Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The obsessive skier is deeply saddened by the tragic shooting death of Eldora's general manager Brian Mahon at Eldora Mountain Resort yesterday.
For more details, visit the Boulder Daily Camera.
Please join me in praying for the families of both the victim, Brian Mahon, and the shooter, Derik Bonestroo. Pray also for Sheriff's Deputy John Seifert as he recovers from injuries received in a gunbattle with Mr. Bonestroo along the Peak-to-Peak highway yesterday.
Skiers are used to the conflict between mankind and nature. The adventure of "Man vs. Mountain" is what skiing is all about, along with family, friendship and shared experiences outdoors.
But skiers are not used to this kind of conflict between man and man. Yesterday's tragedy at Eldora shows how our sin is rooted deeply in human nature, and Mr. Bonestroo's sinful action reveals the condition of depraved human hearts like ours. Jesus said "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander..." (Matthew 15:19; cf. Matthew 7:14-19)
How can one make sense of real human tragedies like this? Having a biblical, Christian worldview is the only means of making sense of this fallen, broken, dangerous world that we now find ourselves in.
We must have answers to questions like these:
Why do bad things happen to good people?
What does the existence of evil say about God's existence and character?
How can God expect us to draw closer to him when he hurts us?
On Sunday, January 11th, the obsessive skier will be preaching at Christchurch and providing a set of biblical, Christian answers for you to consider. Please join us at 10:30am at Superior Elementary School.
Monday, December 29, 2008
LIBERTY, Utah - In parts of Weber County, Utah, residents have received more than 70 inches of snow in just 10 days, but they're not complaining.
Head into the small, peaceful town of Liberty and you're sure to pass Pat Foley's house, that is, if you can see it behind all the snow.
"I've done nothing but plow for the last week," resident Pat Foley said.
Foley got so tired of trying to keep up with the snowfall, he decided to call his buddy, Gregg Chambers.
Resident Gregg Chambers said: "I love it. This is what I do."
Chambers owns his own snow removal business, and after 70 inches of snow falling in Liberty in just the past week and a half, business has been good.
"We run 14 hours every day," said Chambers.
And the thing is, long-time Liberty residents don't consider all the snow deep, yet.
Pat Foley said: "This winter is looking like if it keeps up, it's going to match last winter."
Last winter, the snow was so deep, horses could just walk over their fences. This year, it's almost like that again.
Even deer are having a tough time getting through all the snow.
Residents definitely need something big to get rid of all this snow.
"You have to be a lot healthier than me to try and tackle it with a shovel," Foley said.
Liberty isn't the easiest place to live during the winter, but for Foley and other longtime residents, that's the point.
"It keeps the flatlanders and tourists out. You know, One winter up here and they're gone," Foley said.
Chambers said: "This is the greatest place to live. I mean, this is the Garden of Eden. Eden, Liberty, Huntsville, perfect. You gotta love the snow."
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"Joy Has Dawned upon the World"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2004 Thankyou Music
Joy has dawned upon the world,
Promised from creation—
God's salvation now unfurled,
Hope for ev'ry nation.
Not with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love—
Jesus born of Mary.
Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Cling now to a mother's breast,
Vuln'rable and helpless.
Shepherds bow before the Lamb,
Gazing at the glory;
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold—a King is born today,
Incense—God is with us,
Myrrh—His death will make a way,
And by His blood He'll win us.
Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom;
Reconciling God and man,
Christ, our mighty champion!
What a Savior! What a Friend!
What a glorious myst'ry!
Once a babe in Bethlehem,
Now the Lord of hist'ry.
Click here to purchase this sheet music
Click here to find more lyrics
Thanks to Mike DeVries for introducing me to this great Christmas Hymn!
Many thanks to my friend Travis for taking these photos.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Someone again built the giant snowman in Billy Powers' front yard in an east Anchorage neighborhood. Snowzilla reappeared before dawn Tuesday.
Powers is not taking credit. When questioned Tuesday afternoon, he insisted Snowzilla just somehow happened, again.
For the last three years, Snowzilla - to the delight of some and the chagrin of others - has been a very large feature in Powers' yard. In 2005, Snowzilla rose 16 feet. He had a corncob pipe and a carrot nose and two eyes made out of beer bottles.
This year, Snowzilla is estimated to be 25 feet tall. He's wearing a black stovepipe hat and scarf.
"Have you seen him?" Powers asked when reached by telephone at his home, the sound of excited children in the background. "He's handsome."
Snowzilla has consistently risen outside Powers' modest home. His children - he is the father of seven - collected snow from neighbors' yards to make the snowman big enough. Each year, Snowzilla got a bit bigger.
