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Showing posts from July, 2010

FF: Dude, like, choose and perish, dude!

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My wife bought Cloverfield once it came out on DVD.  I think this monster would have improved the movie:


Just think, you could copter in giant chocolate bars and graham crackers.

The whole scandal is just bizarre

Have Christians been unkind for calling upon this man for honesty?


I just don't know what to think about this...

Our Experience in a Mormon Ward (Church Service)

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It's Sunday, so of course we headed down to the local church fellowship... the Mormon ward. (Well, actually, we started the morning at Ogden Valley Community Church and then headed over. It is important to be prepared spiritually, so I'm glad we did this. Emily blogged a bit about it.)

Unless they are Mormon converts, not many Christians probably visit their local ward, and it proved to be an educational experience for us. This post is for those who haven't been and may be wondering what to expect.

The Mormon service can be three hours long, divided into three segments (similar to the Christian practice of having a Sunday School separate form the main worship service). We were a bit misinformed as to the times, so we came for the Sacrament Service, their third and final service, and then we joined a Sunday School service being conducted another ward meeting in the same building.

SACRAMENT SERVICE
The service atmosphere could have been a traditional Baptist gathering. We…

We've Been Expecting You, Part 1:2

For this week's reflection:  Sin Kills -- It Always Kills · 1 of 2
The first sin--1,000,000th made Adam and Eve as sinful as Satan and the demons when they first rebelled against God. One sin equaled spiritual death. The only option was for Someone to undo what Adam and Eve so corrupted and glimmers of this One to come show in Genesis 3.

7 Strange Sights in the Mormon Museum of Church History

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Here, in no particular order, are a few of the more interesting items we saw on our tours today.

1. The toy pentagram in the children's wing of the museum.
Here, a couple from our youth group adds color to an otherwise drab satanic symbol reminder of the Morning Star:

2. Mormon death-masks
So God can still recognize the body, I guess:

3. The Mormon militia
There was a reason the Mormons kept getting kicked out of places. Note that the banner in the museum is meant to dispel any angst on the part of visitors: these armed men were part of a "benevolent association:"

4. Golden calves
Yep. And here is a picture of Emily contemplating joining!

5. The Book of Mormon in 87 languages
This is just sad. Hopefully this whets your appetite for missions.

6. Freemasonry
This picture didn't turn out too well; I may try to go back and get a better one. This is a painting of a bust of Joseph Smith, and underneath there is the same all-seeing eye embedded in the pyramid with sun ray re…

The Lost Book of Abraham

Pray for us as we spend some time in Salt Lake City sharing the Gospel with Mormons.

I'm posting this before we head out. No, I don't plan on getting into this discussion, as the most important conversation will be what the Bible has to say about salvation. Yet, it is an interesting documentary that helps explain the origin of one of the books the LDS church added to Scripture:


Update: This did come up in part in our first conversation. We spent a couple of minutes discussing whether Joseph Smith "received" the translation of the Reformed Egyptian (?), as we were being told, or if he indeed claimed to be translating. However, this only geared up the conversation to get into more "meaty" issues such as the differences between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and what differences could mean in terms of eternity.

FF: Stop motion Mario

Post-it video games in school.

If I had my just desert

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Most of the time we like to have a lift on Mondays, I know. Sometimes , though, we need honest reflection. This is a good appendix to the short study on pride. It is from the Grace Gems email from last night.

If I had my deserts!

(James Smith, "An Antidote" 1857)

There are some things that we should never forget:
what we were before God called us by His grace;
what we might have been--but for His sovereign mercy;
what we certainly would be--if left wholly to ourselves.

We were . . .
rebels against God's government,
traitors to His cause, and
doomed to an eternal Hell!

Everything short of Hell--is mercy!

If I had my deserts--I would be in Hell today!

I would be feeling its fierce flames, enduring its scorching torments, and horrified by its dreadful inhabitants!

I was enmity against God by nature. I would be enmity against God this day--if it were not for His glorious grace. I deserve Hell most justly--and would have been in hell--but for His kindness!

