Thursday, September 29, 2005

They Fell Down Before Him...

Today (and possibly tomorrow) I am putting the finishing touches on a sermon I will be preaching this Sunday at Spring Lake Park Baptist Church. We are working through a series on what might be called the "black" letters about Jesus - you know, the things describing the goings on around Jesus instead of His words. We do this so we have a deeper understanding of who Jesus was in the eyes of those around him. So this week I am focusing in on those who fell down before Jesus. They fell down from a variety of causes and in different circumstances, but all of their falling down had the same meaning. Falling down before Jesus was all they could do, because they could not raise him up they had to lower themselves. In each case, those falling before him would not traditionally be the types to humble themselves before a carpenter. They each saw something deeper, something different about Him.

In our modern world, we so rarely understand the importance of humbling ourselves before Christ. We often try to do it on our own, trying to save face. Of course this goes contrary to the teachings of Scripture, but people do not like to hear that. So it is my prayer that my message will be heard by open hearts, hearts softened to be suplicated to Christ.

MT 9:18 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live."

MK 7:25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.

LK 5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

JN 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

JN 18:6 When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

MT 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

LK 17:16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.

LK 5:8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

MK 3:11 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."

MK 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.

MK 5:33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Minimizing the Bible...

The Bible and the Church are all about Christ. At times we forget that.

Minimizing the Bible?

September 28, 2005 — Fresh Words Edition

By John Piper

Permanent Link

Seeker-Driven Pastors and Radical Contextualization in Missions

I have been pondering a possible relationship between the minimizing of the Bible in so-called seeker-driven churches and in some of the radical forms of contextualization that have emerged in missions. Perhaps there isn’t any connection. But I wonder. The common denominator that I am pondering is the loss of confidence that declaring what the Bible says in the power of the Holy Spirit can create and sustain the church of Christ.

This morning I just read John 2:11, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” I bowed and prayed, “O Lord, this is how faith happens. People are given eyes to see your glory in your person and in your deeds. Please don’t let me turn away from the ministry that puts all the emphasis on the ‘gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God’” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Then I was reminded of another text in John which connected the revelation of Christ’s glory to the written word of God. John 20:30-31, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The signs that reveal the faith-awakening glory of Christ are not mainly new signs being done today, but the signs that are written in the gospels. These are written “so that you may believe.” He “manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” That is the way faith comes. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes “He will glorify me!” (John 16:14). Therefore we declare the fullness of the glorious Person and Work of Christ in history. That is how the church is created and sustained.

It seems to me that a growing number of pastors and missionaries have lost confidence in this truth. They have concluded that the gap between the glory of Christ and the felt needs of their neighbors, or between the glory of Christ and the religion of the nationals, is simply too great for the fullness of God’s word to overcome. The upshot seems to be the minimization of the Word of God in its robust and glorious fullness.

This is on my front burner just now because in recent weeks I have received a steady stream of testimonies from aching saints who say in so many words, “Our pastor doesn’t proclaim to us what the Bible says and means. The messages are not revelations of the glory of Christ. They are advice-talks with a religious twist.” And then I have been reading about certain kinds of gospel contextualization in missions that seem to minimize the fullness of the biblical revelation which converts should share with others. So I have been pondering whether there are connections.

I have no desire to naively equate the cultural conglomerate of western Christianity with the true, spiritual body of Christ. I can appreciate avoiding the word “Christian” in a missions context where it signifies: degenerate, materialistic, immodest western religion. And I realize that most of the ways we “do church” are culture specific rather than biblically mandated. But there are other questions that trouble me:

1) Are the essentials of biblical faith embraced by new converts to Christ, and do they make them known in love to others? For example, do they embrace and make known that the Bible is the only inspired and infallible written revelation of God, and that Christ is God and was crucified for sin and raised from the dead above all authority?

2) Are the former religious behaviors of converts to Christ, which they may retain, communicating regularly a falsehood about what the convert means and believes?

3) Are words being used by converts that mislead people rather than make the truth plain? Are missionaries and converts following Paul’s commitment to candor: “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2)?

I may be wrong about a Bible-minimizing connection between seeker-driven pastors and radically contextualizing missionaries, but it is hard not to see a loss of faith in the power of God’s Word when I hear that the Bible is not preached at home, and when I read from the frontiers: “We have little hope in our lifetime to believe for a major enough cultural, political and religious change to occur in our context such that Muslims would become open to entering Christianity on a wide scale.”

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come in power in our day for the sake of powerful displays of the glory of Christ in the declaration of the Word of God where those glories are revealed with infallible and converting authority.

Pastor John

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Did You Ever Wonder . . .

From Stronger Church Blog:

Did You Ever Wonder...

If there are such things as Mega-Mosques . . .
If some Buddhist temples are seeker-sensitive . . .
If other faiths have marketing seminars . . .
If Muslim kids have programs and make things out of popsicle sticks . . .
If Confucians are more "blessed" when their sopranos hit the obgligatory end-of-song high note. . .
If the Koran has been paraphrased more than three times . . .
If you can buy action figures in an Islamic or Hebrew bookstore . . .
If there is such a thing as a Taoist rock festival . . .
If Druids ever argued about music preferences . . .
If other faiths use cartoon vegetables to tell their most sacred stories . . .

(HT: Kevin Jones)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Stressed out...

Generally I am very good at handling stress. Especially high intensity situations. But when it is a prolonged form of stress, I am less adept at dealing with it. This past week has been one of the longest weeks of my life, and this current week isn't looking a whole lot better. I don't really want anybody's sympathy, it's just cathartic for me to write about it and process my thoughts a bit. What I need is a day or two off, to get away from it all, and to recenter myself emotional, physically and spiritually. It's bad to start a new semester of school off so out of whack.

For the most part, the stressers in my week were ones of my chooseing. I had a very busy week dealing with things for Student Senate, and there is a lot more I could have done. I wasn't as motivated to move early in the week, so that loaded the brunt of my effort in moving to this past weekend. There are other things as well that I chose, and could have avoided, but my life would be much less fulfilling without. I think I just need to schedule some free time next week. Time where I am going to go out, and watch the leaves change color (if they haven't all aready done so, I can see some changing already). I need to go and find a puppy to play with. Puppies always restore my energy and joy. I need to sleep. I need to eat well, as everything I've been eating this past week has been rushed and on the run.

