Psalm 19 (New Century Version)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the skies announce what his hands have made.
2 Day after day they tell the story;
night after night they tell it again.
3 They have no speech or words;
they have no voice to be heard.
4 But their message goes out through all the world;
their words go everywhere on earth.
The sky is like a home for the sun.
5 The sun comes out like a bridegroom from his bedroom.
It rejoices like an athlete eager to run a race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the sky
and follows its path to the other end.
Nothing hides from its heat.
Today was my birthday. A higher number birthday than I can accept, but a day to celebrate life nonetheless. We decided to begin the night at one of those restaurants where you get a free meal on your birthday; only to find it closed for renovations. Fortunately, my wife remembered hearing a radio advert for the restaurant across the road, which offers the same — actually somewhat better — deal.
We capped off the evening beginning what is sure to be a long journey through the DVD boxed set of Planet Earth – The Complete Series, from the BBC and Warner Home Video. Fascinating video of the world filmed from some entirely new perspectives, and on camera equipment put to documentary use for the first time in 2006. What a worship moment it is watching this!
Here’s the same text, this time from The Message:
1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
3-4 Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
Thank you, Lord for this day.
Thanks to Jon Rising in Orlando for pointing this out to us. Bill (William) Mounce is a respected Bible scholar who has released what many consider to be the finest Bible dictionary currently on the market. He is also the author of a commentary on the pastoral epistles, and has about a dozen titles in print teaching Biblical Greek.
His father, Robert, a contributor to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary has authored commentaries on I & II Timothy, I & II Peter, Revelation and Romans; and has done a translation of John’s Gospel which is available for free online. (Trivia note: Robert Mounce does not have, and should have, a Wikipedia entry.)
To get a .pdf file (Adobe) of his rendering of John’s account, go to:
and click on the highlighted tab that says “download.” I’ve just finished skimming chapter three and the story of the woman caught (or is set-up a better word?) in the act of adultery in chapter eight, and the vine-and-branches section of chapter fifteen. There’s so much in John that is distinct to his gospel, yet familiar to us. It would be interesting to have this computer-checked to get a grade reading level, as it has a real easy reading flow. I also like the subheadings he’s added, which are really a mini-introduction to each section of text. I might just spring for the toner and print the whole thing out!!
My wife and I met a Christian residential summer camp. Camp Iawah — it’s pronounced like Iowa and is an acronym for ‘In All Ways Acknowledge Him’ — is located about an hour north of Kingston, Ontario. (It’s always linked here in our blogroll.) She was the director of food services, and I was there as a guest speaker for staff training week.
Needless to say, we’re big believers in the concept of Christian camping. You won’t see this on a plaque in the lobby at David C. Cook or Gospel Light, but it’s said that, “You can accomplish more in the life of a child with one week at camp than with 52 weeks of Sunday School.” Our kids have gone every year, and last year our oldest worked at the camp for a month.
Consider the following:
When Joe Fox sends his daughters away to summer camp, he’s confident they’ll be surrounded by kids who share his family’s beliefs and values.
Sounds good, doesn’t it. It sounds like it’s describing a great Christian camp — oops! — wait a minute — that’s the opening sentence of an article in USA Today, describing an Atheist summer camp for kids. It’s part of a new trend, “for children who are agnostic, atheist, or just not sure what to believe yet,” with camps in four states plus Ontario.
You may not like the article, but you should read it; linked here.
Here’s part of the article:
I once accepted a speaking engagement among Christians involved in Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. As I talked with the attendees and pondered what to say, I finally decided on the ironic title, “Why I Wish I Was an Alcoholic.” It occurred to me that what recovering alcoholics confess every day—personal failure, and the daily need for grace and help from friends and a Higher Power—represent high hurdles for those of us who take pride in our independence and self-sufficiency.
Read the whole piece, “The Benefits of Brokenness” at: Christianity Today
Sometimes you listen to the news and miss the full impact of a story. Living in a part of the world that has okayed same-sex marriage, the California story didn’t register fully. That part I missed is that this decision overruled a popular vote on the subject. Cindy Jacobs, writing prophetically in the Charisma Online newsletter suggests this might serve as a call to action for evangelicals:
As Christians, we cannot stand by idly and watch our nation be pulled into the place where God’s judgment will be released from heaven. The ramifications of this ruling are huge for our nation as a whole.
Just as the Stamp Act before the American Revolution was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back,” so we are crying out to God that this court ruling will be the deathblow for judicial activism along a social agenda.
It is time for moral activism. When the laws of man break the laws of God, we ought to obey God. This is that case and this is that day. The die has been cast. Let this ruling by the California Supreme Court wake up the sleeping giant of the church.
