Battle of the Bands LXXXIV

02/26/2009, 1:02 pm -- by | No Comments

Winning the Acts band name finals is Havoc! Moving on in Ephesians is Clamor.

Below is the final matchup from Ephesians!


Bible Discussion — Ephesians 5-6

02/26/2009, 12:00 pm -- by | 3 Comments

This week, discusses the last two chapters of Ephesians, in our final Bible discussion!

Joining us for the last time are our special guests from both parts of Romans 8 — Capt. Steve Carroll, Rev. Dave Maxon, and Maj. Doug Jones!

Read it all here!

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2 | 3-4
Ephesians: 1-2 | 3-4

Paul closes with a primer on living a Godly life, quickly hitting the major areas of most people\’s experience.

Capt. Steve:
Jesus railed so hard against the empty legalism of the Pharisees, because He was not offering a new system of rules but rather a relationship with the Creator through Himself.

These two chapters contain two sets of ‘rules’ — both are intended to show an example of the loving relationship that we can and should have with our God. But both sets are often misused: to further unloving and sometimes hateful agendas; to pursue a Pharasaical religion of accomplishment; and even to follow a lazy religion, because it is easier to attempt to follow rules with the safety net of forgiveness, than to develop an authentic relationship.

Maj. Jones:
It is my privilege to participate in this final Bible discussion in this forum. God has been glorified in these discussions.

The final two chapters of Ephesians offer a great resource for Christian living — they speak to men, women, and children and their various roles within families and the community. The teaching on “slaves and masters” is also very relevant if you simply replace those words with “employees and employers.”

Pastor Dave:
These chapters are a reminder of how Christians should act and think. Above all, we must stand against the wiles of the devil, those compromises the world would have us make to “fit in.”

As the Church took root in places like Ephesus, I’m sure many of the early Fathers must have desired — at times — for a return to the laws of the old covenant. Immorality of all kinds must have seemed so incongruous with the recent teachings of Christ, yet perhaps ran relatively rampant. Paul had to remind the early believers of their greater moral heritage without stealing any of Liberty’s thunder.

Chapter five was a great follow-up to our church’s sermon on Sunday, which was on light. We need to set our hearts to walk as children of light, and this chapter admonishes us to walk in love, light and wisdom. I believe that when we walk in the light, we’ll be in position to pick the rest of that up as we go.

Paul tells us in 5:1 to imitate God. I guess I’d always read that, for one reason or another, as imitating Jesus. One could make a convincing argument, though, that Paul meant it interchangeably — but if we were given the charge to imitate God without knowing the narrative of Jesus, the results would be dramatically different.

Capt. Steve:
Whenever you find a list of rules for righteous living in the New Testament, you invariably find a verse pointing to the heart of the law.

Pastor Dave:
When we die to ourselves, we are a “sweet-smelling aroma” to God.

Paul urges the Ephesians to specifically pray for him — of all people — for boldness in preaching the Gospel. He didn’t take anything for granted, even after years of faithful witness under persecution.

In verses 31 and 32 of chapter 5, was Paul saying a husband and wife becoming one was a mystery to all of us, or just to him as a bachelor?

Job: Leads to Debauchery
Josh: Talk of Fools
Pastor Dave: Shod Your Feet
Connie: Girded With Truth
Steve: Alert
David: Ambassador In Bonds (better than Alice in Chains)
Capt. Steve: Divine Imitations

Continued here!


02/25/2009, 9:41 am -- by | 1 Comment

Is anything more annoying than a young person complaining about age? I promise to control myself.

Growing up, I read a lot of Bill James, the bearded baseball wizard who revitalized baseball in the 80s and 90s through his unique statistical approach. One of the nuggets of information he uncovered was that baseball players tend to peak at age 27.

Statistics gradually improve from 18 to 24, until somewhere between 25 and 29 (often 27), a player will have his best season, his career year. From then on, skills and stats regress. This is good to know: a team that understands this general trend of player performance should be less likely to overpay someone about to enter the twilight of his career.

Now obviously this analysis is rather specific to sports, dependent as they are on strength and quickness. In most (though not all) fields, years, even decades, of experience are an asset.

