Monday, August 20, 2012

Unique Piano Playing

If you played Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo, or if you like different ways of playing the piano, these 51 seconds might be worth your time:

Before You Leave a Church

Some good thoughts from Mark Dever, taken from his book What Is A Healthy Church?

Before You Decide to Leave

  1. Pray.
  2. Let your current pastor know about your thinking before you move to another church or make your decision to relocate to another city. Ask for his counsel.
  3. Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?
  4. Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships.
  5. Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life—places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3-5).
  6. Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).

If You Go

  1. Don’t divide the body.
  2. Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in this church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred to as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).
  3. Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.
  4. If there has been hurt, then forgive—even as you have been forgiven.

(HT: Tim Challies)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Adopted for Life

One of the best books I've ever read is Russell Moore's Adopted for Life.  Today on his blog, Moore reflects on the past ten years since he and his wife walked out of a Russian orphanage with their two boys.  He writes:

As I’ve written in the book, God used this experience to upend my whole life. He taught me much about his Fatherhood, much about the gospel, much about community, and much about the mission of the church. But people sometimes ask me, “In the years since, what have you learned about becoming a family through adoption?”

The main thing is that convictions forged there in the July heat of the former Soviet Union have only crystallized more. As the father of five now, some by that adoption and some by the more typical way, I’m as convinced as ever that adoption, into a family or into the Family of God, is “real.” There is no such thing in God’s economy as an “adopted child,” only a child who was adopted into the family. “Adopted” defines how you came into the household, but it doesn’t define you as some other sort of family member. In the Book of Romans, Paul defines all Christians, both Jew and Gentile, as having received a common “spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:15; 9:4).

I'd encourage you to check out the full post, where he talks some about the difficulties of adoption.  Also, as he does in the book, he writes about what the past ten years have taught him about the Church.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sanctification & Holiness

Here's a two-part discussion between two guys that God has used to teach me a lot about the Bible and the Gospel.  John Piper (pastor for preaching & vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, on the left) and Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, on the right) discuss sanctification & holiness.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lego Music Video

This is one of my new favorite music videos.  I can't resist a good song with Lego animation.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

NBA Nostalgia

It's been a looooooong time since I've posted anything on here, but I just had to post these videos I browsed tonight.  I've been a sports fan most of my life, especially basketball, and I've got the VHS tapes to prove it.  Lots of games on tape - from NCAA Final Fours to each game of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals to even some regular season college & pro games - and quite a few NBA store bought videos.  My favorite one was probably Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me, which my brother and I (and other Jordan fans we knew) had memorized word for word.  But battling for my next favorite were the first two videos in the NBA's Superstars series.  They featured highlights of different players set to a single song each.  I remember turning these on the TV, and then playing basketball with my brother or friends on the NERF hoop or adjustable (up to 6 feet in our basement) Dr. J. hoop.  Here are some of my favorite from those videos:

Friday, December 03, 2010

Don't Touch the QB

Just saw an story about Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid being bothered by Michael Vick being hit late. This quote stood out to me:
"That bothers me, that bothers me. He runs, but he is a quarterback, so you can't treat him like a running back. It concerns me," Reid said, adding, "I'll deal with the people I need to on that."
Sorry, Mr. Reid, but the moment he leaves the pocket and runs, you absolutely can treat him like a running back. If you don't want to get hit so much, I see two options: 1) Don't leave the pocket or, better yet, 2) Don't play tackle football.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Fate of Frozen Embryos

I started writing this post last July, but am only now getting around to publishing it:

My wife just pointed out an article in Parenting magazine entitled "The Fate of Frozen Embryos." If you haven't thought much about infertility & fertility treatments, now's the time to start. My hope is that you'll never struggle with infertility, but I also don't want anybody to make a short-sighted decision when they're blinded by pain & their emotions.

The story at hand is about the "tough decision" that couples going through IVF treatments face when creating embryos - "left over" embryos are generally frozen, and either saved for another attempt at pregnancy, donated to other infertile couples, donated to medical research, or frozen indefinitely (so they won't be "destroyed").

This whole industry of infertility bothers me. Just because we have the technology to do something doesn't mean we should. There are so many moral & ethical questions involved, and the industry tends to do what the abortion industry does, using clinical jargon to avoid dealing with facts and their implications.

According to the article, "Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics throughout the country." This word "embryo" gets thrown around like its a consumer good. If you're reading this, you were once an embroy. As was I. It's simply a stage of human development. I was an embryo, and a fetus, and an infant, and a toddler, and an adolescent, and now I'm an adult. Whether you want to try and medically or biologically define specific stages, they're all periods of human life.

Pro-life advocates rightly ask questions such as "Do you think it would be okay to kill an infant? How about a toddler?" In light of fertility clinics, I'd add "Do you think it would be okay to freeze an infant or toddler?"

