Friday, January 30, 2009

What a Shot!

I was listening to this game on the radio on the way home from having dinner with Oliver at Wingate. The Davidson announcers were going crazy. They said the Chattanooga coach just shook his head and kept looking at the goal when he was walking to the locker room at halftime - as if to say, "Did he really do that?"
 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Piper preaching to us and to President Obama


Follow this link and listen to John Piper preach for just 3.40 seconds. Very powerful!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Soul Preparation for partaking of the emblems of the Savior's death

Many churches observe the Lord's Supper the first of every month. The churches I have pastored up to this point has done this. Presently our family is worshipping at a delightful church that observes the sacrament every week.  It has lost nome if it's significance in my heart observing it more often - on the contrary my sensitivity to it has heightened over these months.
Below is a prayer from a book of puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. Another blog prompted me to this prayer today that I have read many times.  This small book of prayers has meant so much to me over the years. It provides me the words that my vocabulary has a hard time coming up with but words that resonate deep in my soul. This prayer below especially is useful for preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Someone that has appreciated this book too has typed all the prayer out and they are available online at this site and a few others. If you would are more auditory that visional and would like to use them as a part of you daily devotion, Max McLean has recorded the prayers on at CD that you can purchase from the Banner of Truth site.
So be more prepared for the Lord's Supper than the Super Bowl!


God of all good,
I bless thee for the means of grace;
teach me to see in them thy loving purposes
and the joy and strength of my soul.
Thou hast prepared for me a feast;
and though I am unworthy to sit down as guest,
I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
and hide myself beneath his righteousness;
When I hear his tender invitation
and see his wondrous grace,
I cannot hesitate, but must come to thee in love.
By thy spirit enliven my faith rightly to discern
and spiritually to apprehend the Saviour.
While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear him say,
‘I gave my life to purchase yours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.’
Oh may I rightly grasp the breadth and length of this design,
draw near, obey, extend the hand,
take the bread, receive the cup,
eat and drink, testify before all men
that I do for myself, gladly, in faith,
reverence and love, receive my Lord,
to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, delight.
In the supper I remember his eternal love,
boundless grace, infinite compassion,
agony, cross, redemption,
and receive assurance of pardon, adoption, life, glory.
As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may thy indwelling Spirit invigorate my soul,
until that day when I hunger and thirst no more,
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.

More Random items of Interest to ME!

At a church I pastored in the past, I posted on our website statistics from scientific studies concerning living together before marriage. These were not just a preachers opinions - but well documented and researched studies. My oldest, Katie, read them and shared them with here friends from Campbell University. They were all biology students and it was common for them to read research studies in the course work the were taking. I believe God used Katie and these studies to warn and help these girls.

- Here is something similar from Ray Fowler. Check it out here.

- Here is a fellow PCA pastor's perspective on how to pray for our new president.

- Here is part of a great article a Boliver, TN resident sent to me.
I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better w
ithout it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.
But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

Read the whole article here - it is well worth your time!

-

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Examined Look at Abortion

It was 36 years ago yesterday, January 22, that the Supreme Court came to a verdict in the case of Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion. This case is still as controversial today as it was in 1973 and continues to be in the forefront of our day.
Tim Challias  has linked  to a great resource that is free and available to you from my old seminary professor R. C. Sproul. At the Ligonier website there are now available, videos that in the past were very expensive.

I just finished listening and watching the first lecture on ABORTION.  It was a very well thought out presentation.  I think R.C. is at his best when he is in front of the camera or large audiences. 
I promise, you will learn something that is beneficial to you. Of special note, I think you will learn how better to dialogue with those with whom you disagree, simply by watching how RC approaches the subject.

Here is the link.

Since we are on the subject - or at least I am today - here is a short article that is very provocative about the four reasons you might be aborted if you are a fetal human.

The picture is of an ultrasound image from the website flicker.

36 million - is more than the 2007 official population of our most populated state -California. Check out the figures here.

