Friday, January 30, 2009


Watch the ad that NBC is refusing to air during the SuperBowl. Imagine your kids and grandkids growing up in a world with no need for anti-"choice" ads like this. Imagine a world where a culture of life has gained the victory over the culture of death. God can make that happen. Let's pray that he does, and join with him in the work of His kingdom.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Be Courageous, Mr. President

This obsessiveskier/pastor could not agree more with John Piper's comments in this video.

15 Truths About Abortion

"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - Jesus Christ

1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother's womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15.Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

© Desiring God

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Run, Sheep, Run!

Over the past few years, this graphic has become a regular feature at Later today, Ted Haggard will be interviewed during a pre-recorded episode of Oprah Winfrey's TV show. Tomorrow evening, the story of Ted Haggard's fall from grace will be retold in an HBO documentary produced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Alexandra.

And on top of all that, even more scandalous revelations of his behavior have gone public this week at Ted Haggard's story has become a truly haggard, ugly story. The public telling and re-telling of credible accounts of his methamphetamine-fueled acts of adulterous homosexual immorality are bringing immense public shame on Jesus' church.

This shame is proving to be well-deserved as the tragic case of Ted Haggard continues to unfold in the media. The sex-abuse scandals are no longer just the problem of our Roman Catholic friends. This scourge has infected our evangelical churches too.

The hypocrisy of these pastoral betrayal stories is staggering. These stories should be told and re-told.

And so I will briefly retell this story here:

While holding the offices of President of the National Association of Evangelicals and Senior Pastor at Colorado Springs' mega-New Life Church, Ted Haggard was leading an astonishingly deceitful secret life of sin. Investigative reports by Denver's NBC affliliate have led to Haggard's removal from the church and removal from organizational leadership at the NAE.

Then came the settlements, confidentiality agreements, and repeated damage-control sermons by the successor pastors each time a new account of Mr. Haggard's sin was revealed. Among the people of New Life Church, hearts are broken and heads are spinning. God's people at New Life Church have suffered not only this extreme pastoral betrayal and it's indignity, but they are also still grieving the murders of their fellow worshippers in a Lord's Day shooting that happened not long after Haggard's removal.

Even from 90 miles away, we can see the sheep scattering. Is New Life Church a safe place for God's sheep? Sadly, it doesn't look like it. This shepherd thinks they should run and find a new flock under new shepherds.

Why couldn't New Life Church recognize the behavior of this sexual predator? For what good reason would a pastor travel to the casino town of Cripple Creek with no one accompanying him but an impressionable young man who was struggling with his sexual identity? Why would a pastor repeatedly travel to Denver by himself and tell no one what he was doing? To whom was Ted Haggard accountable? How could Haggard's fellow church leaders not see this happening over so many years? Was no one willing to question him about the holes in his schedule? Not even his wife? Furthermore, has there been any repentance or reformation among Haggard's co-leaders for their negligence in this case? These unanswered questions are evidence that the church culture at New Life had ignored the Bible's teaching about the church as a covenant community of believers. Churches run by unaccountable pastors can be very dangerous places.

For their spiritual and physical safety, the sheep at New Life Church should leave and find a new church home.

But what will happen to them if they just continue to scatter? Sheep are meant to be in flocks. When a sheep runs off by itself, it's not long before it gets eaten by a wolf. And there are many varieties of wolves in Colorado.

God has spoken about the shepherds of His people who feed their appetites at the expense of His sheep. Read Ezekiel chapter 34 and take heart:

Ezekiel 34:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.

25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. 30 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.”

Lord God, thank you for keeping me from following Ted Haggard and others down the path of radical pastoral hypocrisy and betrayal. There but for the grace of God go I. As you and the people in my church can attest, I am by no means a sinless man. I know my own sin, and I also know the power of your Holy Spirit in me to give me victory over sin. Keep me close to you, Lord God. Show me how to shepherd your people like your servant David, whom you promised, and like great David's greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, who fulfills all your promises for us. Lord God, give all of your people in all of your churches shepherds according to your promise in Jeremiah 3:15: "‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding" For your glory and the sake of your name, please act. Continue the work of revival and reformation among your pastors here in Colorado. Let it begin with me and the pastors I am in fellowship with, and all those in our churches. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snow Sculptures in Breckenridge

Good times in Breck these days. Check out all the details of the Budweiser Select International Snow Sculpting Championships here.

