Friday, September 30, 2011

Bloodlines: A Documentary About Racism

I really enjoyed this documentary of John Piper released in anticipation of his new book Bloodlines.  I want us to consider what Piper has to say here.  Racism is a curse that Christians must be cleansed of and Piper shows us how the gospel does just that.

Bloodlines Documentary with John Piper from Crossway on Vimeo.

HT: Justin Taylor

Breaking: Plane Crash At Rough River

Keep those involved in your prayers!!

ROUGH RIVER, KY (WAVE) - A plane has crashed into a hotel near Rough River.
WAVE News has confirmed the plane hit the Pine Tree Inn around 1:30 Friday afternoon. There was 1 person on board the plane.

The Pine Tree Inn is near a small airport. 

There is no word on any injuries.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Driscoll on Consumers vs. Worshippers

As I work on Sunday's message from John 2:12-22 on Jesus cleansing the Temple, I came across the following section from Mark Driscoll's very helpful sermon Angry Worship.

Do you guys see what’s happened here? Do you guys know what the difference is between a consumer and a worshipper? This is exactly what the difference is: A consumer is someone who believes that the entire world exists to service their needs, and that they have a certain amount of money that they are now going to place in some particular business. Therefore, all the businesses should compete for their dollar. And then whoever wins, right – I’ll just show it to you. This is how it works: Here’s my buck. I’m a consumer. Now, I want some things. Now, what I’m trying to figure out is who will give me the most for my dollar. And so I start to look at competitors, and then people rise up against each other to compete for this. And then what I try to find out is where can I place this and get the maximum return with the least amount of inconvenience? Who will do for me the most and charge me the least? That is a consumer.

Now, a worshipper is just the opposite. A worshipper looks at this and says, “Where can I give this so that the most number of people are benefiting? Where can I give this so that I don’t get anything from this, but that someone else gets God’s love, grace, mercy extended to them in some tangible way?” A worshipper looks at it and says, “It is not about me. It is about God and those people that don’t yet know God.” A consumer looks at it and says, “It’s all about me. I’m the customer. The customer’s always right. The customer is king. Whatever the customer wants.” We live in a world that is governed and dominated by consumerism. And when consumerism creeps into our spirituality, what happens then we look at church and brothers and sisters in Christ and God and the work of the Gospel as something that is to compete for our interest. “What will it take for me to get as much as I can and give as little as I can? How can I have some sort of transacting relationship in which I win?” That’s exactly what is happening. “How can I get the biggest bang for my buck?”

And a consumer views church and view God and views religion as the place where they can get all of their needs met without making any sacrifices, without being inconvenienced, without having to carry any responsibility for anyone else. The worst of it is when men don’t look at it and say, “Well, gosh, what can I do for women, children, single moms, widows, orphans, the poor, the handicapped, the neglected, those in need?” If I am an able-bodied male, that means “How can I take what I have and invest that so that they are blessed and that they are loved and that they have an opportunity to worship God as well? How can I pay the bills for them so that they can come to know God?” That’s an attitude of a worshipper, but a consumer it is not.

A consumer takes every single dollar and hour and interest and invest them – invest that in themselves. And what that is, is it’s idolatry. It’s self-worship. It is giving what belongs to God to myself. It’s self-glorification. We also call that things like self-esteem or self-actualization. We got a whole language for pride. Jesus is confronting the heart of this kind of worship. The disciples look at it and they say, “You know, he has zeal for his father’s house.” What always happens then is the religious professionals that are making a good income off of this sort of transaction they get angry because they’re losing market share. They’re losing income. And if people believe what Jesus has to say, then the whole thing is going to come undone.

For more:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thanks For Your Gifts!: Another Donation to Turn on the Tap

After some time collecting pocket change and donating it into the "Turn on the Tap" program bottle at the back of the church, today Goshen donated that money (totaling $35) to Franklin Graham's Samaritan Purses Turn on the Tap.  Below are some resources explaining what the program is and why we, in this small way, support this program.

And starting Sunday we will begin collecting again.  Bring your pocket change!

We also participate in the Samiritan Purses Operation Christmas Child (what we have called Joy Boxes). We are beginning those with more information to come in the coming weeks.