Obviously I am opposed to abortion, but having been a pastor of 30 years I know many dear friends that have had abortions. For many, if it comes close to home - your examined opinion wavers. Actually, my opposition to abortion is strengthened by those that have told me of their stories. It causes so much pain and regret. I have witnessed the effects of forgiveness and grace, great grace from a loving Heavenly Father in their lives. These dear sisters have only fostered my passion that this legal option is the worst decision for young ladies, young fathers, new grandparents ... everyone. There are 36 million less people who could have walked the roads of this country.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sanctity of Human Life


A number of years ago a judge from Alabama was very much in the news - here is an update. I love his stand on Sanctity of Life, especially when it deals with abortion. Sadly, our new president will soon approve federal funding of abortion again. When a republican comes to office they reverse this, when a democrat comes to power they reverse what the republican did ....

Some of you may be wondering what Judge Roy Moore has been doing since he was removed from the bench for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall. Please read the poem he wrote. It's below his picture.



The following is a poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama .. Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama ! The judge's poem sums it up quite well.

America the beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
I'm glad they'll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain

From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
and a need to always pray

We've kept God in our
temples,how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne..
We've voted in a government
that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges;
who throw reason out the door,


Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not
angry,that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven;
and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land
and those who live within.

But, America the Beautiful,
If you don't - then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.

~~Judge Roy Moore~~

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Day





I loved seeing all my friends pictures of the snow - on blogs and facebook. Here are a few of ours!

And here is a short movie!

video

Fireproof in 60 Seconds


Check it out here.

If you have not seen the 2 hour movie, see it! If you have this is a quick, enjoyable treat for you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Children and Parents read this!


An old friend and my brother's former pastor is now a church planter in the Northeast. He writes these devotions on a regular basis. You can contact him and sign up to get them via e-mail. I thought this one was especially good for my children to read!


FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS, volume 8, number 3, January 15, 2009
Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right, Ephesians 6:1


Obedience and Honor

Ricky was a phenomenal basketball player in Middle School through his sophomore year of High School. He was on his way to a Division I basketball scholarship for sure. Ricky, however, had a hard time obeying his high school coach. He skipped practice from time to time and failed to do his homework. His coach always disciplined him by making him sit out a game or two. Finally, after his sophomore year he had had enough and wanted to transfer to a city school where he could be with his friends. The last I heard Ricky was in jail for selling drugs. I could see it coming. Sadly, it happens far too often.

Statistics for 2003 show that over 2 million Americans are behind bars, and 10.4% of African American men between the ages of 25 and 29 are in jail while 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in the same age group are in prison. More black men are in jail than in college (791,600 in prison, 603,032 in college). In 1980 143,000 black men were in prison and 463,700 were in college. The number one cause of death among young black men is murder and in 2005 49% of murder victims were black men between the ages of 17 and 29. Ninety-three percent of these were killed by other black people. While the numbers are not as high in the white community they are increasing. In 2006 over 300 young white men were murdered in the U.S. in gang and drug related crimes.

Why so much crime, violence, and death among our young people? It begins with their failure to heed God’s command to obey and honor one’s parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with you, that you may live long on the earth.” This command from the Apostle Paul, taken from the Ten Commandments, applies to all of us; for this refers not simply to children obeying and honoring their parents, but to all of us. We all are to obey those in authority over us, and this begins with obeying and honoring our parents.

The word Paul uses literally means to listen under, to hearken to one’s command, to obey. Proverbs 23:22 catches the meaning of Paul when it says, “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” And Paul’s motivation to obey is simple. He says, “This is right.” By this he does not merely mean that this is the appropriate thing to do, but rather that it is according to God’s word. It is His mind and will on the matter. To honor one’s parents literally means to treat them with respect, dignity, courtesy, deference, and reverence. He promises that honoring one’s parents will mean a long life. The contrary is found in Proverbs 30:17 where disobedient children are warned, “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Granted, this is not an absolute promise, for we all know godly children, teens, young men and women who die early. However the general principle holds true. A young man who obeys his parents by staying away from godless peers, will stay out of drugs and gang wars. A young man who decides to work a real job instead of selling drugs, who comes home after work and does not frequent iniquitous dens will stay out of trouble. A teen who obeys the speed limit will have time to stop when a deer runs in front of his car late at night. You get the picture.

