New Dollar Coins

I don’t know if you realized it or not, but Congress did the right thing when it comes the motto: “In God we Trust” concerning the new Presidential coins. The designers had the motto placed on the edges, and Congress just passed a bill requiring the U.S. Mint to move the motto to either the front or the back of the coin. I love it when we don’t relegate God from our society. Read about more of it here.

The change will not occur until 2009, so there are some coins that have the motto on the edge. It might be interesting to get both sets for a collection. I used to collect coins until I went into the Coast Guard. When I got back, my coins had mostly disappeared. I guess that happens.

I’m Done!

Yes, I’m done! Christmas 2007 is behind us and it’s time to move on. I’m all Christmas-ed out! After two solid days of celebration, I’m ready to return to normalcy. Christmas was wonderful. We had the best Christmas… well, since last year! It was simple, and enjoyable. We had several friends over to dine in the morning, and then again in the evening. I got to make my signature spaghetti sauce. We watched videos and played all day, and I’m still tired.

But that is not all. Yesterday was Andy’s 3rd Birthday. We had a party for him, with a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake. Then we went to the zoo in Columbia where we looked at animals until they kicked us out. We went to eat, at an El Chico (yes, they do have decent Mexican food in Columbia), and then we went back to the zoo to tour their Christmas lights, and ride the merry-go-round. We had a blast. But now, I’m tired and need to get back to work and get ready for the Lord’s day.
The above is Andy blowing out the candles on the cake. We set it up on the dinning room table along with the track. While we ate lunch, we had the battery-powered Thomas motoring around the track. Andy got that for Christmas, along with some more track, and one of the buildings in the series. He also got a helicopter for his birthday, which he loves.Did you know that when you eat blue icing, you get a blue tongue. We all had to show our blue tongues for the birthday boy.

Joey, being his cute self, at the zoo. He wasn’t as fascinated with the animals as Andy was. We expect that to change in the coming years. He was very content to ride along in his stroller for most of the day.


Ah, yes, the tiger. Since there was a tiger attack at the San Francisco zoo, there were news crews from the local stations outside this beasts home. I’m sure they had stunning reports like: Can this tiger get out? And then there is the man on the street(really man in the zoo) reports. Sir, since there was an attack at the San Francisco Zoo, how safe do you feel? Depending on how you answer it, determines whether or not you get on the 6 p.m. news. Hear how one man is not going to the zoo ever again! Blah, blah, blah…

Andrew being carried like a sack of potatoes.


Christmas morning, along with smiles, and lots of trash… and more noisy toys.

Scientific Myths

You may have heard of the recent study that dismantles certain myths found in science. For instance, we have always heard that hair and fingernails continue to grow after we die. The report showed it not to be true. Not sure I really cared about knowing this, but the scientist behind debunking these myths thought it was important. You can read the entire report here.
The one myth that they dispelled that has me upset, it the following one:

Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Fact: Physicians and comedians alike, including Jerry Seinfeld, love to cite this one. It’s sometimes erroneously credited to Albert Einstein. But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn’t jibe with the fact that our other organs run at full tilt.

The reason I have a problem with this is that I was always hoping science could make a real break through and help us utilized the rest of our brains. I’ve always thought in the back of my mind, now we know with full 100 percent capacity, that I had much greater potential to becoming a supra genius. I mean, I know I am really smart to begin with, at least an acolyte genius, but with a break through, who knows what the possibility might be. But then again, it’s not going to happen. I’m using all 100 percent of my brain now, and there is nothing left in reserve to tap into. This is so dreadfully disappointing. If I’m ever going to become the supra theologian that I desire to be, I will just have to do it the old fashion way… work at it.

Happy Blog

Have a wonderful weekend. I leave you with the smile of a child. Hopefully, it will bring you a smile as well.

I may have one more post before Christmas, but if not. Merry Christmas. Think of the implications of the incarnation. With the incarnation, we have hope. Through Christ, there is salvation from our sin, from death, and ultimately, from our misery. Look to Christ. Believe in Christ. Trust in Christ. Blessings

WE Three Kings???

