“The finest men in all the world are not to be found in the warm, genial climates, where the earth has only to be tickled with a hoe, and it laughs with plenty; but the strongest and the most enterprising spirits have been found at the back of the north wind, where there are frosts and ice, and long, dreary winters, and men have a hard struggle for a livelihood. They become really men under that stern training. Now, if there were no thorns and thistles, no struggles and no trials, should we have any brave Christians? Should we have any great and noble souls at all? When did the Church yield her best men for her Lord’s service? It was in the persecuting times, when they had to swim through seas of blood to hold fast the truth of Christ. These are silken days, and we have wretched specimens of Christians everywhere; but if the times of persecution were to come once more, with the rough winds blowing, and the whole sea of the world tossed in tempest, we should then find brave sailors who would put the ship’s head to the wind, and ride safely over the stormy billows in the name of the Eternal God.” Spurgeon, C. H.

From the Thorns and Thistles Sermon, Vol 39.

Family,

Christmas in San Jose

I know. It’s so late to be talking about last years Christmas, but I forgot about these photos until my brother Michael had asked me about them. We had fun that day and I snapped a few keepers. Here’s a couple of my father smiling and thinking as he tells a story.

These are actually two natural and classic expressions from my dad.

To view more, visit the complete set by Clicking Here

Christianity,

Humans behaving like Animals

I visited the American Humanist Association website to find out how humanists define themselves. Here’s an interesting part of their definition.

Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values?be they religious, ethical, social, or political?have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

Sounds good, except that it depends on humans to come up with the standards. From a Christian perspective any attempt by fallen humans to create their own standards is likely to fall far short of God’s standards. This is clearly evident today.

Marriages are falling apart because men and women want to please themselves more than they want to love and serve their partner. Families are falling apart because both parents want to live all they can be in their careers and leave society to raise their children. Abortions are killing babies by the thousands because men and women want to fulfill their sexual desires outside marriage and don’t want to interrupt their life with children. Sex and violence becoming more graphic in our media as people are no longer satisfied with wholesome entertainment, but would rather indulge their senses.  Global warming is destroying the earth because of our rapid culture of consumption and progress. Industrialization satisfies our material desires at the expense of the planet. Obesity and heart disease is at a peak because we have evolved to such a high level of conveniences that we can just sit around, suck in the corn syrup, and enjoy every minute of it. 

Of course, humanism doesn’t outright state that this is where it leads, but it’s inevitable that men will become more like animals when they stop looking towards God and instead look towards themselves and nature for the answers. James Boice has a very insightful analysis of humanism and where it leads.

Although man is a mediating being, created to be somewhere between the angels and the animals, in Psalm 8 he is nevertheless described as being somewhat lower than the angels rather than as being somewhat higher than the beasts, which means that he is destined to look not downward to the beasts, but upward to the angels and beyond them to God and so to become increasingly like him. But if we will not look up, if we reject God, as secularism does, then we will inevitably look downward and so become increasingly like the lower creatures and behave like them. We will become beastlike, which is exactly what is happening in our society. People are acting like animals, and even worse.

Over the last few decades I have noticed that our culture is tending to justify bad human behavior on the ground that we are, after all, just animals. I saw an article in a scientific journal about a certain kind of duck. Two scientists had been observing a family of these ducks, and they reported something in this duck family that they called ?gang rape.? I am sure they did not want to excuse this crime among humans by the comparison they were making, but they were suggesting that gang rape among humans is at least understandable given our animal ancestry. The inference comes from the evolutionary, naturalistic worldview they espoused.

A story of a similar nature appeared in the September 6, 1982, issue of Newsweek magazine. It was accompanied by a picture of an adult baboon holding a dead infant baboon, and over this there was a headline that read: ?Biologists Say Infanticide Is as Normal as the Sex Drive?And That Most Animals, Including Man, Practice It.? The title is as revealing in its way as Carl Sagan?s ?The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.? It identifies man as an animal, and it justifies his behavior on the basis of that identification. The sequence of thought goes like this: (1) Man is an animal, (2) Animals kill their offspring, (3) Therefore, it is all right (or at least understandable) that human beings kill their offspring.

