Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Marriage Matters

The cover story of the July 13 issue of Time Magazine addresses the question "Is There Hope for the American Marriage?"

Author Caitlin Flanagan makes an excellent, non-biblical (note it is not unbiblical), commonsense argument for why marriage does matter. It's worth a read, especially if you have unbelieving friends or relatives who don't believe in the authority of the Bible.

The Folly of Idolatry

Check out this video on Justin Taylor's Between Two Worlds blog. It is sad and humorous all at the same time. Make sure to read the comments as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Piper's Battle With Cancer

Three and a half years ago John Piper was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Read this excellent post on how he fought the battle against the cancer and the challenges it brought.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freedom from Doubt

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of preaching a message on John 3:16 entitled 'Freedom From Doubt'. The text and audio versions of the sermon are now available at the links below.

Text

Audio

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nature-Deficit Disorder

For those of us with young children, Al Mohler raises an interesting point about how our children are losing ability to play outside:

Author Richard Louv believes that America's children are now suffering from a syndrome he identifies as "nature-deficit disorder." In his new book, Last Child in the Woods, Louv suggests that the current generation of American children knows the Discovery Channel better than their own backyards--and that this loss of contact with nature leads to impoverished lives and stunted imagination.

Louv begins by recounting an anecdote involving his son, Matthew. When the boy was about ten years of age, he asked his father: "Dad, how come it was more fun when you were a kid?" The boy was honestly reflecting on his knowledge of his father's boyhood. Richard Louv, like most of us who came of age in his generation, spent most of our playing time outdoors, building forts in the woods, exploring every nook and cranny of our yards, and participating in activities that centered in child-organized outdoor fun. Louv reflects, "Americans around my age, baby boomers or older, enjoyed a kind of free, natural play that seems, in the era of kid pagers, instant messaging, and Nintendo, like a quaint artifact."Read the full article here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tim Tebow

Although I am a Florida State alum and not particularly fond of the Florida Gators, it's hard not to like Tim Tebow and his stand for Christ. Check out this article on Tebow in this week's Sports Illustrated.

Here's another great article on Tebow in the Christian Post.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

John Piper's Latest Book -- Free

Desiring God is offering John Piper's latest book, Filling up the Afflictions of Christ as a free download.

The book is the fifth volume in the series The Swans Are Not Silent and focuses on the sacrifices that William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton made to spread the Gospel around the world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What the Unchurched Don't Like About Christians

Thom Rainier shares some great insight in this post regarding how the unchurched are watching us and some specific things that they don't like about what they see.

Erin Andrews and Our Depravity

For those of you who aren't regular viewers of ESPN, Erin Andrews is one of the sports network's sideline reporters for college and pro football. Just recently one of Andrews "fans" dug a hole through her hotel room and filmed her naked. You can probably imagine what he did with the video; yes, he (I am assuming it was a he) posted it on the Internet.

While this is disgusting in and of itself, the telling point is that the video was the number one search on the web yesterday and today. It might well be the for some days to come.

Lee Rusakoff has an interesting post on comcast.net today with his response to the situation; it (and the comments) is worth a read simply to see the world's reaction to what Rusakoff calls "perversion".

Here are a few of my thoughts regarding Rusakoff's thought-provoking post:

1) The video is a mirror of who we are; while many will agree that the invasion of privacy and posting of the video is morally wrong, millions more (and perhaps some of the same) people viewed the video. When the right response was disgust, for many the only response was lust. The video truly does show that our morals have been severely corrupted. The biggest problem here is not the video, but all of the millions who are viewing it.

2) Rusakoff says that the video reveals not the de-evolution of our culture, but rather the non-evolution. He misses the reality that not only have our morals been severely corrupted, they have also been incurably corrupted apart from Christ. Our culture will never improve on it's own, it can only improve as it is transformed by Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

3) How do we as Christian's respond? Simple -- we live holy, pure lives, and as we do we spread the one thing that can transform our culture -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Judge Sotomayer and Abortion on Demand

In today's Public Discourse, Matthew Franck posts an alarming article regarding Sonia Sotomayer's response to questions about abortion. Here's an excerpt:

The judge’s answer to the senator’s question was miles wide of the mark, and indicated either that she does not know the truth about the constitutional law of abortion in our country, or that she is willing—for whatever reason—to mischaracterize the matter before a national audience. Senator Coburn had an opening here that cried out for exploitation, but he passed it by for the moment.

