Friday, December 30, 2011

[Audiobook Review] Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll

I have been a listener of Mark Driscoll's podcasts for years and have enjoyed listening to him preach. This book is his (and his wife's Grace) first book on marriage, which is apparently also launching their first nationwide marriage conference tour. I found the book to be rather engaging, much like Driscoll's preaching style. The Driscolls' aim in the book seems to be to present a modern relevant "Biblical" view of marriage to modern Christians.

The good: Much of this book is very good. The narration was quite excellent as there was a male and female narrators to read the relevant sections of the book that either Mark or Grace wrote. It was clear and understandable. Grace gives much of her back story that many of us have never heard through the Mars Hill podcasts. It helps us men to appreciate loving our wives even more and reaching out to them. Mark gives a lot of information as well about his story and how Grace and he came together and where they are at now. Much of this book is more autobiographical than anything else, which is very helpful. The Driscolls are very honest about how their marriage was falling apart and how it was put back together through God's grace and the help of Godly people.

The bad: While the book may be culturally relevant to the people of Seattle, and maybe the rest of the West coast, I'm not so sure how relevant it is to those of us in the deep South (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi). The chapter on sex and what's lawful and helpful is mostly what I'm referring to. I like how Driscoll frames it in the form of questions as to whether it's lawful (most is lawful), and helpful (he comes to the conclusion that most is, within the context of marriage). However, I don't think I do agree with him that most of it's helpful. I've heard this stuff before from him through his podcasts and I didn't find it helpful then. Basically, I think he's going a little far. Tim LaHaye came close to what Driscoll is doing with a little book on marriage in the '70s, so this isn't anything new. If you easily get embarrassed, then this section of the book will definitely get to you.

Overall, the book is well-written and should provide for a new perspective on marriage from a couple who has been through tough times. Much of the book is helpful and should help couples to examine their marriages and bring them closer together. As others have expressed, and I express now, there's one section of the book that will bring lots of debates in the months to come.

This audiobook was provided free for review by the reviewers program.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dr. Warren Larson's Review of "Chrislam"

Dr. Warren Larson, the former director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University has given a helpful review of the book, Chrislam: How Missionaries are promoting an Islamized Gospel (Joshua Lingel, Jeff Morton & Bill Nikides, eds. i2 Ministries Publications, 344 pages, $25). The book has apparently been put together to counteract much of what is being perceived as syncretism in the Muslim world by Christian missionaries, mostly the "Insider Movement."  Dr. Larson calls the editors out in their preface:
On the negative side, the Preface (iii-iv) is especially troubling: It contains inaccuracies, misperceptions and unbiblical attitudes.  A statement in the second paragraph, “… [W]hat is at stake is not our personal relationships with brothers and sisters” suggests it does not matter what we say about fellow-believers, as long as we tell what we think is the truth.  A comment in the third paragraph makes a generalization about all IM ministries:  “… [N]o churches are planted …” Such sweeping statements set the tone for what is to follow.  This book is reactionary, primarily a work of extremes, including an alarmist and inflammatory title. 
Not all is negative. He does praise the authors of some articles in some of the sections:
On the positive side, sections one and five have the most value: The first section quotes IM proponents extensively, however taken out of context, may give impressions never intended by the authors.  Section five gives Muslim converts (mostly Bengali) a voice in expressing strong opposition to IM; however other Bengalis could be called upon for the exact opposite view.  
I have not read this book, but should I be given the opportunity, I would probably take it with a grain of salt. The topic of Insider Movements hit the Presbyterian Church of America (P.C.A.) earlier this year at their General Assembly when one church presented a motion for the denomination to disassociate itself from organizations associated with the Insider Movement, primarily SIL, Wycliffe, SIM, and the Navigators. What came out of that was a recommendation that churches "could" stop support of such organizations if they wanted to and several churches have, from what I know, even though the missionaries they support may not be involved in Muslim missions or the Insider Movement at all.

After this recommendation came out at the PCA General Assembly, I tracked down an article written by George Houssney, a missiologist and very vocal critic of any kind of contextualization. Basically, he had written a position paper on the Insider Movement back in 2010. The PCA used this position paper as justification for making their recommendation that churches could stop support to certain organizations regardless of what the missionaries being supported were doing. So, who was targeted? Nabeel Jabbour, a Syrian, now American Citizen, who worked in Egypt for the Navigators, now living in Colorado Springs was one. I count him as a friend of mine whom I have also had the pleasure of taking a class from at CIU. Quoted from the paper:
color portrait of Nabeel Jabbour
Dr. Nabeel Jabbour (Image via Wikipedia)
Nabeel Jabbour, a Navigator leader, believes that Islam as a religion started down the right track but jumped off the rails. (Said to me personally during a three hour meeting in my office.) He mentioned several Muslim reformers whom he admires. These, and many others who have bought into the Insider mentality believe that Islam needs to be reformed, not abandoned.
Now, I am almost positive that this is taken way out of context, as is most of what Houssney is offering as proof of syncretism. Phil Parshall does not appear to be targeted, but I'm fairly certain that SIM is targeted because of his association with them, even though he advocates a C3-C4 approach to contextualization. The CAMEL method of the IMB was targeted even though it has been very effective and is more of a C4 level of contextualization. Basically, there were a lot of generalities, quotes taken out of context, and  bad research. Incidentally, Dr. Jabbour is now on a study committee for the PCA to look at the Insider Movements as a result of the recommendation at the General Assembly.

