Friday, October 30, 2009

Know Christ Through His Word

There is only one way to gain clear, true, fresh, lofty views of Christ, and that is through the Bible. The Bible is the prism by which the light of Jesus Christ is broken into its many and beautiful colors. The Bible is the portrait of Jesus Christ. We need to gaze upon Him with such intensity of desire that (by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit) He comes alive to us, meets with us, and fills us with Himself. John R.W. Stott - Understanding the Bible (1999), in 444 Surprising Quotes about the Bible (Bethany House, 2005)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2002 World Series: San Francisco Giants vs. Anaheim Angels

On Thursday, October 24, 2002, World Series Game 5, the San Francisco Giants played the Anaheim Angels and won 

In the seventh inning, as the Giants’ J.T. Snow was crossing home plate, the Giants’ manager’s 3 year old son, Darren Baker, a mascot batboy, ran too soon to pick up a bat near home plate. As Snow crossed home plate, he saw Darren, and immediately grabbed and picked him up out of harm’s way out of the path of oncoming base runner David Bell, who was coming in fast to score. 

It was amazing how J.T. Snow reacted so quickly to an incident that was totally unexpected, and rescued a small boy in danger in the middle of a World Series baseball game! 

What a great example for those of us who are Christians! As we go through our daily active lives, comfortable, in the middle of our activities, may we be prepared to stop and immediately minister to the needy, even though it may disrupt our schedules, our pleasure and even though it might be extremely inconvenient.

There are 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa. There are 100 million street children and 150 million orphans in the world with no parents. There are 15,000 prostituted children in Manila, ages 9 to 12 years. So, even though we may be in the middle of the game of life, let’s stop to consider and get involved in the game of eternity and minister to the needy for the gospel and glory of God!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Manners -- the kindness of Christ in action

As you teach manners, use the sections of the body:

- “What should I do in this situation?”
- “What can I do to help others?”

look at people when they talk to you;
- look at people when you talk to them;
- look around to see what needs to be done

listen when people talk to you;
- learn to listen to the needs of others.

speak kindly: say “Hello”, “Thank you,” “Please,” “How may I help you?”“Excuse me.” “I’m sorry, forgive me (if situation deems such).”

– The Scriptures says in Ephesians 4:29 (nasb), Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

– Smile at others.
– When eating, pass food to others!
- Don’t interrupt others.
– Defend others when they are picked on or made fun of.
– By the way, if you are shy and do not speak to others, you come across as selfish, with the emphasis on yourself.

– Open the door for others.
– Shake hands firmly and warmly.
– Help people with their coats.
– Take older people by the arm to help them across the street or upstairs. (Make sure they want to go up the stairs or across the streets.)

– Don’t sit when you should stand.
– Men, immediately stand up to give women and others your seat.
– Men, always try to sit on the outside so you can easily get up.

– Show respect for others by the way you dress, especially at special occasions like weddings, funerals, recitals, church, (and when you take your wife out for a special occasion).
–“Modesty” – Fathers and Mothers teach your girls modesty!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Spiritual Parenting" by C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon admonishes all who teach children and youth, "You are teaching children, so mind what you teach them. Take care what you are doing! . . . It is a child's soul you are tampering with . . . it is a child's soul you are preparing for eternity . . . if it is evil to mislead gray-headed age, it must e far more so to turn aside the feet of the young into the road of error, in which they may forever walk."

"There must be doctrine - solid, sound, gospel doctrine . . . getting children to meet in the morning and afternoon is a waste of their [time] and yours if you do not set before them soul-saving, soul-sustaining truth." (from Spiritual Junk Food quote by Cathy Mickels and Oudrey McKeever)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Joining Hands

by Dr. T.S. Rendall

In the pioneering days of the Canadian West, a family was making its way by foot to a farmhouse, located several miles outside a prairie town. It was bitterly cold, and to make better time, the father and mother and their boy cut across a field of what that, because of the early snowfall, had not been harvested. For some reason, the boy became separated from his parents. After a fruitless search the parents decided to return to the village to enlist the help of as many of the local people as possible.

