Monthly Archives: March 2008

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be heroes?

I heard a story on the way home from work this evening that made my blood boil. It isn’t something I typically blog about, but I am going to write about this one.

Just a hypothetical question: What would happen if parents protested their child’s school for teaching their children how to use a condom? Well we have seen what happens. The school principal would basically say “get over it”. Now consider an organization like Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour who are touring schools in order to allow students the opportunity to meet members representing our national military services who have been serving our country. Wouldn’t you, as a parent, welcome these heroes to come into your school and speak? “Hold on a minute”, say some parents in Forest Lake High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though one of the soldiers is an alumni from this particular High School. Guess what? This school principal is bowing to the pressure of these protesting parents. Read about it at Michelle Malkin’s blog site below.

Vets for Freedom Heroes Tour spurned by Minneapolis high school


Music review Tuesday – Shawn McDonald

This week I am deviating from my normal musical interests and reviewing an album from a musician I have never listened to before this past week. Shawn McDonald is a Christian artist and has been recording with Sparrow Records since August of 2004. I did some research for some bio info, which can be found at Wikipedia, and found that his life has had an amazing turn. Shawn grew up in Eugene, Oregon. He had been abandoned by his natural parents and raised by his grandparents. He grew up too quickly and roughly ten years ago or so, he found himself in a real mess. He says “name a drug, he was either selling it or using it.” Then one day as a young man he found himself facing several drug charges. He says in desperation he cried out to God. He attributes his transformation totally as a work of God. He says that “the way I am now and the way I was then is like night and day. I was a closed shell and now God has created in me a transparency.” I found this transparency and passion for God evident in his song writing.

The album by Shawn McDonald is “Roots“. It was released on March 11th, 2008. The album begins with “Clarity”, a gentle acoustic jazz styled ear candy experience. The song has a nice slide guitar solo close to the end of the track. This is a very cool song. The next track is called “Captivated”. It is a beautiful song of worship and expression for the Creator of all. The bridge verse sweetly sings:

The blood in my veins and my heart you invade
The plants how they grow and the tree and their shade
The way that I feel and love in my soul
I thank you my God for letting me know

Track number three, “Wash Me Clean”, starts off with a neat nylon stringed riff that blends into a nicely mixed orchestral piece. The song has a great flow and Shawn’s vocals are well produced into the acoustic blend. The next song, “Shadowlands”, contains lyrics from the 23rd Psalm. The reggae influenced musical style, including the hip hop vocal style, is reminiscent of Paul Wright, another unique Christian artist.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 25, 2008 in Music Review, Roots, Shawn McDonald


Preaching happens

Where does good solid preaching come from? The kind of preaching where the complete gospel is proclaimed? I would contend that kind of preaching comes from the Holy Spirit of God. This is obviously not something that I, a mere lay person, have thought seriously about until now. In a message delivered to those attending this year’s Resurgeance National Conference, Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA) addresses how gospel-centered, Christ-centered preaching happens.

Driscol points out that one of most significant evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit is preaching. In the New Testament we read in Matthew 4 that right after the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, Jesus began His ministry. After being tempted in the wilderness He began to preach (Matt. 4:17) , saying:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

At the beginning of the book of Acts Jesus tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. This promise we learn is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2, the disciples immediately began preaching about Jesus Christ. The same Spirit or Helper that Jesus told them about in John 15:35. 

But when the Helper comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me.

There are many more evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit, but I want to point out one more. This is found in Acts 9:17-20. Saul, who later called Paul, is wating on the Lord in Damascus, and the Lord sends Ananias to lay hands on him filling him with the Holy Spirit. In verse 20 it that immediately he (Saul) began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues.

I am not a genius, but my lovely wife is. She is a few points higher on the IQ scale than I. But I can think logically. When the The Holy Spirit fills men = preaching happens. Praise God!!  

For a listen of the inspired sermon by Mark Driscoll click one of the links below.

Putting Preachers in Their Place to download the mp3,

or stream it here.

