Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Logos Bible Software

This past weekend, Logos Bible Software had a booth at the Desiring God Ministries 2008 National Convention. I don't know that I have ever mentioned it here before, but I am a big fan of Logos and their products. I love print books, see my church office if you have any questions to that end, but having electronic books is infinitely useful when on the move.

I purchased a copy of their Scholar's Library Edition a couple of years ago when I was in Seminary. I wish I had the money at the time for the Silver or Gold edition, as they both contain a lot more items. I also added the BDAG Greek Lexicon while in seminary. The cost for the BDAG was the same, and it saved me from carrying a 20lb book every day to Greek classes! Shortly after seminary I added to my collection again buy getting Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. I have been using a print copy of Grudem's Systematic Theology since my first year at Bethel Seminary. Having an electronic version gives me faster searching capabilities, and again saves me from lugging a big honkin' book around.

The next thing I will be adding to my software collection will be from Dr. John Piper's books (www.logos.com/piper) that are available in Logos. Long term I would like to add the full collection of Dr. Piper's books, but for the short term I'll add just a few. I'd also eventually like to add Dr. Piper's sermon library as well. Thankfully, for the short term, Desiring God makes all of Piper's sermons available online for reading.

And if it makes you feel any better, Mark Driscoll uses Logos too. Logos loaded a copy of pretty much everything they have onto Mark's laptop. Driscoll spoke of it recently, but I don't remember where I heard him talking about it.

Reference Tagger
Another Logos program that I use is their Reference Tagger. RefTagger is a great program for bloggers that I added right when Logos made it available. Mine is linked to the ESV version, but you can pick other translations of the Bible if you prefer.
RefTagger is a free web tool that automatically turns all of your Bible references into hyperlinks to the passages at BibleGateway.com. RefTagger can also add an icon that is hyperlinked to the passage in Libronix and a tooltip window that displays the passage when you hover over the reference. So if your website says, "My favorite verse in the Bible is Romans 8:28," RefTagger will instantly turn it into this: "My favorite verse in the Bible is Romans 8:28."
Readers are able to have immediate access to any of the Bible passages that I mention.

From Logos:
All you need to do is copy the customizable code that we provide for you below and paste it into your website's template file(s), and it will instantly be applied to your whole site—all past and future content! Because RefTagger uses JavaScript, it doesn't make any changes to your site's files. If you decide to remove RefTagger from your site, it's as simple as deleting the code from your template file(s).This page explains how to add the program for a Blogger blog.

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Desiring God National Conference 2008 - Thoughts

This past weekend I was in Minneapolis for the 2008 Desiring God National Conference. As I mentioned previously, I met a reader of this blog (Ovidiu) for the first time at this conference. It was cool connecting with him, and I expect that friendship to grow. Plus, he made a great impression by breaking bread (and paying!) for our food at Buca di Beppo!

Friday Afternoon
We had the opportunity to attend a pre-conference meeting sponsored by the Fidelis Foundation at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Our speaker was Dr. Don (D.A.) Carson. Dr. Carson spoke on "Five Trends in the Church Today". For a great summary see Scott Thomas' write up on the Acts29 blog. We got to sit at the same table during lunch with Dr. Carson, but was unable to speak with him outside of thanking him for his great presentation. We also met the national director for The Gospel Coalition. I'm planning on attending the 2009 Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago (pending church and wife approval).

Friday Evening
Sinclair Ferguson kicked things off with a talk titled "The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing". The night was capped off with a speaker forum with Justin Taylor (my doppelganger) as host, and Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and Sinclair Ferguson all giving thier best thoughts on Justin's questions. Mark Driscoll presented Dr. Piper a cool tweed skateboarding jacket with the Desiring God logo sewed into the pocket. Driscoll has joked previously about Dr. Piper only owning one jacket he preaches in. Piper claims he owns more than one, but I'm siding with Driscoll on this having seen John Piper preach dozens of times, all with the same jacket on!

After the Friday evening sessions, I made my way out to my in-laws rather than commuting back to Waseca. This allowed me to work on a funeral message I gave Sunday for a few hours before going to bed. Saturday morning came early.

