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Showing posts from October, 2008

A Chritian's Attitude Towards Halloween

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My family has long wrestled with how Christians should engage the secular event of Halloween. In fact, the attitude of judgment and condemnation by the people in one church towards my parents for letting us trick-or-treat as kids was a primary factor in their decision to leave that church and begin looking for another.

Now that I am a parent I face the same dilemma that my parents faced, namely answering the question that follows.
Can I, and if so, how do I, as a person of faith in Jesus Christ, participate in a holiday that often delights itself in a side of life/and spirituality that the Bible considers evil and in many ways antithetical to the God of the Bible?I hope to write more about this in the future. Presently I see a few attitudes a person could take.

Attitude #1 - Abstinence and Avoidance. This attitude says that Christians should not participate in Halloween in anyway. Turn off the lights, no costumes, no pumpkins, no candy.

Attitude #2 - Put Your Right Foot in, Put Your R…

A Brief Overview of the 5 Solas of the Reformation

Just found a nice little article online summarizing the 5 Solas of the Reformation. The Protestant Reformation began 491 years ago tomorrow when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther was reacting against what he believed were abuses in the church regarding the papal power and the selling of 'indulgences' (the removal of all or some of the punishment for sin) to the people as a form of fundraising.

The 5 Solas of the Reformation describe what came about as the core teachings of the church that broke away from the Catholic church. In modern times many Calvinist Reformed churches still affirm these 5 sayings.

1Sola scriptura ("the`Scripture alone is the standard")
2Sola fide ("justification by faith alone")
3Sola gratia ("salvation by grace alone")
4Solus Christus ("by Christ's work alone we are saved")
5Soli Deo gloria ("for the glory of God alone")

Thanks Marti…

Strengthened in the Hand of God

I was talking with a friend this morning at Caribou. A couple weeks ago we decided to start meeting every Thursday morning to confess sin, share insights, talk about Scripture and pray for one another. Today I shared a verse I came across earlier in the week from 1 Samuel that I think captures the heart of what we are trying to do.
1 Samuel 23:15-16, "David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God." Jonathon and David were close friends. Jonathon's father, King Saul, had been pursuing the king-to-be David from town to town and all around the wilderness. I am sure that David was exhausted from running for his life. I imagine David sitting in cold, dark caves at night wondering if God had failed to keep his promise. Doubt must have been creeping into David's mind as to whether or not he had given his life to the rig…

There Is Only One Perfect Parent and You are Not Him

Hi friends,

Tonight I heard some discussion on the radio about parental guilt. It was centered on the guilt that a parent can feel if their child detours from Christina faith. Now, my kids aren't at a point were I am concerned about them wandering away into Wicca or something else, but I do know about parental guilt. Everyone who has a child does.

The guilt we feel as parents when we get angry too quickly or some other thing comes from a heart of love and concern for our kids. If we didn't feel some level of remorse of guilt at our errors as parents, we wouldn't be good parents. We would be evil parents with no compassion or desire to see our children thrive.

But we must remember, no matter how hard we try we will never be perfect parents. We are human beings, living on this side of heaven in a continual state of depravity. Most succinctly said, we are sinners, as people and as parents. There is only one perfect parent; He is the Father in heaven to all those who are …

Book Review: How Would Jesus Vote?

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Hey guys,

I was hoping to read and review this book in time for the elections but I don't think I'll be able to finish.

The book is How Would Jesus Vote? by Dr. D. James Kennedy. So far I'm a chapter in and from what I've read so far Dr. Kennedy has done a solid job of building this argument.

One takeaway I have from my early perusing of the first couple chapters is that the book is not setting out to answer the question of whether Jesus was a Republican or a Democrat.

Rather Kennedy is going to take the reader through the values of Jesus as laid out in the Bible and then ask the reader to apply those values to their respective candidates.

Here is the summary from the publisher...
The 2008 election is shaping up to be one of the most important political contests in American history. In fact, Dr. D. James Kennedy believes it will be a watershed moment that could impact our very survival as a nation under God.

