Saturday, June 30, 2007

Trendy Pastors

The men pictured above are all pastors of "churches" (in some cases, I use the term loosely) that appeal to "seekers" or what I call "emergent" types. They have lots of similarities, i.e. casual dress, haphazardly-styled or no hair, some don't appear to be happy, most are tanned (maybe their church is close to a beach), none of them are over forty, and none of them own a tie. (That one preacher/pastor guy is pretty muscley, too.) EDIT: 07.01.07 - I have been informed be a concerned reader that one of the pastors IS over forty. He should know better, then.

Some other things I've noticed about these "trendy pastors":

  • They really like to use the word "relevant."
  • It's more trendy/relevant to refer to themselves as "Christ followers" rather than "Christian" or "Believer."
  • They seem to have an aversion for anything "old" or "traditional."
  • They "give talks" rather than "preach sermons."
  • Music Ministers don't like to be called Music Ministers...they are "Minister/Pastor of Creative/Christian Arts."
  • On one church's website, the pastor wrote: "God began to burden my heart with the need for a dynamic, innovative, multicultural church, where people could learn God’s truths in relevant and creative ways..." (emphasis mine). Honestly, I've always thought that a church that faithfully preached the Word of God, WAS "dynamic" and "relevant."
  • One pastor wrote on his blog: "Every movie has a great sermon." Silly me, I thought the Bible had some pretty good sermons in it.
  • One pastor commented: "I think it's funny that we meet in a movie theatre that's showing Knocked Up." I think it's sad he thinks that's funny.
  • One church's website proclaimed they were "the cool church." Groovy, man...if I'm looking for a place to trip!
  • One pastor noted: "Knocked Up is a great movie." I hope he's kidding.
  • One church's website, announcing their upcoming sermon series on "sex" proclaims: "God wants you to have great sex." One of the sermon titles for the multi-week series is entitled: "Leather, Whips, and Whipped Cream." Oh, brother.
  • Churches are now referred to as "campuses." I guess using the word "church" isn't "relevant."

I guess I'm just old fashioned. I still think that faithful preaching will accomplish exactly what the Word says it will: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

Friday, June 29, 2007

God is Sovereign, I've Been Tagged

God is Sovereign
The National Founders Conference was at our church (Bethel Baptist- Owasso) this past week. Timmy Brister "live-blogged" the event; the Pyromaniacs were also there "dead-blogging." You can read their perspectives on the NFC here and here.

On Thursday evening, we were informed that wildfires in Florida were threatening the home of Founders' Director, Tom Ascol. In fact, the fire was about a block away from his house. Bill Ascol, Tom's brother and pastor of Bethel, led us in prayer as we asked God to intervene and spare the Ascol's and their neighbor's homes. Brother Ascol appealed to God's sovereignty in the situation; he appealed to God to exercise His power over heaven and earth, acknowledging God's ability to calm storms, wind, etc...and even a wildfire hundreds of miles from our meeting.

Tom reported later that evening in a post to Timmy Brister's blog:

...we received a phone call near the end of the evening session tonight informing us that a brief deluge fell to "knock down" the fire and bring it under control. The following was posted at 9PM Eastern time on a local TV station’s website:

From Connie Barron, City of Cape Coral: "About 10 minutes of heavy rain helped knock down the fire. We will be sending engines home and keeping brush trucks on scene for a few more hours as needed. Burnt Store Road will reopen at 9pm. Residents are being allowed back in their homes."

I live just off of Burnt Store Road. Some church members have told us they have never seen it rain that hard. According to my calculations, that rain began to fall about 45 minutes after your post went up and shortly after the conference prayed.

We are very grateful to the Lord for His mercy in this.

Our God is AWESOME!

I've Been Tagged"Baxter" at Let My Meditation be Pleasing to Him honoured me with a Blogger Reflection Award. Baxter and I met when we began exchanging comments on each other's blog over the past months. The purpose of the "award" is two-fold:

  1. Baxter has selected mine as a blog that has "been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted [her] in some way, and [has] been a Godly example to [her]."
  2. I am to select five bloggers who have done the same/similar for me, write a paragraph about them, and notify them of my bestowing of the Blogger Reflection Award.

