Monday, December 31, 2007
o …Why are there always rocks handy when young men wish to riot?
o …Why rich liberals seem to think that if their revolutionary, radical friends should ever win they won’t be the first ones “purged”?
o …Why Al Gore, famous for inventing the internet, is considered a serious scientist (despite evidence to the contrary)?
o …Why, in this age of global warming, we’ve had the snowiest December on record here in Maine?
o …How people who claim to be rational can believe that humans evolved from amoebae or fish or apes?
o …Why we Americans cannot get a decent candidate for President – from either side of the aisle?
o ...Why Christians expect pagans to act like anything other than pagans?
Dear friends, may you have a blessed 2008. Please expand this list of "Did You Ever Wonder..." questions with your own quaint queries.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I try to remind people about the USS Liberty every now and then. This saga is a reminder to all that the Reagan policy of “Trust, but verify,” needs to apply to all, including our nation’s alleged allies.
In June, 1967, Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty (AGTR5), a basically unarmed US naval vessel in international waters. Thirty-four American sailors were killed, 174 more were wounded. Israel has never acknowledged the seriousness of this war crime. There is absolutely no excuse for the attack and even less credence to Israel’s claims that they didn’t properly identify that ship bearing the American flag and having a very distinctive profile.
American evangelical Christians like to characterize the political entity of modern Israel as the Israel of the Bible. Therefore, they accept anything and everything that happens in and through that state as being some form of fulfillment of prophecy. While Israel has been an ally in many instances and is viewed as a bulwark against Islamic fanaticism, it cannot and must not be given a pass on international honesty and trustworthiness by the United States. Israel’s interests are Israel’s safety and security. That is as it should be. The US, however, must not be naïve in accepting that Israel’s interests will always be the same as ours.
Once again, I call upon Israel to confess regarding its piracy on the high seas, and the murder of American sailors.
God bless America, please.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This campaign is already overcooked. We have been subjected to campaigning for the Presidency since 2004. Senator Hillary has been at it longer than that.
One of the issues has been whether or not Christians can vote for a Mormon. Of course I have a few thoughts on that.
First, let me clear up any thoughts of Romney being a Christian. He is not. He is a Mormon. Mormon theology is not Christian theology. There are many areas of divergence, not the least of which is that the Trinity of the Bible is not the trinity of Mormonism.
Romney made a major speech, recently, in which he made the case for his religion to be left out of the equation in the Presidential campaign. That’s fine with me. Mormonism is not the reason I will not vote for Mitt Romney. I will not vote for him because he is not a conservative and because I do not trust him.
When Romney came back to Massachusetts to ascend the gubernatorial throne, I worked as a political reporter. I covered the Republican convention and the campaign. Romney is an elitist who immediately upon receiving the nomination froze out all the grass-roots supporters who had worked so hard for him. He also named his own running mate, after the convention nominated someone he didn’t want. He had stated that he would allow the convention to choose his running mate. He lied. (By the way, when that running mate, Kerry Murphy-Healey, ran for Governor on her own, he did absolutely nothing to help her defeat the liberal Democrat who now occupies that seat).
Romney is hailed as the great hero of health care reform in Massachusetts. He imposed a system which requires Bay State residents to have health insurance or face fines. Now having health insurance is a fine idea. I wish I could afford a better plan. The government, however, should not be allowed to mandate that I spend money on health insurance. Nor should an entire new bureaucracy be created to make sure that we comply.
While he claims to be a defender of family values, Romney was the Governor who ushered in the only legal homosexual marriage law in the US. Did Romney support this? Well, he didn’t fight it very much. When running against Ted Kennedy for the US Senate, in 1994, Romney said that the gay and lesbian community “needs more support from the Republican Party.”
So, I simply do not trust the man. Who do I vote for? I don’t have a clue. Presidential politics in this country has long been a “hold your nose and vote for the least worst” situation. This is the worst crop in a long time.
I’m glad God’s in charge.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I keep waiting. It's been two full days at this point and I have not heard a word of outrage from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. Christians have been shot to death because they are Christians. Where's the outrage? Perhaps there's nothing in it for them. Using words which are on the "bad" list is a hate crime. Is murder of Christians OK?
Maybe, it's because the victims were not....
Saturday, December 08, 2007
We usually associate the term “One Man Rule” with dictatorships. The names Stalin, Mao, and Idi Amin come to mind. Cesar Chavez wanted to join the club – and he may yet. But how about Guillermo Lopez? Sr. Lopez is a leader in the Latino Leadership Alliance somewhere in Pennsylvania. It is he who seemingly spearheaded (can I use this term?) the move to have the name “Pork Chop” removed as the name for a minor league baseball mascot. He was offended because, for some unknown reason, he finds it offensive to Latinos, Hispanics, or somebody. We don’t really need to know the reasons, just know that someone felt disrespected. First the “Frito Bandito,” now this. So, for the sake of this one man, the team caved in. (He will probably claim there were a great number of people who agreed with him. The principle is the same).
We have become so thin-skinned in this nation that we are afraid to speak many words, phrases, and concepts simply because they may offend someone; some one.
My rights to free speech have been abridged. We have become so politically-correct and offense-conscious that we might as well live in France where the collective national spine is as rigid as a French Fry (or “Freedom Fry” if you’re still using that term). This, my friends, is a continuing consequence of the feminization of this great land that was built by great, courageous men – and their strong, supportive women.
Because I happen to be a minority (white, heterosexual, conservative, Christ-following, male), my free speech is often termed “hate speech.” What’s hate speech? Anything that liberals think will upset somebody they are trying to use for more votes, therefore more power.
If I believe that homosexuality is a sin, I should really keep it to myself. That may be hate speech; a crime. Nor are we allowed to speak of our religious beliefs in the workplace or at school, unless we happen to be a pagan of some stripe. We wouldn’t want someone to be scarred for life because he or she heard the name Jesus.
