Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010


Happy New Years Eve.

Are you happy that 2010 is coming to an end? I'm sure most of us are looking forward to the 2011. So I'll be among the first to say, Happy New Year. Now, having said that, what does that mean to you? Does that mean that you wish a year of nothing but happiness? That would be nice, wouldn't it. No more war, no more poverty, no more arguments with your spouse, no more teenage wars, no more illegal immigration disputes, no more prejudice, no more pain, sickness or death. But that isn't realistic is it?

So what do I mean when I say Happy New Year. I wish for you to discover peace in the midst of the turmoil, love in the face of hate all around you, joy in the midst of tears. But most of all may Christ, who is joy, who is peace, who is comfort, love and harmony, be the source of your strength to persevere through the unpleasant realities of the day. So...Happy New Year. May Christ lead you through the valley of death, the jungle of uncertainty until he walks you through the gateway to eternity.

So now, here's some fun places to visit on this last day of the year.

December Sites to Visit

The Orthodox Christian Network has a marvelous program today discussing Depression. Depression is a major problem that occurs during this time of the year. Mike Trout, introduces two speakers, the second of which discusses the problem of depression. You may find it interesting. Check it out at this link. OCN.

I've been encouraging folks to start a Bible reading plan for the year. Justin Taylor offers some great ideas on his blog. Follow the link highlighted here.


If you enjoy Southern Gospel Music, then you must make The Gospel Greats website and radio program a place to visit. They have a weekly newsletter that keeps you up on the latest in Southern Gospel. Check them out.

An interesting looking new book is coming out from Ignatius Press. Abortion has always been condemned by the Church from the beginning of the early church until around the middle of the 20th century when Protestant churches began to move away from the ancient belief. The value of the baby in the womb is clear in Scripture. The new book is called Unplanned, The Dramatic True Story of the Planned Parenthood leader who Crossed the Life Line to Fight for Women in Crisis. I've read of Abby Johnson and her testimony is riveting. Plan to pick up the story of her dramatic conversion.

Well, that's all for today...except for this pic from the quirky Daily Mail in London. My caption would be, Daddy, Where is this stinkin' outhouse? article-0-0C9C918A000005DC-381_634x799.jpg




Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Back

Greetings Everyone. Happy New Year. Well, I'm back. I've decided to start blogging again. However this time, I'll try and refrain from long diatribes, rants and ramblings. I want to relieve my Facebook friends from the multiple postings I enter that fills up space. Instead, I'll use this blog to refer you to sites and people that I find interesting. I'll give opinion here and there, but my main purpose is to simply show that Christ is active in places and events that may be out of your immediate line of vision.
Plus, I'll point to sports stories and other news stories that are interesting or quirky. After all, that's what I am...quirky. I'll not post on a daily basis as time is not a commodity I have to spare.

Today, I want to introduce you to two wonderful Catholic radio programs. They are a part of Renewal Ministries, a Catholic Charismatic organization headed up by Ralph Martin. The first program is Food For the Journey hosted by Sister Ann Shields. Sister Ann is a marvelous communicator and wonderful Christian. I think Protestants can feel very at home listening to her programs. They are available on Itunes as well as her site. Just click link above and listen. Today's program was very good. She highlights the importance of the scriptures.

The second program I enjoy is Fire On The Earth hosted by Peter Herbeck. Peter applies practical theology to the scriptures and often has interesting guests. Today's program covering the scripture readings for the day is particularly good. Click the link to listen. Both Food For the Journey and Fire On The Earth are fifteen minute shows that most often run back to back on the giant Catholic network, EWTN.

Weather goes South.

Out of Los Angeles...Baby it's cold and windy outside. Check out the LA Times.

It's a slow news day so far, so leaving the news for a moment, here's an interesting article about Children Who Refuse to Grow Up. I think it's right on. In harmony with this article, I'd be interested in seeing how many of you have read, The Death of the Grown-Up by Diana West. It looks particularly interesting. Let me know what you think of it.

Well, for the time being, that's all I have for today. My migraine is getting the best of me so I'm going to sign off. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Let's pray it's better than this last year for our country.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye

This is a Goodbye from my blog. After several months of posting and learning about this tool, I've come to the conclusion I simply do not have time to do it justice. It has been a good exercise of writing for me to improve my skills, but I also realize my writing skills are limited. Also, I am embarking upon some major changes that involve a change in direction in my studies. As you know I've become increasingly alarmed by what I consider to be a sliding away from the foundations of our faith by the current trends taking place in the post-evangelical world. We are no longer a Christian country and have slipped into apostasy. Faith based denominations have slipped into a works based practice of teaching that has stripped the gospel, making it something unrecognizable. We don't know what we believe anymore and no one seems to care. Creed or doctrine is no longer important to the average Christian. The average Christian hasn't a clue what the Bible teaches. We have set ourselves up as gods who determine what the Scriptures teach according to our present whims and situations.
I reject this entirely. So as a result, I will be spending the next several months searching the scriptures and letting them speak for themselves to my current generation.
My non believing friends will care less. My Catholic friends will discover that, for me, the deeper you go into history, the more Catholic you become, is true only in the sense that history shows there was a single church in the beginning. But, the church began to stray into deep errors when it started to turn toward inward spirituality that focused on seeking a God who speaks apart from the Scriptures. But that is for another time.
For now, I'll say goodbye. I will return at a later date, maybe under a new blog with a new emphasis. Until then, Good bye.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Up And Coming

