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Archive for October, 2008


Being a dad is a magnificent thing.  My little girl is growing up WAY too fast.  Soon I’ll have to get a 9mm and work on the “Application to Date CavGirl” form. 

She went to a friend’s birthday party this past weekend where they all dressed up like beautiful little girls and acted like models.  She wasn’t too sure about that lipstick.  But I think she had a great time despite having that stuff on her lips.  They forgot the sparkle and CavWife decided that with a long car ride home, it was best not to have it put on anyway.

CavWife forgot the camera, but did have the new cell phone which has a camera.  So I still got to see how she looked since I was home with the boy.  Suddenly she is more interested in dresses.  It fits, she’s a bit of a diva.

It is moments like this that she brings such joy to my heart.  She can be so full of life and creativity.  It is great!

Then there is my Warrior.  CavBoy is a complete hoot.  He’s finally climbing out of the crib (hey, he’s short for his age!).  We’ve begun potty training- which is a bit of a trip.  He’s doing fairly well.  He tells us when the poop is coming- we just need a bit more warning.  He’ll get it.

But I think he’s going to be an MMA star one of these days.  Wrestling seems to come naturally to him.  When you pick him up, he goes limp making it harder to maneuver him.  He has already learned that the head controls the body and will stiff arm you as you play on the floor.  He’ll also use his forearm to apply pressure in unpleasant places. 

Don't Let the Shoes Fool You!

Do Not Let the Shoes Fool You!

I’m not sure how he learned this.  It’s not like I’m watching it and he’s sitting with me.  Maybe it’s in his Chinese DNA.  Or my imagination.  He likes to roll around on the floor with his sister, and with me.  He tries to play with the dog, but he’s too old and arthritic.  Too bad he missed Huck’s salad days.  Huck would have been excited to have this guy to play with.

Yes, those are his ‘big boy undies’.  He still has trouble getting all the way up in front.  CavWife thinks it is hilarious.  I shake my head in shame.

CavWife has pushed me into going onto Facebook.  As a result, most of these things (family oriented things) will be there.  I think I can upload more photos more easily (thanks to the glitches in the laptop’s security system that makes life difficult).  You can find both of us on Facebook.  I really hope it doesn’t suck up all our free time.

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The ESV Study Bible is now available for purchase.  I’m a bit behind on this and WTS Books is already backlogged with orders.

There are more available as well.  It looks like a great study Bible, though I often find the translation a bit archaic (as I’ve noted before.  It think the appealing thing is the great notes that don’t seem to come from one particular theological perspective.  For those wanting a good study Bible from a Reformed perspective try:

  • The Reformation Study Bible (formerly The New Geneva Study Bible) which is in ESV as well.
  • The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (NIV) which WTS Books doesn’t seem to carry.  I own a copy and it is a great study Bible.

One thing that concerns me is the seemingly inordinate desire I’ve noticed on other blogs regarding the ESV Study Bible.  You’d think no other good study Bibles have existed.  A tad disconcerting, but maybe I’m being overly sensitive or cynical.

Update: I spent time today looking at the “pulpit” edition.  It was certainly impressive.  The color maps were where you want them, in the proper text of Scripture.  And there were plenty of them.  It had a single column of text, which I love, with cross references in the margin.  They did a great job with the “study bible”, I am just not as sold on the translation (yes, I have read the ESV cover to cover twice).  I value readability for the masses, so I like dynamic equivilance more than formal equivilance.  But that’s just me, and how I understand the WCF, chapter 1.

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Today (Friday) was CavWife’s birthday.  We began the celebration last night.  (actually, we celebrate the whole month- she gets to choose any videos we rent, so it was a chick-flick fest last weekend)  We dropped the kids off at a friend’s and went out to Longhorn.  She must have been replaced by a pod because:

  1. She ordered something new.
  2. She ordered something more expensive than me.

She went for the Roasted Garlic Eye of Prime.  Yikes!  I got the Renegade, though Flo’s FIlet w/the peppered bacon was tempting.  But, if I went for that the hopes of having the gift card covering dessert would be hasta la vista.  We enjoyed not being interrupted by CavGirl.  I finished my meal (and plenty of bread), while she was true to form and had enough left over for another meal.  But she wanted to bring dessert home.  She wanted the Chocolate Stampede.  Apparently she didn’t realize it came with ice cream, and was very worried it would melt before we got home.

