Get the book here

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Combat Weak Thinking About Life!

Walked from my office to the bank..gorgeous day, time to pray...prayed specifically about the ongoing slaughter of the innocents, frustrated that so many "Christians" waffle on the issue of life.

I did not hear God speak.

But I did hear from God.

One of the better books I've ever read is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand. It is not an intentional "pro life" book...it is just an incredible journey through the incredible, "fearfully and wonderfully made" body.

I think it will be strategic to put this book in the hands of teenagers. They might not read an attack on "choice." They might ignore an apologetic on abortion.

But this book, co-written by Phil Yancey, is an astonishing insight into the body..and to the Body, based on the work of Dr. Brand who, among other things, directed the only leprosarium in the U.S.

If you've not read it; do so.

If you need a graduation, birthday, just-because-I-like-you gift...I recommend this beyond-highly.

And, yeah, if you order it off the link below a small percentage will go to me...Jane and I serve as  home missionaries relying on "support/deputation," and any funds generated this way are a huge help.





Tune Tuesday

It's my blog and I'll do this if I want to...

Maybe I'll even stick with it...depends on comments.

Here's the deal...each Tuesday that I'm able I'll post something about music...and you are invited to share your insights as a "comment" on this blog (it will show up on facebook also, but in order to be entered in the contest, you must put a comment on the blog...might mean setting up an account or something...but...I don't want to have to check two sites)

On the following Monday at 5pm I will randomly choose one person from those who have commented and that person will receive a book or album...from me!

Why?

Because it's my blog, and I'll do it if I want to :)

And it starts now...(note to any potential witch-hunters...you might want to bail now)...

With discretion (no foul language etc or I'll yank it quickly), what is your favorite "secular" song, either present day or past. Keep in mind that I'm so, ah, seasoned I don't listen to "oldies," but rather to "ancients."

And I love all kinds of music...everything from (Christian) rap (an oxymoron to some) to the Beach Boys to some "country" to classical and, of course, Celtic Thunder!

But my favorite "secular" song by my favorite "secular" group remains this:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Salvation's Three Stages (and perhaps the most stunning rendition of "Amazing Grace" I've ever seen

God opens our hearts/minds. Holy Spirit convicts of sin, judgment, righteousness. The goodness of God leads to repentance. We believe, cling to, rely on Jesus living the life we could not live; dying the death we should have died, being declared the Son of God by His resurrection. The atoning sacrifice of the spotless Lamb is credited to our account.

Salvation! Adoption! Declared righteous! and so much more...

But then comes the process of becoming what we already are...

Need to remember three vital factors regarding salvation for those of us who are "in Christ":

We have been saved from the penalty of sin!

We are being saved from the power of sin.

We will be saved from the possibility/presence of sin!

I love the song "Amazing Grace." Can't hear it enough. (although I think there are some who think, even as they sing, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like him!")

But with apologies to John Newton, I'm going to start singing it (in my head, anyway) with a tiny but meaningful difference...

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saveS a wretch like me..."

Colossians 2.6, "Therefore, as you received (repentance and faith) Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

Preach (and sing) the gospel to yourself not only every day...but several times during the day!

Went looking for a version of the song to put here; stumbled (or was led) to this one...amazing...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's Slipping Away...and for the Redeemed Mic Got It Right!



And, since "our times are in His hands," this is one case where at least the title of Jagger's song is true:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Needs to be Updated for Internet

I posted a version of "Amazing Grace" by Celtic Women that simply stunned me. Amazing...lots of bagpipes, full orchestra and more. I asked those who felt the need to blast me because the artists might not be Christian, and got a couple incredulous comments wondering if there really are people like that.

Yup.

But it also reminded me of an old Petra song...that needs to be covered by someone...maybe it has been, but I've not heard it...

Seems to describe the self-proclaimed vigilantes who crawl the internet looking for something to blast.

Agreed, some things need to be exposed; but that list is pretty small.

I also think "CCM" has been around long enough that someone should have like a Christian "oldies" station..if you know of one, let me know...

Not too many of us around who remember the days of 2nd Chapter of Acts, Keith Green, Larry Norman, etc...

Here's the Petra song...just the music, couldn't find one of them in concert:

Sanctified Irritation?