Saturday Morning
I arrived early so I could get good up front seats for the second session of the morning - Mark Driscoll. I purchased Driscoll's newest book Death By Love and was hoping to get his signature. I stood next to him for a few minutes Friday evening before the speaker forum, but he was engaged with someone else and I didn't want to interrupt. Driscoll signed my copy of Vintage Jesus previously, but I never got my new book signed unfortunately

I arrived and parked in the ramp East of the Minneapolis Convention Center (by the Lutheran Church). Upon attempting to enter the conference when the doors opened, I realized my admittance badge was still in my truck. I simultaneously realized that my keys were also in my truck, and the doors were locked and the alarm was armed. So rather than scoring sweet morning session seats for Ovidiu and myself, I had to call AAA, renew my membership ($60), wait for the tow truck (Bobby & Steve's) and help the operator break into my truck. I've been driving for something like 19 years, and haven't locked myself out of a vehicle like this. Ugh.

Bob Kauflin spoke in the first morning session on "Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?" Kauflin was entertaining, but I didn't draw a whole lot out of it unfortunately.

Mark Driscoll followed Bob Kauflin with a message called "How Sharp the Edge: Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words." Driscoll was excellent as always, and got by far the most verbal feedback from the crowd throughout his presentation. I fully expected this to be the best presentation of the conference, and he didn't disappoint. Driscoll brought it, nearly blowing our eardrums at a couple of points as he yelled at us. I love Driscoll!

Saturday Afternoon
Daniel Taylor, a professor at Bethel University, had the tough task of speaking to us after lunch. Dr. Taylor spoke on "The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God's and Ours". Following this was the final panel discussion with Kauflin, Piper, Taylor and Tripp all again guided by Justin Taylor. We went to a Desiring God International Ministries meeting following the afternoon sessions (skipping going out for dinner). This was an interesting peek into the window of what DGM is doing world wide.

Saturday Evening
Paul Tripp spoke on "War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God's Sake." Honestly, Tripp stole the show in my opinion. I fully expected Driscoll to be the best session, and while Driscoll was amazing, Tripp was a level above that. If I had to recommend a single session for people to download and listen or watch it would be Tripp's. Powerful, passionate, and incredibly convicting. I'll be returning to this message for personal challenge in the months to come.

Following Tripp's session, there was a gathering of bloggers called together by Abraham Piper (yes of THAT Piper family). I got to meet a couple of readers of this blog (hi David!), and got to speak to Justin Taylor for the first time. I also got a couple of free books, to go along with the great haul of freebies we got signing in at registration Friday.

I was unable to attend the Sunday morning session where Dr. John Piper spoke on "Is There Christian Eloquence?", due to the fact I had to preach at First Congregational Church of Waseca, and then had a funeral to perform that afternoon. I have downloaded Piper's session (see below) and will be watching it soon.

It was a fantastic conference, well run and well organized. I expect I will attend this conference again someday.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Desiring God National Conference 2008

I am typing this from the 3rd floor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis.  This weekend is the Desiring God Ministries 2008 National Conference.  Today there is a pre-conference get together of some regional pastors (and BISS reader Ovidiu from Seattle!) featuring Dr. Don (D.A.) Carson as the speaker.  I've read quite a bit of Dr. Carson's writing, and if he is half as good in person as in print today is going to be a real treat!.  Later this afternoon I'll make my way to the Minneapolis Convention Center and sign in for the conference.  The first speaker is later this evening, so hopefully I'll find enough time to finish my sermon and wrap up the message I am writing for a funeral on Sunday afternoon.  A crazy busy weekend!  The part I am most looking forward to of this conference is getting to see Mark Driscoll speak tomorrow morning in the second session.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mark Driscoll to speak this Thursday at Northwestern College in Minneapolis/St. Paul metro


Think of how often you consume media, whether to see a film, watch TV, listen to the radio, download music, catch up with friends on Facebook or check out the latest viral video on YouTube. Our modern culture is indeed a media culture, holding incredible influence over each of our lives, whether we recognize it or not.

