Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone

Friday, May 25, 2007

Random Observations

While I was waiting for my oldest son to get out of football practice yesterday, I was watching the various kids as they milled around, looking for their ride home. One young man caught my attention because he was singing a song. He was wandering back and forth singing, "I lie. I cheat. I steal." to himself. It hit me that this boy was programming his moral system. I wondered to myself what it was that made him sing that song. Today, I "Googled" those lyrics and saw that they are associated with a particular wrestler.

I thought to myself, "What a shame that this garbage is being poured into this young man's brain." and that he is repeating it over and over again to himself.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

My kids don't watch wrestling, but as I think more and more about the types of programs that are on the television, I want my children to watch less and less of them.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stewart's Creek Scrimmage

Today was a busy day, but it was really cool that I had a
chance to take Megan, Matthew and Juliana to watch George's 1st scrimmage. Stewarts Creek played against Seigel Middle.

Although, it was a really long time to have the kids out in the field (Jules will have toys next time.), it was really cool to see G play and get some good hits and a tackle.

Way to go G! Keep up the good work!

Here are a few of the many pictures that I took. One is a picture of George and Matt after the scrimmage. Below is a cool picture of Juliana and Megan watching the action.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

My wife just sent me the sad news of the death of Jerry Falwell. While, I may not have always agreed with some of things that he said or did, especially positions that he and the President of Liberty Theological Seminary took on Calvinism and early fathers of the Christian faith, he left his mark on Christendom. To God be all of the glory for his life.

The following is from an AP story released today...

LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority and used it to mold the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University. He was 73.

Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell was found unresponsive late Tuesday morning and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

"I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast," Godwin said. "He went to his office, I went to mine, and they found him unresponsive."

Dr. Carl Moore, Falwell's physician, said the evangelist had a heart rhythm abnormality. He said Falwell was found without a pulse and never regained consciousness.

Falwell had made careful preparations for a transition of his leadership to his two sons, Jerry Falwell, Jr., now vice-chancellor of Liberty University, and Jonathan Falwell, executive the pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church.

One daughter, Jeannie Falwell Savas, Surgeon, Richmond, Va. Godwin said. "He has left instructions for those of us who had to carry on, and we will be faithful to that charge," Godwin said.

Falwell had survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then was hospitalized again a few weeks later after going into respiratory arrest. Later that year, doctors found a 70 percent blockage in an artery, which they opened with stents.

"Jerry has been a tower of strength on many of the moral issues which have confronted our nation," fellow evangelist Pat Robertson said Tuesday.

Falwell credited his Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, electingRonald Reagan and giving Republicans Senate control in 1980.

"I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved," Falwell said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.

The fundamentalist church that Falwell started in an abandoned bottling plant in 1956 grew into a religious empire that included the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the "Old Time Gospel Hour" carried on television stations around the country and 7,700-student Liberty University, which began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971. He built Christian elementary schools, homes for unwed mothers and a home for alcoholics.

Liberty University's commencement is scheduled for Saturday, with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the featured speaker.

Sen. John McCain, the school commencement speaker last year, said Tuesday that his prayers were with Falwell's family.

"Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country," McCain said.

Last year, Falwell marked the 50th anniversary of his church and spoke out on stem cell research, saying he sympathized with people with medical problems, but that any medical research must pass a three-part test: "Is it ethically correct? Is it biblically correct? Is it morally correct?"

Falwell had once opposed mixing preaching with politics, but he changed his view and in 1979, founded the Moral Majority. The political lobbying organization grew to 6.5 million members and raised $69 million as it supported conservative politicians and campaigned against abortion, homosexuality, pornography and bans on school prayer.

Falwell became the face of the religious right, appearing on national magazine covers and on television talk shows. In 1983, U.S. News & World Report named him one of 25 most influential people in America.

