Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Worth a Read

A Tale Of Two Churches
By Doug Patton
December 16, 2008

This is a tale of two American churches. One is in a major city. The other is in a small town. One preaches hatred of America and its institutions. The other preaches love and patriotism. One is infected with a toxic dogma known as Black Liberation Theology. The other espouses the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One was just firebombed. Guess which one.

Barack Obama spent twenty years sitting in the pews of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, listening to some of the foulest teaching ever to come from the mouth of a "preacher." That preacher was a poison-tongued demagogue named Jeremiah Wright, who has spewed racist lies and hateful conspiracies from his pulpit during his entire career.

Meanwhile, in Wasilla, Alaska, an evangelical church, attended by Gov. Sarah Palin and her family, teaches the true meaning of Christ's message to His church and to a fallen world.

On Friday, Dec. 12, the Wasilla Bible Church was firebombed. Authorities said the fire started at the main entrance of the church and that they are investigating the blaze as arson. They estimated the damage at $1 million. No one was injured, although a small group, which included children, was inside at the time.

The Wasilla congregation gathered for their services at a local middle school the Sunday following the fire. The statements of the members and their pastors, as reported by the Associated Press, are telling:

Patsy Inks said the news initially shocked and frustrated her. But by Sunday, she was feeling blessed, she said at the school, where worshippers lingered over a potluck dinner for a church family leaving Alaska. "This tragedy has brought us all together," Inks said, her eyes tearing up.

The congregation realizes the church is more than the building, said John Doak, associate pastor at Wasilla Bible Church. "The definition of the church is the body of Christ, made up of God's people," Doak said. "The church is still there. We are the church."

Gov. Palin, who was not at the church at the time of the fire, stopped by Saturday. She reportedly told an assistant pastor she was sorry if the fire was connected to the "undeserved negative attention" the church has received since she became the vice presidential candidate on Aug. 29.

According to AP, worshippers acknowledged the possible Palin connection with the fire, but more in a "gee, maybe" sort of way, said Rob Tracy, a member of the church. But people are speculating about other motives.

"It's just as likely to be some troubled person who has a beef with God," Tracy said.

"Or some local punks," Doak said.

The AP seemed to offer a different motive for the attack:

"After Palin was named John McCain's running mate, the evangelical church was the subject of intense scrutiny. Early in her campaign, Palin's church was criticized for promoting in a Sunday bulletin a Focus on the Family 'Love Won Out' conference in Anchorage. The conference promised to 'help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome.'"

So let me see if I have this straight. The media fell all over itself during the Obama campaign avoiding an in-depth look at the vitriol flowing like a river of vomit out of Wright's Chicago church. Yet, when Sarah Palin was named as John McCain's choice for vice president, every major news outlet in the country put reporters on planes to Alaska to "investigate" this woman's strange church. And now that this same church has been burned -- an act that would surely be hailed as a "hate crime" had it happened at Obama's church -- we are told that a ministry to help homosexuals who want to leave their deviant lifestyle may be the reason for the attack.

Meanwhile, the loving, forgiving members of the Wasilla Bible Church are turning the other cheek after their church has just been burned to the ground. Can you imagine Jeremiah Wright and his ilk having such a reaction had it been the Trinity United Church of Christ that was attacked?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One reason of many to have not voted for Obama

The Center for American Progress (CAP), part of the ever-expanding empire of liberal billionaire George Soros, is just three blocks from the White House, but it may be impossible to find an organization closer in ideology to the new administration. Working in unison with the Obama camp, CAP was the driving force behind key policies of Barack's campaign, including his plans for universal health care, energy, troop withdrawal, global warming, and the economy. Now, as Obama prepares to take over the executive reins, the Center's influence appears to be taking shape in the next President's inner circle.

In a city where "personnel is policy," CAP staffers are already starting to populate key posts in the Democrat's administration. John Podesta, who presides as founder of CAP's $27 million operating budget, is one of three people leading the President's transition team. Along with Podesta, Tom Daschle, Obama's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), served as CAP's Distinguished Senior Fellow. Several others named to HHS are also CAP alums.

Their advice to Obama is largely contained in CAP's book, Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President, released just a week after the election. Though the organization has been counted on for its recommendations on domestic issues, the group's social agenda is devastatingly pro-abortion. On CAP's website, visitors will find two extra, online chapters from the Change book, which advocate, among other things, the radical Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), taxpayer-funded abortion, "comprehensive" sex education, a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and a repeal of the abortion ban on military bases. CAP's political arm also spoke against the state marriage amendments and actively worked for the defeat of the state life initiatives on November 4.

My Top 10 Favorite Sitcoms

OK, it's time for a less serious post. And what better topic than shows that have made me laugh over the years? These shows have provided levity and enjoyment when I needed it the most. TV may have a lot of pitfalls but it can also be used to bring a smile to your face.


1) Seinfeld - There is no other sitcom in history with more memorable lines and characters - both regular and non recurring

2) M*A*S*H* - OK, not a true sitcom...more of a dramedy. The writing on this show was well ahead of its time and the characters endure on a deeper level than most. This show had something to teach us.

3) Cheers - The show felt just like the bar. You always felt at home when it was on. Great cast and great consistency over time.

4) The Office - This one will likely climb up the list a bit if it can stick around longer. The mockumentary format is original to US television. It's been fun to see a mostly unknown cast use this vehicle to launch their respective careers.

5) Family Ties - It will always have a special place in my heart as Alex P Keaton was the perfect role model for a young Republican such as myself. I grew up with this show and that brings back good memories.

6) Friends - This show came along during the end of my college years which was perfect timing given the young characters that were taking on the world. I watched it through my 20s. Kinda fell off at the end but they definitely captured some magic for awhile.

7) Newsradio - Phil Hartman was a genius and I miss him. This is also the most normal Andy Dick probably has ever been and his talent was on display. Great cast and great chemistry. Very underrated.

8) King of Queens - Jerry Stiller goes from one great show to another. Kevin James and Leah Remini (yummy) play off each other wonderfully. Still watch the reruns almost every day.

9) Scrubs - Another show that has held up well over the years. Now that NBC let them go it looks like ABC picked them up. That's a sign that there is still some life left.

10) Will & Grace - Great fast-paced writing. Always funny. A cast that really cared about each other.

Honorable mention: Wings, Growing Pains, Night Court, Fresh Prince, Saved by the Bell, Arrested Development, Cosby Show, Mad About You

Monday, December 1, 2008

Breaking News

Our benchmark index, the Russell 2000, was down 10.7% today. Yes, today.

Overall, this was the 7th worst day in the history of the market.

Hope everyone enjoyed their "mental break" over the holidays. Because it sure doesn't last long in this environment.

History in the making...and not in a good way.

Nothing really surprises me anymore.

How long till Christmas again?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone



I'm thankful that I was able to gather with my family once again. There is nothing better than coming home and being with the people you love. I cherish our traditions...worship, dinner, cards, laughter. It's a wonderful time to stop and embrace what is right and true and pure. I wish I had more of these days.

Plus, I finished 2nd in cards to my grandmother. I don't think I could have given her a better holiday gift...as if I had a choice. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe I was wrong

Maybe this economic/market meltdown is God's judgment after all.