Not everybody in the neighborhood liked all the cars and visitors who came to see him.
City officials this year deemed Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard. A cease-and-desist order was issued. The city tacked a public notice on Powers' door.
City officials said the structure increased traffic to the point of endangerment and that the snowman itself was unsafe.
The mayor's office on Tuesday issued a statement defending its move against Snowzilla.
"This property owner has repeatedly ignored city attempts to find ways to accommodate his desire to build a giant snowman without affecting the quiet, residential quality of the neighborhood," said the statement from Mayor Mark Begich's office. "This is a neighborhood of small homes on small lots connected by small streets. It can't support the volume of traffic and revelers that are interested in Snowzilla."
The mayor's office says Powers appears to run a large junk and salvage operation from his home. He has violated land use codes for 13 years, the city said. He owes the city more than $100,000 in fines and other assessments.
Powers said it is the city that has been difficult, not him.
"I have tried to jump through every goofy hoop they have sent to me. I have never been confrontational and it goes on and on and on and it is so goofy," he said. "Some of it is unfounded, some is just outrageous."
The city said it did not expect to take any further action until after Christmas.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
From "Contemplating Christmas" by George Whitefield (p.12):
"What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read that the King of kings and Lord of lords came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent. This, this is a history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about: and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us to prayer, that we might have an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ; that the blood which he spilt upon Mount Calvary, and his death and crucifixion, might make an atonement for our sins, that we might be made holy; that we might be enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, even the Lord Jesus Christ; that we may throw away the heavy yoke of sin, and put on the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of him? Shall we spend our time in those things which are offensive to him? Shall we not rather do all we can to promote his glory and act according to his command?"
"O my dear brethren, be found in the ways of God; let us not disturb our dear Redeemer by an irregular proceedings; and let me beseech you to strive to love, fear, honor, and obey him, more than ever you have done yet; let not the devil engross your time, and that dear Savior who came into the world on your accounts have so little. O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do not abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come."
Taken from "The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of all Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas," sermon (16) by George Whitefield, in Selected Sermons of George Whitefield.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thanks to Kairos Journal for originally posting this article.
In 1708, Daniel Defoe, best-known as the author of Robinson Crusoe, declared that, having been present at many English elections, he had come to the conclusion that “it is not an impossible thing to debauch this nation into a choice of thieves, knaves, devils, anything, comparatively speaking, by the power of various intoxications.”1 This reference to bribery at election time followed the publication, seven years earlier, of a pamphlet by Defoe exposing the fact that there was a group of traders in the city of London (“stock-jobbers”) whose regular business it was to buy and sell seats in Parliament—the then market price being 1,000 guineas.2 These were publicly advertised for sale in the newspapers.
The purchase of votes inside and outside Parliament had actually started on a systematic scale in the previous century—notably during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) and continuing into the subsequent reigns of James II (1685-1688) and William and Mary (1688-1702).3 By the early decades of the 18th century, especially during the administration of Britain’s first real prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole (1721-1742), bribery and corruption were endemic within the British political system. It is famously reported that on one occasion, scanning a gathering of Members of Parliament (MPs), Walpole observed: “All these men have their price.”4
Why should both the electorate and their political representatives have been so easy to bribe in those days? Part of the answer lies in the moral exhaustion and decay that overtook the English governing classes after the bitter and violent religious and constitutional struggles of the 16th and 17th centuries. After years of mutual persecution between Protestants and Catholics; Anglicans and Nonconformists; and Royalists and Parliamentarians, the leading classes of English society longed for nothing more than peace, pleasure, and prosperity. And with an established church which did little to provide Christian teaching,5 they cynically preferred self-advancement to moral principles. At the same time, the British monarchy, no longer able to rule alone without Parliament, had to find means by which to “manage” Parliament, and particularly the House of Commons,6 in order to obtain its support for the smooth operation of government. That meant buying the votes of MPs and even bishops in the House of Lords7 through the distribution of all kinds of jobs and handouts. And the restriction of the franchise to wealthy property owners (rich merchants and the landed gentry) resulted in a very small and hence potentially corruptible electorate: the fewer the voters, the greater the bribes that could be shared out amongst them.
Under this system, government in 18th-century Britain effectively became a joint-stock company in which men invested in the hope of dividends. “Sometimes it was possible to draw up a neat balance-sheet. Thus, the Duke of Chandos spent £14,0008 in four years bribing the King’s [George II] German ministers and one of his mistresses; in return he got a peerage for his father, the Deanery of Carlisle for his brother, and a court position for his son.”9 And whilst in power, apart from securing honors and sinecures totaling about £15,000 a year for his own sons, Walpole also procured for himself a title (Earl of Orford) and a pension of £4,000 a year.10 The great Whig families who supported him accordingly expected and got their “rewards.”