In 1984, he sued Hustler magazine for $45 million, charging that he was libeled by an ad parody depicting him as an incestuous drunkard. A federal jury found the fake ad did not libel him, but awarded him $200,000 for emotional distress. That verdict was overturned, however, in a landmark 1988
U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that even pornographic spoofs about a public figure enjoy First Amendment protection.

The case was depicted in the 1996 movie "The People v. Larry Flynt."

With Falwell's high profile came frequent criticism, even from fellow ministers. The Rev. Billy Graham once rebuked him for political sermonizing on "non-moral issues."

Falwell quit the Moral Majority in 1987, saying he was tired of being "a lightning rod" and wanted to devote his time to his ministry and Liberty University. But he remained outspoken and continued to draw criticism for his remarks.

Days after Sept. 11, 2001, Falwell essentially blamed feminists, gays, lesbians and liberal groups for bringing on the terrorist attacks. He later apologized.

In 1999, he told an evangelical conference that the Antichrist was a male Jew who was probably already alive. Falwell later apologized for the remark but not for holding the belief. A month later, his National Liberty Journal warned parents that Tinky Winky, a purple, purse-toting character on television's "Teletubbies" show, was a gay role model and morally damaging to children.

Falwell was re-energized after family values proved important in the 2004 presidential election. He formed the Faith and Values Coalition as the "21st Century resurrection of the Moral Majority," to seek anti-abortion judges, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and more conservative elected officials.

The big, blue-eyed preacher with a booming voice started his independent Baptist church with 35 members. From his living room, he began broadcasting his message of salvation and raising the donations that helped his ministry grow.

"He was one of the first to come up with ways to use television to expand his ministry," said Robert Alley, a retired University of Richmond religion professor who studied and criticized Falwell's career.

In 1987, Falwell took over the PTL (Praise the Lord) ministry in South Carolina after Jim Bakker's troubles. Falwell slid fully clothed down a theme park water slide after donors met his fund-raising goal to help rescue the rival ministry. He gave it up seven months later after learning the depth of PTL's financial problems.

Largely because of the Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals, donations to Falwell's ministry dropped from $135 million in 1986 to less than $100 million the following year. Hundreds of workers were laid off and viewers of his television show dwindled.

Liberty University was $73 million in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy, and his "Old Time Gospel Hour" was $16 million in debt.

By the mid-1990s, two local businessmen with long ties to Falwell began overseeing the finances and helped get companies to forgive debts or write them off as losses.

Falwell devoted much of his time keeping his university afloat. He dreamed that Liberty would grow to 50,000 students and be to fundamentalist Christians what Notre Dame is to Roman Catholics and Brigham Young University is to Mormons. He was an avid sports fan who arrived at Liberty basketball games to the cheers of students.

Falwell's father and his grandfather were militant atheists, he wrote in his autobiography. He said his father made a fortune off his businesses — including bootlegging during Prohibition.

As a student, Falwell was a star athlete and a prankster who was barred from giving his high school valedictorian's speech after he was caught using counterfeit lunch tickets his senior year.

He ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents before becoming a born-again Christian at age 19. He turned down an offer to play professional baseball and transferred from Lynchburg College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

"My heart was burning to serve Christ," he once said in an interview. "I knew nothing would ever be the same again."

The day before he died, Falwell had been up on the Liberty campus hillside chatting with students, Godwin said. He was talking about plans for the future that day and over breakfast Tuesday morning, he said.

"Dr. Falwell was a giant of faith and a visionary leader," Godwin said. He "has always been a man of great optimism and great faith."

Falwell is survived by his wife, Macel, and three children, Jerry, Jonathan and Jeannie.

The River Is Rising

I recently read an article that talks about Willow Creek's "Vision for Multiplied Impact". Below is an interesting quote from the article that goes along with some of the things that I and others have been saying.

I hope that this is the beginning of a turning for some of the seeker-sensitive churches.

