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Saturday, February 28, 2009

United Nations Wants To Regulate Free Speech Of Every Nation





Here is a link to the comments of Dr. James White on this issue: Speech
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Feb 28, Invitatory for Saturday of the 1st week of Lent

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

T.I. and Redemption

The word redemption cam mean deliverance; rescue. It gives the idea of a dramatic change. What does the idea of redemption have to do with T.I.?

I know that some readers of this blog have no idea who T.I. is, so let me provide some information:

Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage name T.I., and also by his alter ego T.I.P., is a Grammy-award winning American rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, and co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records.[1] As of January 2009, T.I. has had nine Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles, with three of them reaching number one ("My Love" with Justin Timberlake, "Whatever You Like", and "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna).

Now T.I. may be famous and has had many hit records but his life has constantly been surrounded with controversy and trouble.

T.I. was on probation stemming from a 1998 conviction for violating a state controlled substances act and for giving false information. After being released on probation, he earned a litany of probation violations in several counties around Georgia for offenses ranging from possession of a firearm to possession of marijuana.[38] In 2006, after appearing in an Atlanta court on (May 10) and having charges that he threatened a man outside a strip club last year dropped for lack of evidence, T.I. was arrested on an outstanding probation violation warrant from Florida. The warrant claimed that T.I. did not complete the required number of community service hours he was sentenced for a 2003 assault of a female sheriff deputy at University Mall in Tampa. T.I. was detained by several mall Security Guards at the time of the incident, among them, Jason Phillips (founder of Certified Protective Services), Larry Warner (founder of Tactical Response Services), and Arturo Ortiz, now a security manager in Florida. According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the rapper’s attorney said that the problem was nothing more than a "technical matter" between Georgia and Florida. The confusion arose because T.I. was also sentenced to community service in Georgia for driving with a suspended license, for which he did complete 75 hours of community service in his home state. The rapper was released on bail shortly after being arrested, and was expected to surrender to Florida state authorities the following week to resolve the matter.[39]

On October 13, 2007, federal authorities arrested T.I. four hours before the BET Hip-Hop Awards[40]. He was charged with two felonies — possession of three unregistered machine guns and two silencers, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. The arrest was made in the parking lot of a downtown shopping center, which a witness identified as the Walgreens drug store at the corner of North and Piedmont Avenues. Harris was arrested after allegedly trying to purchase the guns from a "cooperating witness" with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to federal officials, the witness had been cooperating with authorities since Wednesday, when he was arrested on charges of trying to purchase guns from a federal agent. The witness had been working as Harris' bodyguard since July, authorities said.[41][42] T.I. walked out of the Atlanta United States District Court after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman on October 26, 2007. Judge Alan J. Baverman required T.I. post a $3 million bond, $2 million in cash and $1 million in equity on property he owns. The rapper was required to remain at home except for medical appointments and court appearances. The only people allowed to live with him were his girlfriend and children. Visitors were required to be approved by the court. T.I.'s suppression hearing was originally stated for January 3, 2008; however, U.S. Magistrate Alan J. Baverman pushed back the suppression hearing until February 19, 2008. The performer later pleaded guilty to US federal weapons charges. He will serve a year in jail beginning in March 2009 after completing 1,000 hours of community service.[43]

In an interview with MTV about serving jail time, T.I. stated, "Presumably, while I'm there, I'll be able to strategize my comeback." He went on to say that he would not "just be sitting still doing nothing".[44]

On November 21, 2008, T.I. testified in the murder trial of a member of his entourage, Philant Johnson, who was murdered in a shooting that occurred after a post-concert party at a club.[45]

Source: T.I.


Now this is where the idea of redemption comes into the story:

The following is from Dasouth.com


This new video called "Dead and Gone" premiered yesterday. We saw it and heard the story behind it and thought it interesting that it starts off with a scripture among other things. The "script" is 1 Corinthians 13:11 to be exact. It says "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thougth as a child. But when I became a man, I put childish things away." Is T.I. saying he's considering turning over a new leaf?

T.I. has been through a lot in the last year or so, and we truly think he is beginning to reflect on his life. Think about it... Clifford Harris (his government name) is currently serving time! That definitely gives you time to think on your life. And with all of his grand success, homeboy still landed up in the prison! That ought to be a wake-up call for anybody. That also goes to show that money and fame doesn't rehabilitate people. Only God can truly change a life.

Many times we look at "superstars" as being people who can't be redeemed for some reason. Or that they have no interest in ever serving God. Yo, we were all considered sinners. God is not saving us according to our pocketbooks or social status. Pray for good ol' Clifford. Perhaps it'll be your prayers and ours that cause things to move in his life and lead him to Jesus.

Back to this video...According to MTV, the song and video (which feature Justin Timberlake) are tributed to a friend of T.I's that was shot and killed in 2006 at one of his shows in Ohio. "Toward the end of the video, the Atlanta rapper drives his car to a crossroad and gets out of his vehicle to meet Timberlake, who's positioned at the center of the road. The song's bridge begins and images of T.I. with his wife, a pastor, and a serpent flash across the screen, as does the word "good." Then images of a prison yard flash along with the word "evil," before the word "redemption" pops up followed by a picture of Philant Johnson's grave" (from MTV.com). Interesting hunh?

Bottomline, keep homey in your prayers.

I agree with the article that we need to pray for T.I.

The original version of this song contains many obscenities. The following is an edited version of the song.

Here is the video the article was talking about:

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Ash Wednesday and Lent








Tomorrow many people will take time to go to a church and have ash placed on their forehead. Why do people do this? When did this practice begin? What does it signify?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Lent. Let's look at this history of both.

The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning "Spring," and lenctentid, which literally means not only "Springtide" but also was the word for "March," the month in which the majority of Lent falls.


Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter. For instance, St. Irenaeus (d. 203) wrote to Pope St. Victor I, commenting on the celebration of Easter and the differences between practices in the East and the West: "The dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast. Some think that they ought to fast for one day, some for two, others for still more; some make their ‘day’ last 40 hours on end. Such variation in the observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers" (Eusebius, History of the Church, V, 24).

Now the significance of that quote by St. Irenaeus is when he lived. There is some debate on when he was born, 115 and 125, according to some, or, according to others, between 130 and 142.

That is early in Church histroy and it seems there was already a preactice to have some kind of observance for Lent.

There is some other issues to consider about the above quote:

When Rufinus translated this passage from Greek into Latin, the punctuation made between "40" and "hours" made the meaning to appear to be "40 days, twenty-four hours a day." The importance of the passage, nevertheless, remains that since the time of "our forefathers" — always an expression for the apostles — a 40-day period of Lenten preparation existed. However, the actual practices and duration of Lent were still not homogenous throughout the Church.

Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313. The Council of Nicea (325), in its disciplinary canons, noted that two provincial synods should be held each year, "one before the 40 days of Lent." St. Athanasius (d. 373) in this "Festal Letters" implored his congregation to make a 40-day fast prior to the more intense fasting of Holy Week. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) in his Catechectical Lectures, which are the paradigm for our current RCIA programs, had 18 pre-baptismal instructions given to the catechumens during Lent. St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) in his series of "Festal Letters" also noted the practices and duration of Lent, emphasizing the 40-day period of fasting. Finally, Pope St. Leo (d. 461) preached that the faithful must "fulfill with their fasts the Apostolic institution of the 40 days," again noting the apostolic origins of Lent. One can safely conclude that by the end of the fourth century, the 40-day period of Easter preparation known as Lent existed, and that prayer and fasting constituted its primary spiritual exercises.


