03 December 2009

Just Added Reftagger

I just added a new tool provided free by Logos (www.logos.com) which allows one to see the text of a bible verse whenever the reference is "moused over".

Try it here (hold your mouse cursor over the bible verses below and see it work)-

Rom. 1:16

Heb. 11:1-3

2 Chron. 7:14

Pretty neat, eh?

This is in addition to the search tool you see to the left of this column. Logos is a great company that is fantastic about providing tools like these to their customers. I own the Gold version of their Logos 4 software, and I highly recommend it. (No, they didn't pay me anything or give me anything to say this, Mr. FCC snoop!).

01 December 2009

Search with Logos

Bible Search

John 3:16; Jn 3:16; John 3

Salvation, Jesus, Gospel

With Operators:
AND, OR, NOT, “ �

Add this to your site!

What's this? It's a little HTML toy that lets you search the Bible right from this page. You can get the code here-


if you are interested in putting it on your own blog. And if you do, you will be entered into the December Bible giveaway contest!

16 November 2009

The Spiritual Gift of Teaching

I have heard on numerous occasions that we should only have a "childlike faith" and that any deep study of scripture is either unnecessary or downright dangerous (in the form of divisiveness or elitism). Aside from the fact that childlike faith has little to do with the study of God's word, I strongly disagree with such sentiments, for many reasons, but primarily on these grounds: (1) we are commanded to be prepared to give an answer to those who question the reason for our faith, and we can't give answers if we don't have some facts and scripture to support them; and (2) God bothered to give out a spiritual gift that He calls "teaching" (1 Cor. 12:28).

Now, why would God bother with a spiritual gift of teaching if such a gift wasn't necessary for the building up of the body of Christ (the church)? If understanding scripture was easy, why would we need teachers? Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that scripture cannot be understood. On the contrary, the perspicuity of scripture is one of the primary reasons I believe we can know and understand anything about an infinite God at all. But as John Grudem points out in a recent journal article, "Scripture affirms tht it is able to be understood but (1) not all at once, (2) not without effort, (3) not without ordinary means, (4) not without the reader's willingness to obey it, (5) not without the help of the Holy Spirit, (6) not without human misunderstanding, and (7) never completely."

My focus here is on the second point- not without effort. 2 Peter 3:15-16 says that some things in scripture are hard to understand (but does not say that anything in scripture is impossible to understand). The gift of teaching is a gift God gives the church (yes, the church) to help build it up in the likeness of Christ (individuals get the gift, but it is to be used for the benefit of the church, not the individual; and I'd say especially not for financial gain of the individual).

I have benefited greatly from the teaching of a number of fine Christian men over my life and I've seen the effects of good, gifted teaching on the Church as a whole. I'm especially greatful to some teachers I've never met, like R. C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Challies, and many others. I'll probably never meet most of them, though I'd like to. Their clear exposition of the truths of God and His word have had an enormous impact on my life. I'd like to be able to thank them some time, personally.

Hebrews 5 says that we should all be growing up in Christ, such that we can all be teachers at some point in our walk with God. I know God gives some in the church less emphasis and excitement about learning the details of the faith, and rightly so. Some are equipped for other tasks in the body. But no one is excused from the responsibility to mature in their faith and in turn be able to explain the basics of the Christian faith to others.

06 November 2009


I just read an interesting blog over on Al Mohler's site,

http://fwd4.me/3AO .

He talks about an article in the WSJ on 'hypersocialization', a disease that is infecting the younger generation, who can't seem to function without their cell phones in their hand. I guess cell phones are today's cigarettes.

One thing you won't find here...I won't feel guilty or irresponsible if I don't publish a blog entry every day. It's not a priority, and shouldn't be.

23 October 2009

Hit and Miss - 10/23/09

Laws Gone Wild

Chuck Colson, who can be brilliant at times, has a very interesting (and friendly to the Reformed faith) look at some of the recent laws that have demonstrated unintended consequences.


Web Content

I continue to discover excellent reading and listening in a thousand new places a week on the web. How in the world can one digest all the good and useful information out there? And that's assuming one can wade through all the scat to get to the good stuff. Heaven knows there's more scatology than useful information on the web. And it may get worse...I just read a summary of the proposed "Net Neutrality" rules that Congress is proposing. Sounds like it ought to be re-titled the, "Mother-May-I Internet Rules".

