Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Advent...Digitalized



I might just add the message from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and Jesus:  "Repent and believe the Gospel...it is the Power of God unto Salvation."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How Can This Be.....?

Along with countless others, I have often said there is nothing superfluous in the Word of God. In fact, I have found it to be just the opposite. Give me more is my constant cry. What do you mean by that, Lord?.... is my questioning. Such was the case with Mary. When told by the Angel..you shall conceive and bear a Son, He will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord will give Him the throne of his father David, she also questions, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Then comes the “non-superfluous” answer: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Just how much doctrine is wrapped up in that single phrase, “the Most High will overshadow you”? Enough to have convened The Council of Chalcedon in the year 451AD and that Council lasted from October 8th to November 1st. (btw, a free download of the Chalcedon Confession and many other Reformed Confessions is available HERE.) The Chalcedonian Creed attempts to state as simply as possible what resulted from that profound event that occurred that night in Bethlehem. In one brief creedal confession they attempted to sum up such doctrines as the incarnation, the diety of Christ, the humanity of Christ, the unipersonality of Christ, the sinlessness of Christ and the nature of Christ. And we also, some 2000+ years later, still must attempt to understand individually that basic question Mary asked: “How can this be....?” We know that this “holy child”, this “Son of God” must be protected from the contamination of sin that every child born of man knows. And we know from the narrative Joseph had not known his betrothed at this point. But what about the contamination of Mary? Job asked the question many years prior, “how can he be clean that is born of a woman”? The Psalmist declares, “there is no one who does good, not even one”. I don’t think we will ever be privy to the detailed procedure involved in this “overshadowing”. Perhaps some hints may be found in some OT passages such as the 91st Psalm...”He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall tent under the shadow of the Almighty, He shall cover thee with His feathers”. All we can surmise is that above all else it is the direct supernatural act of the power of the Most High to keep this child free from all sinful contamination; simply stated,“overshadowed” and for that reason a “Holy Child”...The Son of God.

Whatever and however the conception of our Saviour occurred the result was a “holy child” called the Son of God. A sinless One was conceived, uncontaminated by Mary’s sin through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect, the holy, the sinless man. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son...; a body hast thou prepared me; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us; he shall save his people from their sins; Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever; And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (various prophetic verses)

This is no ordinary birth that we celebrate during this season. “Like us in all respects, sin apart”..as the Chalcedon Confession states it. Holy Child, Son of God, Immanuel..no not an ordinary birth at all. It certainly appeared ordinary..but behind the scenes something truly supernatural was occurring. The Sovereign God of all the universe, the second person of the Godhead took upon Himself human flesh. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...” This Christmas carol sums it up most aptly: “O holy Child of Bethelem, descend to us we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell, O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel”. Nothing is impossible with God. (1:37) Hallelujah, What a Saviour!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ways and Means
























Drawing cartoons is really hard work..for me. I’m sure it must come easy for some, but not me. However, sometimes our government officials make it too easy for me. Just recycle old cartoons. Change the caption or the faces and hit the save button and a whole new current cartoon is created. Thanks "gov’t officials"! Such is the case with this one. For the old one see HERE.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Emotional Engineering

What is “emotional engineering”...that is, when it comes to the Church..or to worship? My last two blogs have been critical of the current music scene as it is found in many contemporary worship services. I have literally found myself wanting to walk out of the service because of the bad theology and vain repetition in some of our current worship songs. How did all this come about? Who started this steady decline of dumbing down our brothers and sisters in Christ through such vacuous, empty, shallow, repetitive singing?

I had not encountered this word..”emotional engineering” until just recently, but when I read it I knew exactly what was being referenced. I have witnessed this process many, many times in many, many church services. Mostly found in Arminian based churches but certainly not exclusively and mostly occurring during what is known as “the altar call”..but not exclusively here either. Charles Finney (1792-1875) ministered in the wake of the 'Second Awakening,' as it has been called. A Presbyterian lawyer, Finney one day experienced 'a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost' which 'like a wave of electricity going through and through me...seemed to come in waves of liquid love.'(1) He is known as the father of modern revivalism.(2) Charles Finney is credited with this quote regarding revival and conversion: “there is nothing in religion beyond the ordinary powers of nature. It consists entirely in the right exercise of the powers of nature. It is just that and nothing else. It is not a miracle or dependent on a miracle in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means as much so as any other effect produced by the application of means”(3) (my emphases) And that, I believe, is the basis of “emotional engineering”. This is exactly how products in the business world are marketed...an emphasis on emotion...so why not in worship?

