Saturday, December 31, 2011

Watch the Ball Drop Live

Happy News Years (Eve)!







HT:  The Blaze 

Some of Their Best: DC Talk

Sermon prep recently put me in a dc Talk mood.  So here are some of my favorite dc Talk songs in no particular order.  Yes of course I want them to get back, but that doesn't mean we can keep enjoying these classics.


What if I Stumble? Live
(poor quality but I think the live is a little better than the studio version.  Kevin Max at his best.)





Red Letters




My Will
(probably my favorite of all)




What Have We Become?
(Sorry for the slide show. Can't help it. Its all that's available.)




Into Jesus




Jesus Freak (Gotee Remix)

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - December 31, 2011

Happy New Years Eve!!


New York Times - Seeing City in Need, Southern Baptists Plan Growth | Here is a rare positive-leaning article on the Southern Baptist Convention.  Good to see the SBC get some good press especially on church planting.

“It’s New York City,” it adds, “and it needs your help.”

The mission board plans to spend $20 million in 2012 on new churches in New York and 26 other cities.
Bruce T. Gourley, executive director of the nonprofit Baptist History and Heritage Society, said the initiative was an “attempt to survive in a post-denominational era,” after a recent decline in Southern Baptist membership.

“Everything Southern Baptists are about now is church planting,” he said. He said the project had caused controversy among members who prefer to focus on hospitals, schools and community-based services.

In 2004, the Southern Baptists announced an effort to grow in New York and assigned missionaries to the city, but only a small portion of the money spent was used to establish churches, Mr. Ebert said.

More recently, the denomination has tried to rely more on native New Yorkers to spur growth in the city. The church cites Rich Perez as an example. Mr. Perez, a Dominican-American who had what he described as a “transformational” experience at age 14 in a Southern Baptist church, started his own congregation, which meets in apartments in Washington Heights. 

Southern Baptist missionaries who come from outside New York are advised to invite neighbors to Bible study and community service activities, and then to start a church.



Todd R. Hoades - Rob Bell's Farewell Letter | Its long by the way.  At the end of the day, he is leaving the church he founded for Hollywood shortly after publishing one of the most controversial books of the the year.  Here's the conclusion:

i feel like i’m just getting started. i feel like i’m just getting started. i feel like i’m just getting started.

from  quantum physics, we’ve learned that when  two subatomic particles are bonded, attached, together, and  then  they’re separated they exhibit  fascinating behavior. they demonstrate that they are aware of and affected by that  particle they were once  attached to. this is called  quantum entanglement. we’ve been 
together for a number of years, and now we’re parting, but forever we’ll be entangled.
and  i celebrate that.

and  so i stand today in your midst,


happy,  satisfied, anticipating magnificent tomorrows, feeling  like i’m just getting started,


and  i say, until next time,  with as much love as i can possibly muster:


grace and peace be with you. your brother rob


Colin Hansen - My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2011 | These are always interesting.

10.  Marriages Need Help
9.  'Celebrity' pastors face backlash.
8.  Presbyterian Church in America warns against Muslim-idiom translations.
7.  Harold Camping fails, again and again.
6.  Christians in Afghanistan and Iran stare down death sentences for apostasy.
5.  Tim Tebow Comes Back.
4.  John Stott Dies.
3.  Arab Spring leads to winter of reckoning for Christians in the Middle East.
2.  Osama bin laden killed by U.S. military.
1.  Rob Bell Wins.



Russell Moore - An Open Letter to a Newborn Son | A great letter from Dr. Moore. I particularly love the story of how and when his wife went into labor.

You certainly made last Sunday memorable.


I was just about to preach when I noticed your mother wasn’t in her normal pew at our church. I slipped out during the offering and found her in the foyer. She told me she was in labor, but planned to wait until I preached to let me know. I thought that was insane, asked our minister of music to preach, and whisked your mother away to the hospital. A few hours later, you were here.


Reuters - Romney on his work as a Mormon missionary: “We didn’t convert one person” | If Romney wins the nomination, expect talk of his Mormon faith to skyrocket among both conservatives and liberals.  I am surprised this hasn't been an issue yet.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday, where co-host Joe Scarborough asked him about his experience as a Mormon missionary in France in the 1960s. “Talk about your rejections as a missionary knocking on door, after door, after door in a hostile environment,” Scarborough asked.

Romney recalled five months he spent in one French city, where he said near-constant brush-offs built his resilience:

“We knocked on doors from morning until quite late in the evening,” he said. “We didn’t convert one person in five months. So, you understand the rejection, you know that’s a pretty high level of rejection and you get used to it. You say, ‘okay, what do I believe, what’s important to me,’ and you don’t measure yourself and your success by how other people react, but instead by how you’re doing and how you feel about the things you care about
.”





Christianity Today - Christians could disappear from Iraq and Afghanistan | Sad.


Christianity in Afghanistan and Iraq could be eradicated in our lifetime, partially as a result of the US troop withdrawal, says Leonard Leo, chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

This is the pattern throughout the Middle Eastern region, Leo said in a video interview with Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSNews.

“The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year,” Leo said, concluding with a grim prediction that Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt.

Since the war began in March 2003, Iraq erupted into sectarian violence, leaving US troops in charge of trying to contain what threatened to become a civil war.

The situation turned out to be catastrophic for the Christian community there, as violence against Christians soared, including an attack on a church in Baghdad in October last year, in which 58 congregants were killed.

Up to 900,000 Christians have fled the country since, according to a recent study by Minority Rights Group International.


Justin Taylor - Theology of the Reformers: Free Online Course | I love the Biblical Training Website.  Here is another reason why.

BiblicalTraining.org has now added a new free class by Timothy George, on the Theology of the Reformers.


CNN -BLITZER'S BLOG: Iraq could break apart | I'm not sure an Iraq that destroys itself would be bad politically for Obama.  I'm sure he will blame it on Bush and will be given a pass.  But there's no doubt that once US troops left, the country immediately started to stop progressing.

I am beginning to suspect that Iraq could wind up following Yugoslavia’s example. . . .


But with U.S. troops now out of the country, I suspect we could be on the verge of seeing Iraq spiral into civil war. We already have seen a series of terrorist attacks in recent days. My fear is that this will only get worse.


The Sunnis clearly don’t trust the Shiites, especially Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Some of his recent actions, including an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president, have fueled this fear of a civil war.


Vice President Joe Biden has been on the phone for days with Iraqi leaders trying to calm things down. So far, he has not met with much success. It has long been Biden – more than any other top U.S. official – who has long feared the collapse of Iraq into these three groupings.


