Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hymn of the Week: Wonderful Peace

"Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight rolls a melody sweeter than psalm...." For those with troubles, cares, or problems, this song reminds us that if we are in Christ, we can have the wonderful peace that passes all understanding from the Prince of Peace Himself. Meditate on the song and study what the Scriptures say about the peace that ONLY God can give.

Wonderful Peace (words by Warren D. Cornell)

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.


Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!


I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!


And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:


Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Dumbing Down of Youth Ministry

Pastor Dan Burrell, in this article in Sharper Iron, does a great job making many points I have believed for years. Parents must remember that it is not the job of the youth pastor to parent their children, and youth pastors must remember that it is not their job to merely entertain the kids and "make church fun." Both parents and youth pastors/leaders have a spiritual responsibility to God to point those young people toward Christ, toward service to Him, toward loving God and others, and toward personal spiritual maturity.

Churches that intentionally make their youth group a "fun hangout" separate from the "real concerns" of a N.T. church are doing a terrible disservice to their families. Teens need to be "plugged in" to those real concerns....and they may very well enjoy being an active part of the body of Christ. In the church, fun activities are a means...not an end.

Excel 2007 Fails Basic Computation Test??

According to this article from, Microsoft Excel 2007 has been discovered to have difficulty multiplying and displaying numbers whose product is either 65,535 or 65,536 (such as 77.1 x 850, or 20.4 x 3212.5), displaying 100,000 as the product instead. Microsoft programmers are working hard to fix the problem, of course.

Mathematicians and computer programmers will find it interesting that 65,536 is equal to 2 to the 16th power, and (while this will probably seem esoteric to some) the number is significant in binary computer code.

Further information from Microsoft (and a litany of blog dialogue) can be found here.

This is the 100th post on my blog. Neat.

While We're Slamming Hillary....She is a Leader?!?

The quotation below is the first portion of an article you can read here. Although there are plenty of reasons to question the idea of a President Hillary Clinton, her evasiveness and inability to take strong positions (consistently!) are high on that list.

The bold-highlighted part of the quotation is merely the epitome of this. She should be ashamed.

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign slogan is "Ready for Change, Ready to Lead" yet she has adopted the time-honored, front-runner strategy of dodging tough questions, contradicting the image of a strong leader.

The former first lady and New York senator refused to take a position on a range of substantive issues during Wednesday night's debate, from Social Security reform to U.S. troop deployments in Iraq to whether Israel, if threatened, has the right to attack Iran.

She even ducked the question of which team she'd root for if her hometown Chicago Cubs met the New York Yankees in next month's World Series. "Well, I would probably have to alternate sides," she said.

Another Hillary Joke...

This one is from my astute brother:

Hillary Clinton was out jogging one morning along the parkway when she tripped, fell over the bridge railing and landed in the creek below.
Before the Secret Service guys could get to her, 3 kids who were fishing pulled her out of the water. She was so grateful she offered the kids whatever they wanted.

The first kid said, 'I want to go to Disneyland.'
Hillary said, 'No problem, I'll take you there on my special Senator's airplane.'

The second kid said, 'I want a new pair of Nike Air Jordan's.'
Hillary said, 'I'll get them for you and even have Michael sign them!!'

The third kid said, 'I want a motorized wheelchair with a built in TV and stereo headset!'
Hillary was a little perplexed by this and said, 'But you don't look like you're handicapped.'
The kid said, 'I will be after my dad finds out I saved your rear end from drowning!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Here's a Thought...

Bill Clinton received $12 million for his memoirs.

Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That's $20 million for memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Headline: I'm 86, Not 8

This story is both funny and interesting on so many levels. The beginning of it is copied below; the remainder can be read here.

Senior Citizens Protest Denial of Doughnuts at Senior Center

Sunday, September 23, 2007 (Associated Press)

MAHOPAC, N.Y. — It was just another morning at the senior center: Women were sewing, men were playing pool — and seven demonstrators, average age 76, were picketing outside, demanding doughnuts.

