Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shocking Abortion Video

I came across the following video on Voddie Baucham's blog.

The following is what Mr. Baucham said to introduce the video:
Those of us involved in the pro-life movement probably won’t find this video all that shocking. However, pro-choice advocates (and those who voted for president Obama) will probably find this video offensive... and that’s okay. Those who support abortion must be challenged; they must be forced to answer the question posed by this video.
Take just a couple minutes to watch this video and share it with others.
(This is not the video that shows the abortion procedure, though this is still heartbreaking and thought provoking)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Running, 5ks, and my thoughts

I've never been one for running, in fact I used to hate it. I hated running the mile in school, I never ran just for fun, and when I went to the gym I would choose to do anything else but run. With a little encouragement this past spring I began jogging at a community walking track here in Bay St. Louis. A few weeks after that I decided to run in a 5k race during the Bay Bridge Fest. I finished. It was not a great time. Though I wasn't last, which made me happy.

This past weekend I gave myself a chance at another 5k. This run was for Waiting for a Cure a benefit for those who are battling or have battled breast cancer on the Mississippi Gulf coast and sponsored by the Gulf Coast Running Club. Again, not a spectacular finish, but I took 2 1/2 minutes off my previous 5k time and it was fun meeting new people.

I hope to continue running, though its still not my favorite thing to do, I feel good after I am finished. And that out weighs how I feel when I am actually running. I am thinking about running another 5k later this year, we'll see if that happens.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All Because of Jesus

All Because of Jesus
-Steve Fee

Giver of every breath I breathe
Author of all eternity
Giver of every perfect thing
To You be the glory

Maker of heaven and of earth
No one can comprehend your worth
King over all the universe
To You be the glory

I'm alive
Because I'm alive in You

And it's all because of Jesus I'm alive
And it's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive

Every sunrise sings Your grace
The universe cries out your praise
I'm singing freedom all my days
Now that I'm alive

It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
Covers me and raised this dead man's life
Yeah, it's all because of Jesus
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because of the blood of Jesus Christ
Covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
I'm alive, I'm alive

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God's glory and depression

We're told you are not supposed to struggle
that Christ is in sovereign over all things.
I know that's true and believe it full
but from time to time I struggle still

Depression is that with which I battle
some days it gets me more than others.
some say it's all caused by sin
never can it be else than that.

I do sin and it does contribute
but must I rule out there must be more?
I wish there was a way to fix change it all
but it must be God's sovereign plan

I often fail to see why depression exists
but I know its for a reason
that God would be glorified above all things
in all life and emotions

I mustn't fall into woe is me
though often tempted to do so
Need to recognize the bigger picture
God's glory and sovereign rule.

I'm grateful for all life's struggles
as hard as they seem.
They ultimately sanctify the believer
and let God's glory be seen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Currently Reading 9-22-09

I am always interested in what others are reading. I am always looking for a new book. But I thought I would share the books that I am currently reading. I am trying to limit myself to the number of books I read at one time, because I have a bad habit of starting several books and then forgetting to finish many of them.

When Helping Hurts (How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself) by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

The two reasons the authors give for writing this book are thought provoking:
1. "North American Christians are simply not doing enough. We are the richest people to walk the face of the earth. Yet, most of us live as though there is nothing terribly wrong in the world."
2. "Many observers...believe that when North American Christians do attempt to alleviate poverty, the methods used often do considerable more harm to both the materially and materially non-poor. Our concern is not just that these methods are wasting human, spiritual, financial, and organizational resources but that these methods are actually exacerbating the very problems they are trying to solve." pg 28

Is God Really in control (Trusting God in a World of Hurt) by Jerry Bridges

This voice in My Heart (A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith and Forgiveness) by Gilbert Tuhbonye

This is the story of a Brundi Tutsi that survived brutal attacks in his home country when a Hutu mob invaded his high school. He was the only Tutsi survivor of that attack, but suffered severe injuries. He went on to become a world-class athlete.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You Never get Beyond the Gospel

In Tim Keller's article The Centrality of the Gospel he claims that most Christians have not used the gospel in all areas of life. Many think the gospel is mainly for unbelievers. I couldn't agree more with what Keller has to say. We need to continually re-discover the gospel...

Paul is showing that we never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced”. The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.

