Archive for August, 2006

“There is an inevitable collision between God and man.  Man is traumatized by and is hostile to the holy presence of God.  Yet we were built for fellowship with God.  We cannot live with God and we cannot live without God.  This is the essence of man’s condition.  All our problems flow from it, and none can be understood apart from it.”  Tim Keller in Ministries of Mercy.

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The “Doomed” Sox

Wow, I just can’t believe the injuries that have been piling up for the Red Sox, coinciding with their swoon.  Remember, Red Sox Nation, they were in first place most of the year.  They had the 2nd best record in baseball at the All-Star Break.  This is not a bad team.  It is a hurt team.

David Wells- missed the majority of the season with a bad knee

Matt Clement- missed the majority of the season with a bad shoulder

Lenny DiNardo- missed the majority of the season with a neck injury

Keith Foulke- missed most of the season with back and arm issues.

Tim Wakefield- injured ribs, missed the last month.

Jon Lester- bad back and enlarged lymph nodes.  It could just be an infection, but it could also be MUCH worse.

That, my friends, is just the pitching staff!

Trot Nixon- arm injury, missed a month

Jason Varitek- knee surgery, missed a month (and a key one at that).

Wily Mo Pena- wrist problems, missed a significant portion of the season.

Coco Crisp- broken finger, and now an injured shoulder

Big Papi- irregular heartbeat

Manny- bum knee

Alex Gonzales- bad back (what is it with SS and the Sox?)

Mirabelli- ankle injury

Gabe Kapler- rehabbed his leg for much of the year

So… yes, they are losing.  But don’t give this “they suck” crap.  How do you replace that many guys, including significant guys, unless you can go out and spend millions more?  You can’t.  It happens, and it is NO ONE’S fault.

But if we get Papi, Manny, ‘Tek, Pena and Trot back with some adequete pitching…. we can at least make it interesting.  So stop the frickin’ whining, and start cheering.

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CT has a new interview with Jars of Clay singer Dan Haseltine about the new album called Good Monsters, and his own new honesty.

Some people may be shocked by some of Dan’s confessions.  I guess I’m not.  I know the temptations of isolation.  I’ve heard of some Christian musicians who had similar problems on the road (remember, the roadies aren’t stupid).  And I know Dan is a sinner.

Personally I’m excited for Dan.  He is beginning the process of letting people in, and tearing down the walls he has erected.  This will result in a more authentic Christian life, and greater music.  He attributes it, in part, to growing up and also to the impact of hymns- singing of God’s greatness, and our depravity.

So, some people might be dismayed, discouraged or even outraged that Dan ‘fesses up to some big sins.  But he is discovering a big God who bore a big cross.  As Steve Brown told us repeatedly, “Demons die in the light.”

Or as they sing, “God will lift up your head” (live from Boston).

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“We must embrace the truth that no one wants our sexual satisfaction more than God.  I know that sounds bizarre, but it’s true.  This being the case, you may rest assured that He has provided everything necessary for your success and for your holiness.  This is important to understand because people who struggle with sexual sin feel hopelessly locked into an unbreakable cycle of failure.”  Sam Storms in Pleasures Evermore

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17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. Proverbs 18 (NIV)

By Faith Magazine has an excellent article by Mark Bergin on the division in the evangelical community on the issue of global warming.  Mark is a sports reporter in Seattle, and a member of Mars Hill Church.  But Global Warming & Christian Stewardship shows he’s no jock.

The issues between the 2 groups aren’t on the question of climate change itself, but rather what are the causes(s), what are the expected consequences, and therefore the best possible solutions.  The ECI document assumes that the primary cause is human activity, the results will be catastrophic and that the political solutions put forth in the Kyoto Protocol or Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth are appropriate.  They were the first to speak for evangelicals.  And many influential Christians signed the document.  As a result, many Christians think this is the way to go.

As I’ve written in other places on this blog, well-respected climatologists like Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, and John Christy disagree.  It would seem like some of the leaders who signed it aren’t completely on board.  Some signed because they view this as an issue Christians need to speak to (and no other Christian group was), some didn’t realize that it would advocate the policy changes it does.


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I Want A Real Schilling

No, this has nothing to do with Curt Schilling.  I watched Lady Jane, about King Edward’s cousin that was Queen of England for 9 days before Bloody Mary took the throne.