Never seen anything like it. Granted I am only 36 but historical parallels aren't holding up. Every major financial institution appears to be on the brink of insolvency. Our Big 3 automakers are done. Commercial real estate is going the way of residential. Every major insurer appears to be in big trouble. Every high quality retailer is seeing their stock decimated. Commodities continue to be in free fall. The market seems to go down every single day.

It's either the end of the world or one hell of a buying opportunity.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Matthew 5:10

"Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight." - Psalm 119:143

This verse was the highlighted passage of the day as I went to BibleGateway.com in order to prepare for this post. Coincidence? Not with God.

The "Philadelphia 5" in October 2004...a Canadian pastor arrested for preaching against the sin of homosexuality...2 Catholics arrested outside their church in MN for passing out pro-life literature in May...the slogan "radical right" coming into existence in the 1980s...the media-led propaganda campaign that the separation of church and state means ZERO religious influence in the public square...and now the intense hatred and violence following the approval of Prop 8 in California as well as similar passages in numerous other states. Keep in mind, Prop 8 simply reaffirmed what the people of California had voted for in the past but what was undone by 4 activist judges in that state in May. This is not a radical redefinition. This is the people of California just trying to get their state Constitution back.

Can you feel it? I know I can. Any Christian with any awareness of Scripture and the world we live in has seen the signs coming for quite some time. Yet, I have been a bit shocked at the acceleration in the past week. The level of vitriol and absolute hate coming from those who live in direct opposition to God's Word has been eye opening. I think it was the creation of antigayblacklist.com that was the real awakening. It's a list of monetary supporters for Prop 8 with the intention that those on the list would not have their businesses patronized. It has already led to a job loss for one and likely intimidation and fear for many others.

"But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." - Matthew 13:21

I think we are all familiar with the saying, "Adversity builds character", or some derivation thereof. Recently, I have been hearing what I believe to be a better version - "Adversity reveals character". Now, the first one is true as long as the level of adversity does not extinguish hope for without hope character doesn't matter very much. However, the second version seems much more meaningful to me, particularly as our faith will be severely tested in the months and years ahead. We may be running short on time to build character. The time for our character, our faith, our trust in God and our willingness to follow Him to be made real and evident to the world is here. This is not a drill. There is precious little time left to hide in our church pews, to barricade ourselves inside our comfy confines, to walk the line between being in this world and of this world.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15

All Christians must strengthen their faith and cling to the Truth now more than ever. Be prepared to defend your beliefs in a Biblical way - with truth, boldness, love and grace. God loves homosexuals and non-Christians. Jesus died for them. God wants to see none of them perish eternally. Do not return hate with hate. This is where being a light amongst the darkness becomes so real and so important. Let people know that your disagreement is not personal although the majority will surely take it that way. Let them know you love them and are a sinner just like they are. In that way you may be able to reshape the conversation and put it back where it belongs - on Christ's unconditional and eternal love for us all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thought This Was Good

From Bill Keller...

"As irony would have it, many of the protests by pro-homosexual groups after
their defeat last week have been held outside of Warren's Saddleback
Church. I pray that this is a lesson to Warren and others that as long as
you compromise your beliefs, those who live in rebellion to God and His Word
are your friends. Once you take a stand for the Truth, they immediately
become your enemy. This is why these ecumenical associations are from the
pits of hell itself. It is always the Christians who are supposed to lay
down our beliefs, never non-Christians who are expected to lay down theirs!"

That last sentence was really good. I have never seen it put that way before but it is 100% true.

Happy Birthday to Me

Where is my AARP pamphlet?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope and Change

I am sick to my stomach. I just caught a glimpse of Harry Reid saying that America has voted for "hope and change". What does that mean?????? Someone tell me. Taking my money if I do well is about all I know so far. That's not change. We already have a progressive tax system last time I checked. Nancy Pelosi is standing next to him grinning like a JCPenney's mannequin...minus the personality...and the intelligence. How many Botox injections has that woman endured?

You know what this Robin Hood, take from the rich and give to the poor, is all about? It's about building constituency. The Dems have built their base on handouts. Ever since the New Deal they get votes by giving money. It's as simple as that. There are no new ideas, no grand visions, no plans for a better country. It is about nothing more than buying votes in the "hope" of gaining power and staying there. That's why they get union votes. That's why poor people vote for them. That's why minorities vote for them. But can we really blame the voters? After all, a lot of them are just trying to get THROUGH tomorrow. They aren't interested in doing what is best for this country 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Give me as much as I can get as soon as I can get it and if I am still alive in a few years then I'll consider what you are saying. Of course, then it's too late.

The Dems don't really want to help lift people out of poverty or help them move up the socioeconomic ladder. They are like a drug dealer. Just give em a taste and they will be hooked. Give em just enough and they will keep coming back for more. Give them too much and you lose a client, or in this case, a voter. That's not help. It's mindless addiction. Equality of outcome vs. equality of opportunity. Which one do you really think is better? Which one was this country built on?

The real tragedy is that the Republicans have failed so miserably that they are getting beat by a party with zero ideas. They deserve to lose...and we will all pay the price...literally and figuratively.

Love the Early Maine Poll Results

Obama 2, McCain 1.

Do we really need to report that?

Dominating lead.

Maybe there are only 3 people left in Maine. Wouldn't surprise me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

You are Not Your Own

I really need help understanding how a Christian votes for Obama. Now, I realize that McCain isn't exactly a Godly choice either but there can't be much of a debate that Obama's platform and policy ideas are much further from Biblical values than McCain's.

God has a way of teaching me things. He will typically have the same lesson show up in a couple different places or ways over a very short period of time. That's when I know that it is something He is really trying to impress upon me. On Thursday I heard a "Christian" say she was voting for Obama. However, she wouldn't tell me why except that there was no way she wanted "that woman" in the White House. It made me think of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." I don't know many Christians who really take that to heart or who even begin to understand the implications. How many Christians really even know what it MEANS to be a Christian? Even I will admit that there are times where I conveniently forget that verse and follow my own little sidepath for awhile.

Then this morning I take a walk to drop off a book to a guy from care group who couldn't make it Tuesday night. Smack dab in the middle of his front yard is an Obama/Biden sign. He wasn't home so I didn't get a chance to chat about that but it again brought that verse to mind. It also shows me how important it is that he starts coming to our group and starts being discipled. He isn't being taught, or perhaps just not accepting, of the role Christ wants to play in his life. Not only is he voting for Obama but here is a Christian man with a wife and three kids making a public declaration that this is who has his support. I don't call that shining a light in the darkness.

Then I get Bill Keller's devotional today (OK, this is one of those times where God used 3 different sources) and he is talking about being a doer of the word and not just a hearer (James 1:22-24). Of course, any time that God is showing me these lessons by using others He typically has to primary objectives: 1) Things to be thinking about as a care group leader and Christian witness in my everyday life; and 2) Things that I need to be convicted of in my own life as He calls me to live more holy and more obediently.

