Monthly Archives: December 2007

Who condemns me?

From time to time I will get down on myself for past sins or for just not living up to the expectations I believe, in my own mind, Christ has for me. I am pretty sure many believers experience the same attitude. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, are still flesh and blood and sinners. Come on, you know it’s true. We still sin. I believe that the apostle Paul experienced the same dilemma. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he writes in Romans 7 that he does not understand his own actions. He explains that he does not do what he wants to do, but does the very thing he hates. He goes on to write later that he understands that he is in Christ and the evil he keeps on doing is the sin that still dwells in him.

The other night I was reading some writings by the Puritan Octavius Winslow. He makes some interesting comments on the the very next chapter in Romans. Romans chapter 8 begins with:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Winslow comments:

This transition between the despondent attitude of chapter 7 and the triumphant language of chapter 8 may seem abrupt and somewhat startling, yet it is perfectly easy, logical, and natural. The perfect law that was delivered by God is what condemns us. The perfect redemption from the condemning law was also delivered up by God in Jesus Christ. For those who trust in Christ for salvation from this condemnation, this death sentence, this future doom have eternal hope. Through Jesus Christ he curse has been removed, the indictment is quashed, and “there is, therefore, now no condemnation.”

So, who or what still condemns me? Winslow again comments:

The freedom of the believer is just what it is declared to be- entire exemption from condemnation. From all which that word of significant and solemn import implies, he is, by his relation to Christ, delivered. Sin does not condemn him, the law does not condemn him, the curse does not condemn him, hell does not condemn him, God does not condemn him.

It is an awesome thing to continue to keep this in mind. We are no longer condemned. I have a dear friend, who has since moved out of state, who used to struggle with the fact that he still sins. I used to point out this Romans 8 verse to him all the time and yet he would still struggle. Please remind other believers and dear Saints of this rich truth. For when we do, we are expressing great love for them. I am so thankful for this scripture and for those in my life who lovingly remind me that nothing and no one condemns me.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Posted by on December 30, 2007 in Octavius Winslow, Puritan, Romans 8:1


Global warming is for real!

In my circle of friends and family most folks believe that all of the serious talk about global warming and climate change is not based on scientific fact but more on politics. Some in my circles see this talk as harmless in one way and others see it as destructive talk. In one sense they say it is much like the little boy who continues to cry wolf or Chicken Little who screams “the sky is falling.” But the other line sees it as destructive when talking about regulating business or restricting individual rights. After reading some scripture in the bible I definitely believe that global warming will occur. It is inevitable. How can a conservative like myself believe such theorectical nonsense? Let me point out some scripture.

In 2 Peter 3:3-7 we see the following:

3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly

And in verses 10 through 12 we can read:

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

These passages definitely tell me that when the “Day of the Lord”, or in secular tems, “the end of the world” comes, it will come by the Word of God. The passage teaches in the same way by His Word he spoke the earth into existence. So all of you “global warming” scoffers please take note. By the Word of God “intense” global warming is going to happen.
ht: Mike Abendroth


Christmas trees and Supernatural

With much anticipation, the Schneider household watched the new Supernatural Christmas episode last night. Evil Christmas Tree Supernatural is a very entertaining TV show on the CW. I first blogged about it here. The show is very scary and contains some graphic violence. But it’s mostly done tongue-in-cheek. (Note my self-rationalization?) The show is about two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who travel around the country fighting evil forces and demons. Last night the story line focused on a fictional character simply labeled “the anti-Claus” or “evil Santa”. Supposedly Santa Claus’ rogue brother is a creature who goes around destroying those who have been wicked or naughty. During the the events leading up to the discovery of this creature, Sam informs his brother that most of the symbols we use in the celebration of Christmas were derived from the Pagans. The favored and traditional Christmas tree being one of these symbols. My wife and I, and some of our Christian friends have had many discussions concerning the use of these symbols in our own homes. Now before you think I am going off the deep end here, understand that we do have a Christmas tree in our home, and a wreath, and many of the traditional Christmas decorations. These have only been discussions, and discussion is definitely a good thing.

Now today, while I was going through my usual blog sites I encountered a well written article in Pulpit by Dr. John MacArthur. The article is called “Christians and Christmas Trees“. Dr. MacArthur makes some very good points. If you have had similar discussions in your life, or you have wondered about all the symbolism used in the Christmas celebration, then please check the article out.

Regardless of where you are on this issue, the bottom line is this: The baby whose birth we celebrate on Christmas is Jesus the Christ. Believing in Him is the only way to way to eternal life. This may seem to you very narrow minded in thinking, but Jesus is also narrow minded. He is truly the Prince of Peace.

Below is a clip from the Supernatural episode mentioned above.


