Friday, September 26, 2008

Personal Updates

Yes, it's been quiet around here on the blog for a few days. Lots of personal and professional stuff going on.

Just got back from a funeral today. My wife's uncle died a little over a week ago and the week progressed more slowly than usual. Visitation last evening and the funeral today. My wife is doing well but she is understandably grieved. Her uncle was a nice guy to be around. Very friendly person and I always felt at ease around him. He was 79 and had suffered from some strokes. He had been on dialysis for a long time. He died in his sleep the 18th of this month after having a couple more strokes. Prayers for my wife are, and will be appreciated.

The woman I care for is in the hospital. We took her to the E.R. yesterday afternoon and blood tests reveal a few deficiencies. They are keeping her for a day or two to check things out, but no reason to think she won't bounce back. She's 95, but is basically an old farm lady. Very tough woman. The kind that you would say "will outlive all the rest of us".

I suspect she'll be out soon.

Phil Johnson Sez. . .

You should see this movie!

Here's an excerpt from his recent post:

"We gave it two thumbs up.

The film was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA—the same church that made "Facing the Giants." I'm sure a lot of secular reviewers will complain that "Fireproof" is too preachy, because the gospel is at the heart of the story, and it's not slipped in there subtly or couched in euphemisms. It's very direct.

That's what I liked best about it. It's a great story, well-told. If you are a guy, take your wife. She'll love it. Big time.

That's all I'm going to say about it, except that I was really amazed by Kirk Cameron's ability (especially early in the movie) to be unlikable. He's a gifted actor and a great guy. In case you haven't seen his Today Show interview from yesterday, I linked it in the sidebar. Check it out."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

YouTube Yanks Video Exposing Obama's Abortion Extremism

Found this over at I place this post because of the importance of the abortion issue. Regardless of whatever else Barack Obama stands for, his stand on abortion is totally contrary to anything I can vote for. By the way, there is a link to the video at the article at

While I do not agree with Obama's view on economics, I don't post on such here. However, the issue of life is a Biblical issue. Every life is created in the image of God and has inherent value.

Barack Obama voted against the "Born Alive Protection Act", which would protect those who have survived botched abortions, such as Gianna Jesson, who survived a saline abortion. By Obama's judgment, she shouldn't even be alive. Yet she is very much alive and very active in spreading the news of Obama's values as demonstrated in his vote against the Born Alive Protection Act. And here is a video which she has produced and is currently airing.

Such a view is particularly troubling. The common argument by the pro-abortion crowd is "once the child is born, it is a human life", as if human life is magically transferred to the the infant because of a trip down a birth canal. But Obama's legislative choice would say "No, let it die anyway". And that is very troubling. He even voted down a state version of such a bill which included language protecting Roe v. Wade. (Obama has claimed that his opposition to the federal BAPA was because it was a threat to Roe v. Wade).

God's Word tells us God's heart on the issue of life. As Christians, it shouldn't be "above our pay grade" to stand for what is right.

And we don't need YouTube to do that.

By the way, the video can be viewed here. And yes, it does contain some graphic material.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Bible as a Fashion Accessory
Phil Johnson

From TeamPyro:

"Here are a couple of items that have been in my "maybe you want to comment on this" file since last December.

One is an article about Zondervan's "Bible Bunker," where publishing executives find ways to trick out the Bible and boost its market appeal. From the article: "Zondervan plans to keep stoking demand by making sure God’s word looks hip, sounds relevant and is advertised all over, including in Rolling Stone magazine and Modern Bride, on MySpace—even on a jumbotron in New York City’s Times Square."

To be clear, I have no problem with advertizing the Bible "all over"—including jumbotrons and magazines aimed at popular secular markets. I don't [Journaling Bible] seriously object to patent-leather or neon Naugahyde® on Bibles. The cover on Crossway's calfskin leather Journaling Bible is what motivated me to buy one, and I love it. If some teenage girl wants a Sanrio-inspired Bible cover, good for Zondervan..."

Preaching and the Clock
How long should a sermon be?
John MacArthur

From "Grace To You":

"As long as it takes to cover the passage adequately! I do not think the length of the sermon is as important as its content. At times I have preached fifty minutes and it has been ten minutes too long. Other times, I have preached an hour and twenty-five minutes and it has been just right. The important thing is to cover the main point so that people are convinced of its truth and comprehend its requirements.