Read the full article here.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Once You Say It, You Believe It

Amanda Hyden of Lifechurch.tv:

I’ve heard so many people recently giving “I hope to” or “I wish I could” or “I’m going to try to” statements. I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned that she “hoped” to not have sex with her future husband before they get married. Let’s be honest, she’s already made her decision. Sometimes that’s just easier than committing… I hope to stop looking at pornography, I’m going to try to lose weight, I wish I could be bold enough to tell them how I feel about their actions… I was up front with my friend and told her that she more than likely will falter in her “hope” to not have sex before marriage because she didn’t actually believe what she was saying yet.

Switch it around in your head. Let’s be BOLD. Let’s make the decision and stand strong. You’ve got to say it with confidence though… I will not have those inappropriate conversations anymore. I will not make another purchase on my credit card. I’m going to spend time in the Word everyday… As you speak it out, you will believe it and your conviction and passion will grow. But don’t do it alone, you’ve got to tap into God’s strength to make it happen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Raising Kids in a Pornified Culture

I caught a link to a blog post on this topic from Between Two Worlds.......a very timely message with some incredibly practical tips for those of us who are raising children, especially those approaching the teenage years. Read the article here.

New Blog by Jeremy Carr

Many of you know my brother, Jeremy, who is the Lead Pastor at Oxford Bible Fellowship in Oxford, Ohio. Jeremy has just joined the blogosphere with his blog entitled "One Thing". You can check out the blog here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Church Membership: Does It Matter Today?

For many people, the answer to this question is no. Many today do not consider church membership to be a significant issue. If this is you, I would encourage careful consideration of this excellent article by Thabiti Anyabwile. Here's the intro:

There's a new debate among today's Christians. Does the New Testament require, suggest, even hint at local church membership? Are Christians required to belong to a local church, or is it an option? And what does such belonging entail?

The New Testament knows nothing of a creature reborn through faith in Christ, baptized in identification with Christ, communing with Christ at His table, and not a member of a visible, local, identifiable congregation of other born-again baptized believers.

For more on the importance of church membership, listen to or read a message from John Piper here.

Do Leaders Need to Be Holy?

This is a recent article that I wrote for my friend Ron Porter's e-newsletter, thechristianleader.org:

I have to admit from the get-go that writing this article was a little daunting, primarily for two reasons. First, I have a great respect for Ron and his leadership skills. Over the past six years he has had a huge influence on my personal development as a leader. Standing in for him is certainly an honor but it is also a difficult task. Secondly, what do I have to add to the discussion on leadership? A simple search at amazon.com shows almost 350,000 available resources on leadership. It would seem that perhaps everything there is to say about leadership has been said at some point.

And yet I do find something missing from most discussions on leadership today – the necessity of personal holiness. There are plenty of books and articles about rules or laws of leadership, keys to leading an effective team, how to be not simply good but great, and how to use your gifts to their maximum potential. But there appears to be few people discussing the vital issue of personal holiness in the life of a leader.

How important is personal holiness in the life of a leader? Before I answer that with my thoughts on the matter, answer it for yourself – how important do you view your own holiness to your success as a leader?

My answer to this question is that personal holiness is the most important issue to leadership success. I realize that this is a fairly bold statement, so let me take a moment to back it up. My belief in the importance of personal holiness comes from the foundational truth that as believers our ultimate goal in life is to bring glory to Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 1:18). Flowing from that, our goal as leaders should be to lead in such a way that our followers are influenced to pursue Christ’s glory as well. Our ability to glorify Christ is in direct proportion to how holy we are becoming (2 Cor. 3:18).

Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish pastor in the mid-19th century once stated, “what my people need most is my personal holiness.” I couldn’t agree more. Without personal holiness, a Christian leader has no foundation with which to lead.

You might not consider personal holiness to be a vital issue if you aren’t a pastor or a ministry leader. I would challenge you to reconsider. If you are a business owner and your employees (or customers) know you are a believer, you will be unable to lead them effectively if you aren’t living out what you claim to believe. If your integrity or morality is in question (which they likely will be if you aren’t pursuing holiness) you cannot be an effective leader.

So, how do we pursue holiness? First and foremost, we begin by focusing on Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that as we look at Christ the Holy Spirit transforms us into His image, with ever-increasing glory. Something about simply focusing on Christ makes us more like him (1 John 3:2).

Second, we must be faithful in our study of the Word. In John 17:17, Jesus prays “Sanctify them by truth, thy word is truth.” We become holy as we get into the Word and the Word in turn gets into us.