Bribery and corruption were so much part of Walpole’s time in office that one commentator has referred to it as “putrid to the bone.”11 But in the nineteenth century a remarkable change came over the lands as the spreading Christian influence of the great Methodist revival gradually cleansed and renewed British politics of the worst excesses of bribery and corruption, and the British Parliament became known increasingly as a model of decency and decorum.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Koine = common (Koine Greek is the particular type of ancient Greek used in the New Testament)
Thanks to the guys at BIOLA who put this video together. I chuckled when I first watched it.
BIOLA = Bible Institute Of Los Angeles (clever, huh?)
Update on my nerdiness: I just ordered Daniel Wallace's recent ETS lectures on New Testament Textual Criticism.
ETS = Evangelical Theological Society
Tired of the code words and abbreviations yet?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
"We frequently pray that God will not forsake us in our hours of trials and tests. We need, however, to use this prayer all the time. There is not a moment in our life that we can do without His constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in fellowship or in temptation, we need to pray, 'Do not forsake me, O LORD.' 'Hold me up and I shall be safe.' (Psalm 119:117) A little child learning to walk needs the hand of her mother. The ship without a captain drifts from its course. We cannot make it without continued aid from above.
Pray, 'Do not forsake me, O LORD.' Father, do not forsake your child, or I will fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, do not forsake your lamb, or I will wanter from the safety of the fold. Great Vineyard Keeper, do not leave your plant, or I will wither and die. 'Do not for sake me, O LORD,' now or at any moment in my life.
Do not forsake me in my joys, lest the fully engage my heart. Don not forsake me in my sorrow, lest I murmur against You. Do not forsake me during repentance, lest I lost the hope of pardon and fall into despair. Do not forsake me in the days of my strongest faith, lest my faith degenerate into presumption.
Do not forsake me. Without You I am weak; with You I am strong. Do not forsake me. My path is dangerous and full of snares. I desperately need your guidance.
The hen does not forsake her chickens. Cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings I will take refuge (Psalm 91:4) 'Be not far from me. Trouble is near and there is none to help' (Psalm 22:11). "Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation' (Psalm 27:9). Amen."
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
On June 17, 1932, the noted New Testament scholar and founder of Westminster Theological Seminary, J. Gresham Machen delivered three addresses to the Bible League at Caxton Hall, Westminster, London. His remarks were first published under the title of The Importance of Christian Scholarship. His analysis of the purpose of teaching and the need for hard work are enduring lessons.
There was a time when the raising of the question as to the importance of Christian scholarship might have seemed to be ridiculous; there was a time when a man who does so much talking as a minister or a Sunday School teacher does, . . . in the propagation of the faith to which he adheres, would have regarded it as a matter of course that he ought to know something about the subject of which he undertakes to talk.
But in recent years we have got far beyond all such elementary considerations as that; modern pedagogy has emancipated us, whether we are in the pulpit or in the professor’s chair or in the pew, from anything so irksome as earnest labor in the acquisition of knowledge. It never seems to occur to many modern teachers that the primary business of the teacher is to study the subject that he is going to teach. Instead of studying the subject that he is going to teach, he studies “education”; a knowledge of the methodology of teaching takes the place of a knowledge of the particular branch of literature, history, or science to which a man has devoted his life.
This substitution of methodology for content in the preparation of the teacher is based upon a particular view of what education is. It is based upon the view that education consists primarily not in the imparting of information, but in a training of the faculties of the child; that the business of the teacher is not to teach, but to develop in the child a faculty which will enable the child to learn.
This child-centered notion of education seems to involve emancipation from a vast amount of drudgery. It used to be thought necessary to do some hard work at school. When a textbook was given to a class, it was expected that the contents of the textbook should be mastered. But now all that has been changed. Storing up facts in the mind was a long and painful process, and it is indeed comforting to know that we can now do without it. Away with all drudgery and all hard work! Self-expression has taken their place. A great pedagogic discovery has been made—the discovery that it is possible to think with a completely empty mind.
