Saturday, July 29, 2006

Happy Day

My birthday was last week, and some of my family was able to stop by the house to celebrate with me. When my brother came with his nearly two-year-old daughter, he prompted her to tell me "Happy Birthday." Between her ears, mind, and mouth, it came out as "Happy Day." Later, as she was "reading" my card, she proclaimed, "Happy Day! Amen!"

Today as my wife and I were in the car, we were listening to the random selection of music on my iPod. One of the songs was from the movie Sister Act 2, O Happy Day. My wife mimicked our niece by saying, "Happy Day," and it made me smile from ear to ear. Not just remembering how cute our niece is, but in making the connection between the "childish" birthday greeting and the profound "day" spoken of in the song: "Oh happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away."

Amen, indeed!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Death of Compassion

What is going on in our world? These three stories stuck out to me recently, all having to do with homeless people.

Story #1. The City Council of Las Vegas has made it illegal to feed homeless people in city parks. Why? "Residents complained that the large numbers of homeless gathering in Las Vegas' parks make it impossible for others to use them, said city spokesman David Riggleman." Has the problem of homelessness become merely an inconvenience for the rest of society?

Story #2. Deja vu all over again. This time, city officials in Orlando have followed suit, banning charitable groups from feeding the homeless in downtown parks. This came in response to "
complaints from business owners and residents that homeless people were causing problems at a downtown park popular with joggers and dog walkers."

How big of a safety problem do homeless people present? Enough that we throw any sense of compassion out the window?

Story #3. This comes from our friends in Paris. Last December, a group called "Doctors of the World" began distributing tents to homeless people, in part to make the problem of homelessness more visible. But now, saying that the tents are "
unsanitary and dangerous," city officials want them removed, or at least moved. According to the story, "Doctors of the World says it will take down one tent for every permanent housing option provided by the government." Graciela Robert, who heads the group's homeless mission, says, "We never said that tents were the solution, but a tent is better than the sidewalk."

Eric Creuly, who's been homeless since losing his job last year, said, "I realize they can't just come up with 1,000 new lodgings, just like that, but are we supposed to believe anyone is really trying? I'm tired of all this talk."

I think many of us are tired of all the talk our governments do, without providing any real plans or solutions. It seems like they just want the problem to go away - they have some ideas of what ideally should happen, but no real desire or vision to make it happen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Kickin' It Old School With DCT

This song continues to be one of my favorites, even fifteen years after it's release as the final track on dc Talk's inital release, which had a rap/hip-hop flavor. The music may not hold up over time, but the words are timeless:
"He Loves Me"

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
All of us to Him belong
We are so weak, but our God—He is strong

As I sit and ponder I begin to wonder why
God would send His only Son upon this earth to die
The conviction of my heart brings a tear to my eye
And keep reality far from me, I just want to hide
Christ endured such cruelty for a sinner like me
He paid the price when He died for me on Calvary’s tree
I once was blind, but now my eyes clearly see
The sacrifice Christ became for you and me
Because Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Word of God tells me so
All of us to Him belong, it’s true
That we are weak, yet He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
For the Bible tells me so

He will stand by like no other man
Two sets of footprints within the sand
But at times looking back one is all I see
These are the days that He carried me
He has proven His love time and again
Pulled my from the fire, a result of my sin
Compare where I am now to where I might have been
Get on my knees just to praise Him again and again
Thank You for loving me, it’s undeserved
It doesn’t make sense, I mean the picture is blurred
I’m the one that owes the debt, but You paid my price
Now Jesus Christ, I owe You my life

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Oh, yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so

Now that I can see it, will the life I lead change
It’s kinda strange we make decisions when they’re out of our range
But in day to day living, we tend to give up
On commitments that were made before life got tough
With compromise in our eyes and pressure from peers
We renege on a decision that we once held so dear
But let’s try to keep sight of this vision foreseen
Hold tight day and night beyond the point of a dream
Because Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Word of God, it tells me so
Everyone of us to Him belong, it’s true
We are so weak, yet He is so strong

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Oh, yes, my Jesus loves me
For the Bible tells me so

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Faith & Baseball

The Atlanta Braves are hosting a series of "Faith Days" where they will be having post-game events (requiring a separate ticket) featuring concerts by Christian bands (including Aaron Schust & Jeremy Camp) and current & former Braves players John Smoltz, Chris Reitsma, and Sid Bream will speak of their testimonies of faith. See the press release here.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article (may require signing up for a free login) about how this idea came about. An accompanying blog is full of comments answering the question "Okay with Faith Day?"

