Archive for October, 2008

Do so now.

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Our pastor, Sam Gage, wrote this overview passage and then read it in two parts during this week’s morning service:

Sadly, modern Christians are absolutely clueless about a significant period of time called the Reformation. If you ask most Evangelical Christians today whether they were Catholic or Protestant, they would know just how to answer the question and say without much thought, Protestant. Although they would know that they weren’t Catholic, they would not be able to give a good answer as to what it means to be Protestant. “So, what is it that you are protesting?’ you might ask them. The brave might respond, “the Catholic church.” It would become painfully obvious that these protesting “soldiers” were unaware of why they were in battle and unsure of whom the enemy really was. The term Reformation is the historical name given to a period of time beginning in the sixteenth century where a cry went forth in Western Europe. All agree that the starting gun of the Reformation was Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1715. The second large body of commotion started in Switzerland by John Calvin in Geneva. The later large movement in Reformation centered not on an individual, but rather a group called the Anabaptists. Lastly, a fourth major movement in the Reformation was the counter attack mounted by the Catholic Church in response to the success of the Reformers. These events encompass a period of roughly two and a half centuries during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. The reformers unanimously circled their wagons around 5 truths:

  • Sola Scriptura
  • Solus Christus
  • Sola Gratia
  • Soli Deo Gloria
  • Sola Fide

Perhaps no other Sola caused as much turmoil during the Reformation as Sola Fide. It was the very doctrine that prompted Martin Luther in his 95 theses to challenge the Catholic position of indulgences. He had heard a sermon preached by a Catholic clergy which appalled him by its crude theology and materialism. Upon returning home, he drafted the theses and posted them October 31, 1517 on the church door at Wittenberg. Subsequently, the Catholic Church condemned Luther’s writing and wrote an order to have his worked burned. In response, some followers of Luther burned the order. Luther became a prolific writer and composed a number of works that refuted not only indulgences but established the reformational position of Sola Fide.

The Catholic position in opposition to Luther’s Sola Fide was that the grace of God was poured into us and made us able to do good works that make us fit for salvation. It was taught that only by our will cooperating with grace and producing good works was the sinner able to merit salvation. Justification to the Catholic mind was then a process, not an event by declaration.

In evaluating the Scriptures teaching on Sola Fide, we see that the righteousness that the justified sinner stands in is not the works which by performing he has merited grace. Rather we see that the only efficacious righteousness that will save us is being clothed with the righteousness of another—the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

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Forty-thousand people per week cram into the former Compaq Center in Houston to play church with Joel and Victoria Osteen and all of America is exposed to their weekly TV broadcasts. What is preached from that place called the prosperity Gospel: if you do pray and do good things, God is going to reward you, or Christian Karma if you prefer. Millions have been suckered by the pretty faces.

Hooray to Newsweek for a great mini-editorial (short read) about Victoria Osteen What’s God Got to Do With It?

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…in that we can create and then in turn appreciate creations. This is not high art but it is fun art.

I am so thoroughly unartistic, but so glad to be able to witness when creativity and talent are pieced together by someone with a whole lot of free time on their hands.

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St. Crispan’s Day Speech from Henry V (Shakespeare). St. Crispan’s Day is October 25th.

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Matt Whitling says that because of the general disinterest in the topic and the advent of technology, “this is becoming an increasingly easy question to answer.” He states that classical, Christian schools should continue to work hard on handwriting and maintain “an attentiveness to aesthetics that is not anywhere else.” We should “continue to devote time to teaching [our] kids to create beautiful words as they are young and learning to write” so that we can make a key point of distinction from the world by the example of our “neat, clean and graceful handwriting.”

[from Grammar School Christian Worldview lecture from ACCS 2008 conference]

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Maybe the best video I’ve posted.

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Here is an overview of how the U.S. elects its Presidents.

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Watch Your Step

Yes, it’s a horrible picture. Sorry.

On Monday Chrissy went to the trail to walk/run like she does several times a week and just missed stepping on a small snake. That was a little creepy for her Northern girl heart, but she was tough and kept on plodding. After several minutes she came upon a very large snake that she said was bigger around than her arm. That really freaked her out, and she decided to turn herself around and head back at a faster pace. In her haste, she came up very fast on a snake all coiled up and standing up, showing fangs and ready to strike.

I had sent her out the door with pepper spray, but she had left it in the van. She ultimately navigated around it and it left her queasy for the rest of the day. But she is a trooper and got right back out there on Wednesday (and saw another small one).

Moving to TN has been an adventure in many ways. All summer I have looked for snakes everywhere I go. I’ve only seen one dead one on that trail, and almost every time I walk out of my house I’m thinking about them being around (one night a teenage girl knocked on our door after dark and told us that she had just seen a large snake in our driveway). I took some consolation when I read this this week.

There are 50,000 deaths worldwide from venomous snakebites reported each year. Of those, only 12-15 are in the United States, and within Tennessee, only 4 deaths have been reported since 1960. The venomous snakes of Tennessee are not as lethal as the snakes of states, such as: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

It also said that the fall and spring are more active during the daylight hours. We’ll watch our step.