Values voters—people whose political views and votes are based on t…

Life Update

Hello friends,

It is late at night and I need to sleep before work tomorrow but I wanted to say hello and share a few of the things I've been up to recently....

- Had some new friends from church over Thursday night
- Great time having pizza at my brother-in-laws and visiting with his family
- Saturday was the Bethel Hockey Alumni game, very fun/relaxed game atmosphere
- Had dinner w/ my college roommate and enjoyed spending time with his family
- Date night on Sunday w/ another couple Stephanie and I deeply love
- Izzy had a sleepover at my sisters dorm and had a blast
- something is jacked up w/ the big toe on my right foot
- can't believe it is already Halloween, things will be picking up at work soon
- feeling very blessed to have such a fun nanny who does art projects w/ the kids
- blown away by how old Jacob is getting - you should see his preschool picture
- Izzy is doing gymnastics 2x/wk and loving it
- Drew man is a wild and crazy 2 year old boy
- bought a used drum set for the kid…

Father's Approval Needed for Daughter's Clothing

I started working on an article today based on Paul's words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:9 regarding how women should dress. I came across this incredible word to fathers on C.J. Mahaney's blog.
Dads, I want to urge you to take responsibility for your daughters’ dress. Fathers are absolutely essential to the cultivation of modesty. When a young lady dresses immodestly, it usually means her father has failed to lead, care for and protect her. Without a father’s care and protection, she may be daily exposed to the lustful minds of men.

My three daughters are grown and married now, but from an early age I sought to impress upon them the importance of modesty. Before an article of clothing became a permanent part of their wardrobe my girls had to get my approval. This wasn’t always easy—for them or for me. Modest clothing is hard to find. Sometimes, they’d arrive home after an all day shopping trip only to hear me say: “That’s not gonna, work, my love. I’m so sorry, but exhaustio…

New Blogger Comment Feature

Blogger has a cool new embedded comment feature. You can check it out by clicking on the comment link below this post.

If you blog with Blogger here is how to active the new feature on your blog.
To enable the embedded comment form for your blog, go to the Settings > Comments page and look for the Comment Form Placement setting. Change it to Embedded below post, save your settings, and go check out a post to see the new form in action.

McCain v. Obama Dance-Off

Did you see the dance-off the other night? You can watch it here. Good stuff.

Who Are You Voting For?

Which candidate in next months election is most likely to protect innocent lives and surround himself with other men and women who will do the same?

Which innocent lives? These one...

Reflective Questions

I first read these questions on Justin Buzzards blog; rather than keeping them for myself I figured I should share them with you as well.
How has God's grace been at work in my life these first 30 years? What's the story of my first 30 years of life? How has God worked on me, in me, and through me?How has God gifted me? How has God "wired" me? What is my "niche"--what am I really good at and where does that intersect with the needs of this world? As I enter the next 30 years of my life how can I maximize how God has created and gifted me for his glory? What does it look like for me to not bury my "talents," but use and multiply them?Where do I need to repent?What bad habits need to die?What new habits need to form?In what ways have I operated out of fear rather than faith? Where am I being called to step out in fresh faith?How can I put the gospel on greater display in my roles as a disciple, husband, father, pastor, and friend?What do I love to do…

From the Geese to the Church

Wonderful post from my mom today focusing on the lessons Christians can learn from geese about how important it is to be part of a church community. The same lessons could be applied for people going through addiction recovery as well. Great sermon stuff in there Mom!

James 3

Powerful short movie illustrated James 3 from Desiring God.

Fetus Fatigue

Is abortion still a big deal? I think so.

However, Al Mohler believes that many Christians are losing interest and passion around a very difficult subject and instead favoring other things, a condition named by one person as fetus fatigue.There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other…

MTV or Missions

These words from Mark Batterson have been ringing in my brain since I read them a couple days ago,
So here's a question: do you spend more on your TV package than you give to missions? Can I come right out and say it. That's wrong! No excuses. We are selfish, materialistic hedonists AKA western Christians. And we need some good old-fashioned Holy Spirit conviction. Then we need to turn that conviction into action.I have the conviction. Now I need to work on the action.

