Thursday, December 29, 2011

Black & Decker 18V Firestorm Drill Charger revisited

A commenter asked about this in my post comments from two years ago, so I thought I'd update it for them and anyone else interested.

Back in September 2009 I wrote about my charger for my Black & Decker 18V Firestorm Drill dieing (mine was the older post style battery).  When I inquired about getting a new charger, I discovered that Black and Decker had changed battery styles for their 18V drill and no longer made or serviced the long post style battery that I had.  After doing some research I discovered that Dewalt still used that exact battery in their tools, and that they made a charger that would still work for those batteries.  I got on and ordered one and a few days later it arrived.

My experience:

This charger is the solution to your problems if you like me find yourself needing a new charger for the old style batteries (or a charger for your Dewalt 18V tools).  I popped my first battery in and it quickly conditioned and recharged that battery to full.  Popped the second one in, and again it worked its magic.  The first couple of charges on the batteries seemed to run short, but after a handful of charges I noticed a distinct improvement in run time, as well as time they'd sit between charges.  Two years later I am still using these two batteries, and in the interim I added an 18V Dewalt Impact Wrench that uses these same batteries.  While I'm not claiming the batteries were as good as new, they were and are a LOT better than they were toward the end of the previous charger's life.  I've had my drill and batteries for quite a long time - I think I got the drill in 2003 for Christmas.  So 9ish years later they're still working hard.  That's impressive if you ask me.  And the cost of the charger was so much less than replacing the drill that it was a risk worth taking.

Needless to say, I'm pleased with the charger.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Readings

Christmas is a great time to preach the gospel to your family–and to yourself! Reflecting on who Jesus is and why He had to come can keep Christmas from being only about presents and Black Fridays and baking more cookies than we could possibly eat (or more than we should eat!).

Here are 25 daily readings for December 1 through Christmas Day. The first three are introductory, explaining the original need for a Savior (the fall of Adam) and then the final result of Christ’s work (the people of God glorified). The Acts reading gives a great overview of Jesus’ life, ministry, and redeeming work. Some of the readings provide Old Testament prophecies and then their fulfillment in Jesus. Some of them give clear descriptions of Jesus and His work of redemption.

May these readings provoke fresh gratefulness and understanding of the good news we have in Jesus Christ.
  1. Genesis 3:1-25 – Why was it necessary for Jesus to come? Because of the sin of Adam.
  2. Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-5 – What is the ultimate result of Jesus coming? The new heavens and the new earth.
  3. Acts 2:22-36 – Jesus coming to earth as a man was about more than being born in a manger. It was about His teachings, His miracles, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. This passage sums up His great story.
  4. John 1:1-13
  5. John 1:14-18
  6. John 1:19-34
  7. John 1:35-51
  8. John 3:1-15
  9. John 3:16-21
  10. Mark 1:1-15
  11. Genesis 22:15-182 Samuel 7:12-15, and Matthew 1:1 – prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus
  12. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:1-25
  13. Micah 5:22 Samuel 5:2, and Matthew 2:1-12
  14. Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:13-15
  15. Isaiah 53:1-3 and Matthew 2:16-23 (most commentators think that “he shall be called a Nazarene” (v. 23) relates to Jesus being from obscure and even scornful origins, something fulfilled by being from a small village like Nazareth and not a famed city like Jerusalem–or even Bethlehem)
  16. Isaiah 61:1-3 and Matthew 3:13-17
  17. Isaiah 9:1-7 and Matthew 4:12-16
  18. Philippians 2:5-11
  19. Luke 1:1-25
  20. Luke 1:26-38
  21. Luke 1:39-56
  22. Luke 1:57-80
  23. Luke 2:1-7
  24. Luke 2:8-21
  25. Luke 2:22-38

The above comes from Sovereign Grace Church.  Next year I'll post them earlier.

The “Gospel” of Consumerism

The fact that consumerism and materialism continue to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas is not news to any of us who attempt to share the real gospel with those God has asked us to lead. Financial advisor Dave Ramsey points out that “more than $70 billion, over half of what was charged last year, ended up as revolving debt and the interest on last year’s gifts is still being paid today.” In his recent blog “ $pending This Christmas or Spending It Well,” Michael Craven asks us to remember the obvious truths that more things will not make us happy, and Christmas is about God’s gracious gifts of life, family, peace, and the greatest gift of all: His Son, Jesus. To read his blog go to $pending This Christmas or Spending It Well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top 11 posts in 2011

Yes, this is a bit early, but I probably won't get to it later.  Plus, it's my blog so I can do it whenever I want to anyhow... :-)

