Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
As I was first reading the story, I was outraged. I'm sick of the "politically correct" society we live in, where you can believe or say anything you want, unless it offends somebody. What kind of freedom of religion exists in this country if a Navy chaplain is not allowed to teach the Truth?
But last night I was forced to take a step back and look at this story with a new perspective. We are going through the book of Acts in Bible study, and as I brought up this chaplain's story last night, my mind went back to chapter 5. Here, we are told of the persecution the apostles faced at the hands of the high priest, the Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin. They are imprisoned for preaching the gospel of salvation through the crucifixion & resurrection of Christ. Then they are freed by an angel, in order that thay may continue their preaching. The next day, they are brought in again, and are flogged and released, being ordered "not to speak in the name of Jesus." The last two verses of the chapter are what gave me new perspective:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 5:41-42, NIV)The apostles had just been imprisoned and flogged. What is their reaction? Are they grumbling and complaining about injustice? No! They are rejoicing! Why? Because "they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name" of Jesus Christ! It was this very persecution that helped spread the gospel. Why should I be surprised that things haven't changed that much? The Name of Christ, and His crucifixion & resurrection, is still a stumbling block & foolishness to the world, but it is also still the power of God and the wisdom of God to those whom God has called.
Don't forget that God is in control, and that suffering & persecution are often His tools for spreading the glory of His grace. It is my prayer that we would be able to say with the apostle Paul, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philippians 3:8) Likewise, let us "rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:3-5)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
At Battlefield Mall in Springfield, Missouri, this bandana violated the code of conduct. A security guard approached the person wearing it and informed the person that it constituted "apparel which is likely to provide a disturbance or embroil other groups or the general public in open conflict." The person who had the gall to wear such an obscene article of clothing? A 10-year old girl who was shopping with her mom. Nice to know the rent-a-cops at this mall are looking out for us.
Despite the fact that Congressman Westmoreland cannot name all ten of the commandments, he still knows that they belong in public courthouses nationwide. Brought to you by The Colbert Report.
(HT: Vitamin Z)
Dan Doriani, former professor at Covenant Seminary, describes further irony and unintended truth in his article, Shouting at the Cross. Some excerpts:
(HT: Vitamin Z)
“What then shall I do with Jesus, called the Christ?” Pilate asked. “Crucify him,” they replied. “What crime has he committed?” he asked. They did not reply, but shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Pilate finally said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. I wash my hands. I am free of responsibility for this man’s blood; it is yours.” And they said, “We’ll take it. Let his blood be on us and on our children.”
We shudder at the words. We shudder at the shout. They called down upon themselves the guilt for slaying the very Son of God. Surely, we are at the apex of the rebellion of the Jews: they accused their Messiah; they slaughtered their Mediator; they murdered Jesus, the Prophet, the Priest, the King, their only hope. Yet, even in this dreadful shout, “Let His blood be on us and on our children,” Matthew intends to give us a word of hope. The Jews have spoken an unintended truth, the first of many in this passage. Because, indeed, their only hope is that His blood would cover them–not so they would pay the price for murder, but so that they would be freed from the penalty of murder....
The priests are also close to the truth, all unintended, when they say, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself.” Again, it is true, though not as they think. He did save others, and now He would save yet more. He will even leave the cross. But He could not leave at that moment, or He would not have completed His work on the cross....
Who are you in the aftermath of this great exchange? Are you shocked into silence? Do you feel the need to whisper? There is a place for those hushed tones but there is also a place for us to lay aside our whispering and join with the creation and those men and women who had eyes to see and to shout rightly, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.” But now this shout is not to mock but to be cleansed by His blood. Now is the time to shout out in adoration, “He saved others, but He did not save himself. And because He did not save Himself, He saves us. Praise Him!”
Thursday, June 22, 2006
- The average CEO daily paycheck: $42,000.
- The average worker made about $400 less last year than the average CEO made in one day.