All over the land there are people rising up and saying, “no” to offensive school mascots (you know, "the Fighting Native Americans"), town seals with (oh, no!!) Bibles or Biblical words, displays of American flags or nativity scenes or menorahs. And because of our national fear of one another and absolute dread of the power of actual thought, we cave in and give these fools their way.
Americans, be strong. Resist while you can. Say a word today that they don't like. Then smirk and be on your way!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
OK, I know that most of you would not expect to find a picture of a six-pack on my blog. But, how could I resist this story? Last week, I shared with you a story about fools who abort children for the environment. Now it's Canadian beer drinkers.
Take a gander at the AP story below. I'm with the Canadians on this one. You can even keep your Tim Horton's iced coffee in the fridge.
Scientists have found a new threat to the planet: Canadian beer drinkers.
The government-commissioned study says the old, inefficient "beer fridges" that one in three Canadian households use to store their Molson and Labatt's contribute significantly to global warming by guzzling gas- and coal-fired electricity.
"People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," British environmental consultant Joanna Yarrow tells New Scientist magazine. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people — let's hope it has an effect."
The problem is that the beer fridges are mostly decades-old machines that began their second careers as beverage dispensers when Canadians upgraded to more energy-efficient models to store whatever Canadians eat besides doughnuts and poutine.
University of Alberta researcher Denise Young, who led the study, suggests that provincial authorities hold beer-fridge buy-backs or round-ups to eliminate the threat — methods that Americans use to get guns off the streets.
You can come buy my bridge; er, I mean fridge.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I could not wait until Monday to post this about how foolish we have become. Remember that God's Word says, in Romans 1, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen." (v. 25).
From Fox News
Woman Aborts Child To Help Save the Planet
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Giving birth is a burden on the world. This is according to British born, Toni Vernelli, 35, who had an abortion 10 years ago to ensure her carbon footprint would be kept to a minimum, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported Sunday.
Vernelli -- who works for an environmental charity -- was later sterilized to help "protect the planet", the Mail reported.
"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," Vernelli told the Daily Mail, adding she believes bringing new life into the world only adds to the problem.
The Mail also reported that Sara Irving, 31, also underwent sterilization to because she felt "a baby would pollute the planet".
Irving’s become an environmentalist as a teenager, it was reported, when she realized saving the environment was her top and foremost priority in life. After going through several boyfriends she finally found her now husband Mark Hudson who is also an advocate of the ‘no kid’s policy’, according to the Mail.
1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
As Fox News says, "We report; you decide."
Monday, November 19, 2007
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In his opening address of a rare OPEC summit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned the United States on Saturday that oil prices would further surge if the U.S. contemplates an attack against his country or Iran.
If ever there was a reason for the US to start drilling in ANWR, this is it. This petty tyrant should not be allowed to dictate our foreign policy any more than he should be allowed to bad mouth the King of Spain. He and his friend in Iran claim that they will destroy the US dollar and that this is only a prelude to the bringing down of the United States. This would be a good time to read, once more, Jeremiah 29:7)
Self-sufficiency - by whatever means, gas, oil, wind power, nuclear power, or some combination of things – should be a goal of the US. Isolationism never looked so good. I suggest that we allow the world to go it alone for a few years and see how they fare. Spend all that foreign aid money on us. We certainly have enough needs of our own.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Yesterday was election day across the nation. Some states and municipalities had races for political offices. Others, like my community, only had ballot questions. We had about a 30% turnout here in Maine and that was one of the items the reporters wanted to talk to people about outside the polls. One man being interviewed indicated that he didn't know anything about the questions (several of which called for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of tax dollars), but he felt it was his duty to vote.
Once again I will (mildly) rant on this subject. I would rather have fewer, informed, voters than lots of ignorant ones. Do not vote if you don't have a clue. Do not run voter registration campaigns just to get more stupid people out to cast ballots they don't care about and don't understand.
Of course, I recognize that voter registration drives have little to do with civic duty, the common good, or the people being registered. They are all about the cause or party of those doing the registration drive. They are self-serving. They actually frustrate the will of the people by flooding the ballot boxes (or machines, or computers, for those of you who don't live in small towns) with votes from people who don't have a political will - they're just doing as they were "advised" by the nice people who gave them cigarettes, booze, drugs, or a ham sandwich.
Please do not bother on my account. Let all who care come to the polls. The more the merrier. But if you don't really care; or if you don't even know who's running or what the issues are; please stay home.
OK, that's done for now.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Today is the day we commemorate the posting of the “95 Theses” on the door of the University Church in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517. Reformation was certainly needed in that day. The church was corrupt spiritually, morally, theologically, and just about every other way we can imagine. Martin Luther wanted to debate the issue and a revolution broke out.
The Reformation was, indeed, a revolution. People died for their faith, but much more revolutionary is the fact that modern science, modern education and modern views on government all resulted from the Reformation – especially because of the Reformers’ insistence that the Bible is God’s Word and it is an infallible and authoritative for all matters in life. We’ve managed to distort science, education and government, but the only possible way to reform society today is the same way the Reformers did – a reliance on God’s Word. But today, the seminaries and the churches are playing a large part in distorting God’s Word, as well.
University of Virginia sociologist James Hunter reports that 35% of evangelical seminarians deny that faith in Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation. George Barna, the George Gallup of Christian polling, reports that about the same percentage of conservative, evangelical Protestants in America also accept this watered down view of the means of salvation. He reports that “Many committed born again Christians believe that people have multiple options for gaining entry to Heaven.” George W. Bush also has affirmed this on many occasions, and he is considered by many to be an evangelical Christian.
