Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Prayer For The New Year

A Puritan prayer, entitled "New Year," from the book, "The Valley Of Vision."

O Lord, length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in your presence, in your service, to your glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, and aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from you but may rely on your Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth your praise, testify to your love, and advance your kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year with you, O father, as my harbor, the Son at my helm, and the HOly Spirit filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my lamp burning, my ear open to your call, my heart full of love, my soul free.

GIve me your grace to sanctify, your comforts to cheer, your wisdom to teach, your right hand to guide, your counsel to instruct, your law to judge, and your presence to stabilize.

May your fear be my awe, your triumphs my joy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Double Homicide?

I saw this story on the 10:00 news on channel 11 tonight (watch the video on the right sidebar, or read the story).

To summarize, it's a tragic story of a young Minneapolis girl, 15 year old Annshalike Hamilton, who was brutally murdered by way of blunt force trauma. Her body was found a couple weeks ago inside a North Minneapolis garage. After the autopsy results came back police discovered that Annshalike was 6 to 7 months pregnant at the time of her death. Upon this discovery, police have now categorized the crime that took Annshalike's life as a "double homicide." Please pray for Annshalike's family as they mourn.

I don't want to diminish in any way the tragedy that is the loss of Annshalike's life, but in mourning her death we must also, as the police have rightly noted by terming the murder as a double homicide, mourn the loss of the life of the unborn child within her.

If you are at all even a casual reader of this blog, you already know where I'm going with this: the only way that Annshalike's murder can be categorized as a double homicide is if the thing inside her was a living human being. Pro-choice supporters claim that fetuses indeed are not living beings, and can therefore be selectively eliminated. But if that's the case, why is Annshalike's murder categorized as a double homicide? If they ever catch the murderer(s) who brutally murdered Annshalike, I think they would be wise to use this as their defense. It makes sense, doesn't it?

The outright hypocrisy of describing this loss of life as a double homicide, yet at the same time insisting that abortion is NOT the taking of a life is simply mind boggling and disgusting. I am continually shocked and (since it involves the taking of innocent life) disgusted by the lack of the ability to think reasonably and logically by those on the pro-choice (or as I have taken to calling it, "pro-death") side of the abortion debate regularly display. It simply does not make sense: a baby cannot be a human being in one sense (like in this case, murder) and not in another sense (like in abortion).

This is one of the oldest and most foundational principles of philosophy: the law of non-contradiction. It states that "A" and "Non-A" cannot be equal in the same form or sense at the same time. In plain language, it's impossible for something be both true and not true at the same time and in the same context. For example, a table cannot be both made entirely of wood and not made entirely of wood at the same time. You've either got two different tables or two different contexts. You can't have both at the same time. In the case of unborn children, they can't be living beings and not living beings at the same time and in the same context. So then, to say that Annshalike's unborn child was murdered, but to say that children are NOT murdered through the act of abortion is a violation of the law of non-contradiction. It just simply can't be. Either killing unborn children in any context is murder or it isn't. It logically can't be both.

The inability of pro-choice supporters to understand this basic, elementary concept is baffling. In the mean time, keep Annshalike's family in your prayers. They are experiencing twice the grief in this tragedy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rate My Church

After my message today, a few people came up to me asking about the website I referenced: Feel free to go there, however you should know that the site has been closed down and isn't active anymore. Apparently people from churches were using the rating system to advertise for their church, and the site operators didn't take kindly to it, so they shut it down. You can, however, still look at how churches were rated.

Also, if you check out the website, you should know that it is part of a larger network of sites that stem from This is a website that I plan to blog about in the future, because I find a lot of what they do to be pretty unbiblical. You have been warned!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Whole Story

I recently read an article about the marking of World's AIDS Day which occurred a few weeks ago. Apparently as part of the activities there was a forum on global health that was hosted by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church in California. The article went on to talk about President Bush's activity in the PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) program, and how under the Bush administration, an estimated 10 million lives have been saved due to PEPFAR funding since 2003. 10 million! In his introduction of the president, Warren said, "No man in history, no world leader, has done more for global health than President George W. Bush." That's an astounding and weighty endorsement. The article's author goes on to say that he personally visited Rwanda in the past year and was able to see the impact that the PEPFAR program was having first hand. He says, "...I saw evidence of PEPFAR’s work everywhere. Its importance to Africa’s efforts in the fight against AIDS cannot be overstated."

