Archive for May, 2006

karupcloseChrissy and I have not been planning on addressing the issue of salvation with our sons in their early years.  When a child is taught to be obedient, it would be easy for a parent to talk his child into the act of saying a prayer of salvation before the child has a heart tender to his need or before his ability to understand the issues.

On Memorial Day afternoon, while Karsten and Haddon and I were heading home from the hardware store, Kartsen asked, “Can we talk about God?”  I remember hesitating because I was listening to the first Tiger’s game I had listened to since high school.  But I turned the radio off and just started talking…started listing attributes of God:  God is glorious and splendid, radiant, merciful, omnipotent, wise, loving, gracious, magnanimous, holy, omnipresent, greatest of Captains, etc.  It might seem like a hard list for a little boy who just turned 4 this month, but 1) we have high expectations of him and don’t try to dumb him down, 2) Karsten is really good about asking us to explain when he doesn’t understand, 3) he might not have understood every term, but he did get the gist that I was very impressed with God and thought Him incomparable above all others and 4) I don’t think I actually used the word magnanimous, but I did think it.

When I finished my long list, it was quiet in the car.  He may have been letting it sink in.  After a little while I asked him if he had any questions.  He started asking questions about hell and what was there.  He asked how he could keep from going there.  I tried to answer everything factually and not to bring my “you need to do this” tone into the conversation.  There were a lot of long, quiet pauses between topics before I finally heard these words from the back seat…”I want God to save me from my sin.”

When we got home, there was one of the most tender and precious little prayers put forth from his little mouth as he and I and were on our knees in his bedroom.  I think God probably saved Karsten in the car, and I am so thankful to Him for fulfilling His promises of preserving faith as my son became my brother.

God help Chrissy and me to lead Karsten gently and in faith toward his eventual meeting with his God.

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Never known to coddle words, Theodore Roosevelt had this to say about those who called themselves Irish-American or African-American or similar descriptors…

"A hyphenated American in not an American at all…  There is no such thing as a hyphenated American.  The only man who is a good American is a man who is an American and nothing else."

Read the context of TR's speech.

Here's what John Wayne had to say on the same topic (authority that he is).

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Yesterday and today "I" am putting a new roof on the Boomershine homestead (built 1870).  Some of the shakes up there may have been there since the very beginning (or so it appears).  We are starting to cover everything back up again, and I didn't find one thing in the rafters that could be sold on eBay.  Ergh.

For a very limited time (perhaps until Friday afternoon), you can purchase single shakes from the soon-to-be (God-willing) former Boomershine Homestead for a mere $15 per shake.  This price includes Priority shipping, but must be taken advantage of before the disposal company comes for their 10 yard dumpster.  Boomershine Shakes make great Christian History Awareness presents.

Late last night I did do some work on my Resources page.  It's probably going to be a work in progress for some time, but I did add quite a bit yesterday.  Check it out, and I would be happy to take recommendations for things to add (I don't need any ideas about boring sites though).

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Yesterday, I didn't hear the snap, but I felt it.  Fortunately it wasn't me.  Unfortunately, it was Karsten (4 years old).  In a hurried moment, when he was very sad and wanted to be carried, I picked him up by his little hands.  I've done it lots of times before, but this time I felt something happen in his little left hand.

For nearly the next 10 minutes, he was unconsoleable.  I felt horrible and made preparations for someone to do my duties at the evening service so we could go to the ER.  Karsten didn't move his left hand.  He held it tenderly with his right hand.  He made screams at the slightest jostle that were terrribly out his character, and we knew something was really wrong.

While everyone was loaded in the car, and I was carrying him chair-style out to the car (to his much grief), we stopped to pray on the porch.  I quickly prayed that he would be comfortable again soon and that God would show him grace.

We turned and went to car where I carefully put Karsten into Chrissy's lap…at which point he reached out and gave Chrissy a hug with both hands.  From that point on, he admits that it stopped hurting, and he started using it again.  At the end of the church service, I found him in his classroom crawling.

There are a lot of things this could have been.  It could have been an overreaction on my part, but generally I am too low key.  But if it were a healing directly and instantly from God, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my greatfulness at His greatness and my amazement at His provisions.

 "I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.  Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he…"  Psalm 135:5-6a

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I wish I had time today to make a better review, but I just finished this biography of William Bradford that I just loved. 

