God's Sovereign Reign Over Gustav 

Knowing God is all-sovereign over all creation, that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and involvement; and knowing that at any moment He could stay Gustav from causing massive damage, we must be willing to embrace that what God has ordained is being used for His glory and righteous purposes, and thus submit to His rule. He is righteous and holy. We are not. He knows what we humans need infinitely better than we do, as difficult as these circumstances may be.

At the same time, because we know God is all-sovereign and all-powerful, may we pray for mercy for those within the coastal region affected by this storm, that they may be spared sorrow upon sorrow, and at the same time pray they may see God's mighty merciful hand working even in the midst of something so catastrophic, that ultimately they may see the glory of Christ and His power in salvation. If we believe God is not sovereign over this, we sever the only hope in it: that God has a purpose beyond what we mere finite, sinful humans can comprehend.

May the Gospel be displayed to those affected by this storm in which we proclaim the Gospel through word and service for their needs, because this is what we all need more desperately than anything in this world: the salvation and rescue of our souls, both now and for eternity. May the Lord use this to bring honor and glory to His name, regardless of what happens. May we submit to His sovereign Kingship over His creation, and particularly Gustav, knowing especially that for us who are saved, all these things are working together for our good and His glory. Lord, please be merciful, yet not our will but Your will be done.

Was Katrina Intelligent Design? - John Piper
Tsunami and Repentance - John Piper
The NPR Tsunami Interview (MP3) - John Piper

May we not dare put God in the dock as to what He is doing with this, as if He must give an account to us. We have no clue what we speak of ... like Job, may we cover our mouths with our hands in awe at His sovereignty and power and the fact that as believers, He spared us when He didn't have to, in the Person and Work of Christ.

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Update: 9/2/2008

Praise God for displaying His sovereign mercy in sparing New Orleans a direct hit ...
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A Response to an Anti-Obama Email I Received 

Wow. Apparently being written from a self-professed Christian, I honestly don't know what else I can say about this.

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"JACK WHEELER is a brilliant man who was the author of Reagan's strategy to break the back of the Soviet Union with the star wars race and expose their inner weakness. For years he wrote a weekly intelligence update that was extremely interesting and well structured and informed. He consults(ed) with several mega corporations on global trends and the future, etc. I think he is in semi-retirement now. He is a true patriot with a no-nonsense approach to everything. He is also a somewhat well known mountain climber and adventurer. Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler the O-man, Barack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit. No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, nothing but abstract empty rhetoric devoid of real substance. He has no real identity. He is half-white, which he rejects. The rest of him is mostly Arab, which he hides but is disclosed by his non-African Arabic surname and his Arabic first and middle names as a way to triply proclaim his Arabic parentage to people in Kenya . Only a small part of him is African Black from his Luo grandmother, which he pretends he is exclusively. What he isn't, not a genetic drop of, is 'African-American,' the descendant of enslaved Africans brought to America chained in slave ships. He hasn't a single ancestor who was a slave. Instead, his Arab ancestors were slave owners. Slave-trading was the main Arab business in East Africa for centuries until the British ended it. Let that sink in: Obama is not the descendant of slaves; he is the descendant of slave owners. Thus he makes the perfect Liberal Messiah. It's something Hillary doesn't understand - how some complete neophyte came out of the blue and stole the Democratic nomination from her. Obamamania is beyond politics and reason. It is true religious cults, whose adherents rejects Christianity yet still believe in Original Sin, transferring it from the evil of being human to the evil of being white. Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White.

There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed in Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd. Thank heavens that the voting majority of Americans remain Christian and are in no desperate need of a phony savior. His candidacy is ridiculous and should not be taken seriously by any thinking American."