I am sure the editors and authors of "Chrislam" are well-intentioned, but we must do careful research and quote people properly rather than have an agenda. This happens too often in Christian circles and people get hurt. I'm providing several links to the papers mentioned in this post here at the bottom for you to do your own research.

Jay Smith's Assessment of Insider Movements, C5 Missions Strategies
At The PCA General Assembly – Statement concerning errors of “Insider Movements” translations approved, but stumbles over procedures on approving a study committee

Position Paper on the Insider Movement by George Houssney

Enhanced by Zemanta


This is enough to put anyone in a coma, I think...

Friday, December 23, 2011

[Audiobook Review] "Give Them Grace" By Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

In Give Them Grace by the mother/daughter team of Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, we read (and in the case of this audiobook, hear) of how we can best raise our kids not to be moralists, but to be followers of Christ. As parents, we often want our kids to represent us, even though we may say we want them to represent Christ. In turn, we make them into moralists and pharisees. Through admitting of mistakes made, humor, and examples of showing Christ to our kids, authors Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson explain how we can instead show the grace of Christ to our kids in raising them. Many of their examples hit home for me as I was listening to this audiobook. If you are struggling with how to raise your kids in Christ, and all it seems is that you're just raising little pharisees, then this book is for you. We often struggle with getting our kids to obey and it's frustrating. This book seeks to change that perception. It's not about getting our kids to obey. It's about showing them Christ and allowing Christ to change them to obey. We cannot save anyone, even though we often think we are responsible for our children's salvation.

This being an audiobook, I found the speakers very clear in their reading of the book. The speaker would switch between the two authors in the book very well and the sound was clear with no distortion.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone with children. In fact, even if you don't have children, I believe it would help in your interactions with others. You can't expect unbelievers to act like believers, but you sure can show them Christ in your actions. In other words, "give them grace." I enjoyed the audiobook so much that I went out and bought a hard copy of the book for my wife to read.

This audiobook was provided free from in exchange for an unbiased review.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit Official Trailer #1 - Lord of the Rings Movie (2012) HD

For more fun, go to and get walking directions from "The Shire" to "Mordor". You get some interesting results. I still like trying to get walking directions to Europe from the U.S.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is Sharia Law a danger to the U.S.?

English: Picture of Billboard put up by the Un...
Image via Wikipedia
I had an interesting conversation on Twitter yesterday regarding Sharia Law. Basically, it started when someone asked me about a post from James White regarding a visit to the White House by an Islamic group. White's concern seems to be that the Obama Administration will make discussion of Islamic ideologies illegal, in the name of tolerance. This is a valid concern, as we've seen the debate over homosexuality headed this way. It's all but illegal to suggest that homosexuality is sin. I'm not so sure that this is cowering to Sharia Law, however, or that Sharia Law is even a real threat to our liberties here in the U.S.  The U.K. has allowed experiments with Sharia Law in it's Muslim enclaves and they have had a few issues with it, partly because I don't think the authorities understood what all Sharia Law entailed. However, I see no evidence that it really affected the non-Muslim citizen, meaning that U.K. law was not subjected to Sharia Law. So, you tell me. Do you think Sharia Law is a threat to our liberties in the U.S.?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, December 15, 2011

[Book Review] "Night of the Living Dead Christian" by Matt Mikalatos (Blog Tour, Visit from Matt, and Giveaway!)

Remember when Tim Challies proposed his idea for "The Ultimate Christian Novel?"  I think Matt Mikalatos may have just written it, minus the Amish. Maybe that could be in his next book. Seriously though, imagine reading a Christian novel about what the transformed Christian live is supposed to look like, except the main characters are a mad scientist, an android, a werewolf, a vampire, and lots of zombies. With our general perceptions of monsters, it seems like a book we should probably stay away from as Christians, yet I believe that we must read it. It is an amazing and fun book to read.

The story follows Matt as the sole neighborhood watchman, his werewolf neighbor, his mad scientist and android neighbor, and his vampire former high school friend now neighbor as they flee from zombies and try to figure out what it means to get rid of the monster within and live a life transformed by Christ. It is satire mixed with the theological truths of C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity." Along the way, Matt himself learns that he too is a mad scientist, but he also learns about living the transformed life as well. So, how do I see the characters in the novel?