I've made mention before that I used to be a huge Petra fan and subsequently a Greg X Volz fan. Today my tastes are a little different. I can still listen to some of the "old" music, but lean more towards praise and worship music. Anyway, I digress (what else is new?). I can remember when Greg went solo and released The River Is Rising, I really liked the title cut. Reading this article brought this song to mind.

The second idea Hybels unfolded was to rethink how they coach Christ followers as they pursue a fully surrendered life.

A survey conducted among Willow Creek attendants had revealed "mind-blowing" results, as Hybels put it. It asked how satisfied attendants were with how Willow Creek serves them at various stages in their spiritual development. Pre-Christians, or people who are still seeking and exploring Christianity, rated Willow Creek "very high." Ratings dropped slightly among new Christians but were still "fantastic." Adolescent Christians rated the church as good. But fully devoted followers of Christ indicated less satisfaction, saying they are not sure the church is helping them as much at this stage in their life.

"We want more of the deep truths of God," they said, according to Hybels.

Hmmm... I don't know what a "pre-Christian" is but; yes, the river is rising and it's barely beginning to rain.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Game of Tag

Hmmm... so I've been tagged. This is relatively new to me, but it looks like a cool way to get to know others and have them know you. I was "tagged" by my wonderful wife.

The rules are that each player starts with seven random facts about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about the seven facts and rules. You need to chose seven people to tag and list their names. . I'm not sure that I know seven people who have not been tagged, but we'll see :)


Random Facts :

#1- My wife, Diana is my best friend :)

#2- I went to 4 different elementary schools, 2 different middle schools and 2 different high schools

#3- In 2005, over twenty years after I became a Christian, I stopped in to visit the people who introduced me to Jesus to thank them.

#4- I grew up as an only child, but have 2 brothers and a sister. I've never met one of my brothers.

#5- I've seen a bullfight in Madrid, Spain. (I didn't like it.)

#6- I used to be a Disc Jockey. Yes, that kind of DJ

#7- I started playing the saxophone when I was 9 years old

I guess that's about it!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Today, May 12, 2007 is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Fibro-ma-what?!?! Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects a large number of people, including myself, but is not widely known or understood, even among the medical professionals.

Fibromyalgia or FMS is a chronic pain illness characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain, and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue, and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle, and hands, but any body part can be affected. Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane over time.

The symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:

The pain of FM is profound, widespread and chronic. It knows no boundaries, migrating to all parts of the body and varying in intensity. FM pain has been described as deep muscular aching, throbbing, twitching, stabbing and shooting pain. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling and burning are often present and add to the discomfort of the patient. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors that affect pain include cold/humid weather, non-restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.

In today's world many people complain of fatigue; however, the fatigue of FM is much more than being tired. It is an all-encompassing exhaustion that interferes with even the simplest daily activities. It feels like every drop of energy has been drained from the body, which at times can leave the patient with a limited ability to function both mentally and physically.

Sleep Problems:
Many fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder that prevents them from getting deep, restful, restorative sleep. Medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the stage 4 deep sleep of FM patients. During sleep, individuals with FM are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, limiting the amount of time they spend in deep sleep.

Other Symptoms:
Additional symptoms may include: irritable bowel and bladder, headaches and migraines, restless legs syndrome (periodic limb movement disorder), impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud's Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

I once read an incredible analogy of what having Fibro means; it's called the Spoon Theory. Although it's written by a lady with Lupus, but the theory still appies to all fibro sufferers. It is worth a look at it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Adolescent Antics

The following is a quote from a website that I read called Slice of Laodicea. Let me say again, that this quote is NOT mine. I clarify that it's not mine because I've had material mistakenly attributed to me in the past due to a lack of research and a misplaced desire for confrontation from my accuser.

That being said, I do agree with the quote:)

"Hey! Mr. Wilson!"