"If you love me, you will obey me." It doesn't get much simpler or more difficult than that. We so want to feel in control of what we do or say or how we think and live. But that's not what God wants. The hard part is just trusting that His way will ultimately be better for us...and yes...even more joyful. Dying to self daily. Quite a challenge...and I have a feeling it always will be until we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finding Comedy in the Midst of Tragedy

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/dollar_bill_on_floor_sends_wall

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Think We Live in a Global Economy?

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkboG00r1GaStjjPcd6fXGEJV-tQD93TLTB80

Sidenote: I don't want to go to work tomorrow. That's not necessarily related to the above article.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Musings

Everyone miss me? Thought so. The brain has been a bit tired lately from the ongoing collapse of American capitalism so please excuse my absence. I am just going to offer some brief glimpses into recent thoughts I have had. If any of these are really interesting and deserve more time I will come back and elaborate on them in a later post.

I think we should change part of the Lord's Prayer. Instead of saying, "Lead us not into temptation", we should say, "Strengthen us when we are tempted". God does not tempt and the way it is said now could be very confusing to new Christians and non-Christians alike.

I wanted to briefly address Bill Keller's contention that the current financial and economic fiasco is God's judgment on this nation. Normally, I am very much in sync with Bill because I believe he preaches the true Word of God and I admire his unwillingness to compromise the truth no matter how unpleasant it may be for others to hear. Let me just say up front that I can't sit here and say with 100% certainty that what is currently transpiring is not God's judgment. But here is what I can say: My belief is that this is simply part of capitalism. Credit was too easy to get in this country for too long and it caused many people, both loan givers and loan takers to make decisions based on greed and an unwillingness to admit that they were overextending themselves. In a nutshell, that has put us where we are now, at a point where deleveraging must occur and the excesses must be purged from our system. This happens throughout history and is part of the economic cycle although this trough threatens to be more severe as the exceeses are more pervasive than they have been at most other times.

Think of this like a smoker. A guy smokes two packs every day for 25 years and dies of lung cancer. Is that God's judgment on that individual? Or is that just a natural consequence of poor physical stewardship? Is there a difference between those two? Bill believes there is a difference as do I. Except he believes it is the former and I believe it is the latter. Does it matter who is right? I guess it depends on your point of view. I think you need to be careful in attributing something to God that may or may not be His doing. I actually emailed Bill and asked him if this was his personal opinion or a divine revelation. All he said was that it followed what he was talking about at the beginning of the year - that God's judgment on this nation is coming. So, he didn't answer my question. I think Bill is probably right - God's judgment is coming. But I also have a feeling that Bill has latched onto the financial meltdown to prove his point, regardless of whether or not he is actually right in doing so. I find that dangerous and rather disingenuous.


Now, like I said, I agree with Bill the large majority of the time. One thing he is really good at is pointing out other "Christian leaders" who are wandering away from God's word and forming all kinds of alliances with those who don't preach Christ crucified. He brought up Robert Schuller today and his "Rethink Conference" which will be happening again shortly. You can read a bit more about it here:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/rethink.htm

I find it mentally and spiritually taxing to have to keep tabs on the supposed pillars of the Christian community. I know we are called to do it. I just wish there were more leaders who were completely sold out that we didn't have to keep our eyes on every minute. I read a recent post from an Atheist pointing out the fact that so many Christians have so many problems with other Christians not living or thinking the way they are supposed to. What does that say about Christianity? Hard to argue with that point. Of course, the old answer is, "Focus your eyes on the One who is perfect and not the multitude who are imperfect." Good advice for a Christian but non-Christians are looking at us and evaluating every word and deed. Many of our supposed leaders are only making our jobs that much harder to witness effectively.

Speaking of which...sad to see what is going on in the life of Ray Boltz. He has found a new "Christian" community who accepts his newly revealed homosexuality. Ray needs to be ministered to in grace and love but also truth. He will not be getting the latter where he is now. I love his rendition of "Watch the Lamb". I tear up almost every time I hear it and it hurts to watch him walking away from the Lamb.

I ended up reading a little bit about Mafia life in the early 1930s in New York City. I don't think there is a profession that demonstrates the concept of "he who is first shall be last" more aptly than a mob boss.

Blogging on a Saturday night. Call me a party animal. But it is a cheap way to pass the time and right now that is priority one. Hunker down people.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hey John McCain

Quit sending me emails talking about your "path to victory". You are going to lose. The only hope you have is a terrorist attack and I can't accept that path.

Palin was a good pick but you needed to be 20 years younger to make it work.

Enough said.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Groundhog Day

I've always liked this movie and have watched it a number of times. I have never really been able to put my finger on why it speaks to me but I think I have some new clarity on the matter.

After living the same day over and over a few times, Bill Murray's character starts to enjoy the fact that he can do whatever he wants with not having to endure any consequences the following day. It is a function of his self-centered persona that this would be the first benefit of his situation that he exploits. However, violating the law, stealing money, buying lavish gifts and seducing women through dishonest means doesn't result in lasting fulfillment. That realization leads to thoughts, and ultimately to attempts, of suicide. After all, if what you have always conceived to be the source of happiness doesn't actually end up leading to happiness then what is the point of going on? Where is the hope? I don't think he is just looking for an easy way out of his predicament. He is a self-centered, egotistical guy who is forced to look at himself and his worldview in a very stark and unforgiving way. He doesn't like what he sees. His self-involved depravity is even commented on by his producer (the woman whom his heart actually wants) when she quotes the latter part of the following poem:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart has ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Of course, he is unable to kill himself, since he keeps waking up the next morning in bed regardless of what he does. Slowly but surely he starts to open himself up to others. He begins investing in people around him (imperfectly at first), both friends and strangers, and changes his perspective on what life is about. It's not about getting by or getting ahead - it's about getting to a place where you find value in everything that God places in your path. It's about finding a purpose larger than yourself...discovering the larger story going on around you as Eldredge might say. Ultimately, this leads him to finding value in himself as a person.

So the movie is ulimately about dying to self and having a new birth. It really is analogous to our lives, before we knew Christ and after. It is a wonderful representation of restoration and reclaiming our hearts for what they were meant to be and what they were meant to pursue. It is ultimately a story of hope even when hope appeared to be an illusion at one point.

Before his first attempt at ending his life he says to his producer, "I have come to the end of me." It's usually at that point, or shortly thereafter, that we finally turn to God...sadly because we have run out of ways to make things work on our own. Yet, God still responds and shows up and binds the brokenhearted.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama, China, and Corporate Taxes

OK, this wasn't the ad I was hoping to find but it will do the job. I saw an Obama ad last night that almost made me kick a hole in my TV. The ad's assertion was that McCain was giving tax breaks to corporations that export jobs overseas. That is the most underhanded, backward and utterly false statement since...well...probably just a few days ago.

What McCain wants to do is lower taxes on corporations BECAUSE higher taxes here are forcing them to do more of their business overseas. By lowering taxes here they will want to earn more money here. Simple enough for you Barack? If you don't lower taxes, or heaven forbid you RAISE them, guess what happens Mr. Economics? More jobs go bye bye. The one thing you claim to care about - the people - will lose even more at your hands. But you actually hate corporate America so much that you would rather hurt them and have people hurt as a byproduct then actually do something to encourage job and wealth creation in the US.

