Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This old mic

It's amazing how this mic was used.



It's over 50 years old now and has been the mic that revolutionized popular culture in the 1950's and the sounds which went through this old mic still shape people today.

The voices that have went through this mic are well known to most Americans, and many, many people around the world. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis: all people who helped shape the culture of the 1950's and beyond.

Think about it.
All those voices through this old mic.

Think about other mics. Moses, David, Isaiah, John, Paul, Peter, and so on.
They carried the message of God and their impact is far greater and reaches far more than the impact of the voices of that old mic pictured up there.

While, I stood in awe of that old mic yesterday, and all the history it carries and the voices that have carried through it, I had to be reminded that those voices were nothing when compared to the voices that God has used for his kingdom.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I got my Compaq Presario R4000Z partial review

So far so good. Took it out of the box and set it up and it runs like a dream. I ordered it with 512 megs of RAM and it is lightning fast.
The wireless connection with high speed booster keeps me at 54mbs at all times with a good connection.

I just need this machine for general notetaking and school related items and it appears that it will be worth the money spent. (a little over $600)

My only beef is that I did not know it would be built in China after I ordered it and shipped via Fed Ex. I was hoping that it would be made in North America (preferable USA) and shipped UPS (where I work).
I ordered it on May 17 and it arrived on the 27th.

Good!!!

It seems that the pastor I talked about a couple of days ago has apologized for his unChristian behavior.

Instead of "The Koran Needs to Be Flushed" or whatever, he put, "Jesus is the only way", which is something I suggested in my blog.

I wonder if he read it??

Doubt it, but one can dream of their influence, right? ha!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Who Is This King of Glory?

Some people may first think of a Third Day song, but their inspiration came from David's exact question in Psalm 24.

Today that was my assigned text for a sermon I gave at the Health Center area where I intern.

Here's my outline.

I. The earth is the LORD’s.
A. Shows God’s government over the whole world.
1. David shows that God is interested in all nations.
2. David shows that the whole earth is God’s concern.
B. Shows God’s creation is delightful to him.
1. Worthy of our stewardship.
2. Worthy of our respect.

II. Worship is the LORD’s.
A. Hypocrites not welcome.
1. A holy God must be worshipped by sanctified people.
2. A holy God must be worshiped by an exclusive people.
B. Holy worshippers welcome.
1. They will be blessed.
2. They will be saved.

III. Honor is the LORD’s
A. The temple to be opened to him
1. Because of his might
2. Because of his Kingship
B. We should be opened to him.
1. He is God.
2. He is King.

Closed with:
There is a contemporary expression of this Psalm which is in a modern worship song and one lyric says:
Who is this King of Glory
With strength and majesty
And wisdom beyond measure
The gracious King of kings
The Lord of Earth and Heaven
The Creator of all things
He is the King of Glory
He‘s everything to me

If this King of Glory is everything to you, then not only is your life in the hands of the one who created all things, but you are counted with those who are in this passage, the generation of those who seek after the God of Jacob. You have a great reward, salvation, vindication, forgiveness and peace because the King of Glory, God, is your King.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Neal Clark Warren eat your heart out

Calvinist type singles unite! http://www.sovereigngracesingles.com/
When you just didn't think there could be anymore dating sites on the 'net here's another one!

The dude who owns this site is a great guy, from what I understand and have read, btw.

I'm not single, btw...very, very, happily, happily married.
I wouldn't mind seeing some of my single friends get married though, so I post for your benefit, because I care. http://www.sovereigngracesingles.com/

Tact, man, tact

I recently discovered this news story which describes a country Baptist church whose pastor put an anti-Koran message on their marquee.

This is a photo of the sign.



While I firmly believe that Jesus is the exclusive way to eternal salvation, and that Islam is not truth, I do not believe it is a good representation of the Gospel for Christians to be engaging in this sort of behavior. For one it is tacky, and we cannot get a message across in only a few short words. (what's wrong with "Jesus is the only way", it makes a more exclusive point?)

