Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas to all of my readers (all two of you :-) and those just passing through. I hope you have a very nice day spending time with your family and friends and that you don't overindulge :-)

I'm waiting for my husband and teenage daughter to get up so we can open presents. I already opened mine weeks ago (my very wonderful Vaio) so I have no surprises under the tree :-) My joy will be in watching the faces of my daughters reacting to the surprises I have for them.

I also have to wait for breakfast since it's a family tradition to have french toast and bacon Christmas morning. I can't tell you what I'm having for dinner because my dad reads the blog occasionally and I don't want to spoil the surprise but I can tell you that I'll be making cheese fondue. We only have it once a year and it's soooo yummy. It's what I look forward to each year. The last couple years I've forgotten an ingredient. Last year it was the worcestershire sauce, one year it was bread. My poor husband had to go out for all hours looking for an open store to get it which is not easy since everything is closed Christmas. He found the bread at an Italian restaurant and the worcestershire sauce in an Asian market. This year I checked the list of ingredients to make sure I have them all.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups half and half
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons mustard (I use yellow)
1 clove of garlic halfed
1 1/2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese (6 cups)
3 tablesppoons of flour
pinch of salt

On low heat combine half and half, worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic. Stir until hot but not boiling.

Take out garlic (I chop up my garlic and leave it in), toss cheese and flour in bowl. Stir into the pot. Stir until cheese is melted (we stir until it thickens). Chop up the bread and dunk it into the cheese and enjoy something very yummy. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Here's my favorite Christmas video clip:


Friday, December 21, 2007

Breakdancing Jesus

Um...well...um...I can't quite get what is the point of the video. Is it implying that Mary didn't give birth to Jesus but was a fully grown man who came to earth from heaven?


(via)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nativity scene used in electronics ad

It's ticked off some Christians. So, what do you think?


Monday, December 17, 2007

Turn off your email refresh on your iPhone when traveling abroad

Or you will be hit with a huge bill like Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired:

Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired, the US technology magazine, has revealed he was hit with $2,100 in charges for using his iPhone on a recent foreign trip, thanks to a glitch that led him to be charged each time the mobile handset automatically refreshed his e-mail inbox.

Mr Anderson said he was travelling in China when he received a message from AT&T, Apple's US mobile partner, saying he should phone customer support to "prevent a costly bill".

It later emerged that he had run up more than $2,000 in charges even though his iPhone had remained in his pocket for most of the trip, according to Mr Anderson.

He said the bulk of the charges were due to the fact that his iPhone was set to check his e-mail account for new messages every 10 minutes. The Wired editor said that he receives "hundreds" of e-mails every day.

[...]

AT&T also added that users "can very easily turn data roaming off with the flick of a switch" on the iPhone. This includes the e-mail feature.
Shouldn't the editor-in-chief of a tech magazine know that? How embarrassing!

(via)

Dad sells son's Christmas present after catching him smoking pot and nets $8910

Man! I bet that kid felt stupid. As a parent I know the joy of finding the perfect gift and then not to be able to give it to give it to the kid is heartbreaking, though making a huge profit I'm sure helps to mend his broken heart :-)

After catching his 15-year-old smoking pot, a father sold the hard-to-get "Guitar Hero III" video game he bought his son for 90 dollars for Christmas at an online auction, fetching 9,000 dollars.

The sale took place after the father spent two weeks searching for the video game for the Nintendo Wii gameboard.

"So I was so relieved in that I had finally got the Holy Grail of Christmas presents pretty much just in the nick of time. I couldn't wait to spread the jubilance to my son," the father wrote on the eBay website.

"Then, yesterday, I came home from work early and what do I find? My innocent little boy smoking pot in the back yard with two of his delinquent friends."

[...]

"I am still considering getting him a game for his Nintendo. Maybe something like Barbie as the Island Princess or Dancing with the Stars ... I know he will just love them,"
(via)

Doug Wilson is blogging through Piper's book on NT Wright

Wilson will be blogging, chapter by chapter, on Piper's The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. Wilson praises Piper's approach to the material:

I really appreciate how careful John Piper has sought to be in the process of writing this book. I was asked to give feedback on the earlier draft as someone who likes a lot of what Wright is doing, but also as a sometime critic of Wright's. In the acknowledgments, I am listed as one of eleven people who were asked to give their feedback, which I was glad to do. N.T. Wright was also asked to respond, which he did in 11,000 words. Piper says, "The book is twice the size it was before all that criticism arrived. If it is not a better book now, it is my fault, not theirs" (p. 10).

[...]

As I read through this book again, I intend to blog on it chapter by chapter, as I have done with other books. If the final product is anything like the draft, I am sure I am going to have my differences, and I will note them as we go. But I am also confident that there will be much to appreciate and applaud.
I'm going to try to remember to read it and if I do, I'll post a link to each post.

(via)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thanks for your prayers

Sorry it took so long to post this (I can't believe it's been an entire week), thanks for the prayers. I really appreciate them! I was able to hand in my paper on time. I wrote 11 pages but was only supposed to write 6-10, I was able to edit it down to 9. I guess I'm blessed to write too much instead of too little :-)

Please pray for me this week if you can, I'm studying for finals. I have my General Epistles and Revelation final on Tuesday and my Ancient Church final on Thursday and I have to read a bunch of stuff for both classes so prayer would be appreciated.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prayer Request: Concentration

I'm pretty depressed right now and it's affecting my seminary work. I need to concentrate so I can write an exegesis paper for my General Epistles and Revelation class. It's due this week and I haven't been able to write it (I've started but it's pretty disjointed). I'm working on it now, please pray that I can keep my focus until I finish it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebration with your friends and family and that you don't overindulge :-) Thankfully I don't have to cook today, my sister does Thanksgiving and I do Christmas -- it makes it a lot easier on both of us.

I thought I would share with you some of the many blessings for which I'm thankful to God:

I'm thankful that there is a God in heaven who cares about each of us and sent his Son to pay the penalty for our rebellion against him. I'm thankful he is a personal God who cares and watches over me, protects me from harm and has drawn me to him.

I'm thankful I live in a country where I can proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and that my fidelity is to him.

I'm thankful that I live in a country that acknowledges our right to believe in any god or no god.

I'm thankful for a supportive and loving family, for the love of my husband and my children and the ability to share my love with them.

I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who travel this road with me and who share in the comfort we provide each other. I'm thankful for their support.

I'm thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a warm home and the availability of plenty of food.