We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience, but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal.3:1-3) and are renewed (Col.1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom.1:16-17). It is very common in the church to think as follows. "The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience." But Col.1:6 shows that this is a mistake. Both confession and "hard work" that is not arising from and "in line" with the gospel will not sanctify you--it will strangle you. All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel. Thus when Paul left the Ephesians he committed them "to the word of his grace, which can build you up" (Acts 20:32)

The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implications of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel--a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says, "The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine....Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually." (on Gal.2:14f) The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel only does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do not "get" it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discovery of a new implication or application of the gospel--seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The privilege of hearing the gospel

It is a great privilege to hear the gospel. You may smile and think there is nothing very great in it. The damned in hell know. Oh, what would they give if they could hear the gospel now? If they could come back and entertain but the shadow of a hope that they might escape from the wrath to come? The saved in heaven estimate this privilege at a high rate, for, having obtained salvation through the preaching of this gospel, they can never cease to bless their God for calling them by his word of truth. O that knew it! On your dying beds the listening to a gospel sermon will seem another thing than it seems now.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 6)

I could write much more on Literacy and the Gospel as I continue to think about the topic. But I think I will make this my last post. I have read many articles online, I think this one written in Baptist Press briefly sums up some of my thoughts.

Christianity is a book-religion. That is, all of its revelation about God's redemptive work in Christ is mediated to us in letters on a page. We don't have photographs, telephone lines through time, or a living oral tradition. We have the Scriptures. Apart from them, we have no saving knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because Christianity is a religion of the book, where it spreads so too does a concern for literacy. That is why when Christianity expands it borders, it is often accompanied by the building of schools and other institutions of learning. Where literacy dies, so does a knowledge of and a love for the Bible. Does it not make sense to interpret a decline in reading as a trend that works against the Gospel?

I believe the pervasive and invasive entertainment culture (TV, Internet, movies, etc.) smothers serious thinking and the reading of entire books. Americans by and large don't read serious books because they are entertaining themselves to death. There simply isn't time to read the Bible, much less books on theology or doctrine. Besides that, when you are conditioned to be in a constant state of being entertained, reading non-fiction becomes a chore and a bore.

Our hearts tend to fixate on vanity. It will be that way until the great day of our Lord's return. If we would be faithful to Christ, we would be conscientiously doing everything we can to work against these currents in the culture and within our own hearts. It may mean throwing our televisions away. It may mean spending less time on the Internet -- perhaps even reading less blogs. Whatever it takes, it's worth it to redeem the time and to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (Ephesians 5:16; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).
With all that has been said, I still believe we must go to those who cannot read and share the gospel with them. We need not wait until they are literate to share Christ with them. We can use teaching literacy as both a means of sharing Christ with them and helping them to grow in their relationship with Christ by reading the scriptures.

It is my prayer that we in America would turn off the tv's, the computers, the music and pick up our Bibles. I pray that as the Lord leads people would begin literacy programs, ESL classes, and come up with other ideas on how to increase literacy. I also pray people would go on mission to other countries to promote literacy and to translate Bibles for those who have none. Let us consider literacy as a gospel issue.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 5)

Some have said sharing the gospel is the most important thing and should not focus on literacy. I agree that sharing the gospel is of utmost importance. Some argue that the majority of first century persons were illiterate, but Christians took the gospel to them and spread it orally. Praise God for those believers.

I understand that first century Christians and unbelievers were mostly illiterate and even today it is possible to be a Christian to be illiterate and grow in a relationship with Christ. But I believe literacy is very important in the process of sanctification and think it should not be ignored. I believe scripture is clear that we should be reading his word.

We are told in scripture to meditate on the word and to do what is written in are we to do that if one can't read?
Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

We know that scripture reveals to us that knowing the scriptures helps us to understand Christ. How can we deepen our knowledge of Christ and who he is without being able to read and comprehend the words of scripture?
2 Timothy 3:15-17
and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
The mysteries of Christ are revealed in the scriptures...
Eph 3:3-4
How the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
I believe literacy ministries can serve people in different ways. I do believe that bringing the gospel to someone is more important than just teaching a person to read. But literacy ministries can bring people to a place where they might not have come before and hear the word spoken to them there. Becoming literate will enable them to read scriptures on their own. If an illiterate unbelievers becomes a Christian being able to read will allow them to grow in their relationship with Christ. We should not neglect the gospel, but should promote literacy among believers and unbelievers that they may not only heard but read the sweet gospel message written to us in the scriptures.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 4)

The following are excerpts from an interesting article written by Dr. Philip Ryken, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philidelphia, PA. The full article can be found on Tenth Presbyterian's website

The reason for all this literary illiteracy is not hard to guess. We are living in an accelerated culture of perpetual distraction, the multimedia age of the sound bite and the instant message. Our unprecedented global connectivity gives us an immediate interchange of massive amounts of information. However, most of this information comes in small packages. Everything seems to be getting shorter—articles, paragraphs, sentences, even words. For a reader who is used to rapidly scanning short emails or clicking through news headlines on the Internet, a long text that demands sustained thought can quickly become a source of boredom, impatience, or frustration......