Her first request as Queen, in the movie, was to have a ‘real schilling’, one made of silver.  That schilling would have value, and restore the possibility of prosperity to the poor suffering under the quick pendulem swing of reformational England.

So, I wondered- what would be your first request if you were King or Queen?

btw: I don’t recommend husbands and wives reading the Bible together topless by the light of the fireplace.  Sort of distracting…

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My Father Must Be Watching

One of the little jokes my father and I have is that he is the reason the Red Sox hadn’t won in 86 years.  Well, why any Boston team hadn’t won from 1986-2002.  He claimed, “Sure, the Patriots win after I stop watching them.  Bums.”  Or something like that.  So, I then forbid him from watching any significant games.  During the 2004 playoffs I had to remind him, “You are not to cheer for the Red Sox.”

Well, he mentioned David Wells when I saw him at the beginning of the month.  Hmmm. Right before this meltdown precipitated by a string of injuries that have seen the Sox plummet in the standings.  Dad- if you are watching the Sox (and Patriots and Celtics) you must stop now, before you kill us all.  Please……. show mercy!

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Reformation 21 has a new article up on Calvin and Missions.  Its purpose is to show, historically, that Reformed Theology and Calvin in particular is not opposed to missions but actually engaged in missions.  Our belief in a sovereign God does not mean we are not responsible creatures.  Rather, God has made us responsible.  God has ordained the means as well as the ends, and we are to be busy bringing the great news to every tribe, tongue, nation and language- including the guy across the street!

The Resurgence has put up RTS Orlando Professor Frank James’ paper, Calvin the Evangelist.  It is a very good read to prove that his theology did not stifle evangelism, but enabled it.

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Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ernesto is the latest storm to have Florida in its sights.  Many Floridians have begun the constant check to see where the “cone of uncertainty” or “projected path” lies.  Governor Bush has already declared a “state of emergency”.  After the events of the last few years (2004 was particularly devastating for the county in which I live), I was wondering if we should just change our name to the State of Emergency.  “Yes, I live in central Emergency.”

Last night we went to the local Super Wal-Mart to stock up on hurricane supplies, just in case.  CavWife was interested in some hurricane drinks, particularly pina coladas.  So I took CavKid next door to the Wal-Mart beer & booze store.  Really, I don’t know why it is separate in this Wal-Mart.  CavKid wants to hang with Mommy, and is crying.  I’m feeling like someone will think I’m taking someone’s kid and tackle me.  But alas, no one did.

As I get to the Beer & Booze shop, I see a sign that they can sell beer & wine on Sundays, but not hard liquier.  Since it was a Sunday, and booze was my goal I was was stymied.  Upon my early, unsuccessful return I commented to CavWife, “Apparently we also live in the State of Stupidity.”  Buy all the beer and wine you want, but you can’t buy booze.  Really, what is the purpose of this law?  Don’t they realize that New England Puritans used to supply their pastors with rum?  Rum was often a part of their compensation package.

Apparently the “cone” or “path” is moving ever eastward.  It is possible that we may skirt yet another big storm, for which I will be thankful.  His mercies are new every morning.

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Restoring Broken Things is the latest collaboration between Steven Curtis Chapman and his pastor, Scotty Smith.  The subtitle is: What Happens When We Catch a Vision of the New World Jesus is Creating.  I would best describe it as an introduction to Reformed Eschatology.  It does not get hung up on questions of the millennium and such, but focuses primarily on the vision of the renewed heavens and earth.  It seeks to understand that vision, and talk about how that vision pulls us into the future.  What we experience now is not disconnected with that vision.

What is distinctively Reformed about the book is the focus on the reality of the two kingdoms, and the reality of the already/not yet.  This book is not about the abandonment of culture.  It is about the brokenness of culture, and Jesus’ commitment to renew culture.  He is already renewing culture through us.  But that renewal is not yet complete or immutable.  When He returns, He will free creation from its subjection to the curse (Romans 8 ) and consummate the kingdom that was, is and is yet to be.  (Or as Richard Pratt used to say Inaugurated, Continuing and Consummated).