I am humbled by Baxter's accolades. I'm not so sure what part of my blog has been an encouragement...and I'm afraid that I have not always been a Godly example, but I appreciate her kind words. I don't have that many readers/commentors on my blog. That's OK. This is more of a place for me to vent and just put some thoughts and some of my amateur photos "on paper." Many thanks to those of you that stop by from time to time--especially Baxter. I enjoy reading your comments and your blog as well. I like the fact that the NASB is your favorite book! In addition to Baxter, I bestow the Bloger Reflection Award on the following blogs:

1) Joe Thorn is a pastor in the Chicago area. He's younger than me, sees some things differently than I do, but he obviously loves God, his family and his church. I appreciate his honesty and his passion. Plus, he's gotten me interested in photography. I'm still learning. I had the privilege of meeting Joe this week at the National Founders Conference.

2)Happening Cheatwoods is a blog about "a regular family with one purpose: To love Jesus and share him with the world!!" I stumbled on this blog when Jessica commented on a post I'd written about Christians and tattoos. We had an interesting conversation. She has too very cute little boys and a very talented husband. They are a great family to "watch" grow in their love for God and family.

3) Like "Baxter", I read Joel's Thoughts. I'm not sure how I found his blog, but I go there farily regular to read about his wife's battle with cancer. She was recently diagnosed with stage 2 malignant breast cancer. She began chemo back in April, I believe. They would appreciate your prayers. Joel also has a Flickr photo blog that I recently discovered.

4) Slice of Laodicea is a blog I visit most every day. Ingrid Schlueter writes this blog about current trends in the church today, i.e. "seeker-sensitive", "emergent", etc. Some pretty sad stuff sometimes. I am encouraged that there are still people that will stand up for truth found in the Word of God.

5) Founders Blog by Tom Ascol. Tom is the Executive Director of Founders Ministries. I have been encouraged by Tom's gracious spirit and passion to see true, Biblical reformation within Southern Baptist Churches.

A few "honorable mentions":

  • FIDE-O Bret Capranica, Jason E. Robertson, Scott Hill, and Gene Cook, Jr. contribute to this blog. Lots of good links on their blogroll. Plenty of interesting/thought-provoking posts.
  • Calvinist Gadfly Although no longer being updated, a great place for resources related to Reformed theology.
  • Pyromaniacs is a daily stop for the wisdom and wit of Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, and Frank Turk. Great graphics, too!

Friday Photos

I know, I know. The last few Friday Photo posts have been pictures from the Grand Canyon...but I'm tellin' ya--I just can't get over how spectacular that place is! Words or pictures simply don't do it justice. Neither does the "theory" that the Canyon was carved out over a period of millions and millions of years. I'm not buying it. I don't have time to go into all the details, but suffice it to say, I believe God did it by His own hand...and the earth ain't no billions of years old (I give it 6000 to 10000 tops).

I've always said, the top three places I want to see are: Alaska, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. The Lord has allowed me to see the first two; I can't wait to see the third.

Sunrise at Mather Point - Grand Canyon

Sunrise at Mather Point - Grand Canyon

flickr: Friday Photo Group

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Called Sin

CNN reported today:

A majority of Americans believe that gays and lesbians could not change their sexual orientation even if they wanted to, according to results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday.

It's the first time in a CNN poll the majority has held that belief regarding homosexuality.

Fifty-six percent of about 515 poll respondents said they do not believe sexual orientation can be changed. In 2001, 45 percent of those responding to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll held that belief. In 1998, according to a CNN/Time poll, the number was 36 percent. (Source here

Gay and lesbian behavior is not "orientation"'s called sin. And it really doesn't matter what Americans think it is or call it.

"...God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women excanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." --Romans 1:26-27 (NASB)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Grand Canyon Continued

Standin' on a Corner
Standin' on a Corner in Winslow...On our way to the Grand Canyon, we passed through Winslow, AZ, which if you're a fan of the Eagles, is a big deal. We made Winslow a manditory stop on our trip. Finding "the corner in Winslow Arizona" wasn't that difficult--just follow the signs to "historic downtown Winslow." Standin' on the Corner Park, a tribute to the Eagles' tune Take it Easy, consists of a mural depicting the "girl in a flatbed Ford" as well as a statue of an unidentified man and his guitar. Here's the official website. On October 18, 2004 the building on which the mural of the girl driving the "flat bed Ford" was painted was gutted by fire. Only the outside wall remains. Some of the area is still fenced off, but you can still stand on the corner.

The Blue Swallow Motel
Blue Swallow Motel - TucumcariWe didn't stay there while we were in Tucumcari, but the Blue Swallow Motel is a must see. This unique motel was quite popular in it's "Route 66 heyday." Each room at the motel has it's own garage! Click here for the official website. I think the B/W shot makes the place look more nostalgic.