Now before some of you call me liberal, or culturally sensitive, think of the way that the Apostle Paul dealt with the false religions while in Athens in Acts 17. He did not say that Zeus needed to be flushed and that Greco-Roman thought was the pathway to hell, even though their pluralistic society was damned. He presented the Gospel to them with respect.

Today, we live in a pluralistic society that has changed the definition of tolerance to acceptance. Our postmodern culture tells us that all paths are equal and so on. I do not believe that, but I do believe that Christianity is not a faith that should seek to repel, but to draw people in. Yes, there are times when we need to point out the falacies in other philosophies and points of view, but when those times come, we need to look at the examples we have recorded for us in Scripture through the life of Christ, and the lives of the Apostles. There will be times when we must point truth out harshly to the self-decieved, but there are also times we must be gentle in our approach because we carry the name of Christ with us and when we represent act in reprehensible ways, we reflect upon him poorly.

Jesus told his disciples to be wise as snakes and harmless as doves, and telling people that their book needs to be flushed does not seem to fit that criteria.

Leaders in Christ's church must heed this and not set an example of confrontation and contempt to their congregation. They must always point out that grace brought them into the kingdom, not contention, and that gracious is how the Gospel should be lived.

Another Partial Review of Jesus: An Intimate Portrait by Leith Anderson

I was pondering this book again and I have come to the conclusion that it is an extremely practical work that could be implemented in a small group, or even a teaching type setting.

Here's why.

It is set up in a way that one could cover one chapter per lesson. It is extremely well written and accessible, so there would be no worries about the class being intimidated.
Right now, I have even begun using it as a guide for a Bible study I am conducting on the life of Jesus.
Since it is basically a "souped up" harmony of the Gospels with more contextual information and presented in a format that is easily attained by the modern ear, even one which is unchurched, there is a great wealth of information that could be easily used for discussion questions, as well as general learning.

Another thing that is helpful is that Dr. Anderson still maintains the Divine aspect of Christ's nature. Since Christians believe that Christ was fully human and fully God at the same time, Anderson presents his material this way. He also adds some touches to show the human side of Jesus which anyone could relate to without sacrificing the Deity of Jesus as well. This is another good aspect which would help a new Christian understand the importance of Jesus life, death and resurrection on this earth. It also helps the reader to understand that Jesus was part of a culture, though different from ours, but still a culture nonetheless, and because of that, he does understand the struggles and pressures that we go through even today because he experienced life on this earth as well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ever think about heaven?

Today, I was with Brian, the other chaplain I serve with, and he was talking to a lady about things. She's in bad shape, her memory is nearly gone and there's not much left for her to hold on to.
Well, Brian read from 1 Peter 1 and to see the transformation on her face nearly brought tears to my eyes. She then began speaking to him about heaven, and he to her. He told her that God prepared a special place for her and she began beaming with excitement and joy and she said, "I know!"

Now, she was not in a state where she wanted to die, but she is looking forward to heaven and being with our Lord.

Sometimes, I think it is good to think about that. Not that heaven is the only thing to think about, an escape if you will, but to think about our future and how at the end, we will truly be saved from all that is to come.

1 Peter 1:8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Partial review of Jesus: An Intimate Portrat by Leith Anderson

I recieved this book as a gift from Mind and Media in order to post a review from the publisher. If you are interested in finding out how to do what I am doing, click the Mind and Media logo on my website.

Before I began reading this book, I must admit that I approached it with trepedation because I thought that it was just another attempt at a historical Jesus which does not accept the supernatural aspects of the Gospel accounts.
I was wrong, dead wrong. In fact, this is one of the most important aspects of this book, Dr. Anderson appears to have a a high regard for the Biblical story as truth. For that much I would commend anyone.

As I began reading this book, it was like reading a biography and I realize, how would one go about writing a biography about Jesus? He's the most debated, fought over, revered, hated and well-known person in human history, but Leith Anderson took this challenge and gives a faithful representation of Jesus, fully God and fully man.

The two key things I will highlight in this initial review will be context and accessibility.