- The average CEO made 262 times what the average worker made.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
... Actual quote from my mom last week: "What about that Wayne Dwayne?"Some good questions regarding Shaq's free throw woes:
... The crazy thing about Shaq's free-throw shooting is that, fundamentally, he's always been completely wrong. Shaq shoots his free throws like line drives. Well, that makes no sense. Imagine you're trying to throw a rolled-up piece of paper into a garbage can -- instinctively, would you throw it with a Nowitzki-like arc, or would you whip it in a straight line at the can? You'd throw it with the arc. Everyone would. So why would Shaq continue to whip straight line drives at the rim for 14 consecutive years? Have we ever definitively answered this question?This one's for any die-hard NBA or Chicago Bulls fans. And by die-hard Bulls fans, I mean Bulls fans, not Michael Jordan fans.
The NBA doesn't fix games. That's impossible. And stupid. It could never happen. (Well, except for the Hubert Davis game -- that was fixed. Just kidding. Kind of.)And an email from a reader:
I want to say something about Dwayne Wade, but I fear I may get called for a foul.Sports leagues are always full of copycats, but the NBA seems to be the worst. How many players have been labeld "the Next Jordan"? Off the top of my head - Harold Miner, Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter. I'll stop there. The NBA reached its peak in the mid '80s with the Lakers & Celtics. Sure, Magic Johnson & Larry Bird were the big stars, but both had outstanding supporting casts that made those teams incredible. They weren't four guys standing around watching one guy do it all, they were 5 guys who were basketball players, not just athletes, who worked together on both ends of the court.
Then Jordan came along and amazed us all with his individual talent. And somehow, looking back, we seem to forget that it wasn't until he made a concerted effort to make his teammates better that the Bulls started winning championships. Or that he had some underrated supporting casts, led by Scottie Pippen, that filled out good teams.
But ever since then, the NBA's marketing machine has decided that individuals make more money for the league than teams, and organizations have followed suit, trying to build teams around a "superstar" - even if that means throwing four one-dimensional thugs on the floor with the hope of uglying up the game to the point where the superstar can bail the team out.
Minneapolis mayor R.T Rybak said, "Vulnerable people have always needed to see the police as being there to protect and serve, and that can't happen when the first words out of a cop's mouth are, 'I need to see your papers.' " Okay, Mr. Rybak. Sure, the police are there to serve and protect (but not just "vulnerable" people). I guess I was always under the assumption that those protections paid for by taxpayers were for taxpayers (i.e. citizens, or legal immigrants), not illegal aliens.
Here's a sampling of what some cities have done in response to the request of cooperation from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
• The Minneapolis City Council voted in 2003 to prevent police from asking about immigration status or enforcing immigration laws. Last month, Mayor R.T. Rybak asked federal agents to stop wearing vests labeled "police." The agents have not altered their wardrobes.I think it's great that not only do we have judges taking the law into their own hands, but now we have city councils, hospitals, and mayors doing the same. Isn't it fantastic? I'm sure this is exactly how the founding fathers intended for the three branches of the goverment to work.
• Last month, New York City's Health and Hospitals Corp. distributed an open letter promising immigrants that its workers "will not tell anyone" their legal status.
• The Chicago City Council voted in March to bar police and city workers from asking about legal status.
A couple of quotes:
...the most basic practical division among evangelical pastors today may be between those who pursue faithfulness and assume relevance and those who pursue relevance and assume faithfulness.(HT: No Other Name)
...the first generation has the Gospel, the second generation assumes the Gospel, the third generation loses the Gospel.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
You can listen to a clip through iTunes.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
The full story of the A-Team can be found here. Some details have been slightly altered, and most of the names have been changed. Just remember: "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."
Oh, and Jeremy D - this is for you.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
And some questions within a question:
Question No. 9a: On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for the possibility of Stern handing the trophy to Cuban?
Somewhere between 29 and 35.
