Monday, October 29, 2007

Must be Seen to be Believed

This is the last play miracle from the SCAC division III college football game between Trinity Texas and Milsaps. As crazy an ending as "the band is on the field! the band is on the feild!" game, except that no one cares about this one.


The Fierce Fruit of Self-Control

Galatians 5:22-“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…… self-control.”

“The very concept of ‘self-control’ implies a battle between a divided self. It implies that our ‘self’ produces desires we should not gratify but instead ‘control.’ We should ‘deny ourselves,’ and ‘take up our cross daily,’ Jesus, says, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Daily our ‘self’ produces desires that should be ‘denied’ or ‘controlled.’” –John Piper-

How do we strive against our fatal desires? Paul answers: “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)

Remember that if we exercise self-control by faith in Christ’s superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory!

Father in heaven, I pray that you will work in me the will to fight sin that my will desires. I confess that there is a war within me. I grieve over the remnant of my corruption. Help me to have the desire that there is nothing greater then the love of your son Jesus Christ! Grant that I would treasure Him above all else.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chuck Norris

You may have heard some of these before...

Little know facts about Chuck Norris:
When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.


Celebration Conclusion

Coming home from another conference after putting life aside for three days I am once again refreshed with the Lord’s steadfast love and mercy in my life. Reflecting back on all the worship, preaching, times of prayer, and group conversations, it makes me so grateful for such a great group of churches and awesome friends that Lord has given to me. Here are some of the things that highlighted my weekend…..

1. Stopping for directions three times on the way driving down just to make sure we were going the “right way.” Oops! Did I just say that out loud? Sorry Jonathan!

2. Meeting new people

3. Seeing old friends

4. Once again hearing excellent preaching

5. Being convicted during and after the preaching

6. Going to meetings before each session with Todd Twining’s excellent wisdom and encouragement.

7. Biblical fellowship after the singles gathering

8. The house of prayer

9. Watching people get blobbed

10. Spending time and joking with my parents back at our chalet

11. Shopping in the resource center while I was supposed to be working the resource center

12. Getting a good laugh while watching all the various acts of talent on Saturday night

13. Being once again refreshed with Gods abundant grace.


Rights and Christianity: Part III

"Consider finally modern notions of human rights -- the right of freedom of conscience, or to property, or to marry and form a family, or to be treated equally before the law -- as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The universalism of this declaration is based on the particular teachings of Christianity. The premise is that all human lives have equal dignity and worth, but this is not the teaching of all the world's cultures and religions. Even so, it's appropriate that a doctrine Christian in orgin should be universal in application. Christianity from the start promulgated its message as one for the whole world.

There are some atheists and even some Christians who admit that theism and Christianity have shaped the core institutions and values of America and the West. But now that we have these values, they say, why do we still need God and Christianity? Oddly enough, the answer is supplied by Nietzsche.

Nietzsche argued that since the Christian God is the foundation of Western values, the death of God must necessarily mean the erosion and ultimate collapse of those values. Remove the base and the whole building will slowly crumble. For a while, Nietzsche conceded, people would out of custom or habit continue to respect human life and treat people with equal dignity, but eventually there would be ferocious assualts on these values, and practices once unthinkable such as the killing of people deemed inferior or undesirable would once agian occur. This is precisely what we have seen in our time, and Nietzsche predicted that it will only get worse.

If we cherish the distinctive ideals of Western Civilization, and believe as I do that they have enormously benefited our civilization and our world, then whatever our religious convictions, we will not rashly try to hack at the religious roots from which they spring. On the contrary, we will not hesitate to acknowledge, not only privately but also publicly, the central role that Christianity has played and still plays in the things that matter most to us."

by Dinesh D'Souza

Although D'Souza makes some good points, I would dissagree on one major premise. It's not the intolerance of Americans that will ultimately lead to the destruction of our value system, but the over-tolorance. We have taken equality to a new level that was never intended by our forefathers. Political correctness, tolorance of gays and lesbians, the Fairness Doctrine, all of these are indications of a failing system. As Christians it is our biblical to charge to be intolerant of sin. This does not mean that we view gays and lesbians as less than or unequal to other sinners, but that we take a stand and say that homosexuality is wrong.