So, if you are still living under the authority of your parents, in their house, then do yourself a huge favor and obey them, honor them. I did not say this is always easy because sometimes parents can be insensitive, manipulative, and cruel. Your job, however, is to obey them, to respect them, to be courteous to them, regardless of how they treat you. Where do you get the grace to obey them in difficult circumstances? You must run to Christ for refuge. The Psalmist says, “My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up,” Psalms 27:10. Not only will the Lord take you up and sustain you, but the Lord Jesus Himself was forsaken by His Father. Jesus said on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46. Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross and experienced hell, separation from His Father. He endured hell that you would not need to yourself. If you are in Christ then you have His life, and thus you have the ability to obey your parents, even in the hard times. Look in faith to Jesus for the grace to obey and stay away from evil doers. Run for your life from godless people at school and in your neighborhood. Don’t go there. You may severely regret it.

And parents, demand obedience and respect from your children. You are not their buddy, their best friend. As they get older, as they go out on their own, then your relationship with them will change, especially if they have honored you and the Lord by becoming productive members of society. However you are the parent and they will always be your children and you should expect respect from them. While your children are under your roof you should constantly remind them that slow obedience, half-hearted obedience, inconsistent obedience, outward only obedience, peace at any price obedience is no obedience at all. You must make clear your expectations of them as they grow older; and as they prove their responsiveness to you, then you can prudently “loosen the reigns” on them. However, you must be quick to use God’s ordained means of child discipline. The verbal rebuke, steeped in the words of Scripture (see Proverbs for countless examples and I have a paper entitled Verbal Admonitions to Our Children from Proverbs which you may use to help you in this regard) is foundational but you must also use the rod of correction. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently,” Proverbs 13:24. “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death,” Proverbs 19:18. “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell,” Proverbs 23:13, 14. Never in anger are you to use the rod of correction. Cool off before using it, but use it indeed. Verbal rebuke, founded upon Scripture, and the rod of correction; not time out or grounding are God’s appointed means of rearing godly children who will live long on the earth.


FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS is a weekly devotional by Reverend Al Baker, pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.

If you would like to add your, or someone else’s, name to the list to receive this weekly devotional (or be removed from it), please contact us at admin@christcpc.org. This and archived back-issues may also be found on our website, www.ChristCPC.org

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Public Prayer at the Inauguration

I have had the opportunity to pray in public forums on many occasions. Not long ago the administration asked me to pray at my daughter's high school graduation. This was the second time, two years earlier I did the same thing for my son's graduation. I was told that there would be those in the auditorium that do not believe, so "be sensitive."

My thinking at the time and and now is that I am a Christian pastor, and they have asked a Christian to pray. So I prayed to the Loving God, and I prayed in the name of the one who died on the cross for me.
I will never be called on to pray for a president's inauguration. I am glad the Baptist pastor Rick Warren has been. He has been criticized because our new president is blatantly pro-choice. We are Biblically commanded to
 pray for our leaders - and my hope is that Rick will be like Mother Teresa when she spoke at the President's Prayer Breakfast years ago, standing right beside pro-death/abortion president Bill Clinton. She boldly called the country and him to repentance for his stand against life. Ask Mother Teresa to speak and she spoke the truth. So pray for Pastor Rick.

Here is her speech from 1994. Here specifically is what she said about abortion.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against
the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we
 must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.

And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.


She ended the speech with:
If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world.

From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!

Recently,  according to the NY Times, president elect Obama has also asked the gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson to pray at the kick-off event before the actual inauguration.  I am sure it will be more "air time" than Pastor Rick's prayer. Here is what he said about his opportunity to pray.

I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation.

–Gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, explaining how he will approach the task of praying at one of next week’s presidential inaugural events.

In recent years, and especially during the inaugurations of President George W. Bush, ministers gave explicitly Christian prayers. Bishop Robinson said he had been rereading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

Bishop Robinson said, “I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

He said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language he said he learned from the 12-step program he has attended for his alcohol addiction.

