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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!

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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 Magazine.com 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 Flickr.com.

God bless.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2007 in Nebraska, snow