Repost | Pray For Youcef: Iranian Pastor To Be Executed For Refusing to Deny Christ

The news is breaking that an Iranian Christian pastor likely faces execution due to his refusal to recant of his Christian faith.  Please pray for him, his family, and ultimately the gospel.  Christian history has proven that such methods of silencing the gospel are futile, but that does not negate the heartache and pain that such evil leaves behind.  It is well documented that Iran is changing from the inside and Islam is slowly losing its grip on its people despite of its leaders efforts to suppress movements like Christianity.

The Christian, Youcef Nadarkhani, is quite bold in the faith.  Consider the following paragraphs from Fox News and pay particular attention to his words:

An Iranian pastor who has refused to recant his Christian faith faces execution as early as Wednesday after his sentence was upheld by an Iranian court.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran's Gilan Provincial Court ruled. Iran's Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity.

An undated photograph provided by the American Center for Law & Justice shows Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith.
The judges, according to the American Center for Law & Justice, demanded that Nadarkhani, 34, recant his Christian faith before submission of evidence. Though the judgment runs against current Iranian and international laws and is not codified in Iranian penal code, the judge stated that the court must uphold the decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.

When asked to repent, Nadarkhani stated: "Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?"

"To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," the judge replied, according to the American Center for Law & Justice.

"I cannot," Nadarkhani said.

Nadarkhani is the latest Christian cleric to be imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs. According to Elam Ministries, a United Kingdom-based organization that serves Christian churches in Iran, there was a significant increase in the number of Christians arrested solely for practicing their faith between June 2010 and January. A total of 202 arrests occurred during that six-month period, including 33 people who remained in prison as of January, Elam reported.

Fox News - Iranian Pastor Faces Execution for Refusing to Recant Christian Faith 
The Blaze - Iranian Pastor Must Disavow His Christian Faith This Week…or He’ll Be Executed

For more:
Blogizomai - Pray for the Persecuted: Memorial Day & the Persecuted Church
Blogizomai - Pray For Our Brothers and Sisters in Iraq   
Blogizomai - Punishing Prejudice By Being Prejudice:  The Lesson and Legacy of Hate Crimes
Blogizomai - Repost | Coming Out of the Closet As Christians?: Welcome to the New World
Blogizomai - The (In)Tolerance of the Homosexual Movement: See, I Told You So

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Governor's Cup Highlights

You knew I couldn't exist!  Here are some highlights from the U of L football victory over UK.  The Governors Cup is finally back where it belongs! :o)

2011 FB: Louisville 24 vs. Kentucky 17 from CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

HT: Card Chronicle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Repost | America on the Eve of the Storm: The News on September 10, 2001

Sunday we discussed this and I said I post it.  Here it is:

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 quickly approaches, what were the major issues going in the days before the 9/11 attacks? Below are some exerts taken from various newspapers from September 10, 2001. It is amazing how much changed in just one day. No one remembers what happened on the 10th and no one cares about the controversies and debates taking place on that day because of what happened on 9/11.

And that is the lesson here. Life was going on as usual when those planes hit the World Trade Centers and American came under attack by Islamic terrorists - "faceless cowards" as President Bush called them on that day. The attacks on 9/11 changed our conversations, our attitudes, and our loyalties. We no longer viewed things through political lens, but through American lenses. We no longer thought about me, but about us. And in all, most of what was important to us on 9/10 we discovered were trivial.

I fear that we are back at that point. In spite of the spiritual surge that immediately followed the attack, things are back to normal. We are distracted by things that don't really matter. After all, such things keep us entertained, distracted, and make us feel important. Though we may never go back to a pre-9/11 world we are in many ways already there.

We have learned a lot of lessons since that day. But for the many other lessons we could have learned, we've simply ignored.

New York Times - Religious Strife in Nigeria Leaves Bodies in the Streets

Frightened Muslims and Christians huddled together for safety at a police training ground in this northern Nigerian city today after three days of clashes between the two groups left smoke rising in the sky and charred bodies in the streets.

Blackened homes and hundreds upon hundreds of burned cars, some still smoldering, lined the road into this hilltop city, a peaceful community of four million people until tensions between Muslims and Christians exploded Friday evening after Muslim prayers.

Heavy police patrols and troops called out by President Olusegun Obasanjo were taking control today. The police sealed the borders of Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, to keep violence from spreading.

CNN Sports Illustrated - Jordan will return to the NBA 'for the love of the game'

Michael Jordan still loves this game. And he's about to prove it.

