Saturday, July 31, 2010

Community

Doug Wolter passes along these great thoughts on community from Chad Nuss of Christos Church in Jeffersontown, KY:

Church community consists of people that are very different, who sin against each other, who don’t like each other from time to time, who do all kinds of bad, hypocritical things–yet they stick together because the call to Christian community is to learn how to die to ourselves for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the church, for the sake of community, and for the sake of the glory of God.

Our enjoyment of community does not primarily come from how much we like each other, but from how much we are being rescued from destroying each other by the Gospel! The overflow of joy in the Gospel is joy in each other because we can look at each other and announce the Gospel to each other–the very Gospel that forgives us of sin and helps very different people with very different backgrounds with very different sinful tendencies with very different agendas, frustrations, and preferences come together around a common Savior.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fun (Bonus Edition)...Icelandic Soccer Celebration

I'm not sure if this is the best celebration ever or the dumbest. Either way, I think it's probably the funniest. Suffice to say, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have got nothing on these guys.

Friday Fun...Who's on First?

Tomorrow is the trading deadline in Major League baseball, meaning that it is the final day this season that players can be freely traded from one team to another. As a result, there is annually an abundance of trades made on and approaching this day, which I suppose could cause great confusion for fans as to whch players are on their favorite team. Abbott and Costello deal with such a situation in one of the most classic comedy bits of all time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

West Cannon Pastors' Seminar



If you're a pastor in or near Michigan, let me recommend a great conference to you. Each year West Cannon Baptist Church in Grand Rapids puts on a pastors' seminar. I went last year and was greatly edified by both the teaching and the fellowship with other pastors.

This year's theme is Strength for the Inner Man and the speakers will be D.A. Carson & Voddie Baucham. The conference is September 27 & 28 and is very reasonably priced at $50. You can get more information here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Should a Christian Display a Portrait of Robert E. Lee?

Don’t read this post. That’s right. I don’t want you to read this post. What I’d much rather have you do is click over to Russell Moore’s post today regarding whether a Christian should display a picture of Robert E. Lee in their home.

Dr. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From time to time on his blog, Moore to the Point, he posts ethical questions he’s received, allows time for readers to give their feedback and then gives his own answer. His answers inevitably display a depth of gospel wisdom that almost makes me wish I was a Baptist.

Today’s post was, in my opinion, the best answer of his that I have read to date. He makes one great point after another. Again, I really would urge you to read the whole article, but if you must have the abridged version, here are some of the highlights:

He argues against the oversimplification of historical figures and warns us against both demonizing those we see as “villains” and canonizing those we see as “heroes.”
The fetishistic use of historical figures is precisely what leads to the kind of “absolute good vs. absolute evil” characterizations we often see among Christians in the way they view current leaders…That’s the kind of hagiography that led to George Washington’s cherry tree inability to tell a lie. Well, George Washington was a great man, but he was also a liar. And so am I, and so are you. Unless there was a star shining over Washington’s birthplace (and there wasn’t), then Romans 3:10-19 applies to him as well as to all of us.
So should a Christian display a picture of Robert E. Lee in their home?
I don’t know. I can’t tell you one way or the other because what’s more important than a single picture is the general ethos of a home…The issue is love of neighbor and the mission of Christ. That’s why the Apostle Paul refuses to lay down simple rules about eating vegetables or eating meat (Rom. 14:1-23). If that picture would hinder your being able to show hospitality and love with your brothers and sisters of every background and race, take it down.

But, if you keep it up on the wall, let it be, like every historical portrait, a warning…(For) a gentleman as devoted to character as Robert E. Lee, who had thought long and hard about the evils of slavery, was so conditioned by his time that he couldn’t see past his blind spot. So what makes me think that I could have escaped a similar blind spot? And what is so common in our culture right now that we can’t even see it, as we think we’re serving the Lord?
Moore concludes with this:
Robert E. Lee was a complicated figure, a sinful rebel (in more ways than one) who bore the image of God. And so are we. Lee was gifted in commendable ways even as he used those gifts sometimes in ways that ought to horrify. So do we. We ought to be honest, in both directions, about Lee and about our neighbors and ourselves. And that ought to cause us to search out our own lives for that hidden sin, that secret hatred, that conforming to the pattern of this age that we don’t see and don’t think to ask about. Ultimately, no matter how we seek to whitewash our heritage or our personal stories, we’ll only conquer it all at the resurrection from the dead. Until then, we watch our hearts, pray for wisdom, work for justice, and love our neighbor.

Deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall overcome some day.

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom


"It would be a good thing for us all if we had never left off being boys and girls, but had added to all the excellencies of a child the virtues of a man. Surely it is not necessary to kill the child to make the saint." (Come Ye Children, pg. 15)

Book Review: Decisional Regeneration vs. Divine Regeneration

I recently received the book Decisional Regeneration vs. Divine Regenration by James E. Adams as a gift from one of the members of our church who spends his winters in Arizona. While there, he attends the church pastured by Adams. I was excited to receive it as I had been very impressed with the other book by Adams which I had read: War Psalms of the Prince of Peace. I found this second work by Adams (which is actually an updated version of his work from almost 40 years ago) quite helpful as well.

This short, very readable book is not a theological treatise on the level of Calvin's Institutes, but then it is not intended to be. It is very purposefully accessible to all audiences and is very neatly organized into concise, to the point chapters. Adams lays out a clear, biblical argument against the concept of decisional regeneration, beginning with the observation that “the ‘Christian’ segment of our society seems to be much more a reflection of our culture than a light to it.” He suggests that what lies behind this is the fact that many who may call themselves "Christians" have nonetheless never actually experienced the new birth.

What lies even deeper at the heart of this issue is an understanding of how exactly one comes to be born again. Adams speaks against the idea of “Decisional Regeneration,” that is that human beings bring about the new birth through a decision to follow Christ. Instead, he argues, such a decision could never even be made without the regenerating work of God already having taken place in their heart.

Adams does a good job of displaying that this is not just some unimportant theological argument that has no real practical implications. He does this, examining the impact of a theology of decisional regeneration on such areas as our worship, our preaching and our evangelism.

Some of the quotes in the book (especially those of Dr. Martyn Llloyd-Jones) are pure gold and throughout, Adams is tethered to the Gospel of Grace. He reminds us, “The brilliance of God’s power in saving sinners can be appreciated only against the gloomy backdrop of people’s desperate condition, their inability to please God.”

In light of such, he concludes with these words from John 1:12-13: “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gilead and a Parent's Love

Another beautiful point, beautifully made from Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead (p. 136):
"...your mother could not love you more or take greater pride in you. She has watched every moment of your life, almost, and she loves you as God does, to the marrow of your bones. So that is the honoring of a child. You see how it is godlike to love the being of someone. Your existence is a delight to us. I hope you never have to long for a child as I did, but oh, what a splendid thing it has been that you came finally, and what a blessing to enjoy you now for almost seven years."
I suppose only a parent can truly understand this kind of love, or at least its depth. I thought I understood it before I had children, but I did not. Regardless, the point is that it is indeed a reflection of godlike love when, as parents, we love the very existence of our children.

This kind of love is illustrated in a conversation that I’ve had countless times with my children. It goes like this:
Me: “Do you know how much I love you?”

Child: “A million times a billion.” (Truth be told, I love them even more than that, but let’s not quibble over numbers.)

Me: “And do you know why I love you?”

Child: “Because I am your child.”

Me: “How long will you be my child?”

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “So how long will I love you?

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “What if you behave really badly and I get angry?”

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “What if you say or do really mean things to me?”

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “What if you don’t even like me any more?”

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “So how long will I love you?”

Child: “Forever.”

Me: “That’s right. No matter what, you’ll always be my child, so I will always love you. Forever.”
What I am trying to do in this conversation is twofold. Obviously, I am trying to instill in my children a confidence in the steadfastness of my love for them. They can be confident that no matter what, they will not lose the love of their father.

Secondly though, I am trying to model to them the love of God. I am setting before them a pattern of godly love so that they might know that the love of their heavenly father (like the love of their earthly father) is not conditioned upon what they do.