Unless cooler heads prevail in Baghdad, his fears may turn out to have been justified.


Cats and Cards - Highlight Video: Louisville Football 2011 Year In Review | A fitting tribute to the 2011 Football Cards. Let's get on the train!



FB: 2011 Year in Review from CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.


The Blaze - These Are 11 Things That Could Be More Expensive in 2012 | As if I wasn't already having to dig too deep into my pockets.  According to this article, its more than likely to get worse next year.  Great!

1.  Domestic and International Airfare.
2.  Groceries.
3.  City-Enforced Fees
4.  Water
5.  Gas
6.  Gold




The Rivarly is fought again today. Go CARDS!!!

Part 1:





Part 2:


Friday, December 30, 2011

Repost | The Gospel Illustrated

What is the gospel? That is the most important question we could ever ask. Thanks to modern technology, various organizations, artists, churches, and groups have utilized YouTube, poetry, rap, and illustrations to share the gospel with the digital world. Below are some of my favorites.


Advent: God With Us


Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.


Here are the lyrics to this song/poem:

The people had read of this rescue that was coming through the bloodline of Abraham
They had seen where Micah proclaimed about a ruler to be born in Bethlehem
Daniel prophesy about the restoration of Jerusalem
Isaiah’s cry about the Son of God coming to them
So for them—it was anticipation
This groaning was growing, generation after generation
Knowing He was holy, no matter what the situation
But they longed for Him
They yearned for Him
They waited for Him on the edge of their seat
On the edge of where excitement and containment meet
They waited
Like a child watches out the window for their father to return from work—they waited
Like a groom stares at the double doors at the back of the church—they waited
And in their waiting, they had hope
Hope that was fully pledged to a God they had not seen
To a God who had promised a King
A King who would reign over the enemy
Over Satan’s tyranny
They waited
So it was
Centuries of expectations, with various combinations of differing schools of thought
Some people expecting a political king who would rise to the throne through the wars that he fought
While others expecting a priest who would restore peace through the penetration of the Pharisee’s façade
Yet a baby—100% human, 100% God
So the Word became flesh and was here to dwell among us
In His fullness, grace upon grace, Jesus
Through Him and for Him, all things were created
And in Him all things are sustained
God had made Himself known for the glory of His name
And this child would one day rise as King
But it would not be by the sword or an insurgent regime
It would be by His life
A life that would revolutionize everything the world knew
He would endure temptation and persecution, all while staying true
Humbly healing the broken, the sick and hurting too
Ministering reconciliation, turning the old to new
A life that would be the very definition of what life really costs
Saying—if you desire life, then your current one must be lost
And He would portray that with His own life as His Father would pour out and exhaust
And Jesus would be obedient to the point of death, even death upon the cross
So just 33 years after the day that He laid swaddled in the hay
He hung on a tree suffocating, dying in our place
Absorbing wrath that is rightly ours, but we could never bear the weight
So He took that punishment and he put it in the grave
And He died
And when I say that He died, what I mean is that He died
No breath, noheartbeat, no sign of life
God is a God of justice, and the penalty for our sin equals death
That’s what Christ did on that cross
Then… On the third day, in accordance with scriptures, He was raised from the grave
And when I say that He was raised, what I mean is that He was raised
Lungs breathing, heart pumping, blood pulsing through His veins
The things that He promised were true
He is the risen Son of God, offering life to me and you
Turning our mourning into dancing
Our weeping into laughing
Our sadness into joy
By His mercy, we are called His own
By His grace, we will never be left alone
By His love, He is preparing our home
By His blood, we can sing before His throne
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
So now we, as His bride, are the ones waiting
Like the saints that came before, we’re anticipating
He has shown us that this world is fading
And He has caused our desire to be for Him
So church, stay ready
Keep your heart focused and your eyes steady
Worship Him freely, never forgetting
His great love for you
Immanuel, God with us

HT: Folk Angel


The G.O.S.P.E.L. Rap





It’s the full story of life crushed into 4 minutes. The entirety of humanity in the palm of your hand crushed into one sentence. Listen its intense right. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life. The greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told. God. Yes. God. The maker and giver of life. And by life I mean any and all manner and substance. Seen and unseen. What can and can be touched. Thoughts, image, emotions, love, atoms and oceans. God. All of it his handy work. One of which is masterpiece. Made so uniquely that angels looked curiously. The one thing in creation that was made with his imagery. The concept so cold. It’s the reason I stay bold, how God breathed in the man and he became a living soul. Formed with the intent of being infinitely intimately fond. Creator and creation held in eternal bold. And it was placed in perfect paradise til something went wrong. A species got deceived and started lusting for his job. An odd list of complaints as if the system ain’t working and used that same breath he graciously gave us to curse him. And that sin seed spread though our soul’s genome. And by nature of your nature, your species, you participated in the mutiny. Our. Yes. Our sins. Its nature inherited, lack in the human heart, it was over before it started. Deceived from day one and lead away by our own lusts. There’s not a religion in the word that doesn’t agree that something’s wrong with us. The question is what is it? And how do we fix it? Are we eternally separated from a God that may or not have existed? But that’s another subject. Let’s keep grinding. Besides trying to prove God is like defending a lion homie, it don’t need your help, just unlock the cage. Let’s move on how our debt can be paid. Short and sweet. The problem is Sin. Yes. Sin. It’s a cancer. An asthma. Choking out our life force. Forcing separation from a perfect and holy God and the only way to get back is to get back to perfection but silly us, trying to pass the course of life without referring to a syllabus. This is us. Heap up your good deeds. Chant, pray, meditate but all of that of course is spreading colon on a corpse. Or you could choose to ignore it as if something don’t stink. It’s like stepping it dog poop and refusing to wipe your shoe and all of that ends with how good is good enough. Take your silly list of good deeds and line them up against perfection, good luck. That’s life past your pay grade. The cost of your soul you ain’t gotta big enough piggy bank. But you can give it a shot. But I suggest you throw away the list cause even your good acts are an extension of your selfishness. But here’s where it gets interesting. I hope your closely listening. Please don’t get it twisted. It’s what makes our faith unique. Here’s what God says is Part A of the gospel. You can’t fix yourself. Quit trying it’s impossible. Sin brings death. Give God his breath back. You owe him. Eternally separated and the only way to fix it is someone die in your place and that someone gotta be perfect. Or the payment ain’t permanent. So if and when you find the perfect person, get him or her to willing trade their perfection for your sin and death in. Clearly since the only one that can meet God’s criteria is God. God sent himself as Jesus to pay the cost for us. His righteousness, his death, functions as payment. Yes. Payment. Wrote a check with his life but at the resurrection we all cheered cause that means the check cleared. Pierced feet, pierced hands, blood stained son of man. Fullness forgiveness free passage into the promise land, that same breath God breathed into us God gave it up to redeem us. And anyone and everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who puts their faith in trust in him and him alone can stand in full confidence of God’s forgiveness. And here’s what the promise is, that you are guaranteed full access to return the perfect unity. By simply believing in Christ in Christ alone. You are receiving life. Yes. Life. This is the Gospel. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life.