So, instead of taking advantage of the free babysitting and enjoying a stroll, or something, we went to pick up the kids.  They had not had dessert yet, so I got our dessert out of the car and discovered just how humongus this thing is.  Between the 2 of us and 3 kids there was only a little left for our friends.

Today I did most of the cooking.  She didn’t even want to think about what we were having.  For lunch I made some quesadillas w/mushrooms.  She loves those- especially when I toss in some fajita seasoning and chili powder.  CavGirl and I baked a chocolate fudge cake which I later frosted (chocolate cream cheese frosting- homemade).  It was a bit of a break in her traumatic morning.  She was being very selfish and had to be disciplined repeatedly- tainting her mother’s birthday.

For dinner I made one of my concoctions.  I cut up some chicken breasts, dipped the pieces in bread crumbs with pepper, paprika and garlic powder and then fried them in a skillet.  In another skillet I sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and spinach in olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper.  I served that with angel hair pasta.  CavGirl ‘helped’ me- during which time we talked about how we need God’s forgivness, and his help to love one another.  During dinner I did a few renditions of “Happy Birthday”.  The kids really didn’t enjoy my opera version.  But they liked my hip-hop “Stop” and my rendition of the beginning of “Space Trucking.”  My one redeeming quality- I make them all laugh.

After dinner, we forgot to enjoy the cake.  The kids had some for their snack … but during dinner made a huge mess.  Lost in the shuffle.  She’d tasted some earlier- so she really did like it.  And our neighbors did too. 

I think she had a good birthday……..

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This is Pastor Apprecation Month.  So, if you love your pastor- let him know.  I’m not currently pastoring a church- merely doing pulpit supply while I seek a new call.  But, I got a nice card the other day.

You both are a blessing and the message from God that you preached yesterday and other times truly blessed us.  Thank you!  You are using God’s gifts for good!  (I got a CD copy to use in discussion with friends.)  May God lift you up.

I needed that.  It has been a long, difficult path that we have walked this last few years.  We know we have so much to be thankful for.  But when you have to take your wife to dinner for her birthday with a gift card … you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Nice to know you are appreciated- and being used to further God’s kingdom.

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Considering Clothing


Boston.com photo
Boston.com photo

There needs to be a law against this?  I just …. don’t …. understand …. why.

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WTS Doesnt Have This???

WTS Doesn't Have This???

Henry Scougal gets to the heart of nominal Christianity in his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man.  This book is foundational for the ministries of such godly men as George Whitefield and John Piper.

“Men are unwilling to quarrel with the religion of their country, and since all their neighbors are Christians, they are content to be so too; but they are seldom at the pains to consider the evidences of those truths, or to ponder the importance and tendency of them; and thence it is that they have so little influence on their affections and practices.  Those ‘spiritless and paralytic thoughts,’ as one doth rightly term them, are not able to move the will, and direct the hand.  We must therefore endeavor to work up our minds to a serious belief and full persuasion of divine truths, unto a sense and feeling of spiritual things: out thoughts must dwell upon them, till we be both convinced of them and deeply affected with them.”

The nominal Christian “accepts” the doctrines of Christianity, but they make no difference in how they live because they do not love Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Christianity.  Their hearts are not moved to worship and obedience.

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In order to continue preaching regularly at the church we attend, I will have to be approved by the Presbytery to which they belong.  It is a sister denomination.  It is odd- I’m not receiving a call so I am not transferring into their Presbytery.  But in accordance with their Book of Church Order, I have to be licensed to preach the gospel in their Presbytery.

So, I have to be examined by them.  I will have something like an associate membership in their Presbytery, should I pass.