And this is from The Living Church:

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has accepted an invitation to offer a prayer at a Jan. 18 inaugural event to welcome the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.  Bishop Robinson said he has not yet composed the prayer he will offer, but said he will not use a Bible.  “While that is a holy and sacred text to me,” he said, “it is not for many Americans. I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation. It won’t a happy clappy prayer.”

My last word - pray for our leaders to the God who will answer!


Evangelism, or the lack of it - a quote I like!


I  have been reading a lot lately and have appreciated Ed Stetzer's analysis of the church. Here he makes a good critique. This is from a larger article you can read here.


Now, I am not willing to say that a lack of converts is a sign of unfaithfulness. But, I am willing to say that too many change movements are not seeing lost people's lives changed. And I think that is the wrong kind of change.

So, my Reformed friends, let's not only read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (that is, John Calvin, John MacArthur, and John Piper), let's go plant some more churches. My emerging church friends, let's take a pause from the theological rethink and head into the neighborhood and to tell someone about Jesus. My missional friends, let's speak of justice, but always tell others how God can be both "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." My house church friends, let's have community, but let's be sure it is focused on redemption. My Baptist friends, let's focus more on convincing pagans than Presbyterians. And, my charismatic friends, let's focus less on getting existing believers to speak in tongues and more on using our tongue to tell others about Jesus.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictures from this weekend






The whole family gathered at Montreat College to see Margaret play & to be together! They lost a very close game at the last second. The high point was Margaret got to play more minutes than any other game this season - 24 minutes and scored 7 points! The pizza was good afterwards too!
Everyone wore our Covenant College except Karen because she wanted to impress the college boys!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

House still for SALE but maybe not for long!


Just an update, our home in Southern Pines is still on the market. See the listing here.

We have received a low ball offer that we are not considering - $255,000. The home is listed for $329,900. But today our agent says we are to receive another offer. Please pray that it is a realistic offer!

It would be wonderful to know that the home is sold, we can wait on the closing, pack it up and start the process of moving to Steele Creek to be there by June or as soon as Karen & Rebekah get out of school!

Lynn wanted to start house shopping yesterday but I told her, "No." Inevitably, she would find the perfect home and want to ... before the SP house is sold!

I will keep you informed. Later today I am going to SP to do some yard work, watch the football game & beg a meal from some dear friends!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Church Signs

I have always looked out for Church signs and criticized them mostly. I believe they say something about the church and it's vision and passions. I have a lot more to say about church signs but will leave that for another post. One thing I am going to start doing is taking pictures of the best and worst. 
The sign below in on the way to Rebekah's middle school. Do you notice anything peculiar?

I will try to call them tomorrow - maybe in the morning on the way to school it will be okay to wear "satin" again!

video
Update: Thursday morning the sign said "Satan." Evidently one of the church members at the  Wednesday night service has satin sheets and wanted to be able to sleep with a good conscience!

Music for your encouragement

When I was a brand new Christian, my youth pastor was a personal friend of a singer called Ken Medema, a blind man with a terrific talent to play and sing. He is able to hear a sermon and extemporaneously compose a ballad to captures the essence of the sermon. I bought his four 8-track albums. I had a 8-track in my orange and yellow van.

Tonight I found this on you-tube and it brought back many memories!


Weddings & Joy afterwards



Got these pictures from a proud Grandpa! I was thrilled to be a part of this wedding! Good memories and this is a good family! Adeline Templeton, Parents: Matt & Natalie, Proud G'parents - Lee & Anne Templeton.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Scripture that meant a lot to me today

Lynn & I have been off line for over a week due to a broken something that they fixed today. So check out her blog too! I have had many things to blog about but this is what is on my mind today.
I was in a meeting and a long time friend shared this passage with me. (Thanks Bill if you read this) Let me share it with you!

Isaiah 29:17-27 (New International Version)

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
and out of gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind will see.

19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD;
the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

20 The ruthless will vanish,
the mockers will disappear,
and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down-
21 those who with a word make a man out to be guilty,
who ensnare the defender in court
and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

22 Therefore this is what the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the house of Jacob:
"No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
no longer will their faces grow pale.

23 When they see among them their children,
the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.

24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
those who complain will accept instruction."