Chinese Netizens Unite!

Chinese-speaking internet-users now outnumber English-speaking internet-users, according to this AP article.

How will this change the world over the next 25 years?

Only God knows, but I'll bet the changes will be profound.

How will this affect human rights in China? Will free-speech, religious liberty and the right to life become more highly valued in Chinese society as more and more Chinese gain access to the rest of the world via the internet? Will these new internet-users allow their government to continue to filter the content they can access? Is free and unhindered internet-access becoming a worldwide human right? Will the continued growth of Christianity in China have any impact in these areas?

I think the answers to these questions will depend on what Chinese men, particularly Chinese Christian men, do with the internet. Will China become a nation of tribalized, porn-addicted, video-gamers like us? My prayer for this generation of Chinese-speaking netizens is that they will not, so that their lives, their great country, and the world can be better because of the choices they make. Let's pray for them. May Chinese "netizens" unite via the internet in a cause that is greater than their own entertainment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ski Horror!

THIS is the obsessive skier's worst nightmare:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Word of the Day: Grapple

"Grapple" is the obsessive skier's word of the day.

Grapple is round hail-like pellets of snow (soft not hard) usually falling from grey clouds when it feels like is might rain in the winter.

Grapple is not to be confused with "Grapples" (pronounced "grape-les"), the grape-flavored apples which you may find in your produce aisle at odd times.

Thank you, Mike Darrah, for expanding the obsessive skier's vocabulary!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Word of the Day: Sastrugi

"Sastrugi" is the obsessive skier's word of the day.

Sastrugi are ridges of snow formed when wind erodes and drifts the snow. Sometimes the wind undercuts a drift and what is left are beautiful and interesting sastrugi such as these. (Photographs courtesy of Ken Knowles, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.)

Thank you, Mike Darrah, for expanding the obsessive skier's vocabulary!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pray for President Obama

Please join with me in prayer for our nation's new Chief Executive. Al Mohler has given us a great example of how to pray for Barack Obama in this blog entry.

The God of the Inaugural Address

This Bible was used by President Jimmy Carter when he was in the Oval Office. It is now sitting in his presidential library.

Kairos Journal recounts how the elected presidents have honored God on the solemn occasion of their inauguration:2

George Washington (1789) “that Almighty Being . . . whose providential aids can supply every human defect ”; John Adams (1797) “to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service”; Thomas Jefferson (1801) “And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best”; James Madison (1809) “the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being”; James Monroe (1817) “fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection”; John Quincy Adams (1825) “knowing that ‘except the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain’”3; Andrew Jackson (1833) “that He will so overrule all my intentions and actions and inspire the hearts of my fellow-citizens that we may be preserved from dangers”; Martin Van Buren (1837) “the Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit”; William Henry Harrison (1841) “a profound reverence for the Christian religion”; James K. Polk (1845) “to guard this Heaven-favored land against the mischiefs which without His guidance might arise from an unwise public policy”; Zachary Taylor (1849) “prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country”; Franklin Pierce (1853) “no national security but in the nation’s humble, acknowledged dependence upon God”; James Buchanan (1857) “humbly invoking the blessing of Divine Providence”; Abraham Lincoln (1861) “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land”; Ulysses S. Grant (1869) “I ask the prayers of the nation to Almighty God”; Rutherford B. Hayes (1877) “Looking for the guidance of that Divine Hand”; James A. Garfield (1881) “invoke the support and blessings of Almighty God”; Grover Cleveland (1885) “humbly acknowledging the power and goodness of Almighty God”; Benjamin Harrison (1889) “God has placed upon our head a diadem and has laid at our feet power and wealth . . . But we must not forget . . .”; William McKinley (1897) “no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers . . . as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps”; Theodore Roosevelt (1905) “with gratitude to the Giver of Good”; William Howard Taft (1909) “the aid of the Almighty God”; Woodrow Wilson (1913) “I pray God I may be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty”; Warren G. Harding (1921) “ ‘What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’”4; Calvin Coolidge (1925) “armed, not with the sword, but with the cross”; Herbert Hoover (1929) “I ask the help of Almighty God”; Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1945) “we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly . . . to the achievement of His will”; Harry S. Truman (1949) “all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God”; Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953) “I ask that you bow your heads. Almighty God, . . .”; John F. Kennedy (1961) “the command of Isaiah—to ‘undo the heavy burdens . . .’”5; Lyndon Baines Johnson (1965) “the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored . . . ‘Give me now wisdom and knowledge’”6; Richard Milhous Nixon Jimmy Carter (1977) “a timeless admonition from the ancient prophet (1969) “the glory of man’s first sight of the world as God sees it”:Micah”7; Ronald Reagan (1981) “We are a nation under God . . . on each Inauguration Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer”; George Herbert Walker Bush (1989) “my first act as President is a prayer”; William Jefferson Clinton (1993) “The Scripture says, ‘And let us not be weary in well-doing . . .’”8; George W. Bush (2001) “We are not this story’s author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose . . . This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.”9