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Ah, what a forceful and convincing argument. If I were hypothetically voting for Obama, I surely wouldn't now [wink]. And now my fed up response to those conservatives who send out such nonsense. Read More...
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Matthew Henry on the Role of Women in Teaching in the Church 

"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For [and here is the reason Paul gives] Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." - 1 Timothy 2:11-14

Since Irving Bible Church has recently come to the decision to allow women to preach over men, overturning 20 centuries of church history interpretation on the issue, there has been a lot of controversy, to say the least. And you can be sure more evangelical churches in the future, who have traditionally been conservative in their theology will follow suit with this line of thinking. It is very helpful for our own perspective in history to see what godly men from outside our cultural context, in the history of the church, had to say on the issue, namely because God's truth is timeless and transcends cultural trends that come and go.

So here is Matthew Henry's commentary on his understanding of the above text. Remember, the issue here is not women having or not having the ability to teach at all. Because they absolutely do, which I believe to be indisputable. In addition, I do believe there are absolutely proper contexts in which women can and should teach in. But rather, the issue here is should they teach and preach over men, in light of the creation order sovereignly put in place by God? Is it ultimately rebellion against God Himself, His sovereign, authoritative command (set forth in the very beginning in Genesis 3) for a woman to assert her authority over a man in the context of teaching in the church, much in the same way a person rebelling against governmental authority is exercising direct rebellion against God Himself (Romans 13)? These are things definitely worth considering. Read More...
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Using the Gospel Message as a Means for Political Activism 

"I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let Him be our example." - Donald Miller, Opening Prayer at the DNC Last Night

More than anything I am saddened by Donald Miller's recent statements both in an interview with ChristianityToday and his prayer last night at the DNC. I realize many I know are fans (some big fans) of Donald Miller and to say anything against the ideas or theology of someone who may have been instrumental in opening them up toward Christianity makes me somewhat of an outcast, which is hard. I pray by God's grace you may see what I'm saying as well as my concerns. I want to affirm that I am indeed glad for the work Miller has done in bringing a new generation a different angle on things that has been used by God in order to bring them to the obedience of faith in Christ, for the salvation of their souls. I know personally of a few former high school students where this was indeed the case. And for that I praise God!

But for the sake of the purity of the Gospel we preach to the world, I cannot help but point out where we really need to watch ourselves and our theology. Most of the time, false doctrine historically has started out small, in things that are questionable, yet maybe not worth splitting over at the moment. But over time, that small error begins to snowball, and gets bigger and bigger, until what you are left with is exactly what Satan wants: a gutted, Christ-less, cross-less, dead Christianity that has nothing to say to the world by which people may be saved. Just look at the state of a majority of mainline denominations in both the United States and Europe. That is the fallout of gutting the Gospel in the 19th and 20th centuries of its essential message. We would do well to pay attention to this.

I am not questioning the intentions of Donald Miller in praying at the DNC, though I would question doing it in the first place from a true Christian worldview perspective (that goes for the RNC as well I might add). Regardless, I have no doubt that he means well, honestly. But more than the abortion statements he's made recently (which alone are just blatantly inaccurate), more than the liberal political activism he's engaged in (which is hypocritically doing the same thing he accuses conservatives of doing in the Republican party), this statement alone during his prayer at the DNC last night really gets under my skin, mainly for the sake of the purity of the Gospel. This is a case in point of why theology matters greatly. You don't have to be a seminary student or prof to know at the very least the essentials of your own faith and the great tradition passed down to us over the course of church history. In fact, this is a necessity with the winds of doctrine whipping back and forth at hurricane force speed. Read More...
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The Seeker-Sensitive Movement: Your Thoughts Al and R.C. 



And Willow Creek's own assessment seems to fall right in line with R.C. and Al's comments ... http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outof ... ek_re.html

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The Gospel - The Foolishness of What We Preach 

From the way many teachers teach and many pastors preach nowadays, you would think the Gospel was something that just makes sense to people, that it's like a lay up explanation that will solve all of people's various urgent problems. "First, all you have to do (as if the demands of the Gospel were in our own power to achieve, namely faith and repentance that only come from God to begin with) is 1, then 2, and then 3, and bingo! You're saved and all your problems will be fixed because God wants you to live life to your fullest potential!" If we can boil the Gospel down into this nice little package, maybe people will more easily accept it, at least so the thinking goes.

