Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Logo- The Channel for Gays

MTV, owned by Viacom, announced that it has launched Logo, a channel for gay and lesbians. I first learned about this from Dr. Mohler's blog and decided to investigate Logo's website. The cable channel will broadcast anything from gay marriage reality shows to comedies and movies about gays. My first thought was this station will be no big deal because no one will watc it.
But as I pondered it some more, I realized that Logo will have the power of Viacom behind it. Viacom also owns CBS, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, UPN, VH1, CMT, BET, Spike, Comedy Central, TV Land, Showtime, and all the other MTV's 2, 3, etc. They also own many billboards around the country. The advertising power alone scares me and this is coupled with the power of MTV, who spends millions to research to determine what is cool, so they can stay on the cutting edge of culture.

When it comes down to it, this really scares me. My generation was one the first ones to never really know a time without MTV and you can see the influence it has had on our society. With this station, I can foresee many children and teens looking to it for answers about gays. This station will provide a constant stream of the homosexual worldview into our homes and it seems like their is nothing we can do about it. Homosexuality is and will become normalized, which is a very dangerous place to be. How can fight this channel? boycott, letters, preaching... I don't know off hand, but we have to do something. This channel is a huge victory for the gay agenda, and you are fooling yourself if you think they don't have an agenda.

What is Logo? (from the Logo website)
LOGO is the newest channel from MTV Networks, the force behind channels like VH1, MTV, TV Land and SpikeTV. LOGO is entertainment programming for lesbians and gays and just about anyone who enjoys a gay point of view. LOGO is for us, our friends and our family. LOGO is originals. LOGO is movies. LOGO is documentaries. LOGO is news. LOGO is specials. LOGO is the channel for Gay America. Finally.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Osteen - Living My Eternal Life Now!

Alright, I know it is time for me to get off Osteen, I will make this my last blog about him. I really don't wish him any ill will, but I want to point out one point of contention with his beliefs. Joel often preaches that Christianity will solve all your problems in this life and you will live a better life now if you become a Christian. I realize that Jesus is the answer to all things, but we are never promised a better or easier life when we become a Christian. Actually it is quite the opposite, at least for those living outside of the US. When we preach the gospel it must be about putting our faith in Jesus, who he died for sin; we must repent of that sin, and commit our lives to him. Christianity has become another part of our life like softball games and going to the movies, but is supposed to be a life altering change. It is not a part of life, but in fact become life. I have included an illustration from The Way of the Master (p. 95-96) by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (Yes, Mike Sever from Growing Pains)

Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on because it will improve his flight. He's a little skeptical at first; he can't see how wearing a parachute on board a plane could possibly improve his flight.

After some time, he decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he straps the apparatus on his back, he notices the weight of it on his shoulders and he finds he now has difficulty sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the flight attendant's promise that the parachute will improve his flight, and he decides to give it a little more time.

As the flight progresses, he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him because he's wearing a parachute inside the plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to laugh and point at him, he can stand it no longer. He sinks back in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fills his heart because as far as he's concerned, he was told an outright lie.

The second man is also given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He's told to put it on because at any moment he'll have to jump out of the plane at 25,000 feet. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn't notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor is he concerned that he can't sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without a parachute.

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt. 5:11-12) We are not called as Christians to have an easy life that is filled with all our wants and desires. We are called to share the gospel. That sharing will bring persecution. We as Christians should not be worried about getting things on this earth, but rather looking to the rewards in heaven.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33)

NASCAR Sends A Strong Message

As most of you know I am a huge fan of NASCAR and occasionally I like to blog about it. There is a story I have been following in the news recently about Shane Hmiel, who raced in the NASCAR Busch Series. He tested positive in May 2004 for illegal drugs for the second time. The final word on his suspension has been handed down today. He will have to sit out the rest of this season and next season. He must also enter a treatment program. In 2007 NASCAR will review his progress in the program and decide whether or not he will be able to return.