So to summarize: Lent is Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday).


The idea of a 40 day period shows up in the scriptures a number of times:

The number "40" has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, "Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water" (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked "40 days and 40 nights" to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for "40 days and 40 nights" in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2).

We still need to figure out where the idea of ashes came from:

The origin of the custom of using ashes in religious ritual is lost in the mists of pre-history, but we find references to the practice in our own religious tradition in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26).

The prophet Daniel pleaded for God to rescue Israel with sackcloth and ashes as a sign of Israel's repentance: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dn 9:3).

Perhaps the best known example of repentance in the Old Testament also involves sackcloth and ashes. When the prophet Jonah finally obeyed God's command and preached in the great city of Nineveh, his preaching was amazingly effective. Word of his message was carried to the king of Nineveh. "When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes" (Jon 3:6)

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the use of sackcloth and ashes as signs of repentance: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes" (Mt 11:21, Lk 10:13).

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century.

The placing of Ash on the forehead is a practice that is most common in the Roman Catholic church.

This is how the Catholic Encyclopedia describes the event:
On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead -- or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure -- of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. In the blessing of the ashes four prayers are used, all of them ancient. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and fumigated with incense. The celebrant himself, be he bishop or cardinal, receives, either standing or seated, the ashes from some other priest, usually the highest in dignity of those present. In earlier ages a penitential procession often followed the rite of the distribution of the ashes, but this is not now prescribed.

Here are the scripture readings for Ash Wednesday:

Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18


Source: CERC

Source: Ash

Source: Catholic Encyclopedia
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Top Ten For February

It is finally here! My top ten songs for February. It was difficult to narrow the list to just ten songs. I have 609 songs on my I-Pod that were in the running for this top ten list.

Let me point out a few things:




So here it is:

1. Mahogany Jones: She was on in the top ten for January and she is back for this month as well. Her song, Lose Control was featured in the top ten for January. This month I am featuring her song, Easy. Mahogany Jones has clearly released the best album of 2009 so far with the release of Morphed.

2. PRO: He shows up on both list as well. His album black out is amazing! He has a lot to say about the Rap world today!

3. HeeSun Lee:This is the first list I have included her but I look forward to her showing up in list in the future. This girl can Rap! She needs to grow in her theological knowledge but wow, she can flow!

4. Richie Righteous: This guy does not pull any punches. There is no doubt how he feels about things. I had four songs I wanted to put on the list but I decided on, Resting in Christ Hands, and Do Wut It Do. He will be in future list.

5. Flesh Killa: Wow, this is a great song and has an important message! The Flesh has to die!

6. Dre' Sr: The theologian on the list! This guy has his theology down and he can drop it behind a great beat! Check out, Know you more on this months list. See if you can name all the doctrines he deals with in 5 minutes!




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Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Do You Mean When You Say God is Sovereign?

Great article on the differing views of the Sovereignty of God...from the Parchment and Pen blog


Reclaiming the Mind Ministries
What Do You Mean When You Say God is Sovereign?
Posted: 21 Feb 2009 06:49 PM PST

Believing in the sovereignty of God is not an option of yes, no, or maybe within the Christian context. If the Bible is our authoritative guide, one must believe that God is sovereign. It is not unlike the issue of predestination. That God predestines people to salvation is not up for debate, what is up for debate is what it means that God predestines.
Both Calvinists and Arminians agree that God is sovereign, but they will often disagree as to what this means.

Here are the four primary options:

1. Meticulous sovereignty: God is the instrumental cause behind every action and reaction there has ever been. In other words, you chose white socks instead of the black socks because God caused it to happen. You have an itch on your eyebrow right now because God is actively causing it. In other words, every molecule that bounces into another is a result of God active agency in being the first and instrumental cause to the action.
This position holds little or no tension with regards to the human will and the divine will.
God is actively controlling everything.

Adherents: Hyper-Calvinists and some Calvinists

2. Providential sovereignty: While God is bringing about his will in everything (Eph 1:11), his will is not the instrumental cause of all that happens. God’s will plays a providential role in “causing” all things. In other words, all that happens happens because God did in some sense will it, but secondary causes are usually the instrumental cause behind the action. In the case of your socks, you chose them because you decided to, but it was also part of God’s will. God allows evil as it is part of his imperfect will to bring about a perfect end, but he is not the instrumental cause of evil.

This position holds much tension with regards to human will and divine will.
God is in control of everything.

Adherents: Calvinists and some Arminians

3. Providential oversight: Here God’s sovereignty is more of an oversight. He has a general plan, but is not married to the details. When necessary, God will intervene in the affairs of humanity to bring about his purpose, but this does not necessarily involve an intimate engagement with all that happens. God does not care what color socks you pick unless it somehow effects his meta plan.

This position holds much tension with regards to human will and divine will. God could control everything, but only controls some things. Adherents: Arminians and some Calvinists

4. Influential oversight: Here God’s sovereignty is self-limited. God could control things, but to preserve human freedom, he will not intervene in the affairs of men to the degree that the human will is decisively bent in one direction or another. He is hopeful that his influence will be persuasive to change a person’s heart or to guide them to his will, but is not sure if this will happen. Being all-wise, however, God will make strategic moves in people’s lives that will manipulate the situation to his advantage.

This position holds little or no tension with regards to the human will and the divine will.
God could control everything, but decides only to influence. Adherents: Open Theist Arminians and some Arminians

This first one is God’s relationship to evil. Please note: the definitions below are that of emphasis, not necessarily exclusivity—there will be overlap with some of the concepts.
I write this for many reason:

1. To give the spectrum of belief with regard to the issue of divine sovereignty.

2. To clear up some misconceptions about both Calvinists and Arminians. Most Arminians see Calvinists as only associated with number 1 (meticulous sovereignty). As well, most Calvinists see Arminians as associated necessarily with number 4 (influential sovereignty). To do this is to construct many possible straw-men representations.

Notice, according to my argument, an Arminian holding to number 2 can actually hold to a stronger view of divine sovereignty than a Calvinist holding to number 3 (although this is not typical). If that does not confuse your categories, I don’t know what will!

3. To create some new charts!

What do you mean when you say God is sovereign?

(Best of Parchment and Pen)
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Woman fails driver's license exam 775 times!

I have always said that women are bad drivers!

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Feb 22, Evening Prayer for Sunday of the 7th week of Ordinary Time

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Music For Your I-Pod

If you are looking to buy some music, here is my top ten list for January 2009. I am working on the top ten songs for Febuary right now. I hope to create the top ten mix in the next few days. I will post it when I am done.

Enjoy and turn that I-Pod up!

Click on the list and it should take you to I-Tunes. Once you are there, you can buy all the songs with one simple click of the mouse!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb 21, Night Prayer for Saturday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Feb 21, Evening Prayer for Saturday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Quote of The Day

There are two sides to every sin: the turning of the will towards fleeting satisfaction and the turning away from everlasting value. The first can be called lust; the unbridled desire for pleasure. The second is pride; the lack of the submission to God.

-- St. Thomas Aquinas
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FLIP THE CHANNEL

I know that whenever I post something, there is a chance I am going to offend someone. Today, I know that what I am about to post will upset many. However, I think that there are times we must be shaken out of our complacency. There are three realities we must all face: TV, Internet, and music. These things exist and are having a big influence on our world. Much of what people are exposed to by these three things is not godly. Many slip into a kind of acceptance and no longer really think about it. The following video slaps us in the face with what is a reality on our TV, Internet, and the world of music.

