Monday, February 28, 2011

Ever Wonder What The Former Presidents Think of Obama?

This video is powerful to say the least.

If you would like to learn more about "The Forgotten Man" painting, there is a neat website that gives information from the artist, Jon McNaughton, as well as on all the Presidents and the National debt and their involvement in it during their term in office. You can reach the site here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends: A Bug Collection Volume 3

What's not to love? Cute colorful characters, biblical teaching, and Max Lucado's story telling, make this series of Hermie and Friends an excellent choice for kids of all ages.

This set includes three DVDs featuring:
  1. Milo the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray
  2. Buzby and the Grumble Bees
  3. Hailey & Bailey's Silly Fight
Each story begins with Max and Hermie introducing the lesson to come, often by demonstrating the very behaviors and truths that are to be learned or corrected. 

In Milo the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray, Milo needs to get God's attention. But to be noticed by someone as big and important as God, you must have to do something big and loud to get through. Milo tries everything before learning the truth that God is always listening, even if he doesn't respond as quickly or in the way we would think he should. 

Buzby and the Grumble Bees, shows us what life would be like if everyone only did what they wanted to, and why rules and manners are so important. 

Hailey & Bailey's Silly Fight: Sometimes we lose sight of what's really important and then fight over the small things. Hailey and Bailey set out to help others in need only to end up wasting their time and effort fighting amongst themselves. 

Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends: A Bug Collection Volume 3 is one you will definitely want to get for the kids. 

I'd like to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me this free copy for review as part of their BookSneeze program.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Born Again before Faith?

Does Regeneration Precede Faith? is the latest from C Micheal Patton at Parchment and Pen. Yes, I know, I share a lot of his writing, but it's only because he does such a good job of presenting and teaching. I have truly been blessed by listening to The Theology Program he created. I've only listened to the free audio, though I would love to purchase the entire series. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a desire to gain a deeper understanding of what we claim to believe.

OK, back on topic. The issue is whether a person is born again (regenerated) before or after trusting in Christ (faith).This is a difficult subject in which the flesh and the spirit war against each other. We like to be in control. We like to think that we have the final say, the choice in everything. For us the most acceptable order of the events of salvation (ordo salutis) would be first, we make the choice to place our faith in Christ, and then, God regenerates us because of our decision.

Here is the chart in which C Micheal Patton uses to illustrate this ordo salutis.
(click image to enlarge)

Now, why would anyone think that regeneration comes first? The issue is whether or not a person even has the ability to have faith before regeneration.

Ephesians 2:1-5, states that before we were saved, we were in fact dead in our sins. We were spiritually dead and the dead can't respond to the gospel.
    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
(Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV)
This is the doctrine of total depravity. Man is unable (and unwilling) to respond in saving faith. God must first do a work in man, before he can repent and believe.

Here is another chart.

(click image to enlarge)

It is helpful to note that the order of events is logical and not temporal.
As stated above, most Reformed theologians believe that regeneration necessarily precedes faith. They would not, however, make the sequence a temporal one, but logical. Temporally, it may be stated that all of the events in the ordo salutus stated above happen at the same time. But Reformed theologians would see a necessary logical order in these components of salvation. John MacArthur put it this way: “From the standpoint of reason, regeneration logically must initiate faith and repentance. But the saving transaction is a single, instantaneous event.”

So which is it?

I tend to agree with new birth before faith. It seems to be the most biblical. But don't take my word for it. Check out the article for yourself and see what you think. Don't forget to read through the comments. The discussion often continues there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

God the Ego-Maniac?

You know you've heard this one before. "Why would God create us and then force us to worship him, sending all who refuse to Hell? Why should I love a god who only loves himself?"

So how should we respond to this? Is God an ego-maniac?

C Micheal Patton gives his answer on his post Questions I Hope No One Asks: Is God an Egotistical Maniac?  

Here is a taste.
Is it egotistical for the ocean to roar. Is it egotistical for the sun to shine so bright. Is it egotistical for romantic love to make our hearts drop? Is it egotistical for chocolate to make our mouth water? Is it egotistical for the expanse of the universe to cause us to stand in awe? Is it egotistical for sex to feel good? Is it egotistical for music to effect our emotions? Is it egotistical for the sky to be blue? Yes, all of these are attributes of impersonal things. But they all call out for recognition nonetheless. This recognition brings fulfillment to us, not to the things themselves. When we see a personal God who not only created all these things that beacon us to joyful recognition but is also the very embodiment of them calling on us to glorify him, he is doing nothing else but what is expected from a loving God. He is calling us to recognize him and his beauty. In doing so, we experience the greatest pleasure existence has to offer. His call for us to recognize him is nothing other than a call for our own ultimate fulfillment.