Did he even go to college? This is Economics 101. It sure as heck ain't brain surgery.

And yes...companies do want to expand their businesses to China. Wanna know why? 1.3 billion people and the fastest growing middle class in the world. Companies like to go places where there are a lot of people to purchase their goods and services. It's not because their airports are bigger and shinier. We also live in a global economy now. Get over it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Miss These

Obama's Capital Gains Tax

This video goes much deeper than just Obama's desire to raise the capital gains tax. As a side note, this doesn't really effect me as all of my trades are short-term in nature (i.e. less than 1 year) and thus are taxed at my income tax rate. The main points here are twofold: 1) Obama's idea of "fairness" and its socialistic implications, and 2) The punishment of those who are successful within a capitalist society.

Obama is a socialist...some would say Marxist as this video does...plain and simple. He is the embodiment of a liberal pattern that has grown in verocity and gone unquestioned by the left since the hippie movement of the 60s. I wasn't alive then but I wonder how many pot-smoking unemployed individuals were sitting around complaining about fairness? My guess is a lot of them. Yes, part of it was certainly about being anti-Vietnam but it was also about being anti-establishment, meaning I don't want anyone telling me what to do or how to live but I still want my fair share. Obama is just the latest iteration of that.

Collectivism sounds great. It takes a village, right Hillary? Let's all look out for one another. What is wrong with that idea? Nothing...when it is carried out by the will and means of individuals. Even Jesus backed that. But when it is carried out by the government? Ahhh...that's a whole different case. This is where Obama and all the liberals get it wrong. We must use the government to make things better...to level the playing field...to make things more "fair".

This country was economically built on people moving up the socioeconomic ladder by taking risks and taking the initiative to build a business, to provide a good or service, to build wealth. The beauty of America has been that it provides an opportunity for everyone to pursue that dream. It doesn't guarantee success but, for the most part, it allows everyone to try. Obama wants to punish those who have been TOO successful. So, what's the cut-off point Barack? It seems like you want me to be happy and solvent but there is some point where I am TOO happy and TOO successful and then you want to tax me because the assumption is that I have built my success on the misfortune of others. It's the victim mentality. It's what liberals do best. Hate crime legislation is a prime example. Build a constituency by telling them they have been given a raw deal and letting them know that you will give them handouts in order to make things right. The New Deal was never meant to last forever. But it does in the eyes of liberals today. FDR and JFK would not agree.

Maybe the worst part of this video is that when Obama is confronted, not once, but twice, by the facts that increasing the capital gains tax has led to LOWER revenue for the federal government, he can't seem to wrap his one-track mind around the concept. At first, he simply ignores the implication altogether as if he never even heard it. Then he contends that it might be true to some extent but it's not the entire part of the equation. He has ZERO understanding of capital flows in a global economy. You want to raise taxes here? In the stock market and on corporate America? Fine, go ahead. Guess what will happen? Capital will leave our market meaning you will hurt tens of millions of hard-working Americans who have 401k's and pension funds and mutual funds. That money will go elsewhere in a heartbeat. And you say that you will keep more jobs here in America that are being sent overseas??? WRONG!!! You raise corporate taxes and more jobs go bye bye. Obama, and almost every liberal out there, seemingly has no idea how economies and wealth are built. They have one desire...more money for the government...and they don't even know how to do THAT right.

Yep, he can give a good speech. Yep, he can inspire with words. But there is no logical thinking behind the feeling. There is no substance behind the style. There is only the same old talking points...only amplified to such a degree that all clarity and common sense are thrown away.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cravings

11:40 on Monday evening and I really want Ruffles and French onion dip.

The bad news? I have both on hand.

Could be trouble.

Developing...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Borrowing a Blog from John Piper

Angels are not omniscient. That is, they do not know all that is and will be. We believe this partly because they are finite, created beings and partly because the New Testament portrays them as desiring to look into things. And it speaks of things being “made known” to them.

For example, Peter says that the gospel contains “things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12). And Paul says that the church exists so that “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).

Angels are also sinless and in that sense perfect. Therefore, unfallen angels still learn things. So it is possible to be perfect yet ignorant of some things. It is possible to be perfect and still enjoy learning.

That implies that when Hebrews 12:23 refers to the saints who have died as “the spirits of the righteous made perfect,” we should not conclude that these saints are omniscient. In fact, it would be right to conclude that they do not yet know all they will know, but will go on learning things about God and his universe forever.

At least I cannot think of any reason to think there will ever come a point in eternity when finite minds will have infinite knowledge.

This is very good news to me, because when I was a child one of my greatest fears was that heaven would be boring. There would be no surprises and no growth in knowledge with accompanying increase of joy.

My view of God was too small and my view of myself was too big. I misinterpreted, 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

I thought: Well, we will know everything in a flash. We will know God the way he knows us, and there will be no more discovery after that. Now I see this as philosophically improbable, morally bigheaded, and exegetically mistaken.

What Paul means is not that I will know exhaustively the way God knows me, but rather I will know accurately the way God knows me. The point is not that I won’t have limits to what I know, but rather I won’t have mistakes in what I know.

God is infinite and therefore inexhaustible in the complexity of his glory. His created universe, as the Hubble telescope shows, is big. His thoughts toward us are countless. And his ways are beyond finding out.

Part of what makes “eternal life” satisfying (and not boring) forever is that it will take an eternity for perfect, finite creatures like us to know God fully. He is perfect and infinite. We will be perfect and finite. He will enjoy increasing revelation of himself, and we will enjoy increasing jubilation in him—forever.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interesting Article

“Daddy God,” is how Victoria Osteen refers to Him. Honestly. We’re not making this up. When Mr. Joel Osteen took a wife, it was Victoria that he got, for better or for worse. And now the two of them preside over a mega-church in a suburb of Houston. Mr. Osteen is the author of a super bestselling book, Your Best Life Now . God wants us to be prosperous, he argues, in front of thousands of worshippers. How does he know what God wants? He speaks “face to face” with God, says his wife, making him the first person ever to do so. (What did He look like? Has anyone asked?)

Over in Atlanta, the Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr., seems to be doing even better. He and his wife, Taffi, entertain at another huge church, drive around in a Rolls Royce, and have a private $5 million jet to move them from one speaking engagement to another.

Mr. Dollar, like Mr. Osteen, believes in the power of God to move mountains, but they trust in the Almighty Dollar to smooth out the little foothills in their way. Last year, for example, Mr. Dollar sent 100 of the local Fulton County police officers checks for $1,000 each – a month after two traffic tickets the Reverend Dollar had received had been downgraded to warnings.

And back in the Lone Star State, Kenneth Copeland and his main squeeze, Gloria, have done even better – with 4 jets at their disposal. Mr. Copeland, the subject of a MoneyWeek article last month, is also said to have a parsonage the “size of a hotel,” probably more like a huge Motel 6 than a Crillon.

This might be just another part of the baroque spectacle that makes America such an amusing place. But there is more to the story, which is – as you might guess – the subject of today’s column.