Good Quote

Sheriffjim, a magazine writer and one of the folks I follow on Twitter, had this quote recently- "To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth." Pretty accurate, based on recent events, I'd say.

Why is it that HS and college football seasons seem to be wrapping up about the time the NFL gets to mid-season? And the way things are going, we will need to re-title the baseball story as, "The Boys of November". Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, would have only been a wild-card hero with that name. And what's with summer hockey?

And Sam's Club has all the Christmas trees out already. Nuts.

16 October 2009

Hit or Miss

I'm impressed by those bloggers who have something useful to say every day, or even multiple times a day. I can't think of useful, original things to say more often than about once a week. My wife would probably agree. But in my defense, I love that old Steve Martin quote from The Jerk, "When you tell your little stories, try to have a point." So I try to have a point when I post something.

Rush and the Rams

I'm very interested in how a few men (Jackson, Sharpton, et al) could prevent a prospective buyer from bidding on a professional sports team, based on his political views. What about the other NFL owners who are conservatives? And do we really think the political or social views of a guy like Al Davis would be mainstream? This bothers me.

Didn't get the Big Buck

I took my two 14-year-old twins pronghorn hunting last week. Dad had two extra landowner tags after his hunters backed out (economy, I guess). The boys and I had a great time chasing a trophy-book buck over half the county, but alas, no. All you PETA folks out there can relax, the buck is safe and sound. One of the boys asked me if pronghorn are smart. I responded with the obvious, "Well, this one is certainly smarter than we are!"


I'm wondering when Obama will quit apologizing FOR American, and start apologizing TO America. Here we are a year into his reign (sarcasm intended) and unemployment and the economy have not improved a lick. The only thing that's going up is taxes.

Terrorist near you- coming soon, courtesy of the mad rush to close Gitmo. I think everybody who voted for Obama on the grounds that he would close Gitmo should have to bunk one of these lunatics for a couple months in their house. We could issue the homeowners a chain-mail neck guard for when they need to sleep.

Slaughter is Painful

I just read an article in the Jerusalem Post about how scientists, using a tricky new method of anesthetizing animals have determined that it hurts when the animal's throat is cut during religious sacrificial ritual. Propitiation is painful. That certainly has an application for the Christian believer as well.

06 October 2009

Hit or Miss


Russell D. Moore has a great blog on the David Letterman situation that's happening right now.

Hollywood Hates God

No surprise here, but Hollywood goes one step further in bashing religion in general, and Christianity in particular with the film "The Invention of Lying." See The Christian Post article about it.

Full Disclosure Statement

Now the FCC is feeling left out; they want some more money, so they are going to persecute bloggers. In the interest of not being persecuted by the FCC, let it be known that nobody has given me jack squat (anything of value, or of no value) for my reviews here.

05 October 2009

The Truth Project Starting Up

Having gone through the Truth Project this past summer, I have been looking forward to hosting a group in my home. This is coming to fruition on October 12th (Columbus Day, what an irony) as our church will begin various home groups of the Truth Project.

If you don't know what the Truth Project is, go visit their web page (truthproject.org). In my opinion, it is the best new material to come out since Francis Schaeffer's work in the 50s and 60s. It is a phenomenally well-done look at the influence of culture on the values of the church, and churchmembers (believers) in general. I highly recommend it to anyone who believes in Christ and doesn't fully understand the nature of the culture wars around them (attacks on the church, attacks on morality, attacks on marriage and the family, etc.).

Find a group in your area and go. It'll be worth it.

22 September 2009

Being a Reformation Fan in a Baptist Church

I am currently teaching through the book of Hebrews in my Sunday School class. I teach the Adult 10 class at the First Baptist Church. Thanks to folks like R C Sproul, Wayne Grudem, Michael Horton, James R. White, John Piper, John MacArthur (and quite a few others) I have come to a realization of the truth of the doctrines of grace and the essential nature of the pure gospel in the life of the church.

