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Friday, March 25, 2005

The Trinity: The Father: Reading One

The Trinity: A Journal
The Father: Reading 2

Exodus 3:15 "You are the Lord, the God of our fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This is Your name forever, the name by which your are to be remembered from generation to generation."

Meditation
God, I thank you that you are the Lord, that you are the Lord! Your name stands forever, from generation to generation your name, Lord stands! I thank you that your powerful name stands the test of time and that it remains unchangingly powerful.

Prayer
It has been hard to see your power through the fog of my doubt in recent weeks. And yet, my own doubt does not change your power. Your name, O Lord is forever and is remembered from generaction to generation. I proclaim your name and internalize the power that is in that name for my own. I am a child of yours. Will I believe that your power can change our circumstances? Current circumstances must not be enough to make me continue in my doubt. The question before me is "Will I trust in the Lord's power with with my whole heart even in the face of these trying circumstances?" I believe that this is what God is calling me to. Not easy, but necessary.

Contemplation
The idea of the Lord's name being forever and remembered from generation to generation captured my spirit as I contemplated these verses.

Friday, March 18, 2005

NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story

Is this the price of fame?
NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story: "A painter working at David Letterman's Montana ranch was charged Thursday with plotting to kidnap the talk show host's toddler son and nanny and hold them for $5 million ransom."

BreakPoint | “I Met This Lady Today”

Check out today's Breakpoint, it is about Ashley Smith, the brave Christian woman who stopped the Brian Nichols rampage:BreakPoint | “I Met This Lady Today”:
"Americans are spellbound by the saga of Ashley Smith, the Atlanta woman held hostage by murder suspect Brian Nichols. Reporters covering the story are mystified over how anyone at the mercy of an escaped inmate—one who that very day killed another woman and three men—could remain so calm.

The answer is that Smith had learned to trust God. During her ordeal, Smith—the widow of a murder victim who suffered much in her life—was able to enter into the suffering of her captor. She calmed him, and told him God just might have had a purpose in sending Nichols to her apartment. She even served him, making pancakes.

In nearly 30 years of prison ministry, I’ve met many Ashley Smiths all over the country. What they have in common is the belief that faith in God can triumph over fear. One of the most memorable stories is that of a young Texas woman whose story has dramatic parallels to Ashley Smith’s. Twenty-three years ago, Margaret Mayfield was shopping in San Antonio when a gun-wielding man suddenly confronted her. “I’m the man who killed the woman at the restaurant last night,” he announced, “and I’m going to kill you if you make one move.”

Mayfield had just been abducted by mass murderer Stephan Peter Morin. Terrified, she began praying aloud. Instead of ordering her to drive away, Morin began to sob and talk about his unhappy childhood.

Mayfield told Morin, “It’s not coincidence you’re here. God brought you to this car. Even though you have committed some horrible things, God still loves you.”

Morin then forced Mayfield to start driving and as she drove, Mayfield continued telling Morin about the love of Christ and playing evangelistic tapes. Morin suddenly had her pull off the road and he began to pray. “Jesus, I am sorry for everything I have ever done. Please save me.” Morin then picked up his pistol, took out the bullets, and put them in Mayfield’s hands.

Morin decided to go to Fort Worth to see evangelist Kenneth Copeland, whose tapes Mayfield had played. Eight hours after her abduction, Mayfield watched as Morin boarded a bus and waved goodbye. When police picked him up hours later, Morin surrendered quietly. “This morning I would have got up and shot the gun,” he told the officers. “But I met this lady today and now I’m different.”

Years later, after he’d been ministered to by Prison Fellowship in prison, he was taken to be executed for his crimes. His last words: “Lord Jesus, I commit my soul to you, I praise you, and I thank you.”

The stories of Margaret Mayfield and Ashley Smith and many like them are tales of the triumph of faith over fear. They illustrate the truth of the message John Paul II has preached so consistently for nearly three decades: “Fear not.” Ashley Smith and Margaret Mayfield overcame fear with faith, and overwhelmed evil with good.

There’s a wonderful lesson in this—particularly at this season of the year, an encouragement to all of us. If we trust the promises of God, we need not be held hostage by the most dangerous hostage taker of all: fear. We can discover what we Christians will celebrate on Easter Sunday: The great joy and power of faith, no matter the circumstances. And we give a watching world hope."

lgf: VDH: Little Eichmanns and Digital Brownshirts

LGF links to this VDH article: Little Eichmanns and Digital Brownshirts

Suburbs a world away from war / Clayton minister says violence in Iraq fails to stir passions

Hat tip to OpinionJournal.com:
Suburbs a world away from war / Clayton minister says violence in Iraq fails to stir passions: "There isn't much to hear about. The antiwar movement's failure to take root in the suburbs is one reason the movement is struggling to redefine itself and gain political power 2 1/2 years after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to city streets in the run-up to the U.S. invasion."