Finally, we become more holy through prayer. As we pray and seek the Father’s face, He pours out the Spirit and draws us closer to him (Acts 4:31, Jude 20).

As God is holy, let’s continue to strive to be holy in all we do (1 Peter 1:15), setting an example for our people to follow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Best Kids' Books Ever

If you are looking for some books for your kids to read this summer, Nicholas Kristof shares his list of the top 13 Kids' Books in the New York Times. The list includes Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, the Hardy Boys series, and, of course, Harry Potter.

Quote of the Day

A church without a kingdom focus is about as useless as a systematic theology at Joel Osteen's church. -- Ed Stetzer, 2009 Advance Conference.

Listen to the entire message here.

Being Hasty

Proverbs 19:2 (NIV)

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

I don't know about you, but I find that this verse hits way too close to home. In our fast-paced world, we have to make sure that we aren't hasty and miss our way -- or to say it another way, miss what God has for us in the business of life. It's good to be a go-getter, but it's much better to clearly hear God's voice. The Psalmist has some instruction for us here:

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Call To Prayer for Missionaries and Christians Around the World

Friends, this post is an urgent call for prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world. In the last two days I have received news of dire situations in China and Nepal for missionaries and national believers. In China this is the result of an uprising that the Chinese Government is attempting to squash (the missionaries are caught in the middle) and in Nepal it is at the hand of Hindu fundamentalists. While little has been reported on this by the media, I can assure you that it is occurring and that God's people need your prayers.

Please also include prayer for those in Iraq who are suffering from the recent spate of attacks on churches.

The Smiling Unborn Child

In this Christian Post article, Chuck Colson reports on recent research that shows an unborn child smiling in response to music that was pumped into its mother's uterus. Trust me, this is worth the quick read!

New Study on Homeschooling

As reported by USA Today, a new study shows some interesting trends in homeschooling.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Biblical Productivity

CJ Mahaney has a great series of blog posts on Biblical Productivity. Mahaney states that his in this series his readers will discover that:

Our biblical productivity depends upon a schedule, which depends upon clear goals, which depends upon clearly defined roles.

You can download the entire series here in one document.

Alternatively, if you have limited time, I highly recommend that you read the the post on Roles, which deals with a Theology of Work and that every vocation can be a calling from God.

President Obama's Abortion Agenda

An important and alarming post by Justin Taylor on President Obama's abortion agenda.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The News......Illustrated

World Magazine has some good cartoonists..............I thought you might enjoy a laugh or two on a Friday afternoon.

Calvin's 500th

John Calvin was born 500 years ago today. In recent days there has been a great deal of attention drawn to this, and for those interested, here are a few resources you might consider:

Desiring God offers the book A Portrait of Calvin for $2 today.

John Piper has an article in this week's issue of World Magazine on America's Debt to Calvin.

Kevin DeYoung has a great blog post on being relevant at 500.

Joel Beeke has edited a devotional entitled 365 Days with Calvin, available at Amazon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cohabitation

This week's issue of World Magazine provides an interesting article on cohabitation, particularly in regards to a study that shows those who cohabitate before marriage experience less marital satisfaction than those who don't.

Cohabitation is the norm in our culture today, and is becoming increasingly so even for those who call themselves Christians.

Thoughts on Free Will

John Piper:

Before the fall of Adam sinless man was able to sin. For God said, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

As soon as Adam fell, sinful man was not able not to sin, since we were unbelieving,and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

When we are born again, by the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to not sin, for “sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).

This means that what Paul calls “the natural man” or “the mind of the flesh” is not able not to sin. Paul says this in Romans 8:7-9

The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (See also 1Corinthians 2:14).

How then shall we think of free will?


Read the rest of the post here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Great Will Heaven Be?

Have you ever wondered just how great heaven is going to be? Since the Bible indicates that we don't really have any idea of how great it is going to be (1 John 3:2; Eph. 3:20; 1 Cor. 2:9), we can only imagine, and at the same time realize that it will be even greater than we can imagine.

One of my favorite things in life is to surprise my children with gifts. I believe this is because the One in whose image I was created loves to give gifts to His children (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13). And if I, a fallen human being, love to give my children surprise gifts, don't you think God has some wonderful surprise gifts in store for His children?

In both the Old and New Testament we repeatedly see God as a giver, especially to His people. It is clear from example after example that God takes joy in giving. Of course, the shining example is the fact that He gave us His Son. As Paul says in Romans 8, if He was willing to do that, what good thing would he withhold (Paul's answer: nothing!)? It gives quite a sense of anticipation, doesn't it?