Even if we are truly convinced that "salvation is of the Lord" we can turn "witnessing" into a sales-pitch-ask-for-the-order monstrosity.

These words from Greg Koukl may go against the grain for some, but it is worthy of thought...

"I think that in some circles there's pressure for Christian ambassadors to 'close the sale' as soon as possible. When pressed for time, get right to the meat of the message. Get to the Gospel. If the person doesn't respond, you've still done your part. Shake the dust off your feet and move on.

A wise ambassador, though, weighs his opportunities and adopts an appropriate strategy for each occasion. Sometimes, the simple truth of the cross is all that's needed. The fruit is ripe for harvesting. Bump it and it falls into your basket.

Usually, though, the fruit is not ripe; the nonbeliever is simply not ready. He may not even have begun to think about Christianity. Dropping a message on him that, from his point of view, is meaningless or simply unbelievable doesn't accomplish anything. In fact, it may be the worst thing you can do. He rejects a message he doesn't understand and then he's harder to reach next time.

Now here is my own more modest goal.

I want to put a stone in his shoe. All I want to do is to give him something worth thinking about. I want him to hobble away on a nugget of truth he can't simply ignore because it continues to poke at him."







Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two for One

Yesterday in one of the prison Bible studies I facilitate we talked about prejudice. Especially of the racial kind. Stressed that a "prejudiced Christian" is the ultimate oxymoron. Made me think of D C Talks "Walls."

My daughter's graduation pictures caused my head to blow up in another D C Talk hit, "Time is Slipping Away." With two older sons (and one younger), the fact Janelle is out of high school is stunning.

At my, ah, seasoned age I recognize I'm on the downhill side. I still wonder what such a young guy is doing in such an old body...and I don't (usually) feel "old," but I am perhaps more conscious of the rapidity of the evaporation of time...

So I you tubed until I found both of the songs together...I know it is not the "style" some of my readers like...and some of you may still find it difficult to listen to...but the words are all too accurate...

So thankful that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, etc....and confident that "our times are in His hands."


Crank the speakers, and enjoy!



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not "Might" but "Always"



"When Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth, it's not just because wealth might be lost; it's because wealth will always be lost...

"Either it leaves us while we live, or we leave it when we die.

"No exceptions...

"Realizing its value is temporary should radically affect our investment strategy..According to Jesus, storing up earthly treasures isn't simply wrong. It's just plain stupid."

Randy Alcorn (The Treasure Principle)



Monday, April 22, 2013

Heresy Hallmark

Charles Spurgeon died in 1892.

Not sure when he wrote what is quoted below.

It certainly applies today, as professing Christians play games with the Word of God by justifying homosexual behavior...rejecting the doctrine of eternal punishment...admit they believe that repentance from sin and faith toward Christ not the only road to salvation, etc.

Read the quotation; then carefully, slowly, attentively read and contemplate the last six words...

 "It is a remarkable fact that all the heresies which have arisen in the Christian Church have had a decided tendency to dishonor God and to flatter man."

C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Timing...

Shock. Sadness. Yet relief.

Early yesterday evening a charter bus pulled into Green Lake (Wi) Christian Conference Center, hauling teens and adults to participate in the Bible Quiz Fellowship National Tournament.

A long drive, through bombarding rain, through Chicago...and now they had safely arrived...

About a half-hour later the driver suffered a massive heart attack and soon stepped into eternity.

We grieve for the driver's family.

We also recognize that had the attack happened earlier, an entire busload may have been severely injured or killed.

The sovereignty of God trumps the "whys" of life...


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why Quizzing?

I am not a numbers guy....in any respect.

So I don't know how many times I've been involved in the National Bible Quiz tournament...but it has been a bunches...in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Huron , Colorado Springs, Denver, Louisville, Des Moines, Sandusky, Harrisburg...and more.

For many years I had the privilege of directing quizzing for Family Life in NY (and PA), and after moving to Midland Ministries I have the joy of continued involvement.

And here we are in Green Lake, Wi awaiting the start of this year's Nationals.

Many, many adults pour hours upon hours into Bible quizzing. I am so grateful for the staff members of ministries across the nation who are involved...and even more thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who assist by coaching, table officiating, transporting, etc.

Why do we do it?

Unless you've seen it, is is hard to appreciate. The competition is intense, the teens are amazing, and experience can be life changing, life transforming, life moulding.