It cannot be said that the results of the discovery are impressive. This child-centered notion of education has resulted, particularly in America, where it has been most ruthlessly applied, in a boundless superficiality of which we Americans certainly have little reason to be proud; but it has probably not been confined to America by any means. I wonder when we shall have that revival of learning which we so much need, and which I verily believe might be, in the providence of God, as was the Renaissance of the fifteenth century, the precursor of a reformation in the church. When that revival of learning comes, we may be sure that it will sweep away the present absurd over-emphasis upon methodology in teaching at the expense of content. We shall never have a true revival of learning until teachers turn their attention away from the mere mental processes of the child, out into the marvelous richness and variety of the universe and of human life. Not teachers who have studied the methodology of teaching but teachers who are on fire with a love of the subjects that they are going to teach are the real torch-bearers of intellectual advance.1
J. Gersham Machen, “Christian Scholarship and Evangelism,” in Selected Shorter Writings, ed. D. G. Hart (1932; reprint, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2004), 135-137.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Double-click on the image of the chart to see a larger version.
Jesus said in Luke 16:9 - "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings."
Monday, December 8, 2008
"Here is a three-second experience that might encourage you.
I was sitting at my desk slowly reading and praying over Job 29 and 30. The thought came over me that at this moment I am pain-free. In fact, I feel very good. I feel warm and content. Almost cozy. As if in a blanket by a fire on a cold evening with a good book and a friend.
The next thought that came over me—came over is what I mean—was that this pain-free euphoria will not last. My back pain will increase. My joints will stiffen. My eyes will grow dim. My hearing will become more muffled. My memory will weaken. My mind will slow down. My balance will make me stumble. And warm moments like this will decrease to the point where there is only discomfort interrupted with pain.
For a split second there was a deep and threatening sense of loss. A kind of nostalgic sorrow. Not fear, but sadness. The thought of never having these moments again was like a deep ache. But this sense of loss was more of an echo than a sound in its own right. As soon as it came it was fading away.
In its place, came over me—and this too was fleeting, as much as I wanted it to stay—a conquering and freeing sense of what would be true after death. Its primary effect (as odd as this sounds) was to make me feel free from shame at possible ridicule from unbelievers in moments of personal evangelism. This was all within seconds. It was like a fleeting spiritual taste of heaven and the resurrection.
I saw and felt, as through a clicking camera shutter, everlasting pain-free life. Everlasting warmth. Everlasting guilt-free days. Everlasting friendship with the most interesting and caring Person in the universe. Everlasting expectancy, as on a child’s Christmas morning. Everlasting amazement, as at the first sight of the Himalayas. Everlasting tension-free relationships where everyone knows that everyone will take what is said in the true way. Everlasting calamity-free enjoyment of everything good, without any danger of idolatry, because the Source of all good is loved above all.
All this happened in about three seconds.
The taste that is left (poorly recorded here) is strong enough to make me pray: O Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit on me and my family and my church, so that the reality of heaven and the resurrection and the new earth will be known and spiritually seen—if only through shutter speeds of illumination—that in this hope we will be the most anxiety-free, regret-free, grumbling-free, selfishness-free witnesses to the greatness of Christ the world has ever known."
And the obsessive skier/pastor says: "Amen!"
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Austria's Benjamin Raich took top honors today at the 2008 Audi Birds of Prey World Cup Giant Slalom followed by American Ted Ligety and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal.
Ligety was the only American to place in the top three at the 2008 Birds of Prey while Svindal's third place finished marked his third podium of the event.
Mark your calendars now for the 2009 Audi Birds of Prey... December 4-6, 2009.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Congratulations to Aksel Lund Svindal on back to back 1st place finishes at the FIS World Cup Races in Beaver Creek this week. Yesterday - 1st Place in Downhill. Today - 1st Place in Super G.
PS: The Hermanator was back today with a strong 2nd place finish.
PPS: Bode Miller finished the race today. 14th place.
> Football match Christmas ad
> Horse racing Christmas ad
Why not be part of the action, at church, this Christmas!?! www.ourchristchurch.org
Anyone out there willing to work with me to but some airtime on KBCO this month? :-) Seriously, let's do it!
Frankie Hipwell-Larkin, from Portsmouth, UK, won CAN's first prize of £500 for his video, Speedy Christmas, which tells the story of the Nativity at breakneck speed. Hear Frankie talk about his video on Radio 4's Today programme.
Don't miss the third place finisher... Will you marry me? by John Crowley from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Visit CAN's page and scroll down to the yahoo audio file on the right side.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Congratulations to our Norwegian friend Aksel for his strong recovery after his season ending crash here on the Birds of Prey course in 2007.
Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein came in 2nd, and Canadian Erik Guay finished 3rd.
The Austrians and Swiss put up strong team totals today, as usual, but did not place a finisher in the top 3.
