Today was the annual Muskegon Air Fair, and since our new building (the
Alstrom Building) is near the airport, we met this morning at our home to
combine Sunday worship with a going-away cookout for the Empies, which worked out nicely also since due to both the Air Fair, it being the middle of summer, and a host of other factors, our otherwise normally small congregation was... smaller-er. Only about 20 of us were packed into our palatial estate - but Jesus was there, so we really didn't mind. The study
this morning was the first part of 1 Peter 4; then we watched a video that we
put together for the Empies - a slideshow of their time in Michigan, and of
friends they'd made while here, to remember us all by when they get to
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Today was the annual Muskegon Air Fair, and since our new building (the
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Also from my e-mail inbox today...
Something to ponder:
I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our
- What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
- What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
- What if we flipped through it several times a day?
- What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
- What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
- What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
- What if we used it as we traveled?
- What if we used it in case of an emergency?
- What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?
This is something to make you go...hmmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't ever have to worry about our bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!
From my e-mail inbox...
"Our pastor put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms in the church and after only two weeks had them taken out. When asked why, he confessed they worked just fine, but when he entered the bathroom he saw a sign that read, "For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."
Monday, July 17, 2006
Take a peek at the caption for this newsblurb from ABCNews.com today, and notice the not-so-subtle shift of blame from the Hezb'Allah practitioners of the religion of peace to the Jewish State for daring to defend her citizens from near-ceaseless aggression. "Nearly 200 civilians in Lebanon are dead after six days of bombardment. Israel is demanding Hizbollah [sic] release two kidnapped soldiers."
The conclusion that the ABC News staff apparently wants you to draw is that those nasty, evil, bad Jews are murdering hundreds of innocent civilians all because of two kidnapped soldiers. How unreasonable!
- Utterly absent is any mention of decades of cross-border raids and bombardment by Hezb'Allah
- Completely ignored is the fact that Hezb'Allah is firing Iranian rockets into Jewish neighborhoods - and has been responsible, along with Hamas, for rocketing and shelling Jewish synagogues, hospitals, schools, and homes for a very, very long time
- Implied by its seemingly purposeful omission is the fact that Israel has finally had enough and is shooting back and is demanding much more than a release of only "two soldiers"; shockingly, Israel is unconscionably demanding an end to Hezb'Allah's unrelenting efforts to advance the cause of the religion of peace through murder, mayhem, violence against Israeli citizens
- Utterly absent is any mention of Hezb'Allah's continuing murder of Jews, using their base in southern Lebanon as a safe haven and the cover of Syria and Iran to protect them from reprisal
- ...in fact, note the media's continued use of "Hezbollah" or "Hizbollah" or some variant, which one cannot help but wonder is a purposeful attempt to mask Hezb'Allah's identity as practitioners of the religion of peace (the word, in Arabic, means "Party of Allah")
...and yet, note the near-unanimous, though often (as in this ABC News blurb) subtly hidden disapproval or outright condemnation of Israel.
So long as it's Jews being killed by practitioners of the religion of peace, the world is sorry, wishes things were different, but hey - we don't live in a perfect world, now do we?
...but as soon as the Jewish State comes to the conclusion that the world is quite happy to sit by mumbling condolences for Jewish suffering and deaths, and muted, half-hearted condemnations for the (you just must admit, completely understandable) violence perpetrated by groups like Hamas (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement") and Hezb'Allah, and decides to take matters into their own hands to stop the rain of death, suddenly the world sits up, takes notice, feeling deeply the hurt of the innocents, demanding an end to the violence, condemning Israel for being the obvious roadblock in the peace process.
Imagine if - oh, say, Canada started shelling American citizens in Michigan, or some other border State. You can bet that after a brief round of trying to come to a peaceful, diplomatic resolution, we'd be bombing our (for the purposes of this analogy, hypothetical) friendly malefactor neighbors to the north back into the equally hypothetical primordial ooze.
(Ed. note: I don't use the analogy of Mexico, since that very scenario does, in fact, seem to be playing out down South yonder-ways... but I digress...)
Imagine if Germany, or Spain started shelling the French; I doubt there'd be much diplomacy at all; Ivory Coast, anybody?
Imagine if Chechnya started shelling Russ- oh, sorry; bad analogy. Of course, surely our Russian allies would exercise at least as admirable and as much restraint as the Jewish State has in the face of unrelenting terrorist atrocities against their people.
This has been a brief test of the Emergency Reality System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled chosen worldview, closed-captioned for the reality impaired. Thank you.
This is a helpful article to help get a better perspective on the timeline leading up to the current conflict between Israel and her enemies to the north...
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Fascinating - but not in the least bit surprising (Zechariah 12:3) that now the world leaders are calling for an end to violence - now that the Jews have finally had enough of being mortared and bombed and attacked with impunity from southern Lebanon for years and years and years, and patiently taking their grievances to the world and waiting for the justice that is grandiloquently promised (but somehow never actually given to them) and have finally taken action to end the injustice and insanity - bombing the stuffing out of the Hezb'Allah terrorists out of hiding so that innocent Jews no longer have to continue to suffer the incomprehensible inequity of being killed - and getting blamed for not doing more to make it easier for the terrorists to do so... now the world leaders are screaming for the violence to end. Screaming for the Jews to go back to sitting there and letting Hezb'Allah and Hamas and other practicioners of the religion of peace kill them. Don't talk back - sit there and take it like a Jew.