I've come to the conclusion that I never want to move again. I know that's not realistic (especially since I'm getting married in late December of this year), but I sure do hate it. It's nice to go through everything and reduce the clutter, but it's just so much time and effort.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Heterosexuality — Still the Choice

Gay activists often claim that 10 percent of the population is homosexual, but the facts tell a different story. A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics finds 2.3 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women view themselves as homosexual. Of the men surveyed, 1.8 percent thought of themselves as bi-sexual and 3.9 percent "something else." The percentages for women were similar.

American Baptists Not Pleased With National Directions

Leaders representing 300 American Baptist churches in Southern California and parts of other Western states announced last week that they have taken the first steps to break with their denomination because they said it had failed to implement previous resolutions that declare homosexual practice incompatible with Christian Scripture. Citing irreconcilable differences over Scriptural authority and homosexuality with their liberal national leaders, the board of directors of the Pacific Southwest region (second largest in the denomination) approved a resolution to begin withdrawing from the 1.5 million member denomination, including cutting off all contributions to the national headquarters as of Dec. 31.

A conservative lay leader in the West Virginia Baptist Convention, the largest in the denomination, said he and his allies are preparing to follow suit at next month's regional meeting. In response, the national offices released a statement of "deep regret" over these decisions by its two largest regions.

It's good to hear that the ABC is finally waking up to this problem in the upper levels of their ranks. I've known this to be a problem within the ABC for quite a number of years. Scripture is clear on God's view of homosexuality, and the only way around it is to abandon Scripture as God's Word. Perhaps the ABC will see a resurgance as the SBC seems to have experienced in recient years.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Report from El Presidente...

This has been a very busy week for me as President of Bethel Theological Seminary's student senate. Wednesday morning we had a new student orientation called Genesis. We have the largest incoming class in the history of Bethel Seminary. It is fun to be able to be there, show people around campus, and help them get a feel for what life in the next few years has in store for them. The incoming class is generally very young, young enough that I felt a bit old around most of them. That isn't to say we don't also have middle age and older new students, but this incoming class has what I would guess to be a higher than average amount of people who have graduated from college in the past 2-3 years. Thursday we had two additional sessions of Genesis, students having the option to come to one of the three sessions. With our storm Wednesday night, turn out Thursday morning was understandably small.

Friday I had a meeting with Seminary Provost Dr. Leland Eliason, where we touched base about where we were going as a student senate. Dr. Eliason also was a speaker at two of the three Genesis sessions, giving a wonderful speach outlining the importance and uniqueness of our three centers of formation at Bethel Seminary. Dr. Eliason is one of the best speakers I have ever heard, and I always appreciate his insight and wisdom. I also greatly enjoy the fact that he regularly comes and sits in the lunchroom with students and just listens and shares in our community life. He is an extrodinarily busy man, but always finds time to keep an in-person presence around the school. I don't know how many other seminarys of this size where that would be the case. I am honored and priveledged to get to meet with him regularly and learn from him. I believe God is working in a powerful way at our Seminary, and that this will be a fantastic year. His leadership has been vital in the transformation of our Seminary into what it is today.

Today was our all Seminary retreat. An opportunity for returning students and new students to mingle, worship and learn from faculty and guest speakers. Dan Jass led the day off with a very moving message that was very appropriate for this setting. There were periods of free time with competitions in putting, disk golf, croquet, as well as time for getting to know people and relaxation. Students are encourage to bring their spouses to this event as well, so we get to know each other better. Lunch was catered by Famous Dave's, which always goes over great. I did have to point out to the Provost the irony of Dave's BBQ sauce "Devil's Spit" and their side item of "Drunken Apples" being served at a Baptist Seminary. Ourafternoon worship times were led by Joe Rogness, a graduate from Bethel. You can read more about Joe on this article about him at Christianity Today. I highly recommend him if you are looking for something like this for your church/event. Our guest speaker was author Chris P. Rice (not to be confused with the singer) who has an interesting perspective on reconcilliation.

For the most part, the rain held off all day (except of course while I was outside greeting students and directing traffic this morning). It was a great day, and I'm worn out.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita vs. Katrina...

From the LA Times:

Louisiana Officials Indicted Before Katrina Hit
Federal audits found dubious expenditures by the state's emergency preparedness agency, which will administer FEMA hurricane aid.

By Ken Silverstein and Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency already were awaiting trial over allegations stemming from a federal investigation into waste, mismanagement and missing funds when Hurricane Katrina struck.

And federal auditors are still trying to track as much as $60 million in unaccounted for funds that were funneled to the state from the Federal Emergency Management Agency dating back to 1998.

In March, FEMA demanded that Louisiana repay $30.4 million to the federal government.

The problems are particularly worrisome, federal officials said, because they involve the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the agency that will administer much of the billions in federal aid anticipated for victims of Katrina.

Earlier this week, federal Homeland Security officials announced they would send 30 investigators and auditors to the Gulf Coast to ensure relief funds were properly spent.

Details of the ongoing criminal investigations come from two reports by the inspector general's office in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, as well as in state audits, and interviews this week with federal and state officials.

The reports were prepared by the federal agency's field office in Denton, Texas, and cover 1998 to 2003. Improper expenditures previously identified by auditors include a parka, a briefcase and a trip to Germany.

Much of the FEMA money that was unaccounted for was sent to Louisiana under the Hazard Mitigation Grant program, intended to help states retrofit property and improve flood control facilities, for example.

The $30.4 million FEMA is demanding back was money paid into that program and others, including a program to buy out flood-prone homeowners. As much as $30 million in additional unaccounted for spending also is under review in audits that have not yet been released, according to a FEMA official.

One 2003 federal investigation of allegedly misspent funds in Ouachita Parish, a district in northern Louisiana, grew into a probe that sprawled into more than 20 other parishes.

Mark Smith, a spokesman for the Louisiana emergency office, said the agency had responded to calls for reform, and that "we now have the policy and personnel in place to ensure that past problems aren't repeated."

He said earlier problems were largely administrative mistakes, not due to corruption.

But federal officials disagreed. They said FEMA for years expressed concerns over patterns of improper management and lax oversight throughout the state agency, and said most problems had not been corrected.

They point to criminal indictments of three state workers as evidence the problem was more than management missteps. Two other state emergency officials also were identified in court documents as unindicted co-conspirators.

"The charges were made after some very extensive reviews by FEMA investigators and other authorities, who identified issues they felt were of the severity and magnitude to refer them to the U.S. attorney's office," said David Passey, the spokesman for FEMA's regional office in Texas.

Passey, while acknowledging that the state had made some administrative changes, said it had not completed the kind of overhaul FEMA said was needed.

"It concerns us a lot. We are devoted to the mission of helping people prepare for, prevent and recover from disasters and we want these federal funds — this taxpayer money — to be spent and used well and in accordance with the rules," he said.

Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington watchdog group, said recent Louisiana history showed that FEMA "money earmarked for saving lives and homes'' was instead squandered in "a cesspool of wasteful spending."

Louisiana's emergency office receives money directly from FEMA. It passes on much of the funding to local governments that apply for assistance.

The audit reports said state operating procedures increased the likelihood of fraud and corruption going undetected.


As I have previously stated, I think once the liberal left quits blaming President Bush for everything from acts of God to their hangnails, and this actually gets investigated, that the local and state officials in NO/Louisiana will be found to be largely to blame for the magnitude of mismanagment that led to the human suffering in New Orleans. Watch how Houston has/is preparing for Rita. Certainly FEMA is being more proactive with Rita on the heels of the blasting they have taken for Katrina response (and some of those criticisms are appropriate), but Houston and the state and locals leaders are where action is really happening in Texas.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tremendous Storm...

Last night we had an impressively powerful storm (actually mutiple storms) rip through the northern suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, destroying homes, snapping trees and telephone poles, causing flooding, and doing various other damage. Around 6:30pm I started watching the sky to the North, as it became filled almost continuously with lightning. I stepped outside of my building, and watched West for a few minutes to gauge the likelihood of it hitting us. Within 2-3 minutes I could see the edge of the front coming like a freight train, right towards us. I told the other man who was with me to grab his kids and run for shelter in the building. He is new here, and doesn't know our weather, so he wisely complied, because just as they pulled the door open to their apartment (adjacent to my building) the skys let loose. Within 20 minutes we had 70-80 mile per hour sustained winds, combined with hail and significant amounts of rain. We got 5-6 inches over the evening, but it's hard to tell exactly because it was blowing so hard. Tornado sirens went off, power went out, and all the Seminary Village residents made their way into the basements of our buildings, for what turned out to be a long evening. Power went out at 7:00PM and was finally restored around 10:00AM today. There was a tree that snapped and landed on the car of some new students from my building. We pulled that off inbetween storms, and thanfully the car seemed undamaged, which is impressive considering how big the tree was, and how compressed it made the front suspension. Much of the North Metro area has/had no power, something in excess of 200,000 people without power last night, and in some places estimates of 7 days before it will get back on. They are sending out Weather Service planes to determine if the damage was caused by straight line winds, or tornados. Around 11:00PM the storms had reduced in strength and moved on enough that everyone went back to their own apartments to try and get some sleep. We all get to throw out some groceries now I guess, but we made it without any significant damage on campus. A man was killed a few miles from here when a tree snapped and hit him. I can only imagine what 165mph winds will do to the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Great Church Staff Meeting...

Every Tuesday, we have our church staff meeting. Today was like every other week, with the exception that our staff meeting was considerably more productive than most. As I have written about previously, my church has be in a state of flux for the past 3 or so years. The church sent a Sr. Pastor packing because they didn't trust where he was leading/whether he was the one who could lead them, removed a youth pastor for enormous moral failure, had two worship team leaders have an affair with each other, which led to the ending of the contemporary service as things imploded in the leadership of that service, cut a worship pastor to half time, then eliminated the position entirely, and added and eliminated a position of Minister of Adult Care. I'm sure there is more, but you get the idea of how all that in a three year period added on top of the standard church issues has been a significant challenge.

Slowly the boat has been turning, and today was a good day in that effort. We talked about what we do as a church and how it is/is not welcoming to new people, especially people not like us. We are at the moment a lilly white congregation, not at all reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the Northern Suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Sure, we are a Swedish Baptist congregation (Baptist General Conference) but that does not excuse our not reaching out to others in our surrounding community. We spent a good bit of time examining what is new user unfriendly. I brought up our need to have staff and council and board members (yeah, our church has resisted calling them Elders and Deacons to the staff's bewilderment) parking in the far portion of our parking lot to leave up front spaces for newcomers. We're all able bodied. Then came my favorite part of the day - our secretary stated "well then I'll put a message in our next church wide email and newsletter telling those people to park there". Now was my chance to lead. I explained to the rest of the staff, and not just to the secretary, the need to cast vision. If we simply tell people to park elsewhere, they will mostly comply begrudingly. If we cast the vision, we explain this is a tool for us to reach out to our community and do Kingdom work, and then after casting the vision we invite them to participate, we have completely changed the mindset and achieved the same results. We cast the vision, invite others to join, and they rightly feel that they are contributing instead of jumping through inane hoops the staff have invented for them. Over and over again in the next hour I was able to add to this, about why, when and how to cast our vision. I was able to coach the new youth pastor on it, I was able to make suggestions to our staff musician, and to our children's minster. The whole time I could see our Sr. pastor taking notes as well. I love to teach about leadership, I love equiping others to lead well.

Now of course the difficult tasks lie ahead, the praxis. Can we move from talking about it, to making it happen. I think we can. I think some fires were lit today, fires that will burn brightly of Kingdom things.

It was almost a dissappointment to end our staff meeting, as it was so productive, I say almost because we followed up with lunch at the highly esteemed Chipotle. Barbacoa with lots of cheese for me please. And pass the Chipotle Tabasco too while you are at it.

A voice of reason...

Every so often, our local liberal newspaper prints an article to make it appear more balanced. I actually think this article does not fall into that patronising vein, but is genuine on their part to bring a new voice into what they publish nearly every day. The unfortunate thing is they had to borrow from the Washington Post to do so. It will be intersting to see where Hurricane Rita tracks, as that may undo anything that has begun in NO/LA/MS/AL.

Donna Brazile: A leader with heart and a good plan I could not have been prouder of Bush and his plan to empower those who lost everything.

New Orleans is my hometown. It is the place where I grew up, where my family still lives. For me, it is a place of comfort and memories. It is home.

Now my home needs your help, and the help of every American. Much of my city is still underwater. Its historical buildings have been wrecked, its famous streets turned to rivers and, worst of all, so many of its wonderful people -- including members of my own family and my neighbors -- have lost everything.

On Thursday night President Bush spoke to the nation from my city. I am not a Republican. I did not vote for George W. Bush -- in fact, I worked pretty hard against him in 2000 and 2004. But on Thursday night, after watching him speak from the heart, I could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast.

Bush called on every American to stand up and support the rebuilding of the region. He told us that New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast would rise from the ruins stronger than before. He enunciated something that we all need to remember: This is America. We are not immune to tragedy here, but we are strong because of our industriousness, our ingenuity and, most important, because of our compassion for one another. We are a nation of rebuilders and a nation of givers. We do not give up in the face of tragedy, we stand up, and we reach out to help those who cannot stand up on their own.