While the world wants to fade everything into shades of gray, we must make clear distinctions between right and wrong, truth and untruth. Christians cannot allow themselves to be diluted and wishy-washy because, ultimately, we are representations of Christ and his gospel. Constantly I have to remind myself of Pauls instructions "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Corinthians 16:13)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Celebration Conclusion

Well God was good to us yet again at Celebration. It is amazing to see how God works to bring himself Glory every year. It wasn't just 15 minutes into Brent's message when I thought to myself, "Once again, oh how I love this," and I began to think about how many times I have sat in these uncomfortable seats and experienced God's Grace. Our Father is so Faithful to convict us, encourage us, and draw us closer to himself. Well I want to tell of just a little of the best that happened to me at Celebration, but really I want to here from everyone else, and God did for you.

Well here is some of the Best:

  • Landon missing a turn, allowing for 2 hours of good conversation
  • 6 guys in a camper, and everything that goes with that. except for the smell.
  • Hearing Sound Doctrinal Teaching on the Great Doctrine of Justification
  • Seeing the Bride of Christ unified to Worship their Savior
  • Watching everybody "spit some mad game"
  • Todd Twining.
  • Singing "There is a Day" especially when lead by Todd
  • Really good Biblical Fellowship
  • Losing every game of Volleyball and a butt kicking in football
  • Being Convicted
  • Being Convicted again
  • Leaving with a more profound understanding of the Cross

- Ryan

The Miracle of Our Universe: Part II

"Science is based on what James Trefil calls the principles of universality. 'It says that the laws of nature we discover here and now in our laboratories are true everywhere in the universe and have been in force for all time.' Moreover, the laws that govern the universe seem to be written in the language of mathematics. Physicist Richard Feynman found this to be 'a kind of miracle.'

Why? Because the universe doesn't have to be this way. There's no particular reason the laws of nature that we find on Earth should also govern a star billions of light years away. there's no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone mathematical ones. So where did Western man get this idea of a lawfully ordered universe? From Christianity.

Christians were the first ones who envisioned the universe as following laws that reflected the rationality of God the creator. These laws were believed to be accessible to man because man is created in the image of God and shares a spark of the divine reason. No wonder, then, that the first universities and observations were sponsored by the church and run by priests.

No wonder also that the greatest scientists of the West -- Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Newton, Leibniz, Gassendi, Pascal, Mersenne, Curvier, Harvey, Dalton, Faraday, Joule, Lyell, Lavoisier, Priestley, Kelvin, Ampere, Steno, Pasteur, Maxwell, Planck, Mendel, and Lemaitre -- were Christians. Gassandi, Mersenne and Lamaitre were priests. Several of them viewed their research as demonstrating God's creative genius as manifested in his creation.

If modern science has Christian roots, so do our most basic political institutions and values. Consider Thomas Jefferson's famous assertion in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal'. He claimed this was 'self-evident', but one only has to look to history and to other cultures to see that it is not evident at all. Everywhere we see dramatic evidence of human inequality. Jefferson's point, however, was that human beings are moral equals. Every life has a worth no greater and no less than any other.

The preciousness and equal worth of every human life is a Christian idea. We are equal because we have been created equal in the eyes of God. This is an idea with momentous consequences. In ancient Greece and Rome, human life had very little value. the Spartans, for example, left weak children to die on the hillside. Greek and Roman culture was built on slavery.

Christianity banned infanticide and the killing of the weak and 'dispensable,' and even today Christian values are responsible for the moral horror we feel when we hear of such practices. Christianity initially tolerated slavery -- a universal institution at the time -- but gradually mobilized the moral and political resources to end it. From the beginning, Christianity discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. Slavery, the foundation of the Greek and Roman civilization, withered and largely disappeared throughout medieval Christendom in the Middle Ages.

The first movement to abolish slavery completely occurred only in the West, and were led by Christians. In the modern era, first the Quakers and then the evangelical Christians demanded that since we are all equal in God's eyes, no man has the right to rule another man without his consent. this religious doctrine not only supplies the moral justification for anti-slavery but also for democracy. Yes the idea of self-government is also rooted in the Christian assumption of human equality. One reason the atheist philosopher Nietzsche hated democracy is because he understood its religious foundation."

