Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Joe Carter has assembled this great list... I have stolen the whole thing and posted it here*:

Family Facts:
Father's Day Edition

1. Fathers’ religiosity is linked to higher quality of parent-child relationships. (Source)

2. Fathers who regularly attend religious services are more likely to be engaged in one-on-one activities with their children. (Source)

3. Civically active fathers are more likely to participate in youth-related activities. (Source)

4. Fathers’ engagement in their children’s activities was linked to higher academic performance. (Source)

5. Among adolescent boys, those who receive more parenting from their fathers are less likely to exhibit anti-social and delinquent behaviors. (Source)

6. Among adolescent girls, those who have a strong relationship with their fathers are less likely to report experiencing depression. (Source)

7. Close father-adolescent bonds protect against the negative influence of peer drug use. (Source)

8. Adolescent girls who have a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to delay sexual activity. (Source)

9. Adolescent girls whose fathers were present during their childhood are less likely to become pregnant. (Source)

10. Adolescent males who report a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to anticipate having a stable marriage in the future. (Source)

*links seemed to be broken

Billy Graham's Wife, Ruth, Dies at 87 late Thursday

Billy Graham's Wife, Ruth, Dies at 87 | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited:

I always thought Mrs. Graham seemed like a lovely woman.

Somehow I missed the notice of her death. The Guardian (out of England) had this unique note:

"Though the wife of a famous Baptist minister, Ruth Graham declined to undergo baptism by immersion and remained a lifelong Presbyterian. When in Montreat, a town built around a Presbyterian conference center, Billy Graham would attend the Presbyterian church where his wife often taught the college-age Sunday School class."

Christian Reformed Church Opens Wide the Door to Female Clergy

Kirk Wellum has a very interesting and consise analysis of this latest development in the downward slide of the CRC. You should read the whole thing, and this sentence ought to peak your interest to do so!

"Churches with a woman's name on the sign as pastor are at the end of their life cycle."

And there you have it!

Considering Special Needs in Church: Then shall the lame man leap like a deer

The girl talkers link to a great article by Peter Avery on how Christians ought to think about the disabled.

Matthias Media Briefing Web Extras: Then shall the lame man leap like a deer

Avery's quick 8 points are as follows:

1. God is responsible for people having disabilities
2. Disabilities are signposts of a broken and fallen world
3. God has a special concern for people with disabilities and special needs
4. God promises to restore fallen creation
5. Jesus breaks the power of sin and begins to restore creation
6. Jesus is the perfect priest who brings us salvation
7. God has given us his Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our restoration
8. We are to love the people with disabilities

I particularly appreciated this quote from his 8th point:

"We have many brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with a whole range of disabilities—some more obvious than others. Some have frail bodies because of their age. Some suffer from mental illness. Some have physical disabilities, for example, blindness and deafness, which make participating in church hard. It's not easy for many who struggle. We must learn humility, patience, gentleness, and genuine love and care. Sometimes we will need to be firm. That's exactly what Leah needs when she wants to jump fully clothed into a bath full of water. Sometimes we will need to sit with someone and listen to them for a long time, rather than rush off to do something we want to do. Sometimes we will need to plan a visit to help with the mowing or the other jobs that our brothers and sisters cannot do. Sometimes we will need to open our homes to offer hospitality and friendship. Whatever we do in our fellowship, our weakest members must never be forgotten. They must always be included in everything, and encouraged to see that they have something unique to offer."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

John MacArthur is the Worst Person in the World

Click here for Media Matters report: Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, declared John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, "runner-up" in his "Worst Person in the World" awards.

In analyzing a MacArthur sermon aired on Focus on the Family, Olbermann decided MacArthur was just another intolerant conservative. His suggestion for MacArthur? "Just let God speak for himself, pal."

And exactly who is the intolerant one here?

Big Brother is Here? Eye-tracking device developed for billboards, screens

TORONTO (CP) - High-tech billboards and plasma screens are becoming more than just eye-catching - they're developing "eyes" of their own that can detect when people are looking and when they turn away.