Of course there are "issues." Some can't stand the idea of "competing over God's Word." Some don't like the translation we use. There are differering levels of competitiveness...and that opens the door for other "issues."

But the bottom line is that hundreds of teens are memorizing God's Word.

How many people do you know who have memorized the book of Matthew? There are several here. Most have 7-10 chapters down pat.

A quiz lasts twelve minutes...and the focus and determination evidenced by quizzers is astounding. The quizmaster asks a question, for instance, "According to Matthew 3.11, For what do I baptize you with water?" with the answer being "repentance." Three teams compete at each quiz site (this year we have 12 sites), seated on pads connected to a computer. As soon as the teen thinks he/she knows the question, they leap to their feet, at which point the quizmaster stops...mid syllable if possible...identifies the quizzer, says "number 2 (team name) finish the question."

At that point the quizzer has 20 seconds to come up with the correct question and answer, without giving information not contained in the cited verse. The more skilled quizzers often jump on the reference, watching the quizmasters mouth to see if he is saying "what, when, where, why, how, who."

Again, words can't do justice to the incredible skills of the quizzers.

But the competition passes. Only the quizaholics remember what teams won a year ago, much less ten or twenty years ago.

But the living, active Word of God continues...

Over the years I've often heard, from an ex-quizzer who has gone on to college or work, saying, "Jack, I was about to do something really stupid when this verse I memorized came back to my mind," or, "Jack, I was really in a tough situation trying to figure out what to do when God brought back a verse..." or "My college prof can't believe the amount of God's Word I've memorized."

Is it fun? Oh, yeah. But "fun" passes.

The Wordof God endures forever...and that is why we do it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bible Quiz Champs 1998

Fifteen years???

Yup, it was mid-April, 1998, with the Bible Quiz Nationals taking place in Denver, Colorado.

At that time I was directing the Family Life Ministries (NY and PA) Bible quiz program, and we took five teams to the competition.

As always, the event was filled with a variety of levels of competition, but at the championship quiz "By Grace" was victorious.

I still have some contact with most of the team...they are scattered from coast to coast...but I grin as I reflect not only on that victory, but in my having the privilege of hanging with them, working with them, over several years.

They were coached by Linda Schooley, and the team members were David Bradstreet, Chris Gardner, Chad Snavely, Chris Stanley, Carolyn Pearce, C. J. Madison, and Charlotte Bradstreet.

Here's a pic (with Pikes Peak in background)


Friday, April 12, 2013

Lavished on...

It will probably do you good to make a couple minutes to watch this...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Packed Passage

One of the practical reasons I believe the Word of God is the Word of God is because I can read the same passage dozens of times, then read it again and be slugged, hugged, or whatever by the Holy Spirit as He uses the inspired Word to minister to the need of the moment.

A case in point during this morning's regular readings:

2 Thes 2.16,17
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word."

Wow.

"eternal comfort"

"good hope"

"through grace"

"comfort your hearts"

"establish them"

"good work"

"(good) word"

Yeah, a pretty packed passage!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

How can he be eleven already?

There were some scary moments after his birth...for a little while the adoption was in question...but our sovereign God placed the little guy into our lives...and into our hearts.

And now he is eleven...

And we are blessed...

Though his hair doesn't look like this anymore (nor does he fit on my back!)


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My All In Thee

When I visited son Joel last week he gave me a copy of Young Ocean's CD. This is one of the songs...Make the time to listen...with your heart as well as your head...(connection, the group is under management of long time friend Chris Bradstreet):

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Things, Not Lessons

Philippians 3.13,14 is familiar to most, "...But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies head, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

In a culture where "unlocking the secrets of your past" still runs rampant, Christians need to let the confessed stuff stay behind.

We can....with the help of the Spirit...leave the "stuff" behind...but not the lessons (hopefully) learned.

Don't jazz up your testimony by going into detail about past failings. Though it may entertain the audience, it may bring you back to temptation and then to a falling of some type.

Don't lose the "lessons (painfully) learned." Don't think you've grown beyond the possibility of caving to temptation.

Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb at.

Know the areas of weakness evidenced in "stuff" of the past. But do not dwell on the stuff, focus on the raise to be run..strain forward, press toward ...don't lean backward.