Ernie and Zach on Oprah 

Here's a link to a Star-Telegram article about Ernie and Zach (Zach is in my D-team @ CCBC) appearing on Oprah today ... http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/16587162.htm

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Webserver1 Power Supply Fried 

Well, it finally happened ... during an install of Windows XP nonetheless. I was getting tired of dealing with Windows 2000 Server and some of its overhead, so I decided to put XP on there, and for some reason, it used enough power to push my already fragile power supply over the edge. Gonna take a couple of days to get a new one, so its all good. I don't have email right now, but it's being forwarded to my two backup mail servers. So anyway, there's the scoop. Kinda sticks, but oh well, not the end of the world, God is sovereign :) Teaching me some about where I place to much of a priority actually. So praise God for that ... it has been way overdue for a new power supply anyway, so it all works out. Email me at westerfunk@gmail.com if you need to get in touch with me ...

Update ... 1/31/2007

Got the webserver back up and running now. Email and all services are back up and running normally.
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Configuring TCP/IP Using the Command Line in Windows 2000/XP 

http://www.petri.co.il/configure_tcp_ip_from_cmd.htm
This could be very helpful for times you need to quickly switch back and forth between multiple IP configurations on the same network interface using a batch script.
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Active Obedience of Christ 

J. Gresham Machen said before his death, "I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it." This blog entry http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006 ... christ.php on www.reformationtheology.com does a great job of expounding upon the idea of Christ's active and passive obedience on our behalf, and how the two are inseparable if our complete redemption was to be accomplished. Amazing, soul sustaining doctrine to praise Christ for, in that His active obedience throughout His life is counted our own. How wonderful!
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N Korea Working with Iran to Test Nuclear Weapons 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... iran24.xml
One of the statements in this article particularly hit me as to why we have to take punitive actions against these rogue nations who are working toward or who possess nuclear weapons; these people don't understand "NO" with talks unfortunately: "The Iranians are reported to have been encouraged by the fact that no punitive action was taken against North Korea, despite the international outcry that greeted the underground firing. This has persuaded the Iranian regime to press ahead with its own nuclear programme with the aim of testing a low-grade device, which would be difficult for international inspectors to detect."
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Contending for Our All - A Book By John Piper 

http://www.amazon.com/Contending-Our-Al ... 158134676X
This is a book about three men from church history who stood up to the mainstream currents of error despite the suffering they knew they had to endure, in the name of truth for the Gospel's sake. A must read in our time where pastors left and right seem to be abandoning solid doctrinal truth in the name of Christ. Quote from a book review off Amazon: "Contending for Our All is an especially important book for our present day. In the lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen, Piper shows how the need to defend truth has always been paramount in genuine Biblical Christianity. None of these three men enjoyed controversy for its own sake. All three were charitable and gracious with those whom they disagreed (a lesson all sides should learn in our day!). In his section on Athanasius, Piper insightfully applies Athanasius' battles to the issues of our day: 'Athanasius would have grieved over sentences like "It is Christ who unites us; it is doctrine that divides." And sentences like: "We should ask, Whom do you trust?" rather than, "What do you believe?" He would have grieved because he knew this is the very tactic used by the Arian bishops to cover the councils with fog so that the word Christ could mean anything. Those who talk like this--'Christ unites, doctrine divides'-have simply replaced propositions about Christ with the word Christ. It carries no meaning until one says something about him. They think they have said something profound and fresh, when they call us away from the propositions of doctrine to the word Christ. In fact they have done something very old and worn and deadly.." (pp. 64)
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Matthew Henry on Romans 9:15-16 

1. In respect of those to whom he shows mercy, v. 15, 16. He quotes that scripture to show God's sovereignty in dispensing his favours (Exod. xxxiii. 19): I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. All God's reasons of mercy are taken from within himself. All the children of men being plunged alike into a state of sin and misery, equally under guilt and wrath, God, in a way of sovereignty, picks out some from this fallen apostatized race, to be vessels of grace and glory. He dispenses his gifts to whom he will, without giving us any reason: according to his own good pleasure he pitches upon some to be monuments of mercy and grace, preventing grace, effectual grace, while he passes by others. The expression is very emphatic, and the repetition makes it more so: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. It imports a perfect absoluteness in God's will; he will do what he will, and giveth not account of any of his matters, nor is it fit he should. As these great words, I am that I am (Exod. iii. 14) do abundantly express the absolute independency of his being, so these words, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, do as fully express the absolute prerogative and sovereignty of his will. To vindicate the righteousness of God, in showing mercy to whom he will, the apostle appeals to that which God himself had spoken, wherein he claims this sovereign power and liberty. God is a competent judge, even in his own case. Whatsoever God does, or is resolved to do, is both by the one and the other proved to be just. Eleeso on han heleo—I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. When I begin, I will make an end. Therefore God's mercy endures for ever, because the reason of it is fetched from within himself; therefore his gifts and callings are without repentance. Hence he infers (v. 16), It is not of him that willeth. Whatever good comes from God to man, the glory of it is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavour, of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God. In Jacob's case it was not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; it was not the earnest will and desire of Rebecca that Jacob might have the blessing; it was not Jacob's haste to get it (for he was compelled to run for it) that procured him the blessing, but only the mercy and grace of God. Wherein the holy happy people of God differ from other people, it is God and his grace that make them differ. Applying this general rule to the particular case that Paul has before him, the reason why the unworthy, undeserving, ill-deserving Gentiles are called, and grafted into the church, while the greatest part of the Jews are left to perish in unbelief, is not because those Gentiles were better deserving or better disposed for such a favour, but because of God's free grace that made that difference. The Gentiles did neither will it, nor run for it, for they sat in darkness, Matt. iv. 16. In darkness, therefore not willing what they knew not; sitting in darkness, a contented posture, therefore not running to meet it, but anticipated with these invaluable blessings of goodness. Such is the method of God's grace towards all that partake of it, for he is found of those that sought him not (Isa. lxv. 1); in this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. Our eye therefore must not be evil because his is good; but, of all the grace that we or others have, he must have the glory: Not unto us, Ps. cxv. 1.
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The Dispensationalist Bent on Eschatology 