I'm thankful to live in a country where we can be a blessing to others by providing for their needs when they do not have a warm home or food.

I'm thankful for the readers of this blog and that you haven't abandoned me! Thanks for sticking with me even though I don't really post that much.

I'm thankful I didn't break my nose yesterday!

I'm thankful we can all share in one day a year where we give thanks to the Lord for our many blessings.

Psalm 50:23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Timothy 2:1
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people

I'm Scarred for Life


Literally!

*sniff* *sniff*

OK, I'm 47 and I expect to have wrinkles and sagging skin and all that but I didn't expect to have this! *sniff*

So, what happened? Would you believe me if I told you that I got into an argument at Westminster over the authorship of Hebrews and it turned into a brawl? Well, it wasn't that exciting, it was pretty much your normal everyday klutzy accident. It did happen in my General Epistles and Revelation class but it involved a power cord for a laptop and my natural inclination not to look where I'm going.

I had just finished talking to the professor and turned to rush to the bathroom before class started again, tripped over the power cord, landed on my knees and hit my face on a desk. I thought I broke my nose and I started crying, "My nose, my nose, I think I broke my nose." I'm sitting there with blood spewing out of the gush in my forehead, holding my nose in case it's broken. I'm sure it was not my best moment.

One of the seminarians (who was a blessing from the Lord) who had worked with the sports program of a high school immediately came to my aid and stopped the bleeding and took me to the hospital where I was eventually given seven stitches. When I finally got to see myself in the mirror I cried (one thing in my favor, I didn't even think of scarring until everyone started bringing it up). I looked like Frankenstein's monster.

I keep telling myself that I should be thankful that I didn't break my nose (and believe me I am -- I thanked the Lord that he did let me break it :-) but it only helps a little. Mostly I'm bummed that I have to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas looking like I was in the middle of a knife fight.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament


G. K. Beale and D.A Carson have edited a commentary on the New Testament's use of the Old Testament. This looks like it will be a very helpful commentary, one that will give the reader an understanding of the context of the Old Testament passage being quoted:

Readers of the New Testament often encounter quotes or allusions to Old Testament stories and prophecies that are unfamiliar or obscure. In order to fully understand the teachings of Jesus and his followers, it is important to understand the large body of Scripture that preceded and informed their thinking. Leading evangelical scholars G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson have brought together a distinguished team of scholars to provide readers with a comprehensive commentary on every quotation, allusion, and echo of the Old Testament that appears from Matthew through Revelation.
Here is the table of contents, introduction and a sample from the commentary for Acts by I. Howard Marshall.

Here is a list of the contributors:
Contributors: Craig Blomberg (Denver Seminary) on Matthew; Rikk E. Watts (Regent College) on Mark; David W. Pao (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Eckhard J. Schnabel (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on Luke; Andreas J. Kostenberger (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) on John; I. Howard Marshall (University of Aberdeen) on Acts; Mark A. Seifrid (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) on Romans; Brian Rosner (Moore Theological College) and Roy Ciampa (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) on 1 Corinthians; Peter Balla (Karoli Gaspar University, Budapest) on 2 Corinthians; Moises Silva (author of Philippians in BECNT) on Galatians and Philippians; Frank Thielman (Beeson Divinity School) on Ephesians; G. K. Beale (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Colossians; Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Calvin Theological Seminary) on 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Philip Towner (United Bible Societies) on the Pastoral Epistles; George Guthrie (Union University) on Hebrews; D. A. Carson (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on the General Epistles; G. K. Beale (Wheaton College Graduate School) and Sean McDonough (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) on Revelation
If enough of you guys buy it, I will be able to afford it :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dr. Richard Bauckham Lectures at WSC

"The Four Gospels and the Other Gospels: Is Our Canon Right?" You can listen to it here. Dr. Bauckham is the author of a number of books including Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony and James which is a commentary I'm reading now for my General Epistles and Revelation class.

(via)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The 2007 Institute on Biblical Preaching

Audio is available at WTS.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Debating Covenantal Infant Baptism

Here's a link to a broadcast debate between James White and Gregg Strawbridge over infant baptism (part 2 is here). Strawbridge is the editor of The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism.

The debate is on Covenant Radio.

Updated: Evidently, the podcast has been removed. You can listen to it here.

Updated yet again: You can listen to it here and here, as well or you can subscribe to Covenant Radio here and it will be put on your iPod or RSS reader.

Did you know 2.0

The sequel to Shift Happens.


(via)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Justin Taylor has some interesting links related to Antony Flew's new book. Flew went from atheism to deism.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Prayer request for Greek quiz

Please pray that I will be able to translate the verse on the quiz.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Final Big Sale at Westminster Bookstore

They're having their final big sale so go check out the great titles they have listed (remember you help a struggling seminarian afford her textbooks when you use my link).

Spiritual Secrets

Manya Brachear of The Seeker posts some of the spiritual secrets from PostSecret. I'm not sure I buy this one:

"I’m an editor for a large online atheist newsletter--and I believe in God."
If it's true, I wonder if he/she doesn't want to give up his/her connections and income now that he/she no longer believes in atheism (and yeah, as much as you protest it, it is a belief system, that's why it's been categorized as a religion). I wonder how many Christians do the same thing.

(via)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Free Offer of the Gospel

Yes, God does freely offer salvation to all and yes, it is Reformed to say that. Here's a link to my digest of John Murray's article "The Free Offer of the Gospel" and here's a link to Mark Horne's defense of that article.

Afghanistan?

What the heck? Why in the world does it say I'm from New Jersey, Afghanistan? That's so weird and I don't have time to change it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

ESV Literary Study Bible

The Literary Study Bible is now available at the Westminster Bookstore for only $29.99. I got it yesterday and I really like it. I like that the Bible isn't broken up into columns but is laid out like a book. I also like the way they do the notes -- they're overviews and not individual verse notes. Those can be very distracting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thanks for the prayer

I know this thanks is belated but I did make it to school in time to take the test which was one of the things I was most concerned about and I think I did OK on the test but I made a really stupid error (very embarrassing). Oh well! I have another test on the 30th, please pray that I will be more prepared for that one :-) I will be tested on twice the amount of verses (1 Peter 1 and 2).

What's funny is that I made it to school the next day with 15 minutes to spare. It's things like this that make you wonder what the heck is going on :-)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Prayer Request

Help! I've got a Greek quiz tomorrow! EEP! Please pray that I'm prepared for it and that I get to class in time to take the quiz. I have to drop my daughters off first, so if there is traffic, I won't make it in time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's Your Story? How I Got Engaged

MamaArcher tagged me to blog about the story of my engagement. I'm afraid that it isn't much of a story.