This type of suspension sends a strong message to drivers. If they use any illegal drugs, they will be punished harshly. Shane has had to pay and will pay dearly for his poor choice. He will have sat out over two season, which will have cost him thousands and thousands of dollars in income, endorsements and sponsorship. If the other sporting leagues such at the NBA, NHL, and especially the MLB could learn anything from this, it would have to be that they must deal with drug use strictly and swiftly. Drugs are not a wide spread problem in NASCAR because of the strict policies, it just isn't worth sitting out two seasons to most drivers.

However, harsh NASCAR is in the suspension they are really trying to help Shane by making him enter into a treatment program. Now is the time for fans not to judge him, but rather come around him and support him. As a Christian, I intent to pray for him; my hope is that he will find the only person that can bring true healing, Jesus.

announcement of Suspension June 28th
AP Sports Story - June 22nd Story - June 2nd

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Joel Osteen - Clarified?

Joel has posted a letter to clarify his position on the nature of salvation. I retract my accusation that he holds to heretical theology. However, I still see a problem with the way he handled himself on Larry King. He is trying so hard to not alienate others that he is not preaching a correct gospel. We, as Christians, must be understanding and compassionate towards people of all faiths, but when our fear of offending someone conflicts with the gospel we must offend. The gospel itself is offending, it confronts people with a truth that is many times hard to take. We should not be afraid to offend, because it is not our job to make explanations for God, but rather serve him whole heartily. Joel is not a heretic, but he needs to be careful when he does interviews and even preaches, because Jesus said, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kudos to Yahoo, Pepsico, State Farm, and Georgia-Pacific

On Friday Yahoo shut down all the chat rooms that were created by its users, because some people were using them to seduce children. PepsiCo, State Farm, and Georgia-Pacific started this move after they dropped advertising with Yahoo because of nature of some of the chat rooms; one title was "Girls 13 Years Old and Under for Older Guys". I gotta say, that is disgusting. But I am very proud of Yahoo, even though it was because they were going to lose money, for shutting these chat rooms down. Yahoo still maintains the chat rooms that it started and continues to monitor them, but all user started chat rooms are deleted. It is unclear whether or not this feature will return. I for one am glad to see this happen, I understand everyone's right to freedom on the internet and blah, blah, blah, but when a 12 year old girl was molested and had pictures circulated in these chat rooms something must happen. I for one am for complete censorship of the internet like TV or movies. Thank you to these companies that stood up and said we will not support this junk on the net. Read the LA Times article here.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Joel Osteen- Happy Preacher or Heretic?

On Monday night I was flipping through the channels and came across Larry King Live, I usually don't watch his show, but I was very interested in his guest. It was none other than the smiling preacher himself, Joel Osteen. I used to think that Joel was a harmless happy preacher, focusing only on the positive, but the interview with Larry King does proves that his theology is heretical. Now, please understand me, I do not like throwing around the H-word very often, but in cases like these you have to call it like you see it. Please don't take my word for it read, the transcript on Larry King's website. Here a few of the low points of the interview:

KING: But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You're not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just -- I don't believe in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

KING: But don't you think if people don't believe as you believe, they're somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that's God's for you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place

KING: Do you share Billy's (Graham) beliefs of life after death in a sense of going somewhere?

OSTEEN: I do. I do. We probably agree on 99 percent. I do. I believe there's a heaven you know. Afterwards, there's, you know, a place called hell. And I believe it's when we have a relationship with God and his son Jesus and that's what the Bible teaches us. I believe it.

KING: But it doesn't quote a lot of biblical passages until the back of the book, right?

OSTEEN: It doesn't do a whole lot of it. My message, I wanted to reach the mainstream. We've reached the church audience. So I just try to, what I do is just try to teach practical principles. I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and I might feel bad about that. Here's the thought. I talked yesterday about living to give. That's what a life should be about. I brought in at the end about some of the scriptures that talk about that. But same principal in the book

KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ...

KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that...

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

OSTEEN: No. But I...

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only god knows that.

Decide for yourself if he is a happy preacher or a heretic. Just keep in mind that it is ok not to want to judge people, but when it come to God judging people, we already know what is going to happen.