By now, you may have heard that the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that the Nativity Scene is nothing more than a legend. He went on to say that one need not believe in the virgin birth in order to be signed up into Christianity. You can read the article here. According both stories I have read on the matter, here is basically what he said:

There was scant evidence for the Magi, and none at all that there were three of them, or that they were kings, he said. All the evidence that existed was in Matthew’s Gospel. The Archbishop said: “Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t tell us there were three of them, doesn’t tell us they were kings, doesn’t tell us where they came from. It says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that’s all we’re really told.” Anything else was legend. “It works quite well as legend,” the Archbishop said.

The truth of the matter is that he is right on this one aspect. I remember hearing of this truth in a Bible trivia game played by a bunch of youth. The question was: How many wise men visited Jesus? Everyone always says “three.” But the text doesn’t say. All it says is that “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.” If you guessed three, then you were wrong.

I imagine that much of what we know from the manger scene comes more from the songs we sing than the Bible. We Three Kings comes to mind as one of the culprits of what we believe. Don’t get me wrong, I love the song. But the song is wrong on the number and the type of men who visited Jesus. What this illustrates is the importance of having the songs we sing be accurate both Biblically and theologically. Hymns are more than just praise to God, they are teaching tools as well, and when they are wrong, the people are ignorant.

So Rowan Williams declares what most first-year seminary students are taught and there is an outrage. That is OK. Maybe it will drive many of us back to the word of God for our understanding of the first advent of Christ, and we will learn the truth about it. Maybe we will quit learning from culture and learn from His word. Yes, Rowan Williams is bursting a lot of peoples bubble about Christmas. But that is what we can expect from him. He is into that. Let’s use it to learn what it is that we believe and what is true about Christ’s first advent.

As for the virgin birth, yes it is a major tenant of Christianity and I probably need to do an additional post on it later. But for now, realize that Rowan is saying he does believe in it, but doesn’t feel that you have to believe it to become a Christian. That I would agree to. Now if you are going to go on and become a pastor, teacher, deacon, elder or Sunday school teacher, then yes, you need to believe in the virgin birth. It is vital to who Christ is, and essential to our faith. But it’s not required to believe or know in order to become a Christian. All that takes is faith in Christ for your salvation.

Rowan is saying the controversial because he is controversial. It would be nice if he held to the tenants of the faith and taught them as well, so others might believe. But that doesn’t seem to be his purpose. This is another one of those situations where I think it best to leave Rowan in God’s hands. He is big enough to handle the archbishop of Canterbury.

The Coming of Christ

I love this quote by J.C. Ryle. He captures the essence and beauty of the incarnation, or the word becoming flesh.

“But while we do not pretend to explain the union of two natures in our Lord Jesus Christ’s Person, we must not hesitate to fence the subject with well-defined cautions. While we state most carefully what we do believe, we must not shrink from declaring boldly what we do not believe. We must never forget, that though our Lord was God and man at the same time, the divine and human natures in Him were never confounded. One nature did not swallow up the other. The two natures remained perfect and distinct. The divinity of Christ was never for a moment laid aside, although veiled. The manhood of Christ, during His life-time, was never for a moment unlike our own, though by union with the Godhead, greatly dignified. Though perfect God, Christ has always been perfect man from the first moment of His incarnation. He that is gone into heaven, and is sitting at the Father’s right hand to intercede for sinners, is man as well as God. Though perfect man, Christ never ceased to be perfect God. He that suffered for sin on the cross, and was made sin for us, was ‘God manifest in the flesh.’ The blood with which the Church was purchased, is called the blood ‘of God.’ (Acts 20:28) Though He became ‘flesh’ on the fullest sense, when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He never at any period ceased to be the Eternal Word. To say that He constantly manifested His divine nature during His earthly ministry, would, of course, be contrary to plan facts. To attempt to explain why His Godhead was sometimes veiled and at other times unveiled, while He was on earth, would be venturing on ground which we had better leave alone. But to say that at any instant of His earthly ministry He was not fully and entirely God, is nothing less than heresy.”