You have been warned:

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb 20, Evening Prayer for Friday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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How Much is 800 Billion?

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Vatican City State turns 80

Eighty years ago, the sovereign Vatican City State was born. Now secret documents will offer a window into that historical moment: the treaty negotiations, the territorial questions, the grappling over the appropriate role for the church.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Vatican City this week unveiled a commemorative exhibit that traces its history from the 19th-century battles with the Italian state to the modern-day popes.

“Visitors who come to Rome know about the Vatican, but they only know St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican Museums,” said exhibit curator Barbara Jatta.

Curators say that the exhibit will show how the smallest country in the world runs. Vatican City is 109 acres in size, surrounded by thick walls, gemmed with beautiful gardens, and has the internal structure of a sovereign state, such as a post office, railroad, a sophisticated telecommunication system and a heliport.

It is home to pope and the rule of the Catholic Church, called the Holy See. But this hasn’t always been the case, and it is that struggle to maintain control of the eternal city that is the focus of the exhibit, "1929-2009, Eighty Years of Vatican City State.”

You can read the rest of the report and see pictures at this link:

Vatican
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Night Prayer









Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we make keep watch with Christ, and sleep, rest in his peace.

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.

-Amen
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Feb 17, Evening Prayer for Tuesday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

I am often amazed at how Christian young people choose to use the Internet. Instead of using this amazing tool for learning they spend their time watching stupid videos or chatting with friends. If it is useless and a total waste of time then young people tend to be drawn to it. We live in a world where Muslim young people will die for their faith and Christian young people are making dumb videos to post on the Internet. I was thrilled to come across a video today that features a 12-year old girl! Her video is below and let me tell you, she is not wasting her time!






Here is a link that provides the stroy behind the video: abortion
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb 16, Night Prayer for Monday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Feb 16, Evening Prayer for Monday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Profane professor rips into Christian student

After being called a "fascist" by his professor, a Christian California student has filed suit against his college for violations of his free-speech rights.

Less than a month after voters in California decided to amend their state constitution and protect traditional marriage, Jonathan Lopez -- in a public speaking class -- shared his beliefs on faith and marriage. David French of the Alliance Defense Fund picks up the story.

"Jonathan talked about his faith -- and one of the things he talked about in context of his faith was...marriage," says French. "He read from the dictionary definition of marriage. The professor stopped the class, called him a 'fascist b_____d' -- [he] used the expletive -- [and] told the class that anyone who wanted to could leave if they were offended...."

According to an ADF press release, when no one got up to leave, the instructor simply dismissed the class, effectively ending Lopez's speech -- which violated the student's free-speech rights, adds the attorney, especially since other students made speeches on other subjects. Religious speech, notes French, apparently was excluded from the open-ended speech assignment.

"You just cannot shut down student speech like that," states French, who explains that Lopez was well within the confines of his professor's assignment, and that the professor's actions not only constitute viewpoint discrimination but also comprise "retaliation" because he disagreed with Lopez's religious beliefs.

According to the ADF attorney, the professor was not yet finished. "When [Lopez later] complained about what was an obvious act of censorship, he was threatened with expulsion by that same professor," he says.

The speech professor is identified as John Matteson of Los Angeles Community College. ADF reports that after Proposition 8 (the marriage-related constitutional amendment) was approved on November 4, Matteson told his entire class: "If you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist b_____d."

Ultimately Matteson refused to grade Lopez's November 24 speech, and wrote on the evaluation: "Ask God what your grade is."


Here is the link to the original story: Student
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Quote of The Day

He who desires anything but God deceives himself, and he who loves anything but God errs miserably.

-- St. Phillip Neri
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EMERGENTS and EVANGELICALS TOGETHER

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NY Muslim Charged with Beheading His Wife!

Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing, the beheading of a woman, after her husband — an influential member of the local Muslim community — reported her death to police Thursday.

Police identified the victim as Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. Detectives have charged her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder.

"He came to the police station at 6:20 p.m. [Thursday] and told us that she was dead," Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew Benz said late this morning.

Muzzammil Hassan told police that his wife was at his business, Bridges TV, on Thorn Avenue in the village. Officers went to that location and discovered her body.

You can read the rest of the report at this link: Beheading
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Feb 16, Morning Prayer for Monday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feb 15, Night Prayer for Sunday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Feb 15, Evening Prayer for Sunday of the 6th week of Ordinary Time

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Liturgy of the Hours

For my last two post I have pointed people to what is known as the, Liturgy of The Hours. Today I want to provide people with information about this:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Liturgy of the Hours is usually recited in full in monastic communities.The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. Upon ordination to any of the Holy Orders, the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours becomes a canonical obligation. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.

The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Eucharist, has formed part of the Roman Catholic Church's public worship from the earliest times. Christians of both Eastern and Western traditions (including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican churches) celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours under various names. Within Roman Catholicism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the Roman Breviary. In Greek the corresponding services are found in the Ὡρολόγιον (Horologion), meaning Book of Hours. Within Anglicanism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the book of Daily Prayer of Common Worship and Book of Common Prayer. Other names for the Liturgy of the Hours within the Latin Rite include the Divine Office, the Diurnal and Nocturnal Office, Ecclesiastical Office, Cursus ecclesiasticus, or simply cursus.



The early Christians continued the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night. In the Psalms we find expressions like "in the morning I offer you my prayer"; "At midnight I will rise and thank you" ; "Evening, morning and at noon I will cry and lament"; "Seven times a day I praise you". The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hour and at midnight (Acts 10:3, 9; 16:25; etc.). The Christian prayer of that time consisted of almost the same elements as the Jewish: recital or chanting of psalms, reading of the Old Testament, to which were soon added readings of the Gospels, Acts, and epistles, and canticles such as the Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Other elements were added later in the course of the centuries.


By the end of the fifth century, the Liturgy of the Hours was composed of a Vigil or Night Service and seven day offices, of which Prime and Compline seem to be the last to appear, since the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions VIII, iv, 34 does not mention them in the exhortation: "Offer up your prayers in the morning, at the third hour, the sixth, the ninth, the evening, and at cock-crowing".[3]

These eight hours were known by the following names:

Matins (during the night), sometimes referred to as Vigils or Nocturns; (or in Monastic usage the Night Office) it is now called the Office of Readings.

Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn)
Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = 6 a.m.)
Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = 9 a.m.)
Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = 12 noon)
None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = 3 p.m.)
Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps")
Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring)

Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – 543) is credited with having given this organization to the Liturgy of the Hours. However, his scheme was taken from that described by John Cassian, in his two major spiritual works, the Institutes and the Conferences, in which he described the monastic practices of the Desert Fathers of Egypt.



Judaism and the Early Church
As is noted above, the canonical hours stemmed from Jewish prayer. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelite priests to offer sacrifices of animals in the morning and evening (Exodus 29:38-39). Eventually, these sacrifices soon moved from the Tabernacle to the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem. During the Babylonian Exile, when the Temple was no longer in use, the first synagogues were established, and the services (at fixed hours of the day) of Torah readings, psalms, and hymns began to evolve. This "sacrifice of praise" began to be substituted for the sacrifices of animals.