This week a Canadian startup company is testing the technology in Kingston, Ont., where a 107-centimetre plasma screen has been outfitted with an eye-tracking sensor and positioned in front of a Tim Hortons restaurant on the Queen's University campus, says creator Roel Vertegaal.

Vertegaal predicts the palm-sized device, called an Eyebox2, could revolutionize the digital-signage industry by letting marketers know just how many people actually look at their ads.

What was that lame movie where Tom Cruise had to replace his eyeballs so he could hide from retinal scans? I "see" the connection now!

Japan's aging dog population to get its first nursing home

"The country's first nursing home for dogs comes with round-the-clock monitoring by veterinarians and a team of puppies to play with the aging pooches to help them keep fit, a pet products company said Wednesday.

Owners pay $800 a month to keep their dogs at the Soladi Care Home, which opens Friday, according to a joint release by Soladi Co. and the Endo Veterinary clinic in Tochigi, eastern Japan."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Encourage Your Pastor! Some Excellent and Practical Advice from the Prince of Preachers

I love my church. And not because I have to! I just love those whom the Lord allows me to serve. I can't wait for Sundays and Wednesdays, and I never get tired of telling others what the Lord is doing at my favorite place on earth.

Quite selfishly, one of the reasons I love my church is the great encouragement I get there. I am surrounded by men and women who purposefully seek to build up my faith and look for evidences of God's grace in my life. What is not to love?

I realize that is not always the case, however, and that is why I am posting the following. This is the third and final point of a sermon Spurgeon preached on October 18th, 1863, at the Cornwall Road Chapel, Bayswater. It is some of CHS's best stuff, as he speaks with a freedom on this topic that only such an occasion would provide.

Have you every purposefully and thoughtfully encouraged your pastor? I fear we spend far more time thinking about what we don't like rather than what little glimmer of good might be there. Perhaps you could go on an "encouragement hunt" this weekend, looking for ways to build up your brother? If nothing else, such strengthening will result in a stronger man, better preaching and more good for your soul!