They wore sandwich boards proclaiming, "Give Us Our Just Desserts" and "They're Carbs, Not Contraband."

issue is a decision to refuse free doughnuts, pies and breads that were being donated to senior centers around Putnam County, north of New York City. Officials were concerned that the county was setting a bad nutritional precedent by providing mounds of doughnuts and other sweets to seniors.

The picketers said they were objecting not to a lack of sweets but that they weren't consulted about the ban.

"Lack of respect is what it's all about," said Joe Hajkowski, 75, a former labor union official who organized the demonstration. He said officials had implied that seniors were gorging themselves on jelly doughnuts and were too senile to make the choice for themselves.

C. Michael Sibilia said, "I'm 86, not 8."

Inside, some seniors said they missed the doughnuts but others said they were glad to see them go.

"It was disgusting the way people went after them," said 80-year-old Rita Jorgensen. "I think the senior center did them a favor by taking it away."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Presidential Prayer

This prayer was offered in a nationwide radio broadcast on June 6, 1944, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many of you will recognize the date as D-Day—the date of the Allied invasion at Normandy, France.

This was shared in our church service this evening. It is an uplifting reminder of the Christian heritage our nation once had...and a disturbing twinge, when you realize that any politician who offered such a public prayer today would be savagely ridiculed in the public square.

Enjoy. Here is the transcript; you can listen to an audio recording of this prayer here.

My Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them--help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.


More Humor!

Q: How many batteries does it take to shock a Wolverine?

A: One AA.

Hymn of the Week: My Jesus, I Love Thee

1 John 4:19: "We love him, because he first loved us." So it should be. We sing songs like Jesus Loves Me and The Love of God—and we should—but for His love to be unrequited is the height of ingratitude on the part of man. He gave His life for our salvation; our love and service are fitting and appropriate.

The words to this hymn were written by a 16-year-old. For an interesting story about salvation and this hymn, as well as to hear its tune, click here.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Thought from John 12

John 12:28: "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
The verb used in that verse three times is the Greek doxazo, which appears 62 times in the N.T. and is translated "glorify" (in the KJV) in all but eight of those. It is related to the Greek noun doxa, which appears 168 times in the N.T. and is translated "glory" in most of those. It is from this word that we get our term "doxology."

Consider what it must have been like that day, to have been in the presence of Jesus Christ, and to hear this "voice from heaven"—the same voice which said a few years earlier "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17)—speak! No doubt the crowd in Jerusalem was sizable, and many heard it. It must been an incredible and unforgettable experience. Most importantly, it indicated that Jesus Christ spoke truth—He was and is the Son of God.
John 12:42-43: "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
It was very interesting to discover that the word "praise," used twice in vs. 43, is that word doxa again. Although it is translated "praise" in this verse, most of the time it is translated "glory" in our English Bible. Notice the sad truth: These men would rather receive glory/praise from men than receive it from God. They would rather hear the voices of men glorify their names than to hear the "voice from heaven" glorify them!

That was a tragic realization. And then I thought, how many of us are like many of us would prefer to hear mortal, sinful humans praise and glorify us than hear God praise and glorify us?

Will we be content with the praise of men, or will we seek the "Well done, good and faithful servant" from God someday?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Verse to Meditate Upon: John 12:26

John 12:26—"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my father honor."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Political Humor for Today

I heard this one from a friend today.

Three doctors are sitting at a table relaxing: One each from Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

The Mexican doctor says, "In Mexico, we can take out both kidneys, put new ones in, and within a month the patient is ready to go back to work."

The others nod approvingly, but the U.S. doctor replies, "In the United States, we can take out both lungs and the heart, transplant new ones, and within two months the patient is ready to go back to work."

The Canadian doctor then says, "In Canada, we can take a blonde, take out her brain, send her to Michigan, and then everybody will be looking for work."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's the Most "Politically Correct" Time of the Year

Today, I was working at a warehouse filling order after order for Kmart. (Good news: Monotony now has a definition.) Each identical order contained a number of what I, and many of you, would refer to as "Thanksgiving" dinnerware, napkins, table covers, etc. But is that what the labels say?