I have heard of an evangelist who has claimed that he could be introduced to someone, have a fifteen-minute conversation and “get him saved”. Hallelujah, Finney lives! Who needs the Holy Spirit? I’ll just "betcha" he could also, just as efficiently, get him to buy life insurance policies or automobiles. Utilize the right formula, say the right words, make the right sales pitch and “voila”, revival. Now if you can’t get the job done in fifteen minutes there’s always the extended “altar” call. I have heard of a pastor in the Southwest whose altar calls are longer than his sermons.and his sermons are long. Twenty-five verses of “Just as I Am” and a pleading pastor ought to get some folk to make a decision to walk the aisle. Emotional Engineering at it’s finest via decisional regeneration.

In addition, there is the “ musical manipulation” that I mentioned in my blog in April 2008 entitled “Pickin’Nits”.  How much emotion should an emotional song emote? After all, we are emotional creatures. How can one help but be moved by certain musical masterpieces such as Handel’s Messiah Hallelujah Chorus? If one is not moved by that one, one is not breathing. So my question is really..”should the worship leaders purposefully manipulate the music or the message to obtain a desired emotional result? And that is exactly what I mean when I use the term “emotional engineering”. Whether there is a musical crescendo obtained by turning the electronic sound volume control to the right or whether a portion of the song is sung softly and a capella during an altar call thereby eliciting an emotional response...or whether the “sub-woofer” effect with deep-vibrating sub-sonic sounds pounding through the body moves one..is this manipulation of the worshiper proper? And...do worship leaders actually do that sort of thing, really? Does Pastor Paul love the mountains? (click link for an explanation of this truism)

On a positive note, in our worship services we need to “learn how to avoid the amatory, the sentimental, and the melancholy; or as the wag said “the erotic, the exotic, and the tommyrotic”.(4) Worship should appeal to both "head and heart", intellect and emotion without purposeful manipulation. We need to encourage our ministers to provide for the congregation music and messages that would cause the word of Christ to dwell in us richly;  that would help us to teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; that would cause us to sing and live with gratitude in our hearts to God for Christ’s finished work on the cross for us.(Paraphrase of Col 3:16)

1 The Legacy of Charles Finney by Michael S. Horton
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Grandison_Finney
3 Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Lecture I, page 12, Finney
4 The Fine Art of Public Worship, pg 96, A.W. Blackwood (1939)

Update Wed Nov 10, 2010
Speaking of being "moved" by Handel's Messiah..can you believe worshipers at Macy's?  Watch this:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Worship and Music

Since posting the previous blog, I have been doing a little reading on the subject of worship and music. In fact the document mentioned in passing in the previous post, which by the way is sixteen pages long, has been a wonderful guide to understanding the nuances of worship music. I have, however, not become an expert in this field since my last post by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. Much of what Leonard R. Payton writes in “Congregational Singing and the Ministry of the Word" certainly strikes a resonant chord in my understanding of worship and music. My desire is to glorify God as a member of a congregation through the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. In addition, that we sing with gratitude in our heart for our great God and Savior, and that we may be teaching one another and admonishing through the words we utter in melodious unison.

Leonard Payton makes the following statement: “If our song texts are not overtly stating objective facts of Christ-centered redemption we are depriving our congregations of true joy.” I couldn't agree more.   Perhaps that is why a large group of us prefer the older traditional songs. Many actually teach, admonish and express gratitude....yes, all three. I remember, on an internet discussion forum, I had mentioned something that the Lord had done in my life and I stated that I would now raise an “Ebenezer”. One member of the forum asked me what the Ebenezer thing was all about....which opened a great teaching opportunity.  Now, how many in our churches and hymnal producers today have removed that line from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”? I have a hymnal in front of me, “Hymns for the Living Church”, dated 1974 and that strange "Ebenezer" word is not even recorded. I dug a little deeper into my hymnal file and found one, the “All American Church Hymnal”, dated 1957. Let me quote, from it, the second verse: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I’ve come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home; Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.” But, you say, our young people won't know what were singing about. Exactly! What an opportunity we have to teach, admonish and show gratitude through the words we sing. Of course, all my readers are aware that this second verse is based on I Samuel 7:12.