This is a very winsome book.  The purpose is not to bash other people’s viewpoint, but to redirect them.  It begins with the truth that creation (including humanity) is Broken Beyond Repair.  Creation can’t fix itself, and we cannot fix it.  We need someone from outside creation to come and fix it- the Restorer of Broken Things, namely Jesus who is God in flesh.  It goes into a little bit of narrative theology when talking about the importance of story, particularly the story of redemption.  Individual chapters are devoted to Restoring God’s Broken Creation, Broken Lives, Broken Relationships, Broken Worship, Broken Worshipers, God’s Broken Church and Broken Culture.

The chapters are filled with excerpts for Steven’s songs (and songs by others), Scotty’s sermons and personal stories that illustrate the topic at hand.  This is a book that is easy to read, but not mindless.  There is much to mull over if you take the time.  It is a very good book, and I recommend it to anyone thinking about what on earth God wants them to be doing. 

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In Romans 1:18ff, the wrath of God is revealed by giving rebellious humanity over to increasingly darker minds and increasingly depraved behavior.  The further from honoring the true God a society (and person) becomes, usually the more wretchedly rebellious it becomes.

Here are a few sure signs of Western culture’s flight from accountability, and descent into darkness taken from Dr. Mohler’s blog.

1. The Beyond Marriage Movement among liberal intellectuals and homosexual activists.  This movement seeks to remove the privileged status of marriage that government (finally free of religion) would recognize a literal plethora of family arrangements.  Rather than pursue equality by lobbying for marriage rights, these activists essentially want to eventually destroy marriage by offering a menu of legal options from which to choose.  This way, no matter how messed up you are there is a legal option for you to “be a family” and be “systematically affirmed in your diversity”.  I guess the only “sin” in these people’s eyes to to affirm the fact that some behaviors are just plain wrong, and hate is not the only one of those things.  Nor is claiming something is wrong a manifestation of hate and prejudice, or they are just as prejudiced against religious folks and that would be wrong.  Here is Mohler’s post.


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I just finished the cover story for the September ’06 Christianity Today, “Young, Restless, Reformed”.  It was a good article that focused primarily on the ‘revival’ of Calvinism in American Christianity, and the ‘problems’ this is causing.  I could identify with much of this.

This ‘revival’ began about 20 years ago when I became a follower of Jesus.  I have finally spent half of my life following him.  Like many, I was initially an Arminian but that didn’t last long.  Early one I discovered Packer’s Knowing God.  I didn’t realize it until a few years later when I re-read it, but the seeds were being sown.  Soon I was reading R.C. Sproul, and his book Chosen by God drew together the many threads I was seeing in Scripture.  Thru those men, and John Piper, I developed an interest in Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans.  My story is just like that of so many who have begun to embrace the Doctrines of Grace, and be humbled by them.

In Reformed Theology I found a deep commitment to think biblically.  I mean THINK.  In many ways, this new movement is a reaction (no less providential) to the dumbing down the church in previous decades.  It is fascinating that much of the growth in this movement comes from charismatic circles, such as Sovereign Grace Ministries.  They have found a theology that can sustain their experience.  Reformed Theology is not just for stodgy old men, but can produce a vibrant love for God.


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The New England Patriots have Deion Branch’s agent permission to seek a trade until September 1st.  That is a shocker!

Bigger shocker is that according to the Globe’s Mike Reiss, this dates back to May when the Patriots offered him a contract extension that included a $4 million dollar signing bonus.  Apparently not enough.

I’m can’t conceive of him getting a better offer, or from a better team.  So I just don’t get it.  Equating $ with respect will lead you down bad roads, no matter what you do for a living. 

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The USA Today has an article today (8/25/06) on the problem of Global Warming.  Back in the 1980’s, the environmental issues was the ozone layer.  Our use of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) in a variety of products including air conditioning, refrigerators and hair spray was creating a hole in the ozone layer.  Admitedly, this would be a bad thing.  More of the sun’s most damaging rays would reach the earth, more would trap more heat.

So what did the environmentalists do?  They developed the Montreal Protocol 17 years ago to reduce the CFCs that would be used and slow down the erosion of the ozone layer.

What did this do?  Companies had to replace the CFCs with something, and began using hydroflourocarbons instead.  This was before any studies to determine their possible effect on the environment.  It turns out that HFCs are better for the ozone (whew!) but worse for global warming.  The article says they could be up to 10,000 times worse.


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I Want the Shirt

I received my copy of CT the other day.  Due to the post-vacation scramble I’ve yet to read it.  I’m hoping they realize that Calvinism is about more than just 5 theological points expressed in response to the Remonstrance in the Canons of Dordt.  But I really want the shirt- my “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” shirt is shrinking slowly (ahem).  Is it just a photoshop deal, or does this really exist?