Gibbon blamed the fall of Rome at least in part, on Christianity; it encouraged a retreat from the battle for money and power, he said. Now, Kevin Phillips, in a new book, Bad Money, charges the pentecostal wing of American Christianity with undermining the U.S. empire in the opposite way. He argues
that the evangelicals pushed the Republicans down-market. There, the yahoo voters brought them temporal power – 30% of Republican voters identify themselves with an evangelical sect. But they also hollowed out Republicans’ traditional respect for sensible finances.

Among the many frauds of the Reagan-Bush II period, few were gaudier than the “prosperity gospel.” Preached in America’s gamy religious outposts, the concept does for religion what the neo-conservatives did to conservatism, what modern portfolio theory did for Wall Street, and what Keynesianism did to the economics profession – it a made a monkey of it.

In politics, the neos turned conservatism inside out. The old conservatives were wet blankets, do-nothings and naysayers. When news spread of Calvin Coolidge’s death, for example, people asked, “How could they tell?” But the new conservatives are the life of the party. It is said that George W. Bush “doesn’t even know the meaning of the word can’t.” (Of course, there may be other words he doesn’t know the meaning of.) And the neocons’ idea of political economy was similarly liberated from any residual notions of conservatism and common sense. “Deficits don’t matter,” said Dick Cheney,
speaking for every wishful thinker since Caligula.

On Wall Street and the City, the old conservative doctrines were put away with top hats and spats. In place of prudence came derring-do. In the place of reasonable salaries came breathtaking bonuses. Mortgage lenders no longer studied a borrower’s finances to make sure he was a good credit risk; they didn’t even take his pulse. And they no longer seemed to care whether their takeovers, triple-A paper, and structured products made any real financial sense; it was enough that they paid a fee.

In economics, too, somehow, the world’s leading economists bent the figures into a preposterous new shape so appealing that even a teenager could love it. An economy can get richer by living it up, they said; and the purpose of central banking was to encourage consumption rather than capital formation.

Was it any wonder that the pulpits sank into the honey too? Along came Jim and Tammy Faye Baker with a sexy new religion – spreading the get-rich gospel over the TV waves. Then, poor Jim got sent to prison for fraud, and when he came out he renounced the new doctrine. But other couples – for some reason these preachers seem to work in husband and wife teams, like Juan and Eva Peron – picked up the tablets. Soon, they had convinced millions to give up the hard-benches of the old Calvinists and sink their plump derrieres into some of the cushiest seats in Christendom.

Churchgoers at Mr. Dollar’s World Changers church services wave envelopes full of cash, reports the Atlanta paper. On the big screen, they offer testimonial proof of the ‘financial blessings’ that came their way after they began sending the preacher 10% of their pre-tax earnings: “The congregants…yell in joy as ushers pass the white buckets down the row to collect the envelopes. After more singing, Dollar preaches… He relentlessly attacks the idea that Christians should limit material possessions. Christians have for too long let the ‘devil’s crowd’ get all the money, power and real estate, he says. Then he tells congregants to say, ‘I want my stuff.’”

“I want my stuff,” they repeat, laughing.

Politics, money, religion – the flim flam was the same everywhere. It was the promise of something for nothing, gain without pain, Easter without Good Friday. But with America’s housing prices falling and unemployment rising, the Pentecostals will find it harder to get their stuff than ever. Maybe God didn’t want them to be wealthy after all. On the evidence, maybe He just likes a good laugh, like the rest of us.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN, 1918-2008

Acclaimed Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, ending what he famously called his "struggle with falsehood." While serving as a Red Army Captain in World War II, Solzhenitsyn was arrested for writing a derogatory comment about Josef Stalin in a letter to a friend. For this "crime" Solzhenitsyn served eight years in the Gulag, the Soviet Union's system of penal labor camps in Siberia. Solzhenitsyn's imprisonment convinced him of the evils of communism. After his release from the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn wrote his first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev mistakenly believed that Solzhenitsyn's novel would discredit Stalinism while leaving the communist system intact, so he allowed it to be published in 1962. The novel created an international sensation, forcing many Leftist intellectuals in the West to re-evaluate their views on communism. Solzhenitsyn was even awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, though he was unable to leave the Soviet Union to accept it.

In 1973 Solzhenitsyn published his greatest work, The Gulag Archipelago. It was a veritable nail in the coffin of totalitarianism. According to American writer Tom Wolfe, "Marxism was finished off... in a single year, 1973---with the smuggling out of the Soviet Union and the publication in France of... Solzhenitsyn's 'Gulag Archipelago'." What moral standing the Soviet Union still enjoyed in the West was destroyed as The Gulag Archipelago documented how the commissars had stained their hands with the blood of millions. Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but he continued his fight against totalitarianism from his new home in a remote Vermont village, where he lived until returning to Russia in 1994.

Solzhenitsyn warned the world against "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil... evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent in human nature." The great novelist knew better: Evil is all too real, and it has to be confronted. In this, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn led by example.

My thought: Isn't it interesting how the forced belief that evil doesn't exist is the very thing that allows evil to flourish and proliferate? No wonder it is one of Satan's favorite tactics.

"One word of truth outweighs the entire world." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2012/07/26/of-universal-significance-men-have-forgotten-god/

http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/five-years-ago-today--one-of-my-heroes-died

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2014/01/07/forgotten/

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Economic Thoughts

Can we all just admit that our Founding Fathers were a lot smarter than our current leaders? Obama's economic policies are almost a 180 degree departure from the wisdom of those who gave us our Constitution.

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents..." ---James Madison

As James Madison described it in his era: "[I]f industry and labour are left
to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects
which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner
than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out."

Jefferson similarly observed: "Were we directed from Washington when to sow,
and when to reap, we should soon want bread. ...[W]hen all government,
domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to
Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks
provided of one government on another." He noted correctly, "The natural
progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Jefferson was clear on his disdain for taxes: "To take from one, because it
is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much,
in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised
equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of
association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry
and the fruits acquired by it."

Obama's economic plan is nothing more than a remake of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's class-warfare proclamation: "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to
ability to pay. That is the only American principle."

In fact, Roosevelt's "principle" was no more American than Obama's. Not to
be confused with the biblical principle in the Gospel according to Luke,
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required..." (which,
ironically, some Leftist do-gooders cite as justification for socialist
policies), Roosevelt was essentially paraphrasing the gospel according to
Karl Marx, whose maxim declared, "From each according to his abilities,
to each according to his needs."

Jesus used parables to enlighten the heart, in this case, about our personal
responsibility. Marxist methods are a bit more coercive---rejecting God and
anointing the state as the supreme deity.

Politics is not about facts. It is about what politicians can get people to believe." ---Thomas Sowell

Disclaimer: The above comes from Friday's PatriotPost but I found them worth reprinting here.


This is my favorite picture from my recent trip to Colorado...that doesn't include my parents. That should make them happy. ;) I definitely enjoyed the time up in the mountains. It is quite a contrast from the usual concrete and steel I see on a daily basis. It's certainly more the way God intended I think. To be able to witness His glorious handiwork. It gives you just a taste of heaven. It also shows you how awful hell will be as no life will exist there...not even a single green leaf. I understand why my brother decided to make that his home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This is good

"God is only limited by our faith."