I will finish this blog with a direct quotation from Leonard Payton in his above mentioned article. He says it so much better than I can. “....great old hymn texts are what we should be teaching, For until sometime during the eighteenth century the overwhelming majority of Christian song texts were written by ordained ministers of the Word. The texts reflected the depth of their theological training. Since that time, there has been a steady decline in the proportion of song texts produced by ministers of the Word to that of lay people self-ordained to the task. So extreme is the case now that anyone who knows a half dozen chords on a guitar and can produce rhymes to Hallmark card specifications is considered qualified to exercise this component of the ministry of the Word regardless of theological training and examination. For the spiritual well-being of our children they must learn the great old pre-revivalist hymns. It is amazing how many children enjoy Mr. Rogers' operas. Children will acculturate to what is placed before them. Remember, worship music is an issue of shepherding.”

Go HERE to read Payton’s article.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Madly in Love

March 31st, 2008 was my very first blog. It is a post that honors the song, lyrics and music, of “The Love of God”. People are still “googling” the words “The Love of God” and clicking on my post. I’m honored. It is a great song. Now, this current post, in contradistinction is about, what I think, is a very, very bad song. Our congregation was asked to sing this song at a worship service recently. Some folks did. I refused to sing the words to this little ditty. (words posted below)

It seems to me that, perhaps, we are getting a little too familiar with our Great God and Savior, not to mention that it is inappropriate, improper, incongruous, inept, unbecoming, unfit and unseemly, to say to the King and Lord of all the universe...”I’m madly in love with you”. Doesn’t this sound a little homoerotic for a man to sing? As Charlie Brown would say, “good grief”! Madly in love? Has the culture infiltrated so far into Christ’s Church that the flesh appealing, sappy, romantic, love song, night-club genre must be incorporated into the Corporate Body. Wouldn’t it be appropriate, as it is in interpreting scripture, to refer to those in the faith who have gone on before? Check out Watts, Wesley and Toplady rather than Manilow, Anka and McCartney. A cursory review will reveal those great composers were not prone to write songs about how or how much WE love God, but how much He loves us.

Furthermore, what about the words, “And all of my life and nothing less, I offer you my righteousness”? Now before you jump all over me and illuminate my lack of understanding, I am aware that, according to the song writer, there should be a comma after the word “you” and righteousness should be capitalized. So...how does one sing a comma or proper punctuation? Will the congregation be confused thinking that we are offering to God OUR righteousness, which, as we all know, is as filthy rags? So...forgive me, please. Next time we are asked to sing this song, I’ll take the opportunity to fill out the attendance card.

Verse:
I'm madly in love with you
I'm madly in love with you
I'm madly in love with you
I'm madly in love with you

Chorus:
Let what we do in here
Fill the streets out there
Let us dance for you
Let us dance for you
Let what we do in here
Fill the streets out there
Let us dance for you
Let us dance for you

Bridge:
And all of my life and nothing less
I offer to you my righteousness
And all of my life and nothing less
I offer to you my righteousness

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vengeance is Mine, saith the Cartoonist

This story was the inspiration for the above cartoon:
( A Horse's What?")  (click cartoon to enlarge)

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Slippery Slope

In 2006 Colonial Presbyterian along with 6 other Heartland Presbytery churches, purchased a ¾ page ad in the local newspaper. The ad addressed the issues raised by the 217th General Assembly when they passed the Authoritative Interpretation (AI) that allows objections by candidates to existing ordination standards. The General Assembly said that a governing body can allow such exceptions or departures from the rules on a case-by-case basis if it determines that the departure does not involve an “essential” of Reformed faith or polity. To my knowledge the PC(USA) has not defined an “essential” of Reformed faith.

