Friday, June 29, 2007

Keeping The Law

So here's a question for anyone who cares to answer.

The Bible is clear that man because of his sin can't be made righteous by the law.

But why? Is it because man is incapable of keeping the law, or is it because the law doesn't make anyone righteous, it just recognizes righteousness or unrighteousness?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How Then Shall We Go Broke? $5 Books From Desiring God

Books are on sale at Desiring God today and tomorrow for $5.

Not sure if it includes their bibles, but it does seem to include all the biographies, and his treatise on Romans 9.

(Note: it looks like word is out, though, because the website is slower than molasses in January. I guess I'll have to do my shopping later on this evening.)

Now, I wonder how fast I can finish the report I'm working on now to pay for all this good stuff...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Worth At Least a Thousand Words

I've got more to say about Father's Day, but it will have to wait a bit. In the meantime, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this one has to be worth at least five times that much.

This is William Faulkner's Underwood Universal portable typewriter, which resides in the Faulkner Museum in Oxford, MS.

Has anyone ever been to the museum? My wife's grandparents live there in Oxford, but our timing is always poor, and the museum always seems to be closed when we're there. I do have a picture of me and Mr. Faulkner's statue on the bench in the town square, though.

In any case, I always find pictures of typewriters inspirational (as in "inspiring me to sit down and write something"), and I hope this one might be to others as well. Perhaps this picture will inspire a thousand words.

Picture by Gary Bridgman,, who licensed this picture under (among other things) a Creative Commons 1.0 Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Updated with words in red so that Jeremy doesn't think I live in a museum.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the Religious Education of Children

In keeping with the Father's Day theme, here are some thoughts about the religious education of children. This is taken from our church's Children's Ministry Handbook.


Where is it to be done?
Tradition: At the church building
Scripture: In the home and everywhere

When is it to be done?
Tradition: Once a week during the Sunday School hour
Scripture: All day every day, and at specific times of family worship

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ESV)

Who is responsible for it?
Tradition: Sunday School Teachers
Scripture: The Parents

Who has oversight?
Tradition: Sunday superintendent/teacher, pastor, elder/deacon board
Scripture: The father

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, ESV)

Who is to "blame" if the children grow up rebels?
Tradition: The Sunday school, church, pastor
Scripture: The parents

Then the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever. (1 Samuel 3:11-14, ESV)

(A quick note here: I think a case could be made that the individual himself is responsible, based on a number of verses, including Deuteronomy 24:16. There are some issues that I don't wish to pursue at this time; suffice it to say, wherever you draw the line, it isn't the church who is primarily responsible for a failure to raise children correctly--precisely the point being made here.)

What will be taught?
Tradition: Bible stories & lessons
Scripture: The whole counsel of God

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hymn for Father's Day: It Is Well With My Soul

Imagine sending your spouse and children on ahead to your new home, while you remain behind to finish up the remaining business. Then imagine your spouse calling and saying,"There's been an accident; I was the only one that survived."

This is exactly what happened to Horatio Spafford. It is the inspiration behind of the most beloved hymns,"It Is Well With My Soul."

Horatio's wife Anna went ahead to America with his four daughters while he stayed behind. The boat the Spafford family was on collided with another. 226 souls, including the four daughters, drowned; 29 survived.

Mrs. Spafford's telegram to her husband read thus:
Saved alone what shall I do. Mrs. Goodwin children Willie Culver lost. Go with Lorriaux until answer reply Porclain 64 Rue Aboukir Paris Spafford

(For a fuller account, check out this link on the Christian History Institute website--but make sure you have something handy to wipe away the tears.)

I can't help but think of Job's reaction to his great loss, and speculate on what might be my own, should something like that ever befall me. I could only hope God would grant the strength to see me through, because I know only God's strength could see anyone though that.


When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Perplexing Punctuation

Final comma in a list...use it, or don't use it?

I've always used it, as I think it adds clarity. Others rarely or never use it. I believe I've read somewhere that both are correct, but the latter (omitting it) is preferred.

Just not by me.