The president called on every American to reach out to my neighbors in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast. The great people of this country have already opened their hearts in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and their tremendous generosity has done more than just provide extra comfort -- it has saved lives. Now the crisis of survival is over. But the task of rebuilding remains, and the president made it clear that every single one of us has a role to play.

Each of us belongs to some group -- a church, a union or a fraternal organization, or even a book club -- that can make a difference. It is those groups that can pool resources and then reach out to their counterparts in the stricken states and ask, "What can we do?" Schools, Girl Scout troops, Rotary clubs -- this is the time for every community group to step forward to lend a helping hand. We need it.

The president also laid out the federal government's goal for rebuilding. It is unprecedented in its scope and ambition, matching destruction that is unprecedented as well. He made the challenge clear: This will be one of the biggest reconstruction projects in history. But he also made it clear that we can and will do this. New Orleans, Biloxi, all of the Gulf Coast will rise again. And the residents are ready to pitch in and do their part.

I know, maybe better than anyone, that there are times when it seems that our nation is too divided ever to heal. There are times when we feel so different from each other that we can hardly believe that we are all part of the same family. But we are one nation. We are a family. And this is what we do. When the president asked us to pitch in Thursday night, he wasn't really asking us to do anything spectacular. He was asking us to be Americans, and to do what Americans always do.

The president has set a national goal and defined a national purpose. This is something I believe with all my heart: When we are united, nothing can stop us. We will not waver, we will not tire, and we will not stop until the streets are clean, every last brick has been replaced and every last family has its home back.

Bush talked about how we bury our family and friends. We grieve and mourn. We march to a solemn song and then we rejoice and step out and form the second line. That line is now open to every American to join us in rebuilding a great region of this country. New Orleans will rise again. My hometown is down but not out, and with the help of every American, it will be back on its feet, bigger and brighter than ever.

Mr. President, I am ready for duty. I am ready to stir those old pots again. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Donna Brazile, a Democratic political consultant, managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. She wrote this for the Washington Post.

Narnia Sneak Peek!

(HT: Justin Taylor)

If you're a pastor or youth leader and you want to get a sneak peek at the Narnia movie, check this out.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Apologies to the RSS reader people...

Sorry to all the RSS reader people, you probably came here thinking I had gone insane, posting tons of posts. Nope, but I did basically have to reset my blog. It was acting buggy, and I was told this would solve it. I am still seeing one little issue, but I doubt anyone else will notice it, so I might just leave it be. Thanks for stopping by!

Studying context is essential...

John MacArthur and the faculty of The Master's Seminary have produced a new volume (adapted from their earlier Rediscovering Expository Preaching), titled Preaching: How to Preach Biblically (Thomas Nelson). In a chapter on "Central Ideas, Outline and Titles," Donald McDougall writes, "The meaning and significance of a given word is only comprehended through a clear understanding of its context. This should be evident to anyone who reflects on common usage of the English language. Extreme care is required to ensure that the meaning of a word in one book or by one author is not arbitrarily transferred to another book or author. The structure or flow of each passage is, therefore, of utmost importance in preparing a true expository or exegetical message. Understanding the argument of a passage and of an entire book is essential if one is to comprehend what the author is communicating."

Free book give away!!!

Sept Giveaway

Once again Tim Challies is giving away free books in partnership with Monergism Books. If you would like to enter, click on the banner above. BTW, Tim and/or Monergism will not SPAM you if you enter. Great people, great books, all for free! My referrer # is 90660.

Each winner will be able to select one Bible and one book from a selection of available options. The selection of Bibles includes the Compact TruGrip ESV Bible (available in four styles) OR ESV Bible, Compact TruTone Edition (Cranberry, Filigree Design, Red Letter).

The selection of books includes titles written by R.C. Sproul, C.J. Mahaney, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Horton and others. Some of these books are autographed, others are not. The complete list will provided to winners at the close of the giveaway. The first winner whose name is drawn will have first selection of available books. Tim C. would like to thank Monergism Books for sponsoring this giveaway. Please be sure to visit their store and check out the wide range of reading material (along with music and DVD's). By visiting the site you are supporting these giveaways!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The endless string of difficulites...

So today I was getting ready for work, ironing a shirt so I would look presentable when I'm hawking fish guts, when I smell something. Something burning. Electronics. Burning circuit board. Once you've smelled this elctronic burning smell, you'll never forget it. I thought the light I had next to the ironing board had finally gone bad, so I unplugged it, and eventually the smell seemed to reduce. I got home tonight and sat down in my big brown chair, and flipped open my laptop. Down in the corner the battery indicator is showing. Hmmm...jiggle the cord...nope....check power strip...nope..hmmm...look at AC converter pack on my laptop cord and the indicator light isn't on. I picked it up, and an intense smell of burnt circuit board came to my nose.

My converter took a dump. I unplugged it and took it apart (all the men say of course you did!) and the insides are seriously smoked. Not a little "I'm a whimpy transitor and I'm going to die" burn out, but instead half the circuit board black as tar, warped, coming apart, totally smoked. Thankfully it didn't start anything on fire, because clearly go VERY hot. So $94 and change later and HP is shipping me a new one. Warrenty ran out back in May. Of course. I'm beginning to think the curse of Phil Johnson has worn off on me.

So I get to do everything on the good ole' desktop for the next few days. For those who haven't converted to laptops, when you get one, you'll find that you almost quit using your desktop. Mine has becomea back up system for times such as this. If I hadn't stuck so much $$ into a desktop, I would have simply gotten rid of it when I got my laptop. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Mission...

Tonight was the last night of a class I have been taking as an intensive. 2 weeks, 5 nights a week, 6:30-10:00 every night. The class is called Intro to Global and Contextual Studies and is taught by Dr. Wilber Stone. Tonight's class was focused around the movie "The Mission", and we are to write a 5 page assessment of what they did right, wrong, and what we would do differently, drawing from our readings and in class discussions. If you haven't seen it, check it out. It does contain some violence, and some brief nudity of natives (think Amazon tribal people here). As a warning/spoiler, it doesn't end happy. But I do think it gives an interesting perspective on missions, and colonial imperialism. The two key figures in the move (Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons) take the opposite approach to solving the problem of colonialism. A story that serves as a painful reminder of some of the not so nice things done in the name of the Church. Rated PG, 2 hour run time.