Zombies - These are people who claim to be Christians but have no works to accompany their faith. They simply go through the motions following this preacher or that preacher. They are of Apollos, Paul, John Piper, Joel Osteen, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, C. I. Schofield, etc. They hang on their every word, read their study Bibles, and only read their books, listen to their podcasts, etc. They don't think or feel anything, just follow.

Vampires - These feed off other people. They are typically your atheists and agnostics. They believe in being self-sustaining and often are. They don't see a need for God because they have everything they could ever want.

Werewolves - This might be your typical seeker. They see their sin, but they hate it. They can't get rid of it because they don't know how. They are always either trying to hide it, or they live with it and becomes who they are. Most people are werewolves.

Mad Scientists - This is the Christian that is a true believer, but they are always trying to fix everyone else. They think they have all the answers, but in reality, they have only a few answers. They also tend to get followed by the zombies. They have yet to learn humility.

So, let me ask this, which one are you? Answer this question and you can win a certificate to redeem for a copy of Matt's book. The certificate can be used at your local Christian bookstore or via mail to Tyndale House.  A copy of the book has been provided to me for free from Tyndale House for the purposes of this review. As well, this post is part of a blog tour being conducted by Matt and Tyndale's blogger's program. At some time today, Matt should be visiting the blog. I am using Punchtab to conduct the contest. I am leaving the contest open until noon on Monday, December 19, 2011.

View the trailer for the book:

watch on

Visit Matt Mikalatos
Visit Tyndale House

Enter to win the certificate via Punchtab below:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All-American Muslim - What's the Big Deal?

The above video is basically a promo for the new show on TLC called All-American Muslim. The show has been highlighted in the news this week after it was announced that Lowes Home Improvement Stores was pulling it ads under pressure from the Florida Family Association (FFA). The FFA speaks of the show as the following:
The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.  The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.  (source)
 The FFA claims that 65 advertisers have pulled their ads from the show, but the New York Times is telling a different story:
At least two advertisers have withdrawn commercials from “All-American Muslim,” a new series on the TLC cable channel, since an activist organization called the Florida Family Association condemned the show. But others cited by the organization as pulling out as sponsors are disputing the claim.However, at least three of the companies that the Florida Family Association included on its list of 65 say they have not followed the organization’s call to end their sponsorships.
“We didn’t pull” commercials from “All-American Muslim,” John W. Faulkner, a spokesman for the Campbell Soup Company in Camden, N.J., said on Tuesday.
Other Campbell Soup commercials “could run in subsequent episodes,” he added. (source)
I typically take what most "family associations" say with a grain of salt. The FFA posted a couple of articles from Robert Spencer and Pamela Gellar, two less-than-reputable self-described scholars of Islam, fighters for American freedom. In other words, I would trust what Spencer or Gellar said with a thirty-nine and half foot pole, if you know what I mean. If you want a clear example of bigotry toward Muslims and distortions of facts, those two will give it to you. The problem is that most of these "Christian family associations" rely on these people and bad "Christian" journalism sites such as WorldNetDaily for their information. They may have never met a Muslim or even done the research on their own.

As Christians, we must be knowledgeable about the threats that may be out there, but we must also look at our own hearts and not allow ourselves to be bigots toward other people. In the days after 9/11/01, we saw gas station attendants attacked because they looked Muslim, when in fact, they were Indian. There's a push to not even allow Muslims to worship in this country and yet, we have in our Constitution the right to worship as we please, provided it's within certain limits. The average Muslim is within those limits. Much was made about the Islamic Center being build within blocks of the former World Trade Center towers and yet, the imam at the center of that fight is a Sufi Muslim, a mostly peaceful sect hated by the other two major sects, Sunni and Shi'a.

Before we go off on a witch hunt for terrorists, let's be reminded that Christ came to die for them just as He died for us. The types of comments being left on Lowe's and on the TLC show page are reflecting the hearts of people all across American, a lot of them in the name of Christianity.  Before the '90s, the whipping boy was Communism and all that went with it. Since Communism collapsed, it's been Islam. Yet, China and India are both huge persecuters of Christians. Where does our heart lie? What would Jesus have us do? I think this series on TLC is fascinating. We could learn something from it about our neighbors.