Teaching the doctrines of grace in a Baptist church can be a challenge. While many of the founders of the Baptist faith were Calvinistic in their outlook early in the church, the Baptist faith has been long dominated by an Arminian outlook on the world. I grew up in another denomination (church of Christ) that is even more Arminian in nature, so I have seen that side of the theology coin very clearly. Both aspects (Baptist history and my background) add to the challenge of teaching the doctrines of grace (the TULIP) to my class.

However, I've seen the negative effects of the substitution of a form of the Law for the Gospel on my current denomination, and I feel a strong calling to be a part of the solution to this problem. In Hebrews, we are in chapter two, and if you recall, verse 9 of chapter 2 is a great teaching moment for the idea of definite atonement ('limited', if you use the TULIP). This lesson is coming up on October 4th. I am very grateful I have the Logos system in place to help prepare for this lesson, as the volume of material is overwhelming. Logos makes the volume manageable.

This won't be the last time one of the TULIPs comes up in Hebrews. It is an interesting, but worthwhile, challenge.

14 September 2009

Logos Giving Away Premium Bibles

Logos (whose Bible software I use) is giving away a bunch of top-quality, premium bibles over the next few months. These are some very nice, calfskin leather bibles that you or I wouldn't likely buy based on cost, but would love to have in any case. See the list in the link below for more details.

Here's how to enter-

Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at Bible.Logos.com and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.

18 August 2009

The Truth Project

I have recently begun a "bible study" series with a group from my church. I put 'bible study' in quotes as this isn't a traditional bible study. In fact, we haven't opened our bible yet. Worthless, some would say? I can hear them now.

But it isn't worthless. In fact, this material is the best new material I've seen the evangelical community produce since Francis Schaeffer's work in the 60s and 70s. No, it isn't exegetical bible study, but rather a look at worldviews and what is happening in (Western) culture with the influx of post-modernism. Schaeffer provided answers for modernity and prophesied (accurately) the influence on the faith that post-modernism would have. This new study, called the Truth Project, looks at the decay of culture as a result of post-modern influences, and the answers we need to be salt and light in this relativistic culture.

The progenitor and teacher (I almost called him a 'discussion leader'...evidence of the influence of the emergent folks, I suppose) is Dr. Del Tackett. I've not run across Dr. Tackett's work in the past, and that is unfortunate. He is a lucid lecturer with a fantastic ability to make complex philosophical ideas manageable by average laypersons. His ability to do this rivals that of great teachers like R. C. Sproul and John Piper. In fact, Dr. Sproul makes a number of cameo appearances in the Truth Project to explain important philosophical concepts. As Dr. Sproul is one of my heroes of the faith, this only raises the value of the series in my opinion.

There are some eighty thousand folks who have gone through or are going through the Truth Project, on every continent except Antarctica and almost every nation of the world. If a group is available in your area, DO NOT PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY to participate in this life-changing study. It will show you just how much post-modernism and emergent thought has influenced you (it has me, and I'm not in any way socially progressive); it will strengthen your concepts within the Christian worldview; and it will energize you afresh for the task before the church- to take the gospel to a fallen culture and world.

To steal a line from a beer commercial, "It doesn't get any better than this."

10 August 2009

Why the Dems are Surprised at the Uprising

This time, it matters

Democrats in congress and the White House seem to be taken a bit off guard by the recent volume and intensity of the protests around the country, particularly at the congressional town hall meetings on so-called health care reform. As a conservative watching the dismantling of the free market system, one might be surprised at their apparent niavity. Don't be.

Remember, this type of reaction didn't happen the last time they were in power. When Bill Clinton finally admitted that not having sexual relations included having sexual relations, conservatives were upset, annoyed, disgusted, angered, and quite a few other descriptors, but they didn't rise up in peaceful rebellion like today. Why not? Well, simply, Clinton's actions didn't rise to the level of an uprising. (Whether or not they rose to the level of an impeachable offense we'll leave open for now.)

The time before that, when Jimmy Carter was in office, we did see the American farmers join forces in desperation and march on Washington as the American Agriculture movement, but farmers make up less than 4% of the population, and are easily ignored by the media, so most left-wingers at the time either didn't hear about those events at all, or if they did, found them amusing at best. (Lost in the shuffle was all these farmers in DC with their tractors when one of the worst blizzards in years hit...and like the good folks they are, spent a good bit of their time pulling people out of ditches and snow banks without compensation instead of protesting.)

