Monday, April 30, 2007

In Search of Modesty

I was reading Kim Shay's lament about the overall lack of modesty in society, and I was reminded of Carla Rolfe's post from last year entitled "Dressing Girls." In it, she uses the phrase "Welcome to SkankWorld." My wife and I still talk about that one when we are together at any store that carries clothes.

Modesty is a difficult thing, to be sure. Because it is open to interpretation, it feels subjective. There is also the possibility that people will fail to recognize that the Bible has relevance here, even without a verse that reads "Don't let your skirt come up past your knees," etc.

The Way of the Master radio podcast had an episode recently where they gave a modesty quiz. The quiz originated from the Family Life folks (who are actually out of Arkansas), and their stuff is good. It sounds like something that might be helpful, or at least encouraging, for those who are searching for ways to instill modesty in their children.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

From VA Tech

I've been wrestling with so many feelings about the Virginia Tech shootings, so much so that I've been unable to express myself. This came across the e-mail today, and it struck a cord with me--because of its poignancy and because of where it came from. This is from someone who lost a loved one in the shootings. And if we can't trust God through difficult times, we might as well not trust Him at all.

God is still on His throne. When Satan brings the worse out in some people God brings the best out in His people. The Blacksburg Baptist Church bent over backwards to minister to my family last week and from what I can gather they were actively involved in ministering to the entire Blacksburg Community. [Her] funeral was held at Blacksburg Baptist Church last Saturday, April 21. It was a testimony to the life she had lived. We celebrated her life and goodness even as we mourned our loss. I worshipped at Blacksburg Baptist the following Sunday morning. I listened intently as Pastor Tommy McDearis engaged his congregation with the heaviness and tragedy of the week but also with the truth of the scriptures. It was one of the finest sermons I have ever heard.

Pastor McDearis serves as the chaplain for the Blacksburg police department. As such he was probably closer to the actual carnage of the week than most of us ever want to know. Of the 32 victims it became his personal responsibility to tell 20 of the families that their loved one had died. He had seen the pain in their faces, their tears had fallen upon his lapel, he had searched for words, but probably the best he could come up with was "I am sorry." He had ministered to law enforcement personnel, he had fielded questions from the media, he preached my niece’s funeral. With very little sleep he kept putting one foot ahead of the other. Then on Sunday morning his congregation gathered with questions on their mind needing a word from the Lord. This man of God stood and opened his soul to his people. He captured the truth of the scriptures and gave his people, his town, and visitors of many stripes a fresh word from God. I was at the 11:10 service which was the third worship service. As he closed this service he let out a deep breath and simply prayed “Lord, I am so tired”. He wept as he prayed for himself, his congregation, and his city. As I listened I thought - Here is a man who has spent the week walking through the Valley of the Shadow of death, he had looked into the face of evil and peered into the pit of Hell itself – but through it all God’s hand had been upon him. That is a testimony to the power and strength of God. Satan had played his awful hand planting terror into the hearts and minds of all who watched. Darkness came but God’s light still shone through. Sunday morning came – God took a tired messenger and gave him a message of hope, strength, and encouragement.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, what a savior!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Outta' Town

I'm fixin' to go out of town for a bit. In my absence, there will probably be no posting on my blog. However, if you're a regular reader of my blog, I doubt this will phase you, since there hasn't been any regular posting on my blog for awhile now.

Oh, and please note my newest profile picture. Inspired by Libbie's avatar choice, I've selected a picture of one of the greatest sidekicks around--K-9.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It Is the Best of Times, It Is the Worst of Times

This came up in a lunch conversation yesterday, and I thought it was worth sharing.

If you are a believer, whatever is going on today, it is temporary. A "slight momentary affliction" that is "preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," according to the Apostle Paul (2 Cor 4:17). And so no matter how bad it is, whatever you are going through right now is transient. And even the best of Earth pales beside the promise of things to come.

For the unbeliever, it's the opposite. If you are not a follower of Christ, what you see at this moment is as good as it gets. "That can't be true," you might say. "If only you knew my circumstances--they are horrible!"

I believe that. And I believe that you think things couldn't get any worse. But the reality is this: God is restraining his wrath, and any "evil" you experience now will pale beside His full fury poured out against sinners. Against you.

You have rejected God; you have broken His perfect law. And because of the resultant offense against His person, your only hope of abating His anger is to admit your sin and unbelief, and repent (that is, turn away) from your sin, accepting God's grace expressed through the death of His son Jesus, who died to pay the penalty for your sins.

Or pay the penalty yourself one day, very soon.

"It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment..." (Heb 9:27). This life is but a breath, and is the best of times for those who die in unbelief. But for those who believe, the worst of times are now, and the best is yet to come.

All Bible quotes from the ESV

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Easter!

Hard to believe that it's been a year since the so-called "War on Easter."

Not sure what the status is this year (though from a quick scan of blogs it seems this year's war is against the bunny, not the Savior), but the truth of the matter is, Satan is running his campaign all year long. And his war is a lot more subtle (not to mention effective) than a bunch of atheists with far-fetched conspiracy theories about Jesus' non-existence.

Here's an example. Yesterday I received an e-mail from with their weekly specials. They always include a little "Did you know"-type trivia in it, and one of the sidebars for this week said this.

In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories, magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published.

It's a demon's dream come true to have people "celebrating Easter" without knowing or acknowledging its true meaning. But let's be frank--putting on your best outfit and going to church to hear a message that you don't accept is no better than solving mysteries, hunting for eggs, or joining up with some kooks out there to try to prove Jesus never existed. Lost is lost, and Satan will take people however he can get them.

But this isn't a rant against Norwegians, egg hunts, or Easter traditions in general. I just want to point out that whatever else we do to celebrate Easter, we need to keep the message of the gospel front and center.

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31, ESV)

Let's welcome sinners into our congregations. Use this Sunday as an opportunity to reach out to someone who may only come to church once or twice a year.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Work of Jesus

Just a quick quote from our Sunday sermon.

None of us need ever say "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"...because he did that for us.