We received much criticism for this ad stating that we were making “much ado about nothing”. The entire ad can be viewed here: Colonial Ad

The ad stated that the seven churches were concerned that implementation of this AI would mean that any candidate for ordination could claim a scruple against whatever standard seemed particularly unsavory to them at the moment. In other words, “doing what seemed right in their own eyes”. The following is a portion of the 2006 ad which outlined our concerns:

"......... we cannot affirm the Recommendation that allows candidates for ordination (clergy, elders or deacons) to depart from our historic, biblical standards. Local license will become the rule as governing bodies each do “what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

We find ourselves in a place where our historic, biblical standards continue to be maintained in our constitution but will be open for debate on a local level. As a result, it would become possible for Presbyterian clergy, elders and deacons to be ordained who:
1. Do not affirm the deity of Jesus Christ.
2. Do not believe that it is essential for salvation to name Christ as Savior.
3. Do not believe that the Christian scriptures are the inspired, unique and
authoritative Word of God.
4. Do not promise or promote sexual fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness, but rather affirm and embrace a variety of alternative sexual lifestyles."

Colonial’s concerns were borne out this week when the Synod of the Pacific upheld the right of Lisa Larges, a lesbian candidate for ministry, to declare an objection (scruple) to the ordination standards that require fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness. This, I would assume, will be the first of a series of departures from the faith that will come down the slippery slopes upon which this scruple stands. The dimly lit lampstand of the PC(USA) appears, to me, to be flickering toward extinguishment.

“To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. “(Deut 32:35-36)

See stories here, here and here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quote of the Week

In a loquacious meandering opinionated piece in the NY Times, Professor McMahan suggests that perhaps “we could arrange the gradual extinction of carnivorous species, replacing them with new herbivorous ones.”

“Theologians have had enough trouble explaining to their human flocks why a loving god permits them to suffer; but their labors will not be over even if they are finally able to justify the ways of God to man. For God must answer to animals as well. If I had been in a position to design and create a world, I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals. ” (Professor Jeff McMahan)

It appears that Professor McMahan thinks God should bear the “Imago Homo”.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unadulterated...

Should we say, "perhaps you should try Jesus as your savior" ...almost with a consumer market oriented mentality"?. "There are lots of religious options and if you try this particular religious option you might like it." ...

No... rather, Jesus is Lord and He will soon be invading with His armies. He is offering pardon in advance of His invasion and should you receive the pardon and ally yourself with Him now before He invades, when He comes you will be considered His ally and He will raise you to Kingship. The alternative is to be under the wrath of the king. It is not some kind of religious option. It is an announcement that a new king is on the throne and he'll be invading. The gospel is not an invitation to an array of a buffet style of choices, it is a command. Will you heed the command? Jesus is Lord, repent and believe. (William Wilder)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

His Fifteen Minutes...

(click cartoon to enlarge)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Bible...Authoritative or Just Good Advice?

My curiosity got the better of me recently. I was listening to the 12 minute audio in the previous post and I wondered where the adult SS teacher’s son is now. We know he studied at Gordon-Conwell and we know he wasn’t in the PCUSA, and we know he grew up in the PC(USA) and his parents now attend Colonial. Enter...”Google”. After a few select search words..”voila”...he is now pastor of an evangelical church. I sent an e-mail and here is his wonderful and instructive response:

Dave,

Thank you for your message. I just listened to the audio. It is good to hear my dad’s voice standing up for the authority and truth of scripture and God’s grace offered to the world through Jesus Christ. He has shared with me a good deal about Colonial’s decision to leave the PC(USA). From what I hear, you have made a difficult and wise decision, and I pray that God will protect Colonial and its leaders during this transition. In my view, the struggle you are engaged in with the Heartland Presbytery is a microcosm of our society and the state of the Christian church in America today. The issue all traces back to the question of authority. Our society has long since abandoned scripture as authoritative for personal and social morality, and now the mainline church is joining that “progressive” movement away from the authority of scripture in favor of individualism and subjective truth.

There comes a point when a church is no longer a church, when a gathering of religiously-minded people who no longer hold to the basic teachings of the New Testament and of Jesus our Lord ceases to be a Christian church. That point of departure is not defined by you or me, but by Jesus Himself, who warned the ancient Ephesian church that if they did not repent and return to their “first love”: “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:4-6). The lampstand here represents the church (Rev. 1:20) which burns with the light of Christ and is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rev. 11:4; Zech. 4:1-6). Many mainline churches seem to be walking this line, and Colonial is wise to move decisively in a new direction that honors our Lord.