My husband and I met 23 years ago while we were both in college. We met in August and neither of us was looking to get involved. I had just broken up with a guy and was going to get a restraining order against him the following Monday and my future husband was visiting his aunt and was out having a good time with his brother and cousin. He asked me to dance and so did his brother (a minor argument broke out as to who I would dance with -- I danced with both of them). We danced and talked and went to the beach and talked some more and then waited for the sun to rise (it never did, it was overcast that morning).

And then I didn't hear from him for three months. He didn't want to date someone who lived an hour and a half away. But I guess he thought about me and decided to date me anyway. His brother was dating my friend (they met the same night we did) and I guess she mentioned I wasn't dating anyone, so he called and we started to date and then eventually we realized that this was it, we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We decided to get married when we graduated from college.

When we graduated we set a date for the wedding and started to make plans. I went shopping with him for the ring. We learned a lot about color, quality, clarity, etc. and I picked a very nice 3/4 carat diamond with a blue tint. We went to the beach where we went the first night we met and he asked me to marry him. It was a tad anti-climatic since I already knew we were getting married and I had picked out my ring :-) but it was nice to finally be officially engaged after almost four years of dating.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bruce Waltke's OT Theology has finally been published!!

I can't tell you how long I've waited for this publication! Years!

Here's a description:

The Old Testament is more than a religious history of the nation of Israel. It is more than a portrait gallery of heroes of the faith. It is even more than a theological and prophetic backdrop to the New Testament. Beyond these, the Old Testament is inspired revelation of the very nature, character, and works of God. As renowned Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke writes in the preface of this book, the Old Testament’s every sentence is “fraught with theology, worthy of reflection.”

This book is the result of decades of reflection informed by an extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language, the best of critical scholarship, a deep understanding of both the content and spirit of the Old Testament, and a thoroughly evangelical conviction. Taking a narrative, chronological approach to the text, Waltke employs rhetorical criticism to illuminate the theologies of the biblical narrators. Through careful study, he shows that the unifying theme of the Old Testament is the “breaking in of the kingdom of God.” This theme helps the reader better understand not only the Old Testament, but also the New Testament, the continuity of the entire Bible, and ultimately, God himself.
I will be taking OT History and Theology II in the spring so I'm sure I'll have to read it for that course. Especially given this recommendation (by the professor who will be teaching the course):
In An Old Testament Theology Bruce Waltke shares his lifetime of devout scholarly study of the Bible. He is a master interpreter, and all of us—scholars, clergy, and laypeople—benefit greatly from this tremendous insights into the text. This book is a must read for all who study the Old Testament. - Tremper Longman III, Visiting Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary
Since it's a 1,000 pages I better get started.

The price is reasonable, only $27.87 at Westminster bookstore (and if you use my link, I get a kick back :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Perseverance of the Saints

How to continue when in doubt (via). Wise advice from Peter Leithart.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Review Haiku of King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

When I explained to Sarah that it was a documentary about middle aged guys who compete to be the top scorer of Donkey Kong, she wasn't too exited about seeing it.
"How about we see Nanny Diaries instead?"
"Sorry, you don't get it. I'm going to see this movie and if you want to join me you can."
"It sounds stupid."
"I'm still seeing it. You can go see Mr. Bean with your dad and Samantha."
"That looks worse!"

Even my husband was surprised that I wanted to see a documentary about middle aged geeks playing video games. The next day:
"Were you serious about going to see that movie?"
"Well, yeah!"
"OK, I guess I'm seeing Mr. Bean with Samantha."

I picked Sarah up from school and we went to dinner and then walked around Princeton. It was fun though I was shocked to see how many stores were empty on Nassau Street. I was wondering if there was a weird local dip in the economy or the rents had been raised too much but it turns out that some of the stores had moved and the new stores hadn't opened yet (Princeton is usually quite busy so I was surprised that there would be any problems in the economy).

The main theme of the movie was the battle between the evil current champion and the nice challenger. It's definitely a Rocky-type movie, they even included "The Eye of the Tiger" which made me laugh because preparing for the fight for the challenger meant sitting in front a video arcade machine and playing for hours at a time. It was amusing but not awe-inspiring or motivational. Those interviewed in the movie made several attempts to equate their competition with sports but it just sounded so ludicrous when you see these guys playing video games while sitting on their hindquarters for hours.

The movie was amusing but it left you wondering why in the world these people care so much about being number one at something that is a fad that's well pass it's prime and best left to the kids. The movie did make the competition interesting and the underdog aspect of it did make you root for the challenger. It was well directed and I wasn't bored by it. But ultimately you have to wonder if the gamers will come to regret how much of their life was wasted playing video games.

I think that the haiku Sarah and I (mostly Sarah) came up with captures the essence of the movie:

A pointless journey
the geeks embarked with quarters
what a waste of time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9-11

And praying for those who lost someone on this day.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Our Dinner Conversation Tonight

Samantha was angry because I denied her dessert so I said to her, "When I die you'll regret being mean to me. You'll say 'I should have been nicer to my mom!' And I'll look down from heaven and say, "Yes, you should have."
Sarah: "Hey! There's no bitterness in heaven."
Me: "OK, at my deathbed you'll say to me 'I should have been nicer to you.' And I'll reply, 'Yes, you should have been' and then I'll die.

That got us thinking about our last words before we die.

Doug: "I told you that I was sick."
Me: "No, your last words will be, 'I knew I shouldn't have that second pork chop.'"
Samantha: "I'm going to say, 'Where's the remote?'"
Sarah: "My last words will be, 'What?'" (She says this all the time.)

I know, kind of morbid, right?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The New iPod Nano Ad

Excellent choice of video for this ad:


1234 by Feist is an upbeat song and the video is colorful just like the Nano. Apple did a really good job designing the Nano, it's sleek, colorful, compact, and well-designed (video players should be wide so that you don't have to turn the player to get a wider screen) they produce the most elegant (and visually pleasing) technology of any computer company.