Very convicting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thoughts

"One of the most naive notions is that politicians are trying to solve
the country's problems, just because they say so---or say so loudly or
inspiringly. Politicians' top priority is to solve their own problem, which
is how to get elected and then re-elected. Barack Obama is a politician
through and through, even though pretending that he is not is his special
strategy to get elected." ---Thomas Sowell

"I'm going to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and give
them a new mission, and that is to bring the war in Iraq to a close. We are
going to get out." ---would-be commander in chief Barack Obama, who doesn't
understand that the Joint Chiefs don't have operational command of U.S. forces

Just blame "Big Oil": "Once again, the oilman in the White House is
echoing the demands of Big Oil. The Bush plan [to open more offshore oil
drilling] is a hoax. It will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy
independence... If the President wants to bring down prices in the next
two weeks, not the next two decades, he should free our oil by releasing
a small portion of the more than 700 million barrels of oil we have put in
the Strategic Petroleum Reserve." ---House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-OPEC)

This really kills me. I don't know how anyone can be this disengenuous and continue breathing. Let me see if I understand this...If we drill for oil and send it along a pipeline to a refinery it will neither reduce our dependence on foreign oil nor will it help ease gas prices. Sure thing Nancy. Give me a break. Just say that you hate the President more than you want to help the American people because that is the bottom line. You would rather bow before the altar of the ultra-liberal environmental hippies than support an initiative that would help millions and millions of hard-working lower and middle class families make ends meet. You aren't here to help. You are here for the ego trip and to try and get re-elected. Don't ever again pretend that you care because you don't. Same goes for my Congressman, Russ Carnahan, who used much of the same language in responding to my pleas to support additional drilling. No one is saying we shouldn't pursue alternative energy sources. We are and we will and that is the long, long-term solution. But we aren't going to be off of fossil fuels in this country for many decades so can we please actually take some action and start looking out for our economic interests. Why is Congress' approval rating in the single digits under Democrat leadership? Gee...I wonder.

"Syria is an amazing country. It is not at all what I expected... I've never felt safer." ---Barbara Walters of ABC's "The View" on her trip to Syria ++ "So where does this misconception come from that Syria's an issue?" ---The View's Whoopi Goldberg to Barbara Walters ++ "Well, first of all the country is on our terrorist list. They are against the war in Iraq... And they are neighbors and friends of Iran... And they are friendly with both Hamas and Hezbollah who are two groups that we consider unfriendly groups [truth in labeling: terrorists] in Israel... They have
also been accused of allowing people and terrorists to cross the border into
Iraq. They say they do not do that and they haven't and they've really cut
down on it." ---Barbara Walters

Which is it Babs...they don't do it or they cut down on it? Tough to keep the lies straight ain't it? I think it is time to take "The View" off the air. Is this really helping the women of America?


Upcoming topics:

Childlike faith
Jesse Jackson

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Example of BAD Flip-Flopping

OK...remember that I said good flip-flopping could arise when a point of view is changed after receiving new information or having a change of perspective from a new eye-opening experience? Here is the opposite of that:

In an interview last week Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made a statement that "mental distress" is not a sufficient reason for a woman to have an abortion. If Senator Obama had stuck by his assertion that would have been a dramatic policy shift both for him and for the pro-abortion Democratic Party. The junior senator from Illinois quickly "revised" his remarks in an attempt to both backpedal on his comments and to further muddy his extreme views on abortion. In his interview Senator Obama gave a false description of the bill he repeatedly worked against while he was in the Illinois state senate, legislation that would have protected children who survive abortions.

This is classic pandering. I will say one thing to one audience and something completely different the next day to a different group because I want all of their votes. This is what happens when a far-left candidate tries to move toward the center to position himself for the general election. You get inconsistencies in the message. It's the same thing as when Bill Clinton would change his hair color to appeal to different audiences. It's pretty impressive when your lying skills even extend to the color of your hair.

Barack - this ain't gonna work. Just pander to the people who voted for you over Hillary and hope for the best in November. This kind of nonsense you are pulling now is going to get you despised by both ends of the political spectrum.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

This isn't really going to be a patriotic post. It's important to celebrate the birth of this country and to remember how it started and the numerous blessings God has provided along the way. It's also important to be realists about where we are at now...that although there is still a lot of good left it is being crowded out by forces that the founders never intended and God never wanted. Our part is to simply do our part.

So, what's new...Definitely enjoying the warmer weather. It's wonderful. I like being tan and feeling vibrant and healthy. It's very life affirming. After all, the Garden of Eden had to be quite temperate, right? Adam and Eve weren't running around naked in an Arctic environment.

Tough market again. All the issues that plagued us in the beginning of the year are once again in focus as banks and housing and energy and food prices dominate headlines and the minds of traders. Israel and Iran jawbone at each other. I can't help but think of Armageddon everytime I see Iran and the West going at it. Kinda keeps things in perspective. As to surviving in this market - it's not a great secret. Buy companies that hold hard assets - oil, coal, precious metals, etc. It's worked for quite awhile now and shows no signs of abating. $145 oil may not be good for the consumer but it ain't bad if you are in the exploration and production business. We are definitely seeing a great wealth shift from West to East and that will have far reaching consequences going forward.

Been suffering through a bit of a depression lately. I finally figured out that it is part of the grieving process from the end of a relationship not too long ago. I went through a few weeks of intense anger and resentment and I am glad that most of that is over. I am looking forward to the acceptance stage and having this mental and emotional drain behind me. It's the great irony...The ones we care about the most are the ones who end up hurting us the most because if we didn't care about them we wouldn't be so deeply hurt when their words and actions turn against us. It's just unfortunate when you give everything you can to someone and not only is it not enough for them but they actually fail to appreciate and respect everything you have done.

I'm tired of hearing the constant whining of political pundits about either Obama or McCain flip-flopping on issues. Yes, it's nice to know where a candidate stands and to be able to depend on that although I'm not sure that happens much anymore. But isn't it also good for someone to change their mind when new information comes to light or a more worldly perspective is brought about through new experiences? I don't mind someone changing their mind on an issue as long as they have a good reason and explain their new outlook clearly. We should all have morals and values that stand the test of time but to never have any new thoughts or ideas on important issues shows either an inflexible mind or the lack of pursuit of knowledge.

That will do it for now. Margaritas tomorrow. Get excited.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today's Little Nugget

"Throughout history, people have focused too little on the opportunities that problems present in investing and in life in general." - John Templeton

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Save Tibet?

So Sharon Stone is in trouble with the Chinese for saying the recent earthquake that took the lives of tens of thousands was the result of bad karma for the way they have treated Tibet. Well done Sharon. Way to use the tragedies of multitudes to somehow back your vacuous agenda. For once, the Chinese have a legitimate reason to be upset. Although...do they really care what Ms. Stone has to say? Not sure anyone over here does. I think I saw her career on the side of a milk carton recently.

What is it about Tibet that so many of the hippy ilk seem to be drawn to? Even here I see the occasional "Free Tibet" bumper sticker. Do these people know anyone in Tibet? Have they ever been there? Do they really have any idea what is going on besides hearing somewhere that the evil Chinese are keeping them from true freedom? Could they even find Tibet on a map? I can only imagine the level of angst this issue is causing those poor people in Hollywood.