Music Review Tuesday

Today “Music Review Tuesday” is taking a gentler approach to the music. I am also following the course laid out from last week and reviewing another Christmas album. It is the season to be sure and I hope I don’t turn off my usual head banging readers. The artist I am reviewing today is Josh Groban, and before I hear anymore groans from the hard core element of my readership which could likely have been me, I need to remind that this is music review Tuesday and I am trying to pursue a variety of music. Josh Groban is a Grammy nominated American singer/songwriter known for his mature baritone voice. He is a very talented vocalist and has recorded with many like musicians in his young life. He was born in Los Angeles in 1981. He is mostly known for his classical pieces but he has also performed and recorded songs more in line with the pop culture. I encountered an example of this just last night while searching for Christopher Parkening performances. Groban and Parkening perform “Vincent” originally written and recorded by Don McLean.

Noel is the name of his Christmas album. It was released October 9th, 2007. It sold over 1.5 million copies in the first eight weeks of it’s release. The sales for this release have exceeded his previous releases by more than 3 times. The album begins with a solitary church bell ringing in the background and then Groban’s voice gently comes in with “Silent Night”. It is beautifully done. The next track is “Little Drummer Boy” one of my Christmas favorites and one that can be done very well by talented folks. This version is done very well. The next track is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and is even hard for me to write about. The recording has messages from family members of service men and women added throughout. I have listened to it at least four times now and I have yet to get through it without tearing up. Seriously, this head banger does tear up. What would any Christmas album from a very talented singer be without performing the classical “Ava Maria”? This is the following track and Groban nails it so to speak. He was born to sing these kinds of songs.

The album highlights are “Silent Night”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (sniff sniff), “Ava Maria”, “The Christmas Song” which is not as soulful as Nat King Cole but a great version in it’s own right. “First Noel” which is a duet with Faith Hill, “Petit papa Noel” is a classic French Christmas song, translated “Little Santa Claus”, “Panis Angelicus” which means “bread of angels” written by Thomas Aquinas, “O Come All Ye Faithful” performed with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is done very well and is the perfect end to this beautiful Christmas album.

For a Christmas album this is by far one of the best I’ve heard in a long time (Trans-Siberian Orchestra aside). It would be an excellent purchase and add to anyone’s Christmas music collection. It is very well produced and the song selections are perfect for Groban’s voice. I will give it a conservative four stars out of five.

For your pleasure I also have included the video for “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” from Good Morning America.

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Posted by on December 11, 2007 in Christmas music, Josh Groban, Music Review, Noel


Keeping Our Priorities Straight, 10 Priorities for the believer, Part 3

Yesterday Pastor Pat finished his series on “Keeping Our Priorities Straight, 10 priorities for the believer. We started off this last Sunday in the series with a look at Matthew 16:18. Christ says:

I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Are we being used by Christ to build His church? Using these priorities, which are not inspired as such, but are derived from what inspired scripture teaches about Christian living and the church. The past two weeks weeks we looked at priorities 1 through 5. Today we will finish with 6 through 10.

6. Prayer – Matthew 22:37

Love God with everything that you are. Is prayer a chore for you? When you love God, guess what will happen? You will talk to Him. Your prayer will not cease. Your conversation will be on going. Your dependence on God is reflected in your communication with Him.

7. Love – Matthew 22:39

Love your neighbor as yourself. Who is our neighbor? Based on scripture, it is anyone who has a need. John 13:34, 35 also commands us to love the brethren, or other believers. For if we love our fellow believers the lost will know that we are His disciples. How do we love other believers? We can do this by just showing up. We can do this by serving them and ministering to them.

8. Leadership – 1 Timothy 3:1-16

There are qualifications for leading Christ’s church, and they are serious qualifications. Not everyone is qualified to be a church leader. There are levels of Christian maturity much like there are levels of human maturity.

9. Accountability – Matthew 18:15 – 20

Verse 18 reminds us that when we do church discipline this way then heaven will be in agreement with us. This is the way Jesus says to do church discipline. It’s His church, He owns it, and He says to do it this way. Enough said!!

10. Equipping of the saints – Ephesians 4:11 – 16

In order to mature in our faith we need to pursue the meat of the Word. We cannot grow spiritually on milk alone. God has given some the ability to be pastors, and some to be teachers to help develop newer believers and immature believers, who will mature and in turn teach and minister to others. Stop sitting!! Get plugged in!! Be a minister!!!

This concludes the series. I pray that it will remind us of what our priorities are as members of Christ’s church and how we are to conduct ourselves in light of his Word.

As with the previous posts I have included the audio to this past weeks sermon here.

The audio for the series is found here.

Soli Deo Gloria!!