Now I'm torn because I was going to get Samantha a Sony Walkman for Christmas but after seeing the new Nano, I might get her that. There is only a $20 price difference. Decisions, decisions!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Do not respond to email inviting you to join QUETCHUP

It's spam. If you join, they will send an invitation to everyone in your address book. Here and here are two bloggers who learned the hard way. I've been invited to join four or five times today but since it's for a social network I ignored it (I'm having enough trouble keeping up with Facebook).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Movie Review: Stardust

When I read this movie review by Roger Ebert I decided that Stardust might not be worth the time or money to see it in the theater. He liked it but it had problems. And since it was PG-13 I couldn't take Samantha anyway. I figured I'd watch it on DVD. But then Samantha was invited to a sleepover and I asked Sarah what she wanted to see. She picked Stardust. I mentioned that it didn't get good reviews. I remembered in particular this line from the review:

There are lots of other good things in the movie, but they play more like vaudeville acts than part of a coherent plot. It's a film you enjoy in pieces, but the jigsaw never gets solved.
But she checked online and saw that if you liked The Princess Bride, you'd like this movie. So, we decided to see it.

But I did have some reservations until I remembered that I was dissuaded from seeing Aeon Flux in the theater because of the reviews but when I watched it on DVD I loved it. I also loved The Island and that got bad reviews as well.

Sarah and I loved it! It was exciting and made you wonder what would happen next. The things that Ebert thought were too much actually added to the excitement as you moved from one adventure to another.

It begins with a young man trying to cross the wall into another world, he's stopped by the guard at the gate but he's able to get around him and check out what is beyond his world. What he finds is a marketplace and a pretty girl who is enslaved by a witch. He returns to his world and over nine months later a baby is left at the wall and brought to him by the guard. The baby, Tristan grows up into a young man who works in a shop and has a crush on a young woman who is really interested in another suitor.

But he doesn't give up and makes her promise not to marry the other suitor until he returns to her with a fallen star. She agrees and gives him one week. He tries to cross the wall but the guard has been practicing since Tristan's father's successful breech and stops him. He tells his father what happened and his father tells him what happened when he breeched the wall. He gives him the stuff that was in the basket with him when he was a baby and one of the things turns out to be a candle that will get him where wants to go by thinking about it. He thinks about the star and his mom and is immediately transported to where the star landed. The star turns out to be a beautiful woman with long blond hair whom he takes captive so that he can bring her to his girlfriend.

The rest of the story is about how they make their way back to the wall so that he can present her to his girlfriend. They have to battle witches who are after her heart (they will have eternal life if they eat it) and princes who are after her necklace (the one who possesses the necklace will be king of their father's land) to get back to the wall. They meet some interesting characters along the way and face some pretty harrowing adventures.

The movie is sweet and funny and upbeat and has a great message about love and what it takes to give and receive it.

At the end of Ebert's review he says this:
There is a kind of narrative flow that makes you want to be swept along, and another that's just one thing after another. "Stardust" is fun enough the first time through, but it doesn't pass the Derek Malcolm Test: "A great movie is a movie I cannot bear the thought of never seeing again."
Well, Sarah and I were swept along and were sad to see it end. In fact, at the end of the movie I turned to Sarah and said, "I'm so going to get that out when it comes on DVD" and she said, "No, I'm going to get it." And we spent a few minutes arguing about who was going to get the movie. I guess for us it did pass Derek Malcolm's test.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A typical conservation with Mom

Very funny!


(via)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We are not a nation of readers

If I didn't read over the summer and during my winter break I might have fallen in the "haven't completed many books this year" category since many of my classes at seminary only require us to read sections of books and not whole books (especially the theology classes). I do love to read, I just don't take the time to do it. I wonder how many people like me are represented in this poll:

One in four U.S. adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who had not read any, the usual number read was seven.
With the lure of the Internet and TV, I find it very hard to tear myself away and spend time reading. It really can be a time-consuming activity and the type of books that I like to read (thrillers -- I'm reading The Judas Strain now) are over 300 pages. I usually stay up to all hours of the night reading or take weeks to finish a book.

My daughter, Sarah is an avid reader. She read 153 books last year in a competition with my mom. She won by one book :-) Her sister Samantha is not a reader, she loves to watch movies and Disney shows on the Internet. I let her do it way too much but I do force her to read (I just sent her to her room to read for an hour). I'm hopeful that she will eventually develop a love for books if she's around them enough.

Another interesting aspect of the study is the type of books we are reading:
The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.
Good to see that the Bible is still being read by the majority. Though I'm sad to see that so few are reading classical literature. And I would be happier about those who were reading "religious works" if I didn't know that probably means Joel Olsteen and Joyce Meyers.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Rapture Song (Left Behind)

It is very funny and the singer has a nice voice. It's kind of sweet.


(via)

We saw the hand of God in NH

My mom-in-law is turning 70 this month. She wanted to have all her sons and their families together so that we could sing "Happy Birthday" together (not just separate calls from each of us). So we all agreed to get together for a week long vacation in NH around her birthday.

We spent most of the week swimming, kayaking, rowing, barbecuing and shopping (I found out that NH doesn't have a sales tax, I'm ready to move there :-) We went to the Polar Caves and spent much of the day climbing over rocks and hitting our heads on boulders. We played miniature golf (I got trounced by my 14 year-old nephew and both my daughters). We went shopping in the local craft and gift shops and in the outlet malls. (I was able to get a Coach bag for $125!) We even hit an antique store (I hate antiques).

So, for the most part it was a fun time for the whole family. Sometimes we went places on our own and sometimes we went somewhere together. But we usually tried to eat dinner together, we didn't always make it but at least we tried. We picked on night to celebrate her birthday together with lobsters and ice cream cake. We sang "Happy Birthday" and she was so happy, she made us do it again. I was having a hard time keeping the "7" and "0" candle on the ice cream cake that I was too distracted to sing :-(

One night we were going to have a camp fire and I had purchased the ingredients for S'mores. My in-laws informed me that they were Boy Scouts and that they didn't do S'mores, that was more of a Girl Scout thing. They assumed I was a Girl Scout, which I wasn't. I just knew about S'mores because everyone knows about S'mores. You see the ingredients advertised in the stores in the summer time.

But before we even finished eating dinner, it became overcast. I wasn't too concerned because all week it looked like we would get an evening shower but didn't. I had just finished eating when the wind picked up and the rain started and the sound of the thunder grew increasingly louder. We ran inside and started to move some of the furniture from the porch into the kitchen.

The noise of the storm was scaring the kids so we decided to gather them together to watch a DVD in the living room. My daughter had her DVD player, it's small but I thought it would distract them.