It struck me some six weeks ago that I might say a few things to my brother's congregation which he might not like to say himself, and that as this was a new enterprise—and I am sure all our hearts anxiously desire it the very richest success—I might possibly take the liberty of saying a few things to you, the congregation clustering around this pulpit, which may be useful in the future of the Church. I shall speak of him as a stranger, as I should speak of any other young man anxious to build up a Church and glorify his Master. I believe there is a special occasion for the exercise of this duty of encouraging one another in the case of the minister and Church in this place. It is a fresh enterprise surrounded with peculiar difficulties, and demanding special labor. "Why," say you, "should a minister need encouraging? We have plenty of troubles all the week long, with our losses here, and crosses there, we want encouragements, but surely ministers do not." Ah! if you want to have a refutation of that idea you had better come into this pulpit, and occupy it a little time. If you would like to exchange, I would truly say that so far as the pleasure of my voice is concerned, apart from the spiritual joy my Lord gives me, I would change places with a crossing-sweeper, or a man who breaks stones on the road. Let a man carry out the office of a Christian minister aright, and he will never have any rest. "God help," says Richard Baxter, "the man who thinks the minister's an easy life." Why, he works not only all day, but in his sleep you will find him weeping for his congregation, starting in his sleep with his eyes filled with tears, as if he had the weight of his congregation's sins resting on his heart, and could not bear the load. I would not be that man in the ministry who does not feel himself so fearfully responsible, that if he could escape from the ministry by going with Jonah into the depths of the sea, he would cheerfully do it; for if a minister is what he should be, there is such a weight of solemn concern, such a sound of trembling in his ears, that he would choose any profession or any work, however arduous, sooner than the preacher's post. "If the watchman warn them not they shall perish, but their blood will I require at the watchman's hands." To sit down and spell over the question—"Am I free of his blood?" is terrible. I have sometimes thought I must have a day or two of rest, but I frankly confess that rest is very little rest to me, for I think I hear the cries of perishing souls, the wailings of spirits going down to hell, who chide me thus: "Preacher, can you rest? Minister, can you be silent? Ambassador of Jesus can you cast aside the robes of your office? Up! and to your work again." As Mr. Whitfield said, when he thought of the ministry, and what was concerned in it, he wanted to stand on the top of every hackney coach in London and preach the gospel as he rode along. It is a work so solemn that if you do not encourage your minister, your minister will probably sink down in despair. Remember that the man himself needs encouragement, because he is weak. Who is sufficient for these things? To serve in any part of the spiritual army is dangerous, but to be a captain is to be doubly exposed. The most of the shots are aimed at the officers. If Satan can find a flaw in our character, then it will be, "Publish it, publish it, publish it!" If he can lead us to keep back a doctrine or go amiss in practice, or wander in experience, he is glad enough. How delighted is the devil to break the vessels of mercy. Pray for the poor man, whom you expose to perish, if you do not preserve him by supplication. If there were a ship at sea stranded and broken on the rocks, and some one volunteered to carry a rope to the sinking crew, you, standing on the shore, could do no more, methinks you could not do less, than cry, "O God! help him to bear the rope to that wrecked ship." Pray for the minister and encourage him, for there are plenty to discourage him. There are always carping spirits abroad who will remind him of any fault; he will be afflicted by those dastards who will not dare to sign their names to a letter, but send it to him anonymously; and then there is the devil, who, the moment the man has got out of the pulpit, will say, "There is a poor sermon! You will never dare to preach again." After he has been preaching for weeks there will come a suggestion, "You are not in your proper sphere of labor." There are all sorts of discouragements to be met with. Professing Christians will backslide. Those who do remain will often be inconsistent, and he will be sighing and crying in his closet, while you, perhaps, are thanking God that your souls have been fed under him. Encourage your minister, I pray you, wherever you attend—encourage him for your own sake. A discouraged minister is a serious burden upon the congregation. When the fountain gets out of order, you cannot expect to find water at any of the taps; and if the minister be not right, it is something like a steam engine in a great manufactory—everybody's loom is idle when the motive-power is out of order. See that he is resting upon God and receiving his divine power, and you will all know, each Sabbath day, the benefit of it. This is the least thing you can do. There are many other things which may cause you expense, effort, time, but to encourage the minister is so easy, so simple a matter, that I may well press upon you to do it.
Perhaps you will say, "Well, if it be so simple and easy, tell us, who are expecting to settle down in this place, how we can encourage the minister here." Well, you can do it in several ways. You can encourage him by very constant attendance. By the way, looking round here, I think I know some of the persons present who belong to neighboring chapels. What business have you here? Why did you leave your own minister? If I see one come into my place from the congregation of another brother in the ministry, I would like just to give him a flea in his ear such as he may never forget. What business have you to leave your minister? If everyone were to do so, how discouraged the poor man would be. Just because somebody happens to come into this neighborhood, you will be leaving your seats. A compliment to me, you say. I thank you for it; but now, in return, let me give you this advice: these who are going from place to place are of no use to anybody; but those are the truly useful men who, when the servants of God are in their places, keep to theirs, and let everybody see that whoever discourages the minister they will not, for they appreciate his ministry.