If you have nothing worthwhile to say, even twenty minutes will seem like an eternity to your people. If you are interesting, they will stay with you. Do not mistake persuasion for long-windedness, however. If you preach longer than you should, you will sacrifice persuasiveness. I am convinced that biblical exposition requires at least forty minutes. Less than this just is not sufficient to probe the text deeply. If it takes fifteen to twenty minutes to give the setting, ten to fifteen minutes to draw out the principles, five to ten minutes to cross-reference them, and five to ten minutes for a conclusion, you already have about fifty minutes. Rarely does a man preaching twenty-five to thirty minutes do doctrinal exposition.

That is why developing the logical flow of a sermon is crucial. If your message is clearly outlined and you lead your people through the process of discovery, you will hold their attention. Your sermon must be going somewhere. You cannot merely give a number of assorted truths unrelated to each other. If your sermon lacks interest because it is disjointed, your people will lose interest.

If you are going to be a Bible expositor, forget the twenty- and thirty-minute sermons. You are looking at forty or fifty minutes. In any less than that, you can't exposit the Scripture. The purpose of a sermon is not to get it over, but rather to explain the Word of God. My goal is not accomplished because I am brief. My goal is accomplished when I am clear and I have exposited the Word of God.

Won’t people get bored if you preach too long in the same book?

I think people will be bored if you are boring. It is not related to how much time you spend in a book. As long as you are saying things that capture their interest and challenge their lives, they will not care what book you are in or for how long.

I think, however, that a balance is desirable. If you are preaching through a heavily doctrinal book like Romans or Hebrews, it is good to give your people a break from that periodically. If you are preaching through one of the Gospels, such may not be necessary. When I preached through Matthew over an eight-year period, I rarely felt the need to take a break. Matthew contains such a mixture of doctrinal passages, parables, and narrative passages that it changes pace frequently on its own.

At times, too, you will need to deal with a specific topic. You may find that people in your church are being influenced by an unbiblical teaching that you must combat. Or they may be confused over a Bible passage or a theological issue. Also, you may occasionally see a need to preach about the biblical view of a significant world event. In general, though, preaching through a book will not bore people if you are an interesting preacher. This is the purest form of expository preaching."

The Divine Rule of Life
Oswald Chambers

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

"Our Lord's exhortation in these verses is to be generous in our behaviour to all men. In the spiritual life beware of walking according to natural affinities. Everyone has natural affinities; some people we like and others we do not like. We must never let those likes and dislikes rule in our Christian life. "If we walk in the light as God is in the light," God will give us communion with people for whom we have no natural affinity.

The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect," show to the other man what God has shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God's interests in other people. "That ye love one another; as I have loved you . . ."

The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God's life in us expresses itself as God's life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God. When we come in contact with things that create a buzz, we find to our amazement that we have power to keep wonderfully poised in the centre of it all"


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Born Alive Survivor Targets Obama

"There is a powerful ad put out by a pro-life group called Born Alive Truth which features Gianna Jesson, who survived a saline abortion. The ad takes on Barack Obama for his opposition to Illinois' Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which was brought up to stop IL hospitals from leaving babies who actually survived their attempted abortions and were allowed to die.

Ed Morissey at Hot Air does not mince words at all on this issue. He says:

Make no mistake about this. Obama voted four times to protect this barbaric practice, even after hearing direct testimony from a witness about how babies were left to die from neglect after surviving their abortion. Obama worried more about the burden on the abortionists than he did about the child."

It was a few years ago that this survivor spoke at a church in our town. She has a powerful message. The rest of the article can be found here. And while I'm at it, here's a graphic you can distribute. Warning! -- it contains images of aborted babies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And Such Were Some of You

For those of you who haven't read it yet, singer Ray Boltz has announced he is a homosexual. Mike Ratliff over at Possessing the Treasure has a relevant perspective on this sad news.

Recent Chill could be Start of Longer Term Cooling, says Researcher

For the proponents of man-caused global warming, I'm sure it never seems to end:

"I recently came across a research report written by Don J. Easterbrook, a Professor of Geology at Western Washington University that explains his theory of global cooling, which he says began in 2002, was interupted by the El-Nino of 2005, and will continue, by his projections until 2040. For the whole time period of 2002-2040, he expects a drop in temperature of about 0.5 C. Curiously, his projection is only for the Northern Hemisphere. This article stood out to me simply because since the late 80's, 1988 in particular, we have been bombarded with media stories warning of the dangers of global warming. Our more experienced readers may remember that in the 70's, there were many an article about global cooling and even an impending return to ice age conditions. So, an article on global cooling in this day and age, which may be seen as being more appropriate 30 years ago, piqued my interest. . ."