GetReligion: March 18, 2005

There has been lot's written about the Terry Shaivo case. Here is one link:
GetReligion: March 18, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Power Line: The Green Side

Hat tip to the Powerline guys for this post:

Col. Bellon Reports From Falluja

Lt. Col. Dave Bellon periodically emails his father with news from Iraq; Col. Bellon's emails are posted on The Green Side. Yesterday, Bellon emailed his father from Falluja. Some excerpts:

"As recently as October, we sat outside the city in day long battles. Over the inevitable din, you could hear cries for jihad and resistance resonating through the loudspeakers of the city's 60+ mosques. Certainly from the Marine point of view, the mosques were thought of as facilitators of the terrorists and a key ingredient in stoking the spiral of violence that consumed the city for much of the past thirteen months and beyond. Today we sat with some of the same men who controlled the speakers and discussed ways to get ambulances into the city faster and enhancing understanding among the variety of cultures that now make up the daily life in the city.

"As I have said before, Fallujah is now thought of as a 'safe zone' by the citizens. The atmosphere of fear and intimidation is now lifted. People move about during the day without fear. The curfew remains at night and frankly, that is just fine with the people. Iraqis outside the city talk of how safe they feel when they come to Fallujah. Talk about a truly incredible turnaround.

"While the men have been working inside the city, other Marines have been relentlessly chasing and attriting the enemy outside the city. We have had more success capturing high value targets in the last week than perhaps during any other during my 22 months here. Once again, the Marines continue to exceed expectation. Instead of coasting in and playing it safe, they are pouring on the coal and finishing strong. The result has been a number of indicators of insurgent leadership seeking to open a dialogue with the Iraqi Government. Again, not to put too rosy a picture on it but it really is encouraging to the guys who have been here grinding away. The bad news for the enemy is that fresh legs are here and it is about to get worse for them. Steady progress seems to be occurring on all fronts."

FOXSports.com - Home

If you have the bandwidth, check out the Schilling video (title of video clip below). He is well spoken and make great comments at the steroid hearings.
FOXSports.com: "Schilling speaks out"

Marvin Olasky: Curt Schilling, pitcher and Christian

Cool story about Curt Schilling's living out his Christian faith:
Marvin Olasky: Curt Schilling, pitcher and Christian

Yahoo! News - Scott Peterson Transferred to San Quentin

A moments decision results in a life that for all intents and purposes has already ended.
It is not difficult to understand the rage that Laci's parents feel. There are several statements from them in the linked story that show the depth of their anger.
One question I have for readers is how does one forgive in this sort of circumstance. I am the father of a daughter and I cannot begin to imagine the rage, anger and grief I would experience in this sort of circumstance.
Yahoo! News - Scott Peterson Transferred to San Quentin

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Reflections on "Dad" Verses

Below are some reflections on a set of verses that my father sent me that were meaningful to him after he was downsized out of a job of 40+ years:

Reflections from “Dad” Verses
Jeremiah 29:11-13: God’s plans for me are for my good, to give me a future and a hope. They are not intended for my disaster. Jeremiah also says that if I pray, God will listen. If I earnestly look for God, I will find him (v. 14 reiterates this idea of God being found by us).

Isaiah 43:18-19: In these verses, God is speaking to his people, Israel, reminding them of his great work in defeating the Egyptians during the Israelites exodus from slavery in Egypt. And then he says to them, “…forget all that! I am about to do a brand new thing.” And to me, God is saying, “Forget about that! Forget about being wronged, forget about the mistakes! Forget about not trusting me before. Trust me now! What has happened before is in the past. Today is a new day! The future is bright if you will trust me. I will make a pathway through the wilderness. Remember the vision that Al had? He said to me, “I see a picture of smoke. It makes it hard to see. All you have to do is blow and things will be clear.” One other note from this text: “See I have already begun!”

Proverbs 3:5-6: Solomon here reminds his readers that we are to trust in the Lord with all out hearts. We are not to depend on our own understanding. These verses speak such truth to me. I truly do not understand my current circumstances and I am not sure I ever will. Trust does not depend on understanding. I am to trust God with the outcome. Though I do not understand the reasons why, I trust that God does. I do not need him to explain things to me. Elsewhere the Bible says that his ways are beyond my understanding anyway, so why worry about it? Verse 5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” I am guessing that “heart” here represents the center of being. Perhaps we can say “from the center of my being, I trust you.” In other words, trusting God forms the foundation of my being and is the foundation upon which everything in my life is built.

Philippians 3:12-14; 4:13; 19: Along with Paul, I want to forget what has past and look forward to what lies ahead. I do believe that my best days, and the best days of my family, are ahead. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” I believe I am just starting the race and I look forward to finishing what God has before me. The verses in chapter 4 speak to God’s enabling strength and his supply of provision. Strength for the race and supply of all our needs from his glorious riches.

Pacem in Terris

Recently, I spent a weekend away at Pacem in Terris. Below are some reflections I wrote during that weekend. I hope that my posting some of my reflections here will be an encouragement to anyone who happens upon my blog.