Although Mr. D'Souza (yes he is a Mr. now) passed over a few historical facts, and misrepresented others, he still has some valid points. However, Christianity (the religion) is not primarily responsible for the revelation of science and human equality. God is. This is where humble orthodoxy comes into play. We cannot bludgeon the world over the head with sayings like "we were responsible for", and "we knew it first". If we are to rightly handle any truth, we must present it in humility, understanding that in God's great mercy he has revealed it to sinful man. This is true for either the gospel or the foundations of this earth. God is sovereign over all and must receive the glory for it all. And He will :)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Christian Foundation: Part 1

I read this article in yesterday's USA Today Metro section. Although I wish the article delt with the matter in a more humbly orthodox fashion, Mrs./Mr./Miss D'Souza (the author) made some excellent points. Because it's so long, I will break it up and share it with you over the next few days.

"Popular efforts to tuck Christianity neatly aside as a footnote to this country's history and to deliver a secular society will fail. Why? Because the faith is inextrecably tied to our values , our institutions and even modern science.

We seem to be witnessing an aggressive attempt by leading atheists to portray religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as the bane of civilization. Finding the idea of God incompatible with science and reason, these atheists also fault Christianity with fostering a breed of fanaticism comparable to Islamic radicalism. The propsed solution: a completely secular society, liberated from Christian symbols and beliefs. What it misses, however, is the larger story of how Christianity has shaped the core institutions and values of the USA and the West. Christianity is responsible for even for secular institutions such as democracy and science. It has fostered in our civilization values such as respect for human dignity, human rights and human equality that even secular people cherish.

Consider Science. Although there have been many civilizations in history, modern science developed in only one: Western Civilization. And why? Because science i based on an assumption that is, at root, faith-based and theological. That is the assumption that the universe is rational and follows laws that are dicoverable through human reason."

I don't know Dinesh D'Souza, I don't even know if he/she is a he or she! But I do know that he/she made some very accurate and prophetic statements. We live in a culture that is slowly beginning to reject God and replace it with science, all in the name of seperation of church and state. We co-exsist with thousands who strongly believe that God does not exsist and that anyone elses public belief in God infringes on their personal rights of freedom. Without doubt, we live in an increasingly secular world that desires nothing more than to see the Christian God banned from our culture. As Christians, it will be our responsiblity to stand for truth and for the Glory of our God. In so saying, I think the questions we must ask oursleves are, "Am I prepared? Can I rightly contend for the Faith? Do I know and understand Scripture?"


Saturday, October 13, 2007


Heresy at its finest. This is so, so incredibly sad...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mr. Nice Guy

Last night as I was waiting for our beloved UNF shuttle to escort me to my car 2 miles away, I was handed a "Track" by an elderly gentleman. I had seen the man around campus before, witnessing to various students, and was interested as to his beliefs. Here was my chance. As I opened the track to read the material I must admit that I was fairly skeptical as to what the content would be. However, as I began to read, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-presented, efficient and doctrinally sound pamphlet on the gospel. Here it is (I apologize for the spacing, but sometimes the HTML acts up):


Narrator: Meet Mr. Nice Guy. If good people go to heaven, he will be the first in line.

Mr. Nice Guy: Well... I try to do whats right.

Narrator: Have you kept the ten commandments?

MNG: Pretty much.

Narrator: Really? Do you mind if we look at them?

MNG: Ummm... all right.

Narrator: Have you ever told a lie?

MNG: Yeah, who hasn't?

Narrator: What do you call someone who lies?

MNG: A liar.

Narrator: Have you ever stolen anything?

MNG: Nope.

Narrator: But you just told me you're a liar...

MNG: Hmph. Well, I did steal some candy once as a kid.

Narrator: What do you call someone who steals?

MNG: A thief.

Narrator: Have you ever looked at a women with lust?

MNG: Of course.

Narrator: Jesus said, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

Narrator: Have you ever used God's name to curse?

MNG: Well, yeah, but only because that guy really deserved it!

Narrator: that's called blasphemy. "the lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." (Exodus 20:7).

Narrator: By your own admission you're a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. And that's just four of the ten commandments.

MNG: OK, so I'm not perfect.

Narrator: Actually, its worse than that... sin isn't just doing things we shouldn't. It's also not doing the things we should. "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17). There's more... suppose we could put a device in your brain that would record all your private thoughts for a week... and then play them on a movie screen for your friends and family to see.