Description (from
Rodrigo Mendoza (ROBERT DE NIRO) was a violent soldier-for-hire in 1750s South America. Now he is a man of peace serving the Rain Forest Indians he once enslaved. But armies of Spain and Portugal threaten the lifestyle and safety of the native peoples. Now Rodrigo may have to pick up his sword and musket once again. From the producer of Chariots of Fire and the director of The Killing Fields comes a powerful epic co-starring JEREMY IRONS and graced with dazzling Academy Award-winning cinematography, set to a memorable music score and scripted by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Man for All Seasons and Doctor Zhivago.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Philly whirlwind tour...

On this past Saturday, my beloved Banana's Grandmother "Nana" passed away at the age of 92. She had broken her hip about a month ago. Thankfully she passed peacefully, and didn't have to do so all alone, as Banana's mother was there with her the last few days she spent on this spinning ball of clay. Nana has an incredible legacy of her Christian faith, and while I did not get the chance to meet her in person, I look forward to see her dancing the streets of gold in heaven. Nana has children and grandchildren who have served/are serving as missionaries. One is on a medical missions ship near Madagascar, another pair work to build up local churches in a tentmaker ministry, and others, like my Banana, exhibit great faith that finds it's roots in her example. So while she passed and there is a temporal loss, it was as much or more a celebration of her moving to heaven, to be with her Lord and Savior. The memorial service was beautiful, and many great stories were shared.

We flew out at 6:00AM Tuesday morning. This meant I was up at 3:30AM, and for those who don't know, that's just shortly after my normal bed time. So I got about an hour of sleep, drove to Banana's home, and then with her father we made our way to the airport. The flight was uneventful, and it was nice because there were only 10 people on the whole plane, so we could sit where we want and relax/spread out.

When we got to Philadelphia, we checked out our rental car, and headed to downtown Philly. Both of Banana's parents grew up in the Philly area, so he gave us the quick tour. We went through downtown, and saw city hall, the Liberty Bell, and many other things that escape my mind.

We stopped and got a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, which was quite yummy. I was told later though that Pat's and Geno's are the standard by which all others are measured (ours were not from either place).

I got to meet many of Banana's relatives, from both sides of her family. All in all it was a great trip, even though the cause for the trip was not one that we would have wished for.

How to make a Philly cheesesteak

Most people who visit Philadelphia can't leave without trying a Philadelphia cheesesteak. Here are some tips so you can make your own at home.

Difficulty Level: Moderate Time Required: 15 minutes

Here's How:

1. Start with good beef. Pat’s uses sliced rib-eye. Jim’s uses USDA choice top round western steer beef.
2. Shave the beef very thin so it cooks quickly and remains tender.
3. Use a fresh high quality Italian roll - Amoroso’s is a favorite.
4. Decide if you want your steak with or without fried onions.
5. Decide if you want a steak or a cheesesteak. If you elect a cheesesteak you need to decide on American cheese, provolone or the Philly favorite "cheez whiz".
6. Any add-ons? Mushrooms, peppers, pizza sauce, tomatoes? You decide. It’s your sandwich.
7. Start to cook. Sauté the onions, peppers and mushrooms until soft.
8. Fry your steak until brown but not crispy or burned. You can mix in the fried vegetables now or add them at the end.
9. If you elect American cheese or provolone place the cheese on the meat until slightly melted. If you choose Cheez Whiz just smear it on the roll.
10. Place the roll over the meat/cheese/vegetables and scoop it into the sandwich.
11. Garnish your sandwich with pizza sauce, hot or sweet peppers or pickles as you choose.
12. Enjoy your Philadelphia cheesesteak.


1. Using the best beef available is the key.
2. Don't overcook the ingredients.
3. If you don't cook, go to Pat's, Geno's or Jim's. Which one is bese? It's a regular Philadelphia debate.

I'm back...

We made it back a bit later than expected from Philly. I'll blog on our trip tomorrow when I'm not dead tired. I did get to eat a Philly Cheesesteak. I also got to eat Scrapple. Banana's grandmother has a great legacy, and it was really neat to hear about it, and to meet Banana's relatives.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

My blogging this week will be a bit hit and miss. Banana's last living grandmother died on Saturday morning, so we are flying out the the Philadelphia area for the funeral. We fly out Tuesday morning at 6:00AM, and don't get back until Wednesday afternoon. I am currently in an intensive course at Seminary, which means that I am in class every week day from 6:30-10:00 PM. Add to that the fact that I am still working on an independent study from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, and trying to get our wedding put together, and time is at a premium at the moment. So bear with me, as I expect things to slow back down a bit if I can survive the next 12 days.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A day to remember...

Ground Zero 2006: Sunrise

That fateful day, 9/11 as it will always be remembered, I was talking to students a Mitchell Christian Elementary School about joining Cub Scouts when the first plane hit. At the time, nobody really knew the depth of what was going on, so I went about my morning, talking to all the different classes. I went home, having a bit of time before I had to be to my next school, and turned the TV on just moments before the second plane hit. I had to run to another school and talk to some more boys about Cub Scouts, but it was already clear that this wasn't an accident. it was difficult to be very "into it" when talking with the next group of boys, and everyone in the school office and teachers lounge were huddled around a TV watching what was going on. The day needs to be remembered for two reasons. First is the great human loss. Thousands of family were directly affected. My prayers go out to them as they continue on with their lives. The second reason this day cannot be forgotten is the threat of Islamofascists. Some Muslims claim their religion to be peaceful, but at it's core for many of it's followers, it is not. There certainly are peaceful Muslim people however.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Who's to blame in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?

Government should work from the local up. Therefore, I first place blame on the local officals of New Orleans for not having an evacuation plan. For not having contingency plans for this event, when they knew it was a possiblity, especially in the couple of days leading up to the event. No plans to centralize police and governance. Resources were wasted that could have been used to move people and prepare people for the pending storm. There was a marked absence of LEADERSHIP from what I have seen, both before and immediately after the storm.

Secondly I place blame on the State of Louisiana. There were still thousands of National Guard members at the Governer's disposal, inspite of the deployments in Iraq and Afgahnistan. There is more that can be blamed on the poor response of the State Goverment(s) but you probably are getting the idea by this point.

Finally, there is without a doubt some blame to go toward the response of the Federal Government, but they are NOT the root of the problems, just the easy target.

If I lived in New Orleans, I would be calling for their mayor to resign. Not only did he do an appaling job getting his city ready, then he has made himself look even worse in almost every interveiw since.

With all that said, it needs to be regularly noted that playing the blame game does not help people restore their lives. Katrina Relief is still all over the news, but in the weeks and months to come we need to continue to do what we can to help this region on their road to recovery.