Thanks again for sharing your blog with me and thank you for publically proclaiming the truth of Christ.

Mike
Pastor Mike Mirakian

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Arrogance or Orthodoxy?

The audio I’ve included here, to me, is an amazing look at the handi-work of God.  Some of you know that our home church, Colonial Presbyterian Kansas City, has voted nearly unanimously to disaffiliate with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and to change our affiliation to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. (EPC) We have been in a period of “discernment” since Jan 2010 to see if the Lord was leading us to make this change. We had taken an unofficial survey to determine the mind of the congregation in all this. The survey resulted in a nearly 91% favorable vote to disaffiliate.

Our congregation had been in much prayer and we truly sought the leading of the Lord. I personally prayed that He would confirm His leading in the official vote by greater than the surveyed 91%. When the official vote was actually taken on Aug 22, 2010 the vote was 97% in favor of leaving. I believe the exchange you will hear was one of the major factors leading to the resulting vote.  This audio is of our very first Town Hall Meeting that took place at our Quivira campus on March 27, 2010. Invited were Colonial members and the Heartland Presbytery Administrative Review Committee.  Four Presbyters were in attendance along with a full house of members.

What you will hear in the 12 minute 46 second audio clip is outlined as follows:

1. A questioner asks that we as a congregation be provided with a list of the issues that we have with the Heartland Presbytery and the PCUSA in general.

2. One of our Adult Sunday School teachers talks about how his son was treated by the Heartland Presbytery when applying for sponsorship to seminary, then about the Confessing Church Movement and ends with a pertinent question to the Presbyters that are in attendance.

3. A Presbyter responds to the question.

4. A Colonial Elder responds to the Presbyter.

The entire one hour 20 minute audio is available here: http://www.colonialkc.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=35021&PID=776293
(click on Town Hall Meetings March 27th audio)

Below is the 12+ minute clip:

video
(click on the play button)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Testing--Testing

Someone has suggested that Pastors begin to test the congregation to see if they are learning anything from his sermons. I wonder if in the majority of churches, especially some churches in the mainline denominations, there is anything taught from the pulpit worthy of testing on. Here is a recent quote from a pastor in the PCUSA denomination: "The gospel texts have to be reinterpreted in every generation with conviction and humility —conviction because they reveal God’s will and word for us; and humility because we are only a chapter in the narrative of the human story".

I remember as a kid...some 63 years ago being taught the Westminster Confession of Faith...larger and shorter catechisms in Sunday School classes and occasional reference to the WCF in good scriptural pulpit sermons. Most of it went over my head or bored me to tears...but in later years I am so thankful for the teachers and pastors that took the Word seriously and faithfully took the time to teach to me and countless others these eternal truths that are based on God’s Holy Word. And, by the way, I remember being tested on the WCF subjects in Sunday School and also being challenged to memorize scripture. But...why bother! According to the PCUSA pastor above the test is no longer valid. In fact , the WCF is no longer valid. In fact, what I learned of the Bible as a child, I must now reinterpret so that it fits today’s societal standards. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Born to Trouble

My wife and I have been having some issues lately with the 2nd law of thermodynamics as it relates to our 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, our Kenmore Model 110 Clothes Washer and our GE Triton XL Dishwasher. Basically they have all recently succumbed to this law. As you know, stated simply the 2nd law says.."Everything is wearing out and running down...no exceptions".

Lately, and due to strange powers unknown to me, with the exception of the automobile, the leak in the clothes washer has healed itself, completely; the "dishmasher" is now also running fine. However, our Grand Prix required a water-pump replacement and in addition we were advised that the head gasket may have also blown or, even worse, the block may be cracked, since oil has found its way into the coolant. For nearly a year we had noticed that the automobile was using oil...but not puffing smoke or drip-leaking on the garage floor. Where was it going? Well, when the water pump succumbed to the 2nd law, that caused a leak in our bank account which drained nearly $550.00. When the mechanic told us about the gasket or that the block may be cracked, he said he could not guarantee his repairs due to these extenuating circumstances. Could BP in any way be at fault here? I’m sure that I bought gas at a BP station at some time or other during the last year. Perhaps it was mixed with "salt water" and caused my oil spill. However, since the water pump fix, we have not found any oil in the coolant...or on the garage floor. Has a triple healing taken place? Could it be that the capping of the Gulf oil well could have vicariously affected our head gasket or cracked block? Do we really, scientifically, understand exactly how the 2nd law works.