Soli Deo Gloria


Music review Tuesday – Pillar

My first introduction to Pillar. It was in 2001 when their video for “Open Your Eyes” debuted on TVU’s Ten Most Wanted. The video was only the studio version of the song played under live concert footage. The song was kind of interesting in that it was a mixture of rap and hard rock guitars, currently known as the genre of RapCore. What struck me the most about the video was their energy. They flew around on the stage and jumped into the audience for some body surfing. I later learned that Rob Beckley, the lead singer, was also serving in the Army reserves. I thought that was pretty cool. What a role model to the teenagers who look up to rock stars. The band was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for their previous release “The Reckoning” earlier this year. You can read about their adventures at the awards show here.

Pillar has changed their style quite a bit over the last three albums. Their style is solid in the modern hard rock genre. Rob Beckley has gone away from the rapping he used to do and honed his vocal talents as a rock singer. He does more screaming now than rapping. Their new release “For the Love of the Game” was released on February 26th, 2008. The title track is the first song up. “For the Love of the Game” has been used by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight program, and it was used during montages hightlighting the 2007 World Series. The song itself crunches out with Noah Henson’s patented driving riffs and Lester Estelle’s pounding drums with Rob loudly proclaiming:

Count me in, but don’t count me out,
You can’t shut me up, you can’t shut me down,
Fight through the hurt,
Fight through the pain,
Without the ache there is no gain,
We live our lives for the love of the game

Read the rest of this entry »


A super clear depiction of The Trinity

There is one God and He eternally exists in three persons. This is one of the most difficult characteristics of God to understand. Even though it is a difficult characteristic or doctrine, it is a hill to be defended even to the death. This is the doctrine known, in Christian circles, as The Trinity, or The Godhead.

The other day while listening to a sermon I was reminded and affirmed of this doctrine and truth about God. In all the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) there exists a perfect depiction of The Trinity in action. The most descriptive, I believe, is found in Matthew chapter 3. The context of the passage is that Jesus is being baptised by John the Baptist and after He comes out of the water The Godhead is evident. Here is what scripture says in Matthew 3:16-17 (ESV).

16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

This is such a powerful passage in scripture. God the Son is baptized, God the Spirit descends on the Son, and God the Father affirms His Son. There are other passages in the Bible where this One God in three persons is evident. But this one continues to amaze me. This is where Jesus begins His earthly ministry and where He is made known to those who were witnesses. Would you have followed this God-man? Would you have been His disciple? How many followed Him after this is not known because the very next verse indicates that He was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. It is an awesome and wonderful thing when scripture continues to affirm our beliefs. It is a far better thing when we base our beliefs on Holy Scripture.


Sunday School with a dose of cool

If you work with the youth ministry and haven’t heard of the NOOMA videos then youRob Bell have probably been living on the North Pole or under a rock. If you don’t work with a youth ministry, NOOMA is a series of videos by Flannel and published by longtime Christian publishers Zondervan and starring Rob Bell. NOOMA comes from the phonetic spelling of the Greek word pneuma meaning wind, spirit, or breath. I was first introduced to the series by viewing #9 in the series called “Bullhorn Guy”which can be seen at the link here. While Rob Bell’s look and sound may appeal to most folks sense of coolness, there is an undermining of the gospel going on in what he says. In this particular video he is condescending toward a guy who is street preaching with a bullhorn. Bell basically says I think the bullhorn guy has it wrong. My very first thought was of John the Baptist. Matthew 3:1-6 offers an excellent description of the behavior of John the Baptist. He called the people to repent of their sins. I have to wonder does Bell ever talk about the very thing that separates us from God. He certainly doesn’t in the “Bullhorn Guy” video.

In my research of this popular evangelical video series I found a series of articles reviewing the NOOMA video series. The articles are done by Greg Gilbert who writes for 9Marks Ministeries. I believe he does an excellent job of articulating what is good about the NOOMA videos and more importantly what is dangerous about them. Click on the link below to read the review.

The Scoop’a on NOOMA


Music review Tuesday – The Black Crowes

Who would you consider to be the most “rock n’ roll” rock band in the world? Your short list might contain Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, or The Who, but would it contain The Black Crowes? It would, according to Melody Maker magazine. In fact The Black Crowes would top their list as the most “rock n’ roll” Rock n’ Roll band in the world. In 1990 Rolling Stone magazine readers voted The Black Crowes “Best New American Band” These are just some of the accolades The Black Crowes have received since the release of their debut album “Shake Your Money Maker” in 1990. Their multi-platinum debut album saw the release of six singles and sales of over 3 million copies. Pretty good for a 1970’s revivalist band from Atlanta, Georgia.