Take the time to click through and read the whole thing. This is a question (or accusation) that is often brought up when someone is resisting the gospel.We must be prepared to give them a God honoring, biblical answer.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Too Much Information

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how distracted life can be. It seems there are a multitude of things that I can do instead of what I should be doing. Between the web, facebook, and twitter, how can we get anything done? Do these things fill a need for information, or do they simply create a desire to seek more? I never worried much about what others were doing, but now I need to keep "logged in" so I don't miss anything. How much time is wasted keeping up with nothing?

What really gets me, is when I look at what some of the greats accomplished with so little. Look at Spurgeon, Calvin, Owens, and Edwards, just to name a few. These men didn't write books, they wrote volumes! They didn't have computers, internet, or even Google. Yet they left a legacy of material to be cherished for many generations to come.

How did they do it? I won't deny that these men were especially gifted by God, but I think there is something we can gleam from their accomplishments in their times. These men didn't sit on the couch channel surfing for hours on end. They didn't have to stop writing to answer the phone or check their e-mail. They weren't obsessed with the latest tweets or who changed their profile pic. They didn't engage in lengthy conversations over Lady Gaga's latest costume or whether Brad and Jenifer were ever going to get back together. In short, they could redeem the time.

Just think how much time they devoted to the Word and prayer. They had prayer lives. We think we are are doing good when we have schedule prayer times. Imagine how they could dive into the word savoring every verse, seeking it's fullest meaning, examining every application. We settle for five minute devotionals, written by our favorite pastors, who list the meanings and applications for us.

We settle for rags, while God offers us riches.

At times it seems as though all of these "advances" are keeping us in bondage rather than setting us free. I can remember when I first started my walk with Christ I was so content to just sit and read my bible. Prayer and scripture, that's all I needed. Now I have to read all the latest posts on my Google Reader, tweets, and status updates. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good information out there, and it truly is a blessing. The danger is what we can lose in the overload. How much do we need to know?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Following Our Circle of Friends More Than Christ

Erik Raymond wrote an excellent post over at his site Ordinary Pastor. When we come together to worship Christ, who are we worshiping with. The New Testament repeatedly proclaims the breakdown of social, economical, and national, boundaries when it comes to our new identities in Christ through the gospel. Erik points out the fact that many of us have built those walls back up.
We like people that look like us, act like us, like what we like, and are similar to us; however, the Christian life is just not that neat. The point of the gospel is not to unite people according to the flesh, but rather to unite people in Jesus Christ. If I am a cliquey person then I am enjoying exclusive relationships with folks while also excluding others whom Christ has brought together. I have just unwittingly undermined a major aspect of what Christ has bought in and through his gospel! I have promoted my personal preferences to a position of supremacy and put the gospel in position of submission. This should not be.
Read the rest here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Defeat the Dark Side of your Phone

While I'm on the technology kick today, I thought I'd share some advice from John Piper on how not to let your phone be defeated by the forces of distraction

Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire. 
If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God. 
True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or use any other virtuous violence (Matthew 11:12) that sets you free to rivet your soul on God. 
But don’t take mainly a defensive posture. Fight fire with fire. 
Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news? 
Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone. 
I’m serious. Never has God’s voice been so easily accessible. The ESV app is free. The OliveTree BibleReader app is free. And so are lots of others. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.

Don't forget the YouVersion Bible App. I wrote about it here -  Most Useful Android Apps

I am Android and the Christian Android Group

 I am Android is a new site just for Android lovers. It's a social networking site with forums, blogs, groups, and chat. Looks like a Ning site but I'm not sure.Yes, it's a bit of a nerd fest, but it's sure to have plenty of information on how to use your phone. The site is still really new and is still in the start-up stages, but membership is exploding.

There is also a Christian Android group. You can share all the apps that aid in your walk with Christ. Stop by and check it out! Here's a link to my page.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free, but not for long

I've already posted about February's free download from christianaudio, but I've found it to be so good that I have to mention it again. Russell Moore's "Adopted for Life" is simple amazing. I've only listened part way through, but I am thoroughly impressed. It is profoundly deep, yet plainly clear. He does an outstanding job explaining theological adoption, our adoption in Christ, and the adoption of children, and how the two mirror one another.

