"And are we totally convinced that God's way is the only smart way and that his power will always guide and enable us in everything we do? Is our character such that we automatically act as if all this were so?"

- Dallas Willard
"Lord, There Has To Be An Easier Way To Get To You"

"I thought 'Lord, there has to be an easier way to get to You."

This thought was a turning point in the life of someone at the end of her rope in a works-based, legalistic religion. She had been taught all her life that she had to jump through hoops to earn salvation, until finally gospel truth began to be spoken into her life several years ago.

She told her freedom story tonight in our home group.

Salvation, redemption and freedom are beautiful.

"Not Possible, Biblical or Healthy"

Is Church Membership Really Required?:

Leaving the church is not simply leaving a club. When you walk away, you dismember yourself from the body. Jesus and the rest of the body sorely miss you, and bleed after your departure. You cut yourself off from your only source of life and nourishment. Like an amputated hand, you will slowly bleed out, wither, and die.

I hear you complaining already. My, he's being a bit dramatic. I'm a member of Christ; I just can't find a local church I like. I'm a member of the universal church, just not of any one in particular.

I want you to understand that being a part of the universal church without submitting to a local church is not possible, biblical, or healthy.
Plus this.
Every letter in the New Testament assumes Christians are members of local churches. The letters themselves are addressed to local churches. They teach us how to get along with other members, how to encourage the weak within the church, how to conduct ourselves at church, and what to do with unrepentant sinners in the church. They command us to submit to our elders, and encourage us to go to our elders to pray. All these things are impossible if you aren't a member of a local church. (See 1 and 2 Corinthians, James, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and 1 Peter for references.)

Asking where the Bible commands you to be a church member is like asking where the USGA rulebook for golf insists you be a human. The whole book is addressed to the church.

[Hat Tip: Jared]

Can I Just Say Something . . . Crazy?

I love crazy!



[H/T My Better Half]

The Start of Military Action in Crimea?

I hope this isn't true: Ukrainian soldier 'killed' as troops storm Simferopol base

Ukraine's military says a base in Crimea has been stormed with one serviceman killed, following Russia's signing of a treaty to incorporate Crimea. The Ukrainian premier says the crisis has now become a military one.
I have a special place in my heart for the Crimean region of Ukraine.

Regarding the geopolitical implications, or what's to be done, if anything . . . I don't know. But I do know that a lot of native Ukrainians don't want to be Russian (regardless of the results of the sham vote this weekend) and by far most of the Crimean Tatar people, for whom the memory of Stalin's brutal, murderous deportation is still fresh, don't want to be Russians. My heart especially goes out to them. They are a beautiful people and they've been through more than most of us can imagine.

Lord have mercy.

Waco Tribune-Herald On Brittney Griner ...

... and her recent critical comments about Baylor University.

Now, as it pertains to the university’s official, much-publicized stance on homosexuality, it must be stressed that Baylor is a Christian school founded on biblical principles. So what Griner is really saying is that she doesn’t like what the Bible has to say on the topic. In my view, Baylor should be applauded, not condemned, for sticking to those principles, whether the mainstream culture considers them popular or not.


Yep. Read it all.

No More Barbers To Pay

I like this song. Has a very classic Stryper sound. Too bad there's a bit of a classic Stryper look in the video as well. Someone give these guys $20 to get some decent haircuts.

The Oscars Always Remind Me .. .

. . . just how far out of the loop of popular culture I am.

Here are a few examples:

"Alright, alright, alright". This is evidently a reference to something well-known related to Matthew McConaughey. My twitter feed erupted with people cracking jokes about "Alright, alright, alright" right after he won. Evidently the reference is a laugh riot, but it's shooting right over my head.

I first heard this Mconaugheyism demonstrated on Jim Gaffigan's awesome Mr. Universe album (he says it when imitating MM). But I didn't know it was a "thing".

Daft Punk. I saw several Daft Punk references tweeted out in that way people do when they know everyone who reads it will get it. I think Daft Punk might be a band of some sort, but I'm clueless.

The films themselves. Of the nine films nominated for best picture, I've seen exactly one (Gravity). And that's one more than I usually have seen when the Oscars roll around each year.

Bruno Mars and "Flea". Oh, wait, that's a reference to how out of the loop I was for the Super Bowl. I'm to understand these people are involved in the music industry in some way?

Me. I could have easily Googled the references above rather than whining about my out-of-it-ness on this blog. But, to show how out of it I actually am, I'm pretending like it's 1992.

[urgent whisper] Help . . . Me . . .

Is Mac The New PC?