The new album is called “Warpaint” and was released March 4th, 2008. This is their first studio album in almost seven years. The album also introduces new band members Luther Dickinson, a blues-rock guitarist from Memphis (ya gotta love that), and keyboardist Adam McDougall. The band gets it’s blues mojo on right from the start with the first track “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution”. I think Dickinson is picking a fender telecaster with a bone slide on this one. With the typical Crowes lyrics:

Cut a rusty engine outta sawdust town
Better deal with the man who shook ’em all down so
Put a little grease on my axle now, yeah

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 11, 2008 in Music Review, The Black Crowes, Warpaint


This is dedicated to my Rib

That’s right, my Rib. Rib is the nickname of my wife Robin of almost sixteen years. I calledcovenant her that in reference to the wife of the very first man.

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:22)

Lately I have also liked the nickname to a command for husbands found in a passage in Ephesians 5:28 & 29.

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

So rib fits this verse as well. For my rib is from my flesh and naturally I would love my own flesh. But this hasn’t been the case always with my Rib. I have not loved my Rib as I love my own body. I have not loved her as Christ loves His body, the Church. So this is a confession and dedication of sorts. I know, as husbands, it is a struggle against our flesh to love our wives in this way. It seems to me that I have allowed selfishness and passivity to reign more in my life than my love for my wife. I can look around and see some of the consequences for that sin. Some of those consequences may not show up until later in my life. But God and His wonderful grace continues to provide me with new eyes to see, and new ears to hear. In His rich mercy and grace, and through my sanctification, He has filled me with a new sense of love for my Rib. Through sermons, articles, and scripture reading, God’s gentle nudging has been making it very clear that I have not been pursuing the kind of love that Christ has for His bride, the Church. That brings me here.
Today I am dedicating the rest of what God provides as my life to pursuing that kind of love for my Rib. I am promising to love her as Christ loves His Church. I am promising that no matter what comes our way that I will love her as I do my own body. I know that my flesh and Satan will try to tear this covenant apart as they have tried in the past, but I will cling to Christ and His strength and not my own. For I have no strength without Him.

Soli Deo Gloria


Posted by on March 9, 2008 in covenant, marriage, Rib, wife


Another Puritan quote – John Flavel

Last month I posted something about “snuffing the rooster”, the rooster playing the downer role of “guilt”. The article from TheResurgence stated how modern spirituality deals with guilt. It teaches us that we can take a pill, or go to see our therapist about this nasty thing we call guilt. Basically sweeping it under the rug. The article concluded that we need to deal with that guilt. As a believer in Christ the guilt stems from an undealt with sin. The pill is confess and repent. For the unbeliever the therapy is only found in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross. Today I found another quote from a Puritan, John Flavel, that hits this topic of guilt like only the Puritans can.

Guilt is to danger, what fire is to gunpowder; a man need not fear to walk among many barrels of powder, if he have no fire about him.

If we do not deal with the guilt in a biblical way then we carry it around and ignite off volatile things in our path. Hiding it under the surface or masking it will not prevent the explosion that is imminent. Take your burden of guilt to the cross and leave it there. Do not pick it up again. I am of course preaching that to myself.

Soli Deo Gloria


Posted by on March 6, 2008 in guilt, John Flavel, Puritan, quotes


Music Review Tuesday – Black Stone Cherry

In a state more known for it’s famous horse race, baseball bats, and Blue Grass music comes a band that is blazing it’s own trail in rock music. Black Stone Cherry is from Edmonton, Kentucky and was formed in June of 2001. Edmonton is also home of the country music group Kentucky Headhunters who have more in common with the band than just sharing the same hometown. The band’s drummer John Fred Young’s father and uncle are members of the country rock band. Other Black Stone Cherry band members include Chris Robertson (vocals/guitar), Ben Wells (guitar/vocals), Jon Lawhon (bass/vocals). Their musical style is reminiscent of Southern rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blackfoot with a heavier sound more like Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. Their song writing tells tales of moonshiners, rain wizards, and families dealing with loved ones who go off to war. The band sounds familiar to some degree and yet it is hard to pigeon-hole them into a single genre. I would call it Southern, hard rock, butt kickin’ , alternative, anti-grunge. Let’s give it a listen.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 4, 2008 in Black Stone Cherry, Music Review