After the people returned to Judea, the prayer services were incorporated into Temple worship as well. As time passed, the Jews began to be scattered across the Greco-Roman world in what is known as the Diaspora. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Jews (and eventually early Christians) began to follow the Roman system of conducting the business day in scheduling their times for prayer. In Roman cities, the bell in the forum rang the beginning of the business day at about six o'clock in the morning (Prime, the "first hour"), noted the day's progress by striking again at about nine o'clock in the morning (Terce, the "third hour"), tolled for the lunch break at noon (Sext, the "sixth hour"), called the people back to work again at about three o'clock in the afternoon (None, the "ninth hour"), and rang the close of the business day at about six o'clock in the evening (the time for evening prayer).

The first miracle attributed to the Apostles, the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Peter and John went to the Temple to pray (Acts 3:1). Also, one of the defining moments of the early Church, the decision to include Gentiles among the community of believers, arose from a vision Peter had while praying at noontime (Acts 10:9-49).

As Christianity began to separate from Judaism, the practice of praying at fixed times continued. The early church was known to pray the Psalms (Acts 4:23-30), which has remained a part of the canonical hours and all Christian prayer since. By 60 AD, the Didache, the oldest known liturgical manual for Christians, recommended disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day; this practice found its way into the canonical hours as well. Pliny the Younger (63 - ca. 113), who was not a Christian himself, mentions not only fixed times of prayer by believers, but also specific services—other than the Eucharist—assigned to those times: “they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity ... after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal. .”[9]

By the second and third centuries, such Church Fathers as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian wrote of the practice of Morning and Evening Prayer, and of the prayers at terce, sext, and none. The prayers could be prayed individually or in groups. By the third century, the Desert Fathers (the earliest monks), began to live out St. Paul's command to "pray without ceasing" (I_Thessalonians 5:17) by having one group of monks pray one fixed-hour prayer while having another group pray the next prayer.


[edit] Middle Ages
As the format of unbroken fixed-hour prayer developed in the Christian monastic communities in the East and West, longer prayers soon grew, but the cycle of prayer became the norm in daily life in monasteries. By the fourth century, the characteristics of the canonical hours more or less took their present shape. For secular (non-monastic) clergymen and lay people, the fixed-hour prayers were by necessity much shorter. In many churches and basilicas staffed by monks, the form of the fixed-hour prayers was a hybrid of secular and monastic practice.

In the East, the development of the Divine Services shifted from the area around Jerusalem to Constantinople. In particular, St. Theodore the Studite (ca. 758 - ca. 826) combined a number of influences from the Byzantine court ritual with monastic practices common in Asia Minor, and added thereto a number of hymns composed by himself and his brother Joseph (see Typicon for further details).

In the West, St. Benedict in his famous Rule modeled his guidelines for the prayers on the customs of the basilicas of Rome. It was he who expounded the concept in Christian prayer of the inseparability of the spiritual life from the physical life. St. Benedict was known to have said "Orare est laborare, laborare est orare" ("To pray is to work, to work is to pray"). Thus, the fixed-hour prayers came to be known as the "Divine Office" (office coming from the Latin word for work). The Benedictines began to call the prayers the Opus Dei or "Work of God."

As the Divine Office grew more important in the life of the Church, the rituals became more elaborate. Soon, praying the Office began to require various books, such as a psalter for the psalms, a lectionary to find the assigned Scripture reading for the day, a Bible to proclaim the reading, a hymnal for singing, etc. As parishes grew in the Middle Ages away from cathedrals and basilicas, a more concise way of arranging the hours was needed. So, a sort of list developed called the Breviary, which gave the format of the daily office and the texts to be used. The spread of breviaries eventually reached Rome, where Pope Innocent III extended its use to the Roman Curia. The Franciscans sought a one-volume breviary for its friars to use during travels, so the order adopted the Breviarium Curiae, but substituting the Gallican (French) Psalter for the Roman. The Franciscans gradually spread this breviary throughout Europe. Pope Nicholas III would then adopt the widely-used Franciscan breviary to be the breviary used in Rome. By the 14th century, the breviary contained the entire text of the canonical hours.


I will post the Liturgy of the Hours for this evening soon.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Invitatory

Invitatory

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Feb 14, Night Prayer for Saturday of the 5th week of Ordinary Time

Here is the link to what is known as the, Liturgy of The Hours. Listen and notice how much scripture is used! I cannot agree wtih everything but I want to introduce people to this by having them listen. Tomorrow I will post information and history about the liturgy of The Hours.

Please post your comments


Feb 14, Night Prayer for Saturday of the 5th week of Ordinary Time

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

It Does Not Matter if You Don't Like a Doctrine...Truth is NOT a Democracy

I thought this blog posting from Parchment and Pen was great...so true!

It Does Not Matter if You Don’t Like a Doctrine . . . Truth is Not a Democracy
by C. Michael Patton

I don’t think that there is a more valuable phrase that I have learned than this. “The palatability of a doctrine does not determine its veracity.” I believe this is true. There are two key words here: “palatability” and “determine.”

Palatability refers to appeal, tastefulness, and emotional response to something. “Determine” according to the dictionary means, “to settle or decide (a dispute, question, etc.) by an authoritative or conclusive decision.” This does not mean that palatability has no say whatsoever, but it is not determinative by any means. I will explain more later.
If there is one thing I try to instill deeply within my students (and myself) it is that doctrine, truth, the way we understand who God is and what He has done, cannot be determined by how much we like it or how much it appeals to our present disposition toward things. I know that there are often times when people decide what they will believe in the same way they go through a smörgåsbord and decide what they will eat. “These potatoes look good, I will have some of them. Raw carrots? Yuk. I will pass. But that German chocolate cake will do, as will this crescent roll. I will pass on the rye bread though-leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.” Put to theology, “God’s love? Oh yes, give me two helpings of that. No, pass on God’s wrath, not enough room and it does not sound good. God’s grace will be great, but I will have to skip the atonement—too bloody and odd. Predestination? Sovereign election? No way! Won’t work. That tastes terrible. I vote no. Next.”

Obviously, when pictured at Lubbies, this is funny, but the reality is that many of us (did I say us?) decide upon doctrine this way. This is not good. While the reverse of this principle is true, “The inpalitability of a doctrine does not determine that it is true,” we must understand that our authority does not lie in what we would like to be true. Doctrine is not influenced by how you would do things if you were God. In fact, it does not even ask you for your opinion on its tastiness. When there is clear revelation from God’s word, we must submit to it as the final authority, no matter how bad, bitter, spicy, or bland it might taste. Truth is not a democracy.
On the other hand, palatability may have a say when things are not clear. In other words, when doctrine is not clear within Scripture, such is the case with the destiny of the mentally unable and children who die in the womb or at an early age, then we look toward our emotional reaction for guidance, even if this guidance is fallible. If the Scriptures did say that infants who die before they are born go to hell, you and I would be repulsed by such an idea. This would not be palatable by any means. We would seek every recourse to find an alternative interpretation. Why? Because it is so repugnant to our thoughts of justice and innocence. As I said, it is impalatable. But if the Scriptures were clear concerning this, we would eventually have to submit to God’s final authority to do as He wills with his creation. However, since the Scriptures do not speak to the matter with any clarity, and other doctrines do not give us a definitive answer, we look to our thoughts on the matter and are justified in believing that our emotions give us a justifiable reason to believe that God will save the unborn. Why? Because we believe that we are created in the image of God. Theologians call this the imago dei. Being in the image of God creates what we call an analogia entis (analogy of being). The analogia entis is the correspondence that we have to God in our being and includes emotions and desires. The simple statement “God loves” only has meaning to us because we believe that our understanding of what it means to love corresponds to God’s. This creates an analogy of language that makes communication possible. I could go on with this for some time explaining the rich history behind it all, but this is a simple blog. All of this to say that our understanding of God and truth is aided by our palatability, though not determined by it.

