Archive for October, 2010

I bookmarked this site for her this week:

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When I die, I want you to do to me what they did to Jeremy Bentham. (Scroll down to the Auto-Icon section)

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Happy 7th Birthday, Haddon

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Another Happy Day

Having 5 kids means the joys of celebrating 7 birthdays in our house each year. Today is the birthday of our second born, and he is celebrating his 7th birthday. Haddon Elliot is a sweet joy in our home, and we are thankful for these precious years to know him, love him, learn from him, bandage him, and rear Him to obey and serve God.

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“…it has become abundantly clear in the second half of the twentieth century that Western Man has decided to abolish himself. Having wearied of the struggle to be himself,he has created his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, his own vulnerability out of his own strength; himself blowing the trumpet that brings the walls of his own city tumbling down, and, in a process of auto-genocide, convincing himself that he is too numerous, and labouring accordingly with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer in order to be an easier prey for his enemies; until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary, battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.”

Malcolm Muggeridge, Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith (p. 16)

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This is a 20 minute long video, and most of you won’t watch it all, but know that it includes…

  1. Mike Rowe glorying in the gift of hard work, but not knowing who get’s the acclaim and for Whom the work is worked for.
  2. An example of humility in learning, in the form of a changed opinion and a willingness to change it.
  3. More classical knowledge than you would expect from the host of a show called Dirty Jobs.
  4. Plain talk about animal husbandry, including the necessary lingo.
  5. An exceptionally cringe-worthy anecdote behind the whole storyline.
  6. A little bit of crassness, which comes with Mike Rowe. I know you know how to get past it, but it’s there (and, oh! how dizzy the TBAP hit counters get when a bit of crassness is allowed admittance).

It’s disgusting and inspiring simultaneously.

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…or also, “What to Do With A Gigaton of Raspberry Syrup”

Frazil Ice: The Fascinating Forest Hazard

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What a stunning end to rule-making!

“And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order
was to give room for good things to run wild.”

G.K. Chesterton

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The doctrine of the providence of God leaves no room for fate, blind or otherwise. God is not blind; neither is He capricious. For Him there are no accidents. With God there are no cases of chance events.

Read Train Wreck, R.C. Sproul

HT: Challies

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Thinking about the matter gives me a headache.

—Thinking about the matter takes longer than forty-five (45) seconds.

—Thinking about the matter is simple enough, and takes less than forty-five (45) seconds, but, when combined with all the other e-mails in my in-box, it creates a synergy of matterdom, exacerbating the headaches mentioned at the beginning of this list.

This whole article from the New Yorker was fun, especially the haiku.

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Young mother, it seems like everyone wants something from you. And you’re probably already giving way more than you ever thought you could give. But even with all your giving, you might struggle with guilt—lingering, joy-drenching, energy-sapping guilt—that you should be doing more, giving more, accomplishing more.

Read the rest of Missional Mothering by Jami Ortlund.

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Want to get rid of those uninteresting, offensive, repetitive, misleading, irrelevant, ads on FaceBook…and the rest of the web? You can.

If you have Internet Explorer, it’s tedious and hard. You can click the “X” next to the ad, and manually reject each ad individually. This takes an enormous amount of energy, and you will never win (but you could probably keep up with the Mobsters advertisements with about 30 minutes of clicking per day).

If you use Firefox, which is an immensely safer program and is the world’s most popular web browser, then it is a super-simple process.

1. Go to Tools > Add-ons > click on the Browse All Ad-Ons link >

2. From there you have entered the magnificent world of add-ons. Ways to very easily customize your internet browsing experience. Everything becomes much simpler in your life from this point on.

3. Search for AdBlock Plus (or click here to skip straight to it).

4. Click Add to Firefox, and the program automatically installs and then will ask you to restart Firefox. When it comes back up, you will need to subscribe to the USA filter list. It’s a one-click, free, process. There is no registration. There is no mess. It just runs.

And it will block almost all advertisements, pop-ups and banners on every website you go to NOT JUST FACEBOOK.

A word about add-ons: There are 10,000+ of them. A few dozen of them are truly useful. Some just waste your life. Some of the add-ons I find most useful and use frequently are:

  • Fast Dial
  • AdBlock Plus
  • Shorten URL
  • XMarks
  • ScreenGrab

If you don’t use Firefox. Do so.