While thinking about these recent events, I had a "fleecing, er fleeting" thought. What if the gospel of greed, seed-faith, feeling and healing, money grubbing, miracle making, spirit slaying, prosperity preaching, TV evangelists gets wind of these glitches or anomalies in the 2nd law of thermodynamics? I can see it now: "Has your car blown an engine lately? Is your refrigerator on the blink? Just lay your hands on your TV, have faith and say the words "health, wealth & prosperity". Then... send me a $1000.00 fer my new pool...er, that is for my ministry and watch the healing "faith force" do its work? No more need for any expensive repair bills..ever again. But wait...there’s more...., we’ll double this deal...." Have a need, plant a seed, fulfill my greed seems to be their incessant mantra.

Job’s friend Eliphaz, in his much counsel, had a few words of wisdom: "For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." (Job 5:6-7) It seems to me that it would be most unbearable to face all of life’s trials and tribulations (significant or insignificant) without knowing this..."that if God be for us, who can be against us." The Eliphaz’s of today have changed the language somewhat and now it comes out something like.."life’s a bitch and then you die". I prefer to think of this trouble to which we are born after the fashion of Zechariah 13:9 "...I will refine them as silver is refined, and I will try them as gold is tried..." Knowing that God IS still in control and, unlike W. E. Henley’s "Invictus"*, ..... knowing that He is the Captain of my Soul...knowing that no matter what may come I can assuredly answer just as Job did..."though He slay me yet will I trust in Him...." (13:15), 2nd law of thermodynamics notwithstanding.

*It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break..Maybe Summer Too...

Looking forward to a time of:

Refreshing, Restitution, Rest, Relaxation

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gung Ho!

For the past two weeks, I have searched for the title to a World War II movie that I saw in Pittsburgh, Pa in 1946. The summer of ‘46, Mom and Dad went to a Bible Convention of some sort..somewhere..which meant that we kids were farmed out to a few of Dad’s willing parishioners that would take us in for a week or so. I was excited that I would be staying with a farmer and his family that lived near our church in Beaver County, near Frankfort Springs. The hard work of running a small farm was a wonderful learning atmosphere for a young second grader.

It was a delightful adventure. I actually learned how to handle a team of horses as well as to start and drive an old Farmall Tractor. Bear in mind..there was no running water and the outhouse seemed to me just way too far away from the living quarters. A little spring about fifty feet from the house, on the uphill side of the 2-holer provided all the water that was required. This little family had a son that was 6 years older than me and Johnny took me under his wings and taught me how things get accomplished down on the farm. After five days of grueling hard farm work we were treated to a Friday night movie in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.

I remember it like it was yesterday. That happens when you get older. The theatre marquees and the thousands of blinking lights extending out over the sidewalks announcing the latest feature films blew me away. What memories! Surely Las Vegas had nothing on downtown Pittsburgh’s theatre district in 1946. People were everywhere on their way to somewhere this evening in the big city. "Wow"...is all I could think to myself. I had never seen anything like this in all my seven long years. This was my very first movie experience in a big city.

Now, here are the four memorable scenes from this "mystery" movie that I have carried with me for 63 years. First memory: A select squadron of Marines was given the task of destroying enemy radar installations on a small island in the Pacific. The troops were transported by two submarines. As they were making their way from Honolulu they were forced by an incoming Japanese air attack to conduct an emergency dive. As the dive commenced, one member of the squadron was inadvertently left on deck, asleep. They discovered he was missing just in time to re-surface and rescue him. Next memory: As they came on shore at predawn hours, I remember the Japanese had secured positions in the tops of the palm trees and they opened fire as the Marines landed..killing several soldiers. This skirmish was graphically portrayed. Third memory: The Marine commander ordered several troops to paint an American flag on the tin roof of the captured Japanese headquarters. His intention was to let the Japanese re-take the building and then let the Japanese air corps, seeing the American flag, bomb their own troops while the Marines, after accomplishing their mission, retreated to the waiting submarines. It worked! Final memory: A group of Japanese soldiers faked surrender. As the Marines approached, the Japanese had a machine gun strapped to the back of one and he simply bent over forward and the others manned the machine gun and killed one of our soldiers before they were themselves killed.