Every day we are exposed to countless messages, each promoting a particular worldview. So where does the Christian voice fit in and how do we engage, challenge and transform modern media at all levels? And what does it look like to invite Jesus Christ into the process of producing and consuming media for the glory of God?

The speakers for Northwestern’s seventh annual Faith & Thought Lecture Series have asked these questions and bring different perspectives and answers, which will encourage you to critically re-think your approach to media.

Join us for a free evening of learning and discussion with our opening speaker

Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, Seattle
“Christ & Media: How Important is Being Relevant?”

Thursday, September 25, 2008
7:30 p.m., Maranatha Hall

Pastor Mark Driscoll founded Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington 12 years ago and it has since grown to over 6,000 people in one of America’s least-churched cities. He is president and co-founder of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, which has planted more than 100 churches in the U.S. and internationally, and most recently he founded the Resurgence Missional Theology Cooperative.

He is the author of several books including, Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions and The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. He has been recognized by Christianity Today as one of the most influential pastors in America. Seattle magazine has named him one of the 25 most powerful people in Seattle. His sermons are downloaded more than one million times a year.

Media coverage on Pastor Mark and Mars Hill Church ranges from National Public Radio to The New York Times to the 700 Club. Mark and Grace, his high school sweetheart, enjoy raising their three sons and two daughters.

* * *

Mark your calendar for our upcoming speakers
Quentin Schultze, Ph.D., Calvin College (MI)
“Jesus Britney and You: Calling in a Media World”
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
7:30 p.m., Nazareth Chapel

Mark Seignious M.A., Northwestern College (MN)
Ripley Smith, Ph.D., Bethel University (MN)
“Music and the Message: Connecting the Prophetic Voice in Christian Radio”
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
7:30 p.m., Nazareth Chapel

Gene Edward Veith, Ph.D., Patrick Henry College (VA)
“Christian Media as Cultural Critic”
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
7:30 p.m., Nazareth Chapel

Ann Sorenson, MFA, Northwestern College (MN)
“Faith & Film: To the Glory of God”
Tuesday, April 28
7:30 p.m., Nazareth Chapel

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plans for the weekend?

For the record, my church is much cooler than your church.  Unless you go to my church...then we'll call it a push...barely.  ;-)

Seriously though, we have some fun things going on this weekend, and if you are in the greater Waseca metropolitan area I invite you to join in.

To kick the weekend off we'll be walking in the Waseca Marching Classic Parade on Saturday.  We'll be handing out candy and some nice looking bookmarks (see image) to those who will be lining the streets.  For details check out our church web site at WasecaChurch.org.

Then on Sunday after church, our church is going fishing.  Really!  In a beautiful park on the lake - Clear Lake Park - a couple of helpful ladies in our church are hosting a fishing event for all who come.  The primary focus is for the kids of our church, but anybody can show up and participate.  We have the gear, and will even bait your hook!  We do not guarantee that you will catch fish though.  A cold?  Maybe.  Some weeds?  Possibly.  But a fish?  Well, that is up to you.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sermon - Jonah 1 - Running from God

I just posted my sermon from this past weekend at WasecaChurch.org.  The sermon was well received, and I have been enjoying studying for this series.  There are a lot of great resources out there on Jonah.  I drew heavily on the pre-release electronic version from the ESV Study Bible for the book of Jonah, and from an introduction used at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Most Affluent City in the U.S.A.

(via FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

The Census Bureau released its annual report on income and poverty last week. It may surprise you to learn that Plano, Texas, is the report's star among cities with populations of 250,000 or more. Plano has the highest income — median household income in 2007, $84,492 — and the lowest poverty rate. Plano is the home to corporate headquarters for Frito-Lay, JCPenney and other companies. Billionaire Ross Perot founded computer giant EDS and Perot Systems, both still based in Plano. Despite its affluence, the median home price is about $225,000.

The poorest city in the nation was Detroit — replacing Cleveland — with a median household income of $28,097. [abcnews.com]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Analysis of Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

The Census Bureau just released an in-depth analysis of income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the U.S. in 2007.

