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Christmas Letters - Family and Church

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Judging by the number of times people have come to my site lately after searching for things pertaining to "Christmas Letters" in its various forms, I guess it must be getting to be that time of the year again. (I assume that the people who are being directed here are being sent here because of my 2006 family Christmas letter , my 2006 Church Christmas letter, or even my 2005 Family Christmas Letter or my 2005 Church Christmas letter.

What are your views about Christmas letters?

Let me ask a few questions. If you are a regular reader or if you just stopped by
due to a search, I'd appreciate getting to know some people's views on this matter.

1. Do you write Christmas letters yourself?
A. If you do, do you send it in lieu of a Christmas card or with a Christmas card?
B. If you don't, do you think that they are a waste of time?

2. Do you receive many Christmas letters anymore? Is this a dying tradition?

3. Do you read the ones you get?

4. Do you enjoy hearing about what is going on in friends and relatives' lives even if the only time you hear from them is in the annual Christmas letter - or do you view it as an opportunity for people to brag about what is going on and wonder if they would still write if they had a really bad year?



What about those of you who are Pastors?

Do you send out an Christmas letter to your church family or church mailing list? Why or why not?

Would love to hear some thoughts from others on this.

Just me asking for your thoughts,

Frank

A Great Thanksgiving Read

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things are particularly busy right now and I doubt I will have time to do a real Thanksgiving post of my own today, but if you have not yet read Chris Anderson's post entitled, Uncle Michael: A Testimony of Unconditional Praise, I would urge you to do so. It is well worth the read.

On a lighter note, Barbara's excellent blog for Christian ladies has a little bit of humor today with some comments regarding Rednecks and Thanksgiving.

Just other people's thoughts,

Frank

Of Monkeys, Men and Atheists

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Many of you have probably heard Dr. Stephen Hawking's famous statement that given enough time, enough monkeys plucking away at typewriters could produce one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

The implication of this statement is that the mutations necessary for macro evolution to occur is simply a matter of time and opportunity.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder has done an excellent job debunking this idea in an article, "When Pigs Fly and Monkeys Type."

In the article, Dr. Schroeder points out that the probability of a monkey hitting a specific key is 1 in 26 (if we posit merely 26 choices, rather than the over 50 keys on most keyboards - my keyboard has 104 keys). The probabality of the monkey hitting the next needed key is also 1 in 26, meaning that the chance of stringing two correct letters together is 1 in 676 (26 x 26). To give you an idea of the enormity of the task of producing the sonnet, I will point out that the probability of a monkey typing something as simple and as short as my name - Frank - is 1 in 11,881,376.

If you continue to figure this out, you will find out that the odds against this are incredible. In an approximately 500 letter sonnet, the number would be more than astronomical. You would have to multiply 26 by itself 500 times. This would come out to a number that would be around 10 to the 700th power (1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).

To give that some perspective, Dr. Schroeder points out that "the number of basic particles [protons, neutrons, electrons, mesons] in the known universe is 10 to the power 80."

Wow!

I don't know if Dr. Schroeder is a Christian or simply a Theist, but this article is a pretty powerful article.

FWIW, Dr. Schroeder was the man who famous Atheist apologist Antony Flew was supposed to debate the night that Mr. Flew declared that he was no longer an Atheist.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

Anger Management?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blogger Andy Rupert has some good comments today regarding anger, wrath and stress in a post entitled, Who's The Dope?.

Just his thoughts,

Frank

A Call to Separate from Pastor Chris Anderson

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chris has committed a grevious sin - he is calling into question the legitimacy of one of the famous quotes of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. In a post entitled, Call it a pet peeve, he is questioning the legitimacy of the quote "There is no difference between the sacred and the secular." How dare he!! I think he should turn in his Fundamentalist card or make a pilgrimage to Greenville as a sign of repentance (maybe stopping by The Wilds to throw a stick in the fire, on the way.)

Surely the questioning of such a statement shows the beginning of a pattern of liberalism and compromise. Surely it is only a matter of time before he is emergent - or even worse, Baptist!