Therefore, the statement “the palatability of a doctrine does not determine its veracity” must not only be understood profoundly, but held to deeply. For the most part, I find the Christianity very palatable. Grace, love, righteousness, our future hope, the restoration of all things, etc. are all doctrines that I would gladly take from a smörgåsbord. But when it comes to things that are not quite so palatable and lovely, I must take them too as my final authority is not that which is reasonable to my taste buds, but that which God has revealed in His word.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Married to the Ministry and NOT God...Why Jim Left the Ministry.

Married to the Ministry? Why Jim Left the Ministry and Faith

I received this email today. It is from a former pastor of 20 years who left the ministry in 2000. He is now an agnostic (does not know if there is a God). I recently heard a statistic which says that 80% of those who are in seminary will no longer be in ministry within five years! Astonishing. At least, to me it is. Jim is an interesting case. I will leave the interpretation up to you. But as you read through his story, I think you will find that this gentleman was married to the ministry, committed to the church, and in love with his pastoral accomplishments more than he was to God.

"What would cause a pastor of over 20 yrs to leave the ministry? My reasons and story are uniquely mine. Maybe you have been in my shoes in one way or another. I started out in the Pentalcostaland Charismatic traditions of showing up early and leaving late from every church meeting I ever attended. As a result, as soon as I was asked to do anything, I always said “yes.” In our churches, the way into ministry was through apprenticeship, for higher learning was suspect as not being spiritual enough for true ministers.

I was as sincere as anyone I have ever met. My motives were honest, simple, and trusting that I was truly following God. I was led to believe that my calling and gifts would make room for me in the kingdom. It sounded good to me, and I bit into it hook, line, and sinker.
Soon I was the anointed worship leader, Christian school administrator, elder, assistant pastor, building coordinator, TV host, hospital visitation minister, home group leader, secretary, board member, and anything else that was needed on the staff of the largest charismatic church in our four county area. I was “in.” I was busy, and I was burning for God.

Sometimes weeks went by without one night at home with my wife and children. I was too anointed to need time at home, right? Does it sound familiar yet? As life unfolded and people kept encouraging me to keep on fire for God, or at least burn out trying, my wife developed asthma. To make a long and painful story shorter, let’s just say that it was assumed that because this happened we were losing our anointing or walking in some secret sin.

Weary and burdened with asthma and the disdain of those who once saw us as their leaders, we began to question everything called “ministry.” I am leaving out a ton of details for time’s sake, but as the 20 years went by, we found ourselves losing any desire for involvement in formal ministry. Instead we loved spending time with those who had nothing to do with church, such as Lou, the bassist and head of the satanic church in Laramie, Wyoming. We loved our time with each other and our kids. One thing led to another, and since October 2000, I have not been in the formal ministry. This has been a disappointment to my father, as well as to those who knew us as church leaders.

These days, I find myself with more respect for myself as a person, with more love for my wife Tammy, with our three grown kids and their sweethearts, and with our grandson. I also love all the good people I have met through the Elks Club, the Chamber of Commerce, my current work in real estate and bus driving, the local bowling and golf leagues, and our downtown community parties. In short, I have become almost everything I used to preach against. What has become of my theology? I have experienced everything my charismatic background had to offer, and found myself lacking love for myself, my family and others. Since I have left organized religion and de-toxed for seven years, I find love increasing in every way. I think I am reduced to love. If there is a God and that God is love, then I’m into that.

Previously, people were a burden. Now, I love spending time with anyone, regardless of his or her belief system. People are no longer a project to bring to conversion, or a possible warm body to prop up a church program, or a parishioner who might tithe regularly so we can grow the church. I am done with pimpin’ the program.

It’s healing just to write a bit of my story. Do I miss the ministry or attending church? No. I wouldn’t trade my life for what I now have. How could I afford to leave? I drove trucks, waited tables, delivered pizza, installed cabinets, worked in a factory, sold houses, drove school bus, and worked at a golf course. Some of this I still do. If you are dying to get out, it isn’t easy. It’s a process. It’s embarrassment at its highest in the church world. But what the hell, it’s so worth it. I’m just starting to live and love."

Very sad. I guess when it's all about you and your talents and your charisma and efforts...eventually you will fail and leave. This was not a saved man...it was a man working his way into the kingdom; Didn't he say above, "I was led to believe that my calling and gifts would make room for me in the kingdom. It sounded good to me, and I bit into it hook, line, and sinker." If someone thinks there will be room made for them in the kingdom because of their own efforts, and not simply because of the finished work of Christ and Christ alone then it's no wonder the man left the ministry and God...he never knew God in the first place.
Another thought...when any ministry is not based on sound theology and sound exegesis (explanation) of the Scriptures it will not feed anyone. That's how Christians grow and lost people are saved...through the preaching/teaching of God's Word! Romans 10:17 comes to mind,

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17 KJV)

Salvation is by by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the Scriptures alone...and ultimately for God's glory alone. The man above was working by himself alone...he was lost and still is.
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Understanding Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses- New Online Course!


This is from the Parchment and Pen Blog. There is a new course starting Feb 16th that sounds very interesting for those who can spend $100 and have the time for an online course.

Here is the website to check it out and enroll http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/ttp/onlineenrollment

Here is a short description:

A course examining the religions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) as examples of contemporary heretical religions that purport to be Bible-believing forms of Christianity. Students will become conversant with the religions’ history, organization, claims, doctrines, and practices. Special attention will be given to addressing the most common objections these groups present to the historic teachings of evangelicalism. This course will meet Monday nights, 10:00—11:30 p.m. Eastern time, for eight straight weeks, beginning on February 16, 2009, and finishing on April 6, 2009. Cost: $100
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Going Into The Ministry? Think Hard First...

Good article I got recently for those contemplating going into the ministry. I subscribe to "Parchment and Pen" which you can check out for yourself at http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/

Charisma: "Power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people."

Over the years I have learned that people enter the ministry for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons are:

1. Passion for the Gospel due to a life that has been recently transformed.
2. A "calling" through a series of open doors that compels the conscience that this is God’s will.
3. A circumstance where events happened to land them in a ministry position for which they were not seeking.
4. Following a family legacy.
5. Fulfillment of a promise or obligation that they have made before God.
6. An escape from the world into a occupation that provides an accountability that they cannot find in elsewhere.
7. Acquisition of power, prestige, or monetary rewards.
8. A compulsion from the body of Christ due to a recognized charisma.
9. Pure stupidity.

Both legitimate and illegitimate calls to ministry are most certainly going to have some combination of these. I remember reading Charles Spurgeon’s Letters to My Students and almost being scared out of pursuing ministry. He said that one should only enter ministry if there is nothing, absolutely nothing, else they can do. In other words, no one should casually "try out" a career in ministry any more than they should casually "try out" a career in ultimate fighting. There is a sense in which ministry is for everyone, but there is also a sense in which ministry is for a very few.

Charisma. This is #8. What a great thing it is to find someone with charisma. No, not charismatic in the spiritual gifts sense of the word, but charisma in the sense of allure, magnetism, appeal, dazzle, drawing power, fascination, flash, glamour, or pizzazz. There is a sense of pride in having charismatic representative of your party, group, family, race, country, baseball team, or whatever. People like people with charisma. We all do—especially in the church. I think of people like William Lane Craig, Darrel Bock, Charles Swindoll. Not only are they filled past full with complete awesomeness in their thinking, but they are also filled with charisma. They make good representatives. They are those who we kick out into the spotlight. They are the ones we tag with the label "Christian" for everyone to see. No, not some boorish fellow who knows what he is talking about but is unable to move the audience. Give us the pizzaz. Give use the pleasant demeanor of the more flashy characters.