These were the top 11 read posts of mine in 2011 with the year written in parenthesis:

1 )  A great article on the effects of porn (2008)

2)  Matt Chandler and Steven Furtick at Elephant Room (2011)

3)  Grace Driscoll on the role of women from the book of Ruth (2006)

4)  Elephant Room Conference March 2011 (2011)

5)  That's My King by Dr. S.M. Lockridge (2009)

6)  Black & Decker 18V Firestorm Drill Charger (2009)

7)  Leadership and Vision (2008)

8)  Mark and Grace Driscoll taking their kids to Australia (2008)

9)  Changing to ESV with Mark Driscoll (2007)

10)  Replaced the radiator in our 2001 Dodge Caravan today (2010) - featured on Car Lust blog as well.

11) Sermon - Acts 9:1-9 - Saul's conversion to Paul (2008)

A few other 2011 favorites:

The Gospel in five minutes by Propaganda

 Eagle Brook Church - Woodbury campus opening Fall 2011

 Marriage trends in blue-collar America

 Best Buy's Geek Squad - a review

 Fastest Growing and Largest Churches in America

Thanks for reading my blog!  In my top fifteen posts the longest average reading time is over 10 minutes on that page, and the lowest is a still solid 1:04 for Leadership and Vision.  That means people are actually reading the content!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Real Marriage - by Mark and Grace Driscoll

I recently was given a copy of Mark and Grace Driscoll's new book titled "Real Marriage".  I'm not paid for my review, though the book was free from BookSneeze on the condition that I write an unbiased review (like I'd write any other kind...).

First, it must be stated that I am a fan of Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll - having read most of his books and listened to most of his sermons the past 8 years.  I state that so you know that I have high expectations for his work at this point.

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, And Life Together 
By: Mark and Grace Driscoll
Length (Hardcover): 272 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Whenever you're reading/listening/watching Mark Driscoll, you expect a lot of Jesus, Scripture, humor, and no beating around the bush.  He and Grace manage to allow his strong character to come through in the book while not drowning out the voice of Grace.  I'm inclined to say that while both men and women will benefit greatly from this book, it is still more of a guy's book with the strength of influence Mark has in the book.  Ladies, don't let that keep you away though, this is an outstanding book.

Weakness - there are places where I think Mark Driscoll pushes beyond the biblical text in his exegesis.  I think he's worked too hard to find scripture to support his ideas rather than working from the other way around on this one.  I think he'd have been better off in some places just being open & honest without trying to force scripture to match with what he was saying.  Additionally - there are a few places where the book is disjointed making reading not flow as you might like (mismatched headings, problems with footnotes & things like that).  I suspect they'll get cleaned up if/when a second printing happens.

Who is it best for?  I think this is probably best for people on the fringe of Christianity, who at some level would submit to the teaching of scripture, but who are deeply in the world.  Especially if they are having a rough go of it in their marriage and need someone to relate to.

Would I use this with a group of mixed college singles?  No.  Some of the specifics and explicitness is more than I think we should address in that context.

Could it be used as a discipleship tool?  I think it could.  The book has its flaws, but overall I think it is addressing some important things in ways few within Christianity are willing to talk about things.  I can see this being particularly relevant in ministry opportunities like those that are frequently presented to Mars Hill Church where Driscoll pastors. I my small town small church it is of less usefulness, though still a tool to have or at least be aware of.

The Driscoll's do a solid job of dealing with the question of "Can we ________?" within a marriage - with my above concerns still in play.  Speaking frankly about subjects many in the church, especially in older generations, are hesitant to tackle.  They don't shy away from talking about masturbation, oral sex or anal sex.  This isn't your grandpa's Biblical sex manual.  The discussion is frank, yet generally aims to be biblically balanced in my opinion.  In a culture that is so pornified, this is a voice that needs to be heard.  That said, if you go to a church that insists on the KJV only and most everyone is related to everyone else, I'm guessing this book - especially Chapter 10 - might be a "bit" over the top for you and offensive.

While their tackling of hot topics is greatly helpful, the best part of the book in my opinion is how married people need to relate to one another and build their relationship upon Christ.  The need for friendship within marriage and the idea that we have to continue to pursue our spouse in the marriage relationship is wisdom that bears continually being repeated.  The raw transparency that Mark and Grace Driscoll use to tell their own story within the context of teaching what to do/not to do makes for very interesting reading and really helps set some of the ideas home in a deep and personal way.

