Wednesday, January 31, 2007

God is Merciful

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

We do not deserve God’s love, yet He feels compassion toward us. We deserved death yet we received life through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with boldness draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Philip

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Homeschool is Dangerous

I read a fascinating article in World Magazine last night. Try this link to read the article.

The article started out talking about a recent PBS television segment on home schooling in America. What was interesting is when they interviewed Professor Robert Reich from Stanford University.

From his place of infinite wisdom he said the state has an “interest in knowing that children are growing up to become well-rounded public citizens.” Is his concern that homeschooled kids are not very good at mathematics, or that they’re having a problem getting into Stanford or could it be that they can’t read very well? Well that doesn’t seem to be what he’s worried about.

Here is another quote: "If parents can control every aspect of a kid's education, shield them from exposure to the things that the parents deem sinful or objectionable, screen in only the things which accord to their convictions—and not allow them exposure to the world of a democracy—will the children grow up then basically in the image of their parents, servile to their own parents' beliefs?"

Well, how’s that? Now we see what he’s really worried about. It’s not the academics, but who gets to control what the children believe and what kind of environment they are raised in.

This article made me think back when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no say in what the public schools taught their children. Parents were told that when they send their kids to the public school they had to accept what the public school decided was best for the children to learn.

The cultural elite think they know what’s best for our children. But their objective is not that the kids are well-rounded but that they conform to their image. Apparently, it takes a village to raise a child – a village where the parent has limited input.

An interesting comment in the story was by Bruce Short a homeschooling attorney. Here is what he said about Reich’s comments: “Reich's attack is fundamentally ideological. What he is really objecting to is not the ineffectiveness of homeschooling, but its effectiveness. A homeschooled child is effectively a child outside the grasp of the state and, therefore, outside the grasp of those who control the state's educational institutions. He fears that these children will have a worldview of which he disapproves and that he finds threatening. That is what drives Reich. His real concern is not 'ethical autonomy' or the welfare of children in any conventional sense; it is ideological control.”

Very good article! I guess things like this are to be expected as we impact our world.

Philip

God is My Upholder

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.

God sustains, refreshes, and revives me. I can lean on Him

Psalm 119:116 Uphold me according to your promise. That I may live and let me not be put to shame in my hope.

When I am weak, he is strong.

Philip

Monday, January 29, 2007

God is My Fortress

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 48:3 … God has made himself known as a fortress.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliver, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

God protects those who trust in him. God is the place we can go for protection. Think of forts. They may be up in a tree or up on a hill behind some rocks. There are many advantages of them. You’re both protected and have a high place to hurt the enemy if they try to attack.

God’s fort will never fail.

Philip

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Who’s Your Daddy?

Mt 23:9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Have you ever thought of what this verse means?

If you look in many commentaries, they will reference the Roman Catholic Church and the priest who is called father.

I think the meaning is completely different from that. Here is why. For one thing, when Jesus spoke those words, He wasn’t speaking in English so he didn’t use the word father. Transliterated, the word he used was pater.

Looking at the word in it’s original language we get an understanding of what Jesus meant to convey. Pater or father is the one who is the provider, sustainer and upholder. Therefore, with that understanding, what we can get from this is that Jesus was saying that we should only look to our heavenly Father in that way.

Who is your Daddy? Is there a person who you look to for provision, sustenance and upholding? Do you think of yourself in that way? Are you self-made and don’t want to admit that you need help from anywhere?

This verse has been a comfort to me through the years. I know it is my responsibility to work hard but I look beyond myself for the ultimate provision. I know that I am a branch and without the vine, I will wither. God is the one who holds me up. I don’t have the strength in myself. I point my family beyond me to God. I want them to know the one true Father.

God’s my Daddy and He’s the best Father!

Philip

God is My Joy

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy.

Key to joy: Ps 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is the fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Benefits of joy: Nehemiah 8:10 …the joy of the LORD is your strength. Ps 21:6 You make him glad with the joy of your presence.

Joy is not dependent on circumstances.

Joy is much better than happiness. The mantra of the world is. “Whatever makes you happy.” Many times that is an excuse for doing something wrong or unwise. In the end, happiness isn’t always achieved and many times the result is sorrow.

