Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sporting News Today

I'm a middle aged sports fan stuck between two worlds. I grew up reading daily my newspaper's sports page, but as an adult I get my sports on the Internet and rarely read newspapers anymore.

If the newspaper format has any future in the digital age, it'll look like Sporting News Today.

I really like it. Sporting News Today is the perfect combination of internet and newspaper. Like the internet, it's free content, fully searchable, and browser based. Like a newspaper, you can see at a glance all the stories and go to what interests you most.

The stories are good and all sports are covered.

Check it out. Free subscriptions are available here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Farmer and The Jack

Two people were driving down a sparse country road late one night when they got a flat tire.

Looking in the trunk, they discovered they didn't have a jack. "Golly, do you think the farmer a few miles back might have a jack?" asked the one. The other responded, "Probably so. Let's go see." So they started walking down the road.

But as they went, questions arose. The one asked, "Do you think he'd even help us this late at night?" The other said, "Do you think the farmer would trust us to bring back his jack?" The first one said, "I bet he'll charge us something to use it." The second one responded, "I bet he'll charge us $5 to use his jack." The first one replied, "Only $5? Heck, I'll bet he makes us pay $20, when he sees how desperate we are."

The doubting and complaining went on until they reached the farmer's house and knocked on the door. When the farmers rose out of bed and opened his upstairs window, the two below shouted, "You can go ahead and keep your stupid jack!"

Sometimes, we can become so full of doubt that we talk ourselves out of asking. Feed your faith and your doubt will starve.

"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." --James 1:6

Friday, July 25, 2008

Links of the Intergoogle 7-25-08

Brilliant article about energy production from George Will: "America says to foreign producers: We prefer not to pump our oil, so please pump more of yours, thereby lowering its value, for our benefit. Let it not be said that America has no energy policy."

What happens when a child survives an abortion.

Q: Are humans today still capable of unspeakable evil? A: Joseph Kony

A summer treat: a recipe for deep fried watermelon. Really.

Funny fake business sites: Buy n Large and Derrie-Air

How translating the Gospel of Judas turned into a scholarly hoax.

Do you call it "pop" or "soda"? A nationwide, county-by-county map of what people call soft drinks.

Only in America: Pastor Crashes Motorbike During Service

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ETS Program Now Online

If Biblical studies fascinate you, you'll enjoy reading the topics that will be discussed at the upcoming annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, this November in Providence, RI.

The tentative program is available here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

If You Listen, God Will Speak

This thought came to mind today as I listened to a leadership message from Daniel 4-5 by Andy Stanley:
Quit whining about whatever natural leadership skills you lack and start trusting God for your weaknesses.
Good idea.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Theology Should Do

For folks interested in Christian education, or wondering how is it that people come to faith in Christ, there's an good interview with David Cummingham about the role that rhetoric and dialog play in the molding of one's beliefs.

A couple of quotes:
"When I think of how we define a rhetorical approach I turn to the idea of persuasion. What we are trying to do is to draw people into a conversation, a sustained conversation about our beliefs and convictions, and to encourage them to adopt those beliefs and convictions as their own. Of course, this goes both ways; our interlocutors are trying to persuade us as well. So we are talking about a dialogical process that is intentional: as Christians we have something that we think is important and thus it is worth explaining to others."

"The ancients recognized that people had to be willing to be engaged. Remember Socrates—when someone suggested that they could get him to do what they wanted by force, he said, 'Why don’t you try to convince me instead?'"

"Good theology, like all good rhetoric, should teach, delight, and move its audience."
The rest of the interview, "On a Rhetorical Approach to Teaching Theology in the Classroom & Congregation,” is on the Lilly Foundation site, Resources for American Christianity.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Whatcha Got Cookin'

On a hot summer Kansas day, today's eating was goooood:

Breakfast--Lions Club at Cheryl's Cafe

Biscuit and sausage gravy
Scrambled eggs

Lunch--Senior Center on Main Street
Fried Chicken
Cheesy potatoes
Green beans

Dinner--4-H Dinner at Celebration Center
Sloppy joe sandwich
Baked beans
Potato salad
DQ "dilly bar"

I love American life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Faith

Ordinary people with an extraordinary faith.

More and more I'm becoming convinced that these are the ones whom God uses most to grow His kingdom. Not Christian celebrities or even pastors.

Last night ABC television did a piece on the mysterious Tourette's Syndrome and showed a Christian mother praying with her afflicted elementary aged daughter. This family deals with a tremendous burden, yet they look to God and trust Him. Moved me to tears.

Over the weekend my wife and I attended the wedding of our good friend, Wendy. Single all her life, at 47 she married a man who, like her, had faithfully remained single for many years. At the rehearsal dinner, Wendy's maid of honor gave an incredible testimony that went something like this:
I grew up in a family that didn't believe in God. In fact, my Dad was an adamant atheist. So when I met Wendy as a teenager, and saw she was different, I had to know why. So I asked her, 'What makes you different? She said, 'Jesus.' Soon after, I got saved.