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 4

Today was the last day of the convention, we decided to leave the convention early and not stay for he last session on Wednesday night, but the day was not without it's share of "exciting" events. During the morning session, the messengers passed all the resolutions. This included the "controversial" public school resolution that was not as controversial as we were lead to believe. Basically it instructs parents to investigate its own school system for a homosexual agenda in the curriculum. This resolution is not dangerous by itself, but it can lead to future resolutions that instruct parents to leave the public schools. Also, a resolution was passed to end the boycott of Disney, which again I must say I didn't know we were still doing. So all of you mouse loving SBC member can come out from hiding.

After the first session, I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Seminary luncheon. The food was ok and Dr. Mohler talked about all the changes and great things about the seminary. The highlight, was seeing all of my old professors and friends from Seminary. After the luncheon we decided to head home, I guess I will just have to be content to watch Dr. Draper on the internet.

Overall the convention was good, there were great speakers, boring business sessions, and great reconnections with old friends. I hope to see many of you in Greensboro next year. Check out Steve McCoy and Justin Sok for some good blogging about the convention.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Young Leaders Summit Revisited

Tonight's session was not very exciting, probably the highlight was when "Mr. Resolution" Wiley somebody was nominated for 2nd vice-president of the SBC. He is known for bringing multiple resolution and making multiple motions, most that are not passed. He was up against Dr. Roy Fish from, I believe, Southwestern Seminary. You can probably guess who won.

So, instead of rehashing boring business events, I wanted to comment on the Young Leader's Summit. I have had some time to think and read what others thought about it. I do believe in the movement and I feel that this summit was a great idea, but I see something a couple of things in our younger guys that are huge problems.

1. I see a problem with the attitude in our younger guys, we have this "they owe me" attitude. This is very dangerous. These men in leadership are there because they worked to get there. They served on the crappy committees and paid their dues. We can not walk into the convention and demand to be put in places of higher leadership without first starting at the bottom. We have to earn the right to be heard, with that said the older men are starting to recognize that they need to listen to us and get us involved; the great thing is that they want us involved.

2. This leads me to the next point, since they want us involved why are we not getting involved. We have wanted so long to have a voice and now we have the oppurtunity to have one or do we only want a voice if we are in the higher positions of the convention? As I look around the convention hall I see mostly older men, I wonder where are even the men in there 30's and 40's. I saw one of the most respected SBC leaders in his 40's leave the convention after he spoke, not sticking around for the entire convention. I don't know what he is doing, he may have a legitimate reason for leaving, but I see a trend with some of these 30-40 year olds, they only want to be involved if they are speaking or on an important committee. We need to step up and be involved. Younger leaders need to first come to the convention and they need to be apart of the committees, even the bottom level of committees.

The most discouraging moment of the YL Summit came when Jeff Harris said, "I don't want to be on a committee or a board, that is not me" (not exact quote). It seems that these guys ask and ask for things from the SBC, but they don't want to pay the price. Yes, the SBC needs to work with us, but are we willing to work with the SBC?

Soon you should be able to see or hear the Summit at this link

Mystery of Annoying Six Flag's Guy Identity, Solved?

See what I mean!!! Posted by Hello

Anyone notice a resemblance between convicted former klansman Edgar Killen and that annoying Six Flags guy. I guess we won't see any new commercials. Posted by Hello

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 3

Today at the SBC convention was very different, there was less preaching so far, and more business. I stayed in the convention hall for a little while, I have never been to the convention so I didn’t know what to expect. During one point people are allowed to make motions that will direct the SBC to make certain policies or take certain actions if they are approved. For instance, one man made a motion that we send a letter to the Disney Corporation to formally end the boycott. Ok, wait a minute, I thought we already ended the boycott; I guess I was too busy riding Space Mountain. On a side note I think the opportunity for everyone to speak and make a motion is a great idea, you will of course get the crazy people, but everyone in the SBC no matter how big or small has a voice.

