Friday, February 29, 2008

He Is Almost Potty Trained

I was reminded today of how close to being potty trained Justin is. He was busy playing, but suddenly he stopped, pulled down his pants and went to the potty all on his own. I know it is a strange thing to blog about, but I am so happy that he did that rather than poop in his pants.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ER on January 17th 2008

Update: Apparently the clip of this interaction is now on Youtube (see below)

I don't usually watch ER (not like Heros), but I did watch it last night. I did watch it last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. No, they didn't get rid of the gratuitous sex. Instead, what I was amazing and surprised in a good way about was a section of dialog between the so called "chaplain" and an older patient who was a doctor in the prison who would administer lethal injections to those sentenced to death.

He ended up in the ER because he had jumped into the frozen lake to save a boy who fell in. As the show continued we find out that the reason he did this was because he had administered the lethal injection that killed the boys father only to find out later that the police officer who testified at his trial lied and the boys father was not guilty. He was racked by remorse and wanted forgiveness because he was dying of cancer. So Pratt brings in the relatively new character who is the hospital chaplain, Julia.

Julia is one of those make up your religion from a little of this and a little of that. Here is the dialog of her interaction with this man seeking to have his sins and guilt dealt with:

Man: (Recounts how when he first administered the lethal injection it did not work, and the family considered it a sign from God of innocence. Instead of listening he administered a second injection which kill the man in 90 seconds) Seven months later a police officer came forward. The boy was framed for the murder. He didn't do it.

Julia: (Look at him with sad eyes) You couldn't have known that.

Man: God tried to stop me from killing and innocent man and I ignored the sign. How can I even hope for forgiveness?

Julia: I think sometimes it's easier to feel guilty than forgiven.

Man: (Looks in confusion) Which means what?

Julia: That maybe your guilt over these deaths has become your reason for living. Maybe you need a new reason to go on. (Pratt enters in background)

Man: I..I..I don't want to go on. Can't you see I'm old. I have cancer. I've had enough. The only thing that is holding me back is that I am afraid. I'm afraid of what comes next.

Julia: What do you think that is?

Man: (Looking more surprised) You tell me. Is atonement even possible? What does God want from me?

Julia: I think it's up to each one of us to interpret what God wants.

Man: (Flabbergasted) So people can do anything? They can rape, murder they can steal all in the name of God and it's ok?

Julia: No! That's not what I'm saying.

Man: (Agitated interrupts) What are you saying? Because all I'm hearing is some New Age, God is love, one size fits all crap.

Pratt: Hey Dr. Truman.

Man: No! I don't have time for this now!

Julia: Greg, it's ok. I understand . . .

Man: (Interrupts angry) No you don't understand. You don't understand! How could you possibly say that. Now you listen to me. I want a real chaplain who believes in a real God and a real hell.

Julia: I hear that you're frustrated, but you need to ask yourself . . .

Man: (Interrupts again) No I don't need to ask myself. I need answers, and all your questions and your uncertainty are only making things worse.

Julia: I . . I know you're upset . . .

Man: God, I need someone who will look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness because I am running out of time.

Julia: I'm trying to help.

Man: Well don't! Get out! Get out! Get out!

(Julia leaves upset)

What amazed me is how a show like ER. A show that is so in the dark on the things of God, would have even one writer who would write such dialog. In the end the conclusion of this situation was not very satisfactory, but it does show that this user friendly gospel light that is so prevalent today will not satisfy. What a man like the one portrayed in this episode of ER needed to hear was the gospel. Is there hope of forgiveness for someone like him? Is their atonement? Yes! In Jesus, God's own Son who died for him. He thought the only one he had put to death that was innocent was that young man. But the only innocent to ever die is Jesus and he did so for sin of people like me and like him.


At last this is hitting the blogosphere. It probably had to wait until the clip showed up on YouTube as most people will not type out the dialog as I did.

Here is the clip:

Dan Phillips posted on this today (2/26/2008) over at Pyromaniacs.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Justin's Current Favorite Story

Our boy loves it when we read him or tell him stories. His current favorite is one his mother made up called Tiger Soup that traces the misadventures of Little Cat who gets into lots of trouble. If you have a little one (or little ones), see if they like it. I think it is a pretty good children's story.

Things That Make You Go Hummm.

I read the following at the National Post. Check it out there or read it here. All I can say is it is something that makes a person think. HT: ...and his ministers a flame of fire

This story can be found at

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age

Lorne Gunter,
National Post

Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American
cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early
February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January
"was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the
normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized
cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power
lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past
two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home
buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received
70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set
back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last
fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those
records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological
and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa,
says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only
recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at
this time last year.

OK, so one winter does not a climate make.
It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we
have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if
environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking
about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin
shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game
to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are
being a tad premature.

And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at
Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of
biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent
climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt
cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water
to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie
The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right
in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather
wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics.
Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's
effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by
over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the
40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it
again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the
north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

Last month, Oleg
Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences,
shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing
that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin
advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone.
Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a
giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a
long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick
up soon.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered
the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850.
Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war
were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's
way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Turk Encouraged Me :)

Over at Frank Turk's blog he posted this and it encouraged me to look for the Iron Man movie trailer. Well here it is.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

German Shepherd Dog

Take this test!
No bones, about it, you're a loyal, hard-working German Shepherd. Dedicated and always low-maintenance, people flock to you — they know they can count on you to get any job done, and done well. That focus and attention to detail spans from your personal to your professional life, too. Although you can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the projects you tackle, you still manage to keep cool and laid-back in social situations. You get a kick out of the little things and thrive when you're constantly busy and on-the-go. Easygoing and unpretentious, you don't need constant pampering and reassurance. A genuine, carefree pup, you're a true-blue friend, employee, and partner. Woof!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Looking Forward Or Back

Commentaries can be helpful, but at other times they only seem to raise questions that make things seem less clear (not to mention they can tend toward getting into ruts of interpretation and not notice other things that are there simply because the previous commentators did not focus on them as Dan Phillips was lamenting over a Pyromaniacs.)