Occasionally I come across someone who gives me great hope in for the future of the church and great preaching. It is no secret that I believe expository preaching is the most effective way to present the gospel. The young man I ran across today reinforces my belief. Dr. David Platt is the senior pastor at the Southern Baptist Church at The Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, Alabama. If he is any indication of where the Southern Baptist Churches are heading, then there is great hope. This message is part of a series at the church and is one of the most powerful I've ever heard. It is filled with hope and for those Christians who are burdened with works oriented Christianity or deeds over creeds. In this sermon he puts the horse ahead of the cart. He shows Christ comes to serve in order that we might be relieved of the burden of feeling we have to do it all. He shows that obediences is obeying and trusting Christ to serve us enabling us to do good works. This is powerful. It's about 45 minutes of good solid Bible teaching. I hope you enjoy it.
He Came video: HECAME3_VID

Happy New Year and Britt Hume

I usually don't like news shows because most are now tabloid theatre. However, Britt Hume made a statement this last Sunday and later clarified his statement on the Bill O'Reilly show. I saw this clip on another blog and just had to share it because it is good. Britt Hume really came out with his Christian beliefs on this show which raise my estimation of him by a large margin. Listen and enjoy his comments on Tiger Woods. I think he is right on.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 Great Bricks for Christmas

Well, Christmas Day has come and gone. But remember, we're still technically in the Christmas season. We wind up the Octave of Christmas today and tomorrow is Epiphany Sunday. This year I got three great bricks for Christmas. Well, three books as heavy as bricks. I've told you about the first which was the ESV Study Bible. But first, I'm really enjoying The Chronological Bible published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. It is jam packed with a ton of useful information. I'm using it this year as my daily Bible reading plan. It has a nice two year plan to read through the Bible. And of course, it's read chronologically. Or as best as can possibly be done. There are disagreements over the order of reading, but they are minor. Overall, it is a very helpful way to read the Bible as books are read in the context of the eras they were written. It should never be read in place of regular reading, but in this case, I really enjoy reading the Psalms, for instance, within the context of the other books of the Bible. Another plus is the wealth of history this Bible contains. I recommend it highly as a good study Bible. If you want to get a new perspective, try the Chronological Bible. And make sure it's the one published by Thomas Nelson. There are others out available but I can only vouch for this one. And oh, by the way, it's written in using the New King James Version which is quite nice.

My second brick as equally as heavy as my others, is The Lutheran Study Bible. This has only been recently published. I have reveled in the content of this Bible. After spending so many years studying the history and background of Catholic teaching, this has been a delightful and refreshing return to what I consider to be the roots of my belief. This is a marvelous collection of study material with a decided Lutheran emphasis. And while I'm not Lutheran, I find myself more at home in this Bible than many I've read. It is chuck full of great charts, tables and commentary. The version is the ESV which I have come to really love and prefer. I have become increasingly tired of theology light in evangelicalism and this Bible gives me good meat to chew upon. I think the Lutheran's emphasis on the balance of Law and Gospel is refreshing. You would benefit well by having this fine Bible on your library shelf. Or better yet, by your reading chair. What? Don't you have a reading chair? Tut tut. Turn off your blamed TV and you'll have a reading chair. You'll do your brain a favor and you not lose out on anything important.

My third brick which I love and use is the ESV Study Bible. And coupled with the online access to the ESV Study Bible, you can also add your own notes as you read. This Bible is another of the great new Bibles coming out with the latest archeological findings and historical references. And of course, it has a strong reformed slant in it's notes, although not so much as its twin brother, the Reformation Bible. (which I don't have) Anyone want to give me one?

This Bible should be in every home, especially if you love reading scripture. It and the others I've mentioned can help do away with a lot of the clap trap that is out there in the local christian bookstores...if any are left. I know I'm hard on Christian Book publishers and authors. But there is so much misinformation out there, we need books and Bibles like the ESV Study Bible to get our heads screwed on right. Granted I'm talking about the notes. The Bible content speaks for itself and is the same in all the other ESV Bibles. The Bible is the Bible, right? Not necessarily.