Yet, the Scriptures indicate that to the natural person, the Gospel, and the cross in particular, is an utterly foolish message, or a stumbling block. Why is this? Well, for one, we are dead in sins. It is a foolish message to a spiritually dead man until God creates light and faith in the heart of the unbeliever. The Gospel is the opposite of what the world expects. Our culture looks for what's practically relevant for their problems in the here and now, something they can do. "How can I overcome my stress?" "How do I get a better marriage?" And so on. Preachers like Joel Osteen address this message loud and clear that God's main goal for your life is to live it to the fullest now, all you have to do is A, B, and C, because God helps those who help themselves, so they say.

The Gospel message is counter to this though. Whereas the world's gospel is do 1, 2, and 3, and then God will accept you or bless you or whatever, the Gospel message comes in and states that you were so bad off in your sin and innate rebellion against God that He had to do the work Himself in the Person of Christ to redeem you. And He did this not out of compulsion, but out of pure, divine, premeditated love for His people.

Yet many teachers nowadays seem to think that the former message, that God just wants A, B, and C from you before he'll accept you, is the Gospel of Christianity, when that is actually antithetical to the message! Even the obedience of faith, if not seen as the work of God itself, lends us to the conclusion that we must achieve something apart from the work of God in us, that we must dig ourselves out of the hole we find ourselves in before God will lift a finger. But in ourselves, we can't see Christ, can't believe the Gospel unless God reveals Christ to us, creating in us that which was not there: belief. This is the new birth. And it is necessary not only to see the kingdom of God, but also to enter it (John 3). Read More...
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Quality Tops Roofing - A Review 

Update: 08/14/2008:

I called them today to explain the situation with others in the neighborhood, what they were getting as a deal, and I will give them credit: they trimmed $200 off the total price. They were not happy to do it though, they made that abundantly clear to me, very defensive. Next hail storm, David Palafox Construction it is. Customer retention does not appear to be on their list of priorities.

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I really don't like it when others take advantage of my ignorance. It chaps me, to say the least. Kind of a pet peeve I struggle with, as far as holiness is concerned. And there is still much work in my heart to be done with my complaining tendencies. This experience has definitely been a test in my patience.

I'm an IT guy/nerd. I don't have a lot of knowledge of the construction profession (much in the same way many construction folks may not have a lot of knowledge of the IT profession), as to what a good deal is or not. I'm not what you would call a handy-man I guess. There are a few things I do know though. If I go and do computer work for someone and they know jack squat about how much I should charge them, I do not use that opportunity to grossly take advantage of their lack of knowledge for the sake of a profit. Now I definitely do computer work to make a profit for sure, but taking advantage of people who are thoroughly unknowledgeable of my field? That is simply dishonest.

I've learned a lot about the roofing profession today: do your homework, get multiple quotes, and check with your neighbors especially after a hail storm when everyone is getting their roofs redone. Don't just go with the first guy you find. I guess I need more construction profession wisdom? Well I've obtained quite a bit after this experience.

I've never had to have a roof replaced until the hail storm back in April came through and tore mine up. I finally got it done this past week. Quality Tops Roofing in Arlington, Texas was the roofer. They were recommended by someone I know. And though the results were professional (as in the actual work was well done), I came to find out once I arrived at my house after work that it looked totally different than everyone else's roof on the block. I (hate that I did this) assumed my roof was going to look like everyone else's. Don't assume anything. Ugh. Ask questions. Many questions. Make lists of questions. Think through every possible aspect, even if it seems absurd. Read More...
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A New Kind of Family? 