The Presidents Speak: The Inaugural Addresses of the American Presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush, annotated by David Newton Lott (Los Angeles: Olive Grove Publishing, 2002). Inaugural speeches also found at


John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, and Gerald Ford do not appear since, as Vice Presidents, they assumed office upon the death or resignation of the President. They were not subsequently elected President and so were not inaugurated.


Psalm 127:1b.


Micah 6:8.


Isaiah 61:1b.


Solomon, from 2 Chronicles 1:10.


Micah 6:8.


Galatians 6:9.


Nahum 1:3.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya...

I think I'm going to copy this one the next time I'm at a party with name tags.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ski Areas Say "Ski Safely"

As resorts around the area look forward to a long weekend of skiing with sunshine and powder, they’ll also be highlighting a powerful safety message to launch the ski industry’s safety-awareness week.

And the message isn’t just for visitors from out of town. Local kids participating in the Summit School District’s winter-recreation program also are being asked toi focus on safe skiing and good mountain values.

“Look around,” said Arapahoe Basin instructor Jake Jacobsen as his group of fourth- and fifth-graders from Summit Cove Elementary unloaded at the top of Pallavicini Chair.

“You are so lucky to be able to live here and do this,” Jacobsen said before asking his students to recite parts of the skier-responsibility code.
Local kids like this group, who grow up skiing the toughest terrain Summit County has to offer, can be ambassadors for safe skiing and mountain culture setting good examples.

The skier-responsibility code is an on-slope adaptation of the basic courtesy and common sense values taught at home and in schools, and even if someone can’t recite the code by heart, it’s not hard to understand:

• Ski in control and be able to stop or turn to avoid other people;

• People ahead of you and below you have the right-of-way;

• Don’t stop where you are blocking a trail or aren’t visible from above;

• Look uphill and yield to other before starting down a trail;

• Know how to ride the lifts;

• Observe all posted signs and don’t cut ropes or enter closed areas;

• Use ski brakes or straps to prevent runaway skis and boards.

But safe skiing also goes beyond that simple list of basic rules. It starts with being in good physical shape, staying hydrated and using safe and well-maintained equipment. Sharp edges, a good coat of wax and a binding check can go a long way toward preventing injury.

For the Summit Cove students, Jacobsen had a few additional words of advice.
He told the group to team up in a buddy system when skiing in the trees or steeps and to always have a set meeting place in case they get separated.

Taking a lesson is another great way to keep it safe on the slopes, and some local ski schools are offering great deals this month. Stop in at the ski-school desk, or check your favorite resort’s web site to sign up. Developing better skills is the best way to get more enjoyment from the sport and ensure you can ski in control.