There seems to be a plethora of pastors that are content playing the "Dennis the Menace" of the church, quoting every relevant song or reality show they can, while running around with a slingshot in their backpocket, content to be the proverbial "bad boy" to garner the praise of he world. Where does all of that lead those who are looking for the Truth? Read on and see.

There are telling trends in ministry today that can be witnessed on the new, revolutionary church websites. Without doubt, a church website is the church’s face to the world. But what happens when the face is crossing its eyes and sticking its tongue out? I have written before about the cultural infantilism that is becoming the hallmark of the the last several generations. If it is sickening in society at large, it is impossible to adequately describe its catastrophic impact on the office of the ministry.

In I Corinthians 13:11, the Apostle Paul very clearly indicates that normal physical maturity demands that childish things be put away as boy grows into man. Such a concept is now discarded by many grown men who toddle down the streets of America in sports jerseys with giant, 64-ounce sippy cups filled with soda, pacifying their constant need for oral gratification. The archetypal American, 50-100 pounds overweight, enthroned in his Stratolounger before his plasma TV with two remote controls, his Ipod, his cellphone, a bag of chips and a beer is really living out a toddler’s fantasy of instant and constant gratification. He has never grown up and told himself, “no.” He has refused even the most basic self-discipline that comes with maturity. He has failed to graduate to manhood. We have a nation full of these.

Pastors in the new, relevant churches today mirror the culture. One church website featured a pastors’ bio page where the “Executive Pastor” boasted that his favorite movie was “Snatch” with Brad Pitt. He thought it was a great movie once you got past the “493 F-bombs” in it. The image desired by some of these pastors seems to be a cross between college techno-geek and dissolute frat boy, with spiked, sometimes two-toned hair, funky glasses and faded, dirty looking t-shirts. They take pains to list the bands they like, the fast food, the TV shows, video games and favorite action movies. That would be unremarkable if we were talking about an adolescent’s MySpace site. Instead, we are referring to a church website where these are supposed to be men—shepherds–who are mature enough to lead others within a local church. The same church website referenced above allowed each of the pastoral staff to answer a question about who they thought would win in a battle between Superman and Batman. It is a crisis of maturity that nearly defies belief.

There is a reason that there is such immaturity among these pastors today. Rather than take Scripture’s admonitions seriously about those who should be in the office of pastor/elder in the first place, churches are watching the world around them and taking their cues. The blind are leading the blind in a very real way today. Those who follow these men have the leadership they want. The vulgarity and coarseness, the obsession with Hollywood movies and television, the refusal to grow up into men of dignity and wisdom are all symptoms of a church that has been defined and modeled after the world and its system. Awash in materialism and hedonism, our country no longer produces men and women of character. This should not be the case, however, within the true church of Jesus Christ. The milk of the Word is to be replaced in time with the meat of the Word that produces maturity. Boys should ultimately put away childish things and become men with physical and spiritual strength. In our effeminized culture, we are turning out men who can do nothing but attend to their own emotional and physical cravings. They are taught to feel and emote, but not to stand in adversity. These are the girly men who now lead many emerging churches. They refuse to believe and defend sound doctrine and would rather spend hours blogging about “community”, posturing as intellectuals and inventing meaningless pomo (postmodern) jargon.

Where is all of this leading? If the pastors are overgrown adolescents who are more interested in exuding a cool image than preaching Christ crucified, where does this take those looking for answers? Quite frankly, many are being misled. In the same fashion that a 3-year-old is unequipped to sit in a cockpit and fly an airplane, these “pastors” are unequipped to lead the church of Jesus Christ. The result is a flourishing of false doctrine, the spreading of carnality and ultimately, the loss of souls for all eternity. The new hip pastors are failing to keep the wolves out of the flock, and in some cases, are the wolves themselves. True shepherds are passionate about the spiritual well-being of their flocks, not the latest Hollywood flick or video game. Rather than imitating and embracing the pagan culture in the name of relevance, true shepherds will warn from the Bible that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” (James 4:4) They will be men of gravity, sobriety and moral excellence, as the Scriptures instruct pastors to be. (I Timothy, chapter 3)

A young minister who ultimately died at the age of 30, was frequently found walking the fields of Scotland weeping and praying over the names on his church rolls. He pleaded with God to save each and every one of those entrusted to him. He lived a blameless life and preached the whole counsel of God without fear and without an eye to the cultural trends. He did this because he had utter confidence in the Word of God and its sufficiency to meet every human need. These are his words to fellow pastors, just before he died.