I should like to note that the term racist is being thrown around too loosely here. Islam is not a race. It is a religion. It is a religion that becomes tightly entwined with the person's culture, at least in the Arab context. What people are saying negatively about Muslims should not be called "racist" but bigoted, unless the people are making specific comments about the person's race. There are many Muslims in the U.S. in the African-american community. I'm pretty sure they might take offense at the term racist being used to describe negative comments about their religion as well. Let's be careful about the terms we use.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

[Audiobook Review] "The Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun is a fascinating look into the life of a Chinese Christian as he attempts to disciple others and bring the Gospel to his fellow people. Brother Yun gets thrown in prison countless times, the last time miraculously escaping by walking out the the front gate, and then escaping out of the country. Many people told him he should leave the country, but he chose to stay to bring the Gospel to his people. There's a lot in this book I may be skeptical about as it tends to border on Pentacostal/Charismatic dreams/visions, and a bit of it almost seems as if it's lifted right out of the book of Acts and placed in a modern-day context. Seeing what I have seen in my many trips around the world, however, dreams and visions can be common place, and yet we must line them up with Scripture. Brother Yun's sole purpose was to always bring glory to God and share the Gospel with everyone, despite the protests of his government. I still remain skeptical of some parts of the story.

This being an audiobook on MP3, the sound was good and the narration was well done. The narration was performed by two different readers, switching off between Brother Yun's point of view and his wife's point of view. It made it feel more as if you were there.

Publisher's description:
You've seen the headlines - government crackdowns on Chinese house churches; mass arrests and human rights violations...But this intensely dramatic autobiography makes it real! Learn how God took a young half-starved boy from Henan Province and enabled him to stand strong on the front lines for Jesus, braving horrific opposition and impossible odds.
You may purchase the physical book from the Amazon link provided above or purchase the audio from the above link or from itself.

This audiobook was provided free from in exchange for an unbiased review.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 12, 2011

Open Letter to John Shore

Dear John Shore,

I've been following your blog and online writings for a number of years now. I believe it was a post on Calvinism that drew me to your blog. You seemed at the time to have some sort of orthodoxy in your Christianity, but at some point in the last 2 years or so, you've thrown whatever orthodoxy you had into the ocean. It's gone. Since that time, you've apparently decided that Hell does not exist and that active homosexuality is not a sin. You've also apparently have decided that you don't want dialogue or to be challenged on these issues, whether on your blog or on Facebook.

This is quite disconcerting. I think you're a talented writer. I think you mean well in your conversations with homosexuals. However, you have set yourself up to believe in a lie. You have followed the logical leftist non-orthodox Christian path that comes with trying to be too compassionate with those who want justification for their actions. First, you do away with judgment. There is a clear description of the judgment to come in the pages of Scripture, most particularly in the New Testament. Calling our brother a fool may subject us to the fires of Hell (Matthew 5:22). If some of our body parts cause us to sin, it is better to cut them off than have them send us to Hell (Matthew 5:29-30). According to James, our tongue can send us to Hell (James 3:6). Peter tells us that if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, why should He spare us (2 Peter 2:4).

Jesus speaks of a place of outer darkness where this weeping and gnashing of teeth. This same place is spoken of in the final pages of Revelation. Yet, you apparently deny there is a place of final judgment.  You claim scripture led you there, but honestly, I don't see how. God is the god of ultimate justice. There must be a punishment for sin. One must trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior to be saved from the wrath to come. But you either don't believe that or that everyone will be saved. It's true that Jesus does not care where you come from or what you've done to save you. What's not true is that if one is good enough, they'll be saved.

Example from 2 Samuel 9:
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.”
(2 Samuel 9:1-4 ESV)
David is what we call a Type of Christ. It is even more clear in this verse what he is doing here. He doesn't care that Mephhibosheth is crippled. He completely looks past that. In fact, he even restores to this grandson of Saul, his rival, all that was Saul's. David didn't have to do any of this. In fact, most kings tend to destroy their rivals. We are just like Mephibosheth. We are lame, crippled, broken, abused, most notably sinners. Jesus seeks us out and gives us a place at His table always. We must accept this from Jesus. We must accept that he also changes us (more on this coming up as it deals with homosexuality).

With regards to your acceptance of homosexuality, I must agree with you on some points. Christians have been less than compassionate toward homosexuals. We have been hateful, spiteful, disagreeable, and seemingly murderous at times. We have chosen not to have dialogue about the issue and have chosen to allow other issues while this issue continues to grow and fester like a boil. You see, I'm not as disagreeable as you think.

So, Jesus didn't mention homosexuality. So what? He did mention sin. He mentioned judgment for sin. He mentioned that one must be born again to see the kingdom of Heaven (John 3). He told us that we must be poor in spirit, we must mourn, we must be meek, we must hunger and thirst for righteousness, we must be merciful, we must pure in heart, we must be peacemakers, and we must be persecuted for righteousness's sake (Matthew 5:2-12). He also told us to love God and love our neighbor as ourself. On this last part, I'm seeing little of in your most recent posts. You wrote the following most recently:
Fellow Christians: will you please stop treating the Bible like it’s a permission slip from God to be just as ignorant and immoral as your scared little self wants to be–and to raise your children to be just like you?
If not, then be sure to buy a new Bible every year. It’s a lot easier than having to keep washing the blood off your old one.
Is that loving? It's more like condemnation for an orthodox viewpoint. You consistently call those who say homosexuality is a sin: bigots, backwards, fundamentalists, haters, and even murderers. You blame Christians (without any proof) for the gay bullying and teen suicides. In fact, in the post I just referenced, there is no evidence that Christians were behind the bullying, nor is there evidence that the teen was gay. He was called gay slurs, but it never says that he was gay. And yet, you assume all of these things. Yes, there is a bullying problem. There has always been a problem, and there probably will always be a problem. That doesn't make Christians the whipping boy for it.