I find some of the sentiments about the "left over" embryos in the article to be disturbing. Here are a few (I've left out the names, so know that the "shes" are not all the same woman):
When the time came to decide about the extras, she says, "I thought I was going to be calm and casual." And she was, until the first bill arrived to keep the embryos frozen. "I was petrified," she says. "There was no practical reason to keep them. I just wasn't ready to make the decision not to keep them." She paid the $600, hoping that her thoughts would crystallize as time passed. This year, she's paying the bill again.
"There was no practical reason to keep them." Was there a practical reason to create them? Was there a practical reason to pay $600 a year to keep them frozen when there's no practical reason to keep them?
She has a 2-year-old daughter -- and six frozen embryos. "I would love to have another baby, if I were younger -- I'm 40 -- and if money was not an object." She finds herself trapped in a mental loop; while she doesn't have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter, neither does she consider them anonymous laboratory tissue. And there's another wrinkle: One of the six embryos is biologically hers and her husband's; the other five were created with donor eggs and his sperm. "What do people do?" she asks. "You have all of these embryos in all of these labs. Are people going to keep doing what I'm doing and pay the $40 a month ad infinitum?"
"... she doesn't have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter ..." That's understandable - that's how we are as people. We're material beings and attach to people and things that we can see and interact with. But seeing is not believing. Do we have to see the suffering of people in places like Darfur to believe it? For it to be real?

On the option of donating embryos to other infertile couples:
"I couldn't take the thought of knowing I had another child," she says. "I knew my heart couldn't handle it. We're all better off not knowing."
On donating to medical research:
[Another woman] would have liked more children through in vitro, but complications from the birth of her twin girls two years ago left her unable to get pregnant again. She had five embryos left and spent more than a year reconciling her choices with her religious convictions. Those five clusters of cells forced her to think, almost daily, about how she defined life. She considers herself pro-life, so donating to another infertile couple felt natural. The more she and her husband thought about it, however, the more unsettled they became. The questions she had were too big to be left unanswered. She didn't know if she'd ever stop searching crowds for little girls who looked just like hers. "It's a life-altering decision," she says.

They eventually decided to donate the embryos for medical research, as a gesture of gratitude to a system that had given them their dreams. "We were ultimately still giving life, just not for those particular five embryos," she says.

Many couples find donating to research a middle ground that gives the embryos a status somewhere between born children and simple clumps of cells. Although the embryos will not survive, giving to science can be a very caring act, says Dr. Lyerly, who has studied the issues surrounding frozen embryos. Couples who donate to research, she says, "feel like they were helped by science and they want to give back."
That sounds like sacrificing to the modern day fertility gods.

Here's another option the article calls "Thawing Without Donating:"
Some couples find themselves unable to escape the shadows of infertility without allowing their embryos to pass on naturally and with respect. Dr. Lyerly knows of a few women who've found a doctor willing to perform a "compassionate transfer," implanting the embryos into the woman at a time pregnancy is unlikely -- envisioning it as a way to return the embryos to their keeping. Other couples want to perform a ceremony of some sort during the thawing and disposal to show their reverence.

Finally, I found this to be the most helpful quote of the whole article:
"I don't think anybody knows what their opinion is until they're in this situation,"
I couldn't agree with that more. But I think that's because people don't think about it until or unless they're in this situation. Which is why I urge to you think about it now, before you find yourself in the middle of a situation that seems like there's no such thing as a good option.

Quotes and a Question

Both posted recently by Josh Harris:

"The best thing is neither to seek nor avoid troubles but to follow Christ and take the bitter with the sweet as it may come. Whether we are happy or unhappy at any given time is not important. That we be in the will of God is all that matters. We may safely leave with him the incident of heartache or happiness. He will know how much we need of either or both." - A.W. Tozer, We Travel an Appointed Way, page 80.

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,

but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
- Proverbs 13:20 ESV

If you counted websites, television shows, and musical artists as companions, would you say you're walking with the wise or the foolish?

All Things TSA

Maybe I'll get an extra special full body search next time I fly just for posting this. Here are a couple of good articles written about TSA security:
  • The Things He Carried: Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease.
  • Don't Touch My Junk: The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy.
I'm hoping the American people, government, and airlines all wake up and realize that the TSA does a much better job wasting the people's time & money than they do making them safer.

(HT: Challies)

Why I'm Ungrateful

Here's a good post from Russell Moore. Here's how he starts:

“If I hear the word ‘Daddy’ again, I’m going to scream!”

I heard myself saying those words. And, in my defense, it was loud around here. I was trying to work on something, and all I could hear were feet pounding down the stairs with four boys competing with one another to tell me one thing after another. I just wanted five minutes of silence.

My vocal chords were still vibrating when an image hit my brain. It was the picture of me, on my face, praying for children. The house was certainly quiet then. And in those years of infertility and miscarriage and seemingly unanswered prayers, I would have given anything to hear steps on that staircase. I feared I would never hear the word “Daddy,” ever, directed to me. Come to think of it, I even wrote a book about the Christian cry of “Abba, Father.”

Read the full thing here.