I shot an event this past weekend for Baylor University's business school. This gathering brought in several business men from around the nation and I was stunned with how many Mac laptops I saw. I believe Macs were in the majority! I'm used to thinking of stuffy business suit guys toting around IBM Thinkpads or whatever. (See the photo I grabbed below.)

Are Macs the new business PC?

macbiz

Popular U2 Songs That Don't Do Anything For Me

You won't find a bigger U2 fan than yours truly. Well, maybe my brother, but that's debatable.

With that said there are a few popular and semi-popular U2 songs that simply don't do it for me. I often skip them and never feel the magic when I hear them playing. That's not to say I don't enjoy the songs. That's not to say when I do hear them I don't like them. It's just that since U2's music usually hits my soul directly, these songs don't carry the same punch. For me, they miss the mark.

"Mysterious Ways" - Yes, it's catchy. Nice song. Some nice allegory. Great lyrics. But, um, yeah. Down on your knees, boy. Skip.

"Pride (In the Name of Love)" - What more in the name of love? It's a U2 anthem. It rocks stadiums and arenas around the world. Skip.

"Beautiful Day" - Again, a very good song. Maybe even a great song. Truth is, [I] love this [song], and even if that doesn't ring true. [It's] been all over and it's been all over you. Skip.

"New Year's Day" - Not that I don't like this song. Not that I don't post a video of this song on this blog almost every year on New Year's Day. But, yeah, nothing changes on New Year's Day. Skip.

"Bullet the Blue Sky" - Probably my least favorite popular U2 song. I'll go ahead and run into the arms of America by skipping this song.

"Lemon" - OK, ha! I joke. This song isn't popular, probably not even among U2 fans. But, oh boy, I love this song. Seriously. No skipping here. It's one of those song that just grew on me over the years and once I found out what the meaning was I loved it even more. Lem-on! See through in the sunlight. She wore le-mon, but never in the daylight.

That rounds out my list. Again, give me these songs on repeat as the only thing playing and I'm happy. I don't hate them. I like them! They just don't reach down into the depths of my being the way, say, "One" or "Moment of Surrender" do.

Home Of The Depraved

From a blog post by John Piper, "Will America Be Judged?"

What brought the nations of Canaan to that point of judgment? Here are the sins Moses was referring to:

1. Adultery.

Verse 20: “You shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife . . .”

2. Child sacrifice (we call it abortion).

Verse 21: “You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lᴏʀᴅ.”

3. Homosexual intercourse.

Verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

4. Bestiality.

Verse 23: “And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it: . . . it is perversion.”

In the West, we have moved to the point of open approval of adultery, child-killing, and homosexual intercourse. Will the open approval of bestiality be next? Probably. Last week, the Huffington Post reported a woman finding on her boyfriend’s phone pictures of him having sex with her dog.

Fifty Years from Now?

Our reaction to this is probably about the same as most people’s reaction to so-called homosexual “marriage” fifty years ago. Is there any good reason to doubt that in fifty years the laws against bestiality (zoophilia) will have fallen the same way laws against homosexual intercourse have fallen in recent years? (And as for “marriage,” Wikipedia already has an entry on “human-animal marriage.”)


Read the whole thing here.

Is This Real?

If it is, it's Awesome.



[Hat tip and a "dang, it's been forever since we Mooted" to our own Jared]

[If we ever do Moot again, I might dance like this]

In the Minor Pet Peeves Department . . .

Since there's a lot of talk these days about Ukraine, can we please get one thing straightened out?

It's "Ukraine". Not The Ukraine.

I've been there twice, which doesn't make me an expert, but I never heard anyone in-country call it "The" Ukraine.

You don't take a trip to "The" Russia, or "The" Germany, right?

It's simply "Ukraine".

:gwah:

A Modern Monty Python and the Holy Grail Trailer



[H/T Sense of Events]

"Good To Be Back!"

Debunking the Myth of Kitty Genovese

You know the story, possibly: fifty years ago a young woman was brutally murdered while all her neighbors ignored her cries and pulled down their shades.

At least that's the way I learned it. So I read this article with great interest: Debunking the Myth of the Kitty Genovese Murder

A snippet:

As she walked home — she was only about “a hundred paces away” from the apartment she shared with her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko — she heard a man’s footsteps close behind her. She ran, but the man, Winston Moseley, was too quick. He caught her, slammed her to the ground and stabbed her twice in the back. She screamed twice, once yelling, “Oh, God! I’ve been stabbed!”

Across the street, a man named Robert Mozer heard Genovese from his apartment. Looking out his seventh-floor window, he saw a man and a woman, sensed an ­altercation — he couldn’t see exactly what was happening — and yelled out his window, “Leave that girl alone!”