There is at least also one other add-on that will block the ads only on FaceBook.

These directions are overkill for some readers (you’ve been using this forever), and some of you think this is too high-tech. If this overwhelms you, please ask for help. Any other recommendations from the pros?

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Here is an outline of Randy Alcorn’s article on ways that parents can help their kids learn to think biblically about money.

1. Give your children something greater than money—your time.

2. Use life’s teachable moments to train your children.

3. Take a field trip to a junkyard.

4. Teach your children to link money with labor.

5. Teach your children how to save.

6. Get your children started on the lifetime adventure of giving.

7. Provide your children with financial planning tools.

8. Teach your children how to say “No.”

9. Show your children how family finances work.

10. Never underestimate the power of your example.

Read the whole thing for an explanation of each of the points.

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Why Do YOU Work?

Are you building a wall or a cathedral?

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

–Antoine De Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince

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This is a snow crystal magnified 40 times.

Amazing details in this set of magnified images from the Nikon International Small Worlds Photomicography Competition.

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For the honor of a clean desk, I don’t want one, but only for that.

The Gboard for Gmail:

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JECA is the antidote.


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A Tale of Two Girls

One little girl was sleepy because she was just born and took the long ride home from the hospital.


Bear at 2 Days Old



Another girl was sleepy because she took the long ride home from church.


Bear at 13 Months


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Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank. That is hardly what God had in mind.

So says Bruce Shelley, author of Church History in Plain Language. C.S. Lewis called his generation out on their chronological snobbery, that condition in which they/we are so nearsighted, that we almost refuse to look backward to the past. Consider the rare feat among so many to be able to name the names of even their own great-grandparents. They were vital to your history, and you may have even known them. But who were they and what were they about? What about their parents?

I love that my pastor, even though he cares deeply about his ministry, it’s vitality and the state of the flock, does not see our church as the center of anything or as an end of all woes. He sees it as the current, vital cog in the the mandate of God–a part in which we get to play. And just as important, he looks to the past as an important way of living for today and for the future Kingdom we will inhabit.

In our SS class, he is walking us through the history of the church from Christ through the Reformation, and I asked him to answer the question here for us, “Why Do We Need Church History?”

I hope that you will hear.



William Carey


I’m a pastor and I believe the people I shepherd need to have a rich and colorful understanding of church history. The story of the church needs to be told because it’s our story. It’s where we came from. Church buildings don’t just pop out of nowhere—every part of a worship service from the doctrinal statement to the hymnbook is the result of ideas and traditions being passed down for centuries in the minds and hearts of believers. When we know that history, the entire experience of worship and church life becomes richer and more meaningful—and much more likely of being preserved.

Our connection with other believers (past and present) should be stronger than even familial and national loyalties. I love my country and I am proud to claim John Adams and George Washington as part of my national heritage, but in comparison, I am much more a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and my communion with Paul, Augustine, and John Bunyan is eternal, not temporal. When we stand together on Sundays and recite the Apostles’ Creed, we are linking arms with something much bigger than ourselves. Our American history is full of providence and mighty acts of God, no doubt, but it is still merely a truncated version of the whole story. A lot of us grew up with more pride in our American heritage than our religious heritage, and we need to change that.

For the church to rally, we have to pass on a heritage that evokes a visceral response, emotionally charged with love and loyalty. The hearts of believers have to be trained to love and hate the right things. If the church is to be preserved, the next generation has to give it more than a head nod—it has to love it fiercely and defend it against its enemies. Our story is full of heroes and tales of bravery, integrity and self-sacrifice. If we want our kids to love the church, then we have to tell them the whole story.

The church is changing a lot right now and the history of the church gives us stability. It gives us a point of reference that grounds us, stabilizes us and gives us certainty as we look out into a quickly changing world. There is nothing new under the sun and every heresy is just an old heresy repackaged for our time. I really believe that the church’s best inoculation from false teaching is simply an awareness of the church’s past. Most of our questions have already been asked and answered, but our ignorance keeps us searching around in circles for answers. We can only stand on the shoulders of giants if we study the past.