The last two Aprils I have led the senior trip through Massachusetts and stopped at Plimoth Planation.  It's my favorite stop in the whole two weeks.  Before I got home this year, I ordered this book to be waiting for me.  I finished it yesterday, and it stirred me and helped me understand Bradford much more fully.

I commend it to the history buffs in the readership, but especially to those men in full-time ministry.  Bradford was a wise and careful and godly man.  This book is intended for teen readers (it's part of a Young Readers Series), but adults will not be offended by it.  While it doesn't probe Bradford's theology very far, it gives a fantastic beginning to end history of the man, and it had all the essentials that I was needing.

I'm thankful that I found it.  Here's where you can find it.

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Quote of the Day

Henry Smith on the rewards of humility…

"As Christ ceased not to be a King because He was like a servant, nor to be a lion because He was like a lamb, nor to be God because He was made man, nor to be a judge because He was judged; so a man doth not lose his honour by humility, but he shall be honoured for his humility."

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Pastor Dave Mallinak of Ogden, UT runs one of the only fundamental, classical schools in the world (we would love to know of more).  He runs the Sharper Irony blog and has this to say about the topic of rhetoric in a recent post (copied with permission)…

Is Rhetoric Christian?

Should Christians be studying rhetoric? After all, most of the books about rhetoric were written by idolatrous pagans, like Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintillian. Why would we study such men? Shouldn’t we just be reading our Bibles? Is the Bible not good enough for us?

This is a legitimate question, and deserves consideration. If we can’t give a biblical defense, then we shouldn’t do it, no matter how scholarly or noble it sounds. We live by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth, and we must submit to the authority of Scripture in everything. So, we should be asking whether we should study rhetoric or not. Should we follow the advice of pagans in our approach to discourse? Is rhetoric Christian or pagan?

First, we should note that not all rhetoric is Christian. In fact, much of the rhetoric of our day is very pagan. That includes much of the rhetoric of modern Christianity, which amounts to nothing more than relativistic drivel. The modern Christian should stop and listen to himself talk from time to time. Does he find himself saying things like, “who’s to say that we are right and they are wrong?” Does he chafe at the “absolutism” of Christianity? Does he assume neutrality when he deals with the world and seeks to persuade men of Christ? Then he has joined up with the pagans in his use of rhetoric.

Rhetoric, you see, is inescapable. All men use rhetoric. The question is not whether you should use rhetoric, but rather, how should we use rhetoric. Should it be Christian or should it be pagan? But we have no choice about whether or not we will use rhetoric. Imagine someone arguing that we shouldn’t use rhetoric. How would he explain it? How would he persuade us? Would he avoid using rhetoric in his arguments? All men use rhetoric. The rhetoric we use must be Christian. And in order for our rhetoric to be Christian, in order to speak like Christians, we must first think like Christians, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.

When did rhetoric begin? Did Aristotle or Socrates or the Sophists “invent” rhetoric? They discovered it, they observed it, they structured it, they organized it, but they did not invent it. Rhetoric has been around since the foundations of the world. Adam spoke artfully, even poetically, when God brought him Eve and he said, This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.

But Adam did not invent Rhetoric either. God created the world with rhetoric. We see the power of words in the story of Creation. God spoke, and it was done. He spoke the universe into existence. He spoke and the flowers appeared. He spoke and the mountains were fashioned. He spoke and birds flew, fish swam, and stars sang. But Creation is not the beginning of rhetoric.

Before God formed the earth, in eternity past, the Godhead took counsel together. Before time began, God decreed all that would happen, all that would be. Long before Creation, there was rhetoric.

Is rhetoric Christian? God used rhetoric, uses rhetoric, and demands that we his people use rhetoric. The gift of speech must not be taken lightly. God gave us speech, and promised to empower it. The preaching of the cross is the power of God to us that are saved. It pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. How shall they hear without a preacher? God manifests his word through preaching. And God sends us to persuade men.

For rhetoric to be Christian, Christians must reclaim it. It is theirs by divine right. Christians must study it, learn it, subdue it and have dominion over it, to the glory of God. When we learn to submit our words to the Lord, and when we seek his glory in everything, including our speech, then rhetoric can once again be truly Christian. Rhetoric must be to the glory of God.

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