HT: Living One Day At a Time


The Story of Everything


Repost | Shai Linne: Spurgeon

Christian rapper Shai Linne has produced what has to be one of the best rap songs in history for the simple fact that it is a biography of the Prince of Preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon.  The song is catchy, but it is its content that I love so much.  Shai Linne is a gifted lyricist and rapper and the video below proves it.

If you ever wanted to know more about Spurgeon, this is a good place to begin.





My favorite lines: Behold the grace of God. Stand to the side. The Spirit exalting the Lamb who has died. It can’t be denied – this man we describe was simply a tool in the hand of his God  


For more:
GBC - Shai Linne:  Triune Praise  
Blogizomai  - A Minister's Melancholy:  Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Part 1
Blogizomai - A Minister's Melancholy:  Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Part 2 
Blogizomai - A Minister's Melancholy:  Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Part 3
Blogizomai - A Minister's Melancholy:  Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Part 4 
Blogizomai - A Minister's Melancholy:  Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Part 5 
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Spurgeon on Uniformity vs. Unity

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Can We Remain Silent While Christians Are Being Persecuted: The Right Question the West is Unwilling to Ask

from the Telegraph in the United Kingdom has asked an important question:  How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?  He writes:

Father Immanuel Dabaghian, one of Baghdad’s last surviving priests, is expecting a quiet Christmas. To join him in the Church of the Virgin Mary means two hours of security checks and a body search at the door, and even then there’s no guarantee of survival. Islamist gunmen massacred 58 people in a nearby church last year, and fresh graffiti warns remaining worshippers that they could be next.

The Americans have gone now, and Iraq’s Christian communities – some of the world’s oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale.

Of the country’s 1.4 million Christians, about two thirds have now fled. Although the British Government is reluctant to recognise it, a new evil is sweeping the Middle East: religious cleansing. The attacks, which peak at Christmas, have already spread to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have seen their churches firebombed by Islamic fundamentalists. In Tunisia, priests are being murdered. Maronite Christians in Lebanon have, for the first time, become targets of bombing campaigns. Christians in Syria, who have suffered as much as anyone from the Assad regime, now pray for its survival. If it falls, and the Islamists triumph, persecution may begin in earnest
.

Religious cleansing.  That is strong, sobering language, but it is important to hear it.  There is no doubt an all-out assault against so-called infidels throughout the Islamic-dominated middle-east. He goes on to add:

The idea of Christianity as a kind of contagion that is foreign to the Arab world is bizarre: it is, of course, a Middle Eastern religion successfully exported to the pagan West. Those feet, in ancient times, came nowhere near England’s mountains green. The Nativity is a Middle Eastern story about a child born to a Jewish mother, whose first visitors were three wise Iranians and who was then swept off to Egypt to escape Roman persecution.

His Apostles later scattered to Libya, Turkey and Iraq, to establish the Christian communities that are now under threat. For most of history, they have coexisted happily with Muslims: dressing the same way, even celebrating each other’s festivals. The rise of the veil, and other cultural dividing lines, is a relatively modern phenomenon
.

A valid point, but frankly once Islam began to spread, none of this heritage mattered.  Remember that to Islam, Judaism corrupted history and the Bible favors the Jews at the cost of the Arabs.  Thus God's people are not through the line of Isaac, but through Esau, i.e. the Arabs.  So regardless of the history of Christianity and Judaism, these two groups, and others with them, must be gotten rid of.  God wills it.

These dividing lines are now being made into battle lines by hardline Salafists, who are emerging as victors of the Arab Spring. They belong to the same mutant strain of Sunni Islam which inspired al-Qaeda. Their agenda is sectarian warfare, and they loathe Shia Islam as much as they do Christians and Jews. Their enemy lies not over a border, but in a church, synagogue or Shia mosque. The Salafists may be detested by the Muslim mainstream. But as they are finding out, you don’t need to be popular to seize power in a post-dictatorship Arab world – you just need to be the best organised. The West is so obsessed with government structure that it doesn’t notice when power lies elsewhere, and Islamist death squads are executing barbers and unveiled women in places like Basra. . . .

The Foreign Office has been typically slow to recognise the gathering threat, despite repeated warnings. The biggest one of all came a fortnight ago, when the Archbishop of Canterbury opened a gripping debate in the Lords about the widening persecutions, and what the Government ought to do. Lord Patten, the former education secretary, revealed that he spent a year failing to persuade the Foreign Office to help a group of Anglicans in the Anatolian peninsula, who are banned from worshipping in any public place. “'The answer was no,’ he said. 'They would not approach the Turkish government to ask, 'Please can you ease up a bit?’” But when German Catholics were having trouble in the same place, Angela Merkel’s government intervened immediately, working with the Turks to send a Catholic priest to hold public worship.

But this all leads to the question, So why the British reticence? And we should add, why the American reticence?  Nelson offers his thoughts and advice on what Britain, and of course America, can do.  But the question raised in the title of the article remains, How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?

Nelson this offers this final warning:

The Foreign Office did not realise the full evil of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans until it was too late: it did not take civil tensions seriously enough. It can do better now, making clear that it regards religious cleansing as an emerging evil that ought to be confronted wherever it is being incubated. Article 18 of the UN Charter of Human Rights guarantees freedom of religion – and yet outright religious oppression is quietly ignored, from Saudi Arabia to the Maldives. For ages, Iran has been able to persecute Baha’is with a minimum of fuss kicked up in the West. The ayatollahs are now turning the screw on Christians, with 300 arrested in the past year.

Speaking in that House of Lords debate were men to whom the idea of religious cleansing is anything but abstract. Lord (Dolar) Popat fled Uganda when Idi Amin turned on the Indians in 1971. Hindus, he said, are taught that it is a sin to be prejudiced against anyone. But it is “an even greater sin to witness persecution, then sit back and do nothing to stop it”. Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, said his parents were once victims of the same evil that now confronts Christians. He quoted Martin Luther King: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends
.”


