacob comes up with this master plan. He wanted striped sheep, so the obvious thing to do is put something striped in front of them while they m…