In some respects, a decline in literary reading poses little threat to the church, where literacy has never been a prerequisite for understanding the gospel. In fact, most of the early Christians were unable to read the Bible for themselves. Literacy was a social benefit that only the educated elite were privileged to enjoy. In those days communication generally took place through the spoken rather than the written word. Nevertheless, people could still hear the Bible read in the public worship of the church. They could also understand the Bible. Although the Old and New Testaments contain many deep truths about God, the basic plan of salvation is something even the simplest person can understand. Christianity is not intellectually elitist.

Nevertheless, it still needs to be said that reading the Bible for full comprehension requires a higher level of proficiency than bare literacy. To begin with, the Bible is a long book, and people need to have the confidence to read it in full. Furthermore, nearly all of the literature in the Bible has a rich depth of complexity. The biblical writers are rarely ever content to say only one thing at a time; more typically they invest their stories, poems, histories, epistles, and other literary forms with layers of meaning that require careful scrutiny and quiet reflection for full understanding. The Bible both demands and rewards our best reading and thinking.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 3)

I am on to day three in my look at literacy and the gospel. I do not know how much longer I will continue to look at this issue. But my heart has been pricked. Today I want to ask whose responsibility it is to teach the children to read.

Whose responsibility is it to teach kids and adults to read? Many have said it is the schools systems and the government's responsibility. My question is why is it their responsibility?

Shouldn't it be the parents responsibility? I believe it is their responsibility. But what then about parents who are functionally illiterate themselves. Should they just allow themselves to remain illiterate and not be able to teach their children? Well, I have no easy answer. I am still thinking about all this and struggling through it all myself.

I know I am speaking as one who was blessed to have parents and grandparent who taught me to read from an early age. I did have decent schools that aided my parents in helping me learn. I do not have children of my own, so who I am to say that it is a parents responsibility to teach their child? I know life is busy and parents have to work to support their families, leaving what seems like little time to sit to read. It's nice to just sit and relax in the evenings and not have to work on kids homework or read to them.

It has been my prayer that the Lord would reveal to me ways I can help this problem facing our county. I have no answer yet, and I know one person cannot begin a ministry for everything that they see as important. I know what I would like to do if I have children one day, but what about until then. How can I use what the Lord has gifted me with to make His name be known and His word read in Hancock county.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 2)

I've been reading a lot of the statistics on literacy in the United States. Some of the statistics greatly surprise me, but further my concern for those who are functionally illiterate in the US and Hancock County.

Statistics from Begin to Read
  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. The fourth grade is the watershed year.
  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
Statistics from National Right to Read Foundation
  • The number of functionally illiterate adults is increasing by approximately two and one quarter million persons each year. This number includes nearly 1 million young people who drop out of school before graduation, 400,000 legal immigrants, 100,000 refugees, and 800,000 illegal immigrants, and 20 % of all high school graduates.

Statistics from Education Portal
  • 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their child
  • 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.
  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can't read.
  • Approximately 50 percent of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as balancing a checkbook and reading prescription drug labels.
One statistic that really hit close to home with the number of drug and abuse problems in our county...
  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel

This past weekend's sermon at Lakeshore Baptist has really stirred me to prayer. My mind has constantly wandered back to what Pastor Don said Sunday while preaching from 1 John 2:12-16. He reminded us that God has revealed Himself in the written word, therefore literacy is a gospel issue. Being able to read allows us to know God through reading His word. There are a lot of thoughts I have on the topic of illiteracy. It breaks my heart to read the literacy statistics in the united states. I know Literacy is often thought of in third world countries especially when we think of taking the scriptures, translating, or translating a Bible for a group of people who have no written language.

Surprisingly illiteracy is a problem in the United States, but especially to where my heart is drawn, Mississippi. I knew there was a literacy problem, it's not been a sceret. But I was shocked when Pastor Don mentioned statisics (sea coast echo article & MS Department of Education ) from recent tests for elementary students. In our county almost 70% of the elementary students passed the profiency test in language arts. That means over 30% failed.

That number is alarming to me. There are a lot of other statistics linking literacy to crime, work, etc. Maybe I'll post some later.

This leaves me wondering and praying. What can do I to help? I see the importance of being able to read and growing in Christ through reading his word. Join me in prayer, pray that the Lord would reveal to me what it is that I can do. I want to see Hancock county come to faith in Christ and see each of them grow in their relationship with Him through reading His Word.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I've been lied to!!

All these years I have been told there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... Not true. All I found today at the end of the rainbow was the silver slipper casino and at the other end wal-mart! See for yourself! ......... or maybe I did find two big pots of gold ;)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Choosing Thomas

I can't help but post this. Praise God for this couple who did not abort their son Thomas because "he was their son" knowing that after his birth he would soon die. This video moved me to tears for this couple, for Thomas, and that God choose to take a lowly thing in the eyes of the world and show truth.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Take the next 10 minutes and watch this video.