Saturday night in Lincoln

Last night Robin and I had a rare night out together. What did we do with that rare night out? We went to a rock concert. Though we might look like old fogies, we aren’t. We can still bang our head, and bang our head we did. We headed out in the single digit temperatures to Lincoln, here in Nebraska, for a benefit concert called “Camp Out For Kids” featuring Alter Bridge, Another Animal, and local band Down Sumner. The venue was the State Theater, which is an old traditional theater that has been turned into a concert hall with dance floor, bar, and tables and chairs in the mezzanine seating area.

The concert was great. The local band Down Sumner opened the evening with some very good songs that I had not heard before. The band was pretty talented and very enjoyable. Another Animal was the the next band, and the level of talent and professionalism went up a bit. I have only heard of couple of their songs online and I did like them enough. I had found out that the band contains members of the rock band Godsmack which has quite a fan base of it’s own. The band was very good and I liked most of the songs they performed. The lead vocalist was very interactive with the audience which gives them a plus in my book. Another Animal played for about 30 minutes They could have played longer but everyone was there to see the next band.

Out of the tour bus into the freezing Nebraska air and onto the dark and warm stage in the State Theater came the headliner, Alter Bridge. They heated up the old theater by launching into “Come To Life” from their new release Blackbird, followed by “Brand New Start” and then the heavy rhythm of “Buried Alive. They performed many favorites such as “Before Tomorrow Comes”, “Open Your Eyes”, “Broken Wings”, and “Rise Today.” The band was very tight and gelled very well together live. Mark Tremonti who plays lead guitar was very impressive even though you could tell the guitar techs were having some problems with his gear. He would excite the crowd with his head bobbing and bone crashing guitar playing. Myles Kennedy, their lead vocalist was very charismatic and interactive with the audience. I knew this guy could sing as evidenced on the bands two albums. But seeing and hearing him perform live was a real treat. He challenged the crowd to sing as well as he “humbly” does on the range challenging “Open Your Eyes” as a sing along. This challenge reminded me of his bit performance in the film “Rock Star” in which he is given the mic out of the audience while he is singing along with the superstar lead vocalist of the fictional band Steel Dragon. Myles Kennedy did not disappoint me live as many vocalists do. The guy can sing and he has a great vocal range.

The one thing that was a sore spot was the venue’s lack of crowd security. Robin noticed the anger problems developing on the main floor before I did and almost had to push an event security staff person into doing his job. This kind of thing is going to happen when you serve alcohol to folks without self-control and no accountability from the event staff. The concert as a whole was great and very entertaining. I am still trying to regain the hearing in my left ear, which, as a young head banger, used to be an indicator of a great concert. At 48, not so much. The ringing is almost gone now. Rawk On!!


Let it snow ……

Today in Nebraska we received about 3 to 4 inches of snow. It started around 7am and has really tapered off now at 3:30pm. It has been beautiful to watch. When it slowed a little bit, my wife and I walked down to the local Family Dollar store to pick up some things. It was not to cold and it was kind of fun trudging around in the white stuff. We are expected to get more snow this weekend but such is the normal winter pattern here in the Midwest. I thought I’d share a few pictures I took earlier. The picture above is one of our Christmas light bulbs partially covered by snow on our back deck. Click on the picture and it will take you to a couple others at

God bless.

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Posted by on December 7, 2007 in Nebraska, snow


Omaha mall shootings

As the gentle snow falls all over Omaha this morning. Our little big town will never quite be the same as we try to sort out the tragic events of a very long day yesterday. Most of us here in Omaha are remembering where we were and what we were doing. Here is what I can recall.

Yesterday, December 5th, as I was busy at work my work mate and friend Don received a phone call that some one has shot people at Von Maur in Westroads Mall, the largest shopping mall here in Omaha. The mall is only 15 minutes from our office. Don has an emergency radio receiver and so we began to listen to the reports and conversations coming from this horrific tragedy as it unfolded. We just couldn’t believe what we were hearing. We were hearing about victim after victim being pulled from the store. Nearly 50 local and state police vehicles had arrived or were en route. They were calling for more emergency teams to be dispatched. As I sat there and listened and prayed for those folks who were hurt or dying. I also thought about the individual or individuals who were perpetrating this on shoppers and store employees. What goes into the heart and mind of such a person? My first thought was nothing goes in their heart and mind but what is already there. For we are born with a sinful nature. Aside from the salvation from Jesus Christ no one does good. My next thought was this: But are all sinners capable of this depth of depravity? Since I have studied God’s word over the years I would have to say yes. All men are sinners and are totally depraved. (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-11) It is only by the grace of God that we don’t have more tragedies like this one.