Over the years, Wendy and I have had two long term prayers. One is that she would get married. The second is that my Dad would get saved. Tomorrow, the first prayer gets answered. Now about my Dad, he now has dementia. He forgets a lot of things. So we're hoping he forgets that he's been an atheist all his life and comes to trust Jesus as His Savior.
You have to love the extraordinary faith of ordinary people!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Where Liberal and Conservative Preachers Go Wrong

Russell Moore offers an equal opportunity slam in Touchstone Magazine on how both liberal and conservative pastors get the Gospel wrong in the pulpit:

"Just take a look at the best-selling authors in Christian bookstores. Listen for a minute or two to the parade of preachers on Christian television and radio. What are they promising? Your best life now. What are they preaching about? How to be authentic. How to make good career choices. How Hillary Clinton fits into Bible prophecy.

How many times have we heard conservative preachers use the Bible in exactly the same way that Jeremiah Wright uses it? Wright uses the Scripture as a background to get to what he thinks is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation from American oppression. Others use the Scripture as a background to get to what they think is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation through the American Dream.

Either way, Jesus is a way to get to what the preacher deems really important, be it national health care or “your best life now.” Either way, the end result is hell for the hearer who accepts this gospel, regardless of whether God damns or blesses America.

Last Easter Sunday, the new pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, where Wright is now pastor emeritus, preached from the biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus, but did so as illustrative of the controversy over Wright. In other churches all over the country that same Sunday, many conservative “Bible-based” pastors preached from that same account, but the account of the crucifixion and Resurrection was used as illustrative of finding hope when you’re hopeless, of finding a light at the end of your tunnel.

In both cases, the preachers fit Jesus into a preexisting storyline. They did not call upon their hearers to find themselves in the storyline of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus. For them, Jesus is a mascot, just for different agendas, none of which will last a minute past the Judgment Seat....

Preachers will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Aaron Shust in Junction City, KS

Last night I took my seven year old daughter to see her favorite music artist-- Aaron Shust. He performed last night in Junction City, KS in Heritage Park, as part of the city's weekend 4th of July celebration.

Shust and his band played a worshipful, laid back set and did some nice interpretations of their songs.

Afterwards, my daughter briefly met Aaron when he came out to visit fans. He autographed her arm, which prompted her say later, "Daddy, I'm never washing my arm again."

The concert was a great capstone to the holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Anglicans Defend Orthodoxy


That's what a group of Anglicans, meeting in Jerusalem, are declaring to the wider Anglican Communion.

For some time the Anglican Church has been engaged in an enormous struggle over two issues. The first concerns the Gospel. Is Jesus Christ the only way of salvation? Are there other paths to God? The second involves the nature of sexuality-marriage. Is homosexual behavior blessed by God? Is same-gender marriage acceptable? While I've watched the Anglican debate from a distance, I'm intimately familiar with the issues, as one involved in the Protestant mainline church.

After negotiating these issues for several years, 1,148 lay and clergy people, including 291 bishops, are saying, "enough." They're weary of the delay, inaction, and continued talk.

Meeting June 22-29 in Jerusalem, yes the spiritual center of the Christian world, The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) gathered, "to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it."

They don't mince words in describing the problem facing their Communion:
The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralyzed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.
They point out three problems:
The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgment. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behavior as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.

The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion...

The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy. The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming this false gospel, have consistently defied the 1998 Lambeth statement of biblical moral principle (Resolution 1.10)... We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

In response to these problems, the delegates issued the 14 point Jerusalem Declaration, which affirms the historic Christian faith. Their final statement also makes clear that the status quo of the Anglican Church will no longer be tolerated.


How refreshing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Question I Got

"What are you going to do today to get closer to God?"


Their questions can be annoying... and a blessing.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ask the Question

James 1:19 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

One of the best ways to be a good listener is to ask good questions.

I learned this once again when my family took my son to the doctor. When the nurse came into the room, she struck up a pleasant conversation and somewhere along the line mentioned that a young relative of hers had a test on a problematic kidney.

So I asked: "Did the result turn out favorably?" She replied that the problem was confirmed and her relative may end up needing a kidney transplant.

Then I commented, "I've been thinking about kids and their health problems. It seems to me that they would be troubled and confused not knowing why their body isn't working properly."

The nurse responded, "Actually my experience is it's the adults who question everything and it's the kids who are accepting." Then she went on to tell the most incredible story about her daughter, who suffered leukemia. When the oncologist first told her she was sick, the girl retorted to her doctor, "The Lord is going to heal me completely." And that's exactly what the Lord did. Three years after her diagnosis, at age 16, the girl was healed. And a saying of Pastor Tim Keller was confirmed: "God's best work is seen over the long haul."

The nurse concluded with a statement that's stayed with me: "Everybody has their Job story. And now you know mine."

All because of a few questions and an ear to listen.