In a half-hour conversation on the curb outside Hoops the Gym on Monday, Jordan all but confirmed that he'll be coming out of retirement again.

Jordan told our little group, which also included reporters from The Associated Press and the Chicago Sun-Times, that his knees felt fine and, barring any flare-up of the tendinitis he's battled recently, he's coming back.

Jordan said he was moving up on his performance scale. He said he was a 7 1/2, maybe an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. "I'm winning games," he said with a smile.

Jordan added that there's a mechanism in place for a news conference to announce his return in Washington, D.C., sometime in the next 10 days.

TIME Magazine - Does Israel Have A Right To Assassinate Leaders Of The Palestinian Intifadeh?

In wars throughout history armies do kill enemy soldiers. This is an unfortunate but universal fact of life. Was Abu Ali Mustafa an enemy soldier or just a political or an ideological figure? I don't know. I think that in this horrible battle Israel is entitled to defend itself, though not by hurting or killing innocent civilians, not by killing politicians, ideologists or even dreadful inciters and agitators. With a heavy heart, I justify the killing of Palestinian fighters, uniformed or not, but of no one else. The term assassination is a very misleading one. Killing unarmed civilians is assassination; killing fighting Palestinians or active terrorists is self-defense, and I justify it.

The criticism of what Israel is doing is too comprehensive and undiscriminating, as criticism often is. Israel deserves very serious criticism when it kills civilians. Israel does not deserve criticism when in a state of war it kills fighting enemies. In principle, when a country is attacked, it can choose among three ways: it can indiscriminately kill the "others," it can turn its other cheek to its enemies, or it can fight back against those who carry weapons. I prefer not to fight at all, but if there is a war I definitely prefer the last way.

TIME Magazine - Bush's Fuzzy Science?

It made for big news when President Bush confidently declared on prime-time television last month that private research had produced a trove of more than 60 stem-cell lines. Most experts had assumed that there were as yet only a dozen or so such colonies of the cells that might become weapons against a range of debilitating diseases, from Alzheimer's to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson's. The vastly larger number was enough, Bush said, to "explore the promise and potential of stem-cell research"--and, not incidentally, enough to give him room for a politically palatable compromise on the question of federal funding. But last week came another surprise, when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a catalog of the existing 64 stem-cell lines that are eligible for government money--a surprise, this time, to the researchers around the globe who were reportedly producing them.

Startled scientists from Mumbai, India, to Goteborg, Sweden, to San Diego cautioned that many of their embryonic stem-cell colonies were not yet--and may never be--worthy of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson's claim that they are robust and viable for research. Goteborg University, for instance, was credited with the world's largest cache--19 lines--even though its researchers had told Thompson the week before that only three had progressed beyond the earliest, most tentative stages. Goteborg fertility expert Lars Hamberger told the Washington Post that he and his colleagues thought the White House either had made a "mistake" or had decided to "stretch things" to suit its need for a larger number. And while the tiny San Diego biotech firm CyThera Inc. was credited with the largest number of lines in this country, CEO Michael Ross concedes that "we're not there with any of our nine yet." What the company has, Ross says, are "derivations" that may or may not develop into stem cells capable of transforming themselves into endlessly replenishing muscle, brain or other tissue.

TIME Magazine - CONDI RICE: The Charm Of Face Time
Condoleezza Rice has a reputation for toughness, and in the first seven months of the Administration she has lived up to it. Originally pegged as a peacemaker between hard-liners and moderates, Rice turned out to be the driving force behind the Administration's early "my-way-or-the-highway" tone on such issues as Russia, North Korea and the Kyoto protocol on climate change. A diplomat meeting with her last spring complained that for the U.S. to drop Kyoto would set the fight against global warming back 10 years. Rice thought that was one more reason not to delay the treaty's inevitable end. And she told him so.

>Rice's personal story of hard work helps explain her tenacity. She grew up under segregation in Birmingham, Ala., willed her way to college at age 15 and eventually became a Soviet expert in the White House of Bush I--finding time along the way to become an accomplished pianist, ice skater and sports buff. Her hard-line positions have surprised even seasoned alumni of Republican administrations. J. Stapleton Roy, Bush Sr.'s ambassador to China, says Rice is "prone to the naive view that we are strong and they are weak and we should ruthlessly exploit that." Rice, like her boss, has a rebellious streak.