The rest is here. . ..

At What Point Is It Complicity?

Ok. It's come to this. I have to put this out as an issue. I think it is that important.

There has been talk about Ray Comfort's speaking at conferences which includes "Word of Faith" leaders. Then there is Ravi Zacharias who is now becoming involved with Robert Schuller at "ReThink". But the issue I'm addressing here has become intensely personal. Here it is as follows:

It is no secret that my wife and I have been searching for a good church. You know, one that doesn't seek to entertain. One that doesn't play games with God's Word. One that sincerely serves the Lord and sits under a pastor who exposits God's Word.

I've heard it. You've heard it. You ask people about their church and they say "Well, our pastor preaches from the Bible. He uses the Bible". Note the word "uses". Yup. Lots of them do. To their shame.

Case in point:

Yesterday my wife and I sat in church and our pastor gave a "sermon". His launch pad was in 2 Corinthians 10, speaking of how we fight a spiritual battle. The main points were "We fight a spiritual battle. People are blinded by Satan. They can't be saved until they are given sight. See here in Matthew 12? Jesus drove out demons by binding Satan. We are to bind Satan. And if we pray believing enough, God has to do it because, after all, 'where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst. Also, 'whatever is bound on Earth is bound in Heaven. So if enough of us pray for someone, they will no longer be blinded and then can be saved!"

What utter rubbish! What plain old humanism! This clearly puts man in charge of the act of redemption, not our Sovereign God! Here a verse, there a verse. Everywhere a verse verse!

This pastor started with a decent premise. Yes, we do fight a spiritual battle. Yes, Satan does blind people to spiritual truth. However, in Matthew 12, Jesus was validating His ministry, not showing us a pattern to be followed. Furthermore, Matthew 18, the "two or more" verse, is a context of church discipline, as is the mention of ". . .where two or more are gathered in My Name".

What utter folly! How long are we to put up with such scripture twisting?

More importantly, the question becomes "As a Bible Believing, Regenerate Child of God, at what point am I personally responsible before the Lord for the teaching that comes from those who would call themselves my pastor or some other "teacher"?

It gets puzzling. Very puzzling. Especially when you know what's coming before you even walk in the building.

Yesterday, as we walked toward the front door of the church, my wife had to chide me for mumbling "I am not responsible for what the pastor says in his sermon. . .I am not responsible for what the pastor says in his sermon. . .I am not. . .". Yet, there comes, at one time or other, a certain sense of accountability for what is going on.

I've been wondering if there is someone who can draw a simple black and white cartoon that shows a hunched-over Christian, walking to the church door. A balloon over his head reciting the words I gave above, with the words "contemporary preaching" on the door. I'm serious! How many of us must be in the same situation!

Talk to the pastor? Doesn't answer emails. His home phone is answered by a modem or fax or something. Can't get him there. On the way out as you shake his hand with a line of people behind you? Not appropriate. Try to talk to him about anything at any other time? He always gives you a smile, a pat on the emotional back and a smile.

Let's cut to the chase. Each one of us is a priest in a kingdom of priests. A pastor is not some separate, untouchable elevated member of the kingdom. At what point are any one of us responsible before God for standing up, at least verbally, during the pastor's sermon and saying "Hold It! This Is Heresy! The Bible Doesn't Teach What You Are Saying! Please Shut Up And Sit Down!"

At what point do we become complicit in the pastor's error? At what point do we become an enabler to the pastor and complicit in his error by leading others in the pew to think that "all is ok" because we don't take a stand? At what point have we pulled a "Ray Comfort" or "Ravi Zacharias" in our own church?

How long do we have the liberty of silence? And at what point do we share in such abuse of Scripture out of "politeness"? At what point do we become responsible to "cleanse the temple"?

***Update*** To help keep the discussion focused, this is not about "just leave the church", or "Start your own". Sometimes you can't just change churches because there are not others in the area. Let's leave the topic of selling your home and moving for the sake of finding a good church for another post. The discussion I'm looking for is "At what point, if any, is it right and good before God to 'nail the theses to the wall'".

Eating Veggies (alone) Shrinks the Brain

We've all heard lots of jokes about Vegans and radical vegetarians. I haven't spread any of them, but here's a study covered by the Times of India about a study in Melbourne which reveals that a diet which is completely meatless may indeed be bad for you.