Reformation is needed today. It is the church which needs it most. Alleged “Evangelicals” and “Born Again Christians” are accepting these blatantly unbiblical beliefs. And they hear it from the pulpits – because the pastors were taught in seminaries and Bible colleges where the professors neither believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation nor accept His Word as an inspired, infallible, and authoritative guide.
If we are to take Jesus at His Word (and I do!), then nobody comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). That’s plain enough for me to understand. It was plain enough for the Reformers to grasp. Now let’s share it in the churches and pastoral training schools.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Monday, October 22, 2007
By this time most of you will have heard of the King Middle School in Portland, Maine. Just in case you are one of the few in the nation who hasn’t, this is a school in which it’s OK now to dispense all manner of birth control devices to children as young as 10 without parental knowledge or permission. Here’s a link to one of the many stories about this “progressive” program.
At a time of the year when stories out of Maine ought to be about the great foliage, this has become a national issue in newspapers, in chat rooms, and on talk shows. Just a few words from me on this issue.
First, I expect that many of you are more outraged than I am. My response is, “What did you expect?” These are pagans acting like pagans. These people do not accept God’s Law. We cannot expect them to even make a pretense at following it. Of course, I also do not expect God to make any pretenses on their behalf come judgment day.
In John 14:15 we read that Jesus told His disciples, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” This is a conditional statement. Those who love Jesus should be expected to act in accordance with His commands. In Matthew 11, Jesus explained this in this manner: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The reverse side of this coin is that those who do not love Jesus can’t be bothered with His commands.
Now, to say that I am not outraged, does not mean that I believe Christians should just lie down and take this foolishness. Those parents in Portland should take steps to protect their children. They could take their children out of the schools; abandon them altogether. The alternatives are Christian schools and homeschooling. If they want to send the children to Christian schools and there aren’t any, then they could start one – or more.
Portland Christians could also work to get rid of the seven school committee members who voted to unleash this program on their children. If they choose to stay in the schools, they should take them over.
Portland is not the worst city in the world, I suspect. This story is just one of many atrocities being perpetrated all around the world by those who have either been duped (not without their own duplicity) or who have an anti-God agenda. All Christians should be praying for their cities and towns and sharing the love of Christ.
We cannot expect non-Christians to be Christ-like. But we should be.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
As I return to update my blog, I must note that it has been both sickness and lots and lots of work that have kept me from this blog. I am thankful for both. Each is a gift, though I don't always revel in each as I should. Paul was thankful, too, when he wrote, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).This gift which Paul is talking about is so great; so magnificent that Paul calls it "indescribable." Imagine Paul, the learned rabbi, the author of most of the epistles in out New Testament, who obviously had no trouble with words, being speechless. That's what he's saying here: "This gift is so great I don't have the words to describe it." What is this gift? Well in the previous verse Paul described this gift as "surpassing grace." But this doesn't help much does it?
Paul's acting like that annoying grandfather who picks up a package and begins by trying to pull off the tape without tearing anything. "I'm trying to save the paper," he says. C'mon, Paul, we can't wait to get at this gift which is so great. What is it?
There are many descriptions of this gift throughout Scripture, but just one will suffice for the moment. It's found in Romans 6:23 and reads this way: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The gift is life - eternal life. God, who gave us physical life in the first place in His creation - has also offered us spiritual life; everlastingly. It is offered, available, and irrevocable for those who believe.
A lot of words have been used to describe this gift, but we don't have enough. We don't have the eloquence to adequately describe this gift of eternal life and peace with God. Thankfully, we don't have to be tested on our eloquence. We don't have to be able to fully describe the gift to receive it.
A Different Kind of Gift
On a totally different level, I cannot pass up the opportunity to share this other gift with you. For those of you with iPods or other MP3 players, you might like to try the link to Reformed Theological Seminary's FREE podcasts of hundreds of seminary lectures. Entire courses can be found here and listened to at your own pace. There is no easy link, of course. You can access these two ways. If you have an iTunes account (easy to get; go to iTunes.com), go to that page and click on iTunesU. This gives you a listing of several universities and grad schools, including RTS. You can also go directly to the RTS website and follow the links to iTunesU and RTS lectures. I have downloaded literally hundreds of these free lectures. Enjoy. Let me know what you think!
Monday, August 20, 2007
The Gonzales Flag
I like to read history. I do it for fun! In the past few weeks I came across an event in American history of which I had been unaware. It's an inspiring and important episode in the American saga. A brief account of the event, as reported by Gallery of the Republic , is this:
In late September, 1835, Colonel Ugartechea, the commander of the Mexican garrison at San Antonio, sent a few men to Gonzales to recover a cannon that had been loaned to the town to fight off occasional Indian attacks. The citizens of Gonzales realized that the intent of the move was to disarm possible rebels, and so the request was denied.
Ugartechea then sent dragoons under Captain Francisco Castaneda to demand the cannon unconditionally. As word of the conflict spread, the Texan force grew to over 200 armed men and the town was fortified. The cannon was mounted on a wagon, and blacksmiths hammered iron scrap and chains in the cannonballs.
Two ladies of the town, Cynthia Burns and Evaline DeWitt, painted a flag on cotton cloth, depicting the cannon, the lone star of Texas and a clear challenge to the enemy.
The Mexican troops moved north to ford the river and approach Gonzales. The Texans decided that they had to attack before Mexican reinforcements arrived. They crossed the river at dusk, formed their battle lines at night and surprised the Mexicans at dawn on October 2nd.
The battle that followed was brief; when the Texans opened fire, the Mexicans withdrew, abandoning their supplies. Stephen F. Austin joined the army as commander on October 10th, and the other Texans, under the command of James Collingsworth, took the Goliad the next day. On October 12th, the march on San Antonio began.
