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Monthly Archives: July 2008

It’s grace, grace, God’s grace.

Thanks first of all to the grace of God. The grace of God is freely given to those who believe and the righteousness of Christ is credited to him. We read in Romans 4:1-8:

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.

Secondly, a big hat tip to Scott at Through The Veil for finding this incredible video that says it all.

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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in God, grace, Jesus Christ, righteousness

 

Kutless – To Know That You’re Alive

I have been a fan of Kutless since they first appeared with their first video “Your Touch” on TVU in 2002. (Check out the previous video link to “Your Touch.” It is the video where the two guitarists simultaneously sling their guitars around their back) Not only is their style of music right up there in the upper echelons of my favorite sounds, their lyrics are also uncompromising. When many Christian rock bands abandoned using references to Jesus by name Kutless has not. Like so many Christian bands, Kutless formed out of their local church worship band. The original band members, James Mead (guitar), Nathan Stuart or Stu (bass), Kyle Mitchell (drums), Ryan Shrout (guitar), Jon-Micah Sumrall (vocals), all attended the same church, Athey Creek, in Portland, Oregon. They have mentioned influences from Christian bands like O.C. Supertones, as well as secular bands like Creed, Staind, and Incubus. Stuart, and Mitchell have since left the band to pursue other endeavors. Last year Ryan Shrout decided to leave the band to be with his family more. His daughter was diagnosed with a rare eye disease. Ryan’s spot has since been filled nicely by Nick DePartee their former guitar tech. I have often wondered about the origin of the band’s name and found out that Kutless chose their name because of a specific Bible verse. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NRSV). Because of this, the band says, “He took our cuts for us… leaving us ‘Kutless’. I will mention just a couple of the accolades given this band. The second single “Run” from their debut album became the longest charting song in the history of the R&R top 40 charts. The song “Run” was also the most played song in the first 5 years of ChristianRock.net.

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Blogging from Cincinnati

I just wanted to post a small update. This weekend we are in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Schneider family reunion. Yesterday we met with some family I haven’t seen in years and Robin has never met. We had a nice dinner at the hotel last night and visited with my cousin Judy and her husband Howard (nicknamed Ole Weird). Howard raises bees for a hobby and he had some interesting information about the nature of bees. My Rib was quite interested, so we may have some hives in our yard before long. I would suspect she will blog about it sometime soon. Today we went to Jungle Jim’s, which is a huge international market. We also drove downtown to the Ohio river so we could get some photos. Please pray for opportunities to present the gospel to those family members who are not believers, and pray for sweet fellowship with those who are believers. We are having a blessed time with family. All glory belongs to God. Soli Deo Gloria!

 
 

New York, what gives?

While addressing the NAACP in Cincinnati, Ohio, New York governor David Paterson suggested that “the defeat of Senator Obama by Senator McCain in the presidential contest would be a victory for racism.” You can find the story here. Governor Paterson, doesn’t that also suggest that voters who don’t support Senator Obama are racist? Come on! Do you really think that the citizens of this country are ignorant enough to only vote based on color and not on policy? If that isn’t enough from the great state of New York, their “distinguished” newspaper The New York Times has refused to in turn publish an op-ed piece for Senator McCain as they have done with Senator Barak Obama. You can link to that op-ed piece via my wife’s blog here.

 

Could Jesus be more popular?

Nearly forty-two years ago to the day, July 29th, 1966, the teeny bop magazine DATEbook published the excerpt of an earlier John Lennon interview where he stated that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Although the remarks were really on the subject of Christianity and taken somewhat out of context, the outcry and response from the United States was loud and clear. “How dare you say something as bold as that.” It was as though Lennon made those statements of our country instead of Jesus. People flooded to the streets in protest by piling Beatles records up and burning them. Television stations broadcast public smashing of Beatles records. To this day it remains as one of the biggest pop music scandals in history.

Reading about this event in history prompted me to consider the question. Should Jesus be popular? In the context of the whole world I would not affirm this. There are passages in the bible that state otherwise concerning the popularity of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:2,3 of the Old Testament we read of Christ:

2 For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

In 1 Corinthians of the New Testament Paul wrote that the “cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing” and “a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles.” He also writes later in verse 28:

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

In the American church today we are trying our best to make Christianity popular. We are are watering down the gospel of Christ to make it more palatable and attractive. In doing so the true gospel is not being preached. For if it were, it would not be attractive and popular in the world’s eyes.

So in one sense an enthusiastic YES, Jesus Christ should be the most popular thing in the life of the believer. We should be living and breathing the gospel of Christ. Our whole being should point the lost to Jesus Christ. In another sense, it is a fool’s road you travel if your intention in ministry is to make Jesus popular in the eyes of the world.

For further reading please check out the reading links below.

A huge Hat Tip goes to Jason J. Stellman and his article “Where Is Grace Found” in Modern Reformation. I especially like the section entitled “What Hath Saddleback To Do with Geneva?

 

Where are those encouraging words?

I love this comic strip. If you don’t read it, it is a syndicated comic strip called “Baby Blues. Their son Hammie is such a riot. I have another strip featuring him coming up in a few days. I really had to Laugh Out Loud when I read this but it also prompted another thought

He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)

My beautiful wife, of sixteens years now, has been doing the Proverbs on her blog. After seeing the comic strip above I was reminded of the Proverbs. For years my wife and I have tried to instill in our children the habit of saying encouraging words to each other. Now I will admit that on more than a few occasions those exhorting words of “Now how encouraging was that?” have come back to haunt us when we have expressed our dislike of their activities. But for the most part all we have to do is clear our throat and they know exactly what should happen. Not saying it always happens, but they do know. Try to create those habits in your children as well. Also preach it to yourself. Guard those lips!

 
 

The money shot

Last Saturday my lovely wife Robin (or Rib) and I went for a photo walk around Lake Wehrspann near Omaha. As we walked, we tried to take some nice photos of flowers, birds, and other wildlife we observed along the path. When we first began the walk I saw some butterflies and told Robin that I would dearly love to capture a monarch butterfly in a digital shot. Sure enough we found one with large enough wings to warrant spending some time to get a nice shot. I spent close to 10 minutes trying to get just the right shot of this beautiful creature. Below are three pictures of my efforts. The final one is the “money shot”.

Click the thumbnail to enlarge them.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2008 in butterflies, creation, nature walk, photography