Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Off To Algonquin

I am heading off to Algonquin Provincial Park to do some camping. Yes, I know it is the first weekend in November, but there is no better time to camp. This is not to mention that there are a number of people I know who will be camping up there as well. I am probably going to head out a little later tonight, and find some place to stop and sleep along the way. That way I can break up the 5-6 hour drive and make it a little more comfortable. Who knows, maybe in spite of the forecast, we will have snow.

Worlds Smallest Car

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Several New Sermons Posted

I have been rather behind in uploading the recent sermons from our worship services to the Bethel Reformed Church Sermon Cloud account. However, this afternoon I thought I would seek to catch up a little. So there have been about four or five sermons added.

This Sunday morning we took another break from our journey through Galatians, and remembered the Reformation by looking at the gospel that was brought into the light through the means of the Reformers return to reading the scripture.

Check it out. If you do, please leave some comments either here or on Sermon Cloud, and if you like what you hear, feel free to give it an Amen, especially if you believe others would benefit from hearing this sermon as Amens will move it into the front page at Sermon Cloud.

No One Deserves It, But God Gives It In Jesus - Ephesians 2:1-10

Sunday, October 21, 2007

For Those Cat People Out There

I was directed to this by my darling wife. It reminded me so much of our cat that I just had to post it. Ok, I really didn't have to post it, but I wanted to. So here it is.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Enjoyed This

Over at Pyromaniacs, Dan posted the following video of Slam poet Taylor Mali. This is well worth watching. If you want to see the text you can find it here.

What caught my attention is that I no longer expect people, especially people who are English teachers to have such a clear view of the silliness of the prevailing post modern tone of uncertainty.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Don't Tell Me Those Things"

8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.
9 For they are a rebellious people,
lying children,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 30:8-11 (ESV)

These verses were some of those that we looked at during our Bible Study tonight. For some reason they seemed so contemporary. While there were originally addressed to the people of Judah thousands of years ago, they still reflect an attitude that is all to common today.

So many people who go by the name of Christian say things that are so similar. They do not want to hear about what is right and wrong. They don't want to hear about repentance and faith. They certainly don't want to be reminded of sin or suffering or death. When they hear these things they say, "I have enough troubles, I don't need to hear this. Give me something positive and uplifting. Give me something that will make me feel good." The words may not be the same, but the attitude certainly is. And, when they are directed to the cross of Jesus each week, they don't even find that great, amazing, utterly wonderful grace of God uplifting either.

Oh how we have forgotten the three times holy God who, even when we were enemies deserving nothing but eternal destruction, sent his own Son to suffer the punishment for sin, so all who put their trust in him would be accepted, forgiven, adopted, made into God's beloved people, freed from the domination of sin, and joined to Christ. None of this because a person renovates their life, but all as a gift of the undeserved favor of God. And, in all of this God still remained perfectly just, and perfectly merciful.

How can it be that we have become so satisfied with the sawdust of the world, and are no longer hungry for the solid meat from God?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

False Prophets/Teachers

With all the discussion in the Blog-o-sphere about Joel Osteen and the message he proclaims, I decided to post the following comment I made at another blog:

Jeremy, you certainly have provided much thought for discussion. However, when you mention Matthew 7:15-20 several things concern me. The text taken from the ESV, simply because that was handy, reads, “”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Notice first of all the context, Jesus is giving a warning against false prophets or teachers. The first part of his warning points out that they will not be easily recognizable. They will look sincere and authentic. I cannot think of one major heretic in the history of the church that did not think they were correct. Many of them were even very likable, appealing people all of who claimed they were Christians. Yet, what they taught was not correct, it was a destructive heresy, and in teaching it they denied the very one who they claim bought them.

Joel Osteen does come across as a very nice, personable. However, that does not say anything about how true what he preaches is.

The next thing Jesus points out is that although these false prophets may look like sheep, they will be known by their fruits. In doing this he uses several illustrations to carry home his point that they way to discern true prophets or teachers from false is their fruit.

The question this raises is, what are the fruits in mind here. Too often that question is not asked. Instead we simply assume that what Jesus is talking about is how they live. That their lifestyle will show whether they are true or false teachers. If that is what Jesus is primarily looking to, we have to realize something, it may take years or even decades to be able to say one way or another with many people who are false teachers. Outside they look very good. May prominent false teacher throughout the history of the church have lived outwardly exemplary lives. Yes, in some cases today and in the past false teachers have shown the lie of their professed faith in Christ through lifestyles that are clearly opposed to Christ, but more often than not this took quite a bit of time to show itself. During that time, many people were led astray.