The Telegraph - How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted? 


For more:
Blogizomai - Pray For Our Brothers and Sisters in Iraq
Blogizomai - Four More Months At Least: An Update on Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani
Blogizomai - Continue to Pray For Pastor Youcef: The Saga Continues
Blogizomai -Retrial Ordered: An Update on Youcef
Blogizomai - Pray For Youcef: Iranian Pastor To Be Executed For Refusing to Deny Christ
Blogizomai - "Difficulties Do Not Weaken Mankind, But They Reveal the True Human Nature": A Letter From Pastor Youcef
Blogizomai - A 95% Chance of Freedom?: An Update on Youcef - Keep Praying 
Blogizomai - From the White House: An Update on Youcef
Blogizomai - Support For Youcef, Pressure on Iran: A Helpful CNN Article
Blogizomai - No More Death Penalty?:  The Latest on Pastor Youcef 
Blogizomai - Pray for the Persecuted: Memorial Day & the Persecuted Church

"To Prove He Wasn't Kidding": Frank Turk's Open Letter to Brian McLaren

Below are a few quotes from a great open letter written to Emergent leader Brian McLaren by the folks at the Pyromaniacs blog. The letter primarily deals with McLaren's views and past statements on homosexuality.  Though McLaren tries to hang onto ambiguity when dealing with issues like homosexuality and other sexual sins (did I just use that word in association with homosexuality?), but in reality, his ambiguity has always betrayed his real views.  Frank Turk, the letter's author, offers a hard hitting criticism of McLaren's view and reminds us of the gospel and its necessity.

Here are a few highlights.

What Jesus would really do is take the list of sins found in the Old Testament and proclaim them all from a mountainside, making all people doubt that they have any hope at all of being seen as righteous before God, and then when he had their attention and their conviction under the law of Moses, he would tell them that God saves sinners who repent. And then he would get on a cross and die for the sake of the sins of world, and raise himself from the dead to prove he wasn't kidding.

He then concludes:

This is really the key issue. Even if the church is full of sinners -- and it is, as it ought to be -- the Gospel does not change, because it is not about what we can possibly do for ourselves or others. The Gospel is, and has always been, that at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly; God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is: my problem is not that I have to accept who I am because this is exactly what God made me to be. My problem is that I am actually wretched, and I do things I do not want to do, and what I say I really want to do I cannot do. So I must cry out -- if I am not utterly deceived by my own desires -- "Who can save me? Can anyone save me?"

When we stop believing that, and stop declaring that, we are doing something
reprehensible, Brian -- far worse than racism and terrorism. We are doing something which actually makes it easy for someone else to die forever, and never to see Christ as God's Son and our Savior -- but only as a final judge who will condemn them for their foolish belief that their pleasure right now was the most important thing.

So given my own sense of compassion, Brian, I end this letter to you plainly: after 5 years, I have considered this thing, and because of it, I call you to repent. Turn away from your cleverness, and your passive-aggressive moral intimidation of others, and your preying upon people who want to be seen as smart and cool and somehow also "spiritual", and turn to Jesus who is no longer hanging on a cross but justly seated at the right hand of the Father -- and repent.

Repent, Brian. Make that your new kind of Christianity -- the kind which the martyrs died for, and to which the abjectly-lost have run for millennia. I say it for your sake, and for the sake of the many you lead and mislead.

And I leave it to you in Christ's name
.

 
Pyromaniacs - Open Letter to Brian McLaren


Thesis | Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accomodation to the Kindgom of God - Chapter 1
Thesis | Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Kingdom of God - Chapter 2.1
Thesis| Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Kingdom of God - Chapter 2.2
Thesis | Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Kingdom of God - Chapter 2.3 
Thesis | Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Kingdom of God - Chapter 3.1 


For more:
Theology/Reviews - "A New Kind of Christianity" - A 11 part review and critique of McLaren's book
Reviews - McLaren - A Generous Orthodoxy
Reviews - McLaren - A New Kind of Christian 
Reviews -McLaren - A Search For What Makes Sense: Finding Faith 
Reviews -McLaren - Adventures In Missing The Point 
Reviews - McLaren - Church On The Other Side 
Reviews -McLaren - Everything Must Change 
Reviews -McLaren - Finding Faith 
Reviews -McLaren - More Ready Than You Realize 
Reviews - McLaren - The Justice Project 
Reviews - McLaren - The Secret Message of Jesus 
Reviews -McLaren - The Voice of Luke  
Theology - Revelation and the Ambiguity of Justification: McLaren Adds to the Confusion 
Theology -  Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution?: A Review of the Evidence
Theology -   Hamilton: McLaren and Whole Foods Stores
Theology -   SBTS and McLaren: A Response to SBTS Panel Discussion
Theology -   The Evolving God: McKnight's Critique of McLaren
Theology -   The Future of the Emergent Church: McLaren Weighs In
Theology -   The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction
Theology -   The Postmodern Social Gospel: Brian McLaren Proves My Point
Theology -   Where to Begin?: 10 Emergent Must Reads
Theology -   Who Isn't One?: Brian McLaren and Social Christians
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Narrative Question - Part 1
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2 
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The God Question - Part 3 
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Jesus Question - Part 4
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Gospel Question - Part 5 
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Church Question - Part 6
Theology - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Sex Question - Part 7
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Future Question - Part 8 
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Pluralism Question - Part 9 
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: Where Do We Go From Here - Part 10
Theology -  A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: Some Final Thoughts - Part 11
Theology - The Clarity of Ambiguity: The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the Emergent Church - Part 1
Theology -  The Clarity of Ambiguity:  The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the Emergent Church - Part 2
Theology - The Clarity of Ambiguity:  The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the Emergent Church - Part 3
Theology - The Clarity of Ambiguity:  The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the Emergent Church - Part 4
Theology -  The Clarity of Ambiguity:  The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the emergent Church - Part 5

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hump Day Humor: Did you hear a Click?















For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Christmas Shopping Prank
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Cannonball!!  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: A Bowflex Machine?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  North Comma South Carolina  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
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Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination

The Slippery Slides Towards Pedophilia: Pandora's Box Has Already Been Opened

As has been argued repeatedly in the years leading up to the advances made by the homosexual community and its supporters, once a society crosses the line to normalize and even legalize homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Pandora's Box is proverbially opened.  The argument of the slippery slope, though scoffed at by the culture, is an easy one and a logical one to understand.  The arguments made to advance homosexuality can (and will) be easily applied to other sexual lifestyles including polygamy, polyamory, incest, and others.