The book is read by Moore himself and is very easy to listen to. Do yourself a favor and download this before it's too late. It's only free in February.

Free Audiobook of the Month – “Adopted for Life

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between a Man and Woman"

"Couples Who Pray" by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, is a booked aimed at strengthening marriages through the act and discipline of husbands and wives praying together. This in and of itself is a good thing. No, a great thing. Couples should pray together and the research presented in this book shows that most couples don't. It is highly commendable that the authors, who are husband and wife themselves, desire to encourage others in this practice. They list a multitude of benefits to be gained from these times of intimate prayer, with a better sex life being the first and most frequently mentioned. Yes, they sought a way to get the husband to read and participate and, well the promise of better and more frequent sex is probably the surest. (I finished the book!)

This book is not a theological treatise on prayer. Not by a long shot. The aim is more to demonstrate the effects of prayer on a marriage relationship. Many couples, and celebrity couples at that, are featured sharing how prayer has affected their marriages. Much of the book is made up of these stories, which I found to be entertaining and encouraging. It is always nice to hear of others who have struggled and overcame. The rest of the book deals with the authors' advice on how to interact in a relationship, summed up in the acronym LAUGHS. You'll have to read the book to learn what each letter represents. I can't give everything away!

The next goal the authors have in mind, is for couples to participate in the 40 day prayer challenge. Basically, it is a pledge to pray at least 5 minutes a day with your spouse and record the results. In the back of the book, is a questionnaire for each participant to take before undertaking the challenge and information is included for a website that you can register at to track your results and receive weekly pep talks. Take note: enrollment in the web based program is not free.

So what do I think? Overall I enjoyed, "Couples Who Pray." It was easy to read, fast paced, and did include some helpful information. They did explain many of the benefits that typically result from implementing times of prayer. It is reasonable to expect to see improvements in conversations, respect, and intimacy. As I said before, to encourage couples to pray together is always a good thing and the book is to be commended for trying to do just that. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the focus placed on who it is that we are to be praying to. Also noticeably absent, was teaching on how to approach God in prayer. Maybe this know-how was just assumed or was meant to be sought else where. The spiritual side things definitely could have been explored more thoroughly.

Would I recommend it? If you're looking for a book to motivate and encourage you and your spouse to undertake times of praying together, then yes, this would serve you nicely. If you're looking for a more substantial teaching on prayer, then you may want to look else where.

I'd like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me this free copy for review as part of their BookSneeze program.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Notable Clicks: Urine, Rich Provisions, Sons of God in Genesis 6, and Blogger Burnout

Urine - I can smell a good illustration a mile a way and this one reeks ranks as one of the best. Seriously, this is a must read. C Micheal Patton covers Lordship Salvation, repentance, potty training, and sanctification, all in one excellent post. Here's a whiff to get you started.

The smell of urine is not unlike the conviction brought about by the Holy Spirit. The ability to recognize and hate sin is not unlike the ability to recognize and hate having urine soaked in your clothes. When a person comes to Christ, they smell their own stench of sin for the first time. However, they truly don’t know what to do about it but call out for help. Repentance for sin may or may not produce immediate change or commitment. It is simply a dramatic recognition of the problem and our inability to remedy it. We come before God soaked in our urine and ask for mercy....
This does not mean that we no longer smell. It does not mean that we present before him our clean clothes. It does not mean that we turn from our sins if we mean by that we stop sinning. That is impossible. We call on God to forgive us for our stench. Implied in that call is the first seed of what will be an ever-growing desire to smell no more.

Rich provisions and two sons: a parable  - Dan Phillips writes a very interesting parable over at Pyromaniacs.
He deals with the idea of continued prophecy. A subject that causes much controversy today.
Question: Which son honored his father?

Who Were the Sons of God in Genesis 6?  - Many people have pondered over this one. The two most      common scenarios are that they are angels or the godly line of Seth. This article presents a third explanation.

Excerpt In Genesis 6:1–8 we read about some persons who may be a pre-Flood link between the Bible and the cultures of the ancient Near East. They are the “sons of the gods.” The Biblical reference to them should have some relationship with historical fact. If so, we should be able to lift these early chapters of Genesis out of what may be to some a foggy mysticism, and make connections with extra-Biblical historical accounts.