What am I getting at? I don’t know. Yes, I do, but I don’t really know if what I have said so far has prepared for this. I love charisma. It is a gift of God. I think it can be a real force for Christianity. One which the Holy Spirit can energize. In fact, I believe that Christ was very charismatic. But I also recognize that without the power of the Holy Spirit charisma is salt water for a thirsty crowed. The Holy Spirit does not need charisma to accomplish his work. Most importantly, I know that it takes much more than charisma to find a call in ministry.
Hence Spurgeon’s warning: If you can find anything else to do . . . any other way to use your charisma, do it instead.

It is said that eighty-percent of those who enter full-time ministry have kicked the ministry bucket within five years. There are most certainly a variety of reasons for this, but I have recently begun to believe that one of the major reasons for this is because they were deceived by their own charisma. Charisma may get you started. Charisma may have called your name. Charisma may have given you initial confidence. Charisma may have preached your first sermon, raised your first dollar, or led your first crusade, but charisma does not come standard with cruise control.

Ministry is like blowing up balloons that all have a small leak. Your first balloon may have blown up really easy. You may think to yourself "This balloon blowing business is easy. I got what it takes. Look at the power of my lungs. Look at the size of this balloon. Give me another. What a sinch!" But some time (five years later?) you realize that the balloons are all deflating and you have to start all over again. Some of the balloons pop. Some, the holes grow larger and larger to where it just does not seem worth it to blow anymore. Finally, with all balloons deflated, your motivation and calling to ministry is deflated.

Stamina: "The quality or power of withstanding hardship or stress." I think that this is the key word. Let’s take the thesaurus route again. Endurance, constant energy, heart, indefatigability, intestinal fortitude, restraint, legs, staying power, resilience, thick skin, withstanding, resistance, starch, tolerance, vitality, patience, will, perseverance, persistence, resignation, resistance, resolution, , strength, submission, sufferance. I love "legs." That is why we walk on a treadmill for an hour rather than doing pull-ups for an hour. Your legs are build for long term endurance. Your arms are not. You have got to have legs to make it in ministry. I know that this is not particular to ministry, but it does find a special place within its walls. No amount of charisma is able to substitute for stamina. The ability to start is easy, but finishing is hard.

God does not test you by tallying how many people you have awed. He does not try you by eavesdropping on the reactions of the crowed. He will use your charisma, but he will try your will and perseverance. Once the balloons have deflated, once the counseled have divorced, once the committees have locked horns, once the volunteers don’t show, once the sermon is not is not awed, once the website gets hacked three times in one week(!), once the finances don’t take care of themselves each month, and once you have let everyone down time and time again, what are you going to do?

Count the cost. Didn’t Christ say something about this? (Luke 14:28ff) Charisma is not enough. In fact, it might deceive you into a false calling. Count the cost. If you don’t, dare I say your trek is #9 above.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you." (2 Cor. 4:7-12)

End of self-therapy session.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Conversations with a Synergist, Part 1


Dialogue can be good. When we come face to face with someone who holds a different theological view from our own views, especially if we disagree with their views, it's best to ask them and come to an understanding.


What do they believe...why do they believe it? When we witness of the Lord's truth as found in His Word we need to do it with several things in mind:

#1- Assuming we're not rebuking someone we have spiritual responsibility for...we need to approach the person with love...

#2- We need to have truth as the ultimate goal...not the idea of winning a debate...

#3- If we really believe #2 we'll be open to having our own theology challenged...and if we find that we're wrong we need to admit it and move over to the truth as its been revealed.
#4- We need to let the other side define what they believe...and then hold them to Scriptural accountability and contextual consistency.

Well...I've been having an online debate with an Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher that preached a sermon that was very anti-reformed/Calvinist. This sermon got a lot of attention...mainly because it was filled with errors, misunderstandings of the reformed position...and just a bit of venom. I purposefully approached the pastor in a loving, respectful...and yet firm manner about where I thought he was in error. So far it's been very civil and I think both of us are enjoying the discussion.

I'll be posting some of the discussions and I'll keep his name out of it. My hopes is that the reformed listeners with be strengthened in what they believe and the non reformed synergists will honestly take a good look at the inconsistency of their position.

Here is the main theme of our discussion...he said in the sermon that "I can deal with Romans 9 in 30 seconds...they're going to have a lot tougher time dealing with all the whosoevers in the Bible." He then goes on to say that "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Rom 9:13) has "nothing to do with salvation. That whole passage has nothing to do with salvation."
This is what I called him to task on...he didn't answer the Romans 9 passage in context and I can answer the "Whosoevers" of the Word. Next post will be a synopsis of our online debate. For now...read Romans 8-9 and ask yourself this question;

What does Romans 8 have to do with Romans 9? Can you divorce the verses preceding v. 13? What is the whole passage about and do you believe that Romans 9 is about God's corporate choice of nations for His purposes...or is it somehow about individual salvation?
Talk to you soon...for now, study to show thyself approved!
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Teens spend 31 hrs a week online, 2 hrs watching porn...

Teenagers spend an average of 31 hours a week online and nearly two hours a week looking at pornography, according to a study.


They spend some three and a half hours communicating with friends on MSN, and around two hours on YouTube and in chat rooms.

Just over an hour is devoted to looking up cosmetic surgery procedures such as how to enlarge breasts and get collagen implants, an hour and a half is spent on family planning and pregnancy websites and one hour 35 minutes is spent investigating diets and weight loss.

One in four teenagers of the 1,000 polled said they regularly spoke to strangers online but thought it harmless.

One in three admitted trying to hide what they were looking at if a parent entered the room.

But children also use the internet to help them with homework, with at least three hours a week spent searching for such information.

The research was conducted by www.cybersentinel.co.uk, which provides software solutions allowing parents to block access to certain sites.

Spokesman Ellie Puddle said: "The alarming thing is the survey shows teenagers are obviously exploring all sorts of topics as a result of modern-day pressures.

"Talking to friends on social networking websites can be completely risk-free, good fun. But there is also the danger of online predators.

"Teenagers and parents need to realise the dangers of talking to strangers online but parents must not overreact by denying access to the internet. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning and development."


Here is the link to the original story: Online
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Struggle With Pornography Temptations?

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Living Out Sola Fide

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Battle for Grace

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Power Of An Apology

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

ANGELS & DEMONS

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

John Chrysostom: Late Fourth Century, Early Fifth Century Bishop of Antioch & Constantinople

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Church History

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2,100 civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2008

America is currently involved in two military operations. One is in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. Conservative Christians usually support military operations with very little discussion. In fact, if you look at the world of Conservative christian blogs you will find that very little is said about the subject. It can be very controversial to even offer a possible criticism on the issue. In-spite of this I want to remind all Christians that we are to constantly strive to look at current events and work to come to a biblical worldview about the issues.

When we look into the history of Christianity we find that Christians struggled with the issue of war and over time what is known as the, Just War Doctrine was developed.

The Just War Doctrine was first enunciated by St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD).