Nearly all the adults of the village turned out and began to search the field. After some time when no trace of the boy could be found, one of the searchers suggested that they all join hands and advance across the field, systematically searching the ground. Quickly the people joined hands and marched across the field. After just a few minutes, the call went out, "I've found him!" The boy had been found, but it was too late; he had succumbed to the bitter cold, and his life had been snuffed out.

As the father gazed upon the body of his son, he was overheard to say, "Oh, that we had joined hands sooner!" And when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ to receive the reward for the things done in the body, will not one of our regrets be that we had not joined hands sooner?

But wait. Here we are in the world where all around us men and women are dying without hope and without God. There is still time to save multitudes of these. Then, in Jesus' name let us join hands, let us march forth as an exceeding great army to "rescue the perishing, care for the dying." (Dr. T.S. Rendall, Fire in the Church)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Children and Grandchildren

In my love for children and grandchildren, I was really challenged and convicted with Psalm 17:13-15, "O Lord...deliver my soul from the wicked...from men of the world, whose portion is in this life, and whose belly you fill with your treasure; they are satisfied with children, and leave their abundance to their babies. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness..." Is it possible to put children first? To think we are successful if we have lots of children are able to leave them an abundance?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Covetousness or Gratefulness

"...coveting is not merely a barrier to good human relationships. At root, it is a serious sin against God. It is the sin of ingratitude. If I am truly grateful to God for the things I have, there can be absolutely no room in my heart for covering anyone else's property, status, or anything. But the minute I cover what belongs to someone else, I show discontent with the gifts I have received from the hand of Providence. Gratitude to God precludes covering anything of my neighbor. A grateful heart is a heart so full of joy toward God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, the fountain of all blessing, that it has no room in its chambers for jealousy, envy, or covetousness." (R.C. Sproul, Tabletalk magazine, November 2001)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Just Stand There, "Cheer!"

“Once, when a great fire broke out at midnight a huge crowd gathered and everyone thought that all the residents had been safely removed. But then, away up on the fifth story a little child was seen crying for help. Up went a ladder, and soon a fireman was seen ascending to the spot. As he neared the second story, the flames burst out from the windows toward the ladder in great fury, and the multitude almost despaired of the rescue of the child. The brave man faltered, and a fellow fireman at the bottom of the ladder cried out to the crowd ‘CHEER HIM!’ Cheer after cheer arose from the crowd. Up the ladder he went, and saved the child because they cheered him! If you cannot go into the heat of the battle yourself, if you cannot go into the harvest field and work day by day, you can cheer those that are working for the Master.” (From a message preached in a 50-day crusade in New York, 1876 by Dwight L. Moody.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Serve as God Wills!

"William [Carey] worked hard at his cobbling, making sure he was giving his best service to his customers. When this was finished for the day he made time to study languages, science, history; to lecture when invited, and weekly to preach. It was a busy life but a contented one. In a letter to his father written at this time he said: 'I am not my own, nor would I choose for myself. Let God employ me where He thinks fit.'" (William Carey by Kellsye Finnie, OM Literature)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mother's Shoes

In 1930 my mother was in the 10th grade in Oklahoma. She lived in town about seven miles from the farm where her parents (my grandparents) lived, and worked for her room and board with Roy and Myrtle Cowerds in Canute. In those days children tried to wear good shoes to school. One day mom broke her shoe heel. The next day she wrote to her mother. A rural mail carrier delivered the letter and waited for my grandmother to open the letter and read it. Grandmother then wrote to Mom and sent all the money she had — $2.25 — to help Mom buy some new shoes. The mail carrier then brought the letter (and money) back to Canute and gave it to Mom that afternoon. Later that day Mr. Cowerds drove Mom to Elk City (eight miles away) to a department store, so Mom could buy a $2 pair of shoes and had 25¢ left over to repair the old shoe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Character in Leadership

“At the beginning of any study of spiritual leadership, it is essential that the divinely-enunciated master principle be clearly understood and firmly embraced. True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. And that is never done without cost. It involves drinking a bitter cup and experiencing a painful baptism of suffering. The true spiritual leader is concerned infinitely more with the service he can render God and his fellowmen than with the benefits and pleasures he can extract from life. He aims to put more into life than he takes out of it. ‘One of the outstanding ironies of history is the utter disregard of ranks and titles in the final judgments men pass on each other,’ said Samuel Brengle. ‘The final estimate of men shows that history cares not an iota for the rank or title a man has borne, or the office he has held, but only the quality of his deeds and the character of his mind and heart.’” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Happened to Global Warming?