The time before that, when LBJ was in power, things were certainly ugly, but you have to remember that was over 40 years ago, and many of the current liberal beaurocrats were only children then, or not even born yet. And even those that were teens or young adults remember that time as a protest against conservative causes, even though the war was being run by an ultra-liberal president and a democrat congress.

So it really is no surprise that the grab for power in recent days has elicited a strong response from the conservative people who make up the folks that keep this country running and drive its economy. And its also not a surprise that the leftists in power can't understand this rejection on a new level, given the safe working environment they've had in this country for the past 30 years or so by a friendly media and entrenched liberal federal beaurocracy.

It remains to be seen if the people affected most by this power grab will sustain their protests long and hard enough to have a significant effect on their congress-people. But the next five weeks are going to be interesting.

06 August 2009

The Pelagian Spirit

There was a very interesting exchange over on the challies.com blog the past few days. Tim Challies posted a blog entry about what the Bible teaches about the destination of infants (or pre-born persons) who die. Of course, the emotionalism almost immediately tried to overcome the scriptural approach to the issue. Many think this is a new issue, but in fact the Church has addressed this issue for a couple thousand years.

My comment was as follows-

It is proving to be true- “There’s a Pelagian spirit in all of us.”

Think about the crux of the tacit argument that, since babies have no moral ability (for right or wrong) it would be improper for God to do anything other than take them all to heaven. Have you forgotten that adults have no more moral ability to save themselves than do infants, or even pre-born (fetal) persons? It is God’s grace that saved us all, whether we were teens or octogenarians, children or still in the womb.

John MacArthur said this- “If infants were not sinful, if they were not morally corrupt, then they wouldn’t die. If they were born innocent or pure or morally neutral there would be no basis for their death.” So the Bible IS clear on that issue…that infants are inherently sinful (original sin, sin nature, whatever you want to call it). They ARE NOT morally neutral. Therefore, we can’t just jump to the conclusion they are all saved because it seems right to us that it be so.

What Tim has said is true. We should be willing to trust God in the salvation of the pre-born and the stillborn in the same way we trust God in our own salvation.

It still manages to surprise me how much the Pelagian spirit rears its head on emotional issues. But I suppose it shouldn't since that approach has been my own, on and off, for much of my life. Holding a consistent theological approach to life isn't easy to do when human pride interdicts itself, as it does in me often.

Much more thinking and reading to do on this topic. "The more you know, the less you know."

31 July 2009

Football in the Air

The beginning of August always signals the start of football season. Its too bad it starts that early...I remember when I was young there was always a few leaves changing and the mornings were cooler when football was cranking up. Still, it is my favorite season of the year, both because of the sport and the change in weather with the accompanying colors in nature.

I know baseball is supposed to be the American sport, and I love baseball. In fact, I've coached youth baseball every year for the past nine years, and I love coaching it. But for some reason, it just doesn't have the 'freshness' of the football season. Maybe it's because I'm a college professor, and the start of the Fall term has always been the most exciting part of the college year. Or maybe it's because I'm a hunter and love the onset of the Fall hunting season. It might even be because I've always been a bit cold natured, and find the heat of Summer less tolerable than the cold of Winter. In any case, this is the season that brings the most excitement to me. The marching bands, the purple and white colors of the local high school all over town, kids going back to school (hey, that may be it!)...it's all exciting to me.

See you at the stadium!

Myth Busting

One of my favorite quotes is from Will Rogers, or Mark Twain, or one of several others, depending on who you ask- "It ain't what we don't know that hurts us, it's what we know that ain't so."

In this spirit, I like dispelling myths. I'll do this on occasion, on various topics. My favorite topics in this vein are firearms and medicine. Here's the first.

Have Lawyers Forced Manual Publisher to Reduce Charges Over Time?

This is a popular sentiment among handloaders. Many will say that max charges listed in their manuals have dropped significantly over the years, and that the cause is company lawyers forcing the changes to reduce liability.

In general, this is a myth.