Anyway, after I left the convention, I went over to the exhibit hall and ran into a host of people I knew. This seems to be the social meeting place, I say Seminary Buddies, College Buddies, Mentors, Old Professors, and even people from the two other churches I have been a member of during my younger days. I also saw many booths and displays; some of the highlights are of course the massive LifeWay store which is displaying a new communications tool for small groups, Also, I learned that Media Shout has just come out with v.3, which I am very excited about. I stopped by the Southern’s booth and talked to few people. I didn’t understand what was up with Southwestern and Southeastern. Southwestern looks like it is recruiting for the army rather than a seminary and Southeastern seems more like a zoo, because it had animal displays of live monkeys and condors. Well, I guess we all know where the real learning institution is located. Tonight I am returning to the convention to see what big issues come up, I am waiting with baited breath for the public school issue, stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 2

On the second day of the Pastors Conference I was able to enjoy several good preachers. I heard great men of the faith like Jerry Vines, Junior Hill, Adrian Rogers, and Johnny Hunt. They were all very inspiring and encouraging, but the speaker that had the most impact on me was Mac Brunson from First Baptist Dallas.

Mac gave a message from 2 Timothy 1:15-18. I will be very honest, this message drove me to tears. It convicted me greatly that I need to be about encouraging and building up others so we can be on mission to reach people from Jesus. He brought together the story of Paul’s mission to Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and how the people turned away from him. Paul visited this area, during all three of his mission trips and spent much of his time ministering to the people in this area. He saw much progress, but when he is writing Timothy at this point in his ministry, probably in jail or newly released, he is speaking about all the Christians in this area that deserted him. When he speaks about “all” of them deserting him, he is not exaggerating about all of them, he means all of them, even the ones that were thought to be faithful. So we see a picture of Paul, broken and in chains deserted by those thought to be strong.

This reminds me of many of our church today, they are not places of support, but rather places where we put on a fake persona of who we want people to think we are. We are more interested in gossiping about others, rather than helping others. While this revelation left me convicted, the message was not near over, Mac when on to complete the story. We see Paul, a broken man deserted by everyone he thought cared about him, except for Onesiphorus. We know from Philemon that Onesiphorus was a slave, but he was also a Christian and he loved Paul very much. So much in fact that he searched for him in Rome until he found him and instead of turning away from Paul, being ashamed of him, he stood by him. Not only did he stand with him, but Paul tells us that he refreshed him. A poor slave, with no education, no formal training, new only one thing, the love of Jesus was one of the most important people to Paul.

This spoke volumes to me, I immediately thought about church that I know. Are we places of encouragement, where a weary Christian beat up from the trials of life and the trials of sharing Jesus, can come a receive refreshment. Are we ashamed of Christian brothers and sisters that are facing trials? We should be like Onesiphorus and work hard at encouraging one another, we need to stand together united, working toward one common goal; telling people about Jesus.

Thank you, Mac for this message, I needed to hear it and I believe that all our church need to hear it. Please listen to this message when they become available at the SBC Conference Website.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 1

Today, I am in Nashville, TN where I am attending the Southern Baptist annual convention. Over the next few days I will be writing down my thoughts and observations from the convention. I have the pleasure of attending two very wonderful events today. The Young Leaders Summit and the 2005 SBC Pastor's Conference.

The Young Leader’s Summit was an event that Dr. Jimmy Draper, president of Lifeway, puts on. This Summit was a conclusion of sorts to a year long study that Dr. Draper has been doing to discover a way the SBC can connect with younger leaders (45 and younger) and in turn for them to step up and be leaders in the SBC. Dr. Draper has been touring the nation meeting with and dialoguing with youth leaders. This summit reported the findings. Youth leaders are looking for 5 main things from the SBC:

1. Mission and Evangelism: when I say that it doesn’t mean a method or structure, but a new way of reaching people in a post-modern culture that will meet them where their at.

2. Biblical Diversity and Inclusiveness: This is simply including more different types of people (Ethnically, Socially, Geographically, etc.).

3. Healthy Relationships: Young leaders are looking for new and healthy relationships not just with the people in the church, which by the way is key, but they are looking for relationships with older pastors that will take the time to share their wisdom.

4. Creativity and Innovative Approach: We need to be looking for new ways to creatively share the gospel in a changing world.

5. Convention Renewal: Young leaders are looking for a renewal of the convention where young and old can work together to reach people.