What all the above has to do with the celebration we have every year in honor of Christ’s incarnation, I’m not sure. I think Christmas as we celebrate it, is a great mystery when compared to the event that it supposedly represents. The incarnation is far more wonderful than anything the holiday has to offer. He was truly divine and He dignified our fallen nature. That alone, is worthy of worship and celebration. But He went much further than that. He procured for the Christian his/her salvation. There is nothing we can do to thank Him enough. But that doesn’t mean we should not live with a heart full of gratitude.

Yes, the first coming of Christ is special and should be celebrated. But I’m not sure we are doing it any justice at all, the way we celebrate this time of year.

Expelled — The Movie

I found this at Neil’s site. He has had it there for a while, but I didn’t have time to watch it until recently. So I’m posting it now. Neil also has some good debate in the comments section, as usual. I didn’t realize that this was a movie. It will be interesting to see how the Drive-By-Media treats the release of this film since it shows the darker side of academic “freedom.” I place “freedom” in quotes because as you will see when you view the video, that is an oxymoron when it comes to freedom and the Darwinist debate. It should be quite interesting to see how things unfold. I think I will see if I can get a group of people from the church to go and view it when it comes out.

Watch the video. Ben Stein is the speaker.

Also, Dr. Stew Turner, a member of my church that puts on courses and seminars on Creationism, pointed out to me that Intelligent Design is not Creationism. It does move in the general direction of Creationism by admitting that there is a designer behind creation, but does not assume to point out who that Creator is. For the ID (my words not his), the creator could just as well be a supernatural Klingon… The point of ID is not who the designer is, but that there is a designer.

You can visit Dr. Turner’s site here.
You can visit Ben Stein’s site here .

15,000!

I was planning on a special post, marking the event of crossing 15,000 hits… but it passed us by on the weekend. So here it is: this blog…  has reached 15,000 hits! Yea!

BTW, for some reason I’m getting a lot of hits from Sweden, Belfast, and South Africa. A lot of overseas traffic. Not sure why, but I’m grateful.

Prayer

I love reading John Calvin’s section on prayer in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. It is probably the best treatment on prayer that I have ever read. I read the following yesterday, and it hit me as being so true. He is writing against undisciplined and irreverent prayer.
“The two matters are well worth attention: first, whoever engages in prayer should apply to it his faculties and efforts, and not, as commonly happens, be distracted by wondering thoughts. For nothing is more contrary to reverence for God than the levity that marks an excess of frivolity utterly devoid of awe. In this mater, the harder we find concentration to be, the more strenuously we ought to labor after it. For no one is so intent on praying that he does not feel many irrelevant thoughts stealing upon him, which either break the course of prayer or delay it by some winding bypath. But here let us recall how unworthy it is, when God admits us to intimate conversation, to abuse his great kindness by mixing sacred and profane; but just as if the discourse were between us and an ordinary man, amidst our prayers we neglect him and flit about hither and thither.”
I think the key to Calvin’s thought here is that he is set upon showing God reverence and awe at all times. Reverence seems to be entirely lacking in many Christian circles because those in those circles are focusing so much on the reality that Jesus is our friend, that they also forget that He is LORD and Creator of all things. I think any time you enter into a worship service where it feels more like a game show, or variety show, you can definitely say that reverence and awe are lacking.
It is also lacking in our prayer because we don’t really give time to think about what we are going to say to God in our prayer. Yes, there are times to burst into prayer spontaneously, but that should be the exception, not the rule. Especially when that prayer is rendered in worship. Then, we do need to spend time thinking of how we are going to address the King of kings, and His Father. We would do the same if we were going to meet with a dignitary of some nature. Why not do so for someone even greater than our earthly and worldly dignitaries? Let’s remember that we do owe respect, honor and awe to our God and treat Him with the reverence He deserves.

Church Hopping

I found the following via John’s site here, which led to Andy’s site here. I found the photo as Anna’s site here. No, it has nothing to do with the quote below on church hopping. I’m not saying this is what we should do to church hoppers. I just liked the picture.