But remember, at the time, I was a 12-year-old ninth grader, averse to aging and used to being the youngest person in the room. So 27 — distant 27 — became internalized for me as the peak year, on the back end of a series of numerical waystations:

16 — graduate from high school
18 — gain right to vote
20 — graduate from college
27 — reach my apex
35 — gain Presidential eligibility
100 — die, preferably after eating pizza

Before 27, you see, I could not be old — even when it seemed unimaginably far-off — because age 27 was when baseball players were at their best. But now, today, the very minute this article went up, I turned 28. So let the long slide into obsolescence begin. Or, perhaps more correctly, continue.

In defending the celebration of Christmas, Samuel Johnson pointed out that “there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.” Birthdays are a peculiarly perfect time to consider the events of a year, of a life. And since what I do at work all day is confidential, most of what I can show you from the last two years of my life is right here.

Now I don’t think I peaked in much of anything at 27, with the likely exception of Wii tennis. And I know from experience that I will look back at this year and rue my foolishness and error, think of all the things that should have turned out differently. But I also know that for the rest of my life, I will think fondly of these last two years for the experience we have shared here.

It has been a profound honor and an actual privilege to serve among this entertaining and talented group of writers, and to be read by such a kind and discerning audience. Thank you all. I certainly have not loved every minute of it, but I have loved most. And trust me, that’s worth a lot.

And so we will say goodbye this weekend, after two years, 89 clashes, 76 Bible discussions, 70-some Councils, about 60 Chick tracts, countless articles, jokes, and quotes, and — above all — immense and honest gratitude for any time you have spent with us. Everything here will remain, but for the foreseeable future, nothing new will be added. For a while, I’ll be satisfied re-reading it.

I don’t know what will come next, but I’m sure that — before too long — you’ll be able to hear from me again. Of course that assumes that you want to! If you were here for David, or Job, or Connie, or Chloe, or Josh, or Djere, or Kaitlin, or Tom, or Mike, or MCB, or Erin, I don’t blame you! Honestly, I was too.

But yes, I’ll be around, somewhere.

After all, I’ve got another 72 years before I finish that pizza.

Quote of the Day, 2/25/09

02/25/2009, 7:00 am -- by | 2 Comments

“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” — Seneca

One Hundred Words (48)

02/23/2009, 5:52 pm -- by | 1 Comment

As a child in the country, I slept with the radio on, preferring to mask the barks and howls and creaks of the Great Unknown with the comforting patter of overnight disc jockeys.

But now I have learned I have more to fear within than without, and I find I cannot dream of sleeping to a soundtrack other than that which surrounds me.

The ticking wall clock signifies the constant march of time, as outside, the slams and yells and windy moans testify of existence, shared yet separate. Sirens wail. And I experience life again before leaving it, ever so briefly.


Quote of the Day, 2/23/09

02/23/2009, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.” — F. Rogers

Battle of the Bands LXXXIII

02/21/2009, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

Winning the Jonah band name finals is Relent! Moving on in Ephesians is Boast.

Below are the Acts band name finals, and the second matchup from Ephesians!



Bible Discussion — Ephesians 3-4

02/21/2009, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

This week, discusses the next two chapters of Ephesians.

Read it all here!

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2 | 3-4
Ephesians: 1-2

British statesman Benjamin Disraeli once responded to anti-Semitic remarks made by an Irishman by pointing out that while his ancestors were “priests in Solomon\’s temple,” the other man’s forefathers were still “brutal savages on an unknown island.”

There is a truth there, often forgotten, that Paul illustrates in the early chapters of Ephesians. God had taken great pains to reveal the truth to one group of people (Jews), establishing down through the ages a witness to the rest of the world (Gentiles), that there is one true and living God with holy standards. But now, in Christ, He has fused the two together to create one new man — the Christian — and Paul was utterly amazed to find that he was given the privilege of announcing that good news to the Gentiles!

In 3:18, Paul says he wants us to understand Christ\’s love: the width, the length, the depth, the height, pretty precise stuff. Then he turns around in verse 19 and lets us know that, never mind, it surpasses all knowledge.

Paul refers to the pagan Gentiles as those who have “given themselves over to lewdness,” which he identifies as a combination of “uncleanness” and “greediness.” That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s not just that people want to do wrong — it’s that so often, they just can’t get enough.

Josh: Less Than The Least; One
Steve: Clamor

Continued here!