TIME Magazine - Odd Man Out

Colin Powell has the gift of presence. When he walks into a room, people sit up, straighten their ties, hold their breath in anticipation. And he dazzles them with his effortless command. The moment he set foot in the State Department last January, he was met with rapturous applause. When he paid a call in Beijing three months after a U.S. spy plane was forced to land on Hainan island, he coaxed a joke out of somber President Jiang Zemin and left the leadership beaming that he "respected" China. They returned the compliment with a long-awaited $2 billion order for Boeing 737s. When Powell met George W. Bush in 1997 at a Texas charity fund raiser, the new Governor stepped forward and saluted: "General, Texas is reporting for duty."

So it comes as one of the biggest surprises in the emerging Bush II era that Colin Powell, the man many thought would walk into the presidency himself a few years ago, is leaving such shallow footprints. By the cruel calculus of Washington, you are only as powerful as people think you are. Powell's megastar wattage looks curiously dimmed, as if someone has turned his light way down. People who like the Administration's foreign policy credit it to Bush, not Powell. People who don't, wonder where he is. Leaders abroad are not certain he is the definitive voice of America. A former Secretary of State says Powell seems absent from the big issues of the day. Another former top diplomat, when asked to provide an adjective for the phrase "Colin Powell is a 'blank' Secretary of State," says, "Yes, he is." A senior official in the Bush Administration who has worked with Powell for three Presidents in three agencies registers much the same reaction: "I've been struck by how not struck I am by him." A friendly foreign official notes, "It's not useful to sit as silent partner when you have his stature." What people noticed most at the U.N. Conference on Racism that opened last week in Durban, South Africa, was Powell's absence.

NY Daily News - Fox Challenges Bush to Reach Immigration Pact
WASHINGTON - Mexican President Vicente Fox surprised President Bush yesterday by challenging him to protect the rights of illegal workers from Mexico by the end of the year.

"We want to continue making progress toward the establishment of an agreement on migration which will be of mutual benefit to us and which will recognize, above all, the value of migrants as human beings and as workers whose hard work is a daily contribution to the prosperity of this great nation," Fox said as he arrived at the White House.

"For this reason, we must and we can reach an agreement on migration before the end of this very year." Fox had said just days earlier that a deal on immigration could take four to six years. His statement puts Bush on the spot because many conservative Republicans oppose granting amnesty to illegal aliens. One U.S. official conceded it was hard to tell whether Bush was prepared for Fox's challenge, while others tried to dance around the issue

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5— President Bush's budget director and defense secretary mounted a vigorous defense of the Bush budget today in separate appearances on Capitol Hill, insisting that the administration and Congress could protect the Social Security surplus and still increase military and education spending.

But Democrats intensified their attacks against Mr. Bush, blaming his $1.35 trillion tax cut for the shrinking federal surplus and asking him to submit a budget that would protect Social Security funds.

''This is a result of the Bush budget and the Bush tax cut,'' said Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the majority leader, of the dwindling surplus. ''Certainly, they're the architects of our current economic condition, and I think we have to turn to them for leadership now as we find our way out of the box that has been created.''

New York Times - Saying Too Many Are Losing Jobs, Bush Pushes His Policies

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7— President Bush said today that ''too many people are losing their jobs,'' and he cast the surge in the unemployment rate as reason for Congress to advance his economic agenda by expanding trade agreements and reducing energy costs while holding down government spending.

''The slowdown is real, and it's affecting too many lives, and we're concerned about it,'' Mr. Bush said. ''Any American out of work is too many Americans out of work.''

His hastily arranged appearance outside the Oval Office this afternoon reflected growing concern among his aides and officials of his party that the deteriorating economic and budget outlook could dearly cost the White House and Congressional Republicans politically.

For a complete list of what was in the LA Times on 9/10/01, click here.

For more:
Blogizomai - As It Happened & As It Was: Remembering 9/11
Blogizomai - W: The 9/11 Interview
Blogizomai - Remember 9/11: 102 Minutes That Changed America
Blogizomai - The First Responders: CSB 9/11 Documentary
Blogizomai - Graham: The Unwavering Love of God
Blogizomai - September 11th Remembered - 2007
Blogizomai - "Justice Has Been Done": President Obama Announces the Death of Osama bin Laden
Blogizomai - The Beginning of the End: Obama Announces the End of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Blogizomai - To Build or Not to Build, That is Not the Question: Where is the Gospel in the Ground Zero Debate?