These are all great things that the convention needs to make sure they are working towards. The SBC needs the younger leaders to carry the torch, but I want to caution all of us younger leaders. We can not push aside the older generation, we need them, we need their wisdom, we need their mentorship. We can not think we know everything, because we don’t. Also we have to stop talking about getting involved, because they want us to be involved. It is time for younger leaders to step up and lead.

I realize this last article is running long, so in closing I will address the second event I attended, the Pastor Conference. We heard from three very good speakers. The first was by Don Miller, who is an 82 year old retired pastor and I honestly wasn’t that excited about this message, but the Lord convicted me that I needed to hear this message. This very old pastor came with a message of prayer, he took us through Jesus’ life and showed how Jesus prayed often and for a long time, then he shared about his own experiences and his own need to pray. If an 82 year old pastor needs to pray for two hours a day and if Jesus himself needed to pray often, then I certainly need to pray for more then I do. I am convicted to pray more, my measly few minutes in the morning aren’t going to cut it. Also Voddie Baucham and Ergun Caner spoke and both were very good and really inspired me. Check out all the messages on the SBC website soon. I really encourage you to listen to the messages.

Young guys, we need this convention very much, lets pay attention and get involved.

Also check out Justin Sok for more from the convention.

Friday, June 17, 2005

XXX Church's Ministry (Good or Bad?)

Most people know that the pornography industry is the 2nd biggest industry by how much money it makes annually and most everyone would agree that this industry is destroying men and women all over the world. Also, I believe that everyone would agree that these people in the porn industry need Jesus, but what can we Christians do about it? XXX Church believes it has the answer. XXX Church is a group that has a two-fold purpose., First to help people to stop using pornography through a relationship with Jesus and then through helping Christians understand the dangers of porn and give them valuable tools such as bible studies, free accountability software, etc. Second, they have a ministry to people in the porn industry, so that they might know that Jesus loves them and that he wants to have a relationship with them.

This group is very controversial, they are very on the edge and make many Christians uneasy. They set up booths at porn conventions and hand out free t-shirts that say "Jesus loves Porn Stars". They put out commercials out that are directed by a pornographer. Their logos and free promotional materials are edgy and gritty, but it may just be what people need to be woed away from porn. While handing out these t-shirts and other free materials they try to meet people and form relationships so they can share Jesus with them. They believe that if Jesus were alive today, he would be right beside them at the porn convention. I can't speak for Jesus, but we do know that he went to some pretty destitute places to spread his message. Check out their latest report from the convention and you can see that these people are real and they care about see people come to Christ.

Whether you agree with them or not you have to give them props for going to the people, down in the trenches for the name of Jesus.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What is up with my blog?

I have no idea why my blog is screwed up. Any suggestions from anyone would be helpful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Abstinence Research - What does it mean?

I was flipping through the channels yesterday and came across a Christian news broadcast. They were talking about this new study that was released by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. They were praising the research because it showed how abstinence programs were working. So I logged on to find out more info about this study. I found some articles that said the same thing as the news broadcast, but I also came across several articles that told me that this study proved that abstinence programs were NOT working. You can imagine my surprise, so I surfed my favorite talk show host and commentators for some clarity on this issue, but I found nothing. Then I went straight to the horses mouth and tried to read the report that the US Dept. of Health and Humans Services published, but I could not make sense of it. What does this all mean, how can we make sense of these mixed messages from the media.

Well, I still believe that abstinence works regardless of the research. I believe that the only biblical way for a person to engage in sexual activity is within the bonds of marriage. I come to a point that these facts really mean nothing to me. Regardless of what some number crunchers think, I believe that abstinence is the only way. It is the only 100% effective way to prevent STD's, pregnancies, and unnecessary emotional stress.

Students, stay focused on being pure and waiting for that special person that God has for you.

Youth leaders, don't let this report get you discouraged, keep doing what we know to be right; promoting the truths found in scripture.

US Dept. of Health and Human Services Press Release

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Culture of Death

In Dr. Mohlers commentary on Friday he comments on a topic that was far from my mind, now. When Terri Schiavo's life hung in the balance many of us rallied to her aid, we prayed, wrote our leadership, we held vigils, and we wrote in our blogs. I committed to only blog about that subject while she was still alive. I understand that she is dead and that we must move on, but there is a bigger issue at stake. What have pro-life supporters done since she died. I have done nothing; and I asked myself what can I do now. Dr. Mohlers quotes from a medical journal Dr. Phil McHugh. Dr. McHugh of the Johns Hopkins University makes many points about the death, but none so grave as when he points out that we are living in a culture of death.