Would that Americans today had the courage to say “Come and Take It,” rather than giving our country away.
There are many forces trying to take away our nation and our heritage. Allow me please, dear readers, to name just a few:
Islamic Radicals (and their terrorist partners around the globe). Simply put, they want to kill all Americans who will not submit to their form of religious fanaticism. This country allows for religious freedom (as long as you aren’t a white Christian). I don’t care if there are mosques all over the place. They can have that freedom. They can worship as they wish. They can proselytize, too. But that’s not what these radicals want. They want me dead. I’m old, so that’s not too big a deal for me, really. But, they want my kids and grandkids dead, too. Why don’t we just say “Come and Take It,” and mean it. Put up a fight. Freeze and nationalize all their assets. Ask questions later. They cannot continue to terrorize effectively without funds. Any nation or non-national entity found to be funding them gets blockaded; or worse. We can survive without them. There’s nothing less at stake than our national survival.
Illegal Aliens. I am not against immigration. I am not against aliens. Illegal, however, means “outside the law of the land.” They start out illegally; they sap our financial resources; and, according to many sources they are responsible for a major crime wave all across the fruited plain. I know that there are reports with all sorts of conflicting data regarding illegals and crime. You choose yours; I’ll choose mine. Here’s just a snippet of one report:
But now comes Eric Rasmusen arguing that the cost of crimes committed by illegal immigrants add up to over $80 billion per year.
Crime costs America about $400 billion per year, of which about $167 billion per year is government spending–-$72 billion on police, $57 billion on imprisonment, and $38 billion on courts. …By a conservative estimate, illegal immigrants cause 21% of crime. 21% of $400 billion is $84 billion, and 21% of $167 billion is $35 billion...
An article in World magazine recently indicated that meth sales on Native American reservations are the result of targeting by the “Mexican Mafia.”
They’ve already come to take it. Stand up. Make immigration to this country fair; build the fence; stop the North American Union.
The Liberals. They’re already in the process of giving away the country. Did you ever notice that liberals are all too happy to give and give – as long as it doesn’t come out of their own pockets? I don’t want to hear the arguments that rich liberals pay a lot of taxes. They shelter their assets to minimize their taxes, just like rich conservatives. That’s why they (the liberals) can afford to keep asking for higher taxes. They can afford to hide their cash – legally, mostly. They also lag far behind conservatives in giving to charitable organizations. Liberals like Kennedy, Kerry, the Clintons, Soros, etc., act like European royalty of old. It doesn’t matter what nation the other royalty is from, just marry royalty. Let the peasants (that’s us!) fend for themselves. Send them away. Stand up. Vote conservative (notice that I do not connect a party label to that admonition); oppose liberal schemes to end the American experiment begun with the blood of patriots going back to the 18th – and 19th centuries and preserved with the blood and guts of courageous Americans – and legal immigrants through the 20th and 21st centuries.
Americans; make them “Come and Take It.”
Saturday, August 18, 2007
We all make promises. Some we keep. Some we intend to keep, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen. Then there are the plain-old lies. There are a lot of those kinds of promises being made in places like New Hampshire and Iowa these days.
I've been reading about some wonderful promises, however. Jesus Christ made some promises; promises that He kept. For instance:
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:32-33, NIV).
This was a promise; a promise of what He was going to do for mankind.
He promised, first of all, that He would be lifted up. This, of course, was Jesus’ pledge to die for us. Jesus promised to die in my place; to be lifted up on a crude cross; to suffer agony and die; so that we might be healed. The background for this statement is found in Numbers, chapter 21, verses 4-9.
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" 6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people. 8 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
People looked at that snake which was lifted up and lived.
Friends, we have also been snake bit. The snake has sneaked up on us and sunk his demonic fangs deep into our flesh. Sins festers and the wound is eternal. Don’t try to slap on some potion of New Age religion and optimism. Don’t run off and join a cult – or the circus. Don’t go and hide in alcohol, drugs, or promiscuity.
Look up at Jesus on that (now-empty) cross and live forever.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
As someone who travels to many countries on a regular basis, I try to be sensitive to the host people and their language. Obviously I cannot speak the languages in all the countries I visit, but I work at not being demanding regarding the native population speaking English.
The same courtesy is not extended to us in this country. People, legal and illegal (I don't much care what the PC term is - the law is the law) come here and expect us to adopt their language - or at least not learn ours and live in their cultural ghettoes while the government panders to them with everything printed in their own languages and free interpreters when they get in trouble with the law.
Last Saturday I got home in the afternoon and actually had a couple of hours to myself. I turned on the TV and tuned in to ESPN. The Pan American games broadcast was on. Only one problem: the whole thing was in Spanish. No subtitles; no English. Even some of the commercials were in Spanish.
I complained to the cable company and they told me all I had to do was use the SAP function on my TV. Is that anything like "press 2 for English?"
I enjoy many cultures; I try their foods and coffee, I dabble in learning at least some phrases in their languages even though I spend very little time in any one culture at any given time. BUT THIS IS AMERICA. We speak English.
It's time for that language amendment. Let's have an English-speaking country. If people want to speak Spanish, Hindi, Russian, Chinese - or any other language with friends and family that's fine. But the public and governmental language of this country should be English.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer" are hazy and crazy, but I'm still waiting for the lazy part. It has been non-stop "go" for months. So I thought that I would just share a few thoughts today, I will be "equal opportunity" in how I deal with the various political entities I'll skewer.
The Dems/Libs - Some of the blogs were absolutely disgusting in their glee over the medical predicament of the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. They truly are the party of hate and division.
The Repubs/? - I have always voted for the candidate rather than the party, but I have also, for years, voted primarily for Republican candidates even though I am registered as an "Independent." The gap between Conservative and Republican has, however, continued to grow at an alarming rate. I have been of the opinion that voting for a "third party" candidate was really a wasted vote. No longer, since I now believe that most of my votes in the past several decades have been wasted. We need a new system, or a new party - or something!