Moseley later testified that Mozer’s action “frightened” him, sending him back to his car. At this point, Genovese was still alive, her wounds nonfatal.

Fourteen-year-old Michael Hoffman, who lived in the same building as Mozer, also heard the commotion. He looked out his window and told his father, Samuel, what he saw. Samuel called the police, and after three or four minutes on hold, he reached a police dispatcher. He related that a woman “got beat up and was staggering around,” and gave them the location.

Other neighbors heard something as well, but it wasn’t always clear what. Some looked out the window to see Moseley scurrying away, or Genovese, having stood up, now walking slowly down the block, leaning against a building. From their vantage point, it wasn’t obvious that she was wounded. Others who looked didn’t see her at all, as Genovese walked around a corner, trying to make her way home at 82-70 Austin St.

But the police did not respond to Samuel Hoffman’s call, and Moseley, seeing no help was imminent, returned. He hunted down Genovese — who had made it to a vestibule in her building before collapsing — stabbed her several more times, then raped her.

Word of the attack spread though the building. A woman named Sophie Farrar, all of 4-foot-11, rushed to the vestibule, risking her life in the process. For all she knew, the attacker might have still been there. As luck would have it, he was not, and Farrar hugged and cradled the bloodied Genovese, who was struggling for breath.

Despite the attempts of various neighbors to help, Moseley’s final stab wounds proved fatal, and Farrar did her best to comfort Genovese in the nightmarish ­final minutes of her life.

The murder of Kitty Genovese shifted from crime to legend a few weeks later, when The New York Times erroneously reported that 38 of her neighbors had seen the attack and watched it unfold without calling for help.
Read the rest to see how the story we've heard all our lives sloppily grew wings.

[H/T, the excellent Neo-NeoCon]

"I Am a Ukrainian"



Tangible Bible Reading

This is a Bible that I keep on my desk at work. It's small, 5" x 3.5". I've had it for 17 years or so.

bible 2

I'm a Kindle guy. I love the ease reading on my Kindle. I love that I don't have to flip pages, that I can easily read it in bright sunlight, and that I have the equivalent of three bookshelves in my pocket.

But my Kindle can't match the feeling of a good Bible in my hands. Ninety-nine percent of my Bible reading is done the old fashioned way. It just feels better.

How are you reading your Bible these days?

Greatest American Novel?

This topic came up tonight at dinner and someone suggested I ask the blogosphere.

What do you consider to be the greatest American novel, and why?

Put your thoughts in the comments thread. Thanks!

On Cryptids and the Paranormal

Yes. I'm a boy.

Somewhere in my childhood I developed a fascination with the paranormal. Bigfoot. UFOs. Whatever. The one paranormal area I don't care much about is ghost investigation. I don't see a biblical precedent in speaking to the dead, and in reality if “ghosts” are really manifesting themselves to people then the origin has to be demonic. So ghosts are either about head games, delusions, or demons. I'll pass.

Bigfoot? That animal exists. I have no doubt.

bigfoot

UFOs? There's something metallic-looking that periodically appears in our skies. This “something” appears to defy the laws of physics. I have no idea what the “something” is. The most popular explanation is the extraterrestrial hypothesis. At this point, no one know. Unless the government knows and isn't telling us. But the government has never been known to hide anything, so no worries there. ;-)

Chupacabra? Mangy dog.

Lake monsters like Nessie and Champ? Sure, they're probably there, but I haven't looked into them too much.

Thunderbirds? Unlikely.

Can't think of anything else. If you have any favorite cyrptids or paranormal insights, leave a comment. The boy in me loves to talk about this stuff.

Messages

[They] exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
- Romans 1:24

The story doesn’t change and the trajectory is the same: Mankind exchanges God’s truth for a lie, and death follows in its wake.

The messages get clearer. This issue is like the slavery issue of old.

Louder. These are modern times. Science is on our side.

More invisive. The church is outdated and not needed.

More emphatic. This is about social justice.

More dissonant. You’re a bigot!

The messages come from politicians, community leaders, “preachers,” the Internet, popular music, and TV (always TV).

The messages are effective. The messages get results. The messages change minds and change hearts. (Don’t believe it? Ask yourself why it’s worth it for any business to spend $4 million for 30 seconds during the Superbowl if the message won’t be effective?)

But there’s another Message. It’s the Message that floods all that is in the world with all that is in Heaven. It’s the Message that moves beyond issues and talking points.

That Message is an eternal Word -- a Logos -- that became flesh and dwelt among us.

I’m not sure that Message would get 30 seconds during the Superbowl, but He doesn’t need it. He’s got all of eternity.

« Older Entries