Again, let me say by often being present at the prayer-meeting you can encourage the minister. You can always tell how a Church is getting on by the prayer-meetings. I will almost prophecy the kind of sermon on the Sabbath, from the sort of prayer-meeting on the Monday. If many come up to the house of God, and they are earnest, the pastor will get a blessing from on high; it cannot but be, for God opens the windows of heaven to believing prayer. Never fail to plead for your pastor in your closet. Oh, dear friends, when you mention a father's name, and a child's name, let the minister's name come forth too. Give him a large share in your heart, and both in private and public prayer, encourage him. Encourage him, again, by letting him know if you have received any good. Oh, if there should come into this house of prayer a sinner needing a Savior, and not knowing the way, and my brother's words shall point him to the Savior's cross; if he should be the means of showing you what faith means, and of leading you to believe in him who hath reconciled us unto God by his death, do not conceal the good news—come and tell it. The best way to do it will be by proposing to be united with the Church in fellowship. Our Church meeting-nights, when we receive fresh candidates into fellowship, are the harvest nights in the Christian ministry. Then we see how God's cause prospers in our hand. But if many in the Church who have been converted fail to let the minister know it, and hold back, how is the poor man to be comforted? I know I address some here—God's people—who have never made a profession. Suppose all God's people did as you do—and they have as much right to do it as you have—how, I ask you, would the ministry itself be maintained? How could ministers' hearts be kept from breaking, if they never knew of any conversion? Make haste. Do not put it off. Delay not to keep God's commandments, but come forward at once, and acknowledge what God has done for your soul.
Again, you can all encourage the minister by the consistency of your lives. I do not know when I ever felt more gratified than on one occasion, when sitting at a Church meeting, having to report the death of a young brother who was in the service of an eminent employer, a little note came from him to say, "My servant, Edward—is dead. I send you word at once, that you may send me another young man; for if your members are such as he was, I never wish to have better servants around me." I read the letter at the Church meeting, and another was soon found. It is a cheering thing for the Christian minister to know that his converts are held in repute. Of another member of my Church an ungodly employer said, "I do not think anything of him; he is of no use to anybody; he cannot tell a lie!" Oh, that is the honor which a Christian minister longs and pants after, to have consistent followers, to have those listening to him who will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Gather round my brother, all of you, and encourage him, by earnestly aiding and abetting him in every good word and work. There is a neighbourbood here, I am told, requiring evangelization. Here we have, side-by-side, poverty and riches. Shall not yonder wretched potteries be the better for the building of this house of prayer. I am sure my friend Sir Morton Peto would think he had wasted his money, if it were merely for the gathering of a congregation, and not for improving the neighborhood. We build our houses of prayer always with a view to the people round about. We believe it is like opening a well in the wilderness, or a caravansary or oasis in the desert, or placing a drinking-fountain where thirsty souls may drink. It is introducing a new physician into the neighborhood to attend to the diseases and sickness of souls. Oh, how my heart yearns after the success of this house—not only because the minister is my brother, but because he is a valiant soldier of Christ. To preach the truth he has not hesitated to make himself a multitude of enemies elsewhere, and will not be ashamed to do the same here, if the same case should occur. I honor him, because he has honored my Master; and I expect that you will get from him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—so far as God has taught it to him. I know he is ready to lay down his own neck for the conversion of souls. I know his earnestness to do anything for the conversion of sinners. And if you do not encourage him, you will bring down upon your head every curse of those who reject the prophet of God, but encouraging him, you will see a Church flocking around him which shall last long after our time, which shall be a perennial stream of benediction to ages yet unborn, until Christ himself shall come and consummate the kingdom, by reigning himself in person among the sons of men. May the Lord grant his blessing!
Some of you cannot encourage the minister. You can encourage no one, for you are not born again yourselves. Oh, if you have not passed from death unto life, the first thing that can encourage him is to begin to think about your own state. Where are you? What are you? Out of God, out of Christ, out of safety? You will be out of life and out of heaven—shut in the pit for ever, except you repent. Oh, you will encourage the preacher, if the Lord lead you to consider your ways and turn from sin and from self-righteousness too, and look to the Almighty Savior, able to save unto the uttermost all among you who shall trust him. May the Lord add a blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Considering Special Needs in Church: The girl talkers Take On Discussing Moms of Kids With Disabilities

girl talk: Monday Miscellanies:

The girl talkers announced today that they intend to discuss moms of kids with special needs. What great timing ladies! I will be looking very much forward to this series.

From the teaser:

"On Mother’s Day, we offered encouragement to moms who were encountering trials of various kinds. While we couldn’t speak to everyone, there is a group of women we especially wanted to encourage. But we decided to wait until we could do it properly—or at least as best as we know how. So please join us this week as we talk to, honor, and learn from mothers of children with disabilities. We’re sure you’ll be inspired by their sacrifice and love for the precious children God has given to them."

HT: Eva Robinson