Local resorts are featuring ski-safety events as part of this ski weekend, including Copper Mountain, which will have some safety tents set up with a chance to win passes, tickets, discounts and other goodies. Local experts will offer tips on terrain park safety, helmet safety and demos with avalanche dogs.

Look for other events and safety messages at other local resorts as well.

Bob Berwyn can be reached
at (970) 331-5996, or at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When Official Religion Ministers Condemnation

Barack Obama is getting criticism from all sides over his choices of ministers to pray during the upcoming inaugural. One of the most insightful critiques so far is the one below which comes from John Piper at the Desiring God blog.

"At Barack Obama’s request, tomorrow in the Lincoln Memorial, Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation for the inauguration kick-off.

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.

The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

One more time: The issue here is not that presidents may need to tolerate things they don’t approve of. The issue is this: In linking the Christian ministry to the approval of homosexual activity, Christ is made a minister of condemnation.

A Gospel Reminder

“Our assurance, our glory, and the sole anchor of our salvation are that Christ the Son of God is ours, and we in turn are in him sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, called to the hope of eternal blessedness by God’s grace, not by our worth.”

—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (III.17.1)

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Tragedy of "Compassionate Conservatism"

In the media, it's now all the rage to tell the world what you think of George W. Bush's presidency. has given us a "unique" summary of malapropisms from the soon-to-be former leader of the free world. You must at least smile when you watch it!

And don't miss one of my favorite articles which follows below, by Marvin Olasky of

Power Politics: The tragedy of compassionate conservatism | Marvin Olasky

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

As the Bush administration ended, reporters who credited or discredited me with developing "compassionate conservatism" asked for an assessment. Most hoped that I'd dump on Bush, as so many others have. I didn't oblige, but honesty requires the mention of disappointment.

Governor and then President Bush wanted to fight poverty, alcoholism, addiction, and other social problems. He saw faith-based approaches (from personal experience) as an effective way to do battle. He wanted them to garner additional resources and left the how-to questions to his advisors.

As a volunteer chairman of a Bush task force in 1999, I was pleased when the candidate adopted my proposal for charity tax credits that would be part of a decentralized anti-poverty plan. On July 22, 1999, in his major policy speech regarding compassionate conservatism, he spoke of tax credits, promising that "individuals will choose who conducts this war on poverty—and their support won't be filtered through layers of government officials."

Other advisors, though, had a second objective: Maintain the Washington grants economy, but end discrimination against religious groups by creating a level playing field for all fund-seeking organizations. As a teammate I agreed to promote both objectives and naively assumed that all religious groups, not only semi-secularized ones, would be welcomed. (See book review on p. 20.)

A decade later, it's clear that objective one got only to first base. With a few exceptions (the White House finally set up several voucher programs, including Access to Recovery for addicts and alcoholics), individuals are not choosing and layers of government officials are. Why? Maybe it's harder for folks arriving in Washington to lay aside power than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

But what happened to the second objective? I traveled recently to Indianapolis, where Bush in 1999 gave his policy-setting speech regarding compassionate conservatism, and asked inner-city innovator Tim Street (WORLD, Dec. 18, 1999) what had changed.

Street said anti-poverty work is "not a whole lot different on the ground. There's a recognition that federal dollars are available, but a lot of people understand that strings are involved and they don't want to go there. Nothing's really changed."

I sat down with four key figures at Wheeler Mission Ministries, a longtime Christian homeless shelter in Indianapolis, and saw there as well a lack of enthusiasm.

Rick Alvis, chief executive officer: "We thought the federal government was going to come alongside us. Then we started hearing, 'Can you change your program and take out the spiritual angle?'"

Larry Wright, chief operating officer: "We said, 'Hold on, this is not what it was supposed to be.' And with government funding you always have to be aware that it's 'here today, gone tomorrow.' You don't want to get hooked on it."

Cal Nelson, chief program officer: "The game is set up by government. You play their game or you don't get in. . . . Much better to have vouchers, free and clear. . . . Put the decision in the hands of people rather than a bureaucrat getting his ego stroked."