This includes pedophilia.

Consider two stories from 2011.  In August, Yahoo! News reported on a group known as B4U-Act who are seeking to remove pedophilia from the list of mental disorders.  To them, pedophilia should be changed to "minor attracted persons."  They report (admitting the slippery slope):

Statements from a relatively new organization indicate a slippery slope toward "normalizing" pedophilia.

On August 17, an 8-year-old group called B4U-ACT held a Symposium in Baltimore, MD. B4U-ACT has a goal of making American society and the American medical community more understanding of what they've reclassified as "minor-attracted persons." 


B4U-ACT aims to increase services and resources for individuals who are sexually attracted to children so that mental help is more readily available; and for society to stop criminalizing "minor-attracted persons" without recognizing needs for mental help.

The article then went on to detail the groups Principles and Perspectives which include:

*These individuals do not choose to have such feelings.


*Some minor-attracted people need help dealing with issues resulting from society's negative reactions to their sexual feelings.


*We should not assume that minor-attracted persons abuse children or that their sexual feelings are more compulsive or uncontrollable than other people.

Though at this point B4U-Act may be a group on the edge and getting only minor press being largely ignored, their effort is not without precedent.  In 1973, homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders list.  One of the main reasons for its removed and accepted by mainstream society is the push for the belief that homosexuality is a genetic issue.  In other words, homosexuality became a sexual orientation, that is, not a choice.

Though that argument has some real challenges to it, including the lack of scientific proof of such a so-called gay-gene plus orientation does not permit an acts morality, it has been affective.  Orientation doesn't, or at least define, morality, but the gay community have been hugely successful with their its-not-my-fault-its-just-the-way-I'm-wired argument.

As we would expect, the "pedophilia" community is crying the same thing.  In early March, it was reported by WORLD Magazine, that the push for the conviction that pedophilia, or "minor attracted persons," is just another sexual orientation in Canada. 

According to a report at LifeSiteNews, Dr. Hubert Van Gijseghem, a psychologist and retired professor at the University of Montreal and one of the expert witnesses, told members of [the Canadian] parliament, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation.” The other expert, Dr. Vernon Quinsey, a professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, added, “There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or anything else. . . . It’s not necessarily that they need to change their sexual orientation; they need to learn to control themselves, with our help.

Control themselves? I thought sexual orientation implied that controlling oneself was futile and unnecessary.  If the so-called sexual orientation of homosexuality ought to be celebrated, why not pedophilia or any other sexual lifestyle?

But note the next confusing paragraph in the WORLD article:

Member of Parliament Marc Lemay had this reaction to the testimony: “In my opinion, society and no one around this table will accept pedophilia, even if it is a sexual orientation. . . . I recall a period, not too long ago, when homosexuality was treated as an illness. It is now accepted, society has accepted it. . . . I cannot imagine pedophilia being accepted in 2011.”

Why not?  What argument can one make against pedophilia after accepting the argument made in favor of homosexuality?  After all, many secular western nations continue to lower the age of consent to include students in their young teens (instead of our age 18).  What we would consider pedophilia many western nations consider legal.

The article goes on to detail the North American Man Boy Love Association (yes that's a real organization) who seek to normalize pedophilia and especially breaking down "false" stereotypes and stigmas.  But let us not forget how normal, common, accepted, and encouraged this type of pedophilia was in ancient societies like Rome and others who encouraged men to molest (can I still use that word?) young boys.  Are we so sophisticated to say that it will never or could never happen here? 

Consider also the argument put forward by John Stonestreet at The Point Blog while remarking on some of the arguments made by B4U-Act:

Why would we want to de-stigmatize child abuse? Because, as the USA Today wrote in an article last week, “It may not be a choice. It may be how they are wired.” We’ve heard this before, haven’t we? For years this has been a standard reason given for tolerating and normalizing the homosexual lifestyle.

He then concludes:

Certain tendencies may have genetic causes, but don’t miss the implication here. It’s one thing to say tendencies exist; it’s quite another to say tendency justifies behavior. Perhaps its time to back up on this one. If sexual orientation justifies sexual behavior, then when it comes to protecting children from predators, we won’t have an intellectual leg to stand on.

He's exactly right. Once society opened Pandora's Box by normalizing, and increasingly legalizing, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, there is no end.  The arguments put forth by the gay community will inevitably be used in favor of other sexual lifestyles and crimes.  If genetics determine morality then our society is in serious trouble for this goes beyond sexuality. Can abuse be rationalized?  What about alcoholism?  Anti-social and violent behavior? Etc.  Where does any of this end?

And that's the point.  It doesn't.  Our only hope is for our understanding of life, morality, ethics, sexuality, marriage, and society be driven by a clear understanding of the gospel and its implications.  The church must be the first to examine itself to see if it understands this gospel.  We cannot rediscover the value and purpose of heterosexual marriage until the church returns to its roots of the gospel.  Marriage is a picture of the gospel that demands sacrifice, not indulgence.  We must cease confusing love with lust and learn to serve the other instead of ourselves.  But that will not happen until the church abandons religion and cultural capitulation and embraces the gospel.

I wrote in the dedication of my bookTo my young son Elijah who is the future of our family, nation, and faith.  May he be bold in the gospel, faithful to the cross, and articulate in the Spirit in a world that will be more depraved in his day than it already is in mine.  And it seems, at the rate we're going, I may be more right than I thought at the time.  Unfortunately.


Yahoo! News - With B4U-ACT, Pedophilia Takes a Step Toward Being Considered Normal  
WORLD Magazine - Pedophilia as a ’sexual orientation’? 