Earlier in the day our nephew caught a trout and my husband cleaned it and was grilling it when the storm hit. He pulled it from the grill when the wind picked up and the rain started to come down. He was in the kitchen pulling the meat off of it and putting it on a plate and my daughter, Sarah was next to him waiting for a taste. Just as he was taking his second bite. We heard a noise and suddenly debris was raining down upon us. People were screaming, "take the kids out of here" and I started to move with the kids into the living room. Just as we got into the living room a beam came shooting out from the wall and showered us with more debris. Samantha was hit in the arm with a small piece of wood. The kids were screaming and freaking out so we ran into the furtherest bedroom and tried to comfort the crying kids. The parents of the youngest weren't with us so my husband ran through the storm to get them. All of the kids were crying except the two oldest and the youngest one.

I asked what happened and found out that a large tree had fallen on top of the kitchen. It had stopped because it was resting on the strongest part of the structure. If it had fallen just a little to the left or right it would have collapsed the roof and hit whoever was standing under it, which would have been my daughter, husband, brother-in-law and mom-in-law. And the rest of us would have been under the rest of the debris from the collapsed roof.

What is truly amazing about the incident is that no one was hurt. Not even a scratch. As I was comforting my youngest daughter (it took me most of the night to comfort my daughters), I told her that she is really blessed to have seen the hand of God protecting her and her family. That her sister could have been killed but God protected her and kept her family safe from harm. It is a blessing to see an act of God like that. We all knew that and kept telling each other that God had protected us and wasn't it great to be part of a miracle like this?

It was hard to sleep that night and I still feel a little uneasy about almost losing my husband and daughter but I also feel incredibly blessed that God protected them from harm and now we had a wonderful experience of the power of God that we could share with others. We knew from experience that God protects his people.

When it was time to leave, we decided to take a family shot next to the tree. I thought it said something about the vacation that no other place in NH would have said: we survived our family vacation :-) That picture is our Ebenezer.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I was in NH this week

And had a very eventful week. Fun, sight-seeing, shopping, cave climbing, and a tree crashed into the house we were staying at and almost hit my daughter, husband and a couple of in-laws! I was going to blog about it but I'm tired. We just got in. I'll give you the recap tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Christian Deeds?

I blog about the misuse of Matthew 7:16 by an atheist and why Christians are hypocrites here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thumps Up

Rodney's new Carnival for those of you who want to highlight those who make a positive difference.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Because I said so, I'm the mom!

Everything a mom says put to music!

(via)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #47

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Book Review: Thr3e

I just finished reading Thr3e by Ted Dekker and wanted to share my impressions with you while they were still fresh in my mind. I read the book over the last two days and I have to say that I feel like I wasted my time. I was really enjoying it until about over halfway into it and then the plot turned and it became a totally different book and I couldn't believe that the author was actually going in that direction and when he kept going in that direction I wanted to throw the book down and go do something else. But I couldn't, I felt compelled to continue and when I did I was stunned by the sheer stupidity of the ending.

The book is a psychological thriller about a seminary student, Kevin who is tormented by a psycho who wants him to confess his sin. The psycho rigs Kevin's car with a bomb and then threatens to blow it up in three minutes unless he calls a radio station to confess his sin. The psycho gives Kevin a riddle to help him figure out what his sin is but Kevin can't solve the riddle or think of anything so he ditches the car and it blows up but doesn't injure anyone.

Kevin returns to his home to discover that the psycho had been there and wants Kevin to continue playing the game until he understands what he is to confess. The psycho wants Kevin to bring in his childhood friend, Samantha to help him solve the riddles. Is the psycho someone from their past? Kevin's troubled childhood is explored so that they can find the answers to the riddle and discover who is the psycho.

The underlying theme of the book is the conflict between good and evil in the soul of man. This passage is at the heart of the story:

Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

It hints at the sin that Kevin is to confess (don't worry, I didn't give anything anyway by telling you that). There is much discussion about the nature of man and you can tell that a Christian wrote the book (though they don't spend much time talking about grace or the gospel).

As I said the first part of the book is great, it grips you and there is great interest in the story and even when I suspected the direction the book was going in I still found it interesting and gripping but when it was clear that the author was taking you down an even wackier path than you originally suspected I felt cheated, like the author had set up a game of three card Monty. It was a rip off. The author completely deconstructed the story that he took so long to construct. It was an amazing act of destruction. You just sit there in stunned disbelief that the author would think he could get away with something this ludicrous.

Needless to say I'm not recommending the book even from the car wreak type of interest you might have in trying to find out why I disliked the book so much. Don't bother. If you want to know what ticked me off so much, email me and I'll tell you. Or you can rent the movie and waste two hours of your life instead of a couple days like I did.

BTW, I'm stunned that they actually made a movie out of this book. I can't believe that an audience would appreciate such a plot device that was this unbelievable, especially given the fact that the lie would be more obvious when it's put on the screen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

LA Times religion reporter loses faith

If you haven't read William Lobdel's story of his loss of faith after years of covering the priest sex abuse scandals, the treatment of Mormons who leave the church and the prosperity gospel of TBN, go read it now because it's pretty powerful stuff.

It can be hard reconciling the teaching of Christ and his sacrificial death to the actions of the church. I remember being disappointed time and again by the actions of Christians when I was a baby Christian. How could they be so selfish when Christ was so selfless? I've since learned that we are still sinners who need to be reminded constantly that we have been bought with a price and we are a new creation in Christ. Remembering that will help us to appreciate the struggles of others.

But it is also important to remember that there are many who call themselves Christians but are not. Jesus warned us of this:

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' 24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Putting our trust in those who call themselves Christians is like building your house on the sand. When they fall you fall with them. Putting your trust in the word of God gives you a foundation on which to build your life in Christ. That is a much surer foundation and one that will withstand the winds of doubt.

(via)

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Westminster Bookstore Sale

They are having a great sale on some of the Biblical Theology books. Go check it out and buy something so that I can get me kickback :-) I need to buy a book and I'm waiting for one more coupon to do so.

BTW, I really recommend The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. It is very helpful and I use it when I'm studying a particular book of the Bible or doing a word study.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Shoe House, the Amish Farm and my Grandma

I spent some time with my Grandma last week in PA. I used to spend part of the summer with her and I think she still expects me to do that now :-) She will be 90 in the fall and I love her a lot so we took a few days off from our very busy summer schedule and went to visit her. It wasn't meant to be a sight-seeing trip but I took her places that I thought she might enjoy (something fun for my daughters as well).