If you want a real cause to support how about visiting someone in a nursing home or bringing food to a hungry family? Use your energy on something of substance and make a real difference in the world. The Dalai Lama doesn't need your support. A lot of other people here do.

Let us not forget...

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Harry Reid

In what is hopefully only a first step, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw down the gauntlet at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) shuffling feet yesterday after Senate Democrats, once again, failed to keep their word on moving President Bush's judicial nominees--some of whom have languished in limbo for years.

At the beginning of the 110th Congress the Senate Democratic leadership promised to at least match the average of 17 circuit court nominees that have been confirmed in prior Congresses. Instead, Senate Democrats, led by Reid and Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have done everything in their power to delay the process. This time around, Senator Reid promised that at least three nominees would be confirmed by Memorial Day; however, that holiday came and went with only one nominee approved. In response Senator McConnell used Senate procedure to temporarily delay the disastrous global warming cap and tax bill currently being debated on the Senate floor. We hope this is a precursor to even bolder action.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Prediction

Obama is going to beat McCain...badly. I am thinking maybe 57/43 in the popular vote...or perhaps 56/43 with the Naders of the world getting their 1%. When McCain stands side-by-side with Obama in those televised debates, there will be a glaring difference in charisma, charm and youthfulness. McCain will likely offer more substance in his answers but it won't matter because Obama knows how to inspire based on nothing. Is that real leadership? Nope. But it will get the job done in this case.

Charles Wesley’s Radical, Fruitful Risk

From the Desiring God blog...

On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die.

Wesley and Bray asked if they could be locked in overnight with the prisoners who were to be executed the next day. That night they spoke the gospel. They told the men that “one came down from heaven to save lost sinners.” They described the sufferings of the Son of God, his sorrows, agony, and death.

The next day, the men were loaded onto a cart and taken to Tyburn. Charles went with them. Ropes were fastened around their necks so that the cart could be driven off and leave them swinging in the air to choke to death.

The fruit of Wesley’s and Bray’s night-long labor was astonishing. Here’s what Wesley wrote:

They were all cheerful; full of comfort, peace, and triumph; assuredly persuaded Christ had died for them, and waited to receive them into paradise. . . . The black . . . saluted me with his looks. As often as his eyes met mine, he smiled with the most composed, delightful countenance I ever saw.

We left them going to meet their Lord, ready for the bridegroom. When the cart drove off, not one stirred, or struggled for life, but meekly gave up their spirits. Exactly at twelve they were turned off. I spoke a few suitable words to the crowd; and returned, full of peace and confidence in our friends’ happiness. That hour under the gallows was the most blessed hour of my life. (Journal, vol 1, 120-123)

Two things amaze and inspire me in this story. One is the astonishing power of Wesley’s message about the truth and love of Christ. All the condemned prisoners were converted. And they were so deeply converted in one night that they could look death in the face (without any long period of “follow-up” or “discipling”) and give up their spirits with confidence that Christ would receive them. O, for such power and witness!

The other thing that amazes me is the sheer fact that Wesley went to the prison and asked to be locked up all night with condemned criminals. It was a huge risk. These men had nothing more to lose if they killed another person. Wesley had no supervisor telling him that this was his job. He was not a professional prison minister. It would have been comfortable and pleasant to spend the evening at home conversing with friends. Why did he go?

God put it in his heart to go. And Wesley yielded. Wesley believed in hell and heaven. He believed that what these prisoners believed from their hearts on that night would determine forever their eternal destiny. It was worth risking his life for. O that I might discern the leading of God when something outside my usual path is called for.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Truth

Thank God for laptops. Working in the recliner just doesn't feel as much like work. I think I need some new furniture in my office.

Read a good summation of post-modernism today. Instead of humans discovering truth it is about humans creating their own truth. The consequences of such a dogma are quite obvious in our society - and in our churches - as the majority of individuals in this country subscribe to whatever "truth" suits them at any given point in time.

I was thinking about the parallels between the Constitution and the Bible. There are of course differences in that the former can be amended and the latter is absolute but both do represent foundational truths for society as a whole and the individual. However, both are taken pretty lightly these days and not just by the person who spends their free time watching Jerry Springer. No, they are taken lightly by judges and Christians alike - the very people who should be their greatest proponents.

You may or may not feel like you have any personal stake in attacks on the Second Amendment. An important Supreme Court decision will be handed down in June that could go a long way in deciding whether or not the integrity of the Second Amendment will be upheld or ripped apart. Again, it comes down to constructionism or another adulterated interpretation of the so called "Living Constitution". Guess which side Obama falls on? He supports the D.C. regulations because he, "...wanted to make sure that local communities were recognized as having a right to regulate firearms... The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun laws isn't born out by our Constitution." Additionally, he has also served on the board of the Joyce Foundation, which since 2000, has given more than $15 Million to radical gun control organizations and is closely linked to the Soros Open Society Institute, which advocates a worldwide ban on civilian firearm ownership. This is not the kind of "change" I am looking for.

We see the same kind of thing happening with the Bible and people (Christians mostly since non-Christians don't really know the Bible) trying to change the original meaning in order to excuse their own behavior or make themselves out to be something of a visionary and leader. I certainly think of Gene Robinson in this way. After being ordained as an openly gay minister in the Episcopaian church he stated that he believed that God was up to something new - leading the Church and society to a greater acceptance of homosexuals and said this, "I think God is meaning for gay and lesbian folk to have a full, whole, and complete life - both as citizens of this country and as members of the church,” says Robinson.

See what he does there? No mention of the act of homosexuality, an intentional act of sin. He chooses his words very carefully to say that if you aren't accepting of his choice to be gay than you aren't accepting of him. I have no doubt that God wants to soften the hearts of many Christians toward homosexuals. It's a sin...just like gossiping over coffee before Bible Class starts about a couple at church that are struggling in their marriage. Those who stand at gay pride parades with signs that say "God Hates Gays" are doing as much of a disservice to the Lord as Gene. Both are ignoring the absolute truth of the Bible to further their agendas.

The bottom line is that absolute truth exists. The Bible is certainly absolute and the Constitution is as close to absolute as a government forming document can likely get. That doesn't mean we should stop learning and examining them both but we also need to be very careful that we don't label something as "progress" just because it is in direct opposition to what has been handed down long before we got here. You can be intellectually rigorous AND believe that absolute truth exists. They are not mutually exclusive no matter what is taught in our universities and many of our churches today. We need to spend more of our time understanding and appreciating them rather than tearing them apart for personal gain.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

"[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so
valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve
our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of
promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in
vain." ---Dwight Eisenhower

"No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong
and get peace from his acquiescence." ---Woodrow Wilson

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so
few." ---Sir Winston Churchill

"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most
reliable soldier on earth." ---Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson

"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward
for what he gave." ---Calvin Coolidge

"In November 1776, after Washington had lost four battles and just before
he crossed the Delaware to Trenton, British commanders offered a pardon
to all who would swear allegiance to the crown. It was time to put up
or shut up. I can hope I would have remained steadfast then, resolute in
confidence that neither I nor my family would ever again sing 'God Save the
King.' I didn't have to make that choice. Thousands of men and women who went
before us did, and thank God for every one of them." ---Suzanne
Fields

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

God is still in the miracle business

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080521/ap_on_fe_st/odd_flight_prayer

Friday, May 2, 2008

Definition of Irony

When you are sneezing so hard and often that you can't get your allergy pill out of its little packet.