Steve Kerr, chief development officer: "The reporting process was so encumbering to us. We would have had to hire a person just to do it."

Alvis also noted that it's "expensive to go after grants." He cited one lobbying group that wanted $10,000 to $12,000 a month for a retainer and cautioned that Wheeler might have to wait two years to see a grant forthcoming. Alvis mused, "Maybe we should have hired them. Another rescue mission retained that company and received a $1 million grant."

I also spoke with the head of an Indianapolis evangelical program that received a "capacity-building grant" of $750,000 over three years, with funds to be used not for programs but to improve fundraising and technology, and to pay for consultants. Much of the federal effort has emphasized building capacity in the suites to apply for the next grant. Too little has affected lives on the streets.

The tee-ball games that TeamBush had for kids on the White House lawn were a sweet element of the departing administration. The sad part is that Bush staffers have teed up the ball perfectly for the new administration to send taxpayer dollars to Obama supporters at liberal religious groups that swing votes but don't change lives.

If you have a question or comment for Marvin Olasky, send it to

Thursday, January 15, 2009

God Enjoyed

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

God Enjoyed, a prayer from The Valley of Vision:

known, but beyond knowledge,
revealed, but unrevealed,
my wants and welfare draw me to thee,
for thou hast never said, 'Seek ye me in vain'.
To thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;
possess me with thyself,
with a spirit of grace and supplication,
with a prayerful attitude of mind,
with access into warmth of fellowship,
so that in the ordinary concerns of life my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,
and in habitual devotion I may find a resource that will soothe my sorrows,
sanctify my successes,
and qualify me in all ways for dealings with my fellow men.
I bless thee that thou hast made me capable of knowing thee, the author of all being,
of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.
O God, attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage;
I need the same counsel, defence, comfort I found at the beginning.
Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,
more perceptible to those around.
While Jesus is representing me in heaven,
may I reflect him on earth.
While he pleads my cause,
may I show forth his praise.
Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,
and whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,
thy blessing attend me.
Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me,
and I praise thee, O God.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Love Your Enemies

While reading Matthew chapter 5 today, I was struck again by Jesus' radical words:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Favorite Song from this Morning

It was great to have our friend and former intern Philip Wilson leading the singing for us this morning at Christchurch. Philip is making plans to begin serving at Park Church Denver later this year. Below are the words to my favorite song from this morning. You can listen to it online here.

Before The Throne Of God Above

Verse 1
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heav'n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

Verse 2
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Verse 3
Behold Him there the Risen Lamb
My perfect spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I Am
The King of Glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dave Booton is my hero

In a few weeks, all 5 of us Kellys will be enjoying an evening at the National Western Stock Show with our friends, the Booton Family. But for the past 48 hours, my friend and hero, Boulder County Sherriff's Deputy Dave Booton, has been fighting wildland fires in our county. In fact, he's been doing it for years. These photos show just one of the ways that Dave works hard to keep people in Boulder County safe. You should hear some of the stories Dave tells. Thanks, Dave, for your many years of service as the Boulder County Sherriff's Office Emergency Services Coordinator for Search & Rescue and Wildland Fire.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well done, Gideons!

An article in The Washington Times today reminds us that The Gideons should be commended for distributing more than 1.5 billion bibles since 1908.


Skating with Sophie in Downtown Louisville, Colorado, just before Christmas.

This extract from J.C. Ryle's tract The Duties of Parents warns mothers and fathers to remember the powerful influence of their own example.

“Building with one hand, and pulling down with the other?”—J. C. Ryle (1816 - 1900)

Instruction, and advice, and commands will profit little, unless they are backed up by the pattern of your own life. Your children will never believe you are in earnest, and really wish them to obey you, so long as your actions contradict your counsel. Archbishop Tillotson made a wise remark when he said, “To give children good instruction, and a bad example, is but beckoning to them with the head to show them the way to heaven; while we take them by the hand and lead them in the way to hell!”