The Grand Canyon
We spent about two and a half days at the Canyon. I've heard people say: "Oh yeah, we spent half a day (or) one day at the Grand Canyon!" I don't see how they could spend any less than a full day, if not several. We spent the good part of one day doing the "Hermits Rest Route" on the west end of the Canyon Village. Fantastic views! Hopi Point is on this route and is a must see at sunset. Sunset at Hopi Point

We stayed in the Canyon Village, right on the rim, at the Maswik Lodge (Official Website). We had about a five to ten minute walk from our room to the edge of the Canyon. We only drove our car two times while we were there--once to run into town and another time to go to Yavapai Observation Point. The Grand Canyon Park operates a great shuttle service that takes you to all of the views (points). In fact, personal vehicles are not allowed on the Hermits Rest Route.

We took our last picture of the Grand Canyon at Mather Point. (See previous post for sunrise picture).Last photo at the Grand Canyon

Friday, June 22, 2007

Grand Canyon

We've been at the Grand Canyon this past week. The first glimpse of the Canyon is something that simply cannot be described! We spent about two and a half days at the Canyon; stayed in one of the "Canyon Village" lodges--Maswik, which made getting around a lot easier than staying in Flagstaff or nearby Tusayan, AZ.

A couple of things I don't understand:

1) Foreign Travelers - Why do "foreigners" seem to come in droves to see things like the Grand Canyon? (We saw this same "phenomenon" when we went to Alaska several years ago.) During the week, we heard Spanish, French, Italian, English (UK), Japanese, Dutch, German, and I'm sure other languages we could not identify. So many people from other countries coming to the USA to see the Grand Canyon and my first thought was: "How in the heck do you afford to fly over here in the first place and spend the kind of money it takes to enjoy a trip like this?! I also noticed that at least one, if not all of the people in the various "language groups" spoke English--many of them quite well, others just enough to communicate. Maybe it's me, but I can't think of another country I want to see badly enough where I'd be willing to go to the trouble of transcontinental travel, much less learning the native language. There's too much I haven't seen at "home", yet.

2) Why are some people so rude? - We encountered lots of folks that had never heard of "the end of the line" or "waiting your turn." They were getting on that bus or getting that drink, and if you happened to be a casualty of their aggressive/rude behavior, so be it! Sadly, many of those people appeared to be American. We also noticed that many people took no notice of the "Do Not Litter" signs. It's the Grand Canyon for cyin' out loud! It's a NATURAL WONDER, which means it's beauty DOES NOT come from disgarded cigarette butts, candy wrappers, etc. I actually watched one woman and her daughter throw their empty pop cans into a flower bed near one of the buildings on the Canyon Rim! I guess they thought their mother was walking right behind them! (I picked up the cans and threw them away.)

OK. Enough negative. The Canyon was GREAT--probably one of, if not the best vacations I've ever taken. No matter where you stood, you saw something different. You can look at the same view in the morning, midday, and evening and not see the same thing. Simply awesome. We got up early one morning (4:30 AM) so we could watch the sun rise over the Canyon and we made sure we were near the Rim each evening to watch the sun set. Each time, a different experience.

Friday Photo

Sunrise at Mather Point - Grand Canyon
Sunrise at Mather Point - Grand Canyon

Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. -Psalm 90:2 (NASB)

flickr: Friday Photo Group

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Small Town

I grew up near a small town. Everybody knew everybody. The same families that ran the town in old days, were still running the town when we moved there...and when we left. Tulsa is about 15 miles away, but pretty much everything we needed-you could find it "in town."

The main business section of Main Street was about 5 to 6 blocks long. On one end of town was the lumber yard and the Farmers Coop. There was another feed store across the street. There were several "gas stations/mechanics" on Main; we also had a Tastee Freez and the locally owned "Cardinal Dairy Dip" (they were located on opposited ends of town). At one point, we had three grocery stores. Only one still exists (under a different name). We had a movie theatre--Crown Theatre--where you could see the latest movies...a couple of months after they opened in the big cities. I spent many a Saturday afternoon at the Crown, where $1 paid your admission and got you a "pop" and a candy bar or popcorn!

We always called anything carbonated "pop."
"Wanna pop?"
"What kind?"
"Dr. Pepper."
The other end Main was lined with houses for about 6 to 8 blocks. A lot of them are still there today. I love the houses on Main street. Most of them are "craftsman" style; some one and some two-stories. Some day, I want to move back into one of those houses.