However, I think if one considers for a while about what the fruit of a teacher is, it starts to become clear that the primary fruit of a teacher is their teaching. Thus, a false teacher will be known by their teaching. That means all teaching must be tested by the Scriptures as to its faithfulness to that revealed word of God. Based on that, I would say that Joel Osteen’s gospel is not the gospel at all. It neglects what Paul said was of first importance (1 Cor. 15:1-10) and in its place tells people that they are accepted by God by doing their best. That is a false gospel and the Bible is clear on the result of that for those who preach another gospel and do not repent of it (Gal 1:8-9).

I do not write this with any pleasure or superiority. It is a terrible thing to consider the end for those who preach another gospel. The glorious part of all this is that Joel can still repent. He can still turn to the one who died for our sins, the one who stood as a propitiation so that God could be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus Christ. That is what changed everything for me, and I pray it will change everything for Joel Osteen as well.

Yes, I agree there are many Christians who claim to be believers but deny it in how they live, but we are not speaking about Christians in general, we are speaking about a person who claims to be a Christian teacher. He, I and all who are teachers will be called to account for what we have taught. If it is not the one and only gospel revealed in the Scriptures, then all that awaits is the anathema of God. (I write this with tears in my eyes.)

May God grant grace that we more and more will know and proclaim the gospel in word and deed.

Stupid Mindless Ratings

Today I was reminded of the web-page that will give a rating for a blog or web-page based on various words that are found in it. What I find interesting is that various innocuous words in context, your rating will quite quickly go from G to PG to NC-17 to R. For example one of the words flagged from my wife's blog was 'Dick' which in context referred to her uncle Dick who is sick in hospital. But that mention of Dick was misinterpreted to be a euphemism for a certain part of the male human anatomy. One can only imagine what the rating of a page with an abundance of quotes from the Dick and Jane early learning books would result in. The repeated, "See Dick run.
Run Dick, run" would certainly make a mindless word based scan quite useless.

This is not to mention that apparently the word "missionary" is also flagged. I don't know what they have against a missionary, although I guess the word missionary might refer to more than just a missionary who goes somewhere to proclaim something or to something quite unrelated.

If I start speaking about death or dying, even though death is all around us, even though I may simply be speaking of my grief over the death of my dog, all of a sudden my rating will go to R because I use the word death.

Needless to say, it is obvious that such a rating tool as this is utterly useless. It pains me to say, that there are probably people who actually depend on it. And if they saw my current rating after this post, they would want to avoid this site like the plague

Friday, October 12, 2007

Open Office, Firefox, IE Won't Print

Here is my problem. Until two days ago everything worked. I have not changed anything that I know of, but suddenly OpenOffice, Firefox, and IE won't print to my network printer. In fact, it seems they will not even get to the point of sending the job to the XP print-spooler.

What happens is the following. I will select print, and the requester come up with the various options and the network printer as the default. I click the print button, and the small window that indicates it is processing the print job comes up, but then for all three of these, the program freezes up. No job shows up in the printer window. To unfreeze them I have to restart the XP print spooler on that machine. Then they will error out. I don't know if they would do so if left, because after 5 minutes I figured I had waited long enough.

I have not yet tested this with my inkjet that I can plug right into my laptop because It is currently not accessable to me. Nor have I tired to directly connect the network laser printer to my laptop to see if it would print that way.

However, I have tried several other things that would print. Click 'n Design (my CD label printing software) works fine. A Disney program that prints out Winnie the Pooh stuff for my boy works fine. And a print test works fine.

My setup is a XP Home laptop connected through a wireless router (although while on my desk it is wired to the router) to the other machine with the printer which is a linux box running Samba and CUPS. Other machines on the network seem to print fine (all Windows 2000 boxes), but various programs on this one don't.

I have tried re-installing the programs. I wanted to re-install the printer, but it will not let me delete it.

If anyone has suggestions as to how to get this working without reinstalling XP, I would appreciate it as I will have to print up my sermons for Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Voted Today

Despite feeling like something that the dog dragged in, I went and voted today in the Ontario provincial election. I don't know how many people who are eligible to vote in this Ontario election actually read this blog, but if you are, get out and vote today. It takes only a few minutes of your time, and it is an important part of how our province runs. I would hazard a guess that if more of those eligible to vote actually did vote, the various parties would feel much more accountable. Also, this year you have the opportunity to vote on a referendum to switch how the voting system functions to go from first past the post, our current system that will yield a majority government even with only 35-40 percent of the overall vote, or the Mixed Member Proportional system, that would bring a more accurate reflection of the actual votes cast into the provincial parliament.

Go and vote.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October Book Giveaway Contest

Tim Challies is at it again. Giving away good book. Click the banner below to enter.

October Giveaway