Preventing Blogging Burnout  -  Head over to New Leaven and learn some great tips to ease your blogging mind.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Difficulty Remembering All Your Sins: Catholic Church Approves Confession iPhone App

Are you a sinner? Don't worry, there's an app for that. The Roman Catholic Church has approved a recent iTunes addition called Confession, a $1.99 app that bills itself as "the perfect aid for every penitent." As you can see above, it lets you pick a commandment and tick off all your sins, keeping a running tally to bring into the confessional with you -- a sort of anti-tasklist, if you will. Can't find your particular misstep? No problem! You're able to add your own, custom dastardly deeds, filling in those gaps the app's authors didn't think anyone would fill. Now all it needs is a random sin selector: shake the phone to instantly get a wicked suggestion. That certainly could make boring Thursday nights at the dormitory a little more exciting. (Source)
 The wonders of technology!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Official Blogger Android App Released

They heard our complaints and they have answered. The official blogger application is now available for download in the market.

I'm glad it's finally here, but I'm a little skeptical. This is my second attempt at posting. The first one tried to publish for about an hour, till I finally stopped it. Now it is listed in the app as published, but is no where to be found! Not a good way to start out. I'm hoping it was just a one time occurrence.

Overall it looks like a nice app, though it is a little short on features. Noticeably missing is the ability to easily create links and format text. One can only hope these are included in future updates.

I'm going to see if I can get this thing to do what I want. Head on over to the market and give it a try. Then come back here and let me know how it works out for you.

Not sure how it handles pics yet. So here is a pit bull with radar ears for your viewing pleasure. I first cropped it to 384 x 384. Let's see what happens.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Adopted For Life" by Dr. Russell Moore

"Adopted For Life" is this months free download from christianaudio. Click the link below to learn more.

Free Audiobook of the Month – “Adopted for Life

Stop looking at the Samaritan

So what do I have to do to inherit eternal life?

What do you think?

(Luke 10:27) And [the lawyer] answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

(Luke 10:28) And [Jesus] said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

(Luke 10:29) But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Who is my neighbor? That’s what he asks him?

As if loving God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind was no big deal. But being confident in his goodness, and his amazing faith in God, he asked about his neighbor.

Now Jesus tells a parable to illustrate the answer. We all know the story. A man is walking from Jerusalem towards Jericho, and runs into some trouble. Thieves rob and beat him, leaving him half dead on the side of the road. Then along comes a priest who passes on by and likewise a Levite later does the same. At this point it is interesting to note, that of all the people who are supposed to care for others, Priests and Levites rank at the head of the list. Those listening would have been angered to hear of such actions by supposed Godly men, but were probably not at all that surprised.

“Those self-serving jerks never help any but themselves!”

Next a Samaritan happens by. Now Samaritans and Jews weren’t exactly the best of friends. Scripture records that the two wouldn’t even speak to one another(John 4:9). But Jesus is telling this story to prove a point, so what did this Samaritan do? He had compassion on him. He bound up his wounds and took him to an inn where he even paid for this man’s lodging and care.

So who was a neighbor? All of us can easily see that it is the one who showed mercy. Pretty simple right?

But there is more going on here than first meets the eye. Notice who was in need and who was the helper. This wouldn’t be so hard on those listening if the one in need was the Samaritan. They might not like them, but hey, if this poor unfortunate creature needed some help, well I guess we could lend a hand. Those Samaritans needed all the help they could get anyway.

But Jesus didn’t cast his audience as the heroes in this story. No, they were the helpless bleeding victim whose very life would have been tragically ended if it weren’t for the undeserved compassion of a Samaritan! A Samaritan! What self-respecting child of Abraham would ever NEED help from a Samaritan?

I love to read of Jesus’ interactions with others in the Gospels. One of the coolest things I see Jesus consistently doing, is answering people’s needs rather than their questions. This lawyer didn’t need to know who his neighbor was, he needed to know himself and his pride.

Look at him. First, he asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life(Luke 10:25), and then smugly answers his own question(Luke10:27). To love God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself; are answers that should provoke fear and anxiety, not confidence. Jesus replied to his answer with, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”(Luke10:28) Do this and live! We don’t have a chance. None can achieve this without failure, including our arrogant friend.

He asked with the intention of testing Jesus, yet Jesus loved him and gave him the answer he needed.

To inherit eternal life we must all see that WE are that one who is helpless and stranded, whose only hope is for mercy to be shown by another. We can not make it on our own. We need Jesus.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7