Some of the responses that caught my eye:

- I am excited about the Faith Days! In the U.S. today, political correctness has taken over. Organizations are overly concerned with offending somebody. I am glad to see the Braves make a positive statement here in the Bible Belt. They are not worried about the beer they sell or the clothes some of the female employees wear offending someone. If a person does not want to see the concert or hear the speaker, they have every right to leave.

- If the Braves had a day to honor athiesm, judiasm or islam, holier than thou Christians would be the first to cry foul.
They only want their religion promoted. If I want some “churchin’”, I’ll go to church.

- I think its great! Its about time. I’m suprised that the liberal left wing aol time warner would allow this. But none the less, I am excited to hear about this. I am hoping it leads more people to Christ.

-Bleh. It appalls me that major business interests have become brazen enough to exploit mainstream religion to make a buck, and, even more so, that any so-called Christian would endorse it. Isn’t anything sacred anymore?
Baseball should be about baseball, not God.

- This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! The Braves are so bad that they can’t get people to fill the seats so they invite religious fanatics? Religion has NO place in pro sports. I don’t wanna see pre-game prayer meetings, I don’t wanna see thanking God or Jesus after the game. I don’t care! It’s not appropriate and Selig should step in and say ok-nice try but this is the majors. We don’t do things like this where we discriminate blatently against certain groups of people. This is not Bumble**, GA. This is Atlanta! Get a clue Braves!!

- People are indeed connecting God with baseball, as though they were indeed inseperable. But alas—the poor rednecks need to understand that it’s just a game.

And two more, first rather interesting, the second rather encouraging (or maybe even convicting?):
1. Religion should be an intensely private, meaningful experience, not a public “Who’s The Christianest Christian?” exhibition at Turner Field. Evangelicals, take note: You’re not helping your Judgement Day chances by screaming your faith from the rooftops — you’re just embarrassing yourselves.

2. Every day of a believer's life should be a faith day.

Friday, July 21, 2006


A couple of interesting articles about family. First up, a crazy story about a 25-year old woman who is suing her parents for more than $75,000 for an injury she sustained on a trip to surprise her mother on her birthday. The thing that surprised me the most? On a related survey, only 87% of over 50,000 respondents said they would definitely not sue their parents in a similar situation.

The second story comes from the United Kingdom's Daily Mail. A study of nearly 5,000 people showed that "A typical working parent spends just 19 minutes a day looking after their children." A reader posted this comment: "I didn't have children for them to be brought up by someone else."

Straitjacket Please!

The following was posted by Joe Carter at the World magazine blog:
The Planned Parenthood clinic in El Paso, Texas has started a new program aimed at helping crack cocaine and injecting drug users who might not be ready to quit. “Safety Counts” offers free bleach kits with sterile water and cotton pellets to clean off syringes, and mouth pieces for crack pipes. "Let's be realistic if you don't want to stop, if you can't stop what's the best thing? Prevention. Being safe," said Mary Atilano the program coordinator.
Sweet! Now I only have one-stop to make to have a weekend full of safe sex and safe recreational drug use! What's next? Free silencers for gun-toting gang members?

(HT: The Blazing Fire)


Here is an incredible summary of a pro-choice debate, courtesy of Albert Mohler. In it, Katha Pollitt, whom Mohler describes as "a fire-brand liberal who serves as a regular columnist for The Nation, one of America's most influential journals of liberal opinion," has a couple of dandy quotes:
...she warned that abortion might soon "join obesity and smoking as unacceptable behavior in polite society."
"The trouble with thinking in terms of zero abortions is that you make abortion so hateful you do the antichoicers' work for them. You accept that the zygote/embryo/fetus has some kind of claim to be born."
and one more:
"I do not think terminating a pregnancy is wrong. A potential person is not a person, any more than an acorn is an oak tree. I don't think women should have to give birth just because a sperm met an egg. I think women have the right to consult their own wishes, needs, and capacities and produce only loved, wanted children they can care for--or even no children at all. I think we would all be better off as a society if we respected women's ability to make these decisions for themselves and concentrated on caring well for the born. There is certainly enough work there to keep us all very busy."
Personally, I think we would all be better off as a society if we took responsibility for our own actions, and thought of the potential consequences - good or bad - of our decisions before making them.