  • Real median household income in the United States climbed 1.3 percent between 2006 and 2007, reaching $50,233. This is the third annual increase in real [inflation-adjusted] median household income.
  • Meanwhile, the nation's official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5 percent, not statistically different from 2006. There were 37.3 million people in poverty in 2007, up from 36.5 million in 2006.
  • The number of people without health insurance coverage declined from 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006 to 45.7 million (15.3) in 2007.
  • Real income rose for black households, the first increase since 1999.
  • Real income was statistically unchanged for Hispanic and Asian households.
  • National income inequality decreased from 2006 to 2007.
  • The poverty threshold for a family of four in 2007 was $21,203.
  • 21.5 percent of Hispanics were in poverty in 2007, up from 20.6 percent in 2006.
  • 18 percent of children under 18 were in poverty in 2007, up from 17.4 percent in 2006.
  • Uninsured children decreased from 8.7 to 8.1 million.
  • Uninsured Hispanics decreased from 15.3 to 14.8 million.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bible Recommendations

A women in my church emailed me asking about what Bible I would recommend to her, as she is in the market for a new one. I have a couple of recommendations depending on what you are looking for in your use of the Bible you are acquiring.

It should be noted that the NIV is not my preferred translation, but it is my first recommendation because it is what our church has in the pews. That is not to say I don't like the NIV, or that it is bad in any way, I just think the ESV (below) is one step - a big step - better.

1. NIV Study Bible - This is the Bible (the leather version) that I have used since college. It has served me well. The NIV is a reliable and readable translation. I prefer the Study Bible versions because they have ample footnotes that give additional background information to help the reader understand the passages on that page. The NIV has a good reading flow. We use the NIV in our church, so it will read the same as our pew Bibles. I own 2 of these NIV Study Bibles, and have a handful of NIV's all together.

1a. NIV Life Application Study Bible - I like the Life Application version slightly less than the plain Study Bible, but it is still a really good version. I have one of these on my shelf, but because of it's bulk and less focused footnotes I prefer the above version. This is a great bedside Bible, or one to keep around the house for reading.

2. English Standard Version Study Bible (ESVSB) - For me, this is the gold standard of Bibles. The scholarship that has gone into the ESV and the ESV Study Bible specifically is unprecidented in my opinion. If you are a King James reader from years past, the transition to ESV versions will be easier than to the NIV. The ESV is very scholarly, and reads at a much higher level than the NIV's listed above, but that shouldn't scare anyone away. It uses the more precise theological terms when they are the best choice - words like sanctified and justified and propitiation - words that are rich in meaning that is often losts or diluted in other translations. The ESV is currently available for purchase, but the ESV Study Bible will not hit store shelves until October 15th. I have mine ordered already! I do own 3 ESV Bibles, and they are what I use 75% of the time in my day-to-day life and studies.

3. The Daily Bible in Chronological Order - I recommended this Bible in a sermon a while back. It is also a NIV version. I really like this Bible for daily reading. It is laid out so you can easily read through the whole Bible in a year, with morning and evening readings. The thing I REALLY like about this Bible is that they have attempted to put it in Chronological order. That allows things in books like 1 and 2 Kings to make a lot more sense when trying to get the bigger picture of what is going on when and where to who. It tries to place the Psalms in the context of when they happened (where possible) so they add to the story line. I had some amazing lightbulb moments the first time I read through the Old Testament with this version. The drawback for this Bible is that it is futile to attempt to look up a specific passage. The daily readings for March 1 for example cover Numbers, Exodus, Leveticus, and Deuteronomy. The specific passage citations are in the outside margins. So you can't just turn to the "book" of the Bible you might want to look at. Another example would be on June 19 the Minor Prophet Hosea is intermingled with 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles passages so you understand it chronologically.