That’s it. That’s all I remember. Certainly this is an "R" rated movie in this day and one that you wouldn’t take a seven-year-old to see...for sure. Did it warp my little mind? Some who know me well may point to this episode as the answer to their questions about me, but I think I’ve endured fairly well for these many years in spite of this fantastic and treacherous movie about a surprise attack on our World War II enemy in the Pacific. Now, what was the name of that movie? When was it made? And...who starred in this fantastic flick? Those were the questions I took up two weeks ago. I "googled" everything that I remembered about this movie with no good hits. Then I searched for World War II movies that would have been made after 1945. Two movies stood out: "Objective Burma", starring Errol Flynn and "Back to Bataan", starring John Wayne. I ordered both from Blockbuster. After a disappointing viewing, neither of these was the movie I had remembered.

So, back to "google" I went. This time when I found a likely candidate I read the "user reviews" for descriptions and highlights. Bingo! I found it. The movie was made in 1943 and evidently was not "first run" at the Pittsburgh theatre. Nevertheless, I had found my movie. It was entitled "Gung Ho!" and starred Randolph Scott, a super young Robert Mitchum and Noah Beery, Jr.... and was narrated by Chet Huntley. I have been attempting to relive my experience as a seven-year-old by playing this movie in our new theatre room. It does help make the experience more like the original...but after 63 years of movies that ever increase in violence and vivid imagery I suspect that my seven-year-old innocence has been slightly jaded. No matter...it has been fun to try to recreate the past by not only finding this movie, but also viewing once again the movie that I experienced in 1946 downtown Pittsburgh.

As a side note, this movie was based on a true story about "Carlson’s Marine Raiders" and can be viewed in its entirety HERE for free. Also you may find a quick bit of info from THIS Wikipedia article.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Pseu-Nami


(click cartoon to enlarge)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Big Picture


THE ZOOM IN



THE WIDE ANGLE


(click either cartoon to enlarge)

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Big Deal


(click to enlarge cartoon)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowmageddon


(click cartoon to enlarge)

From the Washington Post "Snowmageddon" article:

As members of Congress try to shovel out from underneath what is being called "snowmageddon" in Washington DC, they might pause in their labors and contemplate how weird their weather is becoming. "Global warming" is pretty much a misnomer. Our weather isn't always getting warmer, but it's getting a lot weirder.

The world's weather is changing, and changing in dramatic and erratic ways. Hunter Lovins, co-founder of the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, is credited with creating the term "global weirding" as a much more descriptive term for what's happening to our weather patterns than the "global warming" or even "climate change."
Check it out HERE.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Abstinence


CDC cookin' the books?? Check THIS out! (click cartoon to enlarge)

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Choice Cartoon


The above cartoon used by permission from my favorite Cartoonist..Jake Fuller.
(I wish I'd thought of this; click to enlarge) (Story..HERE)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Earthquake Weapon...Huh?



Check it out HERE. (click cartoon to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Turnover

Add Another
(Definition: From an ancient proverb, "the worm will turn when trodden upon", meaning the meekest among us will fight back when provoked. It can also mean a change of fortune.)

Teddy may have just turned over!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti in Perspective

By Al Mohler Here’s an excerpt from Al Mohler’s blog: (click link for blog in it's entirety)

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God's direct and observable judgment.

God does judge the nations -- all of them -- and God will judge the nations. His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the earthquakes reveal his reign -- as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

God's rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense -- in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts -- there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti -- and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ's people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ's people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God's message to Haiti.

(Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary-the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not on C-Span?


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

News Slant


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Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one. (A.J Liebling)
See photo of new KC Star building here: Star Building