I really would like to see your comments on these two subjects.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The boys went fishing this past weekend! Three guys; three days: Zero fish! We never even saw a fish get caught by anybody. Nor even a rumor. But a good time was had by all.
We had sun, lots of different beaches to try out on a bunch of islands. We saw lots of moose, including a baby. We had "modified food rules," which means that William doesn't have to "eat properly" (to an extent). We had no light pollution so we could watch gazillions of stars as they appeared in the sky each night.
We wandered back, for six or seven hours, stopping in lots of places to fish, to eat, and to just look around.
There's nothing like getting away with family with no agenda; no electricity; very few people around. We enjoyed it all - fish or no fish.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
As I was preparing for a memorial service this week, I went back and read an old article I had published in June 2003. It seemed appropriate to share it with you, so I post it in its entirety, below.
When Israel crossed the Jordan River led by the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, not one Jewish foot got wet (Joshua 3:17). Safely reaching the other side, Joshua, following the LORD’s command, had a monument set up. Twelve stones, one for each tribe, were set up as a memorial to God’s protection of His people
Many nations have similar holidays, when the national heroes are remembered. If the Soviet Empire was good at anything, it was the erection of statues and monuments. Heroic statues dominated parks and corners in the most far-flung corners of the
This is not necessarily the case all over the world. In fact, the Tradewinds, a West Indian musical group, laments the lack of heroic remembrances of the past in a song titled, “Where Are Your Heroes,
When my wife and I travel to
One might argue that statues of Soviet heroes constitute religious art, or even iconography. That by keeping these relics, the nation is merely keeping alive the memory of their Soviet masters. I, for one, think that the Hungarians have done a brave and wonderful thing by keeping these statues as a reminder of a dark and vicious time in their history.
God's Word tells us that we need to remember the past. In fact the word “remember” is used more than 230 times in Scripture. Granted, most of those references refer to remembering the Covenant and the goodness of God. But some are historical references, which bid us to remember the dark days. For instance:
Deuteronomy 24:22 teaches, “Remember that you were slaves in
Deuteronomy 25:17 advises, “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of
Deuteronomy 32:7 says, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.”
The Apostle Paul instructs us, in Ephesians 2:12, to remember that we “were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in
History has meaning, and we abandon it at our own peril. A society is well-served which is reminded of its own atrocities as well as those perpetrated upon it. A nation should properly commemorate its accomplishments as well as its flights into plain old national airheadedness. Christians, especially, should have no problem embracing the idea that history is the glorious tracing of the goodness of God — in our lives and in the grand scheme of things.
Yes, we should tear down the "high things," those idols to which we often give our obeisance. They often take less concrete a form than statues, however. Sometimes we are our own idols, or we pay homage to such things as education, good looks, and lineage (including church lineage!). Such idols need to be taken off the altar of our hearts and replaced with service to the One, True God. There are things that we should remember, however. Our collective heritage should be remembered. Our wars, our societal strife, our outrage, and our servitude should not be erased from our memories. Just as God’s Word looks back at the history of
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Back from Bosnia
I have been silent on this blog for several weeks, but I have not been silent! Sandra and I recently returned from a ministry trip to Bosnia. We took along a team of ourselves and four others and we put on a Home Education/Christian Family Living Conference in the city of Ilidza, a suburb of Sarajevo. The conference was sponsored by Lifework Forum.
Sarajevo, you might recall, is a rather historic city. There are many associations we might make with this name. It was the site of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the event which touched off World War One. More recently, it was the site of the 1984 winter Olympics. As part of Yugoslavia, it was also under the hegemony of the Soviet Empire for more than 40 years.
Disastrously, Sarajevo was the major battlefield for the Bosnian War of 1992 to 1995. This was the harshest episode in the breakup of Yugoslavia after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Neighbor turned against neighbor in what has become known to the world as “Ethnic Cleansing.” Though the hostilities ended with the Dayton Accord of 1995, the region remains scarred and rebuilding is slow. Trust is a major issue among people who are no longer sure who will turn on them.
This was the field of our endeavor as we conducted our conference. Yet we met and ministered to – and were ministered to – by some of the sweetest brothers and sisters one can imagine.
Please continue to pray for these folk. Also pray for us as we continue to minister to our brethren in the Balkans and begin to work on plans for the conference for next year.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Be THE Man, Part Two
The basic idea of the “Model Model” is simply this: As fathers (or other role models) we all need to live, learn and be a model in all seasons of life. As promised, I want to look at a few verses on the “Model Model.”
Psalm 127: 4-5 says:
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Children are a blessing; a gift. Let’s remember this “gift” when we get too busy with life, with work, with the church. If we get too busy for our kids; then someone is going to find time for them. It may be the next door neighbor; it may be the Marxist teacher at his/her school; it may be a judge. When fathers give up their parental responsibilities, there will be a price to pay. The child will suffer; the family will suffer; society, in general, will suffer.
Proverbs 31:11 teaches us that "Her husband has full confidence in her (a wife of noble character) and lacks nothing of value." Having full confidence in our wives gives us not only a partner it also gives our sons and daughters a model to emulate. A radio commercial which was running in my area some time ago advised (sarcastically) a young man who was interested in how to treat women that he should watch bad movies and irresponsible older boys. Exactly! They will watch someone older. If we interact well with out spouses – and have full confidence in them, our children will learn that this is the appropriate manner in which to interact with the opposite sex.
So how do we teach and model leadership qualities. Here are a couple of scripture verses which speak directly to that need:
"A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well." (1 Timothy 3:12).
"An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient." (Titus 1:6).