Hard Question

This is going to be the hardest question you will have to answer since explaining the Pythagorean theorem in 8th grade.

What matters more to you than anything else in the world?

Christian, don't just say Jesus! This is not Sunday School; you cannot just insert Jesus as your standard answer here. But if you insist that Jesus matters more than anything else, let me ask you a follow-up question.

Does the way you live/structure/carry forth your life back your claim up?

My guess, with all apologies where necessary, is that if I was to start digging into your life it would be pretty clear that Jesus is not the thing that matters to you more than anything else in the world. Because if that was as true for most people as they say it is, a whole lot of stuff would be different in people's lives.

Making Jesus what matters most means changing the way we do,

-$
-time
-possessions
-relationships
-business
-appearance
-parenting

When Jesus is what matters more than anything else, there is an intentio…

Chandler's Blog

I couldn't believe it when I found out last night that Matt Chandler has a blog. He doesn't post much, maybe once a month, but the few posts that he has written have been deeply thought provoking.

I could copy excerpts from almost all the posts, but I'd rather give you the links to two that I thought were especially insightful.

Pursuit
Inspirations

3 Factors in a Child Embracing Faith

3 Factors in a Child Embracing Faith
Influence of the Holy Spirit
Nurturing Environment
Choices the Child Makes

- from Tim Keller's sermon It Takes a City to Raise a Child

8 Reasons Why the City is the Best Place to Raise Children

In a survey of over 6,000 youth, it was seen that one of the single largest factors in children following in their parent's faith is whether or not the children felt their parents understood the real world and could understand and answer the child's questions about the world.

Dr. Tim Keller believes that children raised by parents in the city have the best shot at feeling their parents understand they real world. In this talk, Tim expounds on 8 reasons why the city is the best place to raise children.

#1- Kids will think they are living in the real world
#2- The city undercuts kids' self-righteousness towards you and your faith
#3- Kids will become considerably more confident and self-reliant, self-sufficient
#4- Kids will be better at handling diversity
#5- The city pushes the family together
#6- Gives kids examples of people they will want to be like
#7 - You can help kids process the real world
#8 - Kids don't have the same kind of pressure on them to conform

Come One, Come All, and We'll Even Pick You Up

Willing to do anything to win an election? I'm not sure our country's Presidency should be decided this way....

Touching Your Child's Heart

I heard John Piper say in an interview with Mark Driscoll that one of the things he most regrets about about his time parenting his now adult boys, is that he didn't work hard enough to push inside their hearts and draw them out. He taught them the Bible, he disciplined them to be responsible, he cheered them on in sports and activities, but he feels like he didn't do enough to teach them to understand and nurture their hearts. Watch the video and fast-forward to the 34th minute to hear John talk about this.

What a challenge! I want to connect with my own kid a deep level. I want to be in touch with their hearts and give them the tools to be in touch with their own hearts and the hearts of their own kids someday. The stage I am in now is precious time that I can't afford to waste.

100 Skills Every Man Should Know

Popular Mechanics has a list of 100 Skills Every Man Should Know. It is a pretty comprehensive list. I'll have to spend some time breaking it down and see how manly I am. Take a peek and see if there is something you think was left out.

(HT: The Art of Manliness)

Day at the Orchard

Yesterday I took the kids to Emma Krumbee's Orchard and Farm in Belle Plain, MN. We had a great time. There was all kinds of thing to do including a giant hay stack, a tile maze, wagon rides, playgrounds, a three-wheeler tractor course, and a petting zoo. And it was only $5/person!

I posted a bunch of pics on Flickr if you want to check it out! Click here for pics.

Thoughts on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

This week I have been thinking and doing a little study on the concept of being "baptized in the Holy Spirit." I've been doing so in response to some of the things Stephanie told me about the teaching she received at her women's retreat last weekend.

Apparently there was a time during the weekend when the leader was talking about the gift of speaking in tongues. She told the women at the retreat that the gift of tongues was for all people, but that you couldn't access the gift unless you had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. She described this baptism as a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit (apart from conversion) that grants you access to the power of the Spirit.