The argument is fallacious, of course. Most animals do not kill their offspring. They protect their young and care for them. But even if in a few instances some animals do kill their offspring, this is still not comparable to the crimes of which human beings are capable. In the United States alone we kill over one and a half million babies each year by abortion?usually just for the convenience of the mother.?6? And the number of outright murders is soaring.

For more crazy humanist quotes, read on.

 

Read More »

Christianity,

Television the Diversion

I recently started reading a set of expositional commentaries by James Boice . Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with a complete collection of books, it’s conveniently in electronic version through Libronix Software. Anyhow, I just finished reading his exposition on Romans 12:2 (ESV)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In our culture, television is probably one of the most common influences, bringing the world into our home. Boice’s commentary made a very keen observation about how television quickly goes from image to image with little relevance between them.

Rational thought requires such connections. It depends on similarities, contradictions, deductions, and the development of probable consequences. It requires time. It is what books and other serious print media give us. But this is precisely what television does not give. It does not give time for thought, and if it does not give time for thought or promote thought, what it essentially amounts to is ?diversion.?

Boice, J. M. (1991-c1995). Romans (1534). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

I’ve often experienced this when sitting and watching T.V. whether it’s a news show or one of the new reality shows. I’ll be watching something that may be shocking or thought provoking. I might even begin to say something about it out loud. However, the show quickly moves to the next scene or situation and my thoughts become distracted as my attention turns to the next images that are shown on the screen. Television doesn’t give us time to think and talk about things that we experience. We don’t take the time to discuss and learn from these experiences. It’s just one experience after another.
Perhaps Tivo provides some hope for us to pause television and talk about what we see, but we first of all have to watch thought provoking and meaningful programming, and we have to get out of the habit of wanted to be entertained. Meaningful programming for a Christian is rarely on television. We’ve started getting Netflix movies, and some of the documentaries are valuable for learning about the world around us, and DVD gives us the chance to pause and think. But most popular television programming is mindless trash with only value for entertaining.

If American’s want to avoid becoming a nation of mindless people and if Christians want to fill their mind with spiritual things, they are going to have to turn off the television. Pick up a book, read and think about something meaningful. I’ll leave you with one more excerpt from Boice’s commentary.

I close here by mentioning a helpful little book by John Stott, the Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church in London, titled Your Mind Matters. It deals with six spheres of Christian living, and it argues that each one is impossible without a proper and energetic use of our minds: Christian worship, Christian faith, Christian holiness, Christian guidance, Christian evangelism, and Christian ministry. We need to think.

Stott argues that ?anti-intellectualism ? is ? part of the fashion of the world and therefore a form of worldliness. To denigrate the mind is to undermine foundational Christian doctrines.? He asks pointedly, ?Has God created us rational beings, and shall we deny our humanity which he has given us? Has God spoken to us, and shall we not listen to his words? Has God renewed our mind through Christ, and shall we not think with it? Is God going to judge us by his Word, and shall we not be wise and build our house upon this rock??? They are important and helpful questions, if you think about them.

Boice, J. M. (1991-c1995). Romans (1537). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

Family,

Lots of Photos Old and New

I posted many photos on flickr lately. Some new and some very old, even before Jenn was pregnant and during her last pregnancy.

It’s fun to browse those funny looking photos of days we barely remember. Keep in mind flickr provides a way to break the photos into photos sets. I find that it can be a little confusing getting to the photo set page where it displays all the sets. If you want to see all the sets, Click Here

Family,

Elton Lombardi

After a concert in front of thousands of fans, Elton Lombardi likes to put on his pajama outfit and walk around the house with his Sunglasses on.

Now I’m a fan too! wink

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