We visited the Shoe House in Hellam which was built in the 40's by Colonel Mahlon M. Haines to advertise his shoe business. He never lived in it but used it for honeymoon couples. If you are ever in Lancaster county, take a drive over and check it out because it really is a cute attraction and not that far away (about 20 minutes west on Route 30). It's amazing how many rooms they were able to fit into this little house. There is the honeymoon suite which consists of a living room, bedroom and bathroom, a kitchen with a dining nook and pantry. and a maid's room with a bathroom and a second bedroom.

There was also a very cute little dog shoe house that was built at the same time as the house.


After we did the tour and bought our souvenirs, I asked my grandma what she wanted to do next, what would she like to see that she has never seen before? Can you believe that she's lived near Lancaster all her life and has never seen an Amish house? So, we drove to Lancaster and had lunch at Panera Bread and had the broccoli cheddar soup (I love their soup). My grandma has never been and she really enjoyed it. It's great to be able share my favorite places with her.

The Amish Farm and House was right next to Panera Bread so we didn't have too far to go. It's weird that it's located right next to a Target and a strip mall. It's a nice attraction if you want to get a feel for Amish culture and understand why they do what they do. Here are some of the picture I took of the house and farm and the one room school house.





After we finished touring the farm, we went to Kitchen Kettle in Intercourse. I love going there and tasting all the jams and the dips but I usually just buy the blackberry jam. I bought some funky earrings and we walked around until we got hungry and then we drove over to Shady Maple which is one of those buffets that are popular in Lancaster county. It was huge, I couldn't believe how big it is and how cheap! It only cost $13 each. The food was OK. I was able to get broasted chicken which I haven't had in years.

After dinner we went to the gift shop and I was shocked by how huge it was. It was like a small department store. They had everything you could possibly want: quilts, furniture, paintings, candles, toys, pocket books, jewelry, flowers, etc. It was tchotchke heaven. When a gift shop is that big, I get overwhelmed and I have no desire to buy anything.

By this time you might imagine that my grandma was pretty tired. We had been on the go all day. So I took her home and traveled back to NJ. It wasn't the best planing in the world because I traveled west to take her home and then had to travel east back to Lancaster to go home. Kind of stupid! But I didn't mind because I know how blessed I am to be able to drive my grandma home at all :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

5 things I dig about Jesus

Someone tagged me for this meme on Reformed Chicks and I finally posted it a couple days ago. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is Harry Potter a Christ Figure?

There has been some speculation that Harry Potter is based on the story of Jesus in the Gospels and that Potter is set to die in the last book to save the world from the evil Lord Voldemort.

Gamblers wealthy or odd enough to wager on fiction have put down money with bookies. The prevailing bet? Potter to die. (In Seven.)

His death will be a noble one, it is prophesied in the blogs, a death both sacrificial and necessary to save the world from the satanic Lord Voldemort.

I agree with this line. I also expect Harry's death to show that his character's path is modelled on the Gospel accounts of Jesus, and, more significantly, that the link between him and wizardry-school headmaster Albus Dumbledore is patterned on the most essential relationship in the Christian Bible – that between Jesus the Son and God the Father.

[...]

In any case, here's why legions of Potter fans are betting Harry will die, according to AFP. They believe Book Seven will reveal Harry's body is a "Horcrux," an object that mystically helps Voldemort survive. Harry's letting himself die or be killed, the theory goes, would thus help defeat Voldemort.

In death, then, he would save the world.
The problem with this comparison is that salvation was not obtained by just the death of Christ but by his resurrection as well. Christ became the "firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:20). We can expect life after death because he experienced life after death.
Romans 4:25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

2 Corinthians 4:14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Ephesians 2:5-6 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
We walk in newness of life because he was raised from the dead:
Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
If Potter is to be a true Christ figure, he would have to be bought back to life after death and I think that would make the Potter readers very happy.

Some good news from Feedburner and Blogger

You can now redirect your Blogger feed to your Feedburner feed (or another feed) much easier than before (you had to change the html in your template):

If you host your content on a Blogger blog with a blogspot.com address (or use Blogger's “custom domain” feature), you can now redirect your native Blogger feed to your FeedBurner feed (quite easily, might we add). Gone are the muggy, languorous days of wrestling with "autodiscovery" tags in foreboding corners of your Blogger template code or hacking through this tangled discussion thread for a glimpse of configuration clarity. Starting right now, you just log into your Blogger account, select Settings | Site Feed, enter your FeedBurner feed address and click "Save Settings." Zap! Pow! Kraaakkkk! Now you've got the complete picture of how your content is being consumed out here, out there, out everywhere.

Why is redirecting so important?
We're glad you asked. By redirecting your feed, you can get a true picture of how many subscribers you have. Some of you might even see a few more subscribers magically appear, though results will most certainly vary. Why so? Sometimes, publishers inadvertently fragment their feed audience by offering more than one feed address on the blog itself or within their autodiscovery tags (the method by which feed readers automatically detect the address of your feed for syndication purposes). This results in some subscribers not being counted, and no one wants that in a world where everyone should count for something. By redirecting your feed, you can consolidate any straggler subscribers and greatly improve your ability to effectively measure your audience.
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Monday, July 16, 2007

Walmart to sell Jesus action figure

Ugh!

The company targets parents who would rather their children play with the faith-based toys rather toys rather than other super hero action figures, the report said.
There are Christian parents who would rather their children play with a doll that represents their deity instead of Superman? They would have the representation of their Lord and Savior be subjected to all the indignities that children put their dolls through, so that they can avoid buying them a Batman toy? They would have the King of kings and Lord of lord reduced to a child's play toy? That is preferable to a Spider-Man doll?

What if the Jesus doll becomes a favorite? Those of you with kids know what I'm talking about when I say that they are the toys that really get beat up from use because the kids take it everywhere. What if the Jesus doll were to be loved and adored by the kid? "I love you, Jesus!" How doesn't this violate the first commandment (how doesn't it violate the first commandment by it's very creation)? Now, there may be some Christians who think that it might be nice to foster the love of Jesus in a child by using a doll but what does that say about how these parents are teaching their children to view Jesus? Where is the awe-inspiring aspect of his nature? Dolls by their very nature infantize those things that they represent, how does a doll inspire the awe and fear of God?

If you have to get a Bible doll, get the Samson instead. At least he had super human strength and if you get the Philistine dolls as well, the kids can pretend that they are fighting. Who needs the Transformers when they can have Samson instead?