In the quotation below, Edward Veal, a 17th century Puritan minister talks about Church hopping in his own time along with its detrimental effects and gives some excellent advice:

“Reading the Scriptures and good books is not sufficient for those that have a capacity to hear. The preaching of the Word is the great ordinance appointed by God, for the instruction, edification, and conversion of those that are to be saved… As in other cases, so it is for the most part here: you are commonly more affected with what you hear men speak, than with what men write. Ministers may write or print their sermons, but not their emotions … You are most likely to be warmed by the Word when you hear it coming out of a hot heart …

But, above all, be sure to be regular in your hearing. Take heed how you hear; and take heed what you hear; and from both these will follow, that you must take heed whom you hear too. Hear those that are most knowing, and best able to instruct you; those that are most sound, and least likely to mislead you. Do not choose to put your souls under the care of blind guides … Settle yourselves under the guidance of some faithful pastor, upon whose ministry you may ordinarily attend. This running to and fro, which is usual among us, is quite different from what Daniel speaks of, and, I am sure, it is not the way to increase knowledge (Dan. 12:4) … They that run from one minister to another, may soon run from one opinion to another, and from one error to another.

I dare safely say, you will get more sound knowledge of the things of God by constant attendance upon the ministry of one of less abilities, than by rambling up and down to hear many, though of greater gifts … It is no wonder if men that run to and fro, be ‘tossed to and fro.’ They that are so light of hearing may easily be ‘carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph. 4:14); the Word of Christ seldom dwells in such vagabond hearers.”

– Edward Veal, Puritan Sermons, Vol. 2, p. 16

It’s amazing that Veal faced the same problem we do today. So many want to run back and forth between churches, never really settling under anyone’s ministry. But then again, there is a lack of good preaching in so many of the churches today. Perhaps if more ministers would take their callings seriously, it wouldn’t be such a problem.

Winston Quote


I love this quote by Winston Churchill.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

Dee has it posted in her masthead over at her site.

The quote is so true. If you stand for anything at all, before long, you will find yourself with enemies. You will never find any more venom in life as you do when you stand up for true Christianity. Those who stand for the faith against heretics and error, I commend you. Keep up the good fight, as Paul told us. There are many antichrists as John told us, and we need to continue to fight for the truth of Scripture.

As Churchill also said, “we will NEVER surrender…” Therefore let us never cease doing what is good, even when we anger those enemies of the true faith. They may rail against us in their anger and bitterness, but let that not deter us in pressing on in the faith handed down to us by the Apostles and found in His Word (both Christ and the Bible).

Santa Claus

And Now from the Bah Humbug Department!
How come every time Santa Claus comes to town, I end up paying for it for the next six months or so?

Let’s make him stay here, get a job, and pay off all those bills. He is worse than that relative that hangs around too much, and lives off your meager earnings. All Santa does is swoop in for a night, and bam! You’re stuck with hundreds of dollars of credit card debts. What kind of friend is that?

And no, I don’t care what he knows. Tell him to get an honest job that doesn’t cost me a lot of money!

War Movies

I found the following at Opinionjournal.com. You can read the entire article here.

Not According to Script
Hollywood gets shown up by pro-war YouTube videos and a didactic antiwar cat.

BY BRENDAN MINITER
Friday, December 7, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

The guns of war have fallen silent for Hollywood. Studio executives, who could once count on Americans filling theaters for just about any war movie they produced, are finding this year’s war flicks to be a bunch of duds. “Lions for Lambs,” Robert Redford’s case against the war in Afghanistan, is a flop. It stars Mr. Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise and may not make back its $35 million price tag. Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” played to empty seats. Even “The War,” Ken Burns’s much-anticipated World War II documentary that aired on PBS in September, met a less-than-explosive reception.

But Americans haven’t lost their taste for war footage. They’ve just found a better place to see the type of war film they actually enjoy watching.

I’m grateful that the Hollywood movies are flops. Robert Redford has been a liberal goon for far too long, and many give him a pass. But the public isn’t buying it this time. Thank goodness. I do like it that there is an another avenue for what is taking place in Iraq. The article goes to talk about the number of videos on Youtube that you can watch showing the real war. Here is just one of them.