No. We had the "Fall Harvest" platter and plates, and products called "Autumn Splendor" and "Harvest Festival" (that one had your traditional turkey-and-cornucopia look). Thanksgiving? Nowhere to be found.

Admittedly, it will be autumn time when these products go on display, and the colored leaves and crops do indicate the time of year. Snow-draped fir trees indicate winter, as well. But be on the lookout as always: Many in our country today don't want to acknowledge Thanksgiving and Christmas (except re: Time off of work) as Christian holidays, thanking Jesus Christ for everything He has done for us and for the entire world. Let us be thankful, and let us meditate on the reasons for the holidays—not merely that we get opportunities to miss work and eat.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thinking Like a Christian, Week 11: Review & Summary

Why Should We Understand Other Worldviews?

It is important to understand other worldviews for some significant reasons. Most importantly, so that we can better reach others who believe other worldviews with the Bible's Gospel message. Being ignorant of other worldviews makes communication of biblical truth more difficult. Notice the examples of Stephen (speaking to Jewish leaders in Acts 7) and Paul (speaking to Athenians in Acts 17)—each directed his message about Christ and salvation in a way easily understood to his audience. We also need a knowledge of other worldviews to better counter what other worldviews are teaching in our society about theology, politics, ethics, and so forth.
"Yet Christ directed His followers to provide a "salt and light" influence on society (Matthew 5:13-14). This means getting outside the confines of the church building and taking an active part in the social, political, and intellectual life of our communities. In order to have this kind of influence, Christians must gain an understanding of the times in which we live which means, at a minimum, discerning the competing worldviews that vie for our souls and the future of civilization." David Noebel, Thinking Like a Christian, p. 158.
There are three primary worldviews discussed briefly in the Thinking Like a Christian book at this point. These are summarized here:
  • Marxism-Leninism: Although this has shown to be a failure in many countries during the past century, it is still a reality in some parts of the world today. It is indeed a well-defined worldview about which many books have been written. Its major tenets include an atheistic view of God with a corresponding evolutionary view of origins; behaviorism as a psychological perspective (e.g., Pavlov); statism (communism) as a political system, and scientific socialism as an economic system. In America, you will be most likely to find its adherents in secular universities, where some estimate as many as 10,000 serve as university professors.
  • Secular Humanism: This is clearly the most dominant worldview in America and most of the western world today, especially in classrooms and governments. It is also a well-defined worldview, including among its teachings an atheistic view of God and evolutionary view of origins; an emphasis on self-actualization (see: Maslow); liberalism as a political system, with an emphasis on secular world government; and moral relativism in ethics and elsewhere. American public education is dominated by this worldview, which simultaneously seeks to thrust out a biblical worldview. Many famous and influential Americans are secular humanists (Ted Turner, Carl Sagan, Abraham Maslow, and John Dewey are just a few proud examples) who wish to "spread their gospel" to your children and mine.
  • Cosmic Humanism: Of the four worldviews discussed here, this has probably the smallest percentage of adherents in the United States, but is probably also the fastest-growing. By its very nature, it is less-defined than the others, but perhaps its most basic tenet is that truth resides in the individual—every man decides truth for himself. Whatever you decide for yourself is right....just don't be too narrow-minded or exclusive about it! Most have a pantheistic view of God (although who or what God is is not always agreed upon), and believe that the godhood of man is our evolutionary bequest. Moral relativism pervades in nearly everything, including a belief in "karma." Self-government and a "New World Order" are frequently espoused.
So what should we Christians do? There are several things:
  • Go on the Offensive: Be salt and light in this present, evil, troubled world (Matthew 5:13-16). Take the message to the world—don't wait for the world to come to you asking.
  • Spread the Word with courage and conviction (1 Peter 3:15-16). The world needs the gospel; without it, we cannot hope for much improvement.
  • Pray (2 Chron. 7:14; Col. 1:9-11), asking God how He can use you to impact the world for Himself.
  • Rebuild the foundations, and remain dedicated to a biblical, Christian worldview (Psalm 11:3) Our country once followed the biblical worldview; do your best to get it pointed back in that direction.
  • Study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15), and also study other books written from a Christian worldview. These can help you to both understand what God teaches and understand how the world thinks.
  • Understand the Times (1 Chron. 12:32): Follow the news, read current books, and see what Scripture says about them.
  • Teach and Mentor others (2 Tim. 2:2), and begin with your own family.
In every one of the ten areas we have studied, Christians (with God's help) have the potential to reclaim and redeem each for God's glory!
"In other words, in every discipline, the Christian worldview shines brighter than its competition, is more realistic, better explains man and the universe, is true to the Bible, is more scientific, is more intellectually satisfying and defensible, and best of all, is in keeping with and faithful to the one person who has had the greatest influence in heaven and on earth—Jesus Christ." David Noebel, TLAC, p. 171.