The emphasis of these verses is on leadership in the home. This is God’s training ground for good leaders. These qualities are to be developed BEFORE one should be considered for leadership in the church, on a mission field, or in a Christian organization.
We need to be intentional in the way we approach even the most mundane aspects of discipleship of our own children, youth in the church and other younger people who may view us as “spiritual fathers.” Here are a couple of examples of this intentionality:
Submission. The only commandment given to children in Scripture is that they obey their parents (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-2). How do we teach this? How do we pass on to the next generation the concept of submission, in a God-honoring manner? Through books? Through browbeating? No, we do it the way Jesus did it! He taught submission by example. He used the Model Model. Ask yourself these questions: How do you relate to civil authority? How do you relate to ecclesiastical authority?
Remember who’s watching; Everybody, but especially your own children.
Godly Headship. Men who are husbands and/or fathers have special responsibilities – even if they never hold another position of leadership outside the home. You ARE a leader. You cannot escape that role. You can be a good leader – or you can be a lousy leader. Part of leadership is training the next generation. How do we teach leadership? By going back to school for an MBA? By sending people to a Boot Camp? No, the answer is Modeling! Wanna teach leadership? Lead!
Leadership means making decisions, sometimes hard ones. It means accepting input and treating people as valuable. Discipleship implies much more than teaching or imparting information. Jesus example with the disciples is that He walked alongside them and communicated with them.
Communicate with the kids. Make yourself vulnerable, but also help them learn about wisdom. Do you lead a family devotion time? How about family Bible reading and prayer time?
Thus ends my entries about Being the Man. Communicate with me. If you found it valuable, let me know. If you’ve found flaws, tell me.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Be THE Man, Part One
Several years ago, when I was in
Such is still the case in our country. Most congregations have more women than men, including many single mothers. Why is this? It is because the church needs to do a better job of teaching men to be Godly men. It's because we have fallen victim to the feminization of the church as well as the society.
It's because we have fallen victim to the feminization of the church as well as the society.
Most of us who have children – and those of you who will yet have them – try to make sure that they have the essentials of life (or at least what we perceive to be the essentials). We see to their medical care; we get them into school (or homeschooling); we buy them clothing, food, bikes and gloves. But the greatest gift we can give them is a Christian dad; an example; a reason to believe us when we present them with the claims of the Gospel.
This is what I call the “Model Model.” What our children see, what they experience, is what they learn. No matter what kind of educational setting they are in, we must still be their primary teachers/disciplers.
We must also remember that our goal in being their teacher is not just knowledge, not just intellectual stuff. For knowledge must always promote wisdom, that is: seeing things God’s way.
God is looking for leaders; not only for the current generation, but for the one after us, too. In speaking of the qualities He wants in men, God DOES NOT use the corporate model. He does NOT set quotas of any kind. He’s seeking leaders of competence and character.
If a man is not accepted as a leader in his own household; if he is not viewed as a man of character within his own household; then he cannot be a leader – of any kind – in the church; or on any mission field, foreign or domestic. Leadership, according to God’s plan, begins in the home.
Next time: A look at the Model-Model.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Be Her Man, Part 3
Protector. Besides being the leader and the teacher for our wives, men are designed to be their protectors. This brings us back to 1 Peter 3:7, which says, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers".
Women were made to be our helpers, our partners - and to be protected by us. There are many stories of both bravery and cowardice associated with the sinking of the SS Titanic. One of the important aspects of that entire ordeal was the fact that many of the men stood aside and made sure that their women and children were put into lifeboats, knowing that they (the men) were probably going to the briny deep. The British seafaring tradition of women and children first was upheld that day. One of the men who made sure of the safety of his family was a member of the Astor family; a wealthy man with much for which to live. But he did the right thing. Those were men. They protected their women and children. It is our job to protect them. How? Here's just a bulleted list of ways in which we can stand up and be a protector for our wives. You can fill in the details of each item - and probably add a few of your own.
- Stand between them and the children
- Stand between them and the school authorities/municipal authorities
- Stand between them and society and the culture
- Protect them from smut, crime
- Protect them from poverty (provide for them)
- Protect them from their own sinful desires (w/o stain, Eph. 5:25-27)
- Take their side as much as possible in public
- Never, never insult them
- Trust them.
As I close this three-part essay on being Her man, here's an image from God's Word for you:
Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. (Isaiah 32:2 (NIV)).
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Be Her Man, Part 2
The second role that God has prescribed for men in regard to their wives is that of a teacher. In 1 Corinthians 14:35, Paul wrote: “If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home….” Then we read in 1 Timothy 2:11-14,
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
Much controversy swirls around the interpretation of these verses. One thing these passages point out clearly, however, is that you are expected to be the “resident theologian” in your own household. When she asks the questions (which she should be doing), you are expected to know the answer - or know how to find it!
Talk about pressure! Here are some questions that immediately come to mind. How many of us have wives who've been Christians longer than we have? How many are intimidated by our wife's Bible knowledge or church understandings or personal piety? These make things harder on us. But in our role as head of the household, we are also supposed to be the lead teacher of Bible knowledge. Let me tell you how I know that this can be intimidating. My own wife was a Christian long before I was. When God graciously took me into His family, all of a sudden I was the head of a Christian family. I was afraid to lead her in Bible study! It took years and years and effort - on her part as well as mine before I could fully assume my rightful role.
How on earth do I do that? Let me give you just a couple of verses which may help. 2 Tim. 2: 15 states that each of us should, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Granted, this is in the context of Timothy going to be a pastor. It's applicable to us, though, because we are called to be the pastor/chaplain/theologian for our families.