Friday, March 4
"As I write these words, I am sitting alone in a hermitage at Pacem in Terris. I have come here to be alone with God. What am I here seeking? I have to say that I am not totally sure. I simply knew that I felt called to this place during this time of change in my life. I have left a place and am seeking God’s best for the next chapter of my life.
I told Vicki earlier that I was nervous about this retreat. “Why are you nervous?” she asked. Among other things I said that I had some high expectations. I want to encounter the living God again in a way that I haven’t recently. I have also said that I want to get re-centered again. I feel this need for re-centering after a few months of sliding away from my call. I tried to reinvent myself to be what someone else needed me to be. I was not faithful to the call God has on my life for the sake of keeping a job.
That last statement sounded selfish. At some level, I have to be willing to settle for a job that will pay the bills and feed my family, right? My own fulfillment is secondary right? I have to say that I have become less & less inclined to believe that. I believe, fervently that part of God’s best for me is to be doing work that He has called me to. That I am to be doing work that I am passionate about and that helps to give my life meaning. Not work that kills my soul and drains my spirit.
Throughout my time away, I will be recording my thoughts in this book and I will be listening, trusting that the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s love for me and will reassure me that He has my best future planned for me. As a bonus, perhaps the Holy Spirit will whisper to me a glimpse of what our next steps will be and the way that God is going to meet the needs of our family. This Lord, is my prayer."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Os Guinness Looks Evil in the Eye - Christianity Today Magazine

Os Guinness Looks Evil in the Eye - Christianity Today Magazine: "The author of Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror talks about 'life's greatest dilemma.'"

Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online

Just a reminder to read this!
Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online

Thursday, March 10, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Mainline churches bash Bush budget

Then the Bush budget must be right on target!
WorldNetDaily: Mainline churches bash Bush budget

Monday, March 07, 2005

My Way News - Cronkite Praises Rather's Retirement

Uh, yeah!
Rather Retirement

Closed Doors

Hi to anyone reading this. Recently I have been in a process of seeking God's direction for myself and our family. I recently felt led by God (and I must say circumstances) to leave a position in a local church. It was not easy to step out without certainty as to what is next in my life. I truly did feel that God was leading me out of that position and into what I thought would be another ministry setting.
Well, now it seems to me that the door for me to continue in church ministry is closed. There are still a couple of resumes out, but my recent experience leads me to believe that God has said no to further church ministry for me. This is not an easy day. I love the church and so hoped that as we took a step of faith to leave one role, God would lead us to a place where I could flourish and grow in ministry and in walking with people in their process toward becoming all that God would have them be. It does not appear that this will be in the church for me. Though I do know that God's kingdom is larger than just the local church.
I do believe that God is walking beside us in this process, though right now it is difficult to see what he is doing. We ask for your prayers as we continue seeking what God has for us.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons - Christianity Today Magazine

Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons - Christianity Today Magazine: Eugene Peters says this among other things in this interesting interview with CT: "I think the besetting sin of pastors, maybe especially evangelical pastors, is impatience. We have a goal. We have a mission. We're going to save the world. We're going to evangelize everybody, and we're going to do all this good stuff and fill our churches. This is wonderful. All the goals are right. But this is slow, slow work, this soul work, this bringing people into a life of obedience and love and joy before God."

Hat tip the the CT Weekly newsletter for pointing me to this particular quote.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - BTK Suspect 'Relieved' by Pastor Visit

As a person who has served as a pastor in a local church, I cannot imagine the pain that this sort of arrest would cause in a local church. And this was not just another attender, this guy was the president of the church council (the board comprised of lay people who govern the church). His pastor said: "'We are not going to cut him off. I could tell that he was relieved,' Clark told The Associated Press. 'He is still a part of the body of Christ — and that is something some people will have a hard time hearing.'" This is a commendable statement. I truly believe that even someone who is apparently as evil and Mr. Rader is not beyond God grace. Here is the story:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - BTK Suspect 'Relieved' by Pastor Visit

I can only imagine the pain that this congregation is going through. Stories are out about the heinous nature of this man's alleged crimes. The question that this arrest raises in my mind is how someone could rise to a level of such prominence and social acceptability while hiding the brutal killings of at least 10 people (and who know how many more there are). I know I would at minimum feel betrayed and frightened at my lack of discernment if someone like this were uncovered in the midst of a church I was leading.

World Tribune.com -- Crisis for the Godless: Atheism in decline worldwide

Is this a surprise?
World Tribune.com -- Crisis for the Godless: Atheism in decline worldwide

I hope to comment on this article, which seems to be a followup to an article written by Alister McGrath in ChristianityToday.com, at a future date. In the meantime, here is a good response to the McGrath article by Tim Theule: life together: The Ideal Church & The Death of Athiesm.

Power Line: March 2005 Archives

I have to say that this picture of the SecState and a Few Good Men is a pretty cool picture!

Jonah Goldberg on Blogs on National Review Online

Good article on blogging by Jonah Goldberg from National Review:
Jonah Goldberg on Blogs on National Review Online

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Captain's Quarters

Good post on the revolutionary changes in Southwest Asia:
Captain's Quarters