I’ve got 2 weeks to brush up for a written exam which must be done by the end of next week, and an oral exam on the 22nd.  Should I pass through the Committee, I will then be examined on the floor and preach for them.  If I had received a call to this church, I’d have fewer hoops.  It makes no sense to me- more work for less responsibility- but such is life.

My friends in that Presbytery tell me not to worry.  But I feel sucked into caring (inordinately?) about how I do.  I’m not a theological student, but a seasoned pastor.  I should have a more mature theological mind, and more developed pulpit skills than a student.  So I put pressure on myself.  Obviously I need their approval- but am I being driven by the approval of men?  Interesting question.

It might be the list of 300+ sample questions I got that I could be asked in my oral examinations.  Yes, and that is just theology.  So, I’ve got plenty of work ahead.  Since my “Theological Convictions” will be on public record, I may put them up here after the Committee.  Some people might find that interesting since they aren’t familiar with this whole process.  It shouldn’t be a mystery to people.  Between that additional work, and the playoffs, I’m not sure how much you’ll hear from me in the next few weeks.

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Globe staff/Jim Davis

Globe staff/Jim Davis

I was nearly jumping for joy with them after an exciting final 2 innings to last night’s game.  Jon Lester continues to build a reputation as a money pitcher, throwing 7 shutout innings that was nearly wasted by a spent bullpen.

Francona made an uncharacteristic mistake, I think, by pulling Okajima.  Another walk, a passed ball and Hunter’s timely hit tied that game.  Maybe Okalima would have surrendered a home run.  I don’t know.  But I didn’t like it then.

After Shields got the heart of our line up out in the 8th, I thought it was going to be another marathon session.  That is until the Angels had a man on 3rd in the 9th.  An incredible play by the Captain to end the threat.  Yes, a bit controversial- but the ball was knocked out by the ground, not the tag.  Like Cal Ripken, it would be interesting to see what the rule book actually states.  I think they made a reasonable call- but I am biased.  [what is different here from a play at the plate is that Varitek clearly had possession & control of the ball prior to the tag- he’d run 90 feet with it.  in a play at the plate, the action happens so fast the ump can’t be sure if the catcher has control of the ball until after the play is done.  if ESPN asked for my opinion to refute their ‘expert analysts’, I suspect they might go ‘hmmm, hadn’t thought of that.’]

It seemed like the Angels got a break on that ground rule double by Bay.  Especially when Teixeira grabbed that screaming line drive down the line.  But another Red Sox rookie came through as Lowrie dumped a single into right field so Bay could get home.  Awesome ending (unless you cheer for the Angels).

Now the Rays- a solid, gutsy team.  When the Rays won the regular season series the Sox were struggling with injuries to Lowell, Drew & Beckett.  Yes, Longoria and Crawford were out too.  What I didn’t know until yesterday was that Drew led the Sox with game-winning RBI, despite missing a good chunk of the season to back injuries.  His effortless defense, combined with that, gives him an edge of Crawford (a player I really like).

So now we see who is better- the battered Sox who just dispatched the team with the best record in baseball, or the upstarts who eliminated a one dimensional team in the White Sox.  Make no mistake- the Rays can win this series.  They are good enough and deep enough.  They got rid of the clubhouse distractions and have lots of character guys who also play very well.  This is no lopsided series.  The Rays have the Red Sox’ respect.

I think the Red Sox will win due to the intangibles.  It is not just having been there before- but succeeding there before.  They’ve developed a great system of scouting teams and prepping players that pays dividends in the playoffs.  They have a few days to put together a game plan they can execute.  That gives them an edge- not a guarantee, but an edge.  It should be fun to watch.

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Jesus and His disciples hid from the Pharisees and Sadducees in Ephraim.  When the time for the Passover drew near, they began the long journey to Jerusalem.  It is fairly safe to assume that He spent much of his time with the disciples preparing them for ministry, teaching them truth and encouraging them.  These were the Thunderous Twelve, twelve men prepared to serve.

