Wednesday, August 27, 2008

According to the Times: C.H. Spurgeon 1860

March 21st, 1860

June 16th, 1860

July 9th, 1860

August 22nd, 1860

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saying "No" to Some Things, "Yes" to Others

Our 19 month old son, Jonah, already knows that he doesn't want to do certain things. However, it appears that there is one thing he does want to do...

Monday, August 25, 2008

iTunes "Religion & Spirituality Barometer" - 8/25/08

Barometer Reading - 8/25/08

This Week's Winner: Joel Osteen! Again, I am not surprised. If you need any convincing as to why Joel Osteen is at the top of the list again, just remember that on the eighth day, God created Joel Osteen.

Honorable Mention: John Piper making it into the Top 10 with Mark Driscoll just behind. There is hope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LeRoi Moore of Dave Matthews Band Dies at 46

During high school and my early college years there was only one band that I listened to. Dave Matthews Band.

DMB was a very prominent idol in my life during that time, and as a result I knew every sax and flute solo that LeRoi Moore ever played.

I haven't listened to DMB in some time, but this still came as a shock to me. I have no doubt that he will be missed by not only the members of the band, but also by millions of loyal fans across the globe. Here is the official statement from DMB's website:
We are deeply saddened that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, August 19, 2008, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles from sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin an intensive physical rehabilitation program.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Beauty of God's Creation - Part Deux

This is absolutely incredible. You may think this is just some ordinary bird.

It's not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

iTunes "Religion & Spirituality Barometer" - 8/18/08

I am always very interested to see what the top "Religion & Spirituality" podcasts are when I browse the iTunes store. It really is fascinating (and a little discouraging) to see which podcasts have caught the general public's interest the most. With that thought in mind, I want to start an ongoing experiment of sorts. Many people use iTunes, but not all, so the experiment isn't perfect. Regardless, I would like to post the Religion & Spirituality Barometer® once a week to see if it gives an accurate portrayal of modern day religiosity across the globe. Good times.

Here's the protocal:

  • I will show the Top 25 Religion and Spirituality Podcasts currently on iTunes.
  • That's it really. Nothing fancy.

    And here..we..go..

    Barometer Reading - 8/18/08

  • This week's winner: Joel Osteen! Not really a surprise. This guy has a board game made after his book Your Best Life Now. Once you reach board game status, you are unstoppable...The big issue here is that once people hear that they can have their best life now, there is no reason to even bother thinking about the glorious life that is yet to come. After all, who wants eternity with God later when you can have wealth and victory here and now? Three cheers for the Prosperity Gospel!

    Honorable Mention: Ravi Zacharias in the Top 5. It's great to know that this man's teaching is being listened to. Way to go Ravi.

    According to the Times: C.H. Spurgeon 1859

    January 12th, 1859

    February 7th, 1859

    February 8th, 1859

    March 28th, 1859

    October 8th, 1859

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Where Are Our Hopes and Dreams?

    I can't help but wonder if children growing up today will hold on to this thought...

    I sure hope so. You don't see too many adults walking around hoping and dreaming anymore. In such a jaded world it makes sense that most of us wouldn't feel this way. But then again, anything is possible with Christ. (Phil. 4:13)

    A world without Christ is a world where nothing is possible.

    Thank God for a perfect and sustaining Savior!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Westminster Bookstore - Blog Partners Program

    I love Westminster Bookstore.

    Not only are they one of the only bookstores that sells books by old dead people, but now they are rewarding bloggers for linking to their site!

    Here is some info about the program:

    Got a blog? Like books and like to write about them? WTSBOOKS Blog Partners Rewards offers you the chance to earn books or other merchandise from our store while introducing your readers to quality Christian books. Participation couldn't be easier. Once you've registered for the program, simply link to our store on your blog or personal web site. Each time a total of 50 visitors to your site have clicked on any of your specially-coded links to us, you've earned a $10 Westminster Bookstore gift certificate! (Certificates are redeemable in our store or online.) Create as many links as you like—all click-throughs will be grouped together to contribute to your rewards. There is no limit to how much you can earn!

    For full details click here.

    So if you frequent this blog, please click on any of the Westminster bookstore links/banners so that I can have some free books.

    Am I absolutely shameless?


    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    A Prayer of John Calvin - Commentary on the Book of Jonah

    I was reading through Calvin's commentary on Jonah and came across this prayer. I hope it blesses you.
    Grant, Almighty God, that as thou sees us implicated in so many errors, that we often fall through want of thought, and as thou also sees that the violent emotions of our flesh wholly blind whatever reason and judgment there is in us, — O grant, that we may learn to give up ourselves altogether to obey thee, and so honor thy wisdom as never to contend with thee, though all things may happen contrary to our wishes, but patiently to wait for such an issue as it may please thee to grant; and may we never be disturbed by any of the hindrances which Satan may throw in our way, but ever go on towards the mark which thou hast set before us, and never turn aside from thee, until, having gone through all dangers and overcome all impediments, we shall at length reach that blessed rest, which has been obtained for us by the blood of thy Son. Amen.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    The Truth Project

    My church will be going through the Truth Project in the Fall, and I think it will be a very beneficial time for every person involved. For those of you who have never heard of the Truth Project before, here is a short introduction from their site:

    In a recent study, the Barna Research Group revealed a stunning statistic that continues to reverberate throughout the evangelical world. Only 9 percent of professing Christians have a biblical worldview.1

    Because of this, today's believers live very similarly to non-believers. A personal sense of significance is rarely experienced, we spend our money and time on things that fail to satisfy and we begin to wonder what life's ultimate purpose really is. We are, in short, losing our bearings as a people and a nation.