Friday, June 08, 2007

One of the Best Bands You've Never Heard Of

To help Kim out in her search for good music

I'm referring to Eden's Edge. They're a local talent--Arkies--and their music is a mix of folk, bluegrass, and southern gospel.

If you'd like to take a listen, you can listen to 2 minute samples of the latest album here (or dial-up here). You can also hear full versions of select songs from their web page. Let me warn you--once you've heard the appetizer, you'll want the main course.

Your Holiness and In Christ Alone are worth the price of the album. Beats secular pomo-istic schlock and most "mainstream" Christian music by a country mile.

Here's a line from In Christ Alone

Don't measure me by battles won
Or some good deed that I have done
In Christ alone will I be found
Worthy of that golden crown

I only have Lights of Home, but their first album is available as well, and you can buy both for a "special internet deal" from their website.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Best Dad Ever" Contest ends this Friday at midnight

If you haven't already done so, write up something nominating your dad for the "Best Dad Ever" contest, sponsored by my friend Carla. Free t-shirt for the winner, plus you should do it to show your dad how much you love him.

I haven't done mine, yet, but I'm hoping to get it done.

More details here.

Classic Purgatorio: the ESV "To Do" Bible

This is a classic: the ESV "To Do" Bible. Sadly, there are people out there who really read the Bible this way.

Monday, June 04, 2007

More Than Just Complaining

Last week I was reading Centuri0n's post that mentioned a guy from Slate magazine who has been reading the Old Testament and putting up his reactions. I read the Slate article about Proverbs, where he thought some things were good advice, other stuff was outdated or he just outright rejected, and I was complaining that his whole series was "an exercise in missing the point."

One of the other commentors said this:
"I've been reading the whole series and found it to give great insight into the way educated but unspiritual people view scripture. But, praise God, at least he's doing something most don't--reading and engaging the text. Can you imagine how dynamic our churches would become if they did as much with born-again minds?"

I would venture to say that the problem is at least two-fold:
1) People don't study their Bibles (many don't read them, either), so they don't really have a clue about what it teaches
2) Churches themselves are moving away from teaching the Bible, and opting for other things instead, which undermines the authority of Scripture

There's a church here locally that was founded on the premise that "the reason unchurched people don't go to church is that it's boring and irrelevant." And I'm willing to say that there may be some people who don't go to church for that reason (although that's an excuse many Christians use as well). I don't think it's the only reason, but let's say for the sake of argument that is at least some of the problem.

If you're not careful, though, the design of your church service can present the idea that it is the Bible is boring and irrelevant. Pretty soon, you've got a church that is nothing more than a cross between a motivational seminar and a country club--all about self-help and activities, about being "winners," and never about sin, holiness, and glorifying God. (That church was the catalyst for this post.)

Here's the thing: we can have strong feelings and legitimate disagreements on what church should look like, but if we lose our foundation, nothing else matters. If we don't remain committed to Scripture as the basis of our faith, then everything becomes merely someone's opinion.

In the meantime, the commentor on Cent's post went on to encourage us to e-mail feedback to this guy and to pray for him, and I felt bad--really bad, because he was right, and that's what I should have been doing. Same thing with the pastor here locally.

So that's what I'm going to focus on--doing something more than just complaining.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

MLB Gameday Audio

Probably the best bargain out there amongst sports audio.

You get a year's worth of live Major League Baseball games. Every game is available with your choice of the home or away radio station's announcers (plus alternate audio for teams like the Diamondbacks who also broadcast in Spanish). If that wasn't enough, you can also listen to past games in the archive.

A whole year is just $15. has other subscription choices as well, but if you like listening to baseball, this is a no-brainer.

Update: in case anyone cares, it looks like the internet broadcast is approximately 45 seconds behind the radio broadcast. Also, as best I can tell, not only can you access 2007 game archives, but 2006 as well.

Note to the NBA: you need to start doing this! I'd love to listen to Al McCoy broadcast the Phoenix Suns games. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is a fan of the broadcasters as well as the teams.