At long last they arrive in Bethany and the home of Lazarus and his two sisters.  A meal is prepared and Martha, as usual, is busy serving dinner.  It seems one detail had been overlooked.  The journey would obviously dirty the feet of the men.  They had just been walking the dusty roads of Palestine.  Their feet would likely be soure and the skin cracked.  Who would don the towel and cleanse the feet of the Master relieving His discomfort?  Peter perhaps?  Or at least one of the twelve, right?

Mary comes forth with some oil for His feet, very expensive oil at that, to ease the soreness of a long journey.  She offered up what was most likely a protion of her dowry in an act of loving service.  The benefit of this act extends beyond Jesus as the soothing fragrance of oil filled the house.

John in his gospel contrasts Mary with Judas, who only thought of himself though he pretended to care for the poor.  He longed for the opportunity to steal a portion of the expensive perfume’s sale price, to line his pocket with ill-gotten gain.  Though he had just spent time alone with Jesus, he completely missed the point.  He was not alone in this respect, for not on of the twelve seems to have attended to their Master’s needs.  Mary is known for her faith and love, while Judas is known for unbelief and betrayal.  Yet both were known, at this point, as followers of Jesus.

We, like the disciples, should train, prepare and study.  Too often though we fail to get our hands dirty by serving others.  We can easily deceive ourselves into thinking we are not yet ready to serve.  But note who was with Jesus during this time in the wilderness.  Judas, not Mary, was there.  All the training in the world does not make a servant.  Mary did not have the training, but had the heart of a servant.  Very little training is required to love other people, but still we can hold back.  Training is good and necessary, but let us not neglect the examples of Jesus and Mary.  Let us not think too highly of ourselves to serve others in the service of the Gospel.  Let us never forget the words of James who rightly reminds us, “so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

[originally published in the July 1997 issue of Tabletalk Magazine (p. 37), published by Ligonier Ministries.]

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For hours last night I was wondering what in the world the Angels have to do to actually beat the Red Sox in the post season.  Look at that stat sheet and it should have been a blow out, not a 12-inning barn burner.

The Red Sox should NOT have been in that game.  Beckett was atrocious, but they were only down by 1 thanks to an outfield gaffe with 2 outs that enabled Jacoby to get the 1st 3 RBI single in post-season play.

The Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to put the game away, but failed.  Pedroia has struggled offensively this series.  He’s hitting that ball hard, but not finding any gaps.  If he starts to hit, we’re in good shape.

Lowell, on the other hand, looks like he needs Francona to sit him.  It’s painful watching him out there.  He’s got a huge heart and wants to compete, but those injuries have hobbled him significantly.  It is time for him to sit, putting Kotsay at first.

I was really hoping to seal the deal so Lester could start the next series (in Tampa?).  But if they do play in Tampa, Wake has a good history in the dome so maybe he should start Game 1.  But first the Sox have to beat the Angels.  They are a very good team, so it is not a guarantee.  But only a few teams have won a series after being down 0-2.  The Sox have the confidence to not panic at this point.  And the with Lester pitching in the friendly confines of Fenway, they have a good shot at finishing the series up tonight.

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Who said New England was a spiritual wasteland?  Okay, much of it is.  But I found some good sermons and lectures while visiting a website for a church in Portland, ME.

2006 Northern New England Presbytery (PCA) Missions Conference, Speaker Richard Pratt

2008 Northern New England Presbytery (PCA) Missions Conference, Speaker D.A. Carson

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Photo by Reuters

Photo by Reuters

Yes, I stayed up well past midnight, though I nearly fell asleep at 9.  I was in the intermediate state where I’m semi-conscious and snoring, but don’t realize it.  This is much to CavWife’s consternation.  I went to bed after Big Papi’s single in the 9th gave the Red Sox another insurance run.  I was confident enough in Papelbon to head to bed.