Chuck Colson on the King of Pop

I know that you are all probably as tired of the MJ saga as I am, but Chuck Colson has a good analysis of our cultures reaction in this article.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Book by Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll has a new book out entitled Religion Saves. You can read a chapter from the book here and order it at Amazon.

Sarah Palin's Resignation

For those of you who are Sarah Palin's fan, this NY Times op-ed holds some interesting insight on her VP run and recent resignation as governor of Alaska.

Monday, July 6, 2009

25 Must-Have iPhone Apps

For all of my friends who are iPhone enthusiasts, you might want to check this out from Fast Company.

Making Marriage Righteous

A good post on marriage by Ed Ridenour:

There are certain rules and conditions involved in marriage that are required to make that marriage righteous. That is, a marriage pleasing and acceptable before God. A righteous marriage is one that is sanctioned by Him, fulfilling His design and will for a man and a woman in His creation.

The first and most important condition required for a marriage to be righteous is understanding what really constitutes a legitimate marriage in the eyes of the Lord and whether you qualify to be married without actually making it unrighteous by it being deemed an act of fornication instead.

Read the full article here.

How Not To Be A Deadbeat Son Or Daughter

Mollie Hemingway:

Why is it that we heap scorn on "deadbeat" parents who fail to take care of underage children, but excuse adult children who don't take care of their feeble parents?

Perhaps it's because caring for children—no matter how many diapers and scrapes must be tended to—is a joyful experience, while aging involves untold sadness and indignity.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

DeYoung and Cluck on Loving the Church

I have been a fan of Kevin DeYoung and Ted Cluck since I read their book Why We're Not Emergent, By Two Guys Who Should Be about a year ago. If you want to learn about the Emergent Church, this is the book to read.

DeYoung and Cluck have just released their second book, Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion and have a great article related to the book in the Washington Post this week.

You can read the article here.

Alarming News About the Church and Today's Youth

In a recent article, the Christian Post reports on an alarming survey that shows youth are leaving the church long before college, even as early as middle school. This reinforces the need for excellent children's and youth ministries in our churches, as well as ministries to the parents of children from birth to age 18.

Read the article here.

A Family's Valor, a Nation's Freedom

On the eve of Independence Day weekend, here is a great article by Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal on a family that is making great sacrifices for our country:

At a dinner last week in California, I was reminded of the debt we owe to those who have, for 233 years, sustained our freedom and independence. One remarkable family in particular exemplifies the best in the American spirit of courage and sacrifice.

Sitting at my table was a friend, Christine Krissoff, wife of Dr. Bill Krissoff and mother of Nathan and Austin Krissoff. One of her sons, Marine First Lt. Nathan Krissoff, was killed in Al Anbar Province in December 2006. A Williams College grad, athlete and musician, he'd left for Iraq on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was 25.


I met his parents and brother in Nevada in August 2007 while accompanying President George W. Bush to Reno, Nev. The president was there to address the American Legion before meeting with local families who'd lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mr. Bush has met with about 550 families in private visits like this. At those meetings, he would have a senior staff member close by in case there was something that needed to be followed up on, such as getting a flag to a family member.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quote of the Day

Our people don't so much need to have their heads stored as to have their hearts touched and they stand in the greatest need of that sort of preaching that has the greatest tendency to do this. -- Jonathon Edwards

Obama, PETA, and the Value of Human Life

A great article by Chuck Colson on President Obama's recent fly-swatting incident:

There was a lot going in the news last week-riots over the election in Iran, North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling. But the biggest story of the week, it turns out, was-drum roll, please-the story of President Obama swatting a fly.

“I got the sucker!” Obama told CNBC correspondent John Harwood after killing a fly that had been buzzing around his head.

Harwood laughed and the camera crew applauded. But the sight of the fly’s corpse lying on the White House rug was too much for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals-and insects, apparently. They sent a letter to the Fly Swatter in Chief, expressing their disapproval.

Read the full article here.

New Study Indicates the Internet is Replacing Family Time

From the Christian Post:

More Americans are spending less time with members of the households, according to the results of a study released this week.

The University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future found that 28 percent of Americans it interviewed last year said they have been spending less time with members of their households. In 2006, 11 percent of Americans had said the same.

Furthermore, significant percentages of Internet users said they were sometimes or often ignored because another member of the household spends too much time online (44 percent). An even higher percentage (48 percent) said they were ignored because others spend too much time watching TV.

Read the full article here.

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About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.