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Showing posts from May, 2011

PSA: Some Email Scams and Security Measures You Can Take

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Last month, several companies sent out warnings that their vendor company, Epsilon, had been hacked.  The result, at least in my inbox, has been a surge of spam emails.

If you have a good spam mail filter, you'll probably find many of these emails go in your "junk" folder.  Those messages that fool the filters, however, might fool you, as well.

For instance, a number of important upgrades have appeared in my inbox for products I use.  If you are in the middle of something else and not paying much attention, it may be tempting to simply click the link, provide your info, and step away from your screen to let the program do its thing.  Usually, that includes mining your address book for contacts and installing tracking cookies or something even more sinister in your now compromised system.

Your closer look at the senders' email addresses will help you out.  For instance, here's one I received from someone claiming to be Adobe Support did not have an "adobe.com&q…

Preachers and urban legends

I'm still surprised by people who don't know about sites like Snopes and Truth or Fiction.  I have to chuckle to still see such things in my inbox like Microsoft is paying people to forward emails, warnings that the FCC is about to ban Christian programming, or that the aspartame in artificial sweetener is going to kill or maim me.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter breathe new life into false rumors while creating new opportunities for misinformation.  How many of you, after hearing about the death of Osama bin Laden, saw this fake quote that was supposedly from Martin Luther King Jr.?

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.
It's definitely quotable, but misapplied.

So, what about rumors that preachers unwittingly spread?  Trevin Wax has posted several you may have heard (HT: JT):
The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so…

Memorial Day and the Gospel

As we remember the sacrifice of so many for our freedom:
Selfless sacrifice and uncommon valor won this freedom. And these efforts provide us with a glorious illustration of a true hero. Why? Because they paint for us, on the canvas of history, a clear depiction of the blood sacrifice 2000 years ago that won a cosmic conflict, one whose first volleys were fired long ago in Eden. The sacrifice of my father and his colleagues puts in bold relief the courage it took to walk the Via Dolorosa and it displays the blood-stained realities that typify a radical others-centeredness of the sort which defined God’s rescue mission in Christ Jesus. Just as dad and thousands of other men leaped toward certain death at Normandy, so Christ set his face like flint toward Jerusalem with full knowledge that a kangaroo court and a sentence of death awaited in that city. This is the stuff of true heroism. Genuine biblical manhood requires radical selflessness and profound courage.Read more.

Muslim honor killings in Tampa, FL?

A simple reminder of dress

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And why are you anxious about clothing?
(Mt 6:28)

I've never been a believer that men must wear a three-piece suit to church, or that women are more holy if they sport ankle-length skirts (subdued in color, of course).  These things come from a past Christian sub-culture, one that wanted to honor God by seeing Sunday morning as a special occasion.  While I appreciate the sentiment, I've also seen how false it is in fundamentalist circles, especially among some women who want to compete for the snazziest-dresser award.

Yet, I also cannot agree with a culture of so-called grace that seems to require folks to dress-down for church.  This too is a demonstration of pride—that fresh out-of-bed look, flip-flops, cut-off shorts, and Starbucks in hand dares people to notice how much this guy doesn't care what the highfalutin Pharisees think.  Right.

I suppose it should not be surprising that this new Christian sub-culture of "you're not supposed to care what people wear&q…

Can Planting Churches be a Way of Avoiding God's Will?

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Michael Horton explains how the current church planting movement provide temptation to sin:


Do you find yourself being a defensive person?

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(HT: DefCon)

FF: Resume Win

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Reminding you of another end-of-world prediction

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Doomsday predictions and cults seem to go hand-in-hand, as the Watchtower Society itself evidenced.  In case you didn't hear, the world was supposed to end in the 1980's:
The Watchtower tract features sixteen people representing the generation that would not pass away until the ushering in of Jehovah's Kingdom.  Superimposed on the tract is the sad reality that these folks died waiting in vain for a false hope.  James White explains.

How to leave a comment on the Internet

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I'm adding this to the comment rules suggestion box on the sidebar!


Click for larger image:

Is your church being a light?

It is not a bad idea to have ministry outreach to the community.  Food drives and the like have the potential to demonstrate the love of Christ.

What is the most vital thing we share, though?  Christ said the body is more than clothing or food, so folks must walk away with more substance than this.  They might not know what they need or, worse yet, punt your offering back in your face.  People want free stuff with no strings attached, including obligations to hear some preaching.  But this is precisely what they need.