This is the very core of the gospel. God loves us not because we have somehow earned his love, but because, by his grace, he has adopted us in Christ Jesus to be his children. As such we can be confident in his steadfast love, because it is not on account of anything we do, but rather only and always because of what Christ has done.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What It Means to Follow Jesus

Josh Harris posts this humorous cartoon today:


(HT: Vitamin Z)

Friday Fun...Brian Regan

Here is a clip of Brian Regan from Letterman in May, 2009. He is without question one of my favorite stand up comics. I think its becase he's pretty funny, but it might just be because we have aproximately the same level of cell phone competency.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gilead and Guilt

One of the things I love about Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead is the artful way in which Robinson writes. In reading it I am constantly amazed at how skillfully she is able to paint pictures in my mind. What makes it even better though is the the fact that through her beautiful use of the English language she examines deep and meaningful truths. One example, from page 81:
I got up the courage to ask my father once if my grandfather had done something wrong and he said, “The Good Lord will judge what he did,” which left me believing there had been some kind of crime for sure. There is one photograph of my grandfather around the house somewhere, taken in his old age, that might help you understand why I thought this way. It is a good likeness. It shows a wild-haired, one-eyed, scrawny old fellow with a crooked beard, like a paintbrush left to dry with the lacquer on it, staring down the camera as if it had accused him of something terrible very suddenly, and he is still thinking how to reply and keeping the question at bay with the sheer ferocity of that stare. Of course there is guilt enough in the best life to account for a look like that.
True enough. But even so, especially so, what a wonderful blessing that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not Just a Cute Church

I really enjoyed the post I saw today by Jared Wilson. He is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Spings, VT and the author of the blog, The Gospel-Driven Church. I enjoy his blog for a couple reasons:

1) His postings are almost always insightful, motivated by grace and filled with gospel wisdom.

2) One of my interests is family history, and his church is only about 10 miles from the family farm in Wallingford, VT where my father spent many of his boyhood summers. I have never been there (or to Vermont at all, for that matter), but I have always wanted to visit, and hope to do so some day. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to worship with Jared at Middletown Springs.

In today's post he cites how people often refer to the building where his church meets (pictured above) as "cute" because it is small, old and traditional. He cautions against such short-sightedness in his post, recounting some of the church's history. You should really read the whole thing here (it's not very long), but he concludes with the following:

Our building is just a building, but it's not just a building. It's a symbol of the enduring evangelical presence, small but hearty, in this least-churched state in the nation, and of the endurance of the great salt-of-the-earth people who are the church that gathers in the building for which they're called.

The gates of hell will prevail against espresso bars and KidzTowns. But not our church.

Our church is not cute. It is epic.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Use the Force, Luke...or Your GPS

Apparently TomTom customers will now be able to have their GPS devices voiced by their favorite Star Wars characters. Today in his "Monday Morning Humor" blog entry, Kevin DeYoung posted the following video of Darth Vader's time in the recording studio:



There is also the following video of Yoda's session in the studio:

Are You Too Post-Evangelical/Missional/Post-Emerging?

C. Michael Patton has a good blog entitled Parchment and Pen. He often deals with weighty theological matters, and while I don't agree with his conclusions 100% of the time, I usually do. And even when I don't, I find Patton helpfully hought-provoking.

Sometimes though, he posts thoughts that are a little more on the lighter side of things. One example of this was the other day when he published a list of the Top Ten Signs You Are Taking this Post-Evangelical/Missional/Post-Emerging Thing too Far.

My favorites were:
5. You have yet to read the book of Romans believing Paul was too modern in his thinking.
and
2. When someone calls out your name you get angry saying, “Don’t label me. Labels are completely unhelpful!”

The 2011 Gospel Coalition Conference

If you are interested in such things, please allow me to recommend to you the 2011 Gospel Coalition Conference. I attended the 2009 conference and it was fabulous. I was greatly blessed by both the quality of the teaching and the richness of the fellowship.

This year's conference promises to be even better. It will be held April 12-14 in downtown Chicago and the list of speakers sparkles with such names as Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, Al Mohler and many others.