Question No. 9b: Is there any chance that Jason Kapono and Keith Van Horn could end up guarding each other in this series while Mike Doleac looks on happily from the bench?
Because so many of these guys shave their heads, it's 10 times harder to tell when they're slipping. After all, Shaq doesn't look any different than he did 10 years ago. Neither does GP. Hell, even Michael Jordan doesn't look much different then he did 15 years ago, save for the wispy mustache that makes him look like he should be playing the sax for Eddie and the Cruisers, and he's in his mid-40s. You just can't tell. Personally, I wish everyone grew their hair out -- wouldn't you rather see Sam Cassell battling these younger guys with one of those Gus Williams-esque balding afros, or Shaq carrying the Heat past the Pistons with Sherman Helmsley's old hairline? And why does this only work for black people? Why can't I just start shaving my head and immediately become ageless? I find the whole thing very unfair.
For an actual news story, read here. For what appears to be a U.K. tabloid, which has pictures of the incident, go here.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I can't wait until a Democrat wins the presidency, and we get to hear the Republican crybabies spew their hate-mongering rhetoric against him (or her?). Seriously, aren't we all about equal opportunity?
Monday, June 05, 2006
The Iowa City Press-Citizen's Andy Hamilton summed it up well: "Drew Tate's golfing skills won him a new car Friday. His football talent took it away." Read Hamilton's story here.
- A 25-year-old high school Spanish teacher in Texas faces up to 20 years in jail for allegedly having sex with an 18-year-old student. Story here.
- A 32-year-old A.P. History teacher in California faces 7 various counts of "relations" with a 17-year-old student. Story here. (Special thanks to Monica Krauth for letting us know Coach Ichord's basketball coaching record. That's relevant.)
- John Kerry calls the President a criminal and a looter. Story here.
- New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi tells us that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it." Story here. But seriously, thanks for the apology, Alan. It means a lot.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
The following lyrics are from a Steven Curtis Chapman song titled "I Am Found In You."
The sun sinks low, and here I goYou can listen to a clip of the song through Windows Media Player, Real Player, or iTunes.
Wrestling with questions that refuse an answer
This path of faith can be a place
So barren of what I understand
I can hear the voice of fear
Saying, “Let me show you another way”
So I cry out, “My Lord Jesus!
It’s in Your love for me I find all that I need”
So where else could I turn
And where else could I go
You have given me life
You have made me whole
You have rescued my soul
So where else could I go
For I am found in You
I may not see in front of me
But I can see for miles when I look over my shoulder
And Lord it’s clear, You’ve brought me here
So faithful every step of the way
What can I do, but follow You
For You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
And You’ve promised never to leave me
My Savior, my Friend, from beginning to end
Lord, without You this child would be so lost
But I’ve been found in You, now I am bound to You
By the love that You’ve shown, it will not let me go
Friday, June 02, 2006
Question No. 4: What triggered Hubie Brown's incredible decision to announce the entire playoffs in the second-person?
You have to look at it this way. You are Hubie Brown. You have done everything you could EVER imagine in this league. You KNOW that you are done with coaching, and you KNOW that your broadcasting career is coming to an end soon. You know that your legacy will live on through ESPN Classic, through basketballreference.com and through your proteges spread throughout the college and pro ranks, of which you have MANY. You know that you need to take a sabbatical soon to work on your upcoming book, "The 750 Greatest Timeouts From the Past 35 Years." Now ... you know there is only one accomplishment left for you -- you need to sustain the second-person on live television for TWO months. You know this is a long time. You also know that you cannot waver from this goal, because it could be your legacy. ...
Question No. 5: Have there been any other broadcasting breakthroughs?
I'm not sure if this is a breakthrough, but Jeremy from Portland raises a pretty good point: "Doug Collins dominates the 'You can't give a struggling shooter a layup to get him going' market as thoroughly as Kenny Loggins dominated 1980s movie songs. One time Steve Kerr got there first, and it was like Loggins losing out to Lindsey Buckingham for the 'Vacation' theme in 1983. Now, imagine Doug Collins belting out 'Meet Me Halfway' at a karaoke bar."