Update: I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this and didn't include the second commandment which deals specifically with graven images. Sheesh, why didn't someone mention it? How embarrassing!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Do you want to hear about my blessing?

Sarah, my 15 year old is on a diet and decided that it would burn off calories to do housework so she cleaned the living room and the refrigerator. When she told me that she would clean out the refrigerator I told her that other moms complained about their teenagers but she was a blessing to me and gave her a kiss. My in-laws are coming tomorrow and I've been decluttering and the house is pretty messy, so any help I get is welcome!

BTW, I'm decluttering in preparation for the fall. I figured if I had less stuff, it would be easier to keep the place clean while I spend all my time on the road or studying. If we can just maintain order, I can cook and keep the kitchen clean, Sarah does the laundry and Samantha sweeps and unloads the dishes.

Along with decluttering I decided I was sick of the way my kitchen looked so I bought new hardware for the cabinets in the kitchen. I replaced them all myself! I'm quite proud of myself :-) I also bought new artwork for my bedroom. I'm not much of a decorator and I'm a little embarrassed to tell you what hung over my bead for the last 11 years. A picture my daughter painted when she was 4! That's it for artwork (for the bedroom at least -- I'm a little better in the rest of the house). I've been looking for years but haven't found anything I liked until this week.

I also bought a cheap bookcase for the bedroom for the books I have to read in the fall for seminary and I got a 5 drawer organizer with canvas drawers and a set of drawers with a shelf for the closet. Now I actually have room for my clothes. I also took out all my clothes out of the closet and threw away everything I haven't worn for awhile. So much easier to find stuff now! And now I can put my clothes away after Sarah does the laundry instead of live out of my laundry basket (I've always lived like a teenager).

My daughters also organized their rooms as well. I bought them shelves to put their stuffed animals on and a hanging organizer for their closets. We finally got rid of a lot of kid's stuff. My 11 year old has wanted to get rid of her Beauty and the Beast bedroom set and replace it with something more teenagery and was really happy when we found her sister's old bedroom set. With the shelves and a new mirror and a new lamp I was able to update her bedroom for less than $100. Now she loves her room and hangs out in it like her sister does.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Episcopal Priest suspended because she's also a Muslim

The Episcopal priest who called herself "both a practicing Muslim and an Episcopal priest" has been suspended for a year. Originally her bishop had accepted her dual faith but it turns out that he isn't her bishop. Her actual bishop isn't so open minded:

The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest for a year, according to her bishop.

During that year, Redding is expected to "reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam," the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, wrote in an e-mail to Episcopal Church leaders.

Redding was ordained more than 20 years ago by the then-bishop of Rhode Island, and it is that diocese that has disciplinary authority over her.

During the next year, Redding "is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon," Wolf wrote in her e-mail. Wolf could not be reached for immediate comment.

(via)

Some wonder how a Christian can also be a Muslim when the two faiths are so diametrically opposed. Christians worship the Son of God and believe that while God is one, he is also triune. They believe that Jesus is God incarnate (in the flesh) and that Christ died and was raised again and is seated on the right hand of God the Father and he shall return to judge the living and the dead. Muslims believe that Christ was a prophet and not the Son of God, that he isn't God incarnate and that God is one. How can two different views of God be reconciled so that someone can think they are a believer of both?

It's easy for liberals like Redding, who don't believe in the historic doctrines of the Christian faith and don't believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible:
Redding's views, even before she embraced Islam, were more interpretive than literal.

She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.

She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus.

She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.

What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.

She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said.

She considers Jesus her savior. At times of despair, because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "he has connected me with God," she said.

That's not to say she couldn't develop as deep a relationship with Mohammed. "I'm still getting to know him," she said.
If you do not take the Bible literally, then you can create any kind of Christ you want, even a Muslim Christ. Ignore the things that Christ said about himself, ignore what Paul said about him as well. Also, ignore what is said about Christians in the Koran and only focus on what feels good. Then you can reconcile Christianity and Islam.

When we base what we believe is true on our feelings, then we leave ourselves open to whatever strikes our whim at the time. Muslim, Christian what does it matter if it makes us happy, if it makes us feel like we've had a religious experience and has drawn us closer to God?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This is what Christianity looks like

Joe Carter struggles with being a jerk even though he's been a Christian for 30 years:

How is this possible? How can I be a Christian for over three decades (since the age of six) and still be such a jerk? The only response I can give is that if I wasn't a Christian I'd be much, much worse. As Evelyn Waugh--another Christian who recognized he was a nasty chap--once said, "If not for my faith I would be barely human."

While true, that answer seems a bit of a cop-out. I don't like being a jerk and I don't like making excuses for my nasty behavior. So I attempt to be nicer, more likable. I pretend to be genial and gregarious in the hope that I'll eventually become less of a jerk.

But it doesn't work. The more I pose and pretend that I'm something I'm not, the more I appear to be a hypocritical jerk.

The main problem is that I go about it all wrong. Instead of trying to be more likable I should focus on being more loving. As C.S. Lewis once noted, "Christian Love (or Charity) for our neighbors is quite a different thing from liking or affection."
Carter's post is a window into one of the biggest struggles that Christians experience: how to love others more than we love ourselves. How do we love the unlovable? How do we love those who tick us off or who annoy us? Those who make our Christian smiles slip, those who push our buttons until our true self shows?

We do this by:

1. Understanding who Christ died for: the unlovable. Sinners who were at enmity with God:
Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God loved us and sacrificed his Son for us when we were in rebellion against him. It's helpful to keep that in mind when someone causes us grief. How can that grief compare in anyway to the sinner's (our) enmity against God?

2. Understanding who we are now that Christ died to set us free from sin:
2 Corinthians 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
As we learn who we are in Christ by reading Scriptures, we struggle with what that looks like in our lives. We understand that Christ has died to set us free from the guilt and bondage of sin to be bound and obedient to God. But it's not easy, it's a struggle, one that will continue until our true self is revealed in Christ. We live now in the hope of what we have been promised. That should motivate us to strive to become what we already are :-)

3. Realizing how our obedience reflects our love of God. If we loved God, we would be obedient to him and love others as he loves them and commands us to:
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Yeah, I know this is a struggle but it's what we have been called to do. We need to remember that we aren't saved for our own sake, or for our happiness but for Christ's sake:
2 Corinthians 5:15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised
And while we are keeping all that in mind, we should remember this always:
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
BTW, go read the rest of Carter's post and if you like it, digg it. I think it's worth being dug.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

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Click

I watched Click tonight. I found it to be a strange movie. It was a mixture of the crass and the profound. The message of the movie was clear: appreciate the time that you have with your family, don't take your life for granted. Appreciate the many blessings that you have and don't wish away the bad times or the boring times. Stop going through the motions and really live life.