A few reminders: The book Thinking Like a Christian (ISBN 978-0-8054-3895-6) has been the basis for nearly all of the material in this series of Sunday School lessons. If you want to find the summaries of these on my blog, please click the links below:
Week 10: History
Week 9: Economics
Week 8: Politics
Week 7B: Law
Week 7A: Law
Week 6: Sociology
Week 5: Ethics
Week 4: Psychology
Week 3: Biology
Week 2: Philosophy (Part 1, Part 2, Conclusion)
Week 1: Theology
Introduction to the Series

Hymn of the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

None of us meditate on the holiness of God as we should. If we did, we would undoubtedly realize how sinful and base our flesh is in His sight. Thankfully, the holy sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, supplied the atonement for our sins.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why My Children Don't Go To Public School

There are actually many reasons is one of them.

Today, for the first time since I completed my student teaching in December 1992, I spent an entire day in a public school classroom. As I will likely do a number of times in the days and weeks ahead, I was a substitute today in a local, fairly rural public high school, where I subbed for a teacher of World History [2 sections] and Health [2 sections] and (for those of you who know me, feel free to laugh—I think it's funny, too) Weight Training [just one co-ed section].

Although my day as a substitute went reasonably well, it was very sad to see the social condition of most of the students. Not being an expert on this particular school's rules, I do not know how much of the following is in violation of those rules, but judging by the widespread occurrence of these things, my guess is that they are not violations or simply not dealt with:

  • Horrendous dress, both in terms of modesty (girls in particular, showing far too much of themselves), sloppiness (ripped clothing, especially), and messages (irreverence to authority, rock groups, general foolishness)
  • General lack of manners. Although the students were generally friendly to the total stranger now among them, their manners could be classified as relatively crude. Apparently boys wearing hats in the classroom is an acceptable practice.
  • Unacceptable behavior between boys and girls (unacceptable to God, that is). Having a co-ed class in weight training while in gym clothes isn't very healthy, either.
  • Bad language. Two particular words, both of which start with "s", were heard more times today than I can remember.
  • And just a miscellaneous: Since when were flip-flops over bare feet considered acceptable school dress? I had always been told there were health-related reasons for requiring feet to be covered (and, FYI, it was about 55° this morning)
These are not acceptable ways for my children to behave. I and my wife, as parents, have a God-given responsibility to bring them up to be Christ-like—to be salt and light in a sinful world. To put them in an environment where they are both influenced by so many kids like these, and implicitly taught that such things are acceptable, is to have the opposite effect.

Although some will argue that one can be a Christian, and still be Christ-like, while a public school student (and, yes, there are examples of this), I cannot in good conscience put my children where both the implicit teaching and the numerous examples of their peers influence them in that direction.

See the York Fair!!

For ways to demonstrate the folly of not obeying the rules and trying to take a shortcut, it will be hard to beat this:

The full story from the York Daily Record is here (the beginning is given below); it was also reported on

No need for man to jump
Sep 14, 2007 — The talk of the York Fairgrounds on Thursday was the man who impaled himself on a wrought-iron fence Wednesday night.

Rumors rippled through the concession stands.

One was that the man had a ticket to get into the fair but chose to climb the fence.

Turns out that was true, according to West Manchester Township Police.