Hebrews 5:14 says, “… solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” The key here is “constant use.” We will not get to be the resident theologians we are called to be simply by going to church one morning per week and hearing someone preach. If we want to learn the Word, we need to be in the Word. Here are some thoughts about the process of becoming the teacher wants us to be.
Take baby steps. Learn books of the bible. Learn who wrote them. Learn a general outline of scripture. When you read scripture always have a reliable bible dictionary and concordance. Follow those trails of connecting verses. Find some study help online, like http://bible.crosswalk.com/; http://www.biblegateway.com/; and http://netministries.org/bbasics/bbasics.html. You’ll find more as you begin to explore the wonders of Bible study online.
Go easy on yourself. Don't expect to become a theologian overnight.
Keep her informed. Let her know that you're working on this.
Don't give up because you think you don't have time. You can devote a half hour a day to this kind of study and make great progress. You can give an occasional weekend. You can stay up late at night and not watch TV. Imagine if you gave up one hour per night of TV and gave it over to understanding God's Word!
Ask questions. Your pastor is your theologian. If he isn’t then get him educated – or get a new pastor.
Pay attention. Take notes during sermons. Follow up - or ask questions.
Attend a Bible study. Get one started if there isn’t one already. This is an opportunity to study and discuss what it says in God’s Word. Don’t fall for the easy ones. Pick a study that’s going to make you think and pray.
Don't make excuses. This is a God-ordained task. You find time to do the things you like to do. You can make time to do this.
Study with her. This might mean going through a book about Biblical marriage or about Bible study. If you’re new at this don’t start out with studying major theological topics!
Do not be afraid. You are not trying to take something that is rightly yours. You don't have to take it - it's already yours, by default.
What we have to be constantly working on is developing our leadership. If you're married, there's probably a woman at home just waiting for you to be the man she wants you to be and God ordained you to be. If you aren't married yet you have a great advantage. Look for a woman who understands these things and grow together with her.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Be Her Man, Part 1
This is probably the hardest of the three areas we'll be looking at in this study. Why? Because we've been taught by a feminist-dominated culture how to treat women. To a great extent we have succumbed to those teachings. If we're going to claim our rightful places as heads of our household and heads of our women, we have to overcome our own training - and we have to overcome the training and examples our wives have had. This is not easy.
First let’s make sure we're convinced as to what the Bible says out role is, then I’ll look at some practical ways in which we can be the men God intended our wives to have.
In 1 Peter 3:7 we read, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” It is not some sexist, male plot to take over the world which teaches that women are in fact the weaker vessel. God's Word says so. Not only that, though; they are also co-heirs of the Kingdom of God with us. These two facts need to constantly be balanced in our relationships with wives (or future wives, for those of you not yet blessed with one).
Let me submit before I go any further that anyone who tries to tell you that this headship thing is the position of superiority - or comfort - has not understood the concept. The word "husband" is used 105 X in Scripture. Now some of those do refer to animal husbandry. Most however, refer to that role of male half of a marriage relationship. There are a lot of ways to approach this subject. Let's look at three roles God prescribed for men in relationship to their wives (Just one in this blog entry).
If you are a Christian man and you are married, you are the head of your wife. Nowhere in Scripture is the man commanded to take this role. We are simply told that we are. Ephesians 5:23 states, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” This is an important distinction. We don't have a choice in the matter - and neither do they.
How we fulfill this role has a lot to do with how our wives relate to us. This is especially difficult if you marry a smart and strong woman. If you become a Christian after she does, there are all sorts of obstacles to climb. But, we don't have a choice. We can be good leaders or we can be lousy leaders. A man's authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ.
Leadership is a stewardship from God. (Read Psalm 103:13; Malachi 3:17; Matthew 11 :29-30; Colossians 3:21; 1 Peter 3:7). In other words, being her leader; being the head of the household does not mean living up to that caricature of headship that anti-Christian, anti-God leftists want to impose on us. It does not mean being the boss at all costs. It does not mean forcing her into some kind of unbiblical submission.
One of the problems with trying to understand our leadership role is that there is so much written about leadership. Most is written from a secular, success=$ perspective. We cannot simply superimpose non-Biblical models of leadership on men and expect them to be Christian leaders. We need to have Biblical models (the positive ones - there are also plenty of negative ones). Modern families, Christian families included, lack men who are willing to stand up and point the way and expect the others to follow their direction. So most families flounder about like rudderless ships with no sense of overarching mission or purpose and no clear guidance for day to day life. In place of purpose they substitute frantic busyness, trying to mask their lack of direction with endless activities.
So what does headship look like? [Note: in trying to cover as much as I can, I am not going to give specific scriptures or examples for every statement. Many of them are self-evident. Others would be good topics for you to research.]
Things we need to be:
· A Christian: not just a non-Jew or non-Muslim; a real, authentic; born-again disciple of the Messiah.
· A leader: Someone who develops goals for the family instead of drifting along wth the tide of culture.
· Someone who takes initiative: who's not afraid to make the hard decisions - and is willing to stand up against the onslaught. (our children and dating can be a big crisis).
· Someone who develops and calls upon the gifts of his family.
· A man of Integrity
· Anti-feminist: the feminist society will hate you for making a biblical stand - your wife may be among them. After all she grew up in this culture too. Quote: "Today the most organized and formidable opponent of women’s social, economic and sexual rights remains organized religion. Religionists defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. Religious fanatics and bullies are currently engaged in an outright war of terrorism and harassment against women who have abortions and the medical staff which serves them." (From an Anonymous pamphlet, "Why Women Need Freedom From Religion.").Things we need to do:
· Grow (devotional study)
· Learn (doctrinal study)
· Provide for our family
· Pray for your family
I think that may be enough to chew on for a while. Next installment will look at husband and father as teacher.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The Family Man: Be a Man (of God)
As we plunge forward in our look at the Christian family, we must put first things first. We must recognize that men are intended to be the head of the family. There are instances in which this is impossible, but we are concerned with what the norm is intended to be.