Congratulations also to American skier Steve Nyman on his very strong 7th place finish, just .72 second behind Aksel, the Norwegian winner.
Bode Miller did not finish the race, disappointing his US fans, but that's his style...going for broke, winning some, losing some, and doing it all "his way."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
May I never fail to come to the knowledge of the truth,
never rest in a system of doctrine,
that does not bring or further salvation,
or teach me to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,
or help me to live soberly, righteously, godly;
never rely on my own convictions and resolutions,
but be strong in thee and in thy might;
never cease to find grace sufficient in all my duties, trials and conflicts;
never forget to repair to thee in all my spiritual distresses and outward troubles,
in all the dissatisfactions experienced in creature comforts;
never fail to retreat to him who is full of grace and truth,
the friend that loveth at all times,
who is touched with feelings of my infirmities,
and can do exceeding abundantly for me;
never confine my religion to extraordinary occasions,
but acknowledge thee in all my ways;
never limit my devotions to particular seasons but be in thy fear all the day long;
never by godly only on the sabbath or in thy house,
but on every day abroad and at home;
never may piety a dress but a habit,
not only a habit but a nature,
not only a nature but a life.
Do good to me by all thy dispensations,
by all means of grace,
by worship, prayers, praises,
And at last let me enter that world where is no temple,
but only thy glory and the Lamb's.
By the way, what an astonishing world we live in! He gets a shave, we get a joke, and it is all so easy to communicate across the globe...
* In case you were wondering, my second favorite coffee shop is Super Joe, next to Old Chicago in Superior at McCaslin & US36, in the same building as Superior Liquor, across from the Ice Rink. Not only do they serve high-quality, fair-trade coffees and teas, but they also have great lunch specials. And best of all...great desserts! Try the hermits. Mmmmmmm!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
This month at Christchurch, I'm preaching a series of sermons from the first two chapters of the gospel of Luke. Hermie (Remember him? He wants to be a dentist...) serves as a bit of inspiration this time of year.
12.7.08 - Zechariah & Elizabeth
12.14.08 - Joseph & Mary
12.21.08 - Angels & Shepherds
12.28.08 - Simeon & Anna
Come and worship God with us this Sunday. You'll be glad you did.
This year’s Crossway Lecture at ETS was presented by G. K. Beale. Beale argued that Inerrancy is not a scholastic theological deduction made by interpreters of the Bible, but rather that it is an exegetical observation of a theological deduction that at least one biblical author has already made within the text of the Bible itself. Citing the logic of innerancy:
- God is true and trustworthy, and he never lies, deceives, or makes mistakes.
- The Bible is God’s revelation of himself.
- Therefore the Bible never lies, deceives, or makes mistakes.
Beale argued that John has already made this argument and drawn this conclusion for us in the book of Revelation. The gist of Beale’s argument went like this:
Revelation 3:14 presents Jesus identifying himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness.”
Later in Revelation an angel commands John to “Write,” and then the angel declares to John, “These are the true words of God” (Rev 19:9).
Later still in Revelation the one “who was seated on the throne” commands John, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true” (Rev 21:5).
And again we read in Revelation 22:6 that an angel says to John, “These words are faithful and true.”
From this string of verses, Beale argued that John has presented to his audience the very logic of inerrancy:
- Jesus is the faithful and true witness, revealing what God has given him to show his servants.
- John is commanded to write the faithful and true words of God.
- Therefore the words that John has written are also faithful and true.
Beale then argued that based on the inter-textual connections between Revelation 3:14 and Isaiah 65:16, and based on the claims made in other texts in the Bible (such as Ps 119:137-42, and cf. Ps 119:103 with Rev 10:9-10) this logic is not limited to the book of Revelation.
I thought the presentation was compelling, and in my view it adds to the evidence supporting the position that the inerrancy of the Bible is not some foreign theological abstraction imposed on the Bible from the outside. Rather, Beale has demonstrated that the inerrancy of the Bible is an inductive, exegetical conclusion that arises from the claims the Bible makes about itself.
Beale has also given us an important new book on the inerrancy of the Bible, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority.
Herein Beale takes on significant questions that have been raised in recent days regarding the world-picture/cosmology that is presented in the OT and the suggestions that the OT authors have assumed “mythological” elements of their cultural heritage, and many other issues. Beale is characteristically meticulous, careful, thorough, and biblical.
This is an important book that comes at a significant time.
The word of the Lord will stand forever, and we can thank G. K. Beale for helping us think carefully about how to resist the forces that would chip away at our confidence in the Bible’s reliability.