Hanging out with God and recognizing who and what He is brings joy. Along with it comes gladness, excitement, contentment, satisfaction, triumph and cheerfulness.

Another key to joy is right priorities. Here is a picture of that:

Jesus
Others
Yourself

Philip

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Marriage Prayer

I came across this as I was thinking about my son's upcoming wedding. What great words!

BY LOUIS H. EVANS

O God of Love, Thou hast established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Thine was the plan and only with Thee can we work it out with joy. Thou has said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a help meet for him." Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens now are halved when we share them – we divide the load.

Bless this husband. Bless him as provider of nourishment and clothing. Sustain him in all the pressures of his labors for bread. May his strength be her protection, his character be her pride, and may he so live that she will find in him the haven for which the heart of woman truly longs.

Bless this loving wife. Give her tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in Thee. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.

Teach them that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two joining hands to serve Thee. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things shall be added unto them.

May they not expect of each other the perfection that belongs alone to Thee. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes.

Now make such assignments to them in Thy will as will develop their characters as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Thine, and enough success to encourage them in their walk with Thee.

May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, "Out of all this world you have chosen me."

When life is done, may they be found then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve Thee happily, faithfully, together, until as last one shall lay the other into the arms of God.

This we ask through Jesus Christ, great lover of our souls.

Amen.

Religion Rights Bill

This is an interesting article about a bill introduced in the Colorado legislature. The goal is to protect the constitutional rights of students and school staff in the public schools.

Sadly, in a Democrat controlled legislature it probably won’t get very far.

I have seen first hand some of the abuses that a bill like this could address. Every spring and fall, a group of us go to area high schools to pass out prolife literature. Most of the time the administration and teachers do everything they can to prevent the students from getting the literature. I have noticed many times where a teacher will set a trashcan by the front door and then tell the entering students to throw the literature in the trash.

Some years ago at East High in Denver, a teacher came out on the sidewalk and told the students that he would fail them in his class if they took the literature.

In both of these examples is it already a recognized right of the students to take the literature and to take it with them into the school. What a bill like this one would do is to try to make the rights that already exist more recognized in the schools.

I know there are many times that administrators are simply ignorant of what the Constitution says and sometimes they know and don’t care. In both of these cases, a problem would be fixed.

Some people would oppose the bill, being concerned that teachers and students with weird religious beliefs would be able to promote their views as well. I have two things to say about that. One is that those views are probably already allowed as it is usually Christianity that is discriminated against. The second thing is that when all views are put on the table, truth becomes very clear.

Through my years of passing out literature in front of the schools and the conversations I have had with the students it has become very clear to me that there is a lot of indoctrination going on. Almost as automatons, many of the students parrot the same tired lines that a little common sense or logic would disprove. It is always so interesting to see the puzzled look on their face as their objections and questions are answered. It is obvious that many of them have never heard the other side.

Anyway, I think this bill would be a good idea. What do you think? Do you see any negatives?

Philip

God is Trustworthy

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 40:4 How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust.

We can do this because of what He has done in the past for others and for us. We can place our confidence in Him and rely on Him.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will trust in the name of the LORD, our God. Psalm 20:7

We will never be disappointed when we place our trust in God. He will always do what is best for us.

Philip

Friday, January 26, 2007

God’s Steadfast Love

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 36:5,7 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens. How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!

Steadfast love = mercy, lovingkindness, devotion, unchanging love.

How amazing that God loves me this way. His love never changes. He loves me no matter how much I mess up.

He loves me enough to discipline me. Hebrews 12:6

He loved me before I knew Him, while I was still a sinner. Romans 5:8

Lord, please help me to show love like this to others.

Philip

Thursday, January 25, 2007

God Forgives

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 32:1, 5 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

So unlike humans, when God forgives the sin is remembered no longer. Heb 10:17

To be forgiven, I must repent. For a holy God to extend forgiveness, the shedding of blood is required. Heb 9:22

I thank God that I am forgiven because of what Jesus died on the cross.

Philip

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

God is My Light

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

God illumines my path. He makes the darkness flee. He shines the light on my life so sin and the dark places can be exposed.

He gives light in my life so it can shine before men who will then give glory to God. Mt 5:16.