Aaron C. Fry, 19, tried to take a shortcut to the fair by jumping the fence because he did not want to walk to the Carlisle Avenue gate, Detective Sgt. Jeff Snell wrote in a news release. The gate is less than a block from where Fry tried to climb the fence.

Fry, of Washington Boro, Lancaster County, and others he was with Wednesday night had admission passes to the fair and tickets to the concert that night, Snell wrote.

But, while trying to scale the fence, Fry's left thigh was pierced by a spike atop the 12-foot structure on Carlisle Avenue, just north of Texas Avenue, fire officials said.

About 40 firefighters, emergency-medical workers and police officers responded at 6:30 p.m. and used hydraulic cutters to snap the fence. They did not lift Fry off the fence; instead, they took him to York Hospital with several feet of the fence still attached.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The New York Times: How Liberal Must They Be?

Perhaps you heard that the venerable (but, to most of us, obnoxiously liberal) New York Times gave a huge discount for their scandalously untrue ad earlier this week. If it is true, it is a disgrace to their name.

Read the headline here and the original New York Post's story here.

As the story concludes:

Citing the shared liberal bent of the group and the Times, one Republican aide on Capitol Hill speculated that it was the "family discount."

"I'm surprised they had to pay anything at all for the ad," the GOP staffer said. "They could have just asked the editorial page to run it and it wouldn't have cost them a cent."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

College Football Scores of Note

These bring joy to my heart...especially the first one.

Penn State 31, Notre Dame 10

Oregon 39, Michigan 7

Hymn of the Week: Great is Thy Faithfulness

This is one of my all-time favorites. I encourage you to meditate on these words. The words are by Thomas Chisholm; the music was written for these words by William M. Runyan.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Thinking Like a Christian, Week 10: History

How Should We Interpret Human Events?

Consider carefully the difference between these two phrases:
  • Christ died for our sins and rose again.
  • Christ died and rose again.
The first one is a statement of Theology. The second one is a statement of History. Both, of course, are true.

The Historicity of the Bible is an important matter. If the Bible is not factually accurate, how can it be the Word of God (1 Cor. 15:13-19)? If the Bible is not accurate, God is not Truth. If the Bible is not accurate, our faith as Christians is in vain, and we will be miserable.

Thankfully, the Bible has been accurately copied down throughout the centuries. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls, which when found were a thousand or so years older than any known manuscript of Isaiah, were found to be nearly identical to the later copies which were already possessed. Copies of Scripture written down in different centuries are virtually identical.

The Bible makes an effort to place its message and its major figures in their historical contexts (See Luke 3:1-2, 3:23-28). In short, the Bible is a reliable, historical document in harmony with the known facts of history.

The Bible is also accurate historically. Its author is God (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16), Who used inspiration through men to guarantee the Scripture's truth and accuracy. The men whom God used were, for the most part, eyewitnesses to the events they recorded (Acts 4:20; 1 John 1:1-3, 4:14); the New Testament writers all wrote within the first several decades after Christ's return to heaven.

Archaeology also supports the Bible, showing consistent consistency between the Bible and history and supporting a myriad of details found in Scripture. Secular history also supports the Bible in many ways. Non-Christian historians have learned much about many of the people in the Bible, and were writing about Christ in the century following His death, resurrection, and return to His Father.

Jesus Christ is a real, historical figure. Certainly, if the Bible is a historical book, He must have lived according to the record given in it. Christ's impact on the world, from the early Christian times to the present, is unfathomable if He were not a real, historical person. Eyewitnesses to His life, death, resurrection, and ascension were many (see 1 Cor. 15:3-8), and many who saw Him had incredibly changed lives.
"The early non-Christian testimonies concerning Jesus, though scanty, are sufficient to prove (even without taking into account the evidence contained in the New Testament) that he was a historical figure who lived in Palestine in the early years of the first centruy, that he gathered a group of followers about himself, and that he was condemned to death under Pontius Pilate. Today no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus." Bruce Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content, p. 78.
The Bible also provides an accurate framework for all of history. It is worth noting that those who believe in non-Christian worldviews want to promote their own views of history. But why? If God is in control of all of history, then every day and every action of our lives will and must have meaning and purpose. Furthermore, understanding how God works in our individual lives helps us to understand how God directs the course of history.
"Either human history was ordained by God and is directed by Him toward an ultimate conclusion, or human history began due to a random spark in a prebiotic soup and has only chance to thank for its present course." David Noebel, Thinking Like a Christian, pp. 152-153.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the keystone in the framework of history. If it is historical, it gives hope, meaning, and purpose to every individual—and it reminds us that we cannot save ourselves. God is active throughout history and will see His will done. History is the unfolding of His ultimate plan. All of history works together for good: Sin will be conquered and Christ will rule and reign triumphantly forever.