I've become very disenchanted with the NIV because of its many, what I believe to be, mistranslation of the original language. Plus, there are so many Bibles published by ministers that are filled with downright error and false gospel which require a sound study Bible like the ESV.

Well, then I go from the sublime to the ridiculous, so to speak. I also got an ESV Pocket New Testament. One of my goals as I grow older is to keep my mind active by memorizing scripture. Specifically a whole book of scripture. I have taken on a real difficult goal of reading the New Testament through each month. I have a specific reading plan which will enable me to do that. If I set aside 30 minutes a day for reading the New Testament following my specific plan, I'll be able to do it.
The memorization may take me until the day I die, because my memory is very out of shape and is affected by natural aging.
The only drawback to this little pocket New Testament is the print is so small, I may soon need quadrifocals to see it. I know...not a real word. But I know my trifocals will never read it if my eyes change.

Why do I do this? Well, don't call me a nut, but, I have a personal belief that it's quite possible our country will get to the point where we may have our Bibles taken from us. I don't say this will happen. I don't prophesy it will happen. I could be very wrong. But I never suspected we'd fall away from the foundations of our faith as we have in the last 40 years. Maybe I'm being negative. And I still have hope for renewal in the church. Godly prayer can change history. But in the natural course of events, I'm convinced Christians will be so ostracized and condemned that we will lose all our religious freedoms. And if the Bible is taken from us, I want it in my brain. Then again, by that time, my brain will be gone too. :) But if it is, somewhere locked up in my senility, I'll still have the scriptures rattling around. And if the brain scientists are right, that might not be a bad thing.

Well, that's it for today. Read, read, read the word. You'll never regret it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1st trivia

Here are some New Years Trivia for you

Betsy Ross was born today in 1752. I doubt flags were flown for her.

Ellis Island Anniversary is today. It opened on this day in 1892.

It's Le Jour de I'An, the French New Year...whoop de doo.

In case you haven't notice or awakened yet, It's NEW YEAR'S DAY 2010.

Paul Revere was born on this day in 1735.

Now...back to the Rose Parade.

Start The New Year With Prayer

Do you pray? Did it occur to you that starting the New Year with prayer is a good idea. Lord knows we are going to need it. Just read the headlines in the newspaper this morning...uh...after prayer, course. Or better yet, pray over the newspaper and listen for those gentle little nudges that seem to implore you to pray for that person, event or whatever.

I want to begin this new year by referring you to a marvelous tract by the great J. C. Ryle entitled A Call To Prayer. It's long and will take maybe 20 minutes or longer to read it. Yeah I know, that's a long time. And I've heard some say, I'm not a good reader. Well, sorry, I have no sympathy for that old excuse. Unless you haven't been taught to read, you can read. So it takes you longer. Do something I do which has, in the long run, made me a better reader. Cut up the reading into segments. Take a portion at a time and digest it. Highlight it with a yellow marker or underline the points that strike you as important. Keep a dictionary close at hand. Or use an online dictionary. Write questions that pop into your mind. You'll find many of your questions will be answered later. When you feel you've had enough, lay it down and pick it up later. But read.

Now back to prayer. This is one of the most powerful quotes in the article.

"What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter and holier than others? I believe the difference, in nineteen cases out of twenty, arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much."

Now if you wonder what Ryle is talking about, read the article. I'm not going to synthesize it for you. Let me just say, I was told recently of a well known evangelical leader who made the statement to one of his elders, a friend of mine, that he just didn't need to pray everyday. I guess he felt he was walking with God so closely that he didn't need to pray.

Well, if that is true, he is a very unusual person. I think I'll let J.C. Ryle answer that one. He said,

"You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world. Like Peter, they first disregard the Lord's warning to watch and pray, and then like Peter, their strength is gone, and in the hour of temptation they deny their Lord."

Have you ever said,

"I don't know how to pray."
"I just don't have a convenient place to pray."
"I don't have time."
"I just can't pray unless I'm given the heart of prayer and or my faith is weak."


J.C. addresses these excuses and many others in the great article on prayer. I was deeply moved by this article. Also please remember, this is not something to be done to make you better before God. God has already done that for you in the person of Jesus Christ. Prayer is an act of obedience and response to the call of God within you to be what he has designed you to be. You and I were designed for fellowship with God. Prayer is simply fellowship between two parties, you and God. So this is not an act of works or deed. This is part of the ongoing grace of God in our salvation and sanctification.

I'll not have any long obituary after I die. My life is not remarkable and my death will not impact society. I'll just be another statistic. But, I hope that the one thing they can put on my gravestone which will reflect my legacy is simply, "He Prayed." That's all. Nothing more. Somehow I think that prayer is the secret to living. I only hope and pray my prayers will have made some kind of difference after I'm gone.

So now, take a few moments and then go read J.C. Ryle's A Call To Prayer. Take time and make time.