As for homosexuality being a sin, I could point to Leviticus as proof, but that's expected. I won't point to Sodom and Gomorrah, because I don't believe that homosexuality was their biggest issue. It was unrepentant sin, that was the issue. Instead, I'll point to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
To me, this is an encouragement passage. Paul is reminding the Corinthians where they were at. Some of them were adulterers, idolaters, thieves, possibly murderers (though not mentioned here, but listed elsewhere), and yes, even homosexuals. I've seen many attempts by others to explain this passage away by suggesting that the word homosexual wasn't used until the early 19th century or that this referring to a type of temple orgy, etc. However, we don't have that context in this passage at all. Instead, we have a word that refers to the active or passive sex between two male partners. Sounds like homosexuality to me.

So, where does the compassion come into being for the homosexual. I believe I can be kind to people. I can love all people. I'm told I shouldn't love the Arab Muslim because they want to kill me. Does that stop me from being kind to them? No. Are they going to Hell? Without Jesus, yes. The same goes for the homosexual. Active homosexuality and active Christianity are incompatible. One cannot live in both worlds. God created Adam and Eve and said that man would leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and have children. That is the natural order of things. Homosexuality is not natural. Can one have inclinations toward homosexuality? Sure, just as one has inclinations toward lying, murder, stealing, adultery, divorce, etc. There is a temptation to sin. Christ came to free us from sin. It would be more loving for me to tell a homosexual to believe in Christ Jesus to be free from their sin and from Hell than it would be to affirm their homosexuality. Why? Because I would be doing as Christ commands me and that is to give them the hope that will rescue them from judgment.

By you denying the realities of a final judgment, you can therefore also deny that this particular sin deserves judgment. You claim that it is in the name of compassion or love. But in reality, it's not. You're only widening the path to judgment. You can call me all the names you want as you have done. You've called me arrogant, argumentative, allowed others to call me a troll, etc. Nearly every one who comments on your blog posts and your Facebook page agree with you and praise you, and you eat it up. I make a comment challenging what you've written and pointing to Christ, and I get torn down and you encourage it. Is this your brand of Christianity? Where have I torn you down? Where have I been arrogant? Where have been unloving? Where have I been argumentative? I'd like to know where I've attempted to bait. You accused me of that.

In all, I felt this was something that had to be written. I believe you are a talented writer. Other writers that I admire have said so as you have posted on your Facebook page. However, I believe that you are misusing your talents. All those letters you get from gay teens struggling with acceptance are giving you and opportunity and yet your missing it. You have an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet, you've missed it. Christ is the one who changes hearts, not man. You've chose the enlightenment, humanist route, and not the God-centered route. For that, I am sad. Feel free to respond or feel free not to. Either way, this is out of my head and on to the web. May God work in your heart to change you to be more like Christ.

Sincerely in Christ,
Chris Coppenbarger
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, December 9, 2011

Political Candidates and Moral Character

Republican Presidential candidates at the Ames...
Image via Wikipedia
We have seen in recent weeks the effect that alleged moral deficiencies can have on a political candidate's campaign with the suspension of Herman Cain's run for President. As much as the campaign attempted to keep people out of the bedroom, they couldn't do it. Now whether Cain is even guilty of the indiscretions he's accused of, only he and God knows. With the demise of Cain's campaign, Newt Gingrich's campaign took over the lead, which is rather odd.

This is odd because Gingrich is no saint at all. He's had multiple wives, one of whom was his mistress while he was married to another. Now perhaps it may be that Gingrich is more open about his past than other candidates are. At least he acknowledges his past indiscretions where as voters saw a hypocrisy in Cain, while being hypocritical themselves. And yet, does Gingrich have moral character?

There seems to be this line from candidates that personal lives should be kept separate from the public arena. I disagree. Moral character matters when it comes to who we elect to office. Even President Obama seems to have a decent enough moral character despite all the policies I disagree with him on. President Clinton should have resigned from office, but I'll let that ride on his conscience. That being said, there are only a couple of candidates left that seem to have good upstanding moral character, meaning there's no red flags: Ron Paul and Rick Santorum

Both are extremely pro-life (Paul being a former OB/GYN, and Santorum taking care of his sick infant when the doctors have given up hope). People talk about Romney's or Gingrich's economic policies, yet both involve spending even more money. Need I even go into Romney's flip-flopping on issues when it becomes expedient to do so? For me, who I vote for is a matter of principle and moral character. Romney is a Mormon and many people say, so what?. If one looks at the doctrine of the Mormon church, you will find many things that would be shocking to many Americans. Mormonism is America's Islam.