As I read the article, I was amazed and confused at the same time. Amazed, because I was impressed with the positive results that the program has been having in AIDS ridden countries of the world. Confused, because this story has not hit the major news media. Why in the world is this not front page news? Why are these statistics not leading the top of the broadcast news? 10 million lives have been directly affected! Countless number of lives have been radically changed and given hope due to this program.

Working in ministry, I have a personal philosophy that states that I will never miss an opprotunity to brag about the things I am doing in my job. In other words, if I have a chance to tell people about the good things that are going on in the ministry of the church, I will always jump at that chance. I consider it a part of my job to make known the way God is working in and through people for his glory. Considering all of the bad news in the world and America today, you'd think the media would jump at the chance to brag about something good that our country is doing...but they haven't.

Why not? You already know the typical right-wing answer I'm going to give: media bias. Think about it, why else would this not be reported? There's absolutely nothing negative about it. In fact, everything about the story is absolutely fantastic news. The only reason I can see for not reporting this story is that the mainstream media doesn't want to credit President Bush with ANYTHING positive. They only want to shoot him in the back as often as possible, and have thus completely ignored this story.

Also, I find it interesting that the author of the article I read was one Cameron Strang, editor of Relevant Magazine. I have posted in the past about how Strang tends toward the liberal side when it comes to social issues, and how he accuses the Right of not caring enough when it comes to things like poverty and fighting disease. In fact, here are Strang's words: "However, and this is where many on the right miss it, the example Jesus set for us to stand up for the defense of the innocent does not end at birth. Just as they do for abortion, Christians should be on the forefront of standing against things that take millions of innocent lives around the world every day - systemic poverty, preventable disease, unnecessary wars, slavery, genocide. The list goes on." And now we have Strang writing about how no one else in earth's history has done more for AIDS than George W. Bush (who by the way, is a republican). Apparently those on the right DO get it, Cameron!

This brings up another point: there has been a liberal tendency when it comes to social issues in the ranks of up and coming evangelical Christians who echo Strang's comments that conservatives don't care enough for social issues. What do they say about this story? I'm not trying to justify any one particular political group here, but those who say that conservative Christians don't care about social issues are flat out wrong, and this story helps to prove it (not to mention the fact that Christians dominate the statistics when it comes to standing up for social justice in EVERY area. Christians are the ones who build hosptials, open shelters, feed the hungry, treat the sick, etc.).

All this leads me to a question that I don't know the answer to: is it possible that many thousands of Christians voted for Barack Obama in this past election based upon the errant observation that conservative Christians don't care about social justice? If so, they were uninformed, because conservative Christians certainly do care about social issues as evidenced by this story. Also, if such Christians made their electoral decisions based upon the seeming lack of compassion by conservatives, then that means their thoughts were influenced by a biased media that refuses to report on stories like this. Why would they not report on it? Because if they did, people would see that conservative Christians really are compassionate, and DO care about social justice, and would therefore not choose to elect the Messiah of the mainstream media: Barack Obama. Take for example the title of Strang's article: "Bush's Unexpected Legacy," referring to the fact that he has done more for global health than any other individual in history. Why does Strang find this legacy as being "unexpected?" Because he has listened to ridiculous rhetoric and bought into the fact that conservatives don't care about people, which is simply not true.

It's time for people to wake up and make their decisions based upon what is actually happening, and not just on what the media says is happening. Start thinking for yourself and stop letting others think for you!

Friday, December 12, 2008



The Mississippi Baptist Convention recently collected 50 million pennies and ressurrected a display outside the state legislature to hold them in. Why 50 million? Because that's the estimated number of babies that have been aborted since 1973 via Rove vs. Wade.