After you have a child, you begin to look at the world, entertainment, television, community, family, all sorts of things in a totally different perspective. At least I have. I noticed the other day in flipping TV stations that the ABC Family channel has a new slogan: A New Kind of Family. Maybe it's not a new slogan, I don't know. Regardless, it seems to me as if they are marketing to the millions of viewers who live in what our culture calls "non-traditional" or "progressive" families. Unfortunately now in this day in age, we live in a society of these kinds of families that are totally dysfunctional, where priorities are all askew, parents divorce and remarry like they are in middle school dating relationships, people in their teens, 20's, and 30's are having kids out of wedlock intentionally (and unintentionally through promiscuity), and what the culture calls a "traditional" family is now the minority. I myself grew up in a highly dysfunctional home. My wife did as well. We are still feeling the effects of that dysfunction to this day. Yet Christ has been gracious to reverse a majority of the damage through His power alone and continues to sustain us. All that to say, the individualistic tendencies within our culture are now getting the best of us. The very fact that ABC Family would go this route in their marketing points to this sad reality: their main tool for bringing in viewers is to make shows targeting this breakdown in the family unit, because that is now the majority of people in this country.

Our culture now not only views marriage in a distorted way, but is presenting this distorted viewpoint as what is normal. That is kind of frightening to me. God created us male and female and instituted a covenant marriage relationship between the two sexes as what is fitting and normal. Families just don't work in the way God intended them to work unless they are structured in this manner. Any other ordering of a family unit is trying to perfectly fit a square peg in a round hole. Sure, people can make you think what they want by presenting their disordered family as something that is normal and as something that is "working," much in the same way you can force the square peg into the round hole, but forcing it in still doesn't make the square peg a perfect fit because the corners will get stripped off of the peg.

ABC Family is an example of the media presenting this distortion as normal, acceptable, because clearly their target audience is no longer the traditional family, but the new, progressive family. They feel that is the norm now, otherwise, wouldn't they still be marketing to the traditional family? But the reality is families are dying from the inside out and this has adverse effects on the culture. Mothers' and fathers' lack of commitment to each other and their family's, and their lack of God-honoring actions are ripping lives and relationships apart, particularly their children's lives, whose relationships with their (married, not divorced) parents are necessary for proper mental, social, and most importantly, spiritual development. Living in a covenant marriage "'til death do us part" with one man and one woman is not just a preference for how we want our family's to be, but rather it is the way God Himself designed it and sovereignly set forth as the way it should and must be. And not only is this so, but it is the only logically functional way for it to work in our lives. Any other way is a distortion of the picture a family was meant to point to: the reality of Christ and His bride, the church, whom He has purchased with His own blood. Read More...
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Top Webcam Email Alerts 

I'm a nerd. I'm not afraid to hide it, clearly. As a nerd, I love technology. I have a webcam setup at home for security reasons, pointed across my front yard to catch possible intruders that wish to invade my property or cause other harm. I have a threshold setup on the software I run along with my webcam that, when hit, sends an email attached with a picture (or series of pictures) to an offsite email account.

Most of the time, I just get cars passing by, lightning during a storm, really any kind of movement or light change that causes enough of a fluctuation to trigger a webcam picture alert. Sorting through the emails on partly cloudy days is not always fun and many times, I just delete them all because it is too many to sort through. However, there are some rare occasions that I actually get something good, funny, or odd. Here is a sample of some of the best shots from the past two years that I have kept: Read More...
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Matthew Henry Commentary on Psalm 53:1-6 Pertaining to Sin 

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad." - Psalm 53:1-6

This psalm was opened before, and therefore we shall here only observe, in short, some things concerning sin, in order to the increasing of our sorrow for it and hatred of it.

1. The fact of sin. Is that proved? Can the charge be made out? Yes, God is a witness to it, an unexceptionable witness: from the place of his holiness he looks on the children of men, and sees how little good there is among them, v. 2. All the sinfulness of their hearts and lives in naked and open before him.

2. The fault of sin. Is there any harm in it? Yes, it is iniquity (v. 1, 4); it is an unrighteous thing; it is that which there is no good in (v. 1, 3); it is an evil thing; it is the worst of evils; it is that which makes this world such an evil world as it is; it is going back from God, v. 3.

3. The fountain of sin. How comes it that men are so bad? Surely it is because there is no fear of God before their eyes: they say in their hearts, "There is no God at all to call us to an account, none that we need to stand in awe of." Men's bad practices flow from their bad principles; if they profess to know God, yet in works, because in thoughts, they deny him. Read More...
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