“Get your texts from God—your thoughts, your words, from God. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God’s Spirit, is worth ten thousand words spoken in unbelief and sin.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is the birthday of two of my wonderful children.

Megan and Matthew are 11 today!

It seems like not too long ago that they were babies. Diana posted an awesome account of today on her blog, here.

Happy Birthday! You both are such an awesome blessing from God!

Spritual Loopholes

Last Sunday, I had the priviledge of sitting in on a sermon that talked about the loopholes that people try to use with God in explaining away the fact that they've never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It was such a refreshing sermon. My 13-year-old son and I sat in and were amazed.

It was funny, the middle schoolers sit in "big church" after Sunday School, so G3 and I sat together. this church offera a traditional and a contemporary worship service. Unbeknownst to us, I picked the traditional, not the contemporary worship, so when they started singing, George turns to me and said, "How do I know the words, there's no screens?" I picked up a hymnal and handed it to him. We laughed.

The sermon started with a basic question that most of us have probably heard before, "Do you know that you have a home in Heaven when you breath your last breath on this side of glory?"

You see, there are things that you need to know. More specifically, what do you know?... and how do you know that it's right?

He went on to say,"If you don't know, I want you to know that you don't know. If you know, I want you to know that you know."

Loophole #1 - My sin is not that bad.
- We all have sinned.
- Your heart gets harder the more that you say, "No" to God.
- Today is the day of salvation.

Loophole#2 - Everybody's doing it.
- They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.
- Life is about choices.
- Anytime God says "Don't do it," He is protecting you.
- Anytime God says,"Yes", He is getting ready to bless you.

Loophole #3 - I didn't know
- You wouldn't walk into an exam unprepared and write, "I don't know" on a blank sheet of paper and turn it in.
- His Word is alive and sharper than any two-edged sword.
- Well, people may say, "I've got free choice." Yes, but you also have full responsibility and accountability.
- God's Word is sure.

Loophole #4 - How can I be sure?
He gave numerous points here about the assurance of our salvation. I'll have to find my notes and post on it.

Loophole #5 - It's no big deal.
- Are you saying that what Jesus did for us on the cross was no big deal?

There was so much more, but I can only write so fast during the sermon... LOL

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Reluctant Listener

A friend of mine recently told me about an article that Mark Driscoll wrote for 9Marks. At first my reaction was "Oh, no.", but after reading the article, I may have a different opinion. In this article, Mr. Driscoll talks about the pros and cons of narrative preaching. He makes some really good points about modern preachers, their sermons and the lack of the mention of Jesus and connecting Him to the sermon.

Let me submit this to you, preacher: your sermons are supposed to be about Jesus. When you preach about victory, do you preach about Jesus’ victory or the
congregation’s? One of our Acts 29 church planters recently visited a very large
church and sat through the sermon. He wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. But in a 25-minute sermon, the preacher never once said the name of Jesus, and never once gave anything that was close to the gospel. And at the end, the preacher said, "If you would like to go to heaven and have a better life, come forward now." He didn’t tell them about sin, Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection. He just asked them to come forward and then told them that they are all Christians. That is not biblical preaching.

Have you found a way to connect every sermon to Jesus? Are you presenting him as Savior? Biblical preaching is teaching people that Jesus is the hero, and that they don’t have to be.

Now, I'm still a little leary of Mark Driscoll, but articles like this have me listening.