It seems that ever where around us we see death not just in the media, but in ourselves and it is up to those of us that value life to stop this type of thinking. Life is important, it matters to God and thus should matter to us. I become frustrated when I try to comprehend what someone that wanted Terri to die might be thinking. I can't rationalize it in my head. We that value life, must stand up for it, everyday whether it is a child in the womb or a women on a feeding tube. Let's not let Terri's death become forgotten or else Dr. McHugh writes,

"The more this culture [of death] continues to influence our thinking, the deeper are likely to become the divisions within our society and within our families, the more hardened our hatreds, and the more manifold our fears. More of us will die prematurely; some of us will be persuaded that we want to."

Please read Dr. Mohler's commentary and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Why NASCAR doesn't suck?

Some people are not fans of NASCAR, I am referring to the comments left to me by my former friend, DC on my last post. However, I happen to disagree and since all my buddies in the blogoshpere make lists, I wanted to give the top reasons as to why NASCAR doesn't suck.

1. NASCAR Rules cause I said so!!!

That is all you need to know. Where else can you see over 40 cars battle it out going speeds of 200 mph inches apart from one another; if they make just one wrong move then they will smash into the wall or another car. Maybe, I just like it so much because I am a redneck at heart and us rednecks must stick together, because a redneck without NASCAR is a just a guy with a number painted on his gut.

Please let me know how you feel about this national pastime, yes NASCAR is the true national pastime contrary to popular opinion that Baseball is the national pastime. Those sissy could handle two laps at 200 mph. Oh, and DC, I got nothing but love for ya.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 2

In this series I am attempting to explain the major components of the SBC and hopefully help people understand that the SBC is not inherently evil. Last time we looked at three very important aspects of the SBC; the churches that make up the membership, the network or seminaries and colleges that train church workers, and the Guidestone, which is the insurance and retirement arm that help the church workers find affordable insurance and smart retirement options.

This time we will look at the two missions group and the publications arm that is Lifeway. Starting with Lifeway, formerly the Sunday School Board. This group was originally set up to help churches with Sunday School curriculum. It has now blossomed into an organization that not only helps with curriculum, but many other needs of the church. They supply books, multimedia, VBS materials, etc. While I realize that Lifeway may have problems, it has changed a lot over the years to become more relevant and up to date. They have provided very good materials recently such as the Explore the Bible Adult Bible Study. This study is the more comprehensive and systematic, as the class explores the whole Bible book by book. Also we have seen some great things for students, an area that Lifeway has struggles with, like the new Fuel Bible Study. By using cutting edge music and video leaders can use the Fuel material to go throughout the Bible with students in two years. Not only does Lifeway provide these resources they also have stores placed throughout the states to help churches access the resources quickly. Lifeway also runs a few conference center for the SBC and helps organize many training seminars and conferences. Finally, Lifeway seeks out relationships from other manufactures, such as chair or pulpit makers, so that churches can save money. Lifeway is an indispensable part of the SBC, they provide resources from a trusted source that churches can work well with.

The SBC has two main missions organizations: North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. While Lifeway and most other parts of the SBC are self sufficient, the seminaries and the mission organizations rely heavily on the giving of the churches. The North American Mission Board targets exactly what you thing, North America. They focus on reaching areas that have no SBC churches or areas that SBC churches are dead or dying. They focus intently on the inter-city areas. They have averaged 1,700 new works and over 400,000 people baptized in recent years. Not only does NAMB start and support churches, they also are involved in many service projects through the US. One example is disaster relief; most all the kitchens where food is prepared for disaster victims, which is handed out by the Red Cross ,are SBC kitchens. Also, many of the workers that help the Red Cross are SBC. This is only one example of service, they also have the Baptist Builders, Literacy Missions, Hunger and Poverty Ministries, and the list goes on and on. NAMB is vital to meeting physical, emotional, and most of all the spiritual needs of people across the US.