Here are the principles as found in the Catholic Catechism:


Just War (2307-17)

All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. Despite this admonition of the Church, it sometimes becomes necessary to use force to obtain the end of justice. This is the right, and the duty, of those who have responsibilities for others, such as civil leaders and police forces. While individuals may renounce all violence those who must preserve justice may not do so, though it should be the last resort, "once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

As with all moral acts the use of force to obtain justice must comply with three conditions to be morally good.

First, the act must be good in itself. The use of force to obtain justice is morally licit in itself.

Second, it must be done with a good intention, which as noted earlier must be to correct vice, to restore justice or to restrain evil, and not to inflict evil for its own sake.

Thirdly, it must be appropriate in the circumstances. An act which may otherwise be good and well motivated can be sinful by reason of imprudent judgment and execution.

In this regard Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:

"1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

3. there must be serious prospects of success;

4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [CCC 2309].

The responsibility for determining whether these conditions are met belongs to "the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." The Church's role consists in enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war.

The Church greatly respects those who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their nation. "If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace. [Cf. Gaudium et spes 79, 5]" However, she cautions combatants that not everything is licit in war. Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

- attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners;
- genocide, whether of a people, nation or ethnic minorities;

- indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.

Given the modern means of warfare, especially nuclear, biological and chemical, these crimes against humanity must be especially guarded against.

In the end it is not enough to wage war to achieve justice without treating the underlying causes. "Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war" [CCC 2317].

The Church has no illusions that true justice and peace can be attained before the Coming of the Lord. It is the duty of men of good will to work towards it, nonetheless. In the words of the spiritual dictum, we should work as if everything depended upon our efforts, and pray as if everything depended upon God.


With all of that in mind I would like to point everyone to the following news story:

UN: 2,100 civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2008

More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, because of escalating fighting that spread to new areas, the United Nations top aid official said on Tuesday.

John Holmes, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, gave the toll to representatives of donor countries while launching a U.N. funding appeal of $604 million for Afghanistan for 2009.
"According to U.N. figures, over 2,100 civilians were killed as a result of armed conflict in 2008, which represents an increase of about 40 percent from 2007," Holmes said in a speech, the text of which was issued to reporters in Geneva.

He did not say whether the majority of civilian casualties were due to Taliban militants or U.S.-led air strikes in the country, where violence is at the highest levels since the 2001 overthrow of the Islamist militants.

The Taliban have regrouped and, despite the presence of nearly 70,000 international troops, in the last year increased both the scope and scale of their attacks. Air strikes which have killed civilians have provoked anger among Afghans and resentment against the presence of foreign troops.

"The armed conflict is increasingly characterized by the use of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, kidnappings and air strikes, all of which tend to increase civilian casualties," said the U.N. funding appeal document.

Here is the link to the original story: 2008

Here is a link to another related story:

Afghans Protest After US Raid Kills Civilians


Storie realted to the Iraq situation:

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,237
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Elementary Greek

















It is a great time to be alive! Today a person has a world of information available to them with just a few clicks of a computer. For example, have you ever wanted to learn Greek? With a little effort and a computer you can! Concordia Theological Seminary has placed their Greek class on I-Tunes! Here is the link:

Greek

The text book they are using can be bought here:
Textbook

The rest is up to you!
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Ripping Up the TULIPs

The following story is beginning to make it's way across the blog world. I cannot confirm the report and there are some who are denying the story. I am simply going to point people to the information I have found so far:

The first report comes from the, Voice Of The Sheep blog.

It is being reported that Paige Patterson and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are firing its professors who hold to Calvinism. From the Grace and Truth to You blog:

Yesterday Dr. Paige Patterson met with professors in the theology school at SWBTS and implied the seminary would be letting go the Calvinist professors from the seminary, claiming that the lack of funds and the need to reduce faculty as the rationale for the impending releases. Odd, however, was the seemingly chosen method of reduction. It was not years of service, nor even the performance of the professors, but rather, administration sought to ascertain just who on the faculty were avowed “tulip” men, and those are the ones being let go. Some of the professors present at the meeting included men who specifically informed administration of their beliefs at the time of their hiring, and they were told at the time their beliefs were not a problem.

But it seems Calvinism is a problem to the powers that be at SWBTS. At least one professor from the philosophy department, himself on the brink of release, was present. The professors faced a grilling as to their soteriological belief system. They were asked to declare how many points of Calvinism to which they ascribed, and an even more penetrating series of questions were posed to that unfortunate soul who had the temerity to say “four” or “five” points.

I think it’s time that SWBTS remove the word ‘theological’ from its name, as it has truly become (as so many seminaries are) a place of biblical bigotry and man-centered prejudice against those who hold to a high view of God, who actually line up with the historic theological roots of baptistic beliefs. It is no longer if, but when the split occurs within the Southern Baptist Convention. At this point, I am fully convinced a break away from the likes of Patterson and SWBTS and Jerry Vines and Charles Stanley and David Allen would be a very good thing for those within that denomination who love and embrace the doctrines of grace.

Unity for the sake of unity is sin. Stand up, my Calvinist brothers in the SBC, and be heard.

The next report was found at the, Apprising Ministries blog.


At his Grace and Truth to You blog, where Wade Burleson shares “Personal Reflections on the Southern Baptist Convention,” he informs us of some startling news:

Yesterday Dr. Paige Patterson met with professors in the theology school at SWBTS and said that the seminary would be letting go the five point Calvinist professors from the seminary, claiming that the lack of funds and the need to reduce faculty as the rationale for the impending releases. Odd, however, was the chosen method of reduction.

It was not years of service, nor even the performance of the professors, but rather, administration sought to ascertain just who on the faculty were avowed “tulip” men, and those are the ones being let go. Some of the professors present at the meeting included men who specifically informed administration of their beliefs at the time of their hiring, and they were told at the time their beliefs were not a problem. (Online source)

Really. So with the Southern Baptist Convention rife with purpose driven apostasy, contemplative spirituality, and embracing the Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura, this is their solution; persecute Calvinists? Well, come to think of it to continue their return home to Rome the SBC would eventually have to do so. Guess there’s no time like the present.

I am thankful for men like Mike Corley who says today at his blog The Expositor: “We will watch and see what and how this develops…” (Online source) And that Paige Patterson you and your Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary can take to the bank.

*Update* Now it needs also to be noted that in the combox of the above post Dr. Greg Welty, who is a Calvinist on staff at SWBTS, denies there is any such purge:

There was no group meeting of faculty yesterday, in which we were all told we were fired, for our Calvinism or otherwise. That is a lie. No Calvinists have been fired. (Online source).
And then Burleson would later respond that indeed there is:

is a purging of anyone who is not in agreement with a particular ecclesiological, soteriological, and eshcatological viewpoint. (Online source)


When I find more information about this situation I will post it.
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Sovereign Grace Baptist Church





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Martyrs

This will definitely be one of my top ten songs for February!

Here is the song, the lyrics are below:





Martyrs
written by j. watson, c. njoroge, b. davis, s. linne, m. stokes

The Time: 20th Century
The Place: China
The Martyr: A young girl

“Yeah they went ahead of us, now the path is straight

And died so that we could have life past the grave”

-Da T.R.U.T.H from Our World from The Faith

(Json)

We would gather so Pastor could season us Christians

We were pleased just to hear the reading of Scripture

Because here in Asia, we can’t worship like the States

Because servants of grace might be murdered for their faith

So we give Christ the praises secretly, we ain’t treated equally

Even on today our bible study’s held illegally

As Pastor opened to read from the first sentence

Communist soldiers kicked the door straight off the hinges

I knew this could happen for accepting His precious gift

They threaten to kill us with guns clutched within their fist

I’m shaken and scared even though Jesus is my everything

I don’t know if I’m prepared to die at the age of seventeen

The leading official turned to my pastor and looked

Put a gun to his face and told him “Hand over the book!”