If you have the time, you should really read the whole article.

(HT: The Blazing Fire)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Taco Bell

I've had a few comments recently about Rob Bell's "Bullhorn Guy" Nooma video. I echo many of the sentiments stated in those comments, but don't feel the need to throw in my 2 cents. In case you couldn't tell before, I think through reading many of my posts it's become quite evident that I'm a pretty cynical guy. I like being that way for the most part - I like questioning things - but sometimes it devolves so far into criticism that I forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. In short, I have a tendency to point out the speck in my brother's eye while the plank remains in my own.

With that being said, I decided to read up a little bit on Rob to try to get to know him a little better. Following are links to some articles/interviews, and some selected excerpts.

From an article in everybody's favorite newspaper, the New York Times: (see, more cynicism!)
At his own church and in his videos, Mr. Bell avoids controversial topics like same-sex marriage, abortion rights and school prayer, and in his talk here he offhandedly dismissed "any spiritual institution that says you should vote a certain way."

Explaining afterward, he said: "It's against what Jesus had in mind when it becomes about how much power we can have as a voting bloc. ..."
Ever since college, I've been annoyed with the perception that the Republican party is the "Christian" party. However, I don't see a real need to avoid "controversial" topics. I don't think we should be stating absolute "Jesus would say ..." statements, but I think good, open, honest discussion & debate is good - it forces you to think about what you believe and why you believe it.

A comment from a listener:
"It's more like Jesus' teaching than the church's teaching," said Mr. Beh, adding: "I loved that there was beer available. The church needs to go more in that direction, more culture-friendly rather than sectarian, or dividing people."
If only more churches allowed people to get drunk. But in all seriousness, this man's last statement reminds me of a recent discussion I read about faithfulness vs. relevance - sometimes in our attempts to be "more culture-friendly" and draw new people to church, the Truth of the Gospel gets watered down, or even lost along the way.

From a Christianity Today article concerning the "emerging church":
Bell is almost certainly the only pastor to have begun a megachurch-planting career with a sermon series from the book of Leviticus.
That's pretty interesting. I'd like to give those a listen/read.
"Swords appear strong," Bell says, "but they're actually quite weak. Jesus appears weak, but he's actually quite strong." Inviting his congregation to embrace weakness, referring to Paul's words about his own infirmity in 2 Corinthians, Bell takes up a refrain: "Weak is the new strong."
From 2 Corinthians 12:9: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
"This is not just the same old message with new methods," Rob says. "We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don't deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don't speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God."
I don't quite know what to say about that. Is this supposed to be some sort of "Zen-Christianity?" I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the authors of the books of the New Testament might have something to say in response to "Legal metaphors for faith don't deliver a way of life."
"The Bible is still in the center for us," Rob says, "but it's a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it."
One of the things I remember most from my Theology professor in college was him telling us to be able to live with unanswered questions, to be able to hold apparently contradictory Biblical truths in tension. But I'm also drawn to Paul's words in 1 Corinthians - "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. ... we have the mind of Christ."
"People don't get it," [Bell said]. "They think it's about style. But the real question is: What is the gospel?"

That question, of course, is not new. It was asked by, among others, a devout young German monk named Martin Luther who found church increasingly dissatisfying. His answer, rooted in Scripture, changed the direction of Christian history at a moment of epochal cultural change.

It is my prayer that all of our questioning about God and the gospel drive us hard into Scripture, not to any post-modern, politically correct, "tolerant" psychobabble.