I say all that to say that I do not vote on a candidate because I think they have the best chance of winning. My conscience (and the Holy Spirit) will not allow me to do so. I vote on the candidate that I feel has a good moral character and has policies that best reflect mine. If I have to write in a candidate, then I will. Some years ago, I voted for a Democrat against the Republican Lindsay Graham. I told someone that and you'd have thought I'd just committed and unpardonable sin. The fact of the matter was that the Democrat running was more conservative than most of the Republicans in Congress already. We cannot and should not vote along party lines. This is partly what has gotten us in this mess in the first place. We, the people, do not vote the way we should.

As we go into this voting season to decide whether or not we keep President Obama in office, let us remember that moral character does matter, regardless of whatever policies the candidate is espousing. There are some candidates that have held to their policies for decades such as Paul and Santorum. There are others who flip-flop when it's expedient to do so such as Romney. Then there are others who just can't seem to be faithful to their wives such as Gingrich. The latter is leading in the polls unfortunately. Jesus isn't a political party member, so why should we.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Does it get better?

English: Sex advice columnist, journalist, and...
Image via Wikipedia
There's a campaign that has been established and promoted by Seattle radio host Dan Savage called, "It Gets Better." The campaign seeks to focus on gay bullying in schools and to encourage those who are being bullied that life gets better as a homosexual. The good is that that there is a focus on bullying. All bullying is wrong no matter what. All of us may have been bullied at some point or another. Bullying simply needs to stop. The problem with this campaign is that it's aim as with most campaigns like it takes such a narrow focus on bullying as if it's assuming that bullying of homosexuals is the only bullying there is. It's obviously false that bullying of homosexuals is the only bullying there is, but not according to the homosexual lobby. The other accusation flying around is that to call homosexuality a sin is an act of bullying, hate, and bigotry. That too could not be more false. President Obama himself has promoted the "It Gets Better" campaign.

Bullying at all levels should stop and those who seek to stop those who believe that homosexuality is a sin just as murder, lying, adultery, and divorce are sins are being bullies themselves. They seek to bully us into shutting up.  Christianity has gotten a bad rap with regards to how we have responded to homosexuals. We have shown little compassion to homosexuals, condemning them, refusing to talk to them. Yet, we must still be bold in our stand that the act of homosexuality is a sin. One can be tempted toward sin, yet sin not. We must pray for those that are tempted to sin and pray that they will turn to God instead. Does it get better? Not if you follow the route to "It Gets Better" campaign. It only gets better if you trust Christ as your Lord and Savior and allow him to change your heart and your life. All other roads lead to destruction.

Enhanced by Zemanta

New Living Translation Giveaway

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Tyndale is giving away copies of the Life Application Bible from November 29th through December 24th, 2011. All you have to do is visit their New Living Translation Facebook page, like them, and enter. One winner will be chosen each day and one winner per week will win an iPad 2. Here's the details:

By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:
  • One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
  • One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Favorite Christmas Album?

Bruce CockburnBruce Cockburn's (pronounced koh-bern) "Christmas" is perhaps one of the best Christmas albums ever done. It's done in more of a singer/songwriter folk style, but that's Bruce Cockburn for you. He's a Canadian-born musician. The album features mostly traditional Christmas songs rearranged in Cockburn's folk flare. There's even some French thrown in for good measure, since he's French-Canadian. If you have yet to discover Cockburn, do yourself a favor, and take a listen. This is one singer-songwriter that you're missing out on.

Amazon Links:

Bruce Cockburn's "Christmas" on CD

Bruce Cockburn's "Christmas" on MP3

Vyrso Free EBooks in December

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by libraryman via Flickr"]eBook Readers Galore[/caption]

Vyrso (LOGOS free ebook reader) is offering discounted and free ebooks for the whole month of December. The biggest freebie right now is John Piper's Holy Ambition, but they're promising books from authors such as Randy Alcorn as well. Visit this page  each day in December to see what the day's deal is.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, December 2, 2011

Define "sexual assault"

This post might seem a little odd, but look at the following article first:
A 7-year-old boy has been accused of sexual harassment after punching a fellow first-grader in the groin, but the boy's mother says he was acting in self-defense.

Tasha Lynch told The Boston Globe that her son, Mark Curran, was being choked during the Nov. 22 incident on a school bus, and has been afraid to go back to school in South Boston ever since.

“I think my kid was right to fight back [after he was choked],’’ she said. “He wasn’t doing anything except protecting himself.’’