By Paul Hudson
Climate correspondent, BBC News

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man's influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming.

They argue that there are natural cycles, over which we have no control, that dictate how warm the planet is. But what is the evidence for this?

During the last few decades of the 20th Century, our planet did warm quickly.

Sceptics argue that the warming we observed was down to the energy from the Sun increasing. After all 98% of the Earth's warmth comes from the Sun.

But research conducted two years ago, and published by the Royal Society, seemed to rule out solar influences.

The scientists' main approach was simple: to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature.

And the results were clear. "Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting, disagrees.

He claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.

He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month. If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.

Ocean cycles

What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth's great heat stores.

“ In the last few years [the Pacific Ocean] has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down ”

According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.

The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down.

These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles.

Professor Easterbrook says: "The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."

So what does it all mean? Climate change sceptics argue that this is evidence that they have been right all along.

They say there are so many other natural causes for warming and cooling, that even if man is warming the planet, it is a small part compared with nature.

But those scientists who are equally passionate about man's influence on global warming argue that their science is solid.

The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate predictions, says it incorporates solar variation and ocean cycles into its climate models, and that they are nothing new.

In fact, the centre says they are just two of the whole host of known factors that influence global temperatures - all of which are accounted for by its models.
In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling.

What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

To confuse the issue even further, last month Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.

Professor Latif is based at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany and is one of the world's top climate modellers.

But he makes it clear that he has not become a sceptic; he believes that this cooling will be temporary, before the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself.

So what can we expect in the next few years?

Both sides have very different forecasts. The Met Office says that warming is set to resume quickly and strongly.

It predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).

Sceptics disagree. They insist it is unlikely that temperatures will reach the dizzy heights of 1998 until 2030 at the earliest. It is possible, they say, that because of ocean and solar cycles a period of global cooling is more likely.

One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.

Update - 1300, Tuesday 13 October 2009: Paul Hudson has written a blog entry about his article here:

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/10/09 15:22:46 GMT © BBC MMIX

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God Makes Spiritual Leaders

“Spiritual leaders are not made by election or appointment, by men or any combination of men, nor by conferences or synods. Only God can make them. Simply holding a position of importance does not constitute one a leader, nor do taking courses in leadership or resolving to become a leader. The only method is that of qualifying to be a leader. Religious position can be conferred by bishops and boards, but not spiritual authority, which is the prime essential of Christian leadership. This comes—often unsought—to those who in earlier life have proved themselves worthy of it by spirituality, discipline, ability, and diligence.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leadership -- Authoritative, Spiritual, and Sacrificial

“The overriding need of the church, if it is to discharge its obligation to the rising generation, is for a leadership that is authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial. Authoritative, because people love to be led by one who knows where he is going and who inspires confidence. They follow almost without question the man who shows himself wise and strong, who adheres to what he believes. Spiritual because a leadership that is unspiritual, that can be fully explained in terms of the natural, although ever so attractive and competent, will result only in sterility and moral spiritual bankruptcy. Sacrificial because modeled on the life of the One who gave Himself a sacrifice for the whole world, who left us an example that we should follow His steps.”

(J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Prayer and John Owen

John Owen, the great Puritan theologian, said we should pray for several things, “ pray for the fulfillment of prophecy; to pray concerning our own sinfulness and the need to grow in grace; to fulfill the commitments of our faith; to pray the Lord’s prayer--the glory of God. The more we read Scripture, the more we know our own sinfulness. Pray for forgiveness. As we pray the Scriptures, the more the gift and grace of prayer will be developed.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Going Blind in the Word

Dr. Keiper of Denver Seminary years ago had very poor eyesight. He was a great student, theologian and teacher of the Word. He was warned by doctors that his eyesight was becoming increasingly poor because of his extensive study, and they advised him to stop. Dr. Keiper prayed about this, and it seemed as if the Lord said to him, “Would you rather have perfect eyesight or the privilege of glorifying Me?”