As I write, we have learned (because we are now inundated with news of this horrific event) that nine people have died including the shooter. He took his own life. And five were injured. Erik Raymond who is one of our assistant pastors at Omaha Bible Church and a fellow blogger at IrishCalvinist has written a great posting about the events here yesterday. I would encourage to go to “How Would You Respond to the Shootings at Omaha’s Westroads Mall?” and read it.

Please pray for the families of the victims, the family of the shooter, and for our little Midwest town in Nebraska.

Local news network link.


Music review Tuesday

Christmas is almost upon us again. When I think of Christmas music I almost immediately think of the music from the band I am going to review today. I have mentioned them in some of my other postings but have never reviewed any of their albums. I have been waiting for Christmas to come around because most of their albums focus on Christmas music. The band is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I will refer to them as TSO in order to save me some key strokes. Anyone who is a fan of their music would recognize the acronym anyway. TSO was formed in 1996 by Paul O’Neill, Robert Kinkel, and Jon Oliva. Together they wanted to write rock operas. O’Neill dreamed of writing music so melodic it did not need lyrics, and lyrics so poetic they didn’t need music. The sum of the parts for the songs would be greater than the whole. Their biggest dilemma was that in order to create the opera the way they envisioned it they would need to have several different voices for the vocal parts. Most bands only have one lead vocalist, and on rare occasions two members who have strong vocal abilities. So they proceeded out into the classical, rock, Broadway, and R & B worlds to find the very best singers and musicians to bring each song to life. I love this quote by Paul O’Neill. When asked what Trans-Siberian Orchestra is about, Paul O’Neill replied “It’s about creating great art.” When asked to define what great art was, Paul said, “The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person who is exposed to the art. Seeing the pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they’ve never had one. When you’re trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger. Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy, and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward.”

TSO has three Christmas albums but I am going to review their most recent one. The title is “The Lost Christmas Eve” and it is one of their best so far. The album was released October 12th, 2004 and begins with “Faith Noel” which is their version of “Noel” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” with piano and rock lead guitar. The next track is the album title “The Lost Christmas Eve” and introduces the story behind the music. The story surrounds a little angel coming down from Heaven on a mission from God to find a person most like the image of His son. “Christmas Dreams” is about a little girl that is met by the lead character and touches his calloused heart. It’s a neat story of hope. “Wizards In Winter” is and instrumental piece the next track. The piece has been made famous as the music that accompanies the Christmas lights displays seen on and the like. It is a great rock orchestrated piece of music.

Read the rest of this entry »


Keeping Our Priorities Straight, 10 Priorities for the believer, Part 2

Sunday morning Pat continued with our refresher series on the top ten priorities for the church. This is a really great series and it reminds us of those simple priorities given by Christ to His church. Christ is the head of the church. He owns it. He purchased the church with His precious blood, and He cares about what goes on in His church. This relational fact can be found by reading Revelation 1 & 2. Jesus Christ gives blessing and condemnation to the local churches mentioned in those two chapters. So, as a local church we have been given priorities as a body of believers to adhere to. I presented the the first three provided in Pat’s sermon last week. They can be seen at this posting. Today we continue with priorities number 4 and 5. The priority of:

4. A pure gospel – Romans 1:16 – 3:31.

Have you ever considered that there are in fact two gospels; The true and pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and then everything else is “another gospel”. The priority of the local church is to present a Christ-centered gospel. Here is a challenge for you: Can you articulate the gospel message in 90 seconds or less. I understand that this is a requirement for membership at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, where Mark Dever is senior pastor. I am challenged by this. As believers we should all be able to present the gospel in a clear and concise way. The biggest hurdle the unbeliever needs to understand is that no one is righteous. Romans 3:10. As unbelievers we were helpless enemies of God. Does this not enhance the beauty of the cross, and what Christ accomplished there? He paid the debt we owed to God. Our debt due for our sins against a righteous God was His own wrath which He poured out on His son on the cross. When Christ said “it is finished” the debt was paid. The local church should be teaching the lost about their sin. We should not be candy coating it because God takes it very seriously. If we aren’t taking it seriously then we are in fact presenting another gospel. Galatians 1:8, 9 tells us that preaching another gospel is condemned by God. I urge you to know the pure and true gospel and know how to communicate it to others.

5. The great commission – Matthew 28:16-20.

We are commanded to tell others about Christ and His gospel. This same gospel given to the disciples and passed along to us in the 21st century should be passed like a baton to others, and to future generations. Our priority as we are going is to make disciples of Christ. This commission from Christ is not just a commission to church staff and pastors, but to all believers. The gospel is an all inclusive message, not exclusive as some might believe. We are to make disciples of all the nations, all the peoples. But we do need to tell them of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ for salvation. The word of God tells us in Acts 4:11, 12:

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

We also find Jesus telling Thomas in John 14:6:

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the only savior for the lost.

The audio for this sermon can be heard online here.