As a member of the Real Fundamentalist Club, I think a resolution is definitely in order. Can I get an witness?


Just my very tongue-in-cheek thoughts,

Frank

BTW, Can we also question "Duties never conflict" while we are at it?

I mean, I think I understand what is attempting to be said, but isn't it true that duties often conflict - that is why we have to have priorities!

A Question about Missions Funding

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This post stems from a discussion on another site, but I would like to ask it here since I know that some missionaries and pastors read here that do not spend much time at the other site.

It is my understanding that the dollar has lost a lot of value in a number of places around the world lately and that this is making things especially tight on some missionaries, whose support comes mostly from U.S. churches.

In order to help in this situation, some comments have been made about raising the support for the missionaries to offset this, but the reality is that a number of churches are already struggling financially and cannot just give an across the board 18% raise to their missionaries - or they likely would have already done it.

Stemming from that concept, however, came this idea that I would like to hear some thoughts on. I am just thinking out loud here, so don't kill me, but I would definitely like some feedback.

As my regular readers are aware, our church is not in this type of situation yet, but I want to think ahead.

Here is the question:

Assuming all other factors are the same (in other words, giving is not changing), would it be better for a church to commit a set amount to a specific number of missionaries or for a church to commit a smaller amount with a flex amount that could be designated to help out special needs each year?

For instance:

Church A has 100,000 available for missions.

Is it better for Church A to commit $4,000 a year to 25 missionaries

or

Is it better for Church A to commit $4,000 a year to 20 missionaries
and use the extra $20,000 to help support whichever of those 20 missionaries have special needs during a particular year?

I would love to hear some feedback on this.

Just my question,

Frank

Jonathon Edward's Religious Affections now available for FREE

Friday, November 02, 2007

Unlike the disappointment from the recent Reformation Study Bible "dud", the following offer will actually be available to those who are interested in it.

Each month ChristianAudio.com has a free Christian audio book that they make available for free. In the past, they have had some really nice books with this special - including Richard Baxter's Reformed Pastor and The Life and Diary of David Brainerd.

This month, the free offer is for Jonathon Edward's Religious Affections.

Jonathon Edwards is probably the foremost American thinker, theologian and philospher. While his sermon Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God is probably his most well-known work (I remember hearing about it in my public Jr. High School), his book A Treatise on Religious Affections (normally referred to as simply Religious Affections) along with The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (which he compiled and edited) and Freedom of the Will are probably the ones that have had the most lasting influence.

If you have never acquinted yourself with Jonathon Edwards, this audio book would be a great start. (Of course, you will then want to purchase the actual written book so that you can digest it more fully.)

I remember taking a trip up to Princeton around 1997 to see Jonathon Edward's grave site at the historic Princeton cemetary when I still lived in New Jersey. It was net to see.

Here is the link for the Christian Audio promotion: http://www.christianaudio.com/free_download.php (Don't forget to use the code NOV2007 when you check out.)

Here is an address by Pastor John Piper on Edward's life and ministry that I listened to recently and found informative. It is entitled, The Pastor as Theologian and is your time to read or to listen.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Disappointment on Special Sale of Reformation Study Bible

Many of you surely heard of the "special" sale that Ligonier Ministries was holding on October 31 for their Reformation Study Bible. In honor of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517, Ligonier was selling the Reformation Study Bible for $15.17 on October 31. The concept was cute, but the promotion ended up being a "dud."

The advertisement had said "Quantaties not limited" which would imply that they had a pretty decent supply of these Bibles on hand. However, when I tried to order mid-morning, they were already out.

Someone over there needs to re-think the way they promote things. If you don't have the stock on hand - or you are not willing to make good on the offer with rainchecks of some kind that, don't advertise the product. At least when you go to buy a laptop at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, you know that quantities are limited and there is a good chance you will not get one unless you are there the night before.

I have never tried to do business directly with Ligionier before that I can remember (though I do have some materials from R. C. Sproul), but I can tell you that this kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Just my thoughts,

Frank