The Vatican (unsurprisingly) has begun to pile on the Jewish State and condemn them for invading a sovereign nation (Lebanon) - forget the fact that Beirut has long denied any connection to Hezb'Allah, that they have no control over those regions of the country that they operate out of, and now that Israel has finally decided to take them at their word and take matters in their own hands to give Beirut a hand rooting out the terrorists they say they in principle are against (and at the same time doing something proactive now to defend their own citizens).
So far America has at least presented a public face of supporting Israel's right to defend herself - even Diane Feinstein (D, CA)...
In studying to teach 1 Peter 3:8-22 this morning, I ran across this quote
from Jon Courson's Application Commentary linking the ideas of verse 18 (Jesus' suffering and death in our behalf) with verse 16 (having a good conscience) which I found somewhat profound...
A good conscience is not dependent upon what we do or don't do,
but upon what Jesus did. I can truly have a good conscience if I understand
that the sins, shortcomings, and failings that are part of my history were
completely paid for by Christ. No one knew this better than Peter.
Cursing vehemently, he swore he didn't know Him, as he
stood in the courtyard of Caiaphas - for just as Jesus said he would, Peter
denied Christ. Aware of his failing, he wept bitterly. (Luke 22:64)
Peter went on from there to become a man who was mighty in
ministry, a man who was totally restored because he understood that Jesus Christ
died for his sins of betrayal, rebellion, and blasphemy.
The same evening Peter openly denied Jesus, another disciple
secretly betrayed Him...
After selling Him out for thirty pieces of silver, Judas'
conscience bothered him greatly. "I have betrayed innocent blood," he
said as he threw the money on the floor of the temple, wanting to reverse the
deal. But realizing that the priests would not allow him a way out,
Judas hung himself (see Matthew 27:5).
Both men failed Jesus in the same evening. One went to
hell, the other went on to great things. What was the difference?
They each chose a tree. Judas chose a tree from which to hang himself.
Peter chose a tree upon which to look. Truly, there is great power in
seeing the Cross.
"I'm too poisoned," you say. So were the Israelites...
By the tens of thousands, they were bitten by snakes that
sent poison coursing through their veins. The cure? God told
Moses to put a brass serpent upon a brass pole in the middle of the camp - and
whoever would look upon it would be healed (Numbers 21:8). Those who
took this to be trivial and simplistic died in the desert. Those who
simply lifted up their eyes and looked upon the serpent were completely
healed. This served as a sneak preview of what would happen when the Son
of God became a serpent, became sin, and hung on the Cross in our place (2
So, too, there are people who say, "Guilt will not dissipate
simply by looking to the Cross. What's needed is years of analysis
followed by years of counseling." Peter says otherwise. Because he
looked to the One hanging on the tree - even though he had been bitten by his
own sin - Peter was forgiven immediately and went on to great ministry.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Found this in my e-mail inbox, too...
Statistics on Church Attendance
- Church attendance is the number-one predictor of marital stability. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 40
- Attending church is helpful in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. (National Institute of Healthcare Research in America, June 2000)
- Teens who attend church are four-times less likely to commit suicide. (Journal of Chronic Disease, 25)
- People who attend church are more likely to remain married and have a better sex-life. (David Larson, National Institute of Mental Health)
- Church attendees stay half as long during hospital stays. (Duke University)
- Those attending church are five-times less likely to require antibiotics. (Southern Medical Journal, July 1998)
- There is lower blood pressure among men who attend church versus those who do not. (Duke University)
- There's an additional average life expectancy of seven years. (Demography, May 1999)
- People attending church report a 50% higher weekly average family income. (UCLA School of Medicine)
- Church-goers have fewer heart attacks than non-church-goers. (David Larson, National Institute of Mental Health)
- Those who attend religious services in their youth have about $11,000 more in yearly income by their early 30's. (UCLA School of Medicine)
- Cities with high church attendance have the lowest crime rates. (Crime, Values and Religion, 1987)
- People attending church are physically healthier and less depressed. (The American Medical News. 3/4/96)
- Alcohol abuse is 300% less for those who attend church. (UCLA School of Medicine)
- Church attendance moves the underprivileged out of poverty and into the middle class. (Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability. The Heritage Foundation)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Ran across this intriguing article at Lew Rockwell's website, titled "Happy Secession Day." The opening paragraph is jarring, scandalous, and thought-provoking... and it just goes on from there. I'm copying the opening paragraph here, and a link at the end to whisk you magically away to the original, full article...
Happy Secession Day
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Perhaps the best evidence of how American history was rewritten, Soviet style, in the post-1865 era is the fact that most Americans seem to be unaware that "Independence Day" was originally intended to be a celebration of the colonists’ secession from the British empire. Indeed, the word secession is not even a part of the vocabulary of most Americans, who more often than not confuse it with "succession." The Revolutionary War was America’s first war of secession. [read more]
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Yesterday, after dinner, my lovely and gracious wife and I walked the Grand
Haven pier; the seas were pretty heavy, which made for some awesome pictures
(there were a lot of people with cameras, and a lot of people at the end of the
pier watching the huge waves break over -- well, bigger waves than usual on Lake
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Our good friend Kevin Ruthven, serving the Navajo people in New Mexico, visited and shared with us the Lord's work on the reservation and with various Indian groups in Mexico.