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One plate of chicken fried bacon strips at a time:

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Since it isn’t on their website yet, I’m posting their full email here. This is the latest in the story of Jonathan and Sarah Farmer’s infant Zoe:

In the last few days, God has continued to show His kindness to us in special ways. On Friday, the evening after Zoe’s surgery, we asked that you pray for her bowels to wake up and that she would start eating quickly. By Sunday morning, Zoe had her first poopy diaper! After a day of drinking pedialyte (something like Gatorade for newborns), the doctors said she was ready to start on milk Monday morning. Throughout the day, she continued to increase her milk intake and showed signs of good recovery from surgery. As the doctors did their normal rounds on Tuesday morning, they shared some very unexpected, but sweet news–Zoe was ready to go home! Praise the Lord! Her recovery from surgery was much faster than anticipated, she was eating very well, and her intestines appeared to be fully awake. After a long discharge process, the new and improved Farmer family has arrived back in Greenville!
Now that we are home, we face a whole new set of challenges, but our requests are much the same as before.
1. Pray that Zoe will continue to eat well and grow stronger for her upcoming heart surgery (we go back to MUSC January 12 for a preliminary heart catherization).
2. Pray that we will have wisdom in monitoring her day-to-day needs in relation to her heart.
3. Pray that we would not fear the unknown or the future. That we would believe that God is with us, that He provides for us, and gives us all good things.
While the road ahead for Zoe will be quite an adventurous one, with checkups and heart procedures and surgeries marking the calendar over the next 3 years, we continue to seek to trust God. He has shown Himself strong in the past and we are confident He will continue to demonstrate His love toward us.
We give thanks to God for your continued prayers on our behalf.

Jonathan & Sarah Farmer
knowing Him and making Him known

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Karsten is using Saxon Math 2 text this year in our one year of homeschooling. Chrissy, Kar and I all really like it. John Saxon says that:

“Mathematics is not difficult. Mathematics is just different, and time is the elixir that turns things different into things familiar.”

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Check out this hilarious church spat.

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God was so good to lead me to eBay’s website in January 1999. It has made my family thousands and thousands of dollars over the years and led me to learn to trust Him more and more through the use of it. We have seen wonderful things and have been thrilled by the way He provides our daily bread through those means.

Though I have dozens of stories, I’ll just mention briefly how once my family and I were in SC waiting for Danielle to get out of graduation practice at BJU. While I was pacing the sidewalk with a fussy baby, I noticed a book in a trash can. I took it out, took it home to MI and sold it on eBay for more than $70. Perhaps I should list some other stories here sometime.

I have been a PowerSeller, and even have been trained to teach a eBay University class (and have taught it a couple of times at teacher’s conventions) and have felt the adrenaline of the final moments of a surprise item during a bidding war.

Practically, I haven’t really used eBay very much since my biggest client (I was a listing agent, too) and I parted last fall. I’ve made occasional sales and occassional purchases, but I don’t depend on it like I used to because it’s a different market now and it needs to be done differently than how I started doing it. I never think of it first anymore when I need to make a purchase. Now it’s really becoming a place for the big boy sellers, which is not on my agenda of things to do.

Today I came across this article. eBay still has a place, but things will get harder and harder when the small guys are forced out.

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St. Francis of Assisi:

“Preach the Gospel always; and if necessary, use words.”

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Netflix sent me an email coupon that I can forward to whoever wants to try out their service four weeks for free. That’s twice as long as their normal free offer. Let me know if you would like one. It expires at the end of the month.

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Check out another cool photoessay of photos taken this month from around the world.

I’ve always been intrigued by cranberry bogs when in Mass. Here is a harvest taking place in Tomah, WI just a few miles down the road from my sister and brother-in-law.

Grandfather Mtn. in NC

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Geometry Game

I played twice. My average error was 4.00 the second time.

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Every time I’ve been to New Haven, CT (four times, I think) to do a little drive around Yale, it’s been too late in the day or too Saturdayish to go to Yale Library’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to sit in a quiet spot and devour a book or page handled and handwritten by Jonathan Edwards.

Now they’ve brought some of those images to us online. We miss the smell of the building like this, but there are some pretty amazing things here. Here is what they have so far.

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Richard Steele:

“Read and think; read and pray; then live by His grace.”

HT: George Grant

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They were hilarious at dinner last night.

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John Piper on why the book of Job exists:

“Virtually everyone will experience a bitter calamity sooner or later. And you can mark this ahead of time: it will almost certainly seem absurd and meaningless and undeserved when it comes.

You may be shaving and singing a hymn when you feel the lump on your neck. You may be buying supper for your family at the grocery store when all of a sudden you realize your two-year-old is gone.

It will seem very absurd, and you will cry out, “Why?” a hundred times before the cloud passes over. Most of our grief and pain does not come as a clear punishment for sins. Most of it comes out of nowhere and baffles our sense of justice.

That’s why the book of Job is so relevant. Job’s suffering seems to come out of nowhere and have no connection to his character. His story is recorded for us so that we will have some help in living through these calamities—and not just help to keep a stiff upper lip but to bow reverently and trustingly before the sovereign goodness of God.”

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God Is Our Rock

God is showing himself strong to the Farmers and using Zoe to show Himself to them. Here is an update on her progress.

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Samuel Johnson…

“When one knows one is going to hanged, it concentrates the mind wonderfully.”

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Simple and Profound

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James 3 Applied

from Desiring God Ministries

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Get Going

Abraham Piper

If the work you produce is the kind that people only care about if they know you, don’t be discouraged—be knowable.”

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Winston Churchill:

“If you are not a conservative before the age of 40, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative after the age of 40, you have no brain.”

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