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Church that is Holy

The Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and ApostolicI came across the following paragraphs discussing the holiness of the church based on the Nicene Creed's attributes of the church:  One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  The quote is taken from The Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic by Richard D. Phillips, Mark E. Dever, and Philip Graham Ryken.

Holiness is a prominent theme in the NT teaching about the church.  What is the church?  It is the holy people of God.  We have ‘a holy calling’ (2 Tim. 1:9); we are ‘set apart as holy’ (2 Tim. 2:21); we were chosen to ‘be holy’ (Eph. 1:4); we are ‘God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved’ (Col. 3:12).  The Bible identifies us as ‘a holy priesthood’ (1 Peter 2:5), ‘a holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9), and a holy temple (1 Cor. 3:17; cf. Eph. 2:21). In fact, this is why Jesus died on the cross.  It was ‘so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, w/o spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy . . .’ (Eph. 5:27; cf. Col. 1:22).

The holiness of the church is the logic behind the remarkable word that the Bible uses to describe Christians: ‘saints’ – literally, ‘the holy ones.’  The New Testament repeatedly uses this word to identify believers in Jesus Christ: ‘To the saints who are in Ephesus’ (Eph. :); ‘To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi’ (Phil. 1:1); ‘to the saints . . . in Christ at Colossae’ (Col. 1:2).  ‘Saint’ is not a term the Bible reserves for a special category of Christians.  Sainthood is not a lifetime achievement award – a merit badge for people who volunteer to teach junior high Sunday school, do door-to-door evangelism, and attend evening church.  It is the term the Bible uses for every believer.  The church is so holy that every one of its members is a saint. -47-48

For more:
GBC - The Holy Church: The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed   
GBC - The Nicene Creed  
GBC - Tozer on Holiness 
GBC - Third Day:  Our God is a "Consuming Fire

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spurgeon as Pastor on Assurance

I came across the following quote taken from the autobiography of Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, regarding how he counseled a woman in his congregation on the question of assurance.  He called her Mrs. Much-Afraid.  I think its great advice to take to heart.

One day, when I was talking with her, she told me that she had not any hope at all, she had no faith; she believed that she was a hypocrite.

I said, “Then don’t come to the chapel any more; we don’t want hypocrites there. Why do you come?”

She answered, “I come because I can’t stop away. I love the people of God; I love the house of God; and I love to worship God.”

“Well,” I said, “you are an odd sort of hypocrite; you are a queer kind of unconverted woman.”

“Ah!” she sighed, “you may say what you please, but I have not any hope of being saved.”

So I said to her, “Well, next Sunday, I will let you go into the pulpit, that you may tell the people that Jesus Christ is a liar, and that you cannot trust Him.”

“Oh!” she cried, “I would be torn in pieces before I would say such a thing as that. Why, He cannot lie! Every word He says is true.”

“Then,” I asked, “why do you not believe it?”

She replied, “I do believe it; but, somehow, I do not believe it for myself; I am afraid whether it is for me.”

“Have you not any hope at all?” I asked.

“No,” she answered; so I pulled out my purse, and I said to her, “Now, I have got £5 here, it is all the money I have; but I will give you that £5 for your hope if you will sell it.”

She looked at me, wondering what I meant. “Why!” she exclaimed, “I would not sell it for a thousand worlds.” She had just told me that she had not any hope of salvation, yet she would not sell it for a thousand worlds!

I fully expect to see that good old soul when I get to Heaven, and I am certain she will say to me, “Oh, dear sir, how foolish I was when I lived down there at Waterbeach! I went groaning all the way to glory when I might just as well have gone there singing. I was always troubled and afraid; but my dear Lord kept me by His grace, and brought me safely here

HT:  Pyromaniacs  

For more:
Blogizomai - A Minister's Melancholy: Spurgeon on the Downcast Preacher - Entire Series
GBC - Morning and Evening:  January 15 
GBC - "Nothing But Hypocrites":  A Response From the Prince of Preachers
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Spurgeon on Uniformity vs. Unity
Blogizomai - Shai Linne:  Spurgeon