Carson and Keller discuss the conference in the video below.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fun...The Decision

If you're not a sports fan, you might not find this too funny. If you are a Cleveland sports fan, you might find it even less funny (apologies to friends Mike Wittmer and Brian Hendrickson). But Wednesday night on the ESPY Awards, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd spoofed the self-importance of Lebron James' hour-long, made for TV "Decision" to leave the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. I, for one, thought it was pretty funny stuff.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gilead and the Implications of Grace

In Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, Rev. John Ames is in failing health, approaching death. He has a young son, the product of a late-in-life marriage to a much younger woman. Realizing that there is much that he will not be present to teach his son, Rev. Ames takes up writing a letter to his son, intending it to be read when his son is closer to adulthood.

In this letter he writes about many of life’s lessons that he’s learned and recounts many of the events that have made up his life. At one point (pp. 72-73), Rev. Ames has this to say about his best friend’s son:
“I don’t know how one boy could have caused so much disappointment without ever giving any grounds for hope. Man, I should say, since he’s well into his thirties. No, he must be forty by now. He is not the eldest or the youngest or the best or the bravest, only the most beloved.”
He goes on to state,
“I have said at least once a week that there is an absolute disjunction between our Father’s love and our deserving. Still, when I see this same disjunction between human parents and children, it always irritates me a little. (I know you will be and I hope you are an excellent man and I will love you absolutely if you are not.)”
Indeed, how absolute is the disjunction between God’s love and our deserving. This is one of the hardest lessons for us to learn. Even after we’ve learned it conceptually, it is so hard to learn it functionally. The Bible is absolutely clear that we can do nothing to merit God’s love. Our sinful condition leaves us deserving nothing but his wrath. And yet he has loved us still! Christ’s perfect obedience has earned the Father’s love and favor for us, and his death on the cross has atoned for our sin, absorbing the punishment we deserved.

Especially in light of this grace, it is amazing how quick we are to apply standards to others that we have no intention of applying to ourselves. Rev. Ames readily acknowledges that he will love his son absolutely regardless of his deserving, when only a sentence earlier he had stated how much that irritates him in others. If we were to, in humility count others more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:19) and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18), it would radically change the amount of grace we are willing to afford others.

How easily we disconnect the gospel from its natural implications. If we truly understand how little we deserve and deeply know the grace that God has shown us, then that will transform the way we look at others. Indeed, I need to love others better. But that is not the sickness; it is only a symptom. What I really need to do is know the love of God better, for if I do, I will be compelled to love others better. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Want to Read a Good Novel?

Although it is my policy to write a review on each book I read, I very rarely write much about a book before I’ve finished it. In this post, I am going to make an exception. I am in the midst of reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and have decided to eschew my normal practice for the following reasons:

First of all, there is the distinct possibility that I might never finish it. You see, I read EXTREMELY slowly. Much to my current dismay, I did not read a lot during my high school and college days. I got good grades, but did so while putting forth a minimum amount of effort. I regret this today (pay attention kids) not only because of its contribution to my s…l…o…w reading, but also for the untold things I could have learned but didn’t.

About a decade after completing college I went to seminary and developed a love for reading. The problem is, the way you read theology books is vastly different from the way you read works of fiction. Unless you’re me, that is. You see, I am physically unable to read a book without a pencil or highlighter in my hand. Whenever I come across an interesting point or a well-written phrase, I have a compulsion to mark it so that I might be able to go back and find it. While this is a great way to study books, it is not a great way to breeze through them quickly.

On top of these facts, I am quintessentially American with my short attention span and “gotta have it now” mindset. I just can’t get my mind around the idea of reading the book when I could just watch the movie. Now I know, some of you (my wife included) are screaming at me through your computer screen about how much better books are than movies because of how they engage your imagination, etc. I’m right there with you…theoretically. I love a well-told story and books are a far better medium for developing a story than film.

If I were like my wife (she can get a book from the library on Friday and return it on Monday having read, digested, and told me about it in elaborate detail), then I’m sure I’d much rather read the book than watch the movie. But I just can’t do that. It takes me a long time to read a book. Take Gilead for instance. It is a book that I am thoroughly enjoying roughly 150 pages in. I started it in March. Or was it February? Either way, you get my point.

The other reason I thought I would write this introductory post on Gilead is that I would love to share with you some of the profound passages that ae so beautifully written. If I do this while I'm reading the book, I don't have to go back and search through the places I’ve highlighted!