Philip

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

God is My Shepherd

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps 23
He takes care of me; I shall not lack. He guides me into good places. He provides food and rest. He brings restoration and righteousness. I don’t need to fear my enemies. He brings goodness and mercy to me and I get to live with Him forever.

Philip

Monday, January 22, 2007

God is My Deliverer

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 22:4-5 In You our fathers trusted; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.

Psalm 22 begins with King David expressing the feeling of being forsaken by God and of deliverance being far off.

Then he shows the proper steps. We don’t wallow in that feeling. Start by remembering that God is holy and that those (including ourselves) who trust in Him are not disappointed.

As we look around we will see many enemies and terrors. In the midst of these things we need to look beyond and see our God the deliverer.

Philip

Sunday, January 21, 2007

God is My Strength

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 18:1-2 I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

God is my strength. It’s not from me. I don’t have it in myself. I trust Him to be all these things in my life.

Verse 20 lists the condition: The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me. We must receive the work of Jesus on the cross. Verse 21 talks of a continued walk in the truth: For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

We will have to fight in the battle but the strength and victory will be from Him.

Philip

A Bible Study Method

Martin Luther said he studied his Bible in the same way he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. He admonishes us: "Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it rapidly, as you would any book. Then shake every limb - study book after book. Then shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do not break the sense. Then shake each twig, by careful study of the paragraphs and sentences. And you will be rewarded if you will look under each leaf, by searching the meaning of the words."

From Promises
A Daily devotional written by Dr. Bill Bright

Saturday, January 20, 2007

God Seems to Hide

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 10:1 Why, O lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide Yourself in times of trouble?

Psalm 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

It seems that God is gone and the wicked seem to be getting away with oppression and sin. But it is not so. Psalm 10:14 shows that God is watching and has the situation in His hands. We can commit ourselves to Him and He will be our helper.

Psalm 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

God is not hiding. We just don’t know all He is up to.

Philip

Friday, January 19, 2007

God is Majestic

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 8:1, 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Psalm 8:3 I ponder the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place. God is so big.

Yet verse four points out that God thinks of me and cares for me.

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks and remember what you have done. Those who know your name (fame, renown) put their trust in you.

It’s not blind faith. I look around and see the works of God and I have experienced His work in me.

Philip

Thursday, January 18, 2007

God is a Judge

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 7:8 The Lord judges the peoples; vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.

Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who feels indignation every day.

God judges justly. We will be judged as we stand in the righteousness of Christ or receive a severe judgment if repentance is refused.

Psalm 7:12-13 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts.

Here is what I will do: v17 I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

We can be God’s friend and not have to be afraid of Him because of what Christ has done on the cross.

Philip

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

God is Listening

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 4:3 …the Lord hears when I call to Him.

Psalm 5:3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.

The good thing is that God doesn’t listen like I do sometimes. Those times when someone (usually my wife) is saying something and it may appear that I am listening but my mind and sometimes my eyes are somewhere else.

God listens intently and the answers are always for my good.

The only time God doesn’t listen is when I hide sin. Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

Philip

Don’t Worry…Be Thankful

From my morning reading.

Receive every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour. Look at no inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed day of thy prosperity. That state is best, which exerciseth the highest faith in, and fullest resignation to God.
William Law.

From Daily Strength For Daily Needs
- Mary Tileston

Wow! This really fit today. I left a guy’s night fellowship last night to find that my work van wouldn’t start. Messed around with it awhile then called a tow truck. Today, I am waiting to hear what’s wrong. First guess would be a fuel pump.

So, it was good to be reminded this morning that God wants me to trust Him. Another thing I was reading was also about difficult experiences we may be going through. The challenge in it was first to look for unconfessed sin that God might be dealing with. Second, was to know that God uses many things to help us grow closer to Him. The action point was to write down on paper any known weaknesses or sins that are plaguing me today. The thing that came to mind was worry. I hate waiting to hear about a car repair as the news is not often good. I hate it more when it is my work vehicle.

The verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:6-7. Here is my paraphrase: Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything with thanksgiving. Then God’s amazing peace will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

That’s what I’m working on today.

Philip

PS Just heard from the shop. It is the fuel pump, about $750 to fix it. So, part of the waiting is over. I’m thankful for good mechanics and that God is a good provider.