When Joy and Grief Clash

During this time of year when we are constantly reminded of joy and happiness and being merry, we must remember as pastors that there may be those in our churches who are grieving the loss of a spouse or maybe a child, and the Holiday season only reminds them of those who are gone. Nancy Guthrie, who along with her husband David, co-hosts the GriefShare video series, brings encouragement to those who are feeling anything but joyful. “So it is possible to have a happy Thanksgiving, a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year---even when that joy is mixed with sorrow. Hope and joy at Christmas come from knowing that Christ's life that began in a cradle ended on a cross. His death-conquering death was followed by resurrection, the first-fruits of all who will one day rise from their graves,” writes Guthrie. To read her article, “Joy to This Cursed World,” go to

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sometimes We Need to Forget

In a recent article, Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, reminds us that the focus of the Christian faith should not be on ourselves and our needs, but on Christ and what he has accomplished for us. “I’ve said this before but let me say it again: there is nothing in the gospel or about the gospel that encourages me to focus on me. Nothing! It’s never honoring to God when we take our eyes off of Christ ‘the author and finisher of our faith’ and center our eyes on ourselves. Never! In fact, the whole point of the gospel is to get us out of ourselves and to ‘fix our eyes on Christ,’” writes Tchividjian. To read, “The Gift of Self-Forgetfulness,” go to .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Atheists Want Religion For Their Children?

A recent study conducted by Rice University, found that 17 percent of scientists who describe themselves as atheists or agnostics – actually go to church, and not for themselves, but for their children. The research, which was based on “in-depth” interviews with 275 scientists from 21 research universities, discovered that many atheists want their children exposed to religion so they can make up their own minds on what to believe. For more information about the study go to

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mark and Grace Driscoll - Real Marriage

Looking forward to getting a review copy of Mark and Grace Driscoll's new book Real Marriage. Below is a promo featuring Mark Driscoll (Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, WA) giving a bit of background on the book and the tour they'll be doing related to the book.
Real Marriage & The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace will be an event that will encourage, enlighten, and equip you in your romantic relationship whether you are married or single. Learn how Pastor Mark and Grace have navigated their marital journey through biblical teaching and humor.

Marriage is a wonderful gift, but it takes work, growth in Christ and patience to love the other more than ourselves. Single individuals will be ahead of the curve after hearing these truths that will transform their dating life and shape their future marriage.

Pastor Mark will be addressing key issues like these:
  • Tough and good lessons learned from Mark and Grace’s story.
  • Dating – keys to success and failure.
  • Married people, guess what, you are supposed to ‘date your spouse’.
  • Friendship in marriage – it is a simple idea, but often difficult to maintain.
  • Taking out the Trash – You will have to attend to learn how.
  • Sex as god, gross or gift?
  • Can We __________?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

New Study Sheds Light on Church Dropouts

A new study released two weeks ago by the Barna Group shows that the loss of faith or rejection of church that many young people experience, is not taking place for the reasons that we often assume. The research, which coincides with the release of You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith, uncovered what the author describes as five myths and realities about today’s young dropouts. For example, the first myth that is highlighted is that “Most people lose their faith when they leave high school.” But according to the researchers, “there are three distinct patterns of loss: prodigals, nomads, and exiles.” They explain that:
  • One out of nine young people (prodigals) who grow up in Christian homes lose their faith in Christianity.
  • Four out of ten young Christians (nomads) wander away from the institutional church, but still call themselves Christians. They have become “lost” to church participation.
  • Two out of ten young Christians (exiles) feel lost between the "church culture" and the society they feel called to influence.
  • About three out of ten young people who grow up with a Christian background stay faithful to church and to faith throughout their transitions from the teen years through their twenties.
  • For the full report go to

    Saturday, December 03, 2011

    The Gospel According to Peanuts

    How A Charlie Brown Christmas almost didn’t happen

     Few headlines about network television make me giddy. Fewer still make me hopeful that all is good in the world. But back in August of 2010, I read the following headline from the media pages with great excitement: “Charlie Brown Is Here to Stay: ABC Picks Up ‘Peanuts’ Specials Through 2015.” The first of these to be made, the famous Christmas special, was an instant classic when it was created by Charles Schulz on a shoestring budget back in 1965, and thanks to some smart television executives, it will be around for at least another five years for all of us to see and enjoy.

    What people don’t know is that the Christmas special almost didn’t happen, because some not-so-smart television executives almost didn’t let it air. You see, Charles Schulz had some ideas that challenged the way of thinking of those executives 46 years ago, and one of them had to do with the inclusion in his Christmas cartoon of a reading from the King James Bible’s version of the Gospel of Luke.

    Click through for the full article.