Later in the article:
Tynan Elementary School Principal Leslie Gant didn't believe that Mark was acting out of self-defense, Lynch told The Globe.

“She said, ‘It doesn’t matter who hit who first,’ ’’ Lynch said. “‘He said he hit him in the testicles. That’s assault. That’s sexual assault.’"

I said: ‘The kid choked my son first and that’s called attempted murder. He said he couldn’t breathe.’’’

The school sent a letter to stating her son was accused of sexual harassment and endangering physical safety of other students.

In this day and age, have we come so far as to brand self-defense as "sexual assault." Does a first-grader even know what sex is? Shouldn't the school take that into consideration before even branding the kid a sexual predator? Is no action being taken against the kid who choked the accused? Sorry, but no tolerance policies continue to get more ridiculous. Show some common sense, people. I wonder if the kid even knew where he was aiming when he punched.

Amazon Holiday Music for $5

Amazon has a bunch of Holiday albums for only $5 right now. Take your pick from "A Charlie Brown Christmas", Harry Connick, Jr., Mannheim Steamroller, Casting Crowns, Bing Crosby, and many others. Click the following image to visit the site and choose the albums you want to add to your collection.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="100 albums for only $5 each from"]100 albums for only $5 each from[/caption]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Free Audiobooks from for December - One's a Dickens of a Carol

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="From Pearl Harbor to Calvary"]From Pearl Harbor to Calvary[/caption]

Publisher's Description:

Mitsuo Fuchida was a Captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service who is perhaps best known for leading the first air wave attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Fuchida was responsible for the coordination of the entire aerial attack working under the overall fleet commander Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo.

After World War II ended, Fuchida became an evangelist, Christian preacher and frequently traveled to the United States to minister to the Japanese expatriate community. He became a United States citizen in 1966. His autobiography was originally released in 1953, and this edition will be published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 2011.

Bonus! Includes interviews with Florence DeShazer and Jacob DeShazer.

Download Here



[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="218" caption="A Christmas Carol"]A Christmas Carol[/caption]

Publisher's Description:

A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman and Hall and first released on 19 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.

The book was written and published at a time when Britain was experiencing a nostalgic interest in its forgotten Christmas traditions, and at the time when new customs such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards were being introduced. Dickens' sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and the Christmas stories of Washington Irving.

The tale was pirated immediately, was adapted several times to the stage, and has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and somberness. A Christmas Carol remains popular, has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, opera, and other media.

Download Here

GroupTune - Christian Music Deals

GroupTune is a fairly new site using GroupOn's model of offering deals, except this time, it's with Christian music. I've already gotten a free song off of Sojourn's latest Christmas album. There's another free deal going on right now, as well as a $10 deal for 2 Christmas albums from Bethlehem Skyline.

You can view the current deal at the following link:

The Free FFH free Christmas song is at the following link:

Click the links, setup an account to be notified of new deals, and enjoy some new music for less.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walmart's Loss of Control and Respect

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Black Friday shoppers at Walmart[/caption]

Recently, we had the opportunity to somewhat experience Black Friday shopping. There was one item I wanted to get for one of my kids that was on sale at Walmart. It was to go on sale at 10:00 PM Thursday night. So, we arrive at about 9:45 PM and there is absolutely no parking. I should have left then, but I was hopeful I could get the one item. It was not to be, of course, but let me continue. We enter the store and it is insanity multiplied by infinity.  This is probably what Hell looks like, to be perfectly honest. First of all, it is not even 10:00 yet, when the items are supposed to go on sale. However, practically every item that was listed as going on sale at that time has already been picked up and people are in line waiting to check out at 10 PM.

I used to work for Target. I have worked on Black Friday, both as a cashier, and as security. We had control. We did not let customers select the items on sale until the appointed time. We sometimes had substitutions (but not always, as these are called doorbusters for a reason). Customers were able to check out in an orderly fashion. We respected our customers by giving them boundaries and rules and they typically respected us.

Walmart does not respect it's customers. In fact, they must hate them. In return, it's customers do not respect Walmart and in fact most likely hate in return. One lady told us that people were stealing stuff out of her cart that she had selected to purchase. Tickets were handed out for the item I had wished to purchase, yet none of those people who had tickets were able to get the item because someone had opened the pallet too soon and there was a mad rush. Basically, Walmart had no control over it's merchandise or the time at which they were supposed to actually sell it. But this is normal for Walmart on Black Friday. If you watch the news, you'll see that the majority of Black Friday violent incidents happen at Walmart. Whether it's pepper spray over an XBox, or trampling at the door, Walmart descends into chaos over a flat screen TV to add to the 5 the customer already has in their home, just because they're "saving" $50.