From an interview with Christianity Today:
"Jesus is Jewish. I thought he was Christian. So then I started reading. Jesus taught about himself with Moses—the Torah—and the Prophets. It drove me crazy. I thought, There must be a whole world of stuff in there that I'm missing. And there was. There are thousands and thousands of pages of ancient writings that Christians are oblivious to."
I find it easy to skim over the Old Testament, forgetting that the whole book is about God's redemptive plan through Christ. But there's so much there - from prophecy to foreshadowing - that helps us to understand Jesus and the New Testament better.
"Jesus had faith in his disciples. Then he says to them, 'Now you go and make more disciples. I'm out of here.' That's how a rabbi worked. A rabbi only chose disciples he believed in."
Here's a reminder of my introduction to Bell. I basically said it before, but I'll say it again - Matthew 28:19-20 - "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (emphasis added) And Luke 24:49 - "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
"A lot of Christian preaching isn't really seriously about story. I don't want to conquer mystery. I want to celebrate it. And in the modern era we have 'Seven Steps to Prayer,' 'Four Steps to Financial—whatever.'' Those all, I assume, have their place.

"But what often happens is God gets shrunk down in the process. In the effort to boil things down, God gets boiled down. And there have to be spaces where mystery is simply celebrated.

"The true orthodox faith is deeply mysterious, and every question that's answered leads to a new set of questions. A lot of preaching tries to answer everything. At the end of the sermon, people walk out with no more questions."
I'm pretty much with him there - in particular with all the books. We like to say that the Bible is a "guidebook for life" but we also like to write & read books that are quick self-help guides themselves. How about searching Scripture for the Truth it contains? How about the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer's heart and implanting the Word there?
"Kierkegaard talks about faith in fear and trembling as absolutely necessary for there to be real faith. It's easy to say, 'Just believe. You got all the facts.' But it doesn't work that way.

"Two weeks ago I sponsored a 'Doubt Night.' I said, 'I want to talk about my own doubts about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation, faith. And if you have some, bring them. Write them down and pass them forward, we'll read them and we'll see what happens.' We had a huge box—you would not believe—and I just started going through them, reading them and discussing them. It was so awesome."

We all have fears & doubts, don't we? What do we do with them - do we hide them behind a facade of bravado & certainty, or do we run with them into our Father's arms and into His Word? Do we discuss them with our brothers & sisters?

"Sometimes I hear people say, 'The church isn't here to entertain.' To entertain means to hold people's attention, which is clearly something teachers throughout the Scriptures are doing. They engage and capture attention.

"But we're not here to amuse. To 'a-muse' means to 'not think.' And it's wrong to prevent people from pondering or distract them from thinking. I'm not here to amuse. But of course I want to engage people. I have something to say."

I'm entertained by a good sermon - not by amusing stories, but by good Biblical teaching which makes me think and encourages my faith.
"I use a lot of props and visuals. People are like, 'You use your props and stuff. I'm just into biblical preaching.' Well, find me a person in the Scriptures who doesn't use visuals. Jesus said, 'Look at those birds, look at the tree.'
"But—props can never be a substitute for having something to say. It's easy to become Prop Guy or Video Clip Woman, but not have said anything. It has to start with something to say."
And what are we going to say?

From another interview, this one with
"I affirm orthodox Christian faith. I affirm the Nicene Creed."
Finally, some sense of doctrinal belief.
"For many people the message of Jesus was presented as an individual message of salvation for their own individual sin: 'Jesus died for you.' I affirm that wholeheartedly, but in the scriptures, its scope goes in the opposite direction. It begins with the Jesus who dies on the cross and rises from the dead. But as the New Testament progresses, you have writers saying that 'by his shed blood he is reconciling everything in heaven and on earth.' Peter says in Acts, 'He will return to restore everything.'

"So it is a giant thing that God is doing here and not just the forgiveness of individuals. It is the reconciliation of all things. It is the putting back together of the whole universe how God originally intended it to be. One way to look at it is that the message is an invitation into God’s giant, global universal purposes that 'I' actually get to be a part of."

"I’m trying to get the focus where the first Christians seem to have had the focus. It is easy for it to become a very selfish thing—'look what I’ve got'—as opposed to 'by the grace of God look at this amazing thing that he’s been inviting people into for thousands of years.' And that is quite an awe-inspiring, amazing thing."
This reminded me of Romans 8:18-23: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
"It has been a gradual realization that at the center of the Christian church for thousands of years has been this risen Christ who invites people to trust him; trust him with life, trust him with death, trust him with sin, trust him with future, trust him with hope, trust him with every day. And that this risen Christ transcends dogma and theological systems and denominations and world views.