I was thinking about this when I remembered a quote from Walter Kaiser in Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament.

Without the light of revelation, the whole fabric of society was put at risk. That point was also made in the Book of Proverbs, which warned, “Where there is no revelation…, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18, my translation). The Hebrew term used for “perish” is the same one that appears in the golden calf episode in Exodus 32:25, where the people “cast o…

You sport a library more impressive than any iPad or Kindle

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"This is the human genome in book form. If you were to print all of your DNA in only one cell of your body, it would fill all of these books in this bookcase. It’s estimated that the human body has 50 to 75 trillion of these bookcases."
- Dr. Jay Parkinson



(HT to Samaritan Ministries and DefCon)

Camping's Way Out

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Dan Phillips and reader Joe Cassada collaborated and proposed one sure way for the false teacher to straighten everything out:
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I suppose I'll be joining the rest of an eager world in listening to the Open Forum tonight. My prayer today is for the best case scenario: that he demonstrates a true heart of repentance and contrition on the radio by admitting his psuedo-mystical biblical applications including the claim that the church age is over and assigning words to the Bible that clearly did not exist, calling everyone back to a local Bible-teaching body, and setting up a fund starting with his money to help those who he misled.
UPDATE: Nope. *Sigh*
UPDATE #2:

Tithe or burn!

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We've been told that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agrees with God's past revelation in the Bible in places like: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph 2:8-9), or at the simple Greek word pisteuo (believe).

Yet, it is not so, as the April 2011 General Conference evidenced.  Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered quite the riveting speech.  Consider this snippet:
Not only that, tithing will keep your name enrolled among the people of God and protect you in “the day of vengeance and burning.”
Here this review of these words:




In Joseph Smith's words (quoted in the video), Doctrine and Covenants, 85:1-5

1 It is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from …

In light of Saturday... our continued need for training in logic

Well, the world did not end this weekend.  Of course, many students of the Bible as the Bible, students who were not members of Cult Camping, were not surprised.

One thing must be perfectly clear: this does not mean that the world will not end, or that it will not end very soon.  But adding up a bunch of numbers in an effort to figure out some secret coded message, as God demonstrated for us time and time and time again in history, is not the way to go about Bible study.

There are several ways that we could respond to this, and there is some great material on the blogosphere.  For instance, here's a piece by Al Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), another by friend and Th.M student Slimjim, an interesting academic correction by Dan Phillips (Camping is not a false prophet but a false teacher) and countless others I'd love to point out if it weren't for time.  Good hermeneutics (the "science" of understanding the Bible) is the one sure…

Something to think about this Sunday in church

Although you should not be checking your blog feeds Sunday mornings (a-hem):

Harold Camping's stunts indeed glorify God, and  here are 17 ways how.  It's a very thoughtful and provocative read on the day when we reflect on God's ways and His Word.

Our church is ready...

...to receive any former followers of Harold Camping this Sunday, May 22.

FF: Fixing the Timeline

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Kaiser on bad Bible application

From Walt Kaiser's book, Toward an Exegetical Theology.

Believing (rightly) that the message of the text in its verbalized form is the very word which God Himself wanted to be communicated through His free, but obedient, writers, many go on to invest every word and phrase with almost an independent meaning(s) of its own apart from its context. Without thinking they allow this to pass over into a quasi-magical use of the words of Scripture where they may be detached from their context and used at the pleasure of the exegete—just as long as this is done for spiritual purposes and is in general harmony with the teaching of Scripture somewhere else.But we will have no part of this bad business. (p. 70)We must guard against misapplying God's Word in our lives by taking a verse out of its context. It is tempting in the weariness or weakness of our flesh to not take care, especially when there are some verses that are popularly used incorrectly. But, as Kaiser says, it is "b…

Dads: How important is your church attendance?

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The numbers don't lie:


In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.If the father is non…
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I'm happy to say that the last function requiring me to place a noose around my neck has come and gone.  Here's to a tie-free summer!

FF: The Perfect Church Dress

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(HT: BibChr)

Montoya: Preaching with Passion

Passion is the power, the drive, the energy, the life in the delivery of the sermon. Without passion, the sermon becomes a lecture, an address, or a moral speech. If there is no passion, there is no preaching.- Alex Montoya, Preaching with Passion, 12.

Mommy Rhapsody

FF: Man reveals the secret ability all Star Trek fans share

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