"Look un…

We've Been Expecting You, Part 1:1

For those who do not have a church home this Sunday for whatever reason, you are probably craving good teaching. Starting this week for every Sunday until whenever, I will be posting a series of messages by author, pastor, and teacher Dr. Greg Harris, hopefully encouraging you and helping you in your spiritual growth. Everyone is invited to listen in, of course. God bless!

UPDATE: 10:44 - I posted the wrong message. Below is now the first part of the message series. Don't open until Sunday! :)

FF: The real adventure begins

What if Hollywood hosted your wedding?


'Getting Married' Trailer from David Malki ! on Vimeo.

Perhaps an improper focus on what God intended, but funny, nonetheless.

(HT: Webinator)

A Short Study on Pride, Part 6—The Gospel

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If any man seeks to become humble, he must come to the Gospel.

No, I don't mean that prayer you prayed once as a kid.

Consider Paul’s letter to Colossae. It suggests the Gospel bears fruit and grows among believers (1:5–6). It reminds believers that they were “hostile in mind” (v. 21), but then describes the work Christ did on their behalf, meaning the focus of verse 22 is upon God rather than themselves.

The same verse also indicates they can be holy, blameless, and above reproach if they “continue in the faith… not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (v. 23). Hope for overcoming the wickedness of our minds is not in trying to achieve holiness, but in the Gospel provision of holiness.

Consider the following:

Through the same kind of faith by which we received Christ (a faith without works) we are to walk in Him (2:6). That faith is Christocentric and produces thanksgiving rather than pride (cf. v. 7). Our trust is in the cumulative work of the Godhead to forgive and unite us …

A Short Study on Pride, Part 5—False Humility

What is the cure to this cancer feeding on us? Some of us turn to false humility, which manifests in all those who say, “Aw, shucks!” whenever praised. It marks those who seek accolades through humble behavior and those who seek to combat pride through humble behavior. In other words, false humility is present whenever a proud person tries to appear lowly, motives aside.

Acting humble, trying to establish oneself as unselfish or unworthy of praise, is empty and not the way to counteract the destructive effects of pride. As C. S. Lewis said,
If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing goo…

A Short Study on Pride, Part 4—OT Concepts

Pride is not always negative. Parents can experience good pride whenever their children accomplish sought-after goals. Teachers may stand proud beside students who finally grasp difficult concepts. People should take pride in working with excellence. Of course, anyone in these three examples can become "puffed up" and develop an idolatrous heart, but that does not negate the existence of godly pride.

That is because pride bears positive elements—it is an attribute of God commonly translated “majesty” (see the last paragraph of this post) and Scripture speaks well of “the pride of Jacob” (Psa 47:5 [v. 4 in English]).

The word also contains neutral elements—it helps describe billowing smoke (Isa. 9:17 [v. 18 in English]) and the swelling of plant life in Jeremiah 12:5, 49:19, 50:44; and Zechariah 11:3.

As such, Victor Hamilton writes that we “can observe that pride is not intrinsically wrong. It describes a part of God’s character. It is to become a part of the life style o…

A Short Study on Pride, Part 3—NT Concepts Cont.

How does the Bible define pride? 
The last New Testament Greek word we'll look at is huperēphainoi. This is pride in the most general sense.

Those with this pride are somehow distinguishable from the alazon, but can also allow their proud, self-serving lusts carry them away into sin (cf. Jam 4:1–6).*   Just as pride can lead to friendship with the world and strife among believers, it is evidence of a false conversion.

All three groups we have looked at thusfar would do well to ponder such verses as James 4:6, which cites Proverbs 3:34. With this, we should take the opportunity to turn to Hebraic thoughts on pride. The idea of huperēphainoi (in either noun or adjectival form) is the concept the Hebrew translators most often choose for their Septuagint or Greek translation of the Old Testament.

BUT... we'll look at these OT concepts tomorrow!

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* James 4:6 contains the adjectival form of huperēphainoi.

A Short Study on Pride, Part 2—NT Concepts Cont.

How does the Bible define pride?
There is also the tuphoō, another form of pride from which we have to guard our hearts.