I believe that we need to stand and believe for two things:
1. The God of creation Himself will intervene to show this nation that the judges’ decision in favor of homosexual marriage cannot subvert the laws of God.
2. Believe God that those who did this atrocity will be impeached or recalled.
The Lord would say today: “There has been a line drawn in the sand. I am getting ready to release a holy indignation across the United States.”
“What has happened this day is, a revolution has been born,” says God.
My output in the blogsphere has slowed down over the last few days. I attribute it to being asked to lead worship on Sunday for the first time in a long while. I think as long as you have a creative outlet somewhere, or a ministry opportunity somewhere, you are somewhat satisfied.
I’ve been working on developing something along the lines of (1) what it means to be a person of influence and (2) what it is that makes some people want to be an influencer. It’s not fully worked out yet, but I see clearly that I started blogging a few months ago at a time when I simply didn’t have any other outlet for my thoughts and ideas.
I also had some contact with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years — actually connected with about four friends that weekend using my wife’s Facebook account — and started thinking about the idea of what it means to try to make a mark on the larger world we live in.
Some of this simply comes down to reaching an age where you feel your opinions are worth something. Some of it comes from finding myself occasionally in the middle of situations where my opinions aren’t respected at all. Interesting contrast.
But for some reason, choosing eleven songs for Sunday and doing three brief introductions to the three worship sets is satisfying enough in both a creative and ministry sense, that I found myself on Monday morning with nothing left to say.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person is sharpened by another. Who are you influencing? What is your present outlet for your ministry gifts? What are you currently doing that provides an outlet for your creativity?
Encourage one another!
I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets
of footprints in the sand…
One again, Canadian Margaret Fishback Powers is being forced to try to prove her authorship of the inspiration short poem known as “Footprints.” She certainly has the most extensive claim to the poem, spanning various books published by HarperCollins. But little tangible proof actually exists. Two other people claim it’s theirs.
Here’s an American version of the newly brewing legal action, from the New York Daily News, along with a Canadian one (Powers lives in Vancouver, B.C.) from The National Post I think the Canadian story is the better one!
I hope Powers wins this legal action if only for the integrity of the poem itself. Powers has long maintained that the opening is, “One night I,” — a gender-neutral pronoun — “had a dream;” instead of the “One night a man had a dream” version we are often presented with.
Trivia Note: It turns out that I had some contact with Powers’ husband, Paul Powers when he ran the film rental department of EP Bookshops in Toronto. (I may have also consulted with Paul when I did a story on Christian magicians!) But it gets even closer than that; it turns out Margaret and Paul Powers lived for awhile on Cassandra Blvd. in Don Mills; less than a mile from where I grew up. Small world!
We’ll leave the T-Shirt Tuesday concept to the guys at Purgatorio1.com; but we couldn’t resist telling them, and then you, about this one.
This “Flirt to Convert” shirt is just one of 27 products available with that design (there are also seven other designs, too) from www.datetosave.com a website devoted entirely to the concept of missionary dating. (Yeah, I know you think I make these things up.) Be sure to click on the Questions/Answers tab to learn more about this wonderful witness opportunity for ‘hot women’ like Tamara, who hosts the site. Here’s what you’ll find on the homepage:
I created this web page for information regarding the calling of Missionary Dating. First of all, it helps that you’re good looking. Romans 12:1 says “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices.” Since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), it makes sense that we should use our beautiful bodies to glorify HIS name, the Holy Spirit will work the strongest since He’s in our body, right? That’s the best position to be in! Not only can we date hot guys (as only hot Christian girls could do), but hopefully we can lead them to God and help them get saved them from the burning fires of Hell.
I have no words with which to end this entry. Totally speechless.
I hesitate to post this; but I think there are people among my readers who need to see it. It shows that there are many people — some of whom we sit next to on Sunday morning or at home group Bible study — whose faith is broken. We all have days (trust me!) when our faith doesn’t seem to ‘work,’ but obviously some are dealing with strong doubts and fundamental misgivings concerning the place where they’ve put their trust. (I chose the word “place” as it could apply either to the institution or the person of Christ Himself.)
Anne Jackson is a blogger and has a book coming out with Zondervan in 2009. On May 5th, she asked the question, “What is there that you feel you can’t say at church or around other Christians?” As of this morning, she’s received 172 replies; of which I would say more than half are quite disturbing on one level or another. I would encourage you — especially if you’re involved in leadership or pastoral ministry — to hear the cry of these people. Some are frustrated; some are angry; some have secrets in their past; some question core doctrines; some are disillusioned; some may have never truly, to use older terminology, “accepted” Jesus.