"... over the years I’ve found that everything but the risen Christ fails. It doesn’t deliver."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

For Your Viewing Pleasure

On our drive home from work today, my wife made the observation that I've been blogging too much about the bird flu. Well, this may just be the last bird flu entry. I'm not sure anything can top this:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Good News for Addicts

"Experts" at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria have good news for chocoholics - you know, people addicted to chocohol. Read here to find more about possible melt-proof chocolate.


You may have heard about the comments between President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G-8 summit. You can read the transcript here. My favorite part:
Bush: ...Not Coke, diet Coke. Russia’s big and so is China. Yo, Blair. What are you doing? Are you leaving?

: No, not yet.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Redeemer Lives

For this installment of song lyrics, I'm going back to Promise Keepers. One of the songs we sang both days was a surprise to me. When I was in college, I went to a weekend conference and was exposed for the first time to a man named C.J. Mahaney. I had never heard of him before, and had no idea what to expect. I was soon exposed to the most passionate, biblical teaching of God's sovereign grace that I had ever heard. At one point during the weekend, Mahaney distributed CDs to those in attendance of music put together by Sovereign Grace Ministries. The CD I received that weekend became one of my favorites, but I had never heard any of the songs anywhere else - not in church or on the radio - until last weekend. Below are the lyrics to "Before the Throne":
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God
I highly recommend checking out some of the music samples & lyrics offered at Sovereign Grace's website.


I came across a link to one of Rob Bell's Nooma videos. Check out "Bullhorn Guy." I'd be interested in any comments you have after watching it. I'll post my thoughts later.

(HT: Vitamin Z)

Tour de France

I'd like to see Lance Armstrong take this bike on the Tour de France, or on RAGBRAI, for that matter:

One of my friends just pointed these bikes out to me - he worked for Rowbike for a while during his college years, and he has one of his own. Check out to see the bike in action.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

PK - The Final Chapter

Gary Rosberg was the last speaker today at Promise Keepers. Wow did he deliver. He spoke on Galatians 5:13 - "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." He spoke of the power of the Holy Spirt and our Lord Jesus Christ in freeing us from the bondage of sin, and using us to serve others.

He also had a statement and a question that I thought were good for us to hear. First, the statement:
"I don't want to hear your message if your wife doesn't want to hear your message."
And the question:
"Is your wife more like Jesus because of you or in spite of you?"

PK Part 2

After my quick entry last night about PK, I wanted to add the following quote from the Nooma video, which was printed in the conference handbook:
"Faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus' faith in us? I mean he must have faith in us because he leaves it all in the hands of these disciples."
Oh really, Rob? So why does Jesus tell his disciples "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) if it's all in their hands?

Friday, July 07, 2006

PK Letdown

I just got home from the first night of Promise Keepers, and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Most of the night was good - most of the teaching and the music were worshipful, Christ-centered, and God glorifying. But the last message of the night came from a Nooma video of Rob Bell titled "Dust." In it he talks about Peter walking on the water, and goes into the Jewish history of discipleship. When he finally brings it back around to Peter, he tells us that Peter fell not because of his doubt in Jesus, but because of his doubt in himself. Bell says, "Believing in God is important, but what about God believing in us?" I don't know about you, but I get uncomfortable, in a bad way, when I hear people start sentences with "Believing in God is important, but ..." or "Faith in Christ is important, but ..." I don't know much (very little, actually) about Rob Bell, but I was extremely disappointed at this Norman Vincent Peale/Crystal Cathedral-esque watering down of the gospel to self-help psychology. Give me the apostle Paul, who preached "... Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

New York Times

Powerline shares the following . . . .

Lt. Tom Cotton writes this morning from Baghdad with a word for the New York Times:

Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)

Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,

Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

And just in case you think Tom Cotton is a fictional person, read here.

(HT: The Blazing Fire)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bird Flu in Outer Space?

Yahoo! news tells the story of bird droppings on the Discovery space shuttle that survived the launch and made their way into space. A word of warning to the astronauts - don't be a hero. Heed the advice from Glenn Beck's bird flu PSA: "Try your very best; don't touch or ingest bird feces."