Keys to the Game

  • Jon Lester– he struggled early but worked his way out of trouble repeatedly.  A rare Jed Lowrie error on what would have been the 3rd out allowed the Angels to score their only run.  Since Lackey was shutting the Sox down, it looked like it may have been enough.  But Lester got better as the game wore on, getting his last 7 batters out.  He was still throwing a mid-high 90’s fastball after 100 pitches.  He continues on the path of establishing himself as an ace.
  • Jason Bay– after striking out twice, Jason got the Sox first hit with a man on base, driving a Lackey mistake into the left field seats to give the Red Sox the lead in the 6th.  He was 2-4 with 2 extra base hits in his first professional playoff game.  No jitters here!
  • Angels’ 8th Inning
  1. Jason Ellsbury made a fantastic catch to start the inning.  The Angels get that hit and the inning could have had a different outcome.  He saved rookie Justin Masterson from a messy situation.  His performance at the plate, and basepaths certainly didn’t hurt matters.  With Ellsbury on track the Red Sox are dangerous.
  2. Vlad moved like he was 300.  He moves like he is in constant pain.  As he sat on first base I was hoping this would be to our advantage.  It did when he tried to take 3rd on Hunter’s bloop single.
  3. Youkilis traps the bloop single and comes up throwing.  It was a great play by Youk to minimize the damage (probably a bit of luck too).  He didn’t give up on the play, and was able to throw out  the creeky Vlad at 3rd by 15 feet.  This kept Masterson out of a serious jam.

Though the Angels dominated the season series, the Red Sox continued their playoff domination of the Angels.  They have now won 10 straight against the Angels dating back to 1986.  They beat them in ’86, ’04 and ’07 on their way to the World Series.  But this series is NOT over- the Angels are a very good team.

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During our pastors’ meeting to discuss Nehemiah 6, Tim Rice relayed this information from a discussion with a former CFO of Publix.  It is helpful to understand a large economy, the issues that face our nation, and therefore how to wisely choose a candidate (there are NO perfect candidates, sadly).  I am not savvy enough to reproduce the diagram, so I’ll wing it.

For Profit Business => Owners, employees & dependents => Not for Profits => NFP employees & dependents => Poor, unemployed & dependents

The foundation of an economy is For Profit Business (FPB).  Those profits support the owners, employees and their dependents.  I know in this day, the idea of making profits seems barbaric. But profits are how a business stays in business and therefore support all those dependent upon them. Those businesses and people provide the funding for NFPs, both public and private.  The government is the public NFP which is funded by taxes.  The public NFPs are churches and social agencies that are funded by donations.  The more profit generated by the FPB, the more resources that are available to the NFPs. A government that wants to see revenues increase, wants to see the NFPs do well, not stifle them. It is simply increasing the pie, so the slices of the NFPs increase as well.

There is an inverse relationship between the public and private NFPs.  The more the government takes in taxes, the less that private NFPs end up receiving.  The employees and their dependents are dependent on how well the NFPs do, which is a result of how well the economy (read For Profit Business) does.  The poor and unemployed (and their dependents) rely upon the NFPs until they work for either the FPBs or NFPs.

(more…)

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Nehemiah’s enemies sought to promote fear.  Oddly, they feared him because they saw that he was getting the job done.  They knew they had to cripple or remove him somehow.  They sought to inspire fear in him & the people (the Hebrew word for fear is found in 6:9, 13,14 & 19).  Rather than fear man, Nehemiah feared God.  The tables are turned because after the wall is completed the surrounding nations were afraid.

One resource in exploring and addressing the fear of man is Ed Welch’s excellent book When People are Big and God is Small.  I can’t recommend it enough.

In doing some research for illustrations, I realized I wish I could play this Monty Python clip for them.

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One of the problems with how the “financial crisis” is being handled is the false notion that their is only one solution- one which expands the government’s involvement in ways that will create a bigger government and less personal accountability.

Financial Advisor Dave Ramsey lays out a different solution, which makes sense to those of us who want smaller government (and less corruption).  In 2004, the conservatives tried to address these problems but leading “progressives” like Barney Frank told us that “there was no evidence of financial unsoundness”, and that it was a hatchet-job on a Clinton advisor.  Why trust people like Frank to fix a problem they ignored for years?  Anyway, follow the link to Dave Ramsey’s Common Sense Fix since the WordPress editor keeps messing it up.

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