MNG: that would be embarrassing!

Narrator: "God knows the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21).

MNG: Well... compared to some people I'm a saint!

Narrator: But the standard is God's law, not other people. Besides, even if you sin just five times a day, in one year, that's 1,825 sins! if you live to be seventy, you'll have broken God's Law over 127,000 times! You'll have to answer for every sin on judgment day, when "each of us will give and account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)

MNG: But won't God just forgive me?

Narrator: Try that in court. "Mr. Judge, I know I keep breaking the law but can't you just let it slide?" Only a corrupt judge would do that. A good judge would say, "Justice demands that you pay for your crimes." God is a holy, righteous judge. He hates sin! Jesus warned that God, in his wrath, will cast all who sin against him into eternal fire "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". (Matthew 13:42)

MNG: 'Gulp'. Then how can anyone get to heaven?

Narrator: There's only one way... If a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free! God loves you so much, he sent his son Jesus to suffer and die for you sins. Then, he rose from the grave -- defeating death! You can't earn eternal life. It is God's gift to all who humble themselves and come to Jesus. "Turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:21). He will forgive your sins and give you a new heart! "If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation!" (2 Corinthian 5:17).

Even though this might have been a little "corny" in some parts, I still think it did an excellent job of showing our need for a savior, and how God wonderfully bridges that gap through Jesus Christ. In addition, I thought the wealth of Scriptural support was very helpful. Not only was it applicable to the point the Narrator was trying to make, but it was convicting as well (as all scripture is). When I finished reading, I couldn't help but thank God for the "track" that was being handed out to hundreds of other students, and ask that he use it to draw the hearts of the lost.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's Your Life Centered On?

1 Corinthians 15: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. For I delieverd to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

The following is a story from C.J. Mahaney's book "The Cross Centered Life"

On Monday, Alice bought a Parrot. It didn't talk, so the next day she returned it to the pet store. "He needs a ladder", she was told. She bought a ladder, but another day passed and the parrot still didn't say a word. "How about a swing?" the clerk suggested. So Alice bought a swing. The next day, a mirror. The next day, a miniature plastic tree. The next day, a shiny parrot toy. On Sunday morning, Alice was standing outside the pet store when it opened. She had the parrot cage in her hand and tears in her eyes. Her parrot was dead. "Did it ever say a word?" the store owner asked. "Yes," Alice said through her sobs. "Right before he died, he looked at me and asked, 'Don't they sell any food at that pet store?'"

Often our lives our filled with many distractions that we forget what is of first importance. This story about Alice and her parrot really reminds me of how distracted I am in my own life. There are so many other things that I find to do rather than study God's word. God calls each and every one of us to place the gospel of first importance. "The way we can find out what is of first importance in our life", C.J. says, "is by asking ourselves a few questions."What are you most passionate about? What do you think about when you can think about whatever you want? What do you love to talk about? What defines you.
By asking myself these questions, I quickly found out that my life is certainly not centered on the gospel as it should be. What's your life centered on?

Father, oh how I have fallen short of what you have called me to do. Please forgive me for the many times I have focused my attention on everything else but you. Lord, give me strength to carry out the rest of my days walking in your footsteps. Help me to have a strong desire to follow your word and to study it. I am nothing without you, my Savior. I lift your name up. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanks be to God

This past Sunday I witnessed and event that can only have been possible because of the gospel.

Due to a recent transfer of my father's job, he and my mother will shortly be moving to Little Rock, Arkansas for a one-year stay (God willing). In light of this, after church Sunday there was a reception held in the lobby to bless and encourage my parents before they leave next week.

The entire affair, from the delicious food to the heart-warming words of thanks and encouragement can only be attributed to the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. How else could such love pour forth? What else would motivate the preparation and participation? How else could such emotional and spiritual tearing take place? The answer is simple. Because everyone in the room has been saved from the wrath of God by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any sacrifice that my parents have been, and any investment that they have placed in others lives is due to their salvation and nothing else .

The common bond that we all share in Christ was on full display Sunday. In fact, it is on display every Sunday; A collection of varied individuals with varied backgrounds, all with one common goal: to bring glory to God by thanking Him for my parents and what they have meant to many because of His grace.