The person defined by this trait is clouded or somehow deluded.  Perhaps his is a private conceit, but he fills himself with mere vapor while believing himself to contain something more substantive.

Perhaps his foolish opinion developed because he received a position of honor too soon after his conversion (cf. 1 Tim 3:6). His delusion is common in false teachers, pushing them into a host of other problems (1 Tim 6:4f ). 

His condition will become endemic in the last days (3:4).

FF: The Porpoise-Driven Life!

(HT: Dan Phillips)

A Short Study on Pride, Part 1—NT Concepts

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How does the Bible define pride? 
One of the Greek words Scripture uses is alazon, a person who makes claims of himself he cannot substantiate.*

This maverick may not make it through life without hearing “son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash” (to borrow the immortal line from “Top Gun”).

Consider the alazon in 1 John 4:16–17 who believes he has what he needs in his worldly goods, only to find everything come to nothing.

He may have “the appearance of godliness,” but is a lover of pleasure rather than lover of God (2 Tim 3:5, 4). Though he may be knowledgeable of the things of the faith, he never seems to arrive at the truth (v. 7). He may go as far as to oppose the truth, and his corrupt mind is evidence of disqualification (v. 8). Thus, we should avoid the alazon (v. 5), as he is so proud that he probably does not recognize his true condition before Christ (cf. Matt 7:21–23).

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*Gerhard Delling in suggests 1 Corinthians 4:20 as a possi…

Why We Like C. S. Lewis

Lewis is one of those names that you will hear if you stay in church long enough. It is also one of those names that Evangelicals, at times, put down as "liberal." He was not a theologian by trade, he was a philosopher. As such, there are certain things that appear in his books that even his staunchest defenders would shy away from.

But I still like him. A lot.

I came across one of his gems while writing a research paper, which in turn led me to run some quick internet searches. One of the results was from Desiring God, where John Piper explains why Lewis has meant so much to him. I found myself saying, "Yes, Yes!" the whole time - Piper articulates the joy that is Lewis like no one else.

If you are a Christian who has heard bad things (true bad things)about C. S. Lewis, and wonder why he has endured at all, read (or watch or listen to) Piper's Feb 2010 message "Lessons from an Inconsolable Soul: Learning from the Mind and Heart of C. S. Lewis.&quo…

Patriotic Greetings from Sam the Eagle

Well, that didn't go to well for Sam, so here is another try:


Well, Happy Independence Day anyway!

Was the American Revolution Biblical?

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This is an excellent question because we are commanded to obey secular authorities.  What right, then, did Christians have for supporting the revolution, and should we look back upon their rebellion with pride?  Keith Throop of the Reformed Baptist Blog tries to tackles these questions.

As we consider this question (the same question which tore at every Christian Colonial household 234 years ago), we must consider it first and foremost from the Scripture.

We, as believers, also have to understand that there is a difference between being patriotic and being Christian.  Being Christian may well lead one to patriotism, or it may lead one to civil disobedience (two circumstances that, to be fair, are not always on opposing sides).

For the most part, I am not sure I agree that the founding of America was a sin on the part of Christian participants, though I am not going to defend that position right now.  The US exists because God wills it to do so, and no one can make the case that our co…

FF: Iron Baby

Yep.





The Idols of Marriage

We should be in daily worship of God if we can have any hope of living out the Gospel.  This is true, of course, whether we are married or not.  That one has a spouse that is (like me) muscular, suave, yet sensitive and oh-so-humble is only one aspect of true joy in life.  Our marriages are precious, but they can breed idols that turn us away from the supremacy of Christ.

I've quoted from Stuart Scott's The Exemplary Husband a couple of times before, and here is another section of his book I wanted to share.  John Calvin is often quoted as saying that our hearts are idol-factories, and Scott does a good job in highlighting some of the idols we have in a relationship.

First, he notes (90) that when we worship something, we will:
Adore itSacrifice for itFocus on itSubmit to itSeek after itHope in itServe it/ give to itSpeak about itLook to it for peace, meaning, and happinessSpend a great amount of thoughts, time, energy, and resources on itOften times our object of worship is no…