. . . [W]e are always influencing those around us, in one way or another, either for good or for evil, either for God or for sin.—They see our ways, they mark our conduct, they observe our behaviour, and what they see us practise, that they may fairly suppose we think right. And never, I believe, does example tell so powerfully as it does in the case of parents and children . . .1

Be an example of reverence for the Word of God, reverence in prayer, reverence for means of grace, reverence for the Lord's Day.—Be an example in words, in temper, in diligence, in temperance, in faith, in charity, in kindness, in humility. Think not your children will practise what they do not see you do . . .

Children are very quick observers; very quick in seeing through some kinds of hypocrisy, very quick in finding out what you really think and feel, very quick in adopting all your ways and opinions. You will often find as the father is, so is the son . . .

They will seldom learn habits which they see you despise, or walk in paths in which you do not walk yourself. He that preaches to his children what he does not practise, is working a work that never goes forward. It is like the fabled web of Penelope of old, who wove all day, and unwove all night. Even so, the parent who tries to train without setting a good example is building with one hand, and pulling down with the other.2


J. C. Ryle, “The Duties of Parents,” in The Upper Room (1888; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 311-312.


Ibid., 312-313.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Man Hangs Half-Naked from Vail Chairlift

VAIL - A 48-year-old man was caught on a chairlift in an unenviable position after loading last week.

He fell through part of the chair, and was hanging upside down with his pants down.

A spokesperson for Vail Mountain says lift operators immediately stopped the lift and got him down within seven minutes.

The ski patrol was called to the scene. Lift mechanics reversed the lift about 10 or 12 feet and rescued the man.

He was not injured. The man does not live in the Denver area.

For more on this story, including uncensored pictures click here.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board says the agency considers the matter a loading incident, not a mechanical failure. If it was a mechanical problem, the agency would have gotten a report.

Vail Resorts is not required to report these types of incidents, just log them.

The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board is part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies that oversees all public tramways in the state, including all chairlifts and gondolas.

(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)

Why Are There Never Enough Parking Spaces at the Prostate Clinic?

At the Reformation 21 blog, Carl Trueman has written a very helpful (and funny!) article about how many Christians engage (or accomodate) culture. He says, "I am increasingly convinced that talking about culture, for all of its loud claims to relevance, significance, and importance, can actually be a first-class way of doing precisely the opposite, of not really talking about things that matter at all." Read it, and think twice about that next PG-13 movie.

“Plenty of talk about Christian approaches to art, music, literature, sex, even international politics. All very interesting subjects, I’m sure, and the topics of many a chardonnay-fuelled discussion after a hearty dinner party. But what about subjects that aren’t quite so interesting? Take street sweepers, for example; or hotel lavatory attendants; or workers on an umbrella manufacturing line. Why no conference on the Christian philosophy underlying these vital callings and trades?”

Many thanks to Tim Challies for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pray for Your Pastor

I serve a congregation that loves me more than I deserve. I am sometimes asked by them: "how can I pray for you?" J. Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile have tried to put some thought into how to answer that question. So, maybe these ideas will help you to pray for your pastor, or if you are a pastor, to tell others how they can pray for you.

Pray -

1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.

2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.

3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God's word, God's people, and God's kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell's gates.

4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.

6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.

7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God's.

8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.

10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.

11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.

12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]'s ministry, to God's glory alone.

13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]'s wife, [. . . ], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.

14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.

15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,

16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.

17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.

Alien Autopsy

I may have to recant my intro to yesterday's sermon, as video evidence has been recently been brought to my attention. Thank you, Travis Blevins.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reasons to Believe at Christchurch

Dear Blog-Readers,

Please join me and my friends at Christchurch for our "Reasons to Believe" sermon series this January.

I surveyed people in Boulder County to find their top questions about God, the Bible and Jesus. The questions we'll be dealing with this month are the top 4 from that survey.

Christchurch meets on Sunday mornings at 10:30am at Superior Elementary School in Superior (1800 S. Indiana Street, 80027). If you need more specific directions, post a comment and I'll get them to you.

Happy 2009!


PS: Thanks Travis & Laura for another cool graphic!