The Bible gives a "linear" interpretation of history. History had a beginning (creation), and is being directed toward a specific end: Judgment. History is neither cyclical nor random. It is purposeful and goal-directed.

The Bible has also provided an accurate foretelling of history. It is already grounded in historical facts and many of its prophecies have already come to pass. The outcome of world history is already certain. History is moving toward a climactic day of judgment. Although the unsaved will begin an eternity of damnation, Christians will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, sharing in the triumph of His victory over sin and death.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Some More Enjoyable News

This one, like the G.I. Joe article just mentioned, comes from; but this one is much more enjoyable to read:

Here's the link; the text of most of the article is copied below.

ESCATAWPA, Miss. — A man trying to call a news station to complain about not getting a FEMA trailer after Hurricane Katrina accidentally dialed 911 and was charged with making methamphetamine after police arrived, authorities said.

Curtiss Randall Coleman was trying to get the number for Biloxi's WLOX-TV on Wednesday just before the 6 p.m. newscast, investigators said. He misdialed when trying to reach directory information and called 911 instead of 411.

When he hung up on the emergency dispatcher, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department was sent to the home to see if anyone was in need of assistance.

Deputies said that when they arrived at Coleman's house, no one answered the door. Officers broke in and allegedly found a methamphetamine lab.

Coleman, 53, and four others were arrested, including Coleman's son, Christopher, 30. A fifth suspect remains at large.

"It was a calamity of errors on Mr. Coleman's part," said Sgt. Curtis Spears, commander of the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County.

Say It Ain't So, G.I. Joe!

Today's nauseating dose of political correctness:

Apparently Paramount is going to be making a new G.I. Joe movie sometime in the next year or two. (Read the article here.) Instead of the lead character being a tough, macho, American soldier, he is to be morphed into G.I.J.O.E., Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, "an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys." A "wider, more international audience" is sought, because, after all, in today's international political climate, a real-looking U.S. soldier might not fly.

I'll let you read the article if you want (here's another link). I have never been a particularly strong fan of the G.I. Joe action figures; but if you, like me, consider American soldiers to be honorable figures worth promoting on the national and international stage, you will not enjoy this article too much. It is sickening to see the disrespect shown toward American soldiers by such a portrayal.

I don't attend movies. But if I did, I and my family would boycott this one. I wouldn't buy any of the inevitable toys/games/paper plates/action figures/clothing/junk/knockoffs of it at my local Wal-Mart (or any other retailer). I cannot imagine myself supporting a movie that does such disrespect to what everyone in America ought to recognize as a wholesome figure: The American soldier, doing good.

Support and pray for the American military.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Humor for my fellow BJU Alumni...

I graduated from Bob Jones University in 1993 and promptly joined their Alumni Association, with which I have achieved life membership status. Because I joined before graduation, I received a wallet-sized, laminated miniature of my diploma. Many of us carry them in our wallets to this day.

A couple weeks ago, when I started working a temp job, I had forgotten to take my Social Security card with I had to stop by their office and have them make a copy of it. Not a problem. Then the receptionist asked me, "Did you bring a copy of your diploma?"

I remembered at that moment that in the paperwork I received, it did say that for this job, the person had to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma. No one had told me to bring a copy of my high school diploma so that it would be on file.