My general approach to a text I will be preaching on is to first of all deal with the text, its immediate context and it overall context in the scriptures. I read it, pray about it, look at the original languages and the like repeatedly. Then I turn to commentaries. The problem is sometimes they don't answer a question that I have of the text on which I want additional input from godly men through their commentaries. Other times, they point out things that I had not thought of.

This coming Sunday evening I will be preaching on 1 John 2:7-8 (I may go further but from my study there is enough there for one sermon):

7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2:7-8 (ESV)

As with many people who have read this book of the Bible and the gospel according to John over many times in my life, my first thought when I read this is that it is referring to Jesus teaching in John 13 in his Upper Room discourse:

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:31-35 (ESV)

Thus, the first thing that comes to mind is the new commandment is the old commandment to love on another. This is supported by the fact that the next thing John wrote about in his first letter was a call to mutual love between believers. Most of us make that assumption without actually considering it.

However, reading the commentaries I found that a few of them (Matthew Henry, Robert S. Candlish and Albert Barnes) who ask the question if he is looking forward to the command of love that Christ gave which John would deal with next, or whether John was looking back at what he has just wrote and was affirming that none of this was new, but was know by those he was writing to from the beginning when they received Christ.

I had never thought of even asking that question. The points for this looking back make sense. John writes and a clear style and it would seem more likely that he was dealing with something he had already wrote rather that something he was about to speak of, especially since he does not mention love at all until the following verses. The reference to the beginning (see 1 John 1:1 and John 1:1ff) and the mention of the true light already shining all fall into the argument why this is looking back. The point of looking back is that what John had just written about could have been under attack by the false teachers who left the church as a 'new' or 'novel' teaching, and because of it strong call to a life transformed by grace.

On the other hand looking forward fits nicely with John 13 and the coming call to love.

So what do those who read this blog think? Is John looking back or forward with these verses and why?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Are You Sure You Know Jesus? -- 1 John 2:3-6

In a world where many people who call themselves Christians live lives that look no different from those who do not, it raises the question of who is it who really knows Jesus? Who is it that really knows God? This sermon from our evening service of February 3rd, 2008 looks at how that question was answered in 1 John 2:3-6

Friday, February 01, 2008

Stopping Time -- Sort Of

Good Question

While I was stuck in my sermon preparation I took a look at a blog I very much enjoy here. He quoted a good question from Mark Dever (the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church) found in the latest 9Marks report card. The question was a good one, so I will reproduce it here as well.

“I want you to try a thought exercise. Suppose a business school class on non-profit organizations assigned its students the task of building a successful church. And assume all the students are non-Christians. Could they succeed?

Sure they could! With the right poll-tested methods, just about anyone can dreaw a crowd. If ambience sells coffee, why not use it to sell Jesus? The church might even win a “Most Innovative!” award.

Yet think about this: what does it say about God if we need to market his glory and gospel with the same tools we use to sell toothpaste and laundry detergent? Is he really that desperate?

God is so much more glorious. He has declared a mighty gospel and then backed up his words by changing a group of people. There’s the church’s appeal: The wisdom of God. The Might of God. The love of God. On display in the lives of a changed people for all the world to see!

Is your church relying on natural appeal or supernatural? Whose glory does it display?”

From A Formless Void God Creates A Very Good Creation

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Gen 1:2-31 (ESV)

I realized it has been a while since I posted on my daily Bible reading. Part of that was getting busy with other things, but another part was working my way through the rest of Chapter 1 of Genesis. As I considered what the Bible says here, I realized more and more how completely unacceptable this is to the vast majority of people today. They mock anyone who would hold to a six day creation because they say, "It took millions of years for the earth to evolve, and we have the fossil evidence to prove it." I must admit I have not read extensively in this area, especially not recently, however, it strikes me that the fossil evidence they present is far from being the iron tight evidence that many people present it as. There are others who are much more capable of dealing with those areas than I am.

Yet, even without the so called evidence, I think the objection actually goes deeper. Because what the creation account teaches first of all is that God made everything. There is not one thing that exists in the whole of the creation that was not created by him. That means that everything, including each of us, belongs to God. Just as when you make something, it is yours. That is a thought that the mind that rejects God does not want to hear, because that means they are accountable to God. It means that they cannot simply do whatever they want regardless of what God says and expect to get away with it forever. For God as the one who created everything, is himself outside of the bounds of this universe. He is not bound by time or space, and thus, there is no escape from him by us as we are bound by this universe.

Having said that, there is for me as a believer in Jesus Christ, a wonderful truth found here as well. For, out of the formless void, God created this universe. As each day passed in the creation process, as each step was taken in that process, God made the the pronouncement that what he had created was good. Then on the final day of creation, upon creating humankind in the image and likeness of God, we read, "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." From a formless void to a good creation. A creation that even now, while it is subject to frustration (Romans 8:20), reflects that goodness that was created with.

Since God did that, how much more can he take the lives of people that have been deformed by sin, lives that are void of hope whether the person realizes it or not, and bring form and fullness to them in his Son Jesus Christ.

We don't live in that very good creation any longer. It has been marred by our sin, by our disobedience, by our rebellion against God. That same rebellion that wants to reject that he is the one who created us. Yet, it still testifies to God. It still points out that all is not as it should be, and in doing that it cries out for someone to fix what is wrong. The only one who can fix what is really wrong, is Jesus Christ. Through him, we find elsewhere in the Bible, all things were made, and he can and will being creation again to where all things will be very good.