John Stonestreet (The Point Blog) - We've Heard this Line Before  

For more:
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 4   
Blogizomai - Maybe There is a Slippery Slote After All: Slate Comes to Terms With the Obvious
Blogizomai - Onward Polygamy Soldiers: Taking The First Steps Towards Polygamy
Blogizomai - Ravage Love:  Mutually-Agreed Infidelity and the Future of "Marriage" 
Blogizomai - Is Love Ever Wrong?: The Danger of Shaping Law on Such a Weak Foundation
Blogizomai - Marriage & the Limits of the Law:  Why Only the Gospel Regenerates & Changes Behavior  
Blogizomai - What's the Big Deal:  Christianity and Homosexuality  
Blogizomai - From Morality to Law:  The Question and Challenge Incest in a Post-Sodom Culture  
Blogizomai - Polygamy in the Mainstream:  The Slippery Slope in Full Effect 
Blogizomai - Polygamy on Trial:  Canada Opens the Legal Debate of Plural Marriages  
Blogizomai - Polygamy in Prime Time  
Blogizomai - The Next Step: Is Polyamory the Next Sexual Movement?
Blogizomai - Where Does The Madness End? The Dire Destination Of The Homosexual Agenda - Part 1
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom (Part 1)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?  The Great Chasm Between Nature and Morality (Part 2)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  The Way Forward is Backwards - Cave Men and the Return to Amoral Sexuality (Part 3)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Monogamy and What Jealousy Says About Naturalism
Blogizomai - Do You Part A Take Party B:  California Redefines Redefinition
Blogizomai - Heteronormativity: Another Word for Heterophobia

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who Needs Christ on Christmas?: A Rant Against Churches Who Cancelled Their Services on Christmas

Sunday morning, Christmas morning, our church had regular services.  Sunday School at 10:00 am and morning worship at 11:00 am.  But unfortunately, a percentage of churches in America either cancelled or abbreviated their services anticipating or knowing that few would attend or that they did not want to impede on the holiday celebrations.

As a pastor and as a Christian, I can't think of a decision more disastrous for the church during the Christmas season than that.  I tweeted Christmas morning while getting ready for worship how I wished Christmas, like Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, was always on a Sunday.  It is simply hypocritical for Christians and their leaders to decry the consumerism of our culture and to fight the so-called War on Christmas if Christians find something better to do on a Sunday.  Christmas is about Christ and where do we go to gather together with other believers to worship this Savior born in Bethlehem?  Our local church.

The Washington Post recently picked up on this and wrote an interesting article.  They begin by highlighting a Lifeway Research Poll that showed that 10% of Protestant churches in America canceled their Sunday morning worship services on Christmas this year.  The article goes on to say:

Part of the explanation is simple: Christmas in the United States has become a cultural event about food, family and gifts. People are busy, and Christmas is one of the few days of the year when it’s considered legitimate to huddle inside with the snacks, people and devices you love.

“We had about half our usual crowd. A lot of people came last night. They felt, ‘I’ve done my duty,’ ” Randall Balmer, a historian of American religion and an Episcopal priest in Connecticut, said Sunday as he drove home from services. “I feel the pressure myself. I have two of my [grown] kids at home, and I hardly see them.”

The trends are complex. Large swaths of American Christian churches, particularly evangelical ones, don’t hold Christmas Day services — Sunday or not. Requiring church on a family day has been seen as too legalistic, too liturgical, more about an institution than about God.

Historically, this was partly about distinguishing evangelicals from Catholics, Balmer said.

“You have this aversion to calendric observance because it’s seen as too Catholic,” he said. “Evangelicals think it imposes too much structure.”

In some places, the routine of Sunday church held sway.

Walton’s church typically doesn’t hold services on Christmas Day. It only did so this time, for a smaller crowd, because it was a Sunday. . . .
 
Some pastors canceled Christmas Day services and instead encouraged congregants to do community service. Megapastor Rick Warren canceled regular services during the Dec. 11 weekend to encourage people to do “Christmas season” projects in the California region where Warren’s 20,000-member Saddleback Church is located.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill combined its two typical Sunday morning services into one. Minutes before the 10 a.m. service, fewer than 20 people were spread out in the huge open brick nave, a space where about 900 people had attended two services the night before. The assistant rector was on the road to Georgia.

Preparing in the back for services, the Rev. Paul R. Abernathy said he appreciated the different vibe on this unusually quiet Christmas.

“There’s an intimacy, less hustle and bustle,” Abernathy said. His sermon for the day focused on Christ’s birth story being about the glory of “self-sacrificial giving, not the glory of political power, or even of nature, or commerce or art.”

Vondell Bethune, 58, typically attends Sunday services at the National Community Church, but the nondenominational D.C. church canceled services for Christmas. Instead, he and other congregants handed out bag lunches to the homeless near Union Station.

“Christmas Day is when you should be with your family,” said Bethune, a landscaper who said that until recently he had been homeless for several years. “Church is the people, the congregation, not the building. . . . Today, we were servants of the Lord, so we did have church.”

Simply sad.  I agree that one should be with family and enjoy the holiday celebrations during Christmas.  But severing all of that from worship doesn't make us more spiritual or family-oriented, but hypocritical.  Pure and simple.

For all of our cries against consumerism, greed, and idolatry, canceling church on Sunday simply because it fell on Christmas reveals our own religious hypocrisy.  It seems the War on Christmas has been lost.  The "holidays" have taken over.  Are we really any different than the rest of the world? Are we really free from the idols that we decry?  Are we really pointing at the speck's in each others eye while walking with a huge plank in ours?  I'm afraid so.

Consumerism seems to reign in many of our churches, not Christ.


Washington Post - Poll: Some worshipers took a holiday on Christmas  
See Also Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - Mega-Controversy Over Megachurches Closing On Christmas 

Monday, December 26, 2011

A New Foreign Policy: The Obama Administation & the Exportation of LGBT Values

As the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya slowly come to an end (Iraq is officially over), President Barack Obama and his administration is switching gears in their foreign policy.  Gone are the days of nation building (which I support) and a clear focus on fighting terrorism (outside of drone attacks it seems).  Replacing that policy set in stone for the past 10 years is a new policy seeking to advance the demands of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

In a major address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration made their policy painfully clear.  But Charles Colson in a recent BreakPoint commentary raises this new policy and the affects it is having on our relationships throughout the world.  He writes:

We should have seen this coming. When the U.S. Secretary of State delivers a major address on U.S. foreign policy, the world listens — and responds. And many nations are a little, shall we say, perplexed, at Hillary Clinton’s announcement that the President has directed all American foreign assistance and diplomatic agencies to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Secretary Clinton said in a speech, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” Actually, this new emphasis has little to do with human rights and almost everything to do with the presidential campaign. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, calls the initiative “more than likely a painless way for the Obama administration to placate the homosexual community in the U.S.”


But how have the other nations responded and what are the implications of this new foreign policy?  Colson writes:

The Venezuelan press got it right when it proclaimed that the “rights” of LGBT people are now at the “heart of American foreign policy.” Imagine the implications of that, folks.

Predictably, leaders of many nations in Africa are shocked. A senior adviser to Uganda’s president told The Christian Science Monitor that this approach would be “anathema” to most African nations. “I don’t like her tone,” he said of Mrs. Clinton. “I’m amazed she’s not looking to her own country and lecturing them first, before she comes to say these things which she knows are very sensitive . . . Homosexuality here is taboo.”