Anderson does an excellent job when dealing with the context. It is obvious that he did his homework and that he had a great team to rely on as well. Even in the beginning he explains the cultural difficulties that would have caused so much pressure on Mary and Joseph from what would have went on in their minds from facing the birth of a son that could not be explained, to the difficulties of travelling to Bethlehem.
He also pays careful attention to detail with regards to the cities that are mentioned in the Gospel accounts, as well as the types of people who are mentioned as well. He did well to explain the cultural stigma shepherds carried with them, the cultural barriers between men and women, and the cultural outcasts that we so often read about in the Gospels from sick people to prostitutes. This is probably one of the most strong aspects of this book, and I believe, it would help serve as an aid to udnerstanding the context which Jesus and his disciples were living in.

This leads me to my second point, accessiblity. This book is completely accessible to anyone who is able to read. Anderson does such a maticulous job at presenting the life of Jesus in a simple way that it even makes this seminarian take pause and reflect at the simplicity of the Gospel message. The simple use of language and descriptors would be a valuable tool for a new Christian, or any Christian to sit and read this book in order to learn about Jesus' life. It also helps someone who is not familiar with "Christian speak" or familiar with the Bible learn much complicated information in an easy to read and understand format. He also takes a simple dynamic approach to the translation of the dialogues from the Gospels. To me, this was a little choppy, but still it makes the message understandable and clear.

These two aspects alone make this book worth reading, but I will list more throughout the week in order to give this work justice.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Oh how the years go by

Ten years ago last week, I graduated from high school. I remember what a huge milestone that was for me and how I thought I had my life all figured out.
Ten years later.....my plans from wayyy back then did not pan out, and I'll actually admit that I don't have my life all figured out.
I will say that God has been very, very good to me because I honestly believe that I would be miserable if things had turned out how I wanted them.
My wife is 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 to the gazillionth time better than the person I thought I'd end up with.
My vocation will be more fulfilling (once I'm out of seminary) than my original intentions, and I realize that money isn't all that matters.

As I have pondered all the many changes that have happened in my life over the past 10 years, I have just been awestruck at how patient God has been with me and how he gently leads and prods me along through my life journey.
I've gone through ups and downs in life: rebellion, anger, hate, love, service, devotion, and so on and so on, but still God has loved me unconditionally.
It's amazing to think that when God makes a promise, He really keeps it.
He is always faithful, even when I am not.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Worship for May 22

Here's the order of service that I will be leading this Sunday.

MAY 22, 2005

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

PRELUDE

CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 100 in Unison

1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD all ye lands
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
come before his presence with singing
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God
It is he who hath made us, and not we ourselves
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving
and into his courts with praise;
be thankful unto him and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his mercy is everlasting;
his truth endureth to all generations.

*HYMN OF WORSHIP #64 All Creatures of Our God and King

*INVOCATION

CONFESSION OF SIN Psalm 32:1-4 in unison

1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.


ASSURANCE OF PARDON Psalm 32:5

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

CONFESSION OF FAITH The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead and buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Amen.


HYMN #92 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling



PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION AND THE LORD’S PRAYER

“Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.”


SERMON TEXT Luke 10:38-41

LK 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

SERMON “Martha, Mary, or a Little Bit of Both?”

Chaplain Intern Bobby Griffith Jr.

I. Martha Opened her home
A. Hospitable
1. Martha’s sacrifice.
2. Martha’s service.
B. Hostile
1. Martha’s distraction.
2. Martha’s disapproval.

II. Mary Opened her heart
A. Devoted
1. Mary’s submission.
2. Mary’s service.
B. Discerning
1. Mary’s desire.
2. Mary’s decision.


III Jesus Observed their hearts
A. His contrast
Martha’s choice
1. Intended for good, but selfish.
2. Temporal.
Mary’s choice
1. Intended for good, and selfless
2. Eternal.
B. His concern
Martha was worried about the temporal, Mary was focused on the eternal.
1. Temporal matters should have an eternal focus.
2. An eternal focus puts the temporal in perspective.

What can we take away from this story?
1. Right actions with the wrong motivations are wrong actions.
Keeping our motives in check
At the retirement center (sorry, I keep the name confidential on the web)
With family
With friends (church/other)
2. We must keep our focus on Christ.
Temptations of busyness.
Ourselves
Our family
Our friends

*HYMN #42 Seek Ye First


*BENEDICTION Numbers 6:24-26

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." Amen.
*POSTLUDE

Thursday, May 19, 2005

How do we do it?

I was talking with a friend today about how to make a church welcoming without compromising. I know of one really good example of someone who does this and that is Tim Keller, and I think the reason Redeemer is able to do this is because of love.

I know that sounds so warm and fuzzy, and maybe even liberal to an extent, but I really don't mean it that way. I just think that Christians should embody the Gospel in such a way that it is attractive to people who know they are needy inside, but maybe can't quite figure out why. It seems that Jesus attracted people that, frankly, a lot of us wouldn't want in our church doors. But we should be attracting the 21st century version of publicans and sinners (sinners are sinners in every century), but somehow I feel like we're not trying hard enough.

Maybe we need to get out of our comfort zones and start reaching out to our publicans and sinners because if you really think about it, the only thing that separates us is God's grace, which isn't something to brag about, but share.

I dunno...I'm really just rambling so if anyone else has thoughts on this post them.

Good, Evil and Star Wars Episode III

Yes, I was one of the millions of geeks who went to a 12:01 showing of Episode III this morning. I do not intend to give anything away if you haven't seen it, so feel free to read on.

I really just want to comment upon one thing that struck me by watching that movie. George Lucas showed evil for what it really is. I think that this film was a good study in how embracing evil can affect all parts of your life, internally and externally. It showed the effects on how embracing evil destroys family, friends, and yourself.
It showed how evil distorts your worldview and how it really affects more than just a small group of people.
Granted, it was only a movie, but I can say that I saw good demarcation between good and evil, and I appreciate the fact that Lucas didn't blur those lines one bit.

Oh, and here's a pic from last night. :)


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Rant

Now, I know I regularly speak of things theological and whatnot, but today I have to use some space for a ranting about customer service at electronics stores.

I mean no offense to any of you who may work at Best Buy, Circuit City, etc., but I have to complain about something.

Recently, I have been shopping for a laptop, and I am on a budget, so I get the new Best Buy circular and see a good deal on a particular model which fits the specifications I need at a good price. So, Jen & I go to Best Buy and begin looking at this model; the salesman comes to help, and instead of trying to SELL me the product I am expressing interest in, he tries to talk me out of what I want and then proceeds to attempt to sell me something that is out of my budget and beyond what I need. How is that good salesmanship? I have a minor in marketing, have taken sales classes, and sold advertising for a few years and I know that's not how to sell a product. Nearly every time I have gone to Best Buy, they never want to sell me what is in their ad, but rather, sell me something that I have said I don't want.

I just don't get it.
And because of that, I do most of my shopping online where I can get what I want without having someone try and talk me out of it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Today

I ordered one of these.


a Compaq Presario R4000Z. I got a really good deal at Office Depot. It will cost me just under $600 after rebates.

The heart of the matter....

is the matter of the heart.

That's been a series that Dr. Benton has been preaching since this past September at church. It's been a good one because he's taken the characters from I Samuel and approached their actions from heart motives. I have greatly benefited from listening to these sermons and thinking of ways that I can apply them.

Yesterday was the classic text in I Samuel, from chapter 16, where Samuel anoints David as King. As Dr. Benton was explaining and applying the text, something clicked. During his application, he pointed out that many times we follow the standards of our culture to base our opinions on people, looks, money, etc, but God's not interested in that, it's the heart. He knows our hearts.
What hit me in that was sobering because I do a good job at keeping the external appearances of a guy who's got it all together. I dress right for whatever occasion it may be, I'm married to an awesome Godly woman, we go to a good church in an affluent neighborhood, I'm in seminary, and I work as a chaplain intern at an affluent retirement center where I counsel and preach and do all the outward things that make me look good. But all those externalities mean nothing to God, if my heart is focused on me and pleasing myself and making myself look good on the outside.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Obsessing over theology

I read an editorial in World Magazine yesterday and it was exactly what I needed. The writer, a seminary graduate, was thinking back to his days as a student and seeing someone who was more obsessed with the Gospel than the most minute points of theology.
That article couldn't have come at a better time for me because I am coming off another semester, actually year, of seminary and I've learned a lot of good things. But in the end all those good things I've learned are meaningless if I don't keep Christ as my focus.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

One more year down....

Yesterday I completed my second year at Covenant Theological Seminary. The end is drawing closer and closer.......

Monday, May 09, 2005

This is finals week

My posting this week will be minimal. I am so sorry. I have pithy things to say, but I am in the middle of an exegetical paper on Romans 10:5-13, and I think I bit off more than I really wanted to chew.



Go here to hook me up.... it's not a gimmack. It's a real contest, and the place doesn't spam you.
May Giveaway

Friday, May 06, 2005

Challenges in evangelism

When we consider the more popular methods of evangelism they range from the good old fashioned tent meetings, to door to door visitations, and so on.
As we become more and more of a post-Christian society (post Christian meaning Christianity is not a dominate influence in the culture) we find it increasingly harder to knock on a post-modern's door, share the simple Gospel and see fast results.

This happens for many reasons.
We are becoming a less churched society. This is a positive and negative thing. On one hand it keeps people from the false assurance of trusting in their religiosity, but on the other it makes people more skeptical of Christianity.

We are becoming a more pluralistic society. Go to any large city and look in the phone book to see the religious faiths which are represented. I would dare say that in most cities which near the 1,000,000 resident range, almost every faith is represented. At the time of the New Testament, the Roman Empire boasted one of the most pluralistic societies known to mankind. That was a time like today, "your truth" is "your truth".

How do we compete?
We must believe in the truth of Christianity.
We must live the truth of Christianity.
We must not see evangelism as a quick sell, but rather establish meaninful relationships with people, even if they never come to Christ.
We must love people and not spend our time bashing them. This means we must separate the sin from the sinner.

I think we should heed Martin Luther's advice when he said, the church is a "hospice" for the sick. We need to realize that not everyone who comes to us is "like us" and we must be patient, loving and respond to their needs in love; just like Christ did for us.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

More on evangelism and apologetics

Continuing the vein from yesterday, I want to jot a few thoughts on apologetics. I used to see this a mostly an intellectual endevor. One proof countering another proof, until suddenly, if I had the right amount of proofs, one could show beyond a shadow of a doubt that God existed, their beliefs were correct, therefore you should respond NOW!
Unfortunately, I think this is how most Christians view apologetics. It's really unfortunate because there are valid ways of using the classical approach, evidentialist approach, presuppositional approach, or reformed epistemology approach. But here's the deal, we have to add legs to those approaches.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that what ever method we employ to "prove Christianity" must have some incarnational aspects to us. We, as Christians, can be the best apologetic anyone has ever seen. We must show through our lives that our beliefs actually make a difference. When we say we believe the Bible to be true and that Christianity is true, we must back that up with how we live.
Once people see us living out the truth we profess, we engage in incarnational apologetics. We live out that which we say is truth.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May 3, 1999

That was six years ago and I remember driving to a church meeting on I-35 from Norman through Moore, to Oklahoma City.

Below is what missed me by about 20 minutes, and what missed my parents in the Bridge Creek/Tuttle area by only a few less than that.

Amazing.....



The language of evangelism

Last week, I read the book The Heart of Evangelism by one of my professors, Jerram Barrs. I know his methods from having him as an apologetics professor, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way he has carried on the Francis Schaeffer legacy. One thing that struck me more in his book, than in any other place so far, was that of the language we should be using for evangelism.

His point really makes sense, "speak the right language". I think that many times we become bogged down in our christian subculture and become so insulated that we are unable to communicate God's truth in a relevant manner. I do not mean water down the message, I do mean make it accessible. Often times we use words, "good", "evil", "God" and so on without defining them for the person we are talking to and they have no clue what we mean because they think something different. Use the word "God" to a Muslim, Hindu, or skeptic and you will get three entirely different answers.

We must train ourselves and the people in our churches to learn to understand this. And when we do, our people will have better training to spread God's truth.

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