Guess what I offered her? She took it, made a copy, and all is well.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hymn of the Week: Come, Thou Almighty King

This hymn reminds us of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit; of our duty to call upon them throughout the events of life; and of the greatness of each. Meditate upon God, in His three Persons, today.

The authorship of the words is anonymous.

Come, Thou Almighty King

Come, Thou almighty King,
Help us Thy Name to sing, help us to praise!
Father all glorious, o’er all victorious,
Come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!

Come, Thou incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend!
Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy Word success,
Spirit of holiness, on us descend!

Come, holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour.
Thou Who almighty art, now rule in every heart,
And ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power!

To Thee, great One in Three,
Eternal praises be, hence, evermore.
Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see,
And to eternity love and adore!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What was wrong with I-A and I-AA?

In watching these first early college football games (generally, mismatch blowouts) and reading the results, I keep getting reminded that I-A and I-AA are no longer the "official" designations; they are the Bowl Subdivision and the Championship Subdivision. Does anyone know why this was done? I do not.

And speaking of Championship Subdivision teams:
Appalachian State 34, @ Michigan 32.

Thinking Like a Christian, Week 9: Economics

What Produces a Sound Economy?

We shall begin by looking at some biblical assumptions concerning economics. The first two are that man is inherently sinful and that justice and the protection of property are important; these were discussed in previous lessons in this series.

Private property ownership is a biblical right, and proper stewardship of that property is our duty. There are a number of Bible passages which speak to this topic. Exodus 20:15 may be the most important: "Thou shalt not steal." This command gives an implicit recognition of private property, and, furthermore, Exodus 22 speaks at length about restitution of property after it has been stolen. In Proverbs 31, the woman described makes many economic decisions which, again, imply that her property is hers to steward and use. Isaiah 65:21-22 and Jeremiah 32:43-44 contain prophecies which mention that people will have their own individual lands and property in God's Millennial Kingdom. Luke 12:13-31 speaks both about property and sin—but the sins described are selfishness and greed, not ownership. Likewise, in Acts 5:1-4, where Ananias sells a property, gives part of the money to the church, and lies about it, he is not punished or even criticized for his economic decision—he was punished for lying.

There are a variety of other passages in the Bible which indicate that private ownership of property was the normal situation of God's people, and will be normal in His kingdom (Deut. 8; Ruth 2; Micah 4:1-4; Isa. 65:21-22).

Work is a duty commanded by God, beginning with Adam and Eve. Adam was given work to do (Gen. 1:28), he did it (2:15), and was further commanded that he would have to work after he sinned (3:19). Other well-known passages on this topic include Eph. 4:28 and 2 Thess. 3:10. Work may bring wealth—and that's OK, according to Prov. 10:4 and other passages. But wealth is to be the servant to God's will and the needs of others (Matt. 25:14-30; James 2:14-16); it is not for our own selfish consumption. Last of all, God is ultimately the Owner of all property (Ps. 24:1-2).

It is also important to define and describe free enterprise. It certainly involves private property ownership. It also involves individual responsibilities (often called "stewardship" in Scripture), and allows for the individual's initiative and creativity to be used at the individual's discretion. It is, at its very essence, the opposite of the essence of socialism. Here are some differences between the two:
  • Individual freedom to make economic decisions (free market) vs. Centralized control
  • Private property vs. Collective or governmental ownership
  • Requires less government to implement vs. Requires more government to implement
  • Incentives to have a work ethic vs. Disincentives to work
  • Individual responsibility vs. Lack of individual responsibility
  • Competition vs. Lack of competition
  • The worth of the individual vs. The worth of the state/community
  • Wealthy generate more wealth vs. Wealthy hide and hoard their wealth
The lessons of history also tells us that free enterprise is much more amenable to the production of wealth, and is more helpful to the poor, than socialism in any of its forms.
"One dominant feature of capitalism is economic freedom, the right of people to exchange things voluntarily, free from force, fraud, and theft. Capitalism is more than this, of course, but its concern with free [and peaceful] exchange [of goods and services] is obvious. Socialism, on the other hand, seeks to replace the freedom of the market with a group of central planners who exercise control over essential market functions." Ronald Nash, Poverty and Wealth: The Christian Debate Over Capitalism, p. 63
It is now a simple matter to see how free enterprise is in harmony with biblical teachings. Only the private ownership of property allows using our property to serve others, as the Bible frequently commands. In a biblical system, ownership of private property causes people to focus on the need to work and serve others, rather than accumulate possessions for themselves (the fact that many people do the opposite in no way diminishes the biblical teachings on the subject). Stewardship of property, also a frequent command in Scripture, is much easier when the property is privately owned.