Nearly all of Africa’s 54 nations ban homosexuality. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has just proposed banning so-called same-sex “marriages.” The Atlantic reports that “African countries are growing increasingly tired of [the West’s] preoccupation with this issue.” Britain, for instance, has “warned it will consider withholding aid from nations which do not recognize gay rights
."

But this doesn't just affect nations like communist Venuzuela or many of the African nations, but also the Muslim world. Remember that President Barack Obama promised to listen to the nations of Islam and to be sensitive to them trying to get them to love us instead of hating us.  But this new policy is, obviously, having the opposite result.  Colson writes:

This is another setback for our relations with Muslim countries. We’re rubbing their noses in it, telling them that they have to take something that they see, that is homosexuality, as the ultimate expression of Western decadence, and they’ve got to embrace it themselves. Can we force countries to do this?

Well, the Administration’s position is that countries should prohibit the brutalizing of gay people, and that’s a proper thing for the Administration to do. No one should be, as Land said, “flogged or put to death for their sexual sins.”

But to actively promote the LGBT agenda abroad is disastrous. This new policy to affirmatively advance gay rights will compromise our relations with African countries, Catholic countries, and Muslim-majority nations. And, as I said on BreakPoint earlier, contrast the Administration’s aggressive stand here with their silence over religious persecution. Religious liberty, remember, is enshrined in our Constitution.

Any way you look at it, Secretary Clinton’s announcement is bad news. Either the Administration is playing politics with our foreign policy to appease sexual liberals, or it is aggressively exporting its assault on traditional morality and marriage. For shame
.

He's right. Standing against aggression and violence against homosexuals, or anyone for that matter, ought to be a basic policy and view of America and of humanity in general, but the President is pushing for something entirely different than simply defending the abused.  In our world of terrorism and rogue states, our President is pushing a social agenda on other nations that aren't interested in an effort to sure up his base one year before his bid for re-election.

When my wife and I traveled to Trinidad and Tobago on a mission trip a number of years ago, our host noted that when America sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold.  And in this case, I'm afraid that that is exactly what the President wants - even if it makes the world less safe even for the homosexuals he claims he is trying to protect.


Hillary Clinton speech:




Read full transcript here.


BreakPoint (Charles Colson) - The Wrong Kind of Export: Promoting LGBT “Rights” Abroad  


For more:
Blogizomai - Politics is Thicker Thank Promises: Lessons Learned From Obama and the Gay Community
Blogizomai - The Great Magician: Obama Thanks the LGBT While the World Mourned Michael Jackson
Blogizomai - What's the Big Deal:  Christianity and Homosexuality
Blogizomai - Punishing Prejudice By Being Prejudice:  The Lesson and Legacy of Hate Crimes
Blogizomai - Heteronormativity: Another Word for Heterophobia
Blogizomai - "Friendship With the World is Enmity With God": Rick Warren Tries to Have it Both Ways

One More Christmas Post: Reagan's 1981 Address

Even though its boxing day, this is too good to let it pass by. I can only wish Presidents talked like this while in office today. Even conservative ones.





HT: Breitbart 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Nativity Story




HT: Credo Magazine

Repost | Advent: God With Us

Wow!  Simply Wow.  Here is the gospel with emphasis on the prophecy, birth, death, resurrection, and return of Christ.  Thanks to the Village Church and Isaac Wimberley for writing this and producing this video.

If the video doesn't work, you can view it here.



Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.


HT: Justin Taylor


Here are the lyrics to this song/poem.

The people had read of this rescue that was coming through the bloodline of Abraham
They had seen where Micah proclaimed about a ruler to be born in Bethlehem
Daniel prophesy about the restoration of Jerusalem
Isaiah’s cry about the Son of God coming to them
So for them—it was anticipation
This groaning was growing, generation after generation
Knowing He was holy, no matter what the situation
But they longed for Him
They yearned for Him
They waited for Him on the edge of their seat
On the edge of where excitement and containment meet
They waited
Like a child watches out the window for their father to return from work—they waited
Like a groom stares at the double doors at the back of the church—they waited
And in their waiting, they had hope
Hope that was fully pledged to a God they had not seen
To a God who had promised a King
A King who would reign over the enemy
Over Satan’s tyranny
They waited
So it was
Centuries of expectations, with various combinations of differing schools of thought
Some people expecting a political king who would rise to the throne through the wars that he fought
While others expecting a priest who would restore peace through the penetration of the Pharisee’s façade
Yet a baby—100% human, 100% God
So the Word became flesh and was here to dwell among us
In His fullness, grace upon grace, Jesus
Through Him and for Him, all things were created
And in Him all things are sustained
God had made Himself known for the glory of His name
And this child would one day rise as King
But it would not be by the sword or an insurgent regime
It would be by His life
A life that would revolutionize everything the world knew
He would endure temptation and persecution, all while staying true
Humbly healing the broken, the sick and hurting too
Ministering reconciliation, turning the old to new
A life that would be the very definition of what life really costs
Saying—if you desire life, then your current one must be lost
And He would portray that with His own life as His Father would pour out and exhaust
And Jesus would be obedient to the point of death, even death upon the cross
So just 33 years after the day that He laid swaddled in the hay
He hung on a tree suffocating, dying in our place
Absorbing wrath that is rightly ours, but we could never bear the weight
So He took that punishment and he put it in the grave
And He died
And when I say that He died, what I mean is that He died
No breath, noheartbeat, no sign of life
God is a God of justice, and the penalty for our sin equals death
That’s what Christ did on that cross
Then… On the third day, in accordance with scriptures, He was raised from the grave
And when I say that He was raised, what I mean is that He was raised
Lungs breathing, heart pumping, blood pulsing through His veins
The things that He promised were true
He is the risen Son of God, offering life to me and you
Turning our mourning into dancing
Our weeping into laughing
Our sadness into joy
By His mercy, we are called His own
By His grace, we will never be left alone
By His love, He is preparing our home
By His blood, we can sing before His throne
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
So now we, as His bride, are the ones waiting
Like the saints that came before, we’re anticipating
He has shown us that this world is fading
And He has caused our desire to be for Him
So church, stay ready
Keep your heart focused and your eyes steady
Worship Him freely, never forgetting
His great love for you
Immanuel, God with us

HT:  Folk Angel  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Repost | Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!

With it being Christmas, I want to honor this great holiday with a video that perfectly highlights the way our multiculturalism culture approaches it.  I think this repost speaks for itself.

Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!





HT:  Glenn Beck

All Around the Webb: Links For Your Christmas Weekend - 12/24/11

Merry Christmas Eve!


CNN Belief - My Take: Kim Jong Il and the danger of deifying leaders | A great article from Dr. Mohler.

There are no atheists in dictatorships. The death of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il underlies a basic fact of earthly politics: when a political regime denies any transcendent supernatural reality, it deifies itself.

The communist regime that has been in control of North Korea for over half a century is officially atheistic, following the example of its first protector state, the Soviet Union.

Like the Russian communists, the North Koreans sought to expunge any trace of Christianity or other religious faiths. But make no mistake, this does not mean that the Pyongyang regime did not believe in worship.

To the contrary, the North Korean regime mandated worship, the worship of its own supreme leader. . . .

What did North Koreans receive from the hands of their “Great” and “Dear” leader? Year after year of disastrous harvests followed by starvation. The North Korean regime is among the most paranoid on the planet, and human rights organizations consistently place North Korea’s regimes among the world’s most repressive.

The hermit kingdom of North Korea is largely dark at night, starved of electrical power, and yet the regime has been determined to develop nuclear weapons.

There are important lessons to observe here. A big one is that officially atheistic states are never so atheistic as they appear. Something or someone will be worshipped and acknowledged as ultimate.
If the worship of God is forbidden, the state may well turn its own dictator into a deity. This transforms the leader and the regime into objects of devotion and worship. The state is then beyond all rational critique and consideration.

In other words, citizenship is transformed into idolatry. History records the tragic legacy of idolatrous states, led by despots who range from ancient kings to warlike emperors and delusional Fuhrers.


Mark Driscoll - 16 Daddy Christmas Tips | Some helpful ideas and advice from a father of 5.  Could have been written a few weeks before, but still helpful.  Dad needs:

  1. a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan? 
  2. to check the local guides for what’s going on to make fun holiday plans for the family. In Seattle it’s here.
  1. to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is your calendar ready?
  2. to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?
  3. to give experiences and not just gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this Christmas?
  4. to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?
  5. to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adopt and bless? One great way to do this is to serve and love a hungry family through Food for the Hungry.
  6. to schedule a big Christmas daddy date with his daughter. Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy daddy date?
  7. to schedule guy time with his son. Dad, what are you and your son going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?
  8. to help Mom get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?
  9. to ensure some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, and can you smell cookies and cider in your house?
  10. to snuggle up and watch some fun shows with the kids, especially the little ones. Dad, is the DVR set?
  11. to take the family on a drive to see Christmas lights while listening to music and sipping cider. Dad, is it mapped out?
  12. to help Mom get the kids’ rooms decorated. Dad, do the little kids get lights or a small tree in their room?
  13. to read about Jesus and pray over his kids. Dad, how’s your pastoral work going with each of your kids?
  14. to repent of being lazy, selfish, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom. Dad, are you a servant like Jesus to your family?

Russell Moore - Let's Stop Ignoring Joseph |

I played a cow in my first-grade Christmas pageant, and I had more lines than the kid who played Joseph. He was a prop, or so it seemed, for Mary, the plastic doll in the manger, and the rest of us. We were just following the script. There’s rarely much room in the inn of the contemporary Christian imagination for Joseph, especially among conservative Protestants like me. His only role, it seems, is an usher—to get Mary to the stable in Bethlehem in the first place and then to get her back to the Temple in Jerusalem in order to find the wandering 12-year-old Jesus.

But there’s much more to the Joseph figure.


Mark Driscoll - How To Prepare a Christmas Sermon | Some good ideas and advice here.  The list of great Christmas sermons of the past include greats ones like:

Martin Luther:



Charles Spurgeon:


Associated Press - Study: Christian population shifts from Europe | In other words, the new missionary fields are the secular parts of the world that used to be the centers of where missionaries were sent out.



NEW YORK (AP) -- The Christian population has shifted dramatically over the last century away from Europe to Africa, Asia and the Americas, yet Christians overall remain the largest religious group in the world, according to a new analysis released Monday.


Europe is home to about one-quarter of the world's Christians, compared to two-thirds a century ago, according to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. About one-quarter of the global Christian population can now be found in sub-Saharan Africa, while 37 percent live in the Americas and 13 percent reside in the Asia-Pacific region.


Justin Taylor - The First Hobbit Trailer | Can't wait!!




Dr. Denny Burk - Tebow after the Big Loss to the Patriots | Dr. Burk quotes from a great NFL.com article on Tebow following his recent lost to the Patriots.  Here's the quote offered by Burk: 

“How is the strength of your faith impacted after a loss?” I started.

“It puts things in perspective,” Tebow said. “God is still God. I still have a relationship with Christ, and a loss doesn’t change anything. Win or lose, everything is still the same. What matters is the girl I’m about to see, Kelly Faughnan. If I can inspire hope in someone, then it’s still a good day.”

And just like that, with a transition smooth enough to make a movie producer proud, Tebow crossed through the threshold of a doorway to the glowing face of a 22-year-old survivor of a brain tumor. After one question, the interview was over. A more important priority awaited him.


Justin Taylor - Inside Kim Jong Il's Diabolical Regime | The title says enough about the documentary he posts here.  Kim Jong Il was not called Dr. Evil for no reason.

A look inside the gulags of North Korea. As you watch, remember that many of those being tortured and massacred are brothers and sisters in Christ, members of Christ’s body. “The number of prisoners held in the North Korean gulag is not known: one estimate is 200,000, held in 12 or more centres. Camp 22 is thought to hold 50,000. Most are imprisoned because their relatives are believed to be critical of the regime. Many are Christians, a religion believed by Kim Jong-il to be one of the greatest threats to his power. According to the dictator, not only is a suspected dissident arrested but also three generations of his family are imprisoned, to root out the bad blood and seed of dissent.”


CNBC - Missing $4,155? It Went Into Your Gas Tank This Year | This isn't the sort of news you want to hear.

It's been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget.

When the gifts from Grandma are unloaded and holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981. 


Gas averaged more than $3.50 a gallon this year, another unfortunate record. And next year isn't likely to bring relief. 

In the past, high gas prices in the United States have gone hand-in-hand with economic good times, making them less damaging to family finances. Now prices are high despite slow economic growth and weak demand. 

That's because demand for crude oil is rising globally, especially in the developing nations of Asia and Latin America. But it puts the squeeze on the U.S., where unemployment is high and many people who have jobs aren't getting raises.




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HT:  Andy Naselli