Ordination of Ministers


The ordination of ministers is generally accepted among Baptists as a necessary function of the local church. Recognition of the fellowship of churches is provided through the ordination council. As the number of churches and pastors multiplies, the need also grows for some uniform principles and practices. Churches need guidance in evaluating prospective pastors that come from a variety of denominational backgrounds and schools. The following recommendations are intended to help the churches as they call and ordain pastors. While these recommendations are not binding, they will be conducive to good order and effective service.


1. Spiritual. An experience of conversion, a divine call to the ministry, a consistent Christian walk, a vital concern for the conversion of men and upbuilding of the church at home and abroad - these are essential elements in the candidate’s experience.
2. Doctrinal. All prospective pastors should affirm their unequivocal adherence to an evangelical doctrinal position based on the Scriptures as the Word of God. The Affirmation of Faith adopted by the Baptist General Conference can serve as a guide in these matters.
3. Educational. In view of the growing demands placed on pastors, chaplains and missionaries, it is advisable that graduation from a four-year college course followed by a standard Master of Divinity course in seminary, or its equivalent, be recommended. The ministerial calling requires the best training, comparable in quality and intensity to that of other professions.
4. Denominational. All ministers of the Baptist General Conference should be convinced Baptists who accept historic Baptist distinctives in all matters pertaining to church order and practice. Men coming from non-Conference backgrounds, and especially non-Baptists, are advised to take some recommended courses from Bethel Theological Seminary or complete certain prescribed reading.
5. Practical experience. It is advisable that a graduate from theological school spend at least one year after graduation engaged exclusively in preaching and pastoral work before being ordained. A license to preach and serve as a pastor will permit him to fulfill his pastoral duties without restriction during the year or more before ordination. Exceptions to this rule will be made when the candidate has had adequate pastoral experience before and during his seminary course, or when he must seek early ordination to satisfy requirements for missionary service or chaplaincy. This requirement, if applied, will help churches and candidates to determine fitness for the ministry. Any uncertainty as to call or other obvious disqualifications should bar a man from ordination regardless of sincerity or educational attainments.


1. Preliminary examination. In a typical case, the man to be ordained is the pastor of the ordaining church and his qualifications are usually well-known. When a member other than the pastor seeks ordination the church should make sure that he is a worthy candidate before calling a council. In any case, assistance in determining qualifications can be had from trusted pastors in the area or the district executive minister.
2. Calling of a council. The church will vote at a duly announced meeting to call an ordination council and to ordain the candidate upon a favorable recommendation by the council. The candidate should always be a member of the ordaining church. The churches are invited to send their pastor and two other members as delegates or messengers to the council.
3. Meeting of the council. After organizing itself the council will examine the candidate with respect to his spiritual experience, call to the ministry and view of Christian doctrine. The council should take its responsibility seriously and examine the candidate carefully. The outcome of the examination will be a recommendation to the church either to ordain or not. Occasionally a conditional recommendation is made, suggesting that the candidate be ordained on the condition that he fulfill certain requirements. An example of such would be the completion of recommended readings or study courses. In some instances the council may recommend that ordination be postponed until certain remedial steps are taken. Grave departures from traditionally high standards call for forthright refusal to recommend ordination.
4. The public service of ordination. This service is usually held the same date as the meeting of the examining council, and certain advantages are claimed for the practice. On the negative side is the unfair pressure on the council which a previously announced ordination service exerts. An interval of a week or more would seem desirable. The following parts are usually included in the ordination service: Introductory details, such as reading of Scripture, prayer, special music and reading of recommendation of the examining council (no vote need be taken by the church at this time on the ground that the church has previously voted to ordain upon receiving a favorable decision by the council); Ordination sermon Charge to the church Ordination prayer Hand of fellowship Charge to the candidate Benediction by the ordained. Participants in the service are usually invited beforehand by the candidate or the church. Care should be taken to preserve the authority of the local church in the ordination service. The church will plan and direct the service with whatever help it needs from visiting ministers.


Should a minister be found living a life unbecoming a servant of the Lord or proclaiming teachings contrary to the Word of God and Baptist beliefs in general, the church may call a council to hear the charges and the minister’s defense. Upon recommendation of the council the church will then revoke the minister’s ordination certificate and announce the revocation in the denominational press. It should be understood that such action can be taken only by the church of which the minister is a member.


A license to preach should be issued by the local church to those who desire to prepare for the gospel ministry. This should be done only after the pastor and board of deacons have ascertained the candidate’s divine call and qualifications. Similarly a church may license its pastor as a preliminary step to ordination at a later date. A license usually recognizes a man’s call to preach and serves as a letter of recommendation. Authorization to perform marriages and other functions of a minister may be conferred upon theological students who will become student pastors.


1. When ministers ordained in other fellowships become pastors of Baptist General Conference churches the local church can take the following steps:
a. Call a recognition council similar to an ordination council.
b. Upon recommendation of the council, proceed with a public recognition service.
2. Reordination is encouraged for one whose background is widely divergent from that of our Conference. In such case the usual ordination procedures will be followed.

Affirmation of Ministerial Ethics...

in the Baptist General Conference

The following standards are set forth in an effort to create professional understanding and to preserve the dignity, maintain the discipline and promote the integrity of our chosen profession—the ministry of Jesus Christ.

My Person

I will endeavor to pray daily, to read, study and meditate upon God’s Word; and to maintain extended times of contemplation.
I will plan times to be with my family, realizing my special relationship to them, and their position as important members of my congregation.
I will seek to keep my body physically fit through proper eating habits and planned exercise, renewing myself through weekly time off and through vacations.
I will try to keep myself emotionally fit, keeping in touch with my feelings and growing in healthy control of them.
I will strive to grow through comprehensive reading and through participation in professional educational opportunities.
I will be a servant of God seeking to maintain a life of purity, integrity and truthfulness.
I will avoid lust, pornography and sexual sin.
I will not abuse my own body and will avoid addictions of all kinds.
I will not emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abuse my spouse, my children or any other person.
I will seek professional help promptly when I need personal support or intervention.
I will seek to develop accountable relationships with one or more of my peers of the same gender.

My Calling

I will seek to conduct myself consistently with my calling and commitment as a servant of God.
I will give priority to my congregation and will accept added responsibilities only if they do not interfere with the overall effectiveness of my ministry in the congregation.
I will consider a confidential statement made to me as a sacred trust.
I will responsibly exercise the freedom of the pulpit, speaking the truth of God’s Word with conviction in love; and will acknowledge any extensive use of material prepared by someone else.