The depravity and greed of man is very evident in the shopper habits on Black Friday, especially at Walmart. They issue very little control or boundaries to their customers. People need boundaries. Speaking from experience, if I issued no boundaries to my children, they would run amuck and out of control. This is what has happened to Walmart customers. Society complains about the violence at Walmart Black Fridays, and at the same time wants boundaries removed. You cannot have it both ways. No boundaries equals getting run over by a Mack truck.

If Walmart wants to earn the respect of it's customers back, it needs to start issuing boundaries and controls over it's products and in it's stores. Target figured this out years ago. It's time Walmart learned a lesson from it's competitors. It's also time for people to learn respect. Needless to say, we left Walmart about 15 minutes after we got there with nothing in hand. Never again, will we attempt such an endeavor. We'll buy our items either at a little bit higher price or online. There's no need to stress ourselves out over one item while suffering the agony of other people's depravity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

[Book Review] Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Whenever someone claims to have visited Heaven (or Hell), I'm usually a little skeptical. In the Bible, we do have several instances of people of God seeing visions of Heaven. Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up in Isaiah 6. Paul makes a claim of having visited Heaven, though he doesn't explicitly say it was himself. Then we have the book of Revelation with a vision of Heaven as given to the apostle John. In recent years, we've had claims of visitations to Heaven (Don Piper with his book, "90 Minutes in Heaven") and Hell (Bill Wiese's "23 minutes in Hell"). Now we have a book written by a Wesleyan pastor who's claiming his son visited Heaven at 4 years old during an emergency appendectomy.

I must say that the book was a fascinating read. I was kept engaged in the book as I was hoping for a good outcome in the surgery, even though I knew the outcome. As a parent myself and someone who has had to have one of their children in the hospital overnight, I felt for the parents. I could empathize with them even though my children have not had to go through anything so extreme. It wasn't until a couple of months after the surgery that young Colton Burpo started telling of his visit to Heaven and the father, Todd Burpo, started trying to line up scripture with what Colton was saying.

The Good:

We must know Jesus to get to Heaven.  This was the central theme of what Colton was saying. This is not inaccurate and very true. This seems to be Colton's main takeaway from his "visit." He got to have a "vision" of Heaven and came away with the only way to get to Heaven was to have Jesus. Otherwise, one goes to Hell. In a day when it seems that people want to deny Hell and deny that one even needs to have a faith and trust in Jesus, this is a good message, indeed. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only good message from the book, other than Colton surviving the surgery.

The Bad:

  1. Rainbow-colored horse? Burpo never attempted to justify that one with Scripture. We do know that Jesus rides a white horse (Revelation 19:11-21).

  2. The final battle is all men while the women and children look on.  There is nothing in the Bible to support this. In the same passage about Jesus on the white horse, we see all the armies of Heaven following Jesus to battle the great dragon, who is subsequently captured.  There is no indication of who makes up that army.

  3. People have wings? Colton had to have heard this from somewhere before having his "vision" or "dream." Once again, the only creatures mentioned in the Bible to have wings are the angels themselves. Burpo attempts to use the stoning of Stephen as some sort of proof of the angelic-like look on his face when he died. Personally though, Christians often are peaceful when they die because they will be in the presence of their Lord.

  4. Gabriel sits on the left-hand of God? This is not too far-fetched, but it cannot be wholly supported by Scripture. Burpo attempts  a scriptural defense of this, but fails because he can only go so far as to show that Gabriel stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19).

  5. Another girl has had a similar vision and paints her views of what she saw, including one of Jesus. So now, we go from Scriptural proofs to experiential proofs. This is dangerous water to tread because there will most likely be something else in there that is not scriptural. Are we sure that the picture of Jesus she painted is the correct one? Just because a 4 year old says so?

The Iffy:

Colton "met" his miscarriaged sister and dead grandfather whom no one was sure had made it to Heaven. This is kind of tricky ground to walk on as this type of experience or vision cannot be confirmed by Scripture.


I selected this book to review because I am curious about these types of experiences. I want to be able to take these and compare them to scripture to see if they add up. Unfortunately, in my opinion, if one thing cannot be matched by Scripture, the whole thing fails. I don't doubt that 4 year old Colton had some kind of experience while laying on that operating room table. Who knows what goes on in our sub-conscience while sleeping or under the influence of anesthesia? I do know that 4 year olds have a vivid imagination as do most children. I have a 4 year old myself. Colton wanted the message to be that Heaven is for real, but the message should have been that we all need to believe in Jesus in order to get to Heaven. We know that Heaven is real from Scripture. We know that we need Jesus to get there from Scripture. Does it need the so-called "vision" of a 4 year old to confirm it? Probably not. The book is well-written, but not scripturally sound, as with probably any book written about a visit to Heaven or Hell, save the book of Revelation.  I won't recommend this book for theology, but would recommend just for knowledge sake.

I received this book as part of Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for an unbiased review. I was not paid for my review.