There is much debate between scholars and theologians about what the Bible teaches regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The debate is between two primary camps of people. There are those (made up mostly of Pentecostals and charismatics) who believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes …

Book Review: For Young Men Only

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The latest book in the series For ____ Only (For Women Only, For Men Only) is Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice's book, For Young Men Only. I was sent an advance copy to do a review of the book on this very blog. So, here goes.

Style of the Book
I enjoyed reading FYMO. It was a very quick read geared towards the younger, teenage reader. The language in the book is consistent with the language that teenage kids are speaking without being cheesy. The illustrations were relevant and fit the current culture. I think the young men who read this book will connect with the content and enjoy the style.

Purpose of the Book
If you are reading this book looking for in-your-face Christian theology and pastoral content, stop reading because you will not find that in FYMO. Feldhahn and Rice acknowledge this from the outset on pg. 10, "There are many great books out there that pull together good biblical guidelines for dating, for example, but that isn't what we are doing here." Howe…

6 Random Things About Me

My wife tagged me and asked me to post six random things about myself. This might be good therapy, or it may cause me to lose all my friends, who knows. Anyway here goes...

1. I am fascinated with make-up and haircuts. On the Extreme Make-over shows one of my favorite parts is when the person gets their hair styled and then they are given a make-up lesson. I love make-up. It is a special bonding time for Izzy and I when we paint her nails together.

2. I wish I had a talent for music. I love music. I wish that I could sing and play piano and guitar with ease, more than I desire any other talent. As a youth leader I organized a Sunday night worship service in my parent's barn. I played guitar and sang, and to this day, I have no idea why anyone ever came.

3. I have some kind of digestive disorder than causes me to have loose stools all the time. Yeah, that's why I always disappear at your house 5 minutes after eating dinner. It is such a regular thing that Stephanie j…

Should I Be a Stay-At-Home Dad?

Mark Driscoll answers the question "Should I Be a Stay-at-Home Dad?" Sure to be highly controversial.

I can't find the code to embed so you'll have to just click the link: Video Some Dudes Will Hate

I'd love to hear your 'respectful thoughts' on the video.

God's Big Perspective and My Little One

I spent the majority of my time at work last Sunday-Tuesday organizing candy. Due to Halloween and the large amount of candy my store was selling it was necessary to have a person watching over the candy area and thinking strategically about what candy should go where, what candy needed to be move aside, what candy needed to be replaced, and so on. Working under my leadership was a number of high school kids who wanted nothing more challenging than just throwing the bags onto an overflowing, unorganized pile.

Yesterday the pastor at the church we attended spoke, at one point, of how God is over all things and has a perspective that humans do not. He talked about how as humans we can only see a short distance in front of us, on our present, and backwards into the past. But God has a different perspective. He sees ahead, now, behind, next to, and all around us. God sees how different, unrelated (to the human eye) circumstances can all work together to accomplish his purposes.

Too …

Porn Again Christians, free e-book by Mark Driscoll

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Re:Lit is releasing, chapter-by-chapter, a free e-book by Mark Driscoll called "Porn Again Christians." Knowing Mark this will be an informative, theological, readable, engaging book that will help primarily men (and some women) get free from the bondage of sexual sin.

Check it out by clicking the title link above.

The Great Debate of '08

My bride is upstairs watching the VP nominees debate. I think it is outstanding how she is engaging this election and taking the time to educate herself on the issues and the candidates. Working, as a Christian educator in a highly secular/ academic town, she is in an environment that can be very hostile to those with her worldview. It shows wisdom that she is preparing herself in this way. It seems to be in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15,
in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,*By the way, I'm in the other room but it sounds to me like every time Joe Biden speaks he is yelling and acting hostile to Palin.

Driscoll Pics

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Funny Small Group Videos

Vince Antonucci is the pastor of Forefront Church in Virginia Beach (although he'd soon leaving to plant a new church in Las Vegas) and a guy who spoke at WIBO. You can read my notes from his talk here.

Vince has posted some hilarious videos on his blog that Forefront has been showing to promote their upcoming small group session. You can check out all the 'Cletus Jenkins' videos on YouTube here.

Enjoy.