Attack of the Bibles

This is from April of 2006. I came across it today and was reminded how funny it was. It was on the editorial pages of the Rocky Mountain News.

Attack of the Bibles

The University of Denver student newspaper, The Clarion, has published this item under its current "crime report": "On Thursday, April 6, at 10:30 a.m., Campus Safety responded to the report of harassment at Old IIiff Hall. An on-scene investigation revealed an unknown party left Bibles in front of three Iliff staff member offices, which made the staff members feel uneasy. The party is suspected to be an Iliff student. Campus Safety completed a report."

Free Bibles unnerved staff at the Iliff School of Theology? Maybe it's time someone brushed up on the core curriculum.

Vincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes On Point several times a week.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

God is My Shield

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 3:3 You, O Lord, are a shield around me.

“O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, "There is no deliverance for him in God." But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people!” (Ps 3:1-8 NAS95)
God is my defender if I will let Him be.

Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

Like a little kid running to mom or dad and hiding behind them, that’s what I want to do with the Lord.

I don’t have to be the tough guy. I don’t have to defend myself physically or emotionally. God can do the job…if I will let Him.

He can be aggressive too. If someone needs it, He can smack their face or break their teeth.

Philip

A Crowded Womb

A crowded womb

A friend sent this link my way. Some cool info on advanced ultrasound.

Kissing in the womb?

Philip

Monday, January 15, 2007

God is a Refuge

Meditations on the attributes of God.

Psalm 2:12 How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

God is a place of safety. I can turn to Him for assistance and security. He can be a shelter from danger and hardship. I will be blessed when I let Him be all these things.

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite Psalms. Here is what it says:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down. "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.”He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. "With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation."” (Ps 91:1-16 NAS95)
Psalm 91 has been a great encouragement to me through the years. Sometimes (most of the time) I find it hard to believe. Will God really do that for me?

I would say God is faithful. He has provided a good job for me. I don’t know all of the dangers He has kept away but I believe He has. I am thankful for my lot in life.

I will seek to give Him a greater place in my life so I can experience even more of what it means for Him to be my refuge.

Philip

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Air I Breathe

I read this book a couple years ago. It’s written by Louie Giglio who started the Passion Worship Conferences. My son, who is our church worship leader, is going to teach a class on it beginning next week. He encouraged me to read the book in one sitting. I did that today. It is a smaller book and took maybe two hours to read.

I’m really glad I took his advice. It was good to reread the book and the one-sitting approach helped me to grasp the books message in a much better way.

If you want to understand worship in a whole new way, this is the book to take you there. The reality is that we are all worshippers and we worship all day long. The question is, what or who do we worship. A point of the book is that worship is our response to what we value most.

So how do you know where and what you worship? It's easy. You simply follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your allegiance. At the end of that trail you'll find a throne; and whatever, or whomever, is on that throne is what's of highest value to you. On that throne is what you worship.

Whatever you worship, you imitate; whatever you imitate, you become.
Do you want to see intense worship? Go to a rock concert or sporting event!

God wants me to know Him. Augustine said: “you have made us for thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless, until they find rest in thee.” How much time do we spend trying to fill the God shaped hole?

God is seeking true worshippers. It’s not the songs we sing but people who have responded to His drawing, who respond to His revelation of Himself, who respond to what He has done for us, who respond to who He IS! It’s people who are living the songs.

We get to know God through the Bible. There is a great suggestion of keeping a journal for a month. The idea is to read in Psalms each day until you find an attribute of God that grabs you. Then you meditate on it, write about it and carry it with you through that day.

Once we are worshipping God individually, we can join together as the church.
Most of my life, I thought that you went to church to worship. But now I see that the better approach is to go worshiping to church.

Trust me, church is a lot better when our meetings are filled with people who have been pursuing God for six days before they get there. Church as a "refill" or a "tank-up" is a disaster. Corporate worship works best when we arrive with something to offer God, as opposed to coming only to get something for us.
I’m thankful for this book and I’m looking forward to the class. I want to grow in this area and it will be good to grow together with other believers.

Philip

The Air I Breathe on Amazon

Friday, January 12, 2007

Who Is Your God?

From my morning reading

Who Is Your God?

