For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When You Care Enough...

For years we've been greeted by the motto, "When you care enough to send the very best." Unfortunately, the company who coined the phrase can no longer be considered the answer to the motto.

Hallmark, as most of you have probably heard, has decided to introduce a line of "gay wedding cards." They say it's in response to consumer demand, which I highly doubt. The number of people rushing to the store for a gay wedding card can hardly be enough to change a mega corporation's product line. This is just one more example of how the liberal agenda is being forced on the mainstream American public.

I've never been a big "boycott" kind of guy. However, my family has made some choices about where we spend our time/income based on personal issues. For example, when one of our two local grocery stores decided to remodel their store and place a larger than average alcohol display right up front with big signs advertising this as your new source for alcohol; while the other store made the conscious choice to respond by not selling alcohol at all, we made the decision to stop shopping at the first and restrict ourselves only to the second. Don't know that our little shopping expenses have impacted either store, but it's a personal thing.

And for us, caring enough to send the best will certainly no longer include Hallmark. Again, I don't think I'll bankrupt them by ceasing to purchase the half dozen Hallmark cards I might have each year. But it's a personal thing. And I would think that those who really cared enough would do likewise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Making Sermons Fun

Thanks to the Irish Calvinist, a blog a check fairly regularly, I heard about this site called Of course, some of you may already know all about it, but it was new to me and I found it very interesting. It takes whatever text you enter in and creates a "word cloud" based on the most often used words in the text, etc.
So for fun, I copied and pasted the text of my most recent sermon from our study in Genesis, and this is what came out.

Pretty fun. So I put a couple more recent sermons in and got this.

OK, so I'm wasting way too much time. But I thought it was fun (who thought sermons could be fun?), and the end result is almost worth framing, especially since God seems to have such a central place in it all (I was relieved to find that my sermons talk a lot about HIM!).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

California Victory

In case you haven't heard, there was a major homeschool victory yesterday. According to the brief blurb on the Home School Legal Defense Association site, the "California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District reversed its earlier ruling which would have required homeschoolers to be certified teachers in order to homeschool in California."
For more info, check the HSLDA site here. To read the full decision, click here.

Praise God!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Is it Bigger Than A Dead Jesus?

For years I was caught up in the “entertainment” of preaching. I wanted to grab people’s attention, make them laugh, and hope they learned something along the way. After awhile, though, I realized that people were remembering the jokes and the gimmicks, but not the actual messages.

Now, I haven’t given up on the occasional joke altogether, but I have concentrated more on the content of the sermon than going for the comments on the sermon. I’m hoping we’ve moved from milk to meat.

I thought of that as I was looking back over my notes from the AiG Family Conference in Branson. I especially thought of it as I reflected on my notes on Voddie Baucham’s messages. Because while I took good notes and gained some very insightful truths, the things that stick out in my mind without checking those notes are the one-liners.

Things like his reference to a new Christian friend as “a new brother from another mother.” Or the admonition to “suck it up…don’t tell me about the pain, just show me the baby.” And my favorite, speaking of children and original sin: “No matter how cute that thing is, it’s still a viper in a diaper.”

Now, this isn’t to comment on the use of humor in preaching. After all, Charles Spurgeon wrote that “I must confess that I would rather hear people: laugh than I would see them asleep in the house of God . . . I do believe, in my heart, that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry.” And Baucham’s use is appropriate and minor in comparison to the amount of “meat” he offers. I guess it’s just human nature to focus on those zingers.

The point, I guess, is that sometimes the little one liners sticking in your brain can be more “meaty” than we might realize. The one line that keeps coming back to me was in a message Voddie brought on “The Person of Christ.” It was a wonderful exposition of 1 Corinthians 15 and Paul’s defense of the resurrection. And I do remember the solid meat of that message: Paul’s arguments from Authority, Evidence and Logic. I especially enjoyed bringing to the forefront the often overlooked truth that we have more written evidence for Christ’s resurrection than we do for the existence of Socrates, but no one ever calls the latter in to question.

But the one line that jumps out is this: Is It Bigger Than a Dead Jesus? After spending the bulk of the message defending the reality of the resurrection, the application was then made that regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, it can’t possible be a more “difficult” situation than a dead Christ. And if God can raise Christ, what are you afraid of? Could your problem possibly be bigger than a dead Jesus? Catchy phrase; powerful truth.

I have a tendency toward anxiety. I know it’s sinful. I know it’s a lack of faith. I know it’s outright disobedience. But I still struggle. I memorize verses like Philippians 4:6-7 which commands me outright to not be anxious about anything. I memorize helpful, encouraging words like Isaiah 41:13 which promises God’s upholding hand, along with another command not to fear. And God is working on this problem in me.

And please don’t hear me saying that a one liner from Voddie Baucham is more powerful, effective, etc. than the Word of God. After all, he’s just summarizing the truth of God’s Word, pointing to its promises and power. But I’ve found that line helpful: Is it Bigger Than A Dead Jesus? Obviously the answer is “no.”

So I say all that to say this. I just want to encourage anyone who might stop by out of boredom and read this. No matter what you might be facing, it’s certainly not bigger than a dead Christ. If Christ is raised, then what are you afraid of? If God can handle that situation, well…