Okay I'm frustrated and about to rant ... Why is it most in the dispensational camp seem to make it their life-long mission to make sure everyone has what they consider to be the right understanding of the end-times and won't even give a decent bit of consideration to the other three major positions within the larger evangelical church on eschology? I mean a lot of "trying to understand the end-times" is speculation anyway, as to whether or not things will turn out exactly how it is proposed. Right? So why invest so much time in this as a church? A whole year or more even? Prior to the 1800's, this was not even at the forefront of pastors and theologians minds. Christ, and faithfully proclaiming Him to a lost and dying world was the main task at hand. Sure they may have exposited a bit on the end-times, but a majority of historical writings from before that time talked very little about eschatology, simply because of the fact that much is speculation and not worth trying to figure out.

I suspect many church theologians from the past had greater tasks to tackle, like preaching correct, Biblical doctrine, and refuting errors that harm the Gospel and its cause. Am I wrong? Why is it so important to try and figure out what happens in the end-times? I'm still trying to figure this out. How much does this bear on the Gospel and the preaching thereof for the edification of the congregation within the dispensational camp? Is it fascinating? Sure. Is it the absolute necessity of the church to focus on eschatology so much that you neglect the greater things in scripture, namely justification, sanctification, substitutionary atonement wrought through the person and work of Christ? No. I mean whatever is going to happen will happen, right? Should it not be our job, first and foremost, to faithfully proclaim the Gospel, to grow people in the Gospel, to show them how the Gospel bears on every area of our lives so that we grow in the knowledge of the grace of Christ?

If our eschatology doesn't ultimately point to the person and work of Christ in His glory, then our eschatology is fatally unbiblical. The point of Revelation wasn't for God to merely get us excited about what's going to go down. Sure that's there. But if that's the primary focus we've missed it. The point is to show us Christ in His majesty, in His glory and how this Jesus, who is the lamb-like lion and lion-like lamb, who suffered and died for sinners, will come and do wreckshop on the world. Revelation is a call to repentance and faith in this Christ who will do all these things to sinners who continue in their rebellion, and that He will be glorified in it. That's the point. For now, isn't preaching Christ crucified, risen for sinners in every message a much more important task for preachers to grow people spiritually than trying to figure out Bible Code (if there really is such a thing), or the end-times and how things are going to unfold, much of which is speculation anyway? And since when did the Scriptures speak that secular/non-ethnic Israel is the barometer for when everything is going to go down? I mean there are more ethnic Jews in the U.S. than there are in Israel ... explain that one to me.

I hear dispensationalists say that, "You reformed people focus entirely too much on election and the mysteries of God." My response to them, oh really? Not anymore than you dispensationalists mostly focus on eschatology in your preaching and writing. And in addition, we're not trying to figure out the mysteries of God but merely pointing them out, in order that we may marvel at this awesome Jesus who has called us into His kingdom through the cross.
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The Fundamental Fault of the Modern Church 

"The fundamental fault of the modern Church is that she is busily engaged in an absolutely impossible task--she is busily engaged in calling the righteous to repentance. Modern preachers are trying to bring men into the Church without requiring them to relinquish their pride; they are trying to help men avoid the conviction of sin. The preacher gets up into the pulpit, opens the Bible, and addresses the congregation somewhat as follows: "You people are very good," he says; "you respond to every appeal that looks toward the welfare of the community. Now we have in the Bible--especially in the life of Jesus--something so good that we believe it is good enough even for you good people." Such is modern preaching. It is heard every Sunday in thousands of pulpits. But it is entirely futile. Even our Lord did not call the righteous to repentance, and probably we shall be no more successful than He."

- J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, Chapter 3, God and Man, 1923
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Oppose the PERFORM Act. 

If this is passed, it could mean the eventual downfall of publicly streamed, "open-source"-type music (streaming sites would be required to employ DRM on their streams to prevent radio audio recordings). Go here and send your Senators a letter telling them to oppose this ... https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=221
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