    To counter this slide within the body of Christ, we are launching one of the most ambitious and powerful projects in the history of our ministry—Focus on the Family's The Truth Project.

    The Truth Project is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 12 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett. This home study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life.

    The leaders of our church spent the previous Spring going through each of the videos, and I must admit that I was very impressed. The production is top-notch, the speaking by Dr. Tackett is inspiring, and most importantly, the Truth is presented. This isn't just what Del Tackett believes to be true, or what Focus on the Family believes to be true. This is biblical truth through and through.

    Who would benefit from this series?
    • Pastors (especially if you struggle with how to present a biblical world-view to your church, or if you are unable to teach through these topics yourself due to time constraints)
    • Small group leaders (3 months worth of solid material with a great opportunity for discussion)
    • College students (Great tool for sparking conversation on campus about truth, but more importantly, the Gospel)
    • Parents (Sit down with your children and watch these videos.  The time you spend helping your children to have a biblical world-view, the more equipped they will be in 10-20 years when who knows what people will say about truth then!)
    • Anyone (While Focus on the Family has made it a point not to use this series for evangelism, it can't hurt to show this to your unbelieving friends and family.  It is very well done and could very well lead to someone's salvation)
    Hop on over to The Truth Project site.  Whether you need it or not, it's worth your time to at least check it out.  

    Here is the promotional video for your viewing pleasure:

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Rob Bell's Church Welcomes Female Pastors

    Get the story here.

    It is a long post, but definitely worth the read.

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    John Piper Goes Gangsta'

    One of my first blog posts contained a picture of John Piper the Mercenary. Well, looks like he is at it again...

    I'm starting to think he is faking the whole conservative Baptist thing. Get the whole story here.

    Signing Bibles: The Apex of Christian Celebrity?

    I've only seen this in person a few times, and I am just not sure what to think of it. In fact, I am really rather confused by the whole idea of it. I know that the "Celebrity Culture" exists across the Christian landscape and that it has only become more rampant since the Internet has grown.

    Nationally, many Evangelicals consider Rick Warren to be "America's Pastor". In fact, considering his global influence some even refer to him as the Pope of Evangelicalism. While I think that is a ridiculous idea, many Christians treat him as the end-all be-all of Christian leadership. How did he get to this point? He sold a few influential books, most notably the Purpose Driven Church & Purpose Driven Life, grew a massive church, and probably most important was the use of The Purpose Driven Life in the kidnapping of Ashley Smith a few years ago. He is a perfect example of a Christian Celebrity. Evangelical pastors want to be him, and many Evangelicals want to follow him. The question is, are they following his love for Jesus, or his celebrity?

    It seems that we have brought this on ourselves. Has John Piper become the Michael Crichton or Tom Clancy of the Christian world? Do we buy his books because his name is on it, or because we expect to be shown the wonders of God and the joy of following Jesus? It would seem that Dr. Piper intends the second, but I wonder sometimes if we really buy the books he writes for that reason. Maybe it's a little of both. I can definitely see that in myself a little, and I recognize the danger of it.

    Why is it dangerous? The only celebrity in Christianity is God. He is the only one who deserves to be famous. I fawn over certain authors as much as the next person, and I would like to think that it is all because of what they write, but I would be dishonest in saying so. How many of us have gone to conferences and have purchased a book because we recognize the author but in the meantime we pass over many diligent and helpful saints who are not as well known? I have. How many of us have gone to conferences for the speakers and just convince ourselves that we like the theme of the conference as well? I have done that too. However, even with my own motive issues, those books and conferences have proven invaluable. The question I suppose I need to always ask myself is, "Am I buying this book or going to this conference because I want to bring more glory to God?" There can be many motives that seem good, but blot out that "Glory Motive". Where do your motives lie when a new book comes out, or when your denomination holds a conference? Is it because of the celebrity factor or because you want to glorify Christ?

    So this brings me to the point about signing Bibles. I have seen men I respect do this and it just seems strange. A recent story about J.I. Packer sums it up well:

    "After I had my my book signed, many more pressed him. He signed books as he answered questions. The insight he provided into the Puritans in those few minutes still have a lasting impact on me. During the conversation, a young man (my age) approached Packer with a newly purchased ESV Bible (of which Packer was a general editor). Excitedly, he asked Packer to sign it and handed it to him. For a few moments Packer held the Bible in his hands, and quietly returned it to the young man. He said, "Son, this is God's book. If you want it signed you will need to ask him." - Josh Gelatt (Ephemeros blog)

    It seems to me that J.I. Packer has the right idea. Something about asking a preacher you admire to sign your Bible just reeks of the Celebrity Culture. Granted, as some of you know I had my picture taken with some of the speakers at T4G. Honestly, most of my reasoning was because I wanted to get my picture taken with someone I greatly respected. I wanted to have that memory. And seriously, if C.H. Spurgeon were walking around and you had a camera, you know you would want your picture taken too. Regardless, even in my desire to have that memory, I think that I promoted the Celebrity Culture in Christianity.

    All in all, I'm not sure I agree with signing Bibles, but at the same time it isn't a deal breaker for me. With all of the writing of books and great conferences out there the Celebrity Culture is inevitable. I see it nationally, and I even see it in the group of churches I belong to. Oddly enough, many of the old dead guys that we all love to read so much never gained fame or prominence until hundreds of years after they died. Maybe it should still be that way.

    So what do you think? Should church leaders sign Bibles or not?

    ***DISCLAIMER: I must say that I believe many of our national leaders to be pursuing the gospel first with no thought to their own fame or celebrity, but it would appear that some toss their weight around more than others...