4. NLT Life Application Study Bible - This is a nice reading dynamic equivolent translation with some good study notes. If you are looking to read big chunks of the Bible in a single sitting, this is the book for you. The drawback to a dynamic equivolent translation is that it is more focused on being readable than being literal to what the original language said. The NLT does a good job of keeping this in check, but it does mean the wording is not very precise, thereby making it less useful as a study Bible. But to get overall themes and big pictures I find it useful. I have a couple of NLT Bibles, and I think the NLT is a great version to give to someone who is new in faith and unfamilar with some of the words other translations will use. It is not a Bible I would suggest to be the long-term only Bible translation someone reads.

Below I have Romans 8:1-5 of all three translations referenced above (ESV, NIV, NLT) so you can read and compare.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power* of the life-giving Spirit has freed you* from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.* So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

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What Do Americans Think of Evangelical Voters?

Below is some new data from George Barna.

In general, evangelical voters are perceived with a mix of skepticism and respect. Americans are not always sure what to make of evangelicals, but they believe the voting bloc has significant influence. Barna examined eight perceptions of evangelical voters. Four of the statements represented the most widely-held views:

  • that evangelicals will have a significant influence effect on the election outcome (59% of American adults said this was either "very" or "somewhat accurate" regarding evangelical voters);
  • that evangelicals will cause the political conversation to be more conservative (59%);
  • that they will be spend too much time complaining and not enough time solving problems (59%);
  • and that they will be misunderstood and unfairly described by news media (56%).

    Surprisingly, given the attention that moral issues have received in connection with evangelicals, only half of Americans (52%) felt that evangelical voters would focus primarily on homosexuality and abortion.

    Roughly half said that evangelicals will minimize social justice issues (47%) and another 47% felt they believe that evangelicals will vote overwhelmingly Republican. Roughly two out of every five Americans (44%) believed evangelicals will not approach the election with an open mind.

  • For the full report (which contains a lot more info) check out the Barna Group's site.

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    Monday, September 08, 2008

    An R-Rated Childhood

    (HT: FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

    About 12.5 percent of America's 22 million children between the ages of 10 and 14 have seen movies rated R for extreme violence, according to a paper published in the August 2008 issue of Pediatrics. In 2003, Dartmouth Medical School researchers asked 6,522 children whether they'd seen 40 of the most recent graphically violent films, such as Blade, Training Day, Hollow Man and Bride of Chucky. Scary Movie was the film 10- to 14-year-olds were most likely to have seen, with about 48 percent having watched it. (Researchers didn't ask whether they had seen the movies in theaters, on video, cable TV or the Internet.) The study found that boys, minorities, those from lower-income families and those with lower academic performance were more likely to have seen ultraviolent R-rated fare. About one in three respondents reported that their parents let them watch R-rated movies. But even among those whose parents prohibited R-rated movie viewing, 22.6 percent had seen at least one of the movies on the list. Researchers also found that kids who had TVs in their bedrooms were more likely to have seen these R-rated titles.

    Two of the Dartmouth study's authors, Keilah Worth and James Sargent, sounded the alarm with regard to their findings. "We know so much about the harmful effects of exposure to violent media content, but how much exposure children actually get has been largely ignored," Worth said. Sargent added, "No expert in child development would advocate for subjecting children as young as 10 to this level of violence, yet the study shows that such exposure is commonplace in this country." Why? According to Sargent, "The American movie industry rates itself. So how and why some movies get an R rating, while others don't, isn't always rational. Because it's like the fox watching the chicken coop, and the industry is not going to do anything that limits it from getting as wide an audience as possible." On that basis, both researchers called for an overhaul of the ratings system. "In Britain, no adolescent would be admitted to these movies unless they were 18. The R rating in this country is clearly not preventing our young people from seeing them," Worth noted. Sargent reiterated the need for ratings reform. "We should rethink the current movie rating system, which has been in place for 40 years and was designed when kids could only see movies in theaters," he said. "Violent media has become easier and easier to access for children. So, for the movie industry, the message is that the 1960s ratings system needs to be updated and made more explicit and relevant to the ways movies are being distributed and seen today."