The SBC also reached outside of its borders in a major way with the IMB. The International Mission Board has over 5,000 field workers on mission and works with over 34,000 volunteers to bring the gospel to over 2,000 people groups throughout the world. Not only do they minister to areas that are open to the gospel, they routinely try to reach those that are considered off limits. The IMB works hard to make sure that no missionary has to worry about funds. Most missions organizations want people to raise their support, but the IMB often provide for their missionaries, so they can spend all their time focused on ministering to people. People all over to world would not be reached if it were not for the work of the IMB.

These three parts are again vital to the SBC organization. They help so many churches afford resources through Lifeway and reach so many souls through NAMB and IMB. I could stop here and it would be enough, but there are two more main components; the Baptist Press and the Baptist Faith and Message.

Movie Review: Star Wars

I saw this movie the night it came out, but I wanted to take some time to think about what I saw and get other people reactions to the movie. If you haven't seen the movie then you may not want to read this as I may spoil things for you (As if you didn't already know the ending).

I for one liked the first two movies. I thought they were great in how they explained things and how they worked so well in setting up episodes 4-6. I went to episode three hoping to receive the payoff of my many years as a Star Wars fan. As I left the theater I felt tricked by my emotions. I enjoyed the movie and thought it was well made, but as I sat and thought about it, some of it didn't quite make sense. I eventually entered into a state of let down. There is no question these are the best graphics in a movie thus far and star wars is always sex free and swear free. However, this movie was more disturbing than the other movies with imagery and violence. The violence is not to much for a Middle School student, but parents should read the review by, before taking elementary school children.

The major problem that I had with the story is with the time line. The movie supposedly took place over a seven or eight month time period but it felt more like two weeks. I needed to feel more of the time lapse. Also, I thought the reason that Anakin converted to the dark side was not believable and it seemed his change was to quick. One minute he is think the the supreme chancellor is wrong and next he is bowing down, becoming his apprentice. If he was so filled with pride, why didn't he just kill the supreme chancellor and become emperor himself. I just could believe that he would leave the Jedi life, just for a hope that maybe, just maybe he could learn to save people from death. Don't even get me started on General Grievous, how annoying was he. Also, if the Jedi were so powerful, why did only two survive. Why couldn't more use the force and sense they were going to be killed like Yoda did? Anyway, so much for a good story.

This movie has already proved to be a blockbuster as it approaches the 300 million mark and it has only been out for three weeks. George, you did well, but you don't need to rush things. Your audience will appreciate a good story that is not filled with holes. I hope he continues to make more Star Wars movies, I will again be one of the first people in line to see them. I recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 or 13, any younger should talk about it with parents first.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 1

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of negative things about the Southern Baptist Convention. I realize that the SBC is not a perfect organization and there is a lot that they can do better, but I want to remind some people of its highlights.

For starters the SBC is composed of several different parts. The first part of the organization is the over 42,000 churches. Each church that is a member is more or less a partner. They are not controlled by the convention; rather they have aligned themselves because of their common beliefs. They freely give to the convention to support missions and other aspects of the SBC. All of the churches agree in some form or another with the mission and theology held by the convention or else they can leave at any time.

The second is its Seminaries and Colleges. The SBC has six major seminaries scattered throughout the country and a handful of colleges. These institutions exist to train missionaries, pastors, and church workers. They are a place where approximately 13,400 people come to train for ministry. This component of the SBC is very important in a world were colleges and universities are becoming increasingly liberal and oppressive to conservatives; the SBC institutions are a place were students can come and learn and seek the truth of the scriptures in an environment that believes that scriptures are truth and perfect. Aside from the rocky past of the seminaries, they are a great place to train. To keep the education affordable credit hours are subsidized by the monies that the churches give.

The final part of the SBC for today's discussion is Guidestone (formerly the Annuity Board). This part exists to help students, pastors, and missionaries with health insurance and retirement options. Because so many workers in ministry are considered self-employed, they are on their own to find insurance and retirement plans. The SBC formed Guidestone to set up plans and help students obtain affordable coverage for themselves and their families. They also set up retirement accounts helping church workers have money to retire on. As a member of Guidestone, it is nice to have a organization that you can call and will help you weed through all the insurance jargan and help you pick safe and reliable retirement funds.