Ecclesiastes 5:12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

I once heard a pastor comment that people today are as much idolaters as were the people of the Old Testament period. What makes it worse today is that they do not know that they are guilty of idolatry. Here's the crucial question: Before what altar do you worship? Is it money? Is it position? Is it sex, alcohol, drugs, materialism, success, or anything else than God? If it is, you are bowing before a pagan deity.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 is instructive. Solomon certainly was not talking merely about those who have money and those who do not, for that is too narrow and too small an interpretation of this verse. The laborers are the servants of God, namely, those who use their gifts in loving Him and in loving their neighbors. They can sleep at night in the assurance that they have worked for God and improved the quality of life for others. In contrast, the rich are those who use their gifts to indulge themselves.

The righteous have made God's love real. They have satisfied the hungers of neighbors who hurt and struggle and, in doing so, found peace and rest for themselves. The wicked "rich," on the other hand, have found only indigestion and heartburn in their excess. They live in fear of the thief, the beggar, or anyone who would challenge their position. They worship and are controlled by what they have. What about you? What is on your altar? Are you controlled by God or the idols of the world?

Dear Lord, please give me the wisdom and grace to worship and serve only You. Amen.

From GOD'S MAN
A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character
Edited by: Don M. Aycock

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement

The sky is falling; the sky is falling! That how author Lauren Sandler sounds to me.

I saw a review of this book in the newspaper several months ago and immediately ordered it from the library. I had to wait until last week to get it; a lot of people are reading it.

I wonder if they read it like I did or did they read it with a sense of foreboding hysteria? That is how the book is written.

Here is what it’s about. It seems that something horrible is going on. Young people are becoming Christians; lots of them! They are living out their faith. They want to change the culture and the world. And they are doing it.

Second problem from Sandler’s perspective is that the 60’s left has already solved the world’s problems and now someone is messing with it. With urgency, they must mimic what Christian youth are doing and win back the generation.

Fat chance! The reality is that youth are sick of the legacy they have been left. They are sick of broken homes, drugs, illicit sex and empty lives. It reminds me of the Jesus Movement back in the 70’s. It was fueled by the 60’s generation. Again, we have a generation that wants liberation from liberation.

Aside from Sandler’s ongoing rant, the book was fascinating. It gave me great encouragement. I learned of some righteous things going on with the youth of today.

Here are some of the things she is so afraid of: Conversion, youth being transformed! She writes about Acquire the Fire and Teen Mania as dangerous and subversive movements.

Next is the Cornerstone Music Festival. It has been around since 1984 and draws tens of thousands each year. She acts like Woodstock was copyrighted and no one else should be able to do the same sort of thing, especially if they are Christians. A part of the festival is Rock for Life, a national grassroots network turning young people against abortion by using music as a connector. What freaks her out is that they don’t believe in birth control either – it’s terrifying that the hard won rights are being abandoned.

Next is Mars Hill Church which has it’s home in ultra liberal Seattle. It’s not fair! How could a church experience explosive growth in such a sacred place? By the thousands, the hip are coming and being transformed. And horrors of horrors, the wives are staying home and having lots of babies. They will take over by sheer numbers!

Then there is the outreach to the skateboarders. Churches set up and mission groups organized just to reach them. Again, it’s just not fair.

We have sons following in their fathers ministry footsteps. There are righteous rappers, home schooled kids subverting the culture and Christian colleges raising up future leaders. Evolution is being challenged at the university level – and making inroads. And most scary of all, there are nuts who believe that Jesus is going to come back and this world is going to end.

Awesome! There is hope for the future.

You would do well to read this book. It’s interesting to see how the Lord’s opponents view Christians and what the Church is accomplishing. Look for it at the library or buy a used copy. I wouldn’t recommend supporting the author through new sales.

Happily hopeful,

Philip

Monday, January 8, 2007

Saving Grace

I came across an interesting article on teenagers and abstinence. Written by Lauren Winner, (author of Real Sex), it challenges the Church to rethink our approach to virginity pledges. It points out that what's needed is something more than just will power.

The community of the Church and words of grace could be key in helping young people in their struggle.

What do you think?

Philip

Saving Grace Article Link

Lauren Winner
Real Sex - The Book

Avoiding Emotional Adultery

I want to pass on an article I read from Family Life regarding emotional adultery. The emotional is where the physical begins. Below are some thoughts from the article.

Things that can lead to emotional adultery:

  • You've got a need you feel your mate isn't meeting—a need for attention, approval, or affection.
  • You find it easier to unwind with someone other than your spouse by dissecting the day's difficulties over lunch, coffee, a ride home … or through e-mail correspondence on the Internet.
  • You begin to talk about problems you're having with your spouse.
  • You rationalize the "rightness" of this relationship by saying that surely it must be God's will to talk openly and honestly with a fellow Christian.
  • You look forward to being with this person.
  • You wonder what you'd do if you didn't have this friend to talk with.
  • You hide the relationship from your mate.
For protection, the article references several things. Two that are very important are having proper boundaries in place and being careful of what you convey with your eyes.

Here is the complete article. It’s worth reading.

Towards pure lives,

Philip

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Babies for Sale

Are you tired of making babies the old-fashioned way? Is marriage and sex in the way of having your own child? Would you rather have a designer baby made for you than take chances on what your baby might look like?

If so, you now have choices. A company in Texas has batches of babies ready for the ordering. Just like looking at toys in the Christmas catalog, you can look over detailed information on things like race, education, appearance and personality when making your choice.

The company claims they will make it easier and more affordable for clients to have a baby according to their preferences. Also, they don’t worry about traditional families. They market to single women and homosexual couples. You can use your own womb or they can arrange for a surrogate. With a surrogate, I guess single guys should fit into the program too.

If you are interested, you could make some sweet cash if you have some eggs to sell. Of course you should be good looking, have good background and the like. They pay $3500 to $15,000 and even more if you have a postgraduate degree or other unique skills or traits. I bet blond hair is a big seller.

The company takes its name from the Biblical account of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. What they fail to take into account is the problems that resulted from that situation and the ones that will result from their business.

May God restore sanity.

Philip

To check into it yourself: The Abraham Center of Life

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Fat Dogs / Anorectic Models

Why is it that the weird articles seem to show up in the weekend newspaper? Maybe it’s the same reason that weekend programs on Christian radio are so weird. That is, unless you want to get rid of those annoying intestinal parasites.

The topper today was an article on a new drug approved for obese dogs. I guess now that dogs are hung up on the Xbox and TV, they don’t have time to go outside and get a little exercise. Maybe it would help if they weren’t set a plate at the family table.

The article says that around 5 percent of dogs are obese and another 20 to 30 percent are considered overweight. I hope the dogs don’t read the article, it could damage their self- esteem.

As with so many drugs, there are the side effects. In this case, loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite. So the dog is looking pretty good, but now the house is a mess.

In case you were wondering, it’s not recommended for humans. It figures, I could use a little lack of appetite.

The placement of the article was interesting. Right below it is an article on anorectic fashion models. Maybe we have something here. If we could get the models to take the dogs place at the table, progress could be made for both of them. Another idea would be to pair a skinny model with a fat dog.

On the other hand, maybe the answer is something completely different.

Philip

Friday, January 5, 2007

Getting Serious About Getting Married

I finished reading this book yesterday. I forced myself to read it slow and did a lot of underlining.

Debbie Maken, the author, was in her late 20’s and sick of being single. Finally, she admitted it to herself and set out on a journey to figure out why she wasn’t married and what she could do about it. The intended audience is women but I think everyone should hear the message.

Here are some of the answered questions. Is marriage the norm or do you need a calling? Is it God’s will for most of us to be married? What was meant when God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone?

Listen to this:

“According to the United States Census Bureau, just one generation ago, in the 1970s, approximately 64 percent of women had married by age twenty-four, roughly 90 percent had married by age twenty-nine, and 94 percent by age thirty-four. Just thirty years later, approximately 27 percent of women have married by age twenty-four, approximately 60 percent by age twenty-nine, and 78 percent by age thirty-four.”
That quote gives an idea how drastically things have changed.

The first section of the book gives a view of how people historically and Biblically viewed marriage and singleness. I was somewhat amazed to see how different our present view is from the not too distant past.

A focus of the book is that men are not stepping up to the plate. She contends that it used to be a sign of adulthood to prepare for and pursue marriage. Now protracted singleness with many associated problems is the norm.

She points out that many men are staying in school forever “the perennial student,” living in an extended adolescence, hanging out with the guys, playing with toys, dating without marriage in view and we view that as okay and normal.
“Many men want to keep jobs that resemble hobbies and to maintain hobbies as costly as their jobs.”
She points out that parents can be to blame for not preparing their children for marriage and instead being satisfied if their children have gainful employment and live on their own.

The church isn’t let off the hook either.
“Until the church returns to preaching the superiority of marriage over singleness and the duty to marry, and until some of these singles (especially the men) start squirming in their seats and feel the shame that is rightfully theirs to bear if they are refusing to follow God's leading into marriage, there will be no substantive improvement in the number of Christian marriages.”
That might seem like a loaded paragraph but it makes sense having read the book.

The second section covers various teachings you would find in many churches today. These are teachings that undermine the value of marriage and ignore the problems of protracted singleness.

The last section, written primarily to women, gives some good ideas on how to help marriage come about. Many of the ideas can be helpful as well to the men who want to be married but need some fresh ideas on how to meet a future spouse. It also tells the interesting story of how she met her husband.

This is a brief overview of an excellent book. I hope it’s message is heard and put into practice.

Philip

Debbie Maken's Blog
Info on the book at Amazon

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

It’s After Me!

…sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7

I read this today and it really stood out. It was a warning from God to Cain. He didn’t listen and ended up killing Abel.

Isn’t this our experience every day? 1Peter 5:8 says, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. So it’s a big thing. The devil and sin are looking for opportunities. Guess what, they look behind closed doors. Of course, the devil isn’t omniscient but it’s hard to keep a secret from him.

Were not just floating along in a neutral universe, The Holy Spirit is pulling us God’s way and sin and the devil have another plan. Sometimes I don’t think we take this seriously enough. We mess around with stuff and think we can put it down when we are done. Many times we become mastered by sin and sometimes we are devoured.

So what does all this mean? What are some of the ways that sin seeks to master us? I think we are quick to think of media type things like TV, the internet, books, magazines, etc. These probably stick out because of the power of the visual. Music can be powerful as well. These things may be some of the more obvious. What are the hidden, the crouching things? Is it the difficulty I have admitting I am wrong. Could it be anger left to smolder? What about my ability to jump to conclusions? Could pride be hiding behind the door?

What do you think? What have you learned and what warnings can you give?

Philip

Monday, January 1, 2007

Highlights of My Year

My oldest daughter moved back from Ohio. We get to see her more often.

My oldest son is an awesome worship leader. It comes from his heart.

My next son proposed. Welcome Erika.

My next daughter fell in love. She was completely surprised.

My next son was able to work with me a lot. He will be an entrepreneur.

The next son is delight with the way he lives life out loud. He will probably be famous some day.

Next son is as sweet as can be. Minus the prickles that is.

My last son always amazes us with the interesting things he has to say. The gears are always turning.

My wife loves me! Now figure that out.

Jesus keeps changing me. What hope there is.

Philip

Friendship

I read a column in the paper today about the importance of friendship.

The writer spoke of some upheaval in her life and was thankful that she had always had a small group of close confidants, the core of which had been there for decades.

She pointed out that most Americans don’t have the same thing. In fact, we have fewer and fewer friends. A study showed that there has been a huge drop in the size of people’s core network of confidants.

She went on to say that there are even health and negative social consequences to not having such a group.

It’s something I have been working on myself. I do have several friends that go back about twenty to thirty years. But to be honest, I haven’t been very open and honest in those friendships. It’s not that I have been dishonest but just not real open and transparent. In a way, even though the relationships are old they can still be a little thin.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to try to do something about it. I started planning a guy’s night out every month. It usually ends up being a half dozen or so new and old friends. We get together at a restaurant and hang out. No real agenda, just a few hours to talk about whatever comes up. I think it has been good for all of us.

About six months ago, I started another group, going beyond this smaller group of friends. I wanted to be able to invite guys from church or anyone else interested. It’s called 3rdTuesday. It’s always on the third Tuesday of the month and always at the same place. Hopefully, easy to remember and schedule.

If you are a guy in the Denver area, I want to invite you to come.
Here is a flier that gives the details. Check out the quiz as well and give an honest evaluation of your relationships.

Philip

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