Frustrating.

And entertaining.

For everyone but me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where Does Obama Really Stand?

In his own words...

"I have actually been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history... I reasonably can see 'don't ask, don't tell' eliminated. I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law... The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I'm interested in making happen... And finally, an area that I'm very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union... I, for a very long time, have been interested in a repeal of DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]."

Friday, April 4, 2008

MLK

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

Words to contemplate and remember.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Song of the Day

I'm feeling this one.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holy Schnikes!

OK...so I caught a little of "Tommy Boy" over the weekend. Been almost a month since a post. Nice job Chris..."thanks". Feeling a bit cynical tonight so we'll see how this goes. I have no agenda for what I am about to write.

Question (ode to Dwight)...if Ralph Nader runs for President of the USA and no one cares, is he really running?

Brutal loss for my alma mater, Drake, in the NCAA Tourney. Iowa teams do not seem to fare well in that event lately. No idea if Iowa's ladies won today against Georgia or not. Should I know? Just be lucky I even knew who they were playing. Women's basketball...it's snoretastic.

I want to go to a church like Obama's. You don't get all that Biblical teaching...just a good rant every Sunday. Like the old Dennis Miller show...except with a good choir. Come on...we all know the government created AIDS. What's wrong with that point of view. Apparently nothing for Obama who continued to attend and never tried to distance himself from those views until he had no choice. Then again, that was the community largely responsible for his early political success. Kinda like rappers and athletes who can't leave their childhood homies behind when they make it big and end up going broke or going to prison because of it.

Finally got to the St. Louis Science Center. Only took 9 1/2 years. The kid to adult ratio there is about 6:1. I think they are plotting to take over...just like the squirrels. Does anyone out there hunt squirrels? Gimme a call.

Hey, it was snowing this morning! Happy Easter! I am going out on a limb and stating my belief that it wasn't snowing on that first Easter morning. Yes, yes...I know...Matthew 28.

I still use the same calculator I had in college. Texas Instruments makes a solid product.

Ever feel like you wasted a three day weekend? Not a good feeling.

Does everyone know when Saul became Paul? Don't say the Damascus Road. I learned something new today.

I feel like that's it for now. Thanks for listening...err...reading.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This just in...

It's snowing again.

Prozac...party of 1...your depression is ready.

I think there will be a special place in heaven for Eskimos.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

Shut it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just so we don't forget...

This Presidential election is vitally important on numerous levels.

From FRC: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) is pushing a bill in his state's legislature that seeks to declare abortion a fundamental right for all women. The bill would make abortions virtually immune to state regulation, end conscience protections, and most likely force the numerous Christian-run hospitals in the state to close rather than be forced to violate their faith by carrying out abortions or referring women to abortuaries. The bill also would expand the field of people who can perform abortions while eliminating the possibility of passing restrictions that have wide public support, such as parental notification, informed consent laws, and waiting periods. Governor Spitzer rose to power in New York State with tremendous support from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, mainly due to his adamant support of abortion and his unbridled hostility towards pregnancy care centers. Coincidentally the two leading Democratic nominees for President, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barak Obama (R-Ill.) are cosponsors of a similar bill in the U.S. Senate introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calf.) that, if enacted, would effectively overturn most state laws on abortion. States, like Georgia, that are currently trying to reflect the pro-life majority among their population would be left with little choice but to subsidize abortions with taxpayer dollars if this legislation is passed and signed into national law.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This speaks volumes...

Both Democrats and Republicans share numerous faults and both are prone to intentionally misleading people in order to further their time in office or personal gain. However, I think when it comes to the security of this nation, there is only one party that has been consistent in understanding and facing those who wish us death and destruction.

http://www.bercasio.com/movies/dems-wmd-before-iraq.wmv

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Blog blog blog

Have you ever noticed that if you say a word over and over long enough it no longer sounds like a word? Such as "boat" or "ethics".

Been close to a month since my presence has graced this domain. Been busy. Cut me some slack. I've got this new woman in Peoria who has been monopolizing my time...and I am very happy about that.

This will be one of those random thought blogs since it's been awhile and I am playing catch up...or is that ketchup? Plus, this is how my brain usually works anyway. So buckle up kiddos.

According to an FBI agent who was interviewed on "60 Minutes" and was Saddam's chief interrogator, Mr. Hussein didn't believe the US would attack Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, so he concealed the fact that he didn't have any to prevent an Iranian invasion. He apparently stated that he miscalculated President Bush's intentions. Yeah...I would say so. Now, I don't know if I completely believe this or not. Even if it is true it is widely believed by those close to Saddam that he had every intention of ramping his WMD programs up again and he certainly had a precedent for using them - just ask the Kurds in the North. "60 Minutes" loves this though as it gives them one more data point to call into question the decision to send our military into Iraq in the first place. Of course, there are so many holes in that thought process it is hard to know where to begin:

1) The best anyone can do at any point in time is make the best decision with the information that they have on hand.
2) To now call in a question based on information made public after 7 years is ridiculous. I've heard of Monday morning quarterbacking but this is insanity.
3) To say that we should not have gone into Iraq when we believed Saddam had WMDs is to say that the 9/11 attacks should not have changed our foreign and security policies. That is as absurd a position as choosing to ignore Pearl Harbor would have been.
4) Are we safer after going into Iraq or less safe? This is also the wrong question. We are safer than we thought we were. End of story.


OK...that topic took awhile. Let's move along. Nice article on Yahoo following another "60 Minutes" interview - this one with Joel Osteen. The title of the article? "Popular Preacher Doesn't Talk Much About God" Wow...nice title Joel. Could that possibly be why you are so popular? Don't want to get bogged down with all that God stuff. Much better to talk about being positive and being kind and to let people know that God has ordained numerous blessings for them...they just have to show a little patience. I watched some of that interview. The guy asking him questions actually did a good job. At one point he asked Joel why in his 16,000 seat auditorium there were no Bibles and Jesus was rarely, if ever, mentioned by name? Joel stated, and I am paraphrasing, that teaching Scripture isn't his gift. Can you really be a Christian pastor and not teach the Bible to your congregation? I don't think so. Joel was not called to be a pastor. Perhaps his father was...I never heard him speak. I think the interiewer was much closer to the truth when he compared Joel to Dr. Phil. It really loves me wondering what is going on in Joel's heart.

Stimulus package got passed. Everyone excited? The government is borrowing money...a lot of it from Chinese investors...to give you a little spending cash. Oh, of course, it will be your tax money that eventually has to pay off that loan...and with interest it will end up costing you more in the end then you will be getting now. But hey...at least Congress is doing something, right? Blah. No wonder their approval ratings are lower than Shaq's shoe size.

Best line from "Numb3rs" last night..."Satisfaction doesn't come from having all the right answers but in helping others find them." Amen. That is why I love discipling others.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Had A Bad Day

This market is wearing me out.