The last, but immensely important, reason that we must know our history is simply gratitude. Abigail Adams wrote: “Posterity, who are to reap the blessings, will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and suffering of their ancestors.” Our generation’s lackadaisical attitude about church shows that this is sadly true. We owe our ancestors a debt of gratitude and the least we can do is not forget what they did for the church. As the anniversary of the Reformation approaches, it is with great love and pride and gratitude that I remember Martin Luther and the hundreds of other reformers who sacrificed all this world’s pleasures for the sake of the church. Their legacy inspires me to work hard and persevere. It keeps me from getting too tied to this world and this time and this place. It reminds me of our future home where all the church will be united and God’s plan throughout history will be made clearer than we see it now. And it is there that I want to be found faithful in working hard to preserve the only lasting institution of this world: the Church.

— Samuel Gage is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church in Joelton, TN.

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I’m Not Biased

OK. Here’s the rule:

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Not all the miners wore them out of the cave, but some did. They were full of praise to God. The front expressed thanks to God. The verse on the back of the shirt is Psalm 95.4,

In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

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For anyone who doubts that the texting revolution is upon us, consider this: The average 13- to 17-year-old sends and receives 3,339 texts a month—more than 100 per day, according to the Nielsen Co., the media research firm.

Y U Luv Texts, H8 Calls, from the NYT

I probably overstated the title. While this article gives some big numbers about texting habits of teens and adults–numbers that are almost-mindblowing to me–I buy the premise.

I buy why texting works for so many. I don’t buy unlimited texting though (in practice), but I do in principal.

I have five kids, rarely have quiet, don’t have a home phone. If you want to tell me that you will be 10 minutes late to join us for dinner, I would prefer a text (if you are a texter). It’s a great tool for instant reminders, notices, quick questions, instant encouragements that halve or more the time spent on the phone with the same small talk.

Sometimes even emails are too clunky, and voice mail is doubly so.

If I thought that texting were replacing real conversation (and it is in the way that these teens are using it), I would have more caution in my own use, but I buy that phone calls (in my circles) are becoming more and more invasive, especially to people who are slaves to their phones, who insist on answering every call.

There are exceptions, but I think we should stop interrupting our phone conversations, so we can answer another call during the current one.

I think we shouldn’t answer a call when we are busy, just to tell the caller we will call back in a minute. It adds a lot of commotion and takes away a lot of momentum from a face-to-face conversation to answer a ringing phone.

I think that we should be fearless about not answering our phones when we are in the middle of something else that requires attention, care, concern. Because if the caller really needs something, they can text you.

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A new FB feature was just released that enables you to download all of your profile information (updates, lists, photos, videos, etc.) to store on your own computer. I like this in the history sense, that things from years ago are not lost. Others may like it for more manipulative or sinister reasons.

The process is very simple.

How to Download Your Information From Facebook

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Chilian Minor


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Following-up from this article a few days ago (Project Manhigh and the Stud Who Skydived From Space), this was another fascinating read about skydiving from space.

Nick Piantanida’s ambition was too much for living an ordinary life. With practically no resources or connections, Nick set out to break Joe Kittenger’s records.

Nick had no back-up plan for his life. He was determined to make it big with a record-setting jump and to parlay that success into a good life for his family. Even though he faced rejection after rejection and numerous setbacks, his enthusiasm and belief in his eventual success never diminished. The idea of failure never crossed his mind. He would find a way to make it happen.
He failed.

Skydiving From Space II is a really good read.

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The Chilean miner rescue is going on right now! Watch it here live.

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At least that’s what they imply on every commercial, and that’s what I’m doing now–telling you what to think. This month there will be some emphasis put on church history on TBAP. Early church history is the topic of this quarter’s SS lessons, I’m reading two books on it, and my pastor has written an article that will be posted here next week.

It’s not because I’m proficient or wise on the matter that it is emphasized, but rather, because I fear spiritual myopia/amnesia. Let us fear this state:

Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank.

Bruce Shelley

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I’ve begun following the blog RickandSusanna, and I appreciate their missional approach to living, their “let’s move our family to NYC and live differently there” mindset.

Their article Raising Daughters for Marriage is cursory, but was a helpful reminder to spend time parenting past the here-and-now.

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