My Finances

I will advocate adequate compensation for my profession and will assist the congregation in understanding that a minister should not expect or require fees for pastoral services to them.
I will be honest in my stewardship of money, paying bills promptly, asking no personal favors or discounts on the basis of my professional status.
I will give tithes and offerings as a good steward.

My Congregation

I will seek to regard all persons in the congregation with equal love and concern, and undertake to minister impartially to their needs and refrain from behavior that will be divisive.
I will treat all those in the church with dignity and respect, while retaining the right to establish close friendships within the congregation.
I will exercise confidence in the lay leadership, assisting in their training and mobilizing their creativity.
I will seek to lead the church in a positive direction. I will remain open to constructive criticism and to suggestions intended to strengthen our common ministry.
I will candidate at only one church at a time. I will respond promptly and definitely to a call, and I shall seek to deal fairly with the church I am presently serving.

My Colleagues

I will seek to maintain supportive, caring and accountable relationships with my colleagues in the ministry. I will seek and honor all commitments made with other pastors, and I will respect the pastoral relationships that my neighboring pastors have with their parishioners.
I will, upon my departure, sever my pastoral relations with the congregation, recognizing that all pastoral functions should henceforth rightfully be conducted by my successor. I will not agree to perform any pastoral services in a church I have previously served until I have first obtained permission from the current pastor.
I will, upon retirement or withdrawal from the ministry, refrain from engaging in pastoral functions within our church fellowship unless requested by the pastor.

My Denomination

I will cooperate with the personnel of the Baptist General Conference and of the district in which I serve, and offer responsible criticism in order that our common service in the kingdom of God might be more effective. In the event that I seriously violate the vows I have made to God and my church, I will submit to the restoration/reconciliation process established by my denomination and my church. Furthermore, I will use my influence to affirm and edify the fellowship of this church with the district and the Baptist General Conference.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Census info...

Census Bureau Estimates Nearly 10 Million Residents
Along Gulf Coast Hit by Hurricane Katrina

An estimated 9.7 million people living in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi experienced hurricane force winds as Katrina crashed into the Gulf Coast earlier this week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

According to new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, about
2.1 million people in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi lived below the poverty level:

· More than 16 percent of Alabamians live in poverty (706,070).
· Additionally, almost 88,200 residents of the Mobile metro area live in poverty
(16 percent).

· One-in-five Louisiana residents (19.36 percent) live in poverty.
· Nearly 200,000 people (194,800) in the New Orleans metro area live in poverty.
· One-in-four residents of the city of New Orleans (23.2 percent) live in poverty.

· More than one-in-five Mississippi residents (21.61 percent) live in poverty, or about 603,954.
· More than 16 percent of residents in the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula metro area live in poverty.

Across the three states hardest hit by the storm, about 4.9 million people, or about 41 percent of the population, live in coastal areas. About 3.2 million people live within the imminent or occurring flood area – which encompasses southeast Louisiana (1.7 million), southern Mississippi (940,000), and southwest Alabama (420,000). Cities located along the Gulf with flooding include Biloxi and Gulfport (Miss.), Mobile (Ala.), and New Orleans (La.).

Mississippi, with a population of approximately 2.5 million (within 75 counties), has been the largest land area impacted by the massive storm. Additionally, approximately 3.2 million people have been affected in Louisiana.

Hurricane Katrina first made landfall in South Florida last week as a Category 1 Hurricane, affecting nearly 5.9 million residents.

Note: The above calculations are based on projections of the storm’s path from the National Hurricane Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, and Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2004. These data do not present a full picture of the seasonal population increases of coastal or other tourist areas.

Justin Taylor interview CJ Mahaney...

If you haven't seen it already, check out Justin Taylor's interview with CJ Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Ministries about his upcoming book Humility: True Greatness - over on Between Two Worlds blog.

Internet problems...

We've been having a number of internet problems here lately, thus my sporadic posting. I have a few things in the work, but might wait another day until the internet problems are resolved.

When I survey the wondrous cross...

Words: Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707. Charles Wesley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one.

Music: “Hamburg,” Lowell Ma­son, 1824; first appeared in The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music, third edition, 1825
Alternate tunes:

* “Eucharist,” Isaac B. Wood­bu­ry (1819-1858)
* “Rock­ing­ham (Mill­er),”Ed­ward Mill­er, 1790

When I survey the wondrous cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

[Added by the compilers of Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern]

To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Life on a Stick...

This past weekend I took my parents to Eagle Brook Church, in White Bear Lake, MN when they were visiting for our wedding shower. The worship was fantastic as always. They have rocking worship, with excellent contemporary songs mixed with modern takes on hymns and older songs. Matt Berry wasn't leading this week, but it was still excellent nonetheless. Bob Merritt preached a sermon called "Life on a stick" in keeping with the State Fair time of year. The idea was that whatever is on the stick is the "best" of whatever. BTW this year they had spaghatti on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. He examined how we view ourselves in light of this example of the best things coming on a stick. It was an interesting route to take, but eventually he was able to tie it in with how God views us each as unique master pieces of His creation. He talked about how our self image needs to be rooted in the way in which God views and treats us.

Worship improvement and transition...

Today in our church staff meeting, we spent a good amount of time discussing the current state of worship in our church. Generally speaking, our church is stale and stagnant in it's worship. There is little that would fall into the "moving" category. Few, if any, are inspired. It's more of a process of going through the motions on most weekends. While I can't speak for each person's heart, it is obvious from the glazed over look on most people's faces that they aren't being engaged by our current practices. I've been pushing for change in this area for a couple of years, and now it appears things are starting to happen.

I made a few suggestions today that might be useful in your church/ministry setting. First, put the new songs you are going to be singing over the next few months onto a CD and give each worship team member (singers and musicians) a copy. Tell them to listen to it a few times a week. Provide sheet music for those who can read it to find their parts. This lets them become familiar with the new music, and it begins to resonate within them. That way, when time comes to practice it, they hit their intros, they are able to look up from the music sheets, and they are able to sing more confidently (or play more confidently). Give out CD's like this 3-4 times a year with new songs that you might add in. If you don't ever add them in, then the people were just exposed to some good worship music. If you do add them in, you have equipped your team with another tool for success.

Second, put into your music ministry budget a line for acquisition of new music. Whoever is in charge of your music needs to have a steady flow of new music across their desk. A new CD every couple of weeks will keep new songs, ideas, and styles fresh in this leader's mind. The result will be better variety and more contemporary music. This of course is not to mean abandon old songs, especially hymns. But on that note, there are new presentations of hymns that are worth investigating as well, from groups like Jars of Clay.

Music is important. Do it well. Give God glory through it.

Update: Tim Challies ( has posted on hymns as well. I posted first. I'm such a trend setter (not!).

Monday, September 05, 2005

First Wedding Shower...

Yesterday we had our first wedding shower. Banana's aunt Jill flew in from Michigan to host for us. We all met at Clifton French Regional Park and spent the afternoon playing games, eating food, and sharing in great fellowship. My parents drove up from Sioux Falls, and Banana had friends in from as far away as Montana. I have included a couple of pictures of the fun.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

4-ish - Play at CTC review

Description: Don't blink! You don't want to miss one zoom, whoosh, flip, leap and twist of this internationally acclaimed dance and skate spectacular created by the world's leading skaters, djs and hip-hop dancers.

Amsterdam's hottest young troupe, ISH, brings unparalled talent, explosive energy and fearless skill to this performance filled with humor, inline skating, acrobatics and martial arts. And one ultra fine beatboxer. So eyes on the halfpipes. And sit tight. This is going to be one wild theatrical ride.

Reality: Tonight we went to the opening of 4-ish at the Children's Theatre Company. It was my parents, Banana, her parents, and her aunt. After a mix up as to which seats we were supposed to be in, we got settled in for what I was expecting to be a long evening. My preconceptions were quite wrong, and I was astounded by the brillance of the performance tonight. This ranks pretty high on the most spectacular and entertaining event I have ever witnessed. There was stellar dancing, precision skating, perfectly timed martial arts (which was also one of the funniest segments of the show), a very skilled DJ, and as the description above aptly claims, an ultra fine beatboxer (who is the most brillant of all the jewels in this show). From beginning to end, this was pure captivation, absolute enthrallment. So rarely in this day and age does something come even close to living up to it's billing. This surpassed it's billing. I don't even know if I can put into words the level of excellence exhibited tonight. The crowd was loud and into it. This is the first play I have ever attended where the performers not only got a standing ovation, but they got a SCREAMING ovation! It was that good. Even if you don't like skating, dancing, music, drama or humor, you will like this show. If you have a pulse, you will like this show. There is no reason this show should not be selling out, requiring additional performances to be added. If you live within a few hundred miles of Minneapolis, it's worth the trip (even at $3.00 per gallon of gas!). Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, this is not to be missed. If you don't live in the Minneapolis area, keep on the look out for this to come to a town near you. Even my middle aged, white, middle America parents were blown away. They even felt that my GRANDPARENTS would appreciate this show (other than the sound levels). Ages 8-Up will be rocked by this show!

The Star Tribune Review

Theatre Information:
Children's Theatre Company
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404-3597
Box Office: 612.874.0400

And to top off a wonderful evening, we all went to the original Buca di Beppo's restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. Chicken with Lemon, Green Beans, and Spaghatti with meat sauce.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Donate to Katrina Relief

The Truth Laid Bear is tracking the giving to Katrina Relief through the Blogosphere.

I recommend donating through the Baptist General Conference, info and link below. I have made a contribution, and challenge you to do likewise.

BWAid Responds to Hurricane Katrina Devastation
August 31, 2005

Dear Pastor:

On August 29 Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastal region of Mississippi, killing more than 50 in Harrison County alone. Breached levees in New Orleans resulted in massive flooding. Mayor Ray Nagin said, "The city of New Orleans is in a state of devastation. We probably have 80 percent of our city under water, with some sections as deep as 20 feet." Suburbs were also hard hit, with one reporting 40,000 homes under water.

A number of churches and individuals have called the BGC asking how they can contribute to relief efforts for victims of Katrina, which struck Gulf Coast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The BGC will forward funds to Baptist World Aid and National Association of Evangelicals World Relief, our two primary partners in world relief. Both work through Baptist/evangelical churches and conferences to bring immediate disaster response, with a gospel witness.

Baptist teams from North Carolina and Virginia have already sent teams to provide meals and water, as well as crisis care counselors and water purification units. Other Baptist groups are heading for the affected areas. NAE World Relief is working with evangelical churches to provide assistance on a need basis, including clearing debris and clean-up equipment.

The BGC has forwarded an initial $5,000 to BWAid and NAE World Relief for these efforts. If your church wishes to participate in this effort, make your check payable to BGC World Relief and mark it for "Hurricane Katrina Relief" (project number 605026).

Ray Swatkowski, executive vice president

Produced by Communications, Baptist General Conference
2002 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005


Glenn's Roundup post at Instapundit

It's football season again...

Some of you may not know that I played football in college (fullback). A guy I played with is the new head coach of our college's football team. He is replacing a man who I had the utmost respect for (Bob Young) as a coach, and as a Christ follower. Coach Young took a weak team that most other teams considered a win on their schedule and built a football powerhouse, winning one national title (NAIA) and playing in two other title games in the past 12 years. Under Coach Young's guidance, USF had a record of 172-69-3. Kalen DeBoer has huge shoes to fill, but I think he will fill them well. Below is an article from my hometown paper that mentions him and reminded me of the coaching change.

USF's new athletic facility to be ready next week

matt zimmer

Published: 09/1/05
After a great deal of anticipation (and waiting) the University of Sioux Falls football team should finally be digging its cleats into the FieldTurf at its new athletic facility next week.

The practice field that the school had hoped to have ready in time for camp has been slowed by early summer rains, but coach Kalen DeBoer, whose team has been preparing for the season at Howard Wood Field, says that it will finally be ready.

"We're hoping to have our last walkthrough out there on Friday," said the rookie coach. "Next Tuesday we'll definitely be out there."

As for Saturday's season opener, it'll be the first Cougar football contest with someone other than Bob Young in charge since 1982.

It might seem overwhelming for DeBoer, just 30, to be facing title expectations, but he said everything is going according to plan as he prepares for his debut.

"This week has come together real well," DeBoer said. "We've got players finding their niche, and we're really starting to see some consistency in our special teams units and our defense.

"I don't feel nervous really, just confident and anxious."

Mighty is the power of the Cross...

by Chris Tomlin

What can take a dying man
And raise him up to life again?
What can heal the wounded soul?
What can make us white as snow?
What can fill the emptiness?
What can mend our brokenness? Brokenness?

Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the Holy cross.
Where the Lamb lay down His life
To lift us from the fall.
Mighty is the power of the cross.

What restores our faith in God?
What reveals the Father's love?
What can lead the wayward home?
What can melt a heart of stone?
What can free the guilty ones?
What can save and overcome? Overcome?

It's a miracle to me
It's a miracle to me
It's still a mystery
And it's still a mystery
It's a miracle to me
The power of God
Those who believe

From the album: Arriving