I’ll probably have a post on the article when I’ve read it.

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The Rev. John Hudson of the West Concord Union Church (UCC) in Concord, MA wrote an interesting editorial for the Boston Glode called And God Sayeth Unto Man: I’ve Had It.  He basically thinks that God is tired of us- that we have really botched a really simple thing by fighting over religion.

The Rev. Hudson seems to have a distaste for convictions, not merely the excesses that may be committed on the basis of convictions.  Rev. Hudson seems to think that this is all an abberition- that somehow the world is not a fallen environment and people are basically good.  He basically thinks that God is surprised by the ways that false religions batter the living snot out of others who don’t agree with them.

But God isn’t going to make us “Amish” by taking away our internet, iPods, and cellphones so we can read our sacred books and learn to share.  Humanity is not going to be grounded.

Some will repent, and some will perish.  But that day is somewhere in the future (near or distant I cannot say).  Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18).  It is about the person who continues to pray for God to bring justice to this fallen world (and mercy for all who seek refuge in His provision- Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world).

He does not call His people to exterminate the unbelievers.  He calls His people to faithfully proclaim His message, the Great News of Jesus.  He calls His people to wait, and pray.

Humanity may give up- but God is patient and faithful.  When He has accomplished His agenda (bringing all His sheep in the fold) the end will come.  As we rage, He laughs (Psalm 2) at our pitiful little temper tantrums.  And one day, He’ll settle the accounts.  Just wait.

Too bad the Rev. Hudson found no space to mention any of that.

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Another Pensee Today- Lee

“The Christian life, Paul tells us (Romans 8 ), is like a woman groaning in labor.  Now there’s a soul-winning evangelistic message!  Anyone want to sign up?”  Cameron Lee

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“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.  It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world.  Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”  John Piper

“If we do not discipline our desire, we will crowd out the hunger for God through which we find our blessedness.  Self-indulgence, even in seemingly harmless things, can slowly lead us away from the place where our soul truly longs to be.”  Cameron Lee

Both quotes are from Unexpected Blessing by Cameron Lee

We often expected to be satisfied NOW.  But Jesus, in the Beatitudes, teaches that our gratification is going to be delayed.  We hunger and thirst now.  We struggle with mixed longings as well as mixed motives.  The belief that we get it all now, and experience no such longings for personal, imparted righteousness (as opposed to imputed righteousness) and that we have all we could want, is an over-realized eschatology.  It over-estimates the ‘already’ portion of our salvation, forgetting that there are “not yet” aspects.  We live as pilgrims

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Lots of bloggers are linking to Mark Driscoll’s post on Liberal Christianity and how to destroy a denomination.  Like a bleating sheep, I join them.  He refers to an LA Times article mentioning how some of them are now pushing to legalize marijuna.  Perhaps they have been smoking too much of the weed to see how they have gutted their churches of all they are supposed to believe.  I’ve long said the first step in destroying a congregation or denomination is to entertain a low view of Scripture. 


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The next Switchfoot album has been completed, and will be released December 26 (huh?) if all goes well.  The tentative title is Oh Gravity.  I’m not sure what to do…. I’ve gotten used to U2’s long layoffs.

Speaking of U2, Zoo TV- Live from Sydney is set to be released on DVD (FINALLY) September 19th.  I’ve been waiting for this for years.  Roommates and I shared a VHS copy in seminary.  I made a tape for the car and it got misplaced long ago.  Ah, Cavwife…. if you need gift ideas…..

I’m glad to hear the Lost Dogs have a new album out, The Lost Cabin & the Mystery Trees.  I’ll have to listen to cuts, they went a little too country for me a few back.

I listened to the Soul2Soul radio interview with the Choir on their site.  Lots of songs, giving a good preview of the album How the Mighty Have Fallen.  It sounds like a return to the Circle Slide days- one of my favorite albums ever (the interview is found in the on-line store).

And long-time fav Bruce Cockburn has a new out out, Life Short Call Now.  Unfortunately he feels the need to insult and attack Bush.  Bruce has leaned left for many a decade, and is often political in his songs.  But I wish such things were in his past, ‘cos he plays some really good music.  Of course the Lost Dogs didn’t like Bush 41 either.

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