Digital Music

Seeking to cash in on one of their few untapped market segments, Microsoft has announced plans to release a digital music & video player, to rival Apple's iPod, by Christmas. According to a USA Today article, "The new player, which Microsoft has been touting to record companies in the last few weeks, will let users download music and videos over the air, according to one source, a feature which would give it an edge over the iPod."

If I were a gambling man, I'd put some serious green down in order to bet that Apple will release a new iPod with similar (if not better) wireless capability by the end of the year.

Deep Thoughts

A CNN article asks a tough moral question: Is it OK for doctors and parents to tell children and teens they're fat? My 2 cents? Only if it's the truth.

Sell it on eBay!

Take a look at this picture. What do you suppose is happening here? My first thought? That this guy had found an ancient fossil in his yard. Nope. He didn't find that piece of bone in his yard. ... It fell off his head! Last October, 25-year-old electrician Sambhu Roy was electrocuted and nearly killed while repairing a high voltage wire. Severe burns starved the section of his skull of blood, and it ended up falling off on Sunday. Fortunately, new bone had grown underneath the dead section, protecting Roy's brain.

World Cup

The Sports Guy checks in with 10 reasons why he's a World Cup fan, not a soccer fan. My favorites:
3. The red card/yellow card thing. Nonsensical, completely arbitrary, even crooked to some degree … I love it. Why hasn't the NBA adopted this yet? Can you imagine how many yellows and reds the Mavericks would have gotten in the Finals?

9. The whole injury-time thing. I mean, what other sport keeps some arbitrary amount of extra time in an official's back pocket? It's so stupid yet weirdly effective. I'm convinced the guy who came up with that was drunk.
He might change his tune if he were living in Somalia. Check out this story about 2 Somali men who were shot and killed by "radical Islamic militia fighters" for watching Tuesday's Germany-Italy semifinal match.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

On the eve of the celebration of our nation's independence, I thought it appropriate to share these lyrics. It was a visit to the Michigan City Correctional Institute with Chuck Colson that inspired Steven Curtis Chapman to write this song, simply titled "Free." During the visit, Chapman met with some inmates on death row, including some who had become Christians while in prison. On his visit with one of these men, Chapman said, "In some ways he seemed to be a whole lot more free in his prison cell than many of us who will never see the inside of such a prison." The visit, along with Chapman's reflection on Isaiah 42:5-7 and John 8:31-36, resulted in these words:

The sun was beating down inside
The walls of stone and razor wire
As we made our way across the prison yard
I felt my heart begin to race
As we drew nearer to the place
Where they say that death is waiting in the dark
The slamming doors of iron echoed through the halls
Where despair holds life within its cruel claws

But then I met a man whose face
Seemed so strangely out of place
A blinding light of hope was shining in his eyes
And with repentance in his voice,
He told me of his tragic choice
That led him to this place where he must pay the price
But then his voice grew strong as he began to tell
About the One he said had rescued him from Hell, he said...

I'm free, yeah, oh I have been forgiven
God's love has taken off my chains, and given me these wings
And I'm free, yeah, and the freedom I've been given
Is something that not even death can take away from me
Because I'm free, Jesus set me free

We said a prayer and said good-bye,
And tears began to fill my eyes
As I stepped back out into the blinding sun
And even as I drove away,
I found that I could not escape
The way he spoke of what the grace of God had done
I thought about how sin had sentenced us to die
And how God gave His only Son, so you and I, could say...

I'm free, yeah, oh I have been forgiven
God's love has taken off my chains, and given me these wings
And I'm free, yeah, and the freedom I've been given
Is something that not even death can take away from me
Because I'm free

And If the Son has set you free, oh if the Son has set you free
Then you are free indeed, oh you are really free
If the Son has set you free, oh if the Son has set you free
Then you are free, really, really free

Oh we're free, yeah, oh we have been forgiven
God's grace has broken every chain, and given us these wings
And we're free, yeah, and the freedom we've been given
Is something that not even death can take from you and me
Because we're free, yeah, the freedom we've been given
Is something that not even death can take from you and me
Because we're free
Oh, we're free, yeah
We are free
We are free, yeah
The Son has set us free

If the Son has set you free
You are free indeed

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