Friday, November 28, 2008

This is sick....

Some Hoosiers 24-Hour News 8 talked to asked if the gift certificates could be used towards abortions. The answer is yes. But, Planned Parenthood said that's not the purpose of the gift certificates.

Struben-Hall said, "They really are intended for preventative healthcare. We decided not to put restrictions on the gift certificates so it's for whatever people feel they need the services for most."
Read the article here.
BTW, if Obama gets his way with FOCA, the gov't will be giving these out left and right.

Happy Thanksgiving

Click to enlarge this proclamation from President George Washington:
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; — for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; — and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; — to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

George Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Does this surprise anyone?

US officials flunk test of Amerian history, economics, civics
The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II."

Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.

Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."

In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?"
For those needing a refresher course or two, we recommend remedial viewing of School House Rock: America Rock!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More On Where The Church's Treasure Is

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds points out this interesting statistic:
This is a sobering statistic:

In fact, fewer than 5 percent of churchgoers actually tithe 10 percent of their income; the average, according to numbers from Empty Tomb, a Christian research group that puts out annual reports on church giving, is now 3.4 percent, or 21 percent less than what dust-bowler counterparts gave during the worst of the Great Depression. Figures show that churchgoer contributions have been cascading downward since the 1960s. Religious conservatives do give more. Problem is, they only give nominally more and other groups give next to nothing.

My emphasis. Read the whole thing.
One 2007 study found 85 percent of church dollars are spent in-house, doing up the environs to snag more “seekers.” In another, Protestant pastors were asked what they would do with an unexpected financial windfall, and 31 percent said they would build a new building....

For every dollar evangelical churches now spend, they give about two cents to missions, an amazing statistic when you consider that funding missions was once paramount to evangelicals.
Something is seriously wrong. We have moved far from the mission of the Lord Jesus.

Tips for Reading

Tim Challies gives some good advice for reading more & better:

Read Widely
Read Deliberately
Read Interactively
Read with Discernment
Read Heavy Books
Read Light Books
Read New Books
Read Old Books
Read What Your Heroes Read

Check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Futile attempts at religious pluralism

Here we go again....
A website launched Friday with the backing of technology industry and Hollywood elite urges people worldwide to help craft a framework for harmony between all religions.

The Charter for Compassion project on the Internet at springs from a "wish" granted this year to religious scholar Karen Armstrong at a premier Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in California....

Armstrong's wish is to combine universal principles of respect and compassion into a charter based on a "golden rule" she believes is at the core of every major religion.

The Golden Rule essentially calls on people to do unto others as they would have done unto them.

"The chief task of our time is to build a global society where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony," Armstrong said.

"If we do not achieve this, it seems unlikely that we will have a viable world to hand on to the next generation."

Charter for Compassion invites people from "all faiths, nationalities, languages and backgrounds" to help draft statements of principles and actions that should be taken.
A couple of observations...
1) As a 'religion expert,' Armstrong is incredibly ignorant if she thinks the Golden Rule is at the core of every major religion.

2) Why do I get the feeling that the definition of 'religion' being used here excludes things like statism, secular humanism, atheism, narcissism, consumerism, etc.?

3) There can be no 'peace' while people live in rebellion to the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.

4) Jesus alone gives us the example of laying down one's life for one's enemies.

From Defender of THE Faith to Defender of Faith

When Prince Charles assumes the throne, he's planning a little change. According to this report from the Telegraph,
The move would mean the monarch, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, would no longer be known as Defender of the Faith for the first time since the reign of Henry VIII.

The Prince caused controversy within the Anglican church when he floated the idea several years ago of becoming Defender of the Faiths in an attempt to embrace the other religions in Britain.

In a compromise he has now opted for Defender of Faith which he hopes will unite the different strands of society, and their beliefs, at his Coronation.
Of course, most people think that any of these titles are a joke. But with Muslim birthrates three times higher than non-Muslim birthrates, he may do well to take up the mantel of Defender of Islam.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big Game Today

OU vs. Tech.

This game may well determine who plays in the National Championship game. Here are a couple of thoughts:

1) Stoops & Leach are brilliant head coaches.

2) My parents raised me as a Sooner fan, and as an Aggie, I hate tech.

3) This game would make a great National Championship game.

4) My prediction: OU-54 Tech-45.

5) OU will jump t.u. in the polls and play Florida for the National Championship.

6) College Football will, I think, be a part of the New Heavens & New Earth (word is still out as to whether tech will be there).

Gig 'em & Boomer Sooner!

Obama's Faith: In His Own Words

Here's the interview in full regarding Obama's beliefs.
The most detailed and fascinating explication of Barack Obama's faith came in a 2004 interview he gave Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani when he was running for U.S. Senate in Illinois. The column she wrote about the interview has been quoted and misquoted many times over, but she'd never before published the full transcript in a major publication.

Because of how controversial that interview became, Falsani has graciously allowed us to print the full conversation here.
See for yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Knew It...