The Bible also teaches us that poverty is sometimes the result of laziness (Prov. 6:6-11, 10:4, 13:4, 24:30-34), although God may allow our possessions to be taken away in order to further our spiritual growth, or for other reasons in His providential plan.

Neither the rich nor the poor is to be preferred in matters of justice (Lev. 19:15; notice the quote below, too). As David Noebel says in Thinking Like a Christian, "Justice requires equality before the law, not equality of incomes or abilities." (p. 140)
[After quoting Lev. 19:15] "God is not 'on the side of the poor,' despite protests to the contrary. Any law, therefore, that gives an advantage in the economic sphere to anyone, rich or poor, violates Biblical justice." E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity, p. 52.
There will always be poor people in society (Matt. 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8). Although not everyone has equal skills or comparable social contacts, everyone should be granted the opportunity to do something legitimate in the marketplace.

Let us also remember that no economic system ever can or ever will save mankind. Our salvation is by grace through faith, and our Saviour's gift is available to all.

Let us conclude with some final reasons why Free Enterprise is most compatible with a Christian worldview. We should also remember the truism that those who own property are more likely to take care of it than those who do not own the property. Free enterprise and private property ownership give people the freedom to obey God where their property and money are concerned, especially in the area of stewardship. Capitalist competition encourages cooperation with, and "service" to, others; for example, a business must be a "servant" to its customers, or else those customers will go elsewhere. Individuals have the freedom to choose how they can be successful in a free market; therefore, they can employ their God-given abilities and talents in productive ways. They can also gain property with which to serve God and others.

A final quote from Frederick Engels, friend of Karl Marx and champion of communism:
"If some few passages in the Bible may be favourable to Communism, the general spirit of its doctrines is, nevertheless, totally opposed to it."

Book Review: "John Adams" by John Patrick Diggins

Most of the volumes in the American Presidents Series have an emphasis on the biography of the subject: What he did, his major life events, significant accomplishments, etc. Adequate background of the time and context of the presidency is usually provided.

John Patrick Diggins's book on John Adams is somewhat different. It is by far the most philosophical of the seventeen books that I have read in this series. Of course, when studying John Adams, philosophy is a major component. Adams was a deep thinker, more a philosopher and statesman than a politician. Some biographical information is given, but as I read the book, it seemed more like an analysis (and a very favorable one) of his philosophies and presidency than a typical biography.

If you are looking to read a good biography of John Adams, I would highly recommend David McCullough's book—although it is a lot longer than this book. McCullough, like Diggins, shows Adams in a very positive light. Considering all of Adams' accomplishments as a founder of our country, that is appropriate. If you are looking for an analysis of where Adams stood on issues and why, this is your book.

This biography is one volume in The American Presidents Series, published by Times Books (Henry Holt & Co.). This is now the 17th book I have read in the series. Most, but not all, of the presidential biographies have already been written, each by an author who is well acquainted with the subject. Perhaps 1/4 remain to be published. The overall series of books is great. Each biography averages about 150 pages of scholarly, yet readable, writing. Each assumes that the reader knows a little of the background of the period of history during which the president served. I have been collecting them for four years and now have eighteen of the books (I have not yet read the volume on Washington).

Most portray the subject in a positive light, yet do not overlook the foibles and mistakes the executive may have made. Even relatively obscure presidents like Van Buren, Arthur, or Harding get their due. If you enjoy biographies and you enjoy American history, I can heartily recommend that you find the volume on a favorite president (or even one you know little about) and enjoy yourself.