Funny Quote

I saw this today and found it hilarious:

“Ask the American Indians what happens when you don’t control Immigration”

Pearl Harbor and the Christian Life

It’s the 66th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and it just so happens that I finally got to the section of Winston Churchill’s Memoirs of The Second World War, where he deals with Pearl Harbor. It was fascinating to read his words and thoughts on the entire subject. Yes, it did surprise him. But the moment he heard about it, he felt the greatest sense of relief because at that point in time, he knew they would win the war. He writes:

“No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! Yes, after Dunkirk; after the fall of France; after the horrible episode of Oran; after the threat of invasion, when, apart from the Air and the Navy, we were an almost unarmed people; after the deadly struggle of the U-boat war–the first Battle of the Atlantic, gained by a hand’s breadth; after seventeen months of lonely fighting and nineteen months of my responsibility in dire stress. We had won the war. England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live. How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. Once again in our long island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force…”

I love his confidence. The road to victory would be long and hard as we all know it was. But he knew the moment the U.S. entered the war, it was just a matter of time.

Yes, this does have application to the Christian life. The same is so true the moment someone believes in Jesus Christ as their savior. The victory has already been won. The war is over. We might get mauled in the process, and lose quite a bit through our lives, but we would not die as individuals. Satan and his minions will all be crushed and destroyed. But not the believer. Not the one who perseveres in Him, because He dwells in us. There will be a sure victory because the victory was secured some 2,000 years ago on the cross. Yes, there are many battles we still must face on this side of glory. But in the end, we will win.

Yes, there was a lot of blood shed on that day 66 years ago. It almost seems to be a universal rule, that true freedom can never come about without bloodshed. While all those lives were precious, none were more precious than the blood shed some 2,000 years ago. That blood leads to the truest freedom, freedom from sin and death. It leads to eternal life. For those who believe, the victory has already been won, even though the war wages for each of us. Press on fellow believers. Have the same confidence that Sir Winston had when the U.S. entered the war. The war is won, but the battles need to be fought. Press on to the goal.

The Golden Compass
Since today is the release of the Golden Compass, I thought it prudent to add link to my previous post on the topic, which has been getting a lot of hits lately. Go here to read the post.

Mater


On our way out of Wichita Falls, we stopped at a barbecue restaurant just north of Decatur. We figured it was one of our last chances to get real Texas barbecue until we returned to the Fatherland again… sometime next year.

Just so happens the restaurant had an old truck out front that they had painted the windshield to make it look like Mater, from the movie, Cars. Andy loved it. The moment he saw it he wanted to go over and climb on it, even though it had signs forbidding us to climb on it. I still took his picture with Mater and he was overjoyed to look at it.

We also loved the barbecue. The waiter told us the owner was dedicated to giving us the best beef brisket around and cooked the meat for 12 hours. It was so good and tender we didn’t need to use our knives to cut it.

It got me to thinking. Since I live here in South Carolina, I need to take up the hobby of cooking barbecue brisket in a smoker. I don’t have to go far to get good barbecue sauce. I really like Stubbs barbecue sauce as one of the better products on the market. (His motto is: Ladies and Gentlemen I’m a cook! With a motto like that, you have to try it!) My father is the one that told me about it because he says it’s so good, he doesn’t need to doctor it any. That said a lot to me and when we tried it, I could see why he said that.

Now, I just have to find a smoker somewhere… and a couple of hundred other things to get it with.

Embracing Him

I love pastor’s who speak the truth. In this video, John Piper comes right out and says that he hates the prosperity gospel. I found another clip where he went into it in greater detail. The basis is that the prosperity gospel, which is a lie, focuses on the gifts, not the giver. The ultimate to the gospel is to be in the presence of God. It is to become one of His people, and dwell in His Temple with Him forever. It’s not about stuff.

On one hand, this is a time message we need to hear all over again, with the approach of the biggest and most adulterated holiday in Christendom: Christmas. Let’s face it, it’s not REALLY about the birth of Jesus. It’s about getting more stuff. Yuck! I have so much stuff I don’t know what to do with it. So much of it doesn’t matter and I wish a great wind would come along and blow it all away. I’m tired of stuff. What is important is the true Peace that is found in Him, true forgiveness, true joy. Not stuff. Stuff comes and goes. He is forever!

But I digress. Piper says it in a much clearer way. Embrace Him! Embrace Christ!

BTW, the picture is of me letting Joey chew on a rib bone when we were in Texas. It was his first taste of barbecue. Given the way he is eating here lately, I think he really will like it once he gets more teeth.