Well, dang it. I was just about to praise Obama for having the good sense to see that a play-off system for college football is 'the right thing to do,' and not two minutes later I come across the president-elect's photo with the arch-enemy: the t-sips of texas university.

And I was trying hard to like Mac Brown 'cuz generally he's a class act. But, ah....

Saw 'em off!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

This looks like a great challenge. You up for it?

[HT: Doud]

Perspctives on the Financial Crisis + a hysterical video has a great visual on the financial crisis in America.

Plus, you have to check out this hysterically clever video of Hitler's financial crisis (just for illustration purposes, of course).

[HT: Tim Challies]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wow! You've gotta check this one out...

Here is an amazing story of the conversion of a Serbian abortionists who terminated the lives of 48,000 babies.

Beware of medieval scholastics haunting your dreams!

[HT: Challies]

The Battle to End all Abortion Wars

According to Denise M. Burke, AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs,In elevating abortion to a fundamental right, FOCA poses an undeniable and irreparable danger to common-sense laws supported by a majority of Americans. Among the more than 550 federal and state laws that FOCA would nullify are:
*Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003
*Hyde Amendment (restricting taxpayer funding of abortions)
*Restrictions on abortions performed at military hospitals
*Restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion for federal employees
*Informed consent laws
*Waiting periods
*Parental consent and notification laws
*Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics
*Requirements that licensed physicians perform abortions
*“Delayed enforcement” laws (banning abortion when Roe v. Wade is overturned and/or the authority to restrict abortion is returned to the states)
*Bans on partial-birth abortion
*Bans on abortion after viability. FOCA’s apparent attempt to limit post-viability abortions is illusory. Under FOCA, post-viability abortions are expressly permitted to protect the woman’s “health.” Within the context of abortion, “health” has been interpreted so broadly that FOCA would not actually proscribe any abortion before or after viability.
*Limits on public funding for elective abortions (thus, making American taxpayers fund a procedure that many find morally objectionable)
*Limits on the use of public facilities (such has public hospitals and medical schools at state universities) for abortions
*State and federal legal protections for individual healthcare providers who decline to participate in abortions
*Legal protections for Catholic and other religiously-affiliated hospitals who, while providing care to millions of poor and uninsured Americans, refuse to allow abortions within their facilities
On the Fight FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) site, you can sign a petition and gather more info about Obama's campaign promise to sign this into law as his very first act as president. Add your name. My name on the petition is #175,769. Click here to sign the petition. My Christian friends who voted Obama into office, whatever other reasons led you to support him, you have a double obligation to oppose him on this issue.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time to rethink bigotry, folks.

Listening to the media, you'd think only Christians are small minded bigots (certainly there are too many of them), but this video should correct that misconception. Here is an angry mob of folks supporting gay marriage rights attacking a GRANDMOTHER who has the audacity to speak out for what she believes is right (in America!!!).

Screaming at a grandma, tearing a cross from her hands and stomping on it? I know that by our politically correct definitions that certain groups are exempt from hate speech, but this should cause us to rethink those categories.

BTW, she gets my "Hero of the Year" award for standing in the face of such bigotry and bigots. This should go without saying, but they should be deeply ashamed. But I doubt they are bothered by it.

Click here for the report.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There went their tax exempt status... reports...
A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

Good Read: "A Lot of Lattés"

I came across this interesting observation,
Overheard countless times in the last two months: “I am concerned about the poor performance of my investments and savings.”

Not heard even one time in the last two decades: “I am concerned about my poor performance in laying up treasure in heaven.”
On a similar note, I borrowed a recent edition of Books & Culture from a friend and read this interesting review entitled "A Lot of Lattés." In it, Ron Sider reviews Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money.
Chapter 1 hits the reader like a ton of bricks, spelling out in detail what American Christians could accomplish if they would tithe. If just the "committed Christians" (defined as those who attend church at least a few times a month or profess to be "strong" or "very strong" Christians) would tithe, there would be an extra 46 billion dollars a year available for kingdom work. To make that figure more concrete, the authors suggest dozens of different things that $46 billion would fund each year: for example, 150,000 new indigenous missionaries; 50,000 additional theological students in the developing world; 5 million more micro loans to poor entrepreneurs; the food, clothing and shelter for all 6,500,000 current refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; all the money for a global campaign to prevent and treat malaria; resources to sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide. Their conclusion is surely right: "Reasonably generous financial giving of ordinary American Christians would generate staggering amounts of money that could literally change the world."
Two more paragraphs worth quoting...
Chapter 2 outlines the dismal reality of what American Christians actually give. Twenty percent of American Christians (19 percent of Protestants; 28 percent of Catholics) give nothing to the church. Among Protestants, 10 percent of evangelicals, 28 percent of mainline folk, 33 percent of fundamentalists, and 40 percent of liberal Protestants give nothing. The vast majority of American Christians give very little—the mean average is 2.9 percent. Only 12 percent of Protestants and 4 percent of Catholics tithe.