That’s Some Great Police Work

02/20/2009, 6:26 pm -- by | No Comments

Irish police officers have finally cracked the case of a Polish scofflaw with more than 50 tickets to his name. Seems the infamous Prawo Jazdy had given a different address every time he was stopped, and the authorities were at a total loss to stop his reckless driving — until the day they finally figured out that in Polish, Prawo Jazdy…


…”driver’s license.”

True story.

One Hundred Words (47)

02/20/2009, 3:54 pm -- by | 1 Comment

There’s a difference between good conversation that involves humorous banter — or even deep spiritual truths — and oneupsmanship.

They’re about as similar as volleyball and that game that erupts at birthday parties when someone bats a balloon across the room and another person bats it back. In one, the point is to keep things going and involve everyone in the room (even the killjoy who shouts, “You’re going to break something!”). In the other, the goal is to hit some unreturnable shot to score a point.

In conversation, as in the party game, no one is impressed by the person who spikes the balloon.


Quote of the Day, 2/20/09

02/20/2009, 7:00 am -- by | 1 Comment

“Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and state, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.” — R. B. Hayes

Fortune and Judgment

02/19/2009, 10:00 am -- by | No Comments

“They said among themselves, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer…,’ but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.” –Acts 28:4-6

How often are our opinions of others based on the outward circumstances of their lives? Paul was a prisoner; he escaped a shipwreck, washed up on a strange shore, and was bitten by a poisonous snake. For these people, that was enough evidence to issue a judgment: “Surely he is a murderer whom, although he has escaped the sea, yet justice will not allow to live.” Case closed.

But wait! After further review — when a long time passes and he doesn’t keel over dead — the same crowd decides he is obviously a god! And all based on the external appearance of his life.

I wish this were confined to 1st-century Malta, but this kind of thinking was an integral part of Old Testament theology too. Why else would Job’s comforters be unable to believe that he wasn’t hiding some secret sins to account for his misfortunes. This explains why Isaiah’s prophesies described Jesus as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief,” whose contemporaries would “esteem him stricken of God.” And it continued: when Jesus told the disciples it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, he found them “astonished beyond measure.” It completely flipped their theology. After all, riches were blessings from God, while the poor were clearly cursed.

Matthew Henry has written that the sign of God\’s blessing in the Old Testament was prosperity, but in the New Testament, it was adversity. Why has our thinking not transformed to line up? Why do we still judge people, and ministries, by the whims of fortune rather than by their Biblical fruit?

We see TV ministries or megachurches that abandon the Bible or embrace what Rich Mullins called “trendy religion that makes cheap clichés out of timeless truths” and we say, “God can\’t bless that!” But then they grow a church of thousands, and we buy their book, touting them as the men of the hour! Theirs is the new plan of God for the church! Question that and you hear, “They’re reaching millions of people for Jesus every Sunday — what are you doing?”

Well, what I am doing is trying to live my life in obedience to the Holy Spirit, which is all the success there is in the Kingdom of God. To figure out which church, or man, or woman, is doing it “right,” may require us to read our Bibles and pray, rather than watching the outward circumstances to level judgments about what is or isn\’t of God.

But — if anything — I\’d bet on those facing adversity. It\’s a new testament and a new theology that demands a vigilance to see the truth.

One Hundred Words (46)

02/19/2009, 9:32 am -- by | No Comments

Octuplet mom: my thoughts?

She’s had six pregnancies (like me) through in vitro (unlike me) where she was implanted with six embryos (unlike me) because she wouldn\’t kill them (like me). Four single births, twins the fifth time, and then two sets of twins and four singles.

She doesn\’t have the resources of, say, Angelina, so she’s criticized. Well, when you’re asking society to pay for your family, we get a say in the size. And I don’t like how she uses her mother as a slave nanny!

In the end, just love your babies and they\’ll be fine.


Quote of the Day, 2/18/09

02/18/2009, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.” — G. Orwell (E. Blair)

Three Links (Vol. 19)

02/18/2009, 12:40 am -- by | No Comments

— I think this is my favorite AP article of all time. Fascinating, unbelievable, and informative. How did I not know about this before? How could any 17-year-old girl’s greatest wish be to visit a presidential museum? And the most burning question of all: do they have his beard under glass?

— What’s that? You’d like to see the ugliest website in the world?

— From the author of Moneyball, it’s a quick 9000 words on counterintuitive lessons of probability and efficiency in the sport most like life. The numbers became flesh, and dwelt among us — and Michael Lewis testifies of him: Shane Battier.

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