Things were different then. For instance, many of the merchants didn't accept credit cards--in fact, I don't remember credit cards being that common--but, you could buy things on credit simply by signing for it. No credit applications, no lengthy payment agreements. You just went into the store, picked up the things you needed and when you checked out, the clerk simply had you sign the "ticket," or he/she would retrieve a receipt book from behind the counter (every customer had their own book), record the transaction and you would sign that. Once a month, you dropped by the store(s) and paid your bill. Pretty simple. The store owner trusted that if you signed, you would pay. Because of that trust, you were "loyal" to the store owner. In most of the stores, I knew the owner by name and they knew me...just like "Cheers," we would greet each other by name when I came through the door.

One grocery store in particular seemed to cater to the "older folks" in town. "Mr. B." owned the store that had been in town for years. The store was simple; no fancy displays or elaborate shelving; they also had an old-fashioned meat counter in the back. Several of my buddies worked at the store over the years. What was memorable to me about Mr. B's store, was that, no matter how much some of the customers were behind in their credit payments, he never refused to allow them to shop. In fact, I've been told that, on many occasions, Mr. B would cut a patron's bill in half because he knew they couldn't pay. Mr. B was a very generous, caring much so, that the store ended up closing. I suspect his genoristy may have had a lot to do with the store's demise. Mr. B died several years ago, but I think about him and his caring spirit everytime I drive by the old store location...

"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." --Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Katie Couric/CBS News 20-Year Low Ratings

"Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, on Tuesday suggested that sexist attitudes were partly to blame for the faltering performance of Katie Couric, the news anchor he recruited to the network with a $15m annual pay package...I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low."

Has anyone at CBS ever considered that maybe--just maybe--people just don't like Katie because she comes across as an angry, snotty, anti-Christian, feminist? Naaahhh!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm Bored at Lunchtime

Some days, I check the obituary section of our daily paper to see if my name is there. It wasn't today...which means there are probably some really disappointed people at work.

I work with a guy that has been married and divored the SAME woman! The way I figure it, if he lost half of his stuff the first divorce, then half of his stuff the second divorce, he only owns one-fourth of his stuff!!! Are you ready for the kicker? They're dating! No wedding plans at this time.

$54 Million Pants
Administrative law Judge Roy Pearson claims to have suffered severe "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort" because his local cleaners lost his favorite pair of pants. Now he is suing the Korean immigrant couple who own the cleaners for $54 million...even though they have found the pants and have tried to return them to this idiot. Story here. Maybe they'll counter-sue for $75 million!!!

Lame Duck
I'm almost ashamed to admit I voted for "Dubya"...twice!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's Saturday

Catching up on the News
I've been a slackard this week--blogwise and picture-taking-wise (is that a real term?), that is. Busy week at work. Catching up on a few things:

  • Andrew Speaker - idiot TB carrier. STILL a self-centered jerk.
  • Paris Hilton - big, cry-baby. Who cares?!
  • "Amnesty bill" - died on the Senate floor. Rest in peace!
  • Mary Winkler - Tennessee preacher's wife who killed her husband apparently has only about a week to serve of her sentence.¹ There's a story that we'll probably never hear.

On a more serious note, we've began a study last week in our Sunday School class that will take us through most of the "Minor Prophets" during the next three months. Last week, we covered the book of Joel--yep, whole book in one lesson. This week we're looking at Obadiah. I'll be honest, I've never really given much time to the Minor Prophets, so this study will be a learning experience for me as well as the class I teach.

A couple of things that I was not aware of or hadn't really connected.

  • The Edomites were direct descendents of Esau, twin brother of Jacob (son of Isaac).
  • The name "Edom" refers to the time when Esau asked Jacob for some of the "red stew" he had prepared. (See Genesis 25:29-30)
  • The descendents of Jacob (Israel) and Esau (Edom) were perpetual enemies. The Edomites fought with Israel/Judah during the reigns of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram.
  • Around 5 BC, they were forced from an area just below the Dead Sea to an area of southern Palestine where they became known as "Idumeans."
  • Herod the Great was an Idumean.
  • The Edomites were wiped out in 70 AD, fighting along side the Zealots, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem
The book of Obadiah is God's pronounced judgment on Edom—denouncing their crimes against Judah and foretelling their total destruction. It is also a detailed description of God's sovereignty in exacting judgment. In His time, God avenged Judah and punished the Edomites for their "crimes of war" against God's chosen people. If you want more details of God's the book. Fascinating 21 verses.

Obadiah is a solemn reminder to us, that God, in His sovereignty, rules over ALL nations, never forgetting those who are His...and punishing those who dare come against them.

¹ Mary Winkler was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to three years in prison, but will be eligible for probation after serving 210 days and gets credit for the 143 days she has already spent in jail. The judge in the case said that up to 60 days of the remaining 67 days could be served in a facility whre she could receive mental health treatment. (Source: AP)