To that end, I will start by looking at the role of man. First a little Biblical background on “manness.”
Man was created first; before woman. In Genesis 2 (particularly in verses 4-7 and 20-23) we read about the creation of the world. This is called the Creation Ordinance. The Apostle Paul uses this understanding often in explaining the roles of men and women. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 we read, “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”
Man was created with work to do. Right from the beginning there were tasks for man. He had animals to name and gardens to care for (although there couldn’t have been a lot to do since agriculture didn’t get difficult until the fall, chronicled in Genesis 3).
Man was created with responsibility. Did you ever ask yourself why Adam got the rap for the 1st sin? He was created to be responsible, to be the leader. It was his job to protect Eve from sin, not join her in it.
As men, we need to remember what God has told us to do. A good outline for what we may call “Biblical Manliness” may be found in Micah 6:8. Obviously this is a mere outline. It’s not complete, there are literally hundreds of verses in Scripture which give us a “job description.” But look at this one:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
A man of God is a man who seeks to have justice done to the best of his ability. We cannot all be high officials in the government and we can’t control what goes on in all the world, but we can seek justice in our own little part of the world. And we can act in a just, that is right, proper manner to all around us. What this really means is that we need to stand up and be counted. We must be a buffer between them and trouble. We can’t let them suffer when we can take on the suffering on their behalf. Men need to have a “Titanic” attitude. Women and children should go first; they should get the lifeboats; we should leap in front of them to stop bullets, verbal assaults, and other potential calamities of life.
In addition to that, we also need to treat people with fairness, paying debts that are owed (monetary and otherwise) and teaching our families to follow these same practices. Give everyone their due, whether it be your boss, your employees, your family, people on a committee you chair, your neighbors. This is how we should see our role in our own families – and expanded to our church family. It’s not about being macho – it’s about doing what’s right.
Be kind to people. Be merciful and compassionate to everybody, not using severity towards any. Be helpful; reach out to the needy in the community, the church. Be involved in mercy ministries such as crisis pregnancy centers, Christian camps; the Deacons Fund at the church, Tsunami relief, etc, etc. Teach your family members, by your example, about mercy.
Walk Humbly with your God
Have fellowship with God. How do we do this? Through prayer, worship, study, meditation, regular attendance at church – for worship services and other meetings such as Bible studies. This is really the most important part of the three-fold command in this verse. It is the basis for the others. It is because of the relationship between us and God that we can have positive relationships with people. In 1 John 4:19, we read “We love because He first loved us.” We have to get close to Him.
Question: Men, do you have a regular quiet time? Do you have a time when you read God’s Word? Do you have a regular devotional routine? Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day – but hold the tension; don’t get lazy.
Note on manliness and age.
There’s no upper or lower age limit on Biblical manliness. Look at David. As a youth he was called by God “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). He was a shepherd boy, the youngest of eight children. He was so young that his father didn’t even bother to send for him when Samuel the prophet arrived to anoint one of his sons. David was a Biblical, Godly man.
What about the other end of the scale? Consider Caleb. At the age of 85 he was ready to go out and do battle, physical warfare, on behalf of the Lord. (You can read about Caleb at Deuteronomy 1:26-36 and Joshua 14:10-12.).
This is a bit of a lengthy installment, but I did want to get across the point that in order for families to be strong, Dad has to step up and “be the man.” Next time I’ll write about “Being Her Man.”
Monday, February 19, 2007
The Christian Family
My wife and I travel the globe working with young families.As I travel around I find that young families today often don’t have a clue as to what a family is supposed to do, or be. In this country the blended family, the step-family, the single-parent family the “two-mommy” (or two-daddy) family, and the dysfunctional family have all confused us.
In the countries of the former Soviet Bloc in which Sandra and I work, they have a cultural and historical gap to overcome. For the past several generations the state has been both mommy and daddy. Now, with a resurgence of Christian families, and young men and women seeking to learn how to best serve God as families, there is still a lack of role models.
Young families all over the globe have to “make it up as they go along.” While this may be a good method for some pick games at the park, it is not the way to raise a family, It certainly is not the way God intended families to be.
So, I embark on some blogs on the topic of family; specifically the Christian family. The family is still the basic building block of any healthy society. During the Reformation, Thomas Becon, an influential English writer and clergyman, wrote:
Since a city is composed of individual homes, and the common weal is the sum of well-ordered households, it stands to reason that the model for good government flows from the smaller, more private society of the family. For how can a man preside over a city if he cannot rule over his own home? How can he govern a commonwealth if he does not know how to conduct family matters? . . . The state of a man’s marriage will tell you how much he knows about morality and ethics. A good home life will quickly make a man experienced in wisdom and patience, love for God and mankind, and every other virtue.
Until Christian men learn about their roles as family leaders and begin to implement that learning, Christian families will continue to careen down the river of life without rudders and without destinations. Christian men need to step up and be men; leaders; lovers.
One of the major problems in our society over the past several decades has been the confusion of men as to their proper role in society. In an earlier day we were taught that opening doors, pulling out chairs, and generally treating women as princesses was the proper way to relate to women. Then, along came Hugh Hefner, the sexual revolution, and rabid feminism. All of a sudden simply helping a woman at a doorway or into a car became akin to criminal activity. If you tried to help a woman in any way, you were a “chauvinist pig.” (Though few using the term have any clue as to what a chauvinist really is). This gender confusion, naturally, worked its way into the church and into Christian families.
It’s my hope that, together, we’ll rediscover some of the Biblical understanding about Biblical manhood; family life; and the service of God.
Comments, questions, requests, complaints - and even kudos - are welcome. let's make this an interactive study as we seek what God wants!