A small minority of American Christians give most of the total donated. Twenty percent of all Christians give 86.4 percent of the total. The most generous five percent give well over half (59.6 percent) of all contributions. But higher-income American Christians give less as a percentage of household income than poorer American Christians. In the course of the 20th century, as our personal disposable income quadrupled, the percentage donated by American Christians actually declined.
Are we willing to do anything about this?

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Calvin on Prayer & the Christian LIfe

Here's free audio you should take advantage of. The folks over at Christian Audio have free downloads of Calvin's "Of Prayer & the Christian Life."

Be sure to enter in NOV2008 for the coupon. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creating margins in our lives to be missional

There are a couple of great posts by Tommy Brister over at Provocations + Pantings under the title: Missional Margin: Too Busy Not to Evangelize? (Part 1, Part 2). Both are well worth your time and reflection.

Here are a couple of nuggets:
Those of us who are too busy not to evangelize need to throw away our door hangers and put up the open and welcome sign. We need to practice personal hospitality which says to a broken world, “You’re welcome here. Please come and sit a while.” The first step for us is to repent of our me-centeredness and get on board with God’s program so that it governs our lives. Is this not what “seek first the kingdom of God” is about? The kingdom of God should be top priority in our lives, period.
Indeed, we miss out on the mission of God because our mission (or minutia) takes precedence. We don’t love our neighbor because we don’t welcome them. It is disturbing to us. And we don’t welcome them because we are simply too busy.
Missional margin is all about creating white space in the life of a 21st century Christian who has more than enough distractions to anesthetize him from the call to be actively on mission with God.

The article concludes by asking, So how can I cultivate missional margin in everyday life? How can I remove the “please do not disturb” sign with one that says, “you are welcome here”?

Brister offers some suggestions. Check it out, Part 1 & Part 2.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looking at an African-American as President

Conservative commentator Al Mohler has some good insights about the election. He writes,
For others, the night was magical and momentous. Young and old cried tears of amazement and victory as America elected its first African-American President -- and elected him overwhelmingly. Just forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, an African-American stood to claim victory as President-Elect of the nation. As Sen. Obama assured the crowd in Chicago and the watching nation, "We will get there. We will get there." No one hearing those words could fail to hear the refrain of plaintive words spoken in Memphis four decades ago. President-Elect Obama would stand upon the mountaintop that Dr. King had foreseen.

That victory is a hallmark moment in history for all Americans -- not just for those who voted for Sen. Obama. As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President.

Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who -- for the first time -- now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as President.
Maybe for a good segment of the population, this change will finally bring the emotional healing they have been looking for.

Maybe, maybe not.

Now, let's move on to the key component of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream that is much greater than an African-American in the White House: A color-blind society that doesn't judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. And let's all move to the point where we could care less about the color of someone's skin!!!

[*The author of this blog post does recognize the fact that the President-elect is only half African-American, but hopefully the symbolism will have the same effect.]

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Praying for the President-elect

The wife has a great call for us to pray for the President, and to honor those to whom honor is due.

As the Scriptures teach us, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior..." (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Justin Taylor reminds us,
No matter who you voted for--or whether you voted at all--it's important to remember that, as President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

     * We are to pray for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
     * We are to thank God for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
     * We are to respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7).
     * We are to honor Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).

Let's hope he breaks his promise

President Barack Hussein Obama. It's official. Our duty (at least one of them) is to pray for him.

As for me, I'm praying that he will break at least one of his campaign promises. He said in a speech before Planned Parenthood, "The first thing I'll do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

Do you remember what the Freedom of Choice Act is? According to Senator Barbara Boxer who is a co-sponser of the bill: "The Freedom of Choice Act supercedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman’s right to choose. That means a poor woman cannot be denied the use of Medicaid if she chooses to have an abortion."

Two things:
(1) States will lose any right to determine issues re: abortion. They won't be able to restrict it, or try to make it rare. They can't insist on parental notification; they can't protect doctors & nurses who refuse to perform abortions from losing their jobs. Freedom of Choice Act trumps everything.
(2) Your tax dollars will pay for abortions.

And Obama promised that the first thing he'll do as president is to sign this into law. Let's hope and pray that this is one campaign promise that he'll break.

Tim Keller on Why Plant New Churches

Tim Keller says,
"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the 1) numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and the 2) continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else - not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes - will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting."
If you have the time, and have been bitten by the church planting bug, or at least have your curiosity piqued, you should check out these lectures by Rev. Keller.

Part 1: 9:06

Part 2: 9:00

Part 3: 9:06

Part 4: 7:16

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Genuine Incarnation Living" means what?

"I would argue that in today's society, any attempt to model your life on the life of Christ must include a genuine attempt to hang out regularly in third places. Genuine incarnational living demands it. Missional proximity can best be developed in bars, pubs, gyms, grocery stores, beauty parlors, community groups, and coffee shops."

- Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture, p. 59.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Praying the Psalms

Filed under: "I couldn't have said it better myself"
Christianity Today has a good, brief article on Five Ways to Pray the Psalms.
1. Say them out loud.
2. Festoon them.
3. Paraphrase them.
4. Learn them by heart.
5. Marinate in them.
Enjoy the article. Put it into practice.