Thursday, June 01, 2006
May the truth of God and the sweetness of His Word hold a place in our hearts above anything this world has to offer.
Swing Away: Avoid workers who delay the game by refusing to swing unless the pitch is right in their wheelhouse. Billy Beane is not your CEO -- on-base percentage might be all important in the Oakland Athletics organization, but not in yours. The sort of people who work the count in softball are exasperating slaves to detail and will go directly to the union rep whenever you ask them to do anything that isn't specifically covered in the contract language. There's a phrase among Caribbean ballplayers: You don't walk off the island. Tell these troublemakers that you don't walk into the Fortune 500, either.
(Corollary: Players who tell the women batters to take a walk are even worse. They're sexual harassment suits waiting to be filed.)
A while back I posted on the four Taylor University students who were killed in an auto accident. One of the girls in the car survived but went into a coma.
Now Taylor University has issued this statement:
This morning, we learned from the Grant County Coroner's Office that there has been a case of mistaken identity involving two of the young women involved in the accident. We had believed that Laura VanRyn was airlifted to Parkview Hospital and has recently begun to emerge from the coma she was in since the night of the accident. The Coroner's office has notified us that Laura was instead one of the five people who died that evening and that it was Whitney Cerak who was airlifted to Parkview and is today convalescing at a hospital in Grand Rapids, MI.
One can only imagine what impact this new development has had upon the VanRyn and Cerak families as they process this information. Taylor University is cooperating fully with the Coroner's Office.
We ask that prayers be offered for the VanRyn and Cerak families, and also for the families of Laurel Erb, Monica Felver, Brad Larson, Betsy Smith, as well as the Taylor Community including students, faculty, staff and administrators deeply affected by this development.
The family of Laura has been keeping a blog, providing updates. This afternoon, they posted this entry:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebwrews 13:8
What may come to us as a shock, does not shock the One who made us. We have some hard news to share with you today. Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor student of hers, Whitney Cerak. There was a misidentification made at the time of the accident and it is uncanny the resemblence that these two women share. Their body types are similar, their hair color and texture, their facial features, etc. Over the past couple of days, as Whitney had been becoming more aware of her surroundings, she'd been saying and doing some things that made us question whether or not she was Laura. Yesterday, we talked with a Spectrum staff member and began the process of making a positive ID. We now know without a doubt, that this is Whitney.
The Cerak family came down from Gaylord and we had the privelege of meeting with them this morning. While we discussed some of the action steps that will need to take place over the next couple of days, we were also able to share with them some of the great things we have seen Whitney accomplish over the past month. It is a sorrow and a joy for us to learn of this turn of events. For us, we will mourn Laura's going home and will greatly miss her compassionate heart and sweetness while knowing that she is safe and with her King forever. We rejoice with the Ceraks, that they will have more time on this earth with their daughter, sister, and loved one.
We also want to thank you for your prayers for our family as well as the other families during these past few weeks. Your love and support have been amazing. It is our hope that the Cerak's would continue this blog in Whitney's name so that we may continue to pray with them for Whitney as she recovers. Please continue to check this site and we will let you know about this possibility.
We will also use this site to communicate our plans for a memorial service for Laura. Hopefully, this service will take place this coming Sunday.
Thanks again for the support that you've been. Please continue your prayers. Our God is good and continues to be our help, our guide, our comfort.
We love you Sweets.
Posted by Lisa, for the Van Ryn family.
Please pray for these families--both going through different emotions of deep joy and deep sorrow.
The Fort Wayne newspaper has a fuller story on how this happened.
The families have issued a joint statement.
I am filled with great sorrow for the VanRyn's loss, yet great joy in their response. What an amazing God we have that enables us to praise Him in times of sorrow.