    In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission released a report that showed about 40 percent of 13- to 16-year-olds were able to purchase tickets for R-rated movies. By comparison, nearly 80 percent successfully purchased DVDs of similar films. [taken directly from pluggedinonline.com]

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    HB London on Bristol Palin's baby

    Below is an article written by Focus on the Family's HB London. I love his pastoral tone and wisdom, and just wanted to share this, and hope it will bless you as well. It's not about politics, it's about grace and parenting for anyone who might be concerned.


    How many times have you sat with a brokenhearted couple who had just learned that their daughter was pregnant? I would imagine most of you have.

    Dr. Dobson made a statement recently following the media reports of Bristol Palin's announcement that she was five months along. He said, "In the 32-year history of Focus on the Family, we have offered prayer, counseling and resource assistance to thousands of parents and children in the same situation the Palins are now facing."

    In other words, these kinds of things happen in the best of times to well-meaning families and, when it does, we must just deal with it. Dick Morris, the political commentator, writes, "They're the kind of family issues that bedevil many American women." It may be, as you read these words, that you remember your single mom raising and loving you. Most likely, however, your situation was not played out in the media. Most are not.

    What did I say to those parents who sat before me? Love them! Deal with the shock from the news, and then begin the process — whatever that is — toward normalcy. Naturally, there will be consequences. Tempers will flare. Some situations will be uncomfortable. Plans will need to change and for most, life will be changed for all time. Be patient — things will be chaotic enough without loud voices and unflattering comments. Pray a lot — a sin has been committed. Forgiveness is a major step to healing and God's guidance is so important. Plan ahead — does adoption make sense? Is the child ready to be a mother? If the "to be" grandparents will become the caregivers, do they understand the challenge? Don't hide — stuff happens. Life goes on. Hold your head high. Don't make a lot of excuses. Find out about continuing in school. Find a reputable counselor, and stay in church. Look for support. Some of the most wonderful people I know are those that serve their communities through a Pregnancy Resource Center. They provide counseling, clothes, comfort, and in many cases ultrasound services, and post-pregnancy support. If you have a young lady in your church that is with child, and you have not used the services of these groups, you are missing a marvelous opportunity. Check your yellow pages — or call us at Focus on the Family (1-800-A-FAMILY; 1-800-632-6459) — for a Pregnancy Resource Center in your area. I promise you, it is like having an additional staff member available to you. So ...

    Love them!! Be patient!! Pray a lot!! Plan ahead!! Don't hide!!

    To the woman caught in adultery Jesus said, "... neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin" (Jn. 8:11).

    Be blessed and be a blessing. —HBL

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Six Study Essentials by Mark Driscoll

    I'm copying an post by Mark Driscoll from over on the Resurgence blog. Mark Driscoll pastor's Mars Hill Church in the Seattle, Washington area.


    Mark Driscoll


    1. Have a good Bible.

    Every Christian needs a good Bible that they can easily read and enjoy. A translation such as the English Standard Version (ESV), the ESV Study Bible is very well done, or the New International Version (NIV) is preferable as your primary reading Bible, although there are many other translations that are also quite good (e.g., New King James Version, New American Standard Version).

    2. Have some good Christian books.

    If you want to build a reference library, the first book you should buy is A Commentary and Reference Survey by John Glynn by John Glynn. That book will tell you which other books are the best resources available for in-depth Christian study and anyone who is serious about studying should have a copy of this book.

    3. Have some good (free) online study resources.

    There are many great websites that can help you do Bible word studies and such for free. Good examples include the following, with the first one built and run by Mars Hill elder, Zack Hubert:

    ReGreek specializes in word studies from the Bible 's original languages.
    Crosswalk has many translations and Bible study tools.
    Bible Gateway has many translations and Bible study tools.
    CCEL has most of the major works from Christian history for free and a “Study Bible” feature that pulls up historical church commentary on specified verses.
    E Sword has numerous Bible study tools.

    4. Have some good Bible software.

    If you can afford it, Bible study software provides some amazing resources and companies like Logos Bible Software are worth considering.