Here’s why. First, it has been generally established that reduced loads with some powders can be as dangerous as excessive loads. So there is no guarantee that reducing loads will result in a greater margin of safety, thus no legal justification for compelling the reduced loads in the manuals. Additionally, the ammunition business is very competitive. Having max loads listed with your components that show a lower max velocity is not a good way to increase sales, and would be poor business practice. Artificially low charge weights just don’t make logical business sense.

Second, powders have changed to some degree over the years. While some powders are well known to have been tightly controlled as to burn rate over many years (Bullseye, for example…initial lot is over 100 years old, but is still tested against new lots to maintain consistency), others have not. One powder company admitted to Lane Pearce that the control lot for a particular powder was inadvertently lost, and it took some years to stabilize the burn rate of the powder.(1) Other powders have been shifted from their initial stocks of military surplus to commercial versions, including almost all of the IMR line (IMR stands for, “Improved Military Rifle” after all) and much of the Hodgdon line. These shifts mean that burn rates have changed slightly, and the resulting numbers in the load manuals have been adjusted accordingly.

Third, in the past, high-quality pressure testing equipment wasn’t as readily available as it is now. Some loads in manuals from the ‘50s and ‘60s were worked up with traditional pressure signs (flat primers, case web measurements, extraction difficulty, etc.) that are known to be somewhat subjective today. In some cases, loads that had been published for several editions were subsequently tested and found to produce pressures ten to twenty thousand PSI above recommended maximum levels. Obviously, these loads were reduced in the manuals at that point.

Fourth, we tend to notice what we don’t like. In the same article cited above, Lane Pearce found, after looking at six different pairs of manuals, each dated about thirty years apart, that in fact some of the maximum loads had been increased, not decreased.

And fifth, when directly asked, industry ballisticians consistently deny, even when offered anonymity, that lawyers have ever asked them to reduce charge weights below those arrived at by following company policy.

Conclusion: When charges have been reduced in loading manuals over time, they have been reduced for very valid reasons, not because a lawyer said so.

1 Pearce, L. Powder compared: Today’s versus yesteryear’s. Shooting Times, Sept. 1009, pp. 18-23.

30 July 2009

Elections Have Consequences

I began building an AR-15 about June of 2008. I wanted the experience of building my own, rather than buying one off the shelf, and I wanted to know how they were put together so I could work on mine if they ever needed repair.

Big mistake.

I should have realized with the election of BHO coming up, AR parts would all but disappear. I remember when Clinton was elected, and the "Clinton Gun Ban" was passed in 1993. The same thing happened...no ammo to be had, primers and powder were unavailable except at ludicrous prices, high-capacity magazines were selling for $100 each, and so on. I don't know why I didn't put two and two together and realize the same thing was coming in November '08. I suppose we all forgot how good we had it under GWB.

In any case, I have finally completed the lower, except for the buttstock. I can't find the recoil tube and collapsible stock I want. Finally, uppers are coming back into availability, though the prices are at least $100 more per each unit. Instead of building the upper, I think I'll snag a whole one when I can and save the project for more sane political times.

While the gun grab didn't happen like some thought, it may still be coming. The democrats are to busy doing the health care grab right now. Looks like they will pull it off, albeit after the summer recess. The only thing that can stop it now is folks in the districts of blue-dog democrats getting in the face of their representative until he or she has no doubt about the wrongheadedness of socialized medicine. I don't see that happening...the electorate is too gullable, naive, or downright myopic for such to happen, I fear.

But stranger things have happened. BHO's approval numbers are nearly as low as Carter's were at this point, and lower than GWB's. (That's gotta rankle the libs...) Congress, in spite of the almost inhuman charisma of BHO, will never show altruism in this day and age...if the poll numbers are a threat, they'll do the populist thing. Unfortunately, that only benefits us about half the time, since the populace is even less altruistic than their congressional representatives.

29 July 2009


I've always thought blogging was a waste of time. At least, I did until recently. Now I've decided it may be worth the effort after all. Not that I'm borderline narcissistic...at least I hope not. I think that may be the motivation for a lot of these critters crawling around out there on the web. In fact, I think our culture may be obsessed with narcissistic tendencies. Why else would a teenager send a nude photo to some acquaintance if their self-worth wasn't skewed beyond reason?

No, I hope this has grander purposes than seeing my own musings in a web page. We'll see.