If true, this wouldn't be surprising. Remember, God created us as vegetarians but after the fall stipulated that meats were also included in our diet. The fall effected everything, including plant life. Could it be that something happened with plants that made them deficient in nutrients that now only meat can supply? Don't know. But it is an interesting premise.

The article is here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Shakespeare, Bo Peep, Dr. Seuss, and Biblical Preaching

If you're like me, you may well be frustrated over the lack of depth you hear from pulpits today. As I posted some time ago, my wife and I have renewed our search for a good church. It can be very frustrating, especially in a town of 35,000 such as ours.

There is an absolute lack of good expository preaching. Everything kept very shallow. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds but there is little being presented that can truly transform the mind of the believer because it lacks clarity and depth.

It was just this past week that I gave a pastor a copy of "The Existence and Attributes of God" by Stephen Charnock. I did this because he hadn't heard of Charnock (or Tozer, or. . .) and figured it might help him one way or another. His response? "It'll probably be just a waste of money, I don't do much reading". I gave it to him anyway with the hope that perhaps, just perhaps he'll see something that will get him thinking about some things.

Tragic though. Is it any wonder why true Christians starve while being served stones instead of loaves of bread?

In any case, TeamPyro has a post worthy of review which deals with issues like the above, or even worse. Check it out!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Obama's Slip: Reveals a deeper problem.

I'd like to thank Christian Worldview Network for picking up my previous post on the Obama lip slip. While I wasn't originally planning on commenting on the incident, I think I need to address a larger issue that surrounds this whole "I'm a Christian" claim by Obama or anyone else for that matter.

The issue I'm speaking of has to do with the watering down of the meaning of "Christian".

If you go to any given blog discussing Obama's claim to be a Christian, you'll invariably find the argument (express or implied) that Obama makes a claim to be a Christian, therefore he is one. If you go look at the poll threads at WorldNetDaily, you'll run into this.

Let's remove Obama from the mix. It's not about Obama. It's about what the Bible teaches. And the Bible gives us certain criteria to test the profession of faith from another individual. Note: this is not a standard I or someone else set up, it is God's standard.

Read the first epistle of John. There are a number of tests offered to the first century readers to help them separate the true converts from the false. At the time, the Gnostics were causing confusion theologically in the newly started Body of Christ.

One of the key tests that John said could be used to separate the wheat from the tares is the confession of Jesus as the Christ. This doesn't mean just saying the name of Jesus Christ and making some intellectual nod at Him. It means to continually (through your life) confess Jesus as Messiah, or "Annointed One". God come in human flesh. And, as John said "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?"

Indeed. Seems important to me. And it rightly should, for this is God's Word.

Again, it's not an issue of just standing up and saying at one time that "Jesus is the Christ". It's a pattern of life. It's ongoing. And it is a sign of a regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the scriptures tell us that it is impossible to confess (as a pattern of life) Jesus as Lord except those who have been born of God.

Other tests? The test of love for fellow believers. Sure, we love all people but especially those who are believers. Then there is the test of purity. A person who really has trusted in Christ will show it in an increasingly holy life.

So, who are the real Christians? Those who openly confess with their lives that Jesus is the Messiah, the "Annointed One", the rightful God of the Universe Who came in human flesh. A person who has sincere sacrificial love for other believers and one who "purifies himself even as Christ is pure".

Look around. Who is doing this? Who isn't doing this?

Now, with regard to Obama. I will post here what I left as a comment somewhere else:

1. Lip Slips tend to reveal what has been hidden.

2. This is especially true of personally held beliefs. "From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).

3. It is unfathomable to me for someone who is born of God to lip slip as Obama did about "my Muslim faith", just as it is unfathomable to me to imagine a Muslim saying something like "my Christian faith". No. Don't think so. Possible, I suppose, but I don't think so. However . . .

4. Compounding this was that his interviewer had to correct him. Almost instantaneously. So, this had to be pointed out to him. It's not like he said "my mus- excuse me, Christian faith". No. he said what he said and it sat there until George Stephanopoulos corrected him.

5. If Barak Obama is really a Christian (as he claims) then let him openly and consistently claim Jesus Christ as Messiah, God come in human flesh. Of course, Islam would call that blasphemy. But to a real Christian, that is not an issue.

In summation, and to the point, what bothers me isn't so much that Barak Obama might be a Muslim. What bothers me most is the ease at which he (and others) can make the claim - - - and be believed - - - in spite of what the Scriptures teach. And this is a sad commentary on the legacy of "evangelicalism" in America.