It's easy to get lost in the numbers (4,000 abortions per day since 1973 is approximately 50 million), but seeing it like this inspires a completely different kind of reaction.

The memorial, called the "Memorial to the Missing" weighs 300,000 pounds and contains a half million dollars - all in pennies. The plaque that is attached to the memorial reads thusly:

"Before you is a collection of 50 million pennies! Each penny represents one child who has been aborted since the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade in 1973. A penny like a baby seems to be so small and sometimes of very little worth, but when seen in a collection of 50 million it becomes enormous.

Each coin is a person, but in many cases it also represents the difficult process of decision-making, fear, and loneliness. While some speak of pro-choice, these babies had no choice. While some speak of a mother's right to control her own body, 50 million babies were not given their right to live.

Fifty million missing children represented by these pennies must be cause for us to stop, pray, consider what we are doing as a nation, ask God to forgive us, seek ways to help those who are struggling with the decision, and look to the Lord to restore each of us."

You can read more about the memorial here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

To whoever was kind enough to shovel the sidewalk in front of my house today, thank you! I really appreciate it. I was planning to carve some time out of my already busy schedule to take care of it, and I was blessed by not having to worry about it. I am amazed at the way God works. I had a TON of stuff to do today, and thanks to someone's kindness, shoveling my sidewalk wasn't one of them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Ain't Got Time To Blog

I suppose the very existence of this text contradicts the title of this post, but it's mostly true nonetheless. I think that my current schedule at this point in my life is perhaps the most time-consuming that it's ever been (and my blog is taking the biggest hit!).

A few months ago I realized that I was always either at work, in my car driving to work, or in my office at home...working (on stuff for my job or for school). I counted out the hours in my week and here's what I came up with:

40 hours per week for my job. It should be noted that I get paid for 40 hours, but I usually end up putting in more than that. It's just one of the perks that comes with being in ministry. I have friends who think I'm an idiot for working such weird and long hours, but I actually enjoy it. I love my job.

12 hours per week preparing for the early church service at Riverview. I'm privileged to be able to lead worship and preach at the early service at the church, however everything I do is strictly on a volunteer basis - it's not a part of my job description. Preparing a 25 minute message, getting the worship songs and other elements of the service together takes a LOT of time.

12 hours per week studying and doing homework. I started seminary this past summer, and I've been trying to go full time, at which I've been far. Most of my school work gets done at home in my office late at night after everyone else has gone to bed.

So when my week begins, I automatically take 64 hours right off the top - those hours are spoken for, and they are vital for maintaining what I do at my job and for school. But then when you throw in the fact that I'm a husband, father, and homeowner, things start to get difficult. 64 divided by seven days equals approximately 9 hours per day. In other words, if I worked seven days a week, I'd work 9 hours each day. However, this isn't usually how I spread it out (at least not ideally!). I try to do five 12 hour days usually, spreading out the work load of each area in each day.

While it all sounds nice, and it might look like I've got it together, things are coming a bit unraveled. I've been sick recently, and I think it's due to a lack of sleep, bad eating, and just being too busy. Also, my fuse has significantly shortened with my wife and kid. It's difficult to throw all of those things into the mix and still be everything to everybody (it should be noted that I realize that I can't be everything to everybody, but I try to do what I can however, even that is tough).

Something's got to change in order for me to maintain my sanity, and I think I've figured it out. I'm going to cut back on my school credits per semester. For example, I was planning to drive down to Sioux Falls for two weeks in January to take a J-Term class and pick up three credits. I don't think I would survive the trip. My wife (who's expecting by the way - oh yeah, add that into the mix too!) would go nuts being by herself for two weeks, my kid would have nowhere to go and no one to care for him, I'd have to take time off work and would get behind as a result, and my message prep for church would probably end up taking the back burner during those weeks - something I'm not willing to do. So I cancelled the J-Term trip, and I'm going to scale back the amount of credits I take in the spring semester. It's not much of a down scale, but I think it'll work Maybe then I'll have more time to blog (for the both of you who read this)!