He reluctantly handed over the text that he so adored

They laughed as he grabbed it and it was smashed to the floor

I was truly grieved as I looked in his eyes

He said, “Any of you can leave if you spit on this book of lies!”

A man walked up, cried as he fell to the floor

“Father forgive me”- “Leave! Now you can go!”

I trembled with fear my mind started to think about death

Hair leaking with sweat I thought my heart would beat through my chest

A woman that walked up next spit on the Bible and left

The official shot in the air of the air continued yelling out threats

I was tempted to do it- I just wanted to leave

The moment I thought this, I felt overwhelmingly grieved

I gritted my teeth, tears began to stream down my face

I needed some faith I just started to think on His grace

In my head I said “forget it” as I walked toward the text

Kneeled to the floor, wiped the spit off the Bible with my dress

To live is Christ, to die is gain ain’t a popular song

I said, “Father forgive them as I was shot in the dome


The Time: 1536
The Place: Outside of Brussels
The Martyr: William Tyndale



(Evangel)

I refuse to look to John Huss whose goose was cooked

Lord, I wanna put your truth in books

Now concerning my faith no turning away

I know eternity awaits even if I’m burned at the stake

Like avoiding their attacks of me would profit me

Great Whore that could be properly the papacy and prophecy

They say the Pope’s the holiest

Only if these people could see its phoniness and Scripturally erroneous

The Pope of men fail to respect- they wanna seek death

of William Tyndale so then I inhale a deep breath

Two doors- my hands push

As I stride inside I was grabbed by men hiding- it’s an ambush!

I was sabotaged- he was disguised and camouflaged

As a friend of me- I didn’t know he was the enemy

Now through discerning, I see this group is yearning

With ill will to kill bill like Uma Thurman

It’s a chaotic frenzy as they plot against me

Hey if God defends me or ends me- He’ll soon determine

Now I plead for these people (forgive ‘em!) they grieve Your cathedral

I don’t wanna repay evil for evil

When I’m weak I’m made strong- got my brave face on

We’re sheep for the slaughter being killed all the day long

I’ll never be a man-pleaser

No matter how tight the grip of the hand squeezer

I can’t breathe- I’ll stand with Jesus

Even if plans are grievous as they try to put me to sleep like anesthesia

Now I’m gagging and gasping- I’m sold out for You

No doubt this noose won’t choke out the truth

And leave a lasting legacy- cats who would never read

your Word after the death of me cats can cleverly

get pass the heresy and grab for this weaponry

Your sword- now Lord I pass to the heavenlies


The Time: Approximately 100 A.D.
The Place: Rome
The Martyr: Anonymous

(God’s Servant)

My wrists bleed from the shackles, as I get dragged in the gravel

My ribs hurt, was arrested and tackled.

Snatched up, I was preaching, pulled in a packed road

beat for the God that I stand for

A young man, I’m a Roman, version of Daniel

But yo I got to be an example

Seized by decree of the emperor’s panel

to kill Christians in all of the land so

Yo now they got me, tied up, tugged, getting trampled

Hauled to my death while they chant yo

“NO GOSPEL, CHRIST IS A SCANDAL!”

The mob screams as I’m violently handled

But I am a sample of grace that is ample

to save though the pain isn’t cancelled

Strained as I’m maimed by the rage of the grapple

Each swing hurting me, more than the last blow

Kicked by their sandals, struck by their rods

Cracked from the whips in the hands of the guards

Mocked by the people they bask in their evil

Storing up wrath in the path of my God!

But AH! “What a relief it is to be in Jesus!”

Even beaten if Christ is the reason

Pulled to the center of Rome- a crowd’s meeting

They chant for my death and indict me with treason

I get tied to a pole by a soldier, shaped like an ogre

Rope ‘round my legs and rope ‘round my shoulders

He signals his boys and he yells out,

“Yo ya’ll bring the torch over!”

So now I’m facing the blaze, facing the pain

By grace putting faith in His name

He says, “Last call for a recant”, I say “we can’t!”

So he ignites me in flames


The Time: Approximately 62 A.D.
The Place: Jerusalem
The Martyr: James, the brother of Jesus

(shai)

Sovereign Lord, You’re so holy, you know me

I’m nothing but dust and I trust in You only

I see the faces in the crowd below me

I’m standing on the rooftop of the temple and they’re about to throw me

Off because I’ve been causing a major fuss

They call me James the Just- Jesus the name I trust

In the days of His flesh, He was my brother in the physical

I thought that He was crazy- enough that I would ridicule

But since His resurrection, I see He meticulously rules

And next to His perfections, I’m ridiculously minuscule

Astounding, I’m taking a pounding and bruised for Him

I look around and see the mountains surrounding Jerusalem

Suddenly I get calm

Reminded of God’s promise in verse 2 of the 125th Psalm

I hear their obscene chatter- for me no tears or screams scattered

Or fears of getting my spleen splattered

Christ is supreme, so extreme is the theme of His redeemed team

My no means is my dream shattered

Embracing what is after as I’m facing this disaster

I have to because no slave is greater than his master

They told me (to) deny Jesus and not be an Apostle

My response- “Repent and believe in the gospel!”

They threw me off the roof for that last phrase spoken

I hit the ground alive with both of my legs broken

They’re acting so wickedly with no sympathy

My blood flowed vividly, I felt stones hitting me

Yo, inwardly Jesus gave me peace like Steve and them

I reached up to heaven and began to intercede for them

“Father forgive them, though their sin’s great and enormous”

One of their own said, “Brothers, wait! He’s praying for us”

One cat had so much hate in his heart for Jesus

His blunt instrument crushed my skull into pieces

The Time: Modern Day
The Place: The Streets of New York
The Martyr: A street evangelist

(Techniq)

In the beginning, before throw backs and fitteds

I grew up in a world where no truth was in it

No hopes, no dreams, no future in it

Only crack heads with some state troopers in it

I grew up with a mother, brother, sister- no pops

Fam that’s locked up, DTs and crooked cops

Dope dealers and thugs on street corners and blocks

Dudes that push weight, catch seals and get knocked

That was my life before I married the Christ

So now I rep hard on the block the day and the night

2 A.M. in the morning, it’s my third week in

So far seventeen souls walked away from their sins

It’s a struggle on the block in the heart of the pits

Where the fiends look like zombies as they search for a fix

Fourteen, across the street, and she’s licking her lips

Asking Poppy for a date while she’s grinding her hips

I can’t believe what I’m seeing but thank God for the mission

Because He touches hearts and opens up the mind for the vision

And people saying I should make the right decision

Because the Devil’s steady lurking but I’m moving with precision

I can’t be scared- I’m a soldier for the kingdom

Armored up and I gotta rep hard ‘til I meet Him

And tell the world that it’s crucial they receive Him

Because He’s coming back- nobody knows the A.M. or the P.M.

And on the block I could see it was beef

The Spirit told me they was coming I refused to retreat

The leader stepped to my face saying he was the man

And ain’t no God in earth or heaven gonna ruin his plan

I looked him in the eyes and told him this ain’t have to be the end

The Lord loved him irregardless as to what he done or did

Satan filled his heart so he ain’t really care what I said

Cocked back the nine and bust three shots to my head
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