Robinson is a wonderful author, having elicited such compliments as being called “the world’s best writer of prose.” Last March, John Piper shared his love for Gilead in a blog post, and Justin Taylor has compiled a nice overview of Robinson’s work, including a number of interviews. In the following weeks (months?) I will be posting snippets from this fabulous Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Be looking for them so that you too might be blessed by the beauty and wisdom found within its pages.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Album - Counting Stars by Andrew Peterson

I first became aware of Andrew Peterson when Kevin DeYoung posted a couple of entries regarding Behold the Lamb of God, a concert that Peterson does during the Advent season telling the Christmas story. I purchased the album and have thoroughly enjoyed it both musically and thematically, especially appreciating the emphasis that Peterson places on the Old Testament, the fact that the whole Bible is telling one big story, and that this story is that of Christ Jesus.

I've since become familiar with more of Peterson's music, all of which I've really enjoyed. He has a new album, Counting Stars, which will be released on July 27. I look forward to getting it and commend Peterson's music to you. Below is a the official video for one of the album's songs, Dancing In the Minefields. It's a beautiful song about the highs and lows of marriage with the reminder that marriage "is harder than we dreamed, but I believe that's what the promise is for."



(HT: Justin Taylor)

When N.T. Wright Brought Hope to The Colbert Report

About two years ago, Stephen Colbert had Bishop N.T. Wright on his show, The Colbert Report. A friend of mine posted a link to it on facebook today, and when I saw it I thought I'd pass it on.

A couple of thoughts before watching the video:

  1. N.T. Wright is about a million times smarter than me and ten million times the Bible scholar I am. I respect his scholarship immensely on any number of subjects, including what he has to say in this video.
  2. That being said, I take issue with some of his work on the topic of justification. If it were just my opinion against his on this, I'd feel like I was on real shaky ground. The fact is though, that there are plenty of other folks who are also a million times smarter than me and ten million times the Bible scholar I am, who also happen to disagree with Wright on justification.
  3. That should not in any way diminish the validity in our minds of what he has to say in this video. I only wish he had more time to discuss this all with Colbert.
  4. Finally, Credit needs to be given where credit is due. Credit Colbert for having such a respected evangelical scholar on and being fairly respectful toward him. And credit Wright for reaching out to an audience that might not normally be sitting in the pews, and doing so in a quick-witted fashion that was perfect for the forum. And even if the audience didn’t get it, “We played for a dogma a hole,” is pretty funny stuff.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bishop N.T. Wright
http://www.colbertnation.com/
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News


(HT: Robbie Griggs)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fun...The Neurotic Niles Crane

When Dr. Frasier Crane walked into the bar where everybody knows your name, it started a run for the character that lasted 20 years (nine on Cheers and eleven on its spinoff, Fasier). As far as I can tell, this is the longest run for a sitcom character in television history.

Spinoffs usually don't fare very well, but Frasier certainly was an exception to that rule. A large part of that was due to the character of Frasier's brother, Dr. Niles Crane, played expertly by David Hyde Pierce. This week's installment of Friday Funnies brings you a classic example of comic acting, in what I think is one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen on TV.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A (Different) Conservative Christian Perspective at the Fourth of July

Fourth of July weekend is upon us and for most of us, that means it’s time to celebrate. Some of us just celebrate a day where we don’t need to go to work, but others of us will actually celebrate our nation’s independence and the freedoms that this secures for us.

Okay. Let me just lay my cards on the table. I’m what most people would probably refer to as a “conservative Christian.” And conservative Christians are supposed to have certain views regarding church and state, our founding fathers, and America’s identity as a “Christian nation.” I guess I just don't quite fit the stereotype.

I do feel that those who seem actively opposed to all things Christian have a tendency to go way too far in their attacks on the idea that we have a Christian heritage and Christian principles upon which our nation was founded. At the same time though, I feel that conservative Christian tend to massively overstate their case as well, overreaching their position and leaving them as easy targets for those who would disagree with them.

From time to time (mostly through emailed urban myths) you’ll hear about the ACLU or some other like-minded organization suggesting that we need to remove the words “In God We Trust” from our currency. I had a pastor once who actually suggested that the Church ought to beat the ACLU to the punch and spearhead the movement. His line of thinking was that, as a nation, we certainly did not trust in God, and to say that we did was to use the name of God in vain.

