Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Manger

"From the creche to the cross is an inseparable line.  Chirstmas only points forward to Easter.  It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of god displayed His glory by His death."
~ John Donne

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  May you see the glory of our one true God in our Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas season.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are Relationships Worth the Pain?

"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
C. S. Lewis

Are relationships worth the pain?  Yes they are.  The alternative is unthinkable.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just how Pro-Choice is America, Really?

"The idea that a bunch of pro-life rogue wingnuts have hijacked the agenda and thwarted the national will is a convenient, but fanciful, belief."

"A Rasmussen poll found that 48 percent of the public didn’t want abortion covered in any government-subsidized health plan, while just 13 percent did. (Thirty-two percent believed in a 'neutral' approach - though what on Earth that means is hard to say.)"

"Roe v. Wade was one of the few Supreme Court decisions that was out of step with mainstream public opinion."

"The choice argument is an analytical one, grounded in theories of privacy and the rights of the mother; the pro-life side has the case with instant visceral and emotional appeal: This is life we’re talking about."

"What do we do when caught between pro-choice discourse that, while it reflects our values, does not accurately reflect the full extent of our experience of abortion and in fact contradicts an enormous part of it, and the anti-abortion discourse and imagery that may actually be more closely aligned to our experience but is based in values we do not share?"

I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.  It is written by someone within the pro-choice camp and I believe it is a startling and honest picture.  Al Mohler writes concerning this article in the New York Magazine that, "it just might be the most important article on this issue in recent history."

Read more: Just How Pro-Choice Is America, Really? -- New York Magazine

Read Al Mohler's blog article here:

Pressing on for life,


Fifteen Pro-Life Truths to Speak

A few of us are helping to get a pro-life group started in our area.  We do this out of love for our God and for people.  This Thursday we are throwing a party to raise awareness and resources for our local crisis pregnancy center.  So, the topics of abortion and pro-life issues are on my mind and thus I thought I'd post a resource from John Piper on this subject.  Maybe our Lord will use it in your life and witness in our labor of love.

"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - Jesus Christ

1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother's womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15.Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

You can see the original posting here:
Also, the beginnings of the Cherokee County For Life web page is here:
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: 
May our Lord bless you as you live in service to others.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent Candles

Shelly and I desire to keep Christ the central focus of our household.  We are always on the lookout for ways to worship as a family and to attach meaningful symbols to our holiday celebrations.  Over and over agian we have been blessed by the ministry of Noel Piper.  Below is a short blog post that Noel has published on the topic of Advent Candles.

By Noel Piper

Advent Candles probably are the most common Advent symbolism of looking back to the days of waiting for the Messiah God had promised.

Various helpful schemes of symbolism can be attached to Advent candles, their number, and color. But here are the basics—one candle for each of the Sundays of Advent, and if you wish, a fifth for Christmas Day. Some people have a special candle holder arrangement, a wreath maybe. That’s nice but not necessary. The only requirement for using Advent candles is candles.

On the first Sunday, only one candle will be lit, then two on the second, and so forth. That’s the ritual. But if we want our Advent candles to be more than a centerpiece, we have to ask ourselves, “What makes these more than wax and wick?”

The flame is a symbol of the one who is called “the light of the world.” We who follow him “will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

But we need to remember that our very young children will see only candles. No matter how much we explain the symbolism, they need some more years before they can comprehend it. That’s why I usually incorporate a manger scene into our Advent candle arrangement. Tangible is my guiding word. What children can see and touch, they might understand a little more clearly. It’s helpful for us adults as well. These candles are pointing us toward God’s gift of Jesus.

On Advent Sundays, we Pipers gather at the table for a meal and hear a word from the Bible before lighting the next candle. When the children were younger, each week’s passage probably would be one part of the Christmas story from Matthew or Luke. As they grew older, we expanded to include Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah’s coming. Then on other days, whenever we sit at the dining room table where the candles are the centerpiece, we light that week’s number of candles.

The light, brighter by the week, points us toward Jesus who has called us to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

You can see the original post here:

The Doctrines of Grace

God, who is glorious beyond description, has lavished His love on undeserving sinners with whom I readily identify. The salvation of sinful people is an act of God’s grace. In it He is magnificently glorified. His mercy and love are magnified as he forgives guilty sinners and His justice and wrath are magnified as He demonstrates His hatred of sin by not merely ignoring sins but by Christ bearing His wrath. Many people have a difficult time accepting the understanding of God’s grace that is sometimes called Calvinism. The basics of the Doctrines of Grace can be remembered by the acronym TULIP:

Total Depravity: This does not mean that all people are as sinful as they could possibly be, but that every aspect of human nature is infected and affected by our sinfulness. This is man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform him.

We were dead in our trespasses. (Ephesians 2:5)

The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7–8)

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Unconditional Election: God has chosen or elected some people to receive his grace of salvation based solely on the kind intention of His will and not on any condition met by the individual. In other words, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those that would be set free from the bondage of sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

As many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:15–16)

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened. (Romans 11:7; cf. 9:11–12; John 6:37)

My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me. (Isaiah 43:10)

Limited Atonement: The atonement is the work of God in Christ on the cross whereby he canceled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation. This atonement is available for all who will repent and believe. The atonement is available to all but will be effective for the elect bride for whom Christ died.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:15)

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. . . . And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:9, 19)

Irresistible Grace: God in His sovereign grace destroys every barrier that would keep one from continuing in rebellion toward Him. This does not mean that He saves people against their wills but that He changes their wills so that they willingly receive Him.

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:5)

No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. (John 6:65)

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:25
Perseverance of the Saints: Those that God has graciously chosen and saved will continue in the fight of faith; God will work in them so that they persevere.

Those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27–28)

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)

Salvation truly is an act of the grace of God. May you rest in Him and pursue Him.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Family Pictures

A few weeks ago we went to get some family pictures taken.  Here are a few of my favorites.

These photos were taken in Tahlequah by Cassy Pack -

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Twilight the Movie - How Should Christians Think About it?

I have to admit right off that I have not yet seen the movies or read any of the books.  I know, you're thinking, "then why are you writing about it?!?"  Well, I just finished listening to a radio podcast from Issues Etc. where the twilight phenomenom was discussed and I felt they handled the discussion fairly and biblically.  So what I'm offering here is a link to the pastor's website where he reviewed the series after watching the first movie and reading the books that were available.  I would encourage thinking Christians to read and consider what pastor Rick Stuckwisch had to say.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Can I Answer Those Opposed to Christianity? The Columbo Tactic

"The belief in God is irrational."  "The Bible is full of errors."  "It is ridiculous to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven."  How can you handle questions like this?  One way to help steer a conversation in a positive direction is to use The Columbo Tactic.
"The key to the Columbo tactic is that the Christian goes on the offensive in a disarming way with carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation. If you hit a roadblock when witnessing, ask a good question. There are three basic ways to use the Columbo tactic that can tame the most belligerent critic, each launched by a different question. Three uses, three questions:

1. To gain information and stay out of the "hot seat" - "What do you mean by that?"

2. To reverse the burden of proof - "Now how did you come to that conclusion?"

3. To indirectly exploit a weakness or a flaw in someone's views - "Have you considered...(then finish the sentence by offering an alternative view that gently challenges his/her beliefs, possibly exposing a point of weaknesss you uncovered in the answers to your first two questions. For example, "Have you ever considered that the existence of evil is actually evidence FOR the existence of God, not against it?")
This quote was taken from Greg Koukl's Ambassador Basic Curriculum, "Tactics in Defending the Faith" which can be obtained at his website,  Hopefully this will can serve you as you seek to be a faithful of our Lord Jesus Christ.