    5. Have some good websites.

    There are many great resources available for free on the web with articles, books, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, and MP3s. The following are some recommendations:

    Desiring God is the website featuring a large repository of sermons and articles from my friend, Dr. John Piper.
    Covenant Seminary has a “Free Downloads” link on their front page that will enable you to listen to hundreds of hours of their class lectures on many areas of Christian study. I am grateful to my friends at Covenant who have given the church such a gracious gift.
    Mars Hill Church is where hundreds of hours of my teaching is available for free and has been the number one podcast on iTunes for religion and spirituality.
    carm has good articles on cults, world religions, and apologetical issues.
    equip.org has good articles, book reviews, and more, on cults, world religions, and apologetical issues.
    www.christianitytoday.com/historyhas some great articles on Christian history and biography.
    www.monergism.com has an almost overwhelming number of free articles on nearly every theological issue from a Reformed perspective.

    6. Have some good community.

    Most of the Bible was written to communities of people and is therefore best studied in community with other Christians. For this reason, getting plugged into a Community Group and/or taking midweek classes in addition to regularly attending a Sunday church service is essential.

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    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Luke 10:2 Sermon – Plentiful Harvest

    I finally got my newest sermon posted focusing on Luke 10:2 on our church's website at WasecaChurch.org. I was a bit slow on this as we moved this last weekend from St. Paul, MN - near the chaos of the RNC - to Waseca, MN - near the tranquility of the lake! What a dramatic change - and we love it. No more commuting for me! That'll save a lot in gas.

    We literally started packing Friday night, and by 8:00PM Saturday we had almost everything loaded in a 26 foot Uhaul truck, my truck, and both our cars. We did have to go back Sunday afternoon/evening to clean and get the last things out of the shed. All told, I took 3 truck loads in my S-10, 1 load with the 26ft truck, and 3 other car loads. Some of our fine china will make its way down later, as it is living with my in-laws for safe keeping at the moment.

    I hate moving. And we get to do it again in 9 months. Thankfully a couple of people from our church helped us unload the moving truck. Some ladies also very graciously brought food too us too! My parents and my wife's parents were an unbelieveable help, and we hired 2 guys for 2 hours of loading help on Saturday evening that worked their tails off for us.

    Monday, rather than unpacking, we spent the day with friends and family relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Unfortunately my father-in-law's boat died, so I became the human tug boat and pulled it into our dock. Pulling it wasn't too tough, but extracting my feet from 6 inches of muck on each step was quite exhausting. All in all it was a good and very tiring weekend!

    We don't (yet) have internet where we are living, so the next week or two until we get that figured out my response time to all things via the web will be slow.

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    Minnesota Vikings - 98.5 KTIS Day Sept. 21

    Not that I want to encourage anyone to miss our wonderful church service - but if you have to, this might be an acceptable absence.

    Celebrate Faith and Family with
    98.5 KTIS and the Minnesota Vikings!

    And this Minnesota Vikings home game will be a bit different.

    Join 98.5 KTIS for Faith and Family Day with the Minnesota Vikings! You'll see the Vikings battle the Carolina Panthers Sunday, September 21 at Noon at the Metrodome. After the game you'll be able to hear defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar share their testimonies on the difference God has made in their lives.

    Ticket Info:
    $48 ticket discounted to $43 (High Upper Level Corner/Endzone)
    $60 ticket discounted to $55 (Upper Level Corner/Endzone)

    To Order:
    Download and fill out
    this form (pdf)

    Mail to 500 11th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415
    or Fax to 612-333-0458

    For questions, please contact Travis Hamre, Vikings Account Executive at 952-918-8409

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Amish Population Has Nearly Doubled

    An interesting tid-bit:

    In the last 16 years, the Amish population Christians who reject most modern conveniences and rely on horse-drawn carriages has nearly doubled, according to researchers from Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Over the same period, Amish settlements have been established in seven new states Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Washington and West Virginia putting them in at least 28 states from coast to coast. [The Associated Press]


    There are two ways to expand Christ's Kingdom - new birth and re-birth. Since their conversion rate is pretty low, it's nice to see they are getting the be fruitful and multiply part down!