Just found this over at One News Now. It's a comment in a thread there. While it is not all worded as I'd say it, I find it interesting in light of my third point (above):

""Please PLease! We as christians need to pray, pray! I hope you all saw the interview Sunday when George Stef had ask him about people refuting his faith.And he made a slip of the tongue. "Ah,ah, my muslim faith" George quickly corrected him"You mean your christian.....he replied" christian faith" When a person is truly a born again christian, your christian faith is the most important thing in your life! NO christian would make a slip of the tongue that slanderous about themselves if it wasn't true! I don't understand why people continue to defend him on this just because he says he is a christian. Well people lie everyday about everything to make themselves look better to the public.And he is not above lying!"" (Empasis mine). -tb

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Obama's Faith is What???
A slip of the lip. . .

This is not a political blog. However, every once in a while something happens that I just have to point out. I just found this at WorldNetDaily. The video is immediately below.

Follow the link to WorldNetDaily, watch the video and decide for yourself. . .

I would only add that here at the 'Fly, we support Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And in light of the topic at hand, it would be appropriate to ask "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?"

On Making the Uncommon Common

I knew it was coming. Mom has been emptying out her home of all the extra things that are there since my dad died two years ago this coming November. Giving away old books of his that I remember even from childhood. I helped her take some of them to the library for donation. . .after I sorted a few out of course.

But she's also suggesting that I take home a little of this and a little of that. Things that dad owned for decades. I hated to do this because, even at my age, the items he had are kind of, well, larger than life while they are in that house that he built at age 82. It's "separate" from a kind of "commonness" and as long as I don't bring them home as "mine", the legends continue to live.

But last night I gave in. Mom said something about dad's now nearly thirty year old 35mm camera and all the lenses. And there was also the nearly 20' leather bull whip dad bought in the summer of 1965 on our drive down Route 66 to Los Angeles for the International Lion's Club convention.

I brought all that stuff home last night. And I sat there remembering dad and all the memories. The fun he had with the bull whip and how we'd all tried mastering that thing. My brother, who died 40 years ago this past March, was one of them. Dad would use it for gags when he was president of the local lions club. (You could say he was a motivator).

There is a "largeness" to "dad's stuff". It's a kind of a feeling and a reminder that "I don't think I can fill those shoes".

But what I hate and fear worse than "not being able to fill his shoes" is allowing these special things that he owned to become "common". For example, about a year ago mom gave me dad's watch. I've been wearing it since. It's not expensive. It's just an "Indiglo" watch. But it was dad's. Lately, I've noticed that it is becoming more a regular part of my life and less of the watch that I saw them remove from my dad's wrist before they gave him the morphine that helped him relax just a few hours before he left this Earth.

All those things, removed from their original context, eventually take on a "smallness". Familiarity does indeed breed contempt. What was "bigger than life" and "uncommon" can easily become routine and less valuable to us.

Now, of course you know that I don't post things just to post things. Also, I don't believe in focusing on Earthly things. And you know I don't post about my dad just to post about my dad, who is now with the Lord. So let me get from my illustration to my greater point. How often do we take the "uncommon" things of God, "bring them home", then begin to reduce them from their "otherness" to a "commonness"?

We talk about revering God's Word, but all too often there is a "commonness" to it. We talk so glibly about "our walk with the Lord" but all too often we're just filling the empty air with comfortable noise.

We preach about evangelism but rarely do it. The urgency is gone. It's become part of our domain. "Something we believe" and only once had a passion for. Pastors "preach" about reaching out to the lost but you wonder if they mean it and those in the church nod their heads in agreement and then go on to other things.

Familiarity breeds contempt. Lukewarmness sets in.

There should be an abiding "specialness" about spreading the news of the One Who died for us. We have the most wonderful, transforming news that anyone could share but are we sharing it? Or have we put it all up on a shelf with other "momentos" so we can give them an occasional nod?

My dad died on November 11th, 2006. And at one time the things he left me and were passed down to me had a very pointed "specialness" to them. But that deminishes.

But even greater than that, Jesus Christ died on cross about 2000 years ago. He was buried and raised from the dead on the third day for my justification as well as yours and showed himself to hundreds of witnesses. For those of us who know Him, He gave us His Spirit. And He has given us a commission.

Has it all become "just a common thing"? Have the things that once were the center of our lives become part of the periphery?

To be continued . . .

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Diffusiveness of Life
Oswald Chambers

"Rivers of living water." John 7:38

A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fulness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow - "This is the work of God that ye believe. . . ." God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.

A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source. Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up marvellous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.