It's the story of a man played by Adam Sandler who goes through life wanting to excel at work and working hard to earn a promotion from his jerk of a boss. Wanting to give his kids the things that he never had. Being taunted by the kid next door who brags about the things that he has that Sandler's kids don't have. He wants to get to the good times and when given the opportunity to control his life using a universal remote control and the ability to fast foward to the good part, he does it and lives to regret it. When he fast forwards through his life, he doesn't remember it and he's on auto pilot living through it.

He decides to fast forward to his promotion and finds that he loses a year of his life and that his relationship with his wife is strained and his kids have grown but what's worse is that the universal remote control adapts to his usage and fast forwards thorough the parts he has fast forwarded through in the past: promotions, avoiding illness and arguments. He comes to understand the things that he values and he isn't happy with the life that he chose. His preferences reflect a life consumed by his work and he lost out on sharing his life with his family.

In some ways it's a bitter sweet comedy because you know people like him who are only interested in getting ahead. Who don't appreciate their live and are walking through it on auto pilot, not really living. Just existing.

I wish that I could recommend the movie but the crass outweighs the profound which is really too bad because the movie would have been much better if the focus wasn't on cheap laughs but held up a mirror to the viewer and helped them to examine their life so that it would be worth living.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Reading List

Did you make a summer reading list? I've decided to read more over this summer so I bought a bunch of books to help give me the incentive to read. Before I started blogging, I would read a lot over the summer but with the blogs, I have less time to read. Now I'm going to discipline myself to take the time to read. I've already read one of the books on the list and have started two of the others so I'm off to a pretty good start. I think you'll find the list a little eclectic, certainly a range of genres.

Death Match by Lincoln Child -- I just finished this one and will be posting a review for it soon (I hope). It was pretty good even though I figured it out almost immediately.
The Birth of the Church and A Public Faith by Ivor J. Davidson -- as I mentioned here, these are texts for my Ancient Church class that I plan to read over the summer.
The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Louis Wilken -- also a textbook.
Emergence of the Catholic Tradition: 100-600 by Jaroslav Pelikan -- as is this one.
The Gospel and Revelation by Graeme Goldsworthy -- I plan to work on Revelation over the summer because I actually do intend to post my study online eventually.
Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology by Scott Oliphint -- I love Oliphint, he's pretty brilliant. I'm trying to review my apologetics class over the summer, I thought the book would help.
Sign of the Cross by Chris Kuzneski
The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey -- This book looked pretty weird, it's the story of a serial killer killing other serial killers.
The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer -- I'm reading this now and it's pretty good so far. It pulls you into the story quickly and is fast paced (clinched but true).
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson -- I haven't read Gibson in years and I thought I would give his latest a try.
Gospel Truths by J. G. Sandom
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

I will try to post a review of each of book if I actually read them over the summer :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Christianity and Politics

Am I looking for a political savior? Heck no! Why would anyone think the government is capable of salvation? They can't even get passports to people in time for their trip. I blog about this more (a lot more) over at Reformed Chicks.

BTW, here is a link to a seminar by Dr. G. K. Beale on Revelation (via).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

This blog is G-Rated

Feel free to let the kids read it :-)

Online Dating

(via)

Unfortunately, they can't read Reformed Chicks because that got a NC-17!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kirk Cameron's Message to Pastors at the SBC Annual Meeting

Yes, it's important to proclaim the gospel each Sunday to both believers and unbelievers:

Can I speak to you from my heart for a moment? I realize that, theologically, I’m not worthy to wash your socks. But imagine this scenario with me, if you will: Imagine I’m a “seeker”- I’m a non-Christian, sitting in your church week after week after week listening to you. Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell? Will you ever tell me the truth clearly enough so that I realize that my sin has made me an enemy of God: that I am currently on the path that leads to destruction, with the wrath of God dwelling upon me, and that unless I repent and put my faith in the Savior, I will perish? Or have you decided that it’s better to simply entertain me, and on Sundays I can come to have my “felt needs” met with good music and good advice? Pastor, while I would appreciate that, it’s the ultimate betrayal of my trust in you if you don’t tell me the truth. Will I ever hear the words “repent,” “surrender,” “turn to the Savior,” “be born again”? If you don’t tell me those things, how will I ever know to do it?Please don’t leave it up to the Wednesday night small-group leader. They’re taking their cues from you. You’re leading the flock.

And now I speak to you as a Christian. If you and I fail to teach the whole counsel of God, and we don’t warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and run to the love of Christ on the Cross to save their soul, we make a terrible mistake. It doesn’t matter how happy a person is- how much a sinner is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season- without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the Day of Judgment. The Bible says, “Riches profit not on the Day of Wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” You see, that’s how Kirk Cameron realized he needed a Savior. I had riches, but I knew that it was the righteousness of God that I needed in order to be saved from my sin.
Unfortunately, we've shrunk the gospel to the point that it's just about the individual sinner's need for salvation but the gospel message should go beyond the individual nature of our salvation (obviously, it's an important element) to include the corporate nature of salvation as well. Christ died, not just for you but for the church:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
This aspect of our salvation has been ignored to the point where the message of the gospel is what Christ did on the cross for me. This individualistic focus leads to self-help Christianity (sanctification in 5 easy steps), prosperity gospel (God not only saves you but wants to bless you as well) and people looking for entertainment (what? you don't have a gym and a fitness ministry?).

It also ignores the covenantal aspect of our salvation, that Christ did not come just to save the individual but his people:
Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
That it was to fulfill the promise made to Abraham:
Galatians 3:7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed."
And the promise he made to the prophets:
Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Luke 24:25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
Sadly, many pastors focus on moralistic messages that ignore the content of the gospel which is proclaimed in both the Old and New Testaments. Pastors do their congregations a disservice when they ignore the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament that God has fulfilled in Christ.
Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
Focusing on one aspect of salvation (the individual's salvation) impoverishes the church and makes it ripe for all kinds of error.

BTW, it's also important to proclaim the gospel for the growth (in maturity) of the church, reminding us each week that we aren't working for our salvation or because we think God would be mad at us (Romans 8:1) but because we are dead to sin and alive to righteousness (Romans 6).

(link sort of via James White -- who doesn't actually link to the post)

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