I’m not sure I agree with where his reasoning led him, but I’m not sure I disagree either. We tend to have this presumption that we as a nation are the people of God. While I feel there is no doubt that this nation has been immeasurably blessed by God, it is wrong to say that this marks us out as His nation (other than in the sense that all nations are His).

The idea that we are especially His often ushers us into the misapplication of the Bible. One classic example would be the (mis)use of 2 Chronicles 7:14 which reads, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Conservative Christians (at least those who are Americans) are eager to apply this verse in such a way that understands the U.S.A. to be a proper referent for “their land.” At first glance it seems reasonable. After all, as the song goes, “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

What needs to be kept in view though is that the Church/State nexus that was Old Testament Israel is actually to whom this promise was addressed, and the “land” to which God is refering is that very same land about which he speaks one verse earlier in 2 Chronicles 7:13 where he sets the stage for his promise with, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land…” You see, God’s promise here really has more to do with agricultre than with American culture.

That’s not to say that there is no modern day application for us in this passage. If there is an entity with the right to apply the ideals in this promise, it would not be our nation, but the Church. If the Church were to humble itself, pray, seek God’s face and turn from whatever evil ways it might have, then God is indeed faithful to forgive our sin and and bring healing within our midst.

One of the other big issues for conservative Christians seems to be prayer in school. We are told that the moral slide of our nation began when prayer in school was outlawed and we can trace everything bad back to that. Well, it’s not quite that simple.

First of all, as Richard Hardy, one of my political science professors in college taught me, as long as teachers give exams, there will be prayer in schools! Of course he was making a joke and what we’re talking about is something altogether different.

It occurs to me though, that I’m pretty sure that I don’t want a teacher (who might worship some false god or no god at all) being the one who is leading my child in prayer, modeling for them how one should pray. Conservative Christians are often quick to object to certain subjects being taught from the atheistc viewpoint of certain teachers, but they want to open the door to prayer being modeled and thus taught by the same atheistic teachers? It seems to me that the wall of seperation between church and state, which is intended to protect the religious practice of people from the government intervention (not vice versa), actually serves us pretty well here.

The moral decline of our culture did not begin with removal prayer from schools. It began in the Garden with the Fall (see Genesis 3). And I reckon that the lack of prayer in public schools is nowhere near as influential in the continuation of this decline as the lack of prayer in our homes. It is we parents who have too often failed to train up our children in the way they should go, and for this we must repent.

Okay. Now that I’ve ticked off 90% of the people who might actually read this blog, let me finish off by taking care of the other 10%. According to our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I think it is a legitimate question to ask this 4th of July, that if we, as a culture, cease to accept the fact that there is a Creator, what does it say about those rights? Would not logic dictate that they were not quite so inalienable after all?

You see, God is indeed the source of all our rights, and of all that is right. We are his and he has made himself known to us through the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ. He did this not so that we could have a Christian culture or a Christian nation, but so that we could have forgiveness from our sins, and be, as the Church, his bride.

May we be thankful that he has blessed us as Americans to live in a land and a time where we are among the most blessed people ever. May we be thankful that we live in a land where we are free to worship him. But most of all, may we be thankful that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Now that’s reason to celebrate!

Friday Fun...High Five Etiquette

Last week I was waiting at an airport for my flight which was delayed for whatever reason the airline happened to fabricate that day. If I seem bitter, please forgive me, but of the last eight flights I've taken, only one of them has ended with both me and my luggage at my appointed destination on time.

It was not a total loss though. While I was being delayed, I had the opportunity to watch the highly exciting USA/Algeria World Cup soccer match. You may recall that the Americans staved off elimination (for only a couple days it turned out) when Landon Donovan scored a dramatic goal in the game's closing moments.

There were probably 30 or 40 of us watching the game at this point and when Donovan scored, wild cheering erupted amongst us. In my excitement, I turned to the complete stranger next to me and gave him a high five.

It was a good high five. But not all high fives are created equal. Whether or not you know that this is the case, you should check out this installment of Friday Funnies.



(HT: Vitamin Z)