From the Lord is has been received and to the Lord it shall return. How else could a Sunday like this have occurred?


Thursday, October 4, 2007

East to West

Lately, it seems like every time I turn on the radio, this song is on. It is so helpful to be reminded of how merciful and kind the Lord is. Just when we think we can't get back up, he is right there to pick us up. We didn't deserve anything, but the Lord gave us everything! How great is our God!!!!

Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other

"East to West" - Casting Crowns


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Battle in the Morning

If you’re like me, almost every morning seems to be a battle to get out of bed and do my devotions. I thought it was encouraging to hear that the great, John Piper, struggles with the same thing and to see how he fights the battle. Here is him telling about one morning in particular.

Click. KSJN plays softly. Click. I turn it off in three seconds. It is 6:00a.m. I want Noel to sleep till 6:30. I slip out from under the sheet and quilt and tuck them in around her again. “God, I’m tired. Help me.” I can hardly move. My eyelids are paralyzed. I can lift them with fingers. Not necessary. My blue energy boot slippers and terry cloth robe are in their usual spot on the floor by the bed. I could find them in my sleep.
I’m sitting on the edge of the bed. “Maybe I should sleep in this morning. Noel can get the boys off to school. I might get sick if I don’t get more rest. I’ll be more efficient. I spent half of my ‘day off’ at the hospital…. Get off of me, Satan! In the name of Jesus Christ, the Almighty, get off my back! God, I’m tired. Help me…. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up like with wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary” (Isaiah 40:31). The slippers and robe are on now. The night-light in the bathroom spills out into the hall. I creep by the open door of the boys’ bedroom on the way to the basement. “God, thank you for my sons. Oh, how I love my boys! Wake them up in righteousness, Jesus.”
The basement has no heat, but one room is finished and has a carpet and a sofa and a desk. Click. I turn the three-way lamp on low. It is 6:05. The Bible is open on the couch from the day before. There is an orange pillow for my elbows. I throw the brown sweater Noel made me over my head like a monk’s habit (to keep off the draft from the window) and begin.
“God, I’m tired. Help me. Please, open my eyes so I can see wonders in your Word. Oh, God. Mighty God! ….ext.
“And now my wife, Lord. Thank you for her. Protect her form harm and from the evil one. Give her joy in the ministry with me……ext.
“And finally, my sons. Even in their sleep, Lord, turn their hearts to you. And when I wake them with your Word, sow that seed in humble, open soil….ext.
I meditate on Mark today and try to see the inner meaning of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand….ext.
The grandfather clock sounds half the Westminster chime. It is 6:30. My heart is full. My eyes are open. My faith is alive. My joy is warm. My conscience is still. My hope is strong. I will awaken them all with love!

Taste and See, Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life. – John Piper


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

C.J. on Pride

So, given my personal history, what groundless self-assurance could possibly motivate me to lift the hood that day to examine my engine? The only thing I actually know how to do is check whether the container for window-washer fluid needs refilling. So I checked that - with great authority. (It was more than half full.)

Then I shut the hood (also with great authority) and, proud fool that I am, got back into the car and turned the ignition once more - as if my having merely stared at the engine was sufficient to repair it; as if the broken parts were now calling to one another, "He's seen us! Get back together, quick!"

Yet as I turned the key again, the same violent shriek issued forth.

Only at this point did I finally go back in the house to do what I should have done earlier: I telephoned the repair shop to notify them of my car's condition - fully ready to pass along to them my firm conviction that the problem was not the window-washer fluid container.

Now you might assume that in a normal being, such ineptness couldn't possibly coexist with any significant measure of pride. Someone as unskilled as I am would, naturally, be humble right? However, without a doubt I can assure you that both incompetence and pride are very evident in my life.

The sad fact is that none of us are immune to the logic-defying, blinding effects of pride. Though it shows up in different forms and to differing degrees, it infects us all. The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it's where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about.

John Stott has clearly thought about this and wrote the following: "At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."

We've seen promise of humility - the gracious support of God. But we must also be aware of the great perils of pride - not just occasionally or under certain circumstances, but at every stage and in every sphere. Throughout our time on this earth, and in every arena of our lives, you and I share a common greatest enemy: pride.

-C.J. Mahaney-