In the next article we will look at the publication arm of the SBC, Lifeway and also look at the missions components; the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. In the final article we will tackle the Baptist Faith and Message and the Baptist Press.

My NASCAR Update

We find ourselves half way until the Chase for the Nextel Cup comes in September. With the most wins this season, Greg Biffle has a great chance at bringing home the Nextel Cup. He has four wins and has finished in the top ten in almost ever race. So why is Jimmie Johnson still leading the points race. Jimmie has only won one race, but has continually finished higher than Greg Biffle when Greg does not win.
This years winners have all been under the age of 37. We have seen many younger racers stepping up and winning; including Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards. The oldest guy in the pack is that ever annoying Jeff Gordon, with three wins. Jeff and team mates; Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers have been tearing up the track. How ever much I hate the Hendricks Motorsports crew, I have to give it to them. They have been phenomenal on the track. I just hope that Greg can keep it up and win.
I have been for the last few years a DEI fan, which includes Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex, Jr. This team has not won a race all season and only Michael has come close. So what has happened to the team. Some people think that Dale Jr. has lost his focus and firing his crew chief didn't help. This team needs a serious togetherness retreat, complete with spa treatment and yoga. Hey, maybe Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick could join so they could cool off.
This year has been like any other and could possibly be very exciting. I hope Greg can keep up the winning and shut down the Hendricks four horsemen.

My Favorite Drivers:
Michael Waltrip:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
Kasey Kahne:
Jeremy Mayfield:

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A May Update

The month of May seemed to be the wildest month of my life. A couple that we love very much were married on May 14th. This trip back home was great because we were able to spend time with our family and friends, however this trip provided little rest for us.
Also, our church has been engaged in this stewardship of life campaign, which has consumed much of my time. This campaign is to raise money to expand our church facility. Through this we have been teaching what God's Word has to say about money and stewardship. I feel like I have been through the ringer as far as my personal spiritual growth. When dealing with money it seems that I think I have everything figured out. Lately God has been teaching me that the money and "stuff" that I have is not really mine, but I am rather a manger of it all. This principle seems simple enough, but actually making it work in real life is much harder.
As we come off this emotional roller coaster in May, dealing with some personal issues, we face some very difficult issues at church including: births, deaths, and a wide array of general problems. I was given the greatest honor by a church, which was to be ordained as a Pastor. This confirmation of the calling in my life was one that I am very humbled by.
I forgot to add Kristi and I also drove back home another weekend in May to see my brother, whom I am very proud of, graduate.
All of this is to say that May was a very busy month. But now as I sit here on the second day of June, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. God has taught me and stretched me, but all the while he has comforted me. As we are about to ask our church members for a commitment, I can't help but once again rest in the arms of the loving Father.

Lord, I want to say simply: Thank You.

Biblical Stewardship

I know that I have been out of it for a while, our church has been focusing on teaching stewardship. This has taken up most of my time. I have written a couple of small articles for our stewardship newsletter. I have included one of them below:

The idea of God calling on his people to make sacrificial offerings is not a new idea. Throughout the Bible we see God asking more from people than they are humanly willing to give. The biggest example of this is found in Genesis 22. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on an alter. Abraham, though reluctant to do the task was going to go through with it. God was testing Abraham, he was asking for his most prized possession. God stopped Abraham just short of taking his sons life, but this does not negate the fact that Abraham was willing to give his son as a sacrifice to God.
This Stewardship of Life Campaign is all leading up to June 5th when the members of CAF are going to be challenged to give sacrificially to God’s plan for our church.. Much in the same way God called on Abraham, I believe he is calling on our church to make a sacrifice for him. During this campaign, Kristi and I have prayed about our involvement. We feel that this is a test of our faith. Do we trust God enough to rely on him for our needs? As we made our pledge we prayerfully asked God to bless it. We believe that together as our church trusts God, we will see a mighty work done here.

Check out our stewardship campaign website: