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Blogging is good for you!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Blogging is good for you! At least that's the verdict of this article in Scientific American.


* It is a stress-coping method

* It improves memory

* It improves sleep

* It boosts immune cell activity

* It reduces viral load in AIDS patients

* It speeds healing after surgery

The article also comments that: "A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not."

As you will notice, it is not just blogging, but also expressive writing in general that is involved in some of this research. This would indicate that some of these things (perhaps all of them) would also be true of those who write privately, rather than writing on a public forum such as a blog.

I can logically connect some of the benefits without too much thinking, but I am curious to what kind of connection they end up finding about some of the other areas.

For instance, I can understand the benefit of blogging as a "stress-coping method", since the process of thinking things out, talking them out, writing them out, etc. helps us to get our thoughts in order and look at things in a better perspective.

I can understand the benefit of blogging as an aid to memory - since the very aspect of writing something down is usually an aid to memory - so writing a whole post about something should be helpful to your memory.

I would be interested, however, in the more medical connections that they found.

I also wonder which of these would be more true and less true of blogging than other forms of expressive writing. For instance, the community aspect of blogging would seem to be a helpful thing in some areas. While the public nature of blogging may be less stress-relieving than just writing things privately (after all - don't we all tend to be a little self-conscious about what others may think regarding what we have written?)

So, fellow bloggers, what are some benefits that you see from blogging?

Just my thoughts,

Frank



HT: Bet at Dappled Things

Chris Anderson's take on the Minnick Interview

Pastor-blogger extraordinaire Chris Anderson has posted his thoughts on the 9 Marks interview of Mark Dever interview of Mark Minnick in a post entitled, "2Marks on 9Marks." (Don't you like the clever title?)

I tend to agree with much of what Chris has written. (Don't count that against Chris!)

As usual, it is much clearer and shorter than my thoughts on the same topic.

Just his thoughts,

Frank

Mark Dever's Interview of Mark Minnick - Part 1

In a previous post, I highlighted the 9 Marks interview of Dr. Mark Minnick by Dr. Mark Dever on the subject of Fundamentalism and the Doctrine of Separation.

While I have only known of Dr. Dever's ministry for the last couple of years, I appreciate a lot that I have read and heard coming out of the ministry in D.C., although I agree with Dr. Dever that he would not be considered a Fundamentalist in the way that I understand Fundamentalism.

I had the privilege of attending Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville for a couple of years during Dr. Minnick's early years as the Sr. Pastor of the church. I also had Dr. Minnick for a few classes at Bob Jones University and consider him a very gifted preacher and godly man.

What I would like to do in this post is to kind of give a "lay of the land" in regards to the interview, with my comments interspersed. I want to do this so that those who have not had a chance to listen to the interview can at least attempt to follow along.

The interview apparently took place in February at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and was, in part, the result of an earlier get-together between Dr. Dever and some Fundamentalist Pastors in the Greenville area. The interview does not indicate who, other than Minnick, was at that meeting, although some of the names have been indicated in other places in the blogosphere.

In the beginning of the interview, Dr. Dever seeks to start by introducing the topic - Fundamentalism and separation - and introducing the interviewee - Dr. Minnick. If you are familiar with Dr. Minnick, there is not a lot in this first section to draw attention to other than a couple of quick things.

1. Dever made it clear very early in the interview (1:25) that there was a clear area of difference between Minnick (and the other Pastors at that meeting) and himself was over the issue of "how we associate with other Christians - how we decide to do that" (i.e. separation). It seemed to me that early on Dr. Dever was wanting to get at the core of the issue. I appreciated that and felt that he kept trying to do this over and over throughout the interview.

It must have been a little frustrating to him that Dr. Minnick seemed to have been more interested in making sure that Dr. Dever understand the areas of agreement - and to recognize that Fundamentalism was not some weird unorthodox monster hiding in the corner like some Evangelical leaders try to portray it. (See the recent Evangelical Manifesto or Rick Warren's comments on Fundamentalism for a couple of examples of this.)

In a large way, it was very frustrating to me as well. However, as I reflected on this a little more, I think that I may not have given Dr. Minnick enough credit in my initial thoughts regarding this. Dr. Minnick was not on his "home turf" and the reality is that while guys like Don, Greg, Andy, Chris, Ben, Bob and others in the "Fundamentalist Blogosphere" - including most of those who will read this and many who discuss these things at SI - have been discussing exactly the point of tension that Dr. Dever was asking about, Dr. Minnick undoubtedly realized that the audience of the 9Marks interview goes beyond this small group of people - and was probably therefore more careful that I would have been about making sure people get a better "big picture" of Fundamentalism. In other words, this is not Dr. Doran in the comments section of Chris or Ben's blog discussing the finer points of these issues (something that appeals to people like me who are intimately concerned with these issues), but rather a broader audience that, in general, is pretty ignorant of Fundamentalism - and whose ignorance of Fundamentalism is often fueled by the very unbalanced and uneducated critiques of Fundamentalism that I mentioned earlier. So, while I would have loved for Dr. Minnick to just have delved into the issue of Fundamentalism and separatism strongly from the beginning, I recognize that his approach in this area, while not as satisfying to guys like me, was probably the wiser approach, as it helped to correct some of the common mischaracterizations about Fundamentalism before hitting on the more minute points. (I also wonder if there is an aspect of still wanting to "go as far on the right road" as you can, so emphasizing the areas of agreement at this point may have been viewed as more helpful in that attempt.)

2. Dr. Dever also commented during this point, that while Dr. Dever sometimes refers to himself as a "fundamentalist" he is not a Fundamentalist in the way that Dr. Minnick would mean the term. Dr. Minnick's answer here was "I think we are [agreed] in our instincts and I think we are agreed in terms of Biblical principle - its probably the extension of them that would be where the difference comes."

This is one of those points where I would have loved to have heard more elaboration from Dr. Minnick. Perhaps some more had been said in the Greenville discussion that clarified this for these two men, but I wonder about the agreement in terms of Biblical principle. Perhaps someone from CHBC can fill me in here: Does Dr. Dever believe that it is ever necessary (outside of the context of a local church) to separate from professing believers? It may be - after all, perhaps that is part of what the de-funding of the D.C. Convention was about - but I am not sure I have heard him articulate this position and would find this a significant shift from the arguments that Evangelicals were making regarding this concept as little as 10 years ago. (When the mantra often seemed to be - "No. That only applies to laziness.")

3. It is also during this part of the interview that Dr. Minnick is given the opportunity to define Fundamentalism and gives the definition that I mentioned on my last post:

A Fundamentalist is a person who believes the essentials of the Christian faith and believes that they are also the essentials for fellowship and cooperation - particularly spiritual cooperation.

I appreciated this definition from Dr. Minnick. While I may have opted for a little more militancy in my definition of Fundamentalism (perhaps more along the lines of Curtis Lee Laws' - "those who hold to the great fundamentals and mean to do battle royal for the faith." ), I like the fact that this definition keeps a focus on two of the key aspects of Fundamentalism - the insistence on orthodoxy and the importance of limiting fellowship to those who are also orthodox.

4. It is also during this first section where Dr. Dever comments that Dr. Minnick is advocate of "what we might call a ‘deliberate Christian' or ‘deliberate cooperation'" (a play off of Dr. Dever's book The Deliberate Church.

5. Dr. Dever also mentions that he had read Dr. McCune's book - Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism - and found himself agreeing with much of his critique of Evangelicalism. He also stated he found himself only in "mixed agreement" with what Dr. McCune positively advocated. I would love to have seen some follow-up at that point - what areas of what Dr. McCune advocated was he in agreement with and what areas was he in disagreement with and what areas was he unsure. (Again, perhaps this will be covered in a follow-up interview with Dr. McCune :) ).

6. Dr. Dever then asked for a "quick tour" of Fundamentalism as a whole, since listeners will know "different parts of the elephant." While Dr. Minnick was correct in identifying the fact that Fundamentalism is not monolithic, I felt that this is one of the areas where he could have been much more clear in indicating that much of what he called "sectarian Fundamentalism" is repudiated by mainstream Fundamentalism and has ceased to be "Fundamentalism" due to its leaving of orthodoxy on issues such as its pragmatic soteriology and radical views on inspiration.

7. In this section, Dr. Minnick also responds (in response to a question regarding Hyles, etc.):
The fact is that in terms of the practicalities of cooperation and association they just don't intersect much. In some cases it isn't really a studied issue where they came to a definite determination at this point in time we no longer will interact with each other.
While there is probably truth to that for some Fundamentalists. The problem with this is that there SHOULD BE a definite determination that we will no longer interact with this type of "so-called" fundamentalist.

8. In the end of this section, Dr. Minnick points out that the question is laid out in the title of a book by Iain Murray based on a sermon that was preached at Grace Community Church - "Unresolved Controversy - Unity with Non-Evangelicals."

Dr. Minnick comments that
That was the issue that divided the Evangelical world 60 years ago. The Fundamentalism that I am familiar with took the position that that controversy is resolved in the Bible and "No. You ought not for spiritual purpose fellowship with and cooperate with non-evangelicals."


Since I see that this is getting long, I will stop here for tonight. (Besides it is past my bed time.)

Anyway, these are just some thoughts,

Frank

Some great advice for Pastors

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tim Challies (who is billed as "The world's most famous Christian blogger") has been "live-blogging" the Banner of Truth conference that is going on in Pennsylvania this week.

I appreciate a lot about the ministry of Banner of Truth, even though I am not a Reformed Baptist in the way that they would mean the term. I have appreciated a number of the commentaries that they have reprinted, the Puritan works they have brought back to life and some of the other materials that they publish and have visited their bookstore and warehouse in Carlisle, Pennsylvania a couple of times with Pastor Franklin and some folks from Hardingville Bible Church - and gotten some great "damaged" books as well.

Anyway, I said all of that to point you to an post by Tim Challies in which he discusses a presentation by Iain Murray entitled "Our Present Needs." Though the presentation is obviously directed at the men at the conference, I believe it is a worth-while read - especially for those in ministry.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

(I still plan on getting to the Minnick interview - this will count as a "make-up post" for one of the days I missed :) )

Some quick thoughts on the Minnick interview

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I finally got a good chance to actually listen to the 9Marks interview of Dr. Mark Minnick by Dr. Mark Dever. My home computer had some difficulty playing the file and I had not had a chance to download it on to my laptop so that I could listen to the interview properly.

I am working on more specific comments and evaluation, but I will make a couple of quick ones to start off.

First, I think that the conversation between Don Johnson, Greg Linscott and Andy Efting over at an oxgoad, eh is worth the read because I agree with part of what each of these guys have said.

I recognize that being in a situation of being interviewed like this is probably an uncomfortable situation. I know that I would probably feel uncomfortable and as I listened to the interview, I felt that Dr. Minnick was a little uncomfortable as well - especially for the first half-hour or so.

I also agree with Andy that the interview got cut off at the time that it was finally getting interesting.

I thought Minnick's definition of Fundamentalism was pretty good. "A Fundamentalist is a person who believes the essentials of the Christian faith and believes that they are also the essentials for fellowship and cooperation."

I think that Dr. Minnick did a pretty good job with the Galatians 2 passage, but I am not sure how much of it Dr. Dever understood.

I would have liked for the distinctions to be drawn more clearly. Although both men were clear there were differences, it seemed to me that the differences were negligible - even though I know that the are real differences between the positions of the two men.

I thought it was interesting how little Dr. Dever knew about Fundamentalism. He seems to be genuinely interested in learning about Fundamentalism - as though he has very little interaction with it or thoughts about it until recently.

I hope to have a more detailed analysis tomorrow.

One last thing. I wanted to create a transcript of the interview - or at least of relevant parts - so that I could think through it and analyze it more accurately. In order to do so, I used Express Scribe and at times reduced the speed pretty strongly so that I could type without having to rewind as much. The effect of doing that was that at times it sounded like two drunks discussing theology - it struck me as kind of funny.

Just my (initial) thoughts,

Frank

Mark Minnick Interview available at 9Marks

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Many of my readers will be familiar with both Dr. Mark Minnick and Dr. Mark Dever. The latest audio from Mark Dever's 9Marks ministry features an interview by Dr. Dever of Dr. Minnick.

The audio can be found here.

The Audio is titled "Fundamentalism and Separation with Mark Minnick" with a note that reads "Pastor and Bob Jones University professor Mark Minnick presents the case for the Fundamentalist doctrine of separation."

I have only listened to the first few moments so far, but early on Dr. Dever comments on that while there is a lot of agreement on many aspects, there is a clear disagreement over the issue of separation. I am looking forward to listening to this and seeing how Dr. Minnick presents the case for separation.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the individuals in question, here is a quick bio.

Dr. Mark Minnick is the Pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He is also a professor at Bob Jones University. I had Dr. Minnick for a few classes during my days at BJU and I also attended Mt. Calvary for a couple of years while I was an undergraduate student.

Dr. Mark Dever is the Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.. He is also the author of a book entitled "9 Marks of a Healthy Church" and a few other books. He is a leader in the conservative branch of the S.B.C. - having lead the fight to de-fund the D.C. Convention due to its liberalness.

As I have already indicated. They differ on the issue of separation and they know they differ on this issue, so I am looking forward to a good discussion of the issue from these two men.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

HT: Andy Naselli

Memorial Day Poem

Friday, May 23, 2008

The following poem was sent out by Mikey's Funnies (although it is not funny).

I thought it was fitting for Memorial Day.

GOING TO THE GONE
A checklist for Memorial Day

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
May 23, 2008

Go look in on your children still asleep
within their bed.
Remind yourself they're safe and warm
because of some long dead.

Go for a walk through cemeteries
lined with little flags.
Take time to ponder homebound heroes
flown in body bags.

Go stand between those granite stones
engraved with names and dates.
Imagine all who died defending
our United States.

Go on and kneel beside a marker
offering a prayer
with gratitude for those who gave their lives
defeating terror.

Go home and count your blessings
from the hands of those now gone.
Then vow to the Almighty that their
mem'ry will live on.


Also found here.

The following note applies to this poem: Copyright 2008 Greg Asimakoupoulos. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

Pop Goes Christianity - An Article Worth Reading

A very interesting article from (of all places) Slate Magazine. I gave some quotes from this article a couple of weeks ago in my "Christians and Popular Culture: Who Said This" post.

The reply by Don Johnson is the type of reply that I was expecting (and imagine I would likely have had more of if someone hadn't know the answer rather quickly).

In the article by Hannah Rosin entitled, "Pop Goes Christianity: The Deep Contradiction of Christian Popular Culture.", the author makes some quotes that many would assume were spoken by some old-school Fundamentalist preacher - or Scott Anoil.

For instance, the article states:

When you make loving Christ sound just like loving your boyfriend, you can do damage to both your faith and your ballad. That's true when you create a sanitized version of bands like Nirvana or artists like Jay-Z, too: You shoehorn a message that's essentially about obeying authority into a genre that's rebellious and nihilistic, and the result can be ugly, fake, or just limp.


It is frustrating to me that the truth of a statement like that seems to be obvious to those who approach "Christian culture" without the agenda of justifying that culture, yet if a Fundamentalist dares to make a comment like that, the Fundamentalist is said to be judgmental or critical - or at least "out of touch."

In Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17, we read these words:

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.


Yet, it seems like on almost every front where modern evangelicalism (and in some cases, modern Fundamentalism as well) encounters popular culture, the effect is a blending of the cultures in such a way that the distinctly Christian aspect of the culture is lost.

The area of music is one of the most obvious areas where this is encountered. Secular performers have no qualms about identify the music itself as sending a message - a message that is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, evangelicals (and some "so-called" Fundamentalists) continually argue that the music is amoral and suggest that the merging of the world's music and the Christian message is not only acceptable, but preferred.

Rather than pursuing the conditions that Christ prayed for, the modern church has reversed the desire of Christ and seems to be pursuing a direction of "of the world, but not in the world."

If you have the stomach for it, there is a site entitled "A Little Leaven" which calls itself an online "museum of idolatry" and gives a little bit of a picture of how bad things have gotten. (I don't endorse all the calls made by the site - but most of them are pretty clear.)

Some related posts may also be relevant.
Blue Suede Shoes - Post 1 and Post 2

The Christians Relationship to the World

R.C. Sproul - Creationist?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I hope to post something of my own tonight, but I saw this article and thought it was newsworthy.

R.C. Sproul has changed his mind regarding origins and has become a literal six-day creationist.

Story here.

HT: Joe Fleener

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

Nice service with the BJU Drama Team

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Sunday night, Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury had the privilege of hosting the Bob Jones University Drama Ministry Team. (I kept referring to them as the "Truth in Action" Drama Team from BJU, but I think they have dropped that name.)

The team did a great job as they dealt with the concept of the goodness of God even in the midst of trials and difficulties.

In particular, they told the story of a truck accident of Missionaries Terry & Rachel Ritschard in Papua, New Guinea and how God worked in the details of the situation.

One of my good friends is a missionary in Papua New Guinea and it was interesting to hear some of the situations that were mentioned in the team's presentation.

Overall, it was a great emphasis on trusting God and I think that our folks were blessed by the presentation - I know we were as a family.

This particular team will be traveling in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Their itinerary can be found here. If they are in your area, stop by and see them.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

(Okay, I am adjusting the time stamp on this one to allow it to count for Monday night even though it is really early on Tuesday morning. Don't tell anyone.)

Some spelling humor

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Recently, Don Johnson caught a few of my spelling/typing errors in my post and comments regarding the straw man version of Fundamentalism (or as I spelled it "Fundameentalism") that is often attacked online.

Anyway, I thought that I would share this picture in light of those comments from Don.


Enjoy.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

Evangelistic Unction

Friday, May 16, 2008

One of the well-known sayings of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. was that "It takes evangelistic unction to make orthodoxy function."

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in our own things and forget the importance of being an active and earnest witness to the lost around us. We would be wise to take to heart these words of "The Prince of Preachers."

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our
bodies, and if they perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go there unwarned or unprayed for. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon


HT: Elon Wood via email

Prayer Request

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In much of Fundamentalism (including the church where I serve as Pastor), tonight - Wednesday night - is prayer meeting. I should have posted this earlier so that it could be included in prayer bulletins, since many of those have already been printed by now (depending on where you are located).

Pastor Mark Franklin, who is the Pastor of Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, New Jersey, is undergoing lung surgery tomorrow (Thursday, May 15) to remove a cancerous mass in his lung (among other things). Pastor Franklin is a friend and mentor of mine and a great asset to Christianity and Fundamentalism. I had the privilege of serving as his assistant for over five years and I learned much from him.

I would appreciate your prayers for Pastor Franklin and his family as he prepares for and undergoes this surgery tomorrow. (I am sure Pastor Franklin and his family would appreciate the prayers as well.)

Just my request,

Frank

Some Thoughts for Mothers

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kind of tired, but I thought I could put up these items that I found in relation to Mother's Day - bookmark them for next year.

I Corinthians 13 for Mothers (by Jim Fowler)

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction, and fault them for every mess they make, but have not love, my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.

Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present “mommy,” the taxi-driver to every childhood event, the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.

All the projections I had for my house and my children have faded away into insignificance, And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture, dishes with missing place settings, and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,

But the greatest of all is the Love that permeates my relationships with my children.


A Special Breakfast

One Mother's Day morning, a mother was awaken by her two children who came into her room and ordered her to remain in bed and not to get up. The children then ran down the stairs to the kitchen and before long, the mother started to hear the "cling" and the "clang" of cooking utensils.

Thinking how nice this was, she lay in bed in anticipation of a special breakfast in bed from her two adorable children. The smell of bacon wafted up to her room and intensified her anticipation as she waited. And waited. And waited. And worried.

Finally, the children called her to come downstairs. She got up and went down to the kitchen only to find my two kids sitting at the table and finishing off a couple of plates of bacon and eggs.

"As a surprise for Mother's Day," one explained, "we decided to cook our own breakfast."

Just some other people's thoughts,

Frank

Really??

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This is a little bit old, but I think it is still relevant. I started writing it in March, but it got saved in draft mode and never finished.

In March, 9 Marks published an e-journal in which the question was asked, "What can we learn from Fundamentalists?"

There has been quite a bit of discussion regarding the articles in that journal and I have basically just watched from afar. (A dear and faithful lady in our church had a very serious stroke around the time the articles came out and we had a number of other things going on at the time of the publishing of the journal.)

At the time, however, I noticed a comment by Ben Wright (aka Paleoevangelical) that I wanted to address, but never completed my post.

Ben wrote an article over at Paleoevanglical regarding Dr. Dave Doran's article in the 9 Marks e-journal.

In the comments on this thread, Ben comments to Bruce:

So Doran seems to be arguing that we can disagree on issues that are not directly tied to the gospel (music, head coverings, the Rapture, etc.) and still have some meaningful level of fellowship together for the gospel. I think that's different from what you (and I) might be used to.


I probably live in an isolated world, but one of the things that I have seen repeatedly running around the internet in the last few years is a memory of some regarding Fundamentalism that just seems strangely distant from the memories of Fundamentalism that I have. I recognize that there are some different streams of Fundamentalism, but I seem to find these divergent memories even from those who are mainly from the same general stream.

For instance, I don't know much regarding paleo ben's background, by my assumption has been that he spent some time at (or even perhaps graduated from) my alma mater or at least from one of its "sister schools" (NBBC, MBBC, etc.). I know that he also was involved in a youth ministry/publishing ministry that I found to be profitable when I was a youth pastor - and whose Leadership Training Course I used and adapted for training our youth leaders. While I do not agree with everything that organization did (and remember my wife and I getting up and leaving at one event that the leader was "performing" at a camp that I like a lot), I think it has been one of the better youth ministry sources available.

However, when I think of those things, it makes it hard to imagine how the statement that I put in block quotes could be accurate. (In fact, it reminds me in some ways of the faulty memories of the Israelites who started to long for the "fleshpots" back in Egypt when things went a little difficult in the wilderness - they "misremembered" the conditions that existed in Egypt before the exodus.)

Mainstream Fundamantalism has always allowed for disagreement on issues not directly tied to the Gospel. For instance, Ben uses the example of head coverings. Come on, Ben. Surely, you are not ignorant of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church where Dr. Mark Minnick serves as Pastor (and where Jesse Boyd, Rod Bell, and Les Olilla served before him) or the Free Presbyterian Church or even BJU up until a decade or so ago. To try to indicate that up until recently Fundamentalism would have viewed head coverings as something to be separated over is implausible and irresponsible.

Are there wacko fringe groups that refer to themselves as Fundamentalist that might make such a thing a matter of separation? Sure. But this discussion was not that it was different from the fringe, but that it was different from the Fundamentalism that Ben and Bruce (Countryman?) were used to.

Therefore, I ask - Really?

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I came across this poem somewhere and was bothered by its opening statement. See if you can tell what bothered me.

A little more kindness,
A little less creed,
A little more giving,
A little less greed,
A little more smile,
A little less frown,
A little less kicking,
A man when he's down,
A little more "we"
A little less "I",
A little more laugh,
A little less cry,
A little more flowers,
On the pathway of life,
And fewer on graves
At the end of the strife.

- Anonymous



Maybe I am reading this incorrectly, but why is it that this author (and many others) seem to think that kindness is in contrast to "creed"? A creed is simply a system of principles which are believed or professed. Since love and compassion are things that are professed and believed by Christians, it would seem that the encouragement would be more upon fulfilling that Christian creed rather than asking for less creed.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Baseball in Small Town America

Friday, May 09, 2008


I recently had the privilege of experiencing Opening Day of Little League for the town of Delmar, Maryland and Delmar, Delaware. (Delmar is "the little town too big for one state" and sits on the border of Delaware and Maryland and has an interesting make-up due to the fact that the town is split down the middle by the state line.)

I played Little League baseball back in the day, but we never had anything to resemble what I witnessed and participated in a couple of Saturdays ago. In honor of Opening Day, Delmar Little League puts on a parade - complete with all of the teams in their own floats (okay, mostly just in the backs of pickups or on trailers pulled by pickups), candy being thrown out to the folks lined up along the parade route, the high school marching band, the town police and other emergency vehicles, etc. It was pretty neat to see the parade go by and see all the players from all of the divisions (from t-ball on up) in their uniforms and excited to get ready to play their first day.



Following the parade were some opening day activities at the National League field. Since this is the 50th year that Delmar has chartered Little League Baseball, there was some extra things that normally do not occur. Local politicians played a roll - including representatives from both Maryland and Delaware due to the nature of the town's bi-state residence. Plaques were presented, balls were thrown out, the National Anthem was played by the marching band, even a benediction was made (during the parade, I was asked to give the benediction). It was a pretty neat spectacle.



Since this was a special 50th year celebration, they assembled the first ever all-star team of Delmar Little League and they honored the man who hit the first ever home run in Delmar Little League history - by giving him the ball that he hit many years ago in a nice casing. (In preparation for the celebration, someone asked his mom - and sure enough, she still had the baseball tucked away in the attic after all these years - my kind of mom!!)

After the ceremonies, there were games on all of the fields and bar-b-q chicken and cotton candy and the concession stands were open. In addition to the festivities, God gave us a beautiful day for baseball.

One of the events that were included in the festivities was the recital of the Little League pledge.

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

When I looked out over the great group of young people assembled and heard them repeat this pledge, I thought how great it would be if this first line were indeed true of all of these kids. Would to God that some of these young people - perhaps even some on Josiah's team - will come to really understand that first line in the Little League pledge this year.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

A Nice New Feature for Blogger

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Some of you may already be aware of this, but I just discovered that Blogger now allows you to prepare posts ahead of time and publish them at a future time.

Blogger has had a "Save as Draft" feature which allowed you to write articles for future publications. The only problem was that you still had to long back on when you wanted to publish the article (and adjust the time options as well).

Now you can write a blog post and set the date and time you want it to be posted and blogger will automatically publish it at that date and time.

While this will not necessarily be that big of a deal with this blog, if I decide to ever get serious about regularly updating one of my side blogs such as - Daily Quotes and Illustrations or What Happened on This Date - this would be very helpful.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Great Meetings - Ending too soon!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

This last few days we have had the privilege of hosting special meetings at Fellowship Baptist Church with Evangelist J. Mark Kittrell. These meetings ended tonight with an excellent message on the wise and foolish virgins from Matthew 25.

As I mentioned the last time we had meetings with the Kittrells, one of the things that I appreciate about his preaching and his ministry is that he seems to approach things from a Pastoral focus and gives the Word of God the focus rather than stories to attract attention.

I do not mean that Mr. Kittrell never uses illustrations - he does. However, his illustrations tend to be more subdued than what is typically used by evangelists and he actually uses them as "illustrations" - to illuminate - rather than as the driving force behind a message.

One of the things that I had a special privilege of witnessing this week was his interaction with some of the folks from my church. Since the re-scheduling of the meetings meant that Tammisue and the boys could not be with him this week, I accompanied him to a couple of meals instead. It was very enjoyable to join him in the homes of some of our folks. We had great times of fellowship together, even though they were just meeting him for the first time. There was no pretense that Mark was supposed to be treated as royalty because he was THE EVANGELIST.

Having traveled with Mark and Tammisue for a summer, I had observed their transparency up close, but it was a refreshing reminder this week to observe his interactions with folks he barely knew.

I want to again recommend Evangelist Mark Kittrell to those of you Pastors who may read this. You will not be disappointed.

(BTW, Brother Mark also has a good understanding of local church ministry. Not only was he raised in a Pastor's home, he also planted a church in Hawaii before resuming full-time itinerant ministry.)

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Christians and Popular Culture - Who Said This?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Two quotes regarding "Christian" music and "Christian" culture. Who said them?

When you make loving Christ sound just like loving your boyfriend, you can do damage to both your faith and your ballad. That's true when you create a sanitized version of bands like Nirvana or artists like Jay-Z, too: You shoehorn a message that's essentially about obeying authority into a genre that's rebellious and nihilistic, and the result can be ugly, fake, or just limp.


It's always been a stretch to defend Christian pop culture as the path to eternal salvation. Now, they may have to face up to the fact that it's more like an eternal oxymoron.


Just for you to guess,

Frank

Good sermons by Evangelist Mark Kittrell

Monday, May 05, 2008

Tonight we had our second night of Special Meetings with Evangelist Mark Kittrell. Tonight, Brother Kittrell preached on 1 Corinthians 1 and dealt with the need to be a mature church in Christ.

He emphasized the fact that the calling of the church is such that it is God's church - not the church of any particular person. As such, the God who has called us and gifted us, expects us to use those gifts in the service of His Church.

He also cautioned against the contention in the church that showed up in Corinth. Whereas the Corinthian church became divided over personalities and styles, the mature church recognizes that God has gifted everyone differently and rejoices in the differing gifts rather than dividing over the various gifts.

He then focused on the aspect that the mature church has the cross of Christ as its message. While the world may place its prominence upon the wisdom of philosophy or the academics of the scribes or the rhetoric of the disputer, God has went a different direction and has chosen instead to work through and honor the foolishness of preaching. The God who has called His church has chosen to do so by calling the foolish, the weak, the base, and the despised.

On Sunday, during Sunday School, Mr. Kittrell preached on the parable of the soils (my term since the emphasis is not really on the sower, but upon the soil upon which the seed falls). My son took my only pen that I had with me, so I do not have good written notes, but I believe the terminology he used for the various hearers was that the first (wayside) had no understanding, the second (stony ground) had no depth, and the third (thorny) had no commitment. I could be off on this, but I think the idea is at least close.

For Sunday afternoon, we considered Solomon's prayer for the temple dedication and how that the emphasis was on what God would do when His people fell away and sinned. Even though the temple dedication was a high spot in the spiritual history of the nation, Solomon was concerned about the times that would come when Israel would fall away and when Israel may find itself in captivity. I had never really noticed this before.

I wonder if there is a lesson for Pastors in this regarding the way in which we pray with and prepare our people. Solomon seemed to have assumed that the people would fall away and face great difficulties. Are we sometimes too optomistic when we expect to see continual growth in tose with whom we minister? Doesn't the very question even sound more negative than it should?

Just some thoughts,

Frank

Good Start of Special Meetings with Evangelist Mark Kittrell

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Today, Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury began Special Meetings with Evangelist Mark Kittrell.

Some of you may remember that these meetings were originally scheduled for March and I blogged about them in an earlier article entitled, "Upcoming Meetings with Evangelist Mark Kittrell."

As I mentioned on another post, Mr. Kittrell's mom became very sick around the time of our meetings and we had to reschedule the meetings so that he could be with his mom before she died.

Well, this week is the rescheduling of those meetings.

I am planning on giving some notes and comments from the various messages as the week progresses, but since the post that was supposed to be for today (Sunday) ended up being for last night, I will at least make some brief comments real quickly before a more full review tomorrow. (I may re-think the every day thing to allow for no posting on Sundays :) ).

While there are blessings and struggles with every church, I appreciate the congregation of people among whom God has placed us. In a small church, it is sometimes difficult to know who will show up and what will happen when you try to schedule something special - so much so that at times you are weary of scheduling some things. (Or at least this is true of me.)

Since these meetings were rescheduled meetings, there were some folks with some scheduling conflicts. It was real disappointing that they could not be here for the start of the meetings, but I was greatly encouraged by the ones who did come. One gentlemen who usually works an evening/night swing shift even took the week off so that he could be here for the meetings every night!!

We got off to a good start as Mr. Kittrell laid some groundwork for the week and the people were encouraged, please pray for God to use these meetings and the preaching of His Word in a special way this week at Fellowship Baptist Church.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Some additional thoughts regarding evaluations

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I meant to include this in my original post, but I was getting a little long and I am planning on sending that article to a Pastor friend of mine who asked more for some devotional type articles for a church newsletter he is starting and I wanted to stay under the 800 word limit he recommended.

One of the most striking illustrations of God's evaluations in the lives of the kings comes from the life of King Omri.

When we look in Scripture, King Omri is not given a very prominent place. We read about his life in 1 Kings 16:16-28 and it is not very impressive.

The most important things that the Scriptures indicate about Omri are the unusual circumstances of his becoming king, the fact that he moved the capital of the Northern Kingdom to Samaria and that he "wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him." (1Kings 16:25)

Yet, when we look at Omri's role from a secular standpoint, we may get the impression he was one of Israel's better kings - or at least most powerful and influential kings.

In regards to his military strength, he apparently had conquered the Moabites and subjugated them according the the Moabite Stone.

In regards to his foreign policy, he apparently had good relations with the Phoenicians based on the marrying of his son Ahab to the Phoenician Jezebel.

In regards to reputation, the Assyrian chronicles reveal that the Norther Kingdom is referred to as the "land of Omri" for years - even to the point of calling Israelite kings "sons of Omri" even though they were not of his actual line.

If an American president had made similar advances in these important areas - military, foreign policy, and cultural (the successful move and improvement of the capital), he would probably be given some prominence in the history of the nation. Instead, Omri is relegated to just a few verses and the fact that "he wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD."

Just some additional thoughts,

Frank

Some thoughts about evaluations

Recently, I was once again studying the life of one of my favorite Bible characters and became intrigued by a little description that was given concerning his life. I had notice the expression many times (in fact, I even have a sermon which uses part of the expression as part of the title), but as I thought about the expression again, my mind went in a different direction than normal.

In Second Chronicles 34, as we read about the life of King Josiah of Judah, we find that in the second verse, the author gives an evaluative summary of the life of King Josiah. The content of that summary is simply, "And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left."

Josiah did "that which was right in the sight of the LORD." This is the evaluation that the Chronicler makes of Josiah's life under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. While I have generally gone from that truth to consider what it means to do that which is right in God's sight, this time I thought about the evaluation itself.

If you were to take the time to read through the records of the various kings of Israel and Judah after the division of the kingdom as presented to us in God's Word, you will find that a similar evaluative statement is made repeatedly regarding the various kings. The pattern for such an evaluation is usually rather simple: "(King's name) was (age) when he began to reign . . . and he did that which was (right/evil) in the sight of the Lord." Following the summary evaluation, usually some additional details are given regarding the king and his reign, but it is the evaluation of the king that sticks out.

When God chose to evaluate the kings, He did not do it based on the external matters that often concern us - he instead evaluated the kings based on if they did right or evil in His eyes. While most of us would evaluate rulers based on things such as military strength, foreign policy expertise, economic stability, cultural advancement, God shows a higher concern - did this person do right in my sight.

When we evaluate our own lives or the lives of others - what qualifies as success to us? Is it financial well-being? Is it the importance of our job - or how high up the corporate ladder we stand? Do we evaluate the success of our lives by how many people follow us or what kind of special skill we might have? OR do we evaluate our lives based on the simple criteria established by God's Word - am I doing right in the sight of God?

What about the lives of our children? Are we most happy when they are getting good grades and scoring goals OR are we most pleased when we see them growing in Christ-likeness and doing right in God's eyes?

Perhaps it is time that we evaluate things from God's perspective. It is not the pocketbook, the position, or the popularity that determines success - it is a life of obedience to God.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Advice to Young Pastors (or all Pastors, for that matter)

Friday, May 02, 2008

I came across this article recently and, since I am too tired to write anything significant myself, I thought I would share this with you and encourage you to read the advice offered in this article - To The Young Pastor by Ron Gleason.

I have never heard of Ron Gleason before and the article is written from a Presbyterian viewpoint, but much of the advice seems equally valid for Baptists or Bible Church pastors. Of course, it should go without saying, including a link to a person or ministry is not meant to imply endorsement of the person or organization.

A couple of comments to whet your appetite.

As pastors, it is our job to do the Lord's bidding where He calls us, according to His purposes, and for as long as He requires our services there


The preacher's foremost task is to preach the Gospel. Many voices in Christianity today tempt us to forget this. They encourage us to do what will attract the unsaved. Nevertheless, the pastor is primarily called to proclaim the riches of Christ through the preaching of the Word and the clear exposition of Scripture


Manage your time to the glory of God. This is a crucial, essential component of the pastor's life and calling. Far too many pastors waste precious time performing ever-nebulous "networking." Time, once spent, cannot be regained. Therefore, how we use our time matters greatly.


Just someone else's thoughts on a topic that is dear to me,

Frank

I'm Baaack

I doubt that very many people actually missed me or even noticed that I have not posted in about one month, but I have decided to resume my life as a blogger.

Over the last month, time constraints have been kind of heavy and blogging has dropped even lower in my priorities. I have also looked at my site some and realized that some of the bells and whistles that I thought were set up were not actually working - for instance, many of the labels did not actually return the articles that I thought they should return. I struggled a little bit about fixing the situation or if I should just hang it up and put up a closed sign.

However, as I thought about it longer, I decided not to do that. When I started blogging, I did so, in part, because I had some goals in mind. Some of those goals have morphed over the last year and a half, but I would still like to work on my writing and my thinking, I would still like to have an opportunity of writing about things that interest me (rather than merely responding to what interests others), I would still like to continue the fellowship that I have found online with some whom I may never meet in person, and I would still like to take a stand for Christ and make a difference for Him. So, instead of shutting this thing down, I have decided, instead, to renew my commitment to blogging during this month of May and do a 30 days of blogging challenge with myself. It is my intention (and now I am stating it publicly) to try to post something every day during the rest of the month of May, 2008.

I am also working on/hoping to complete the following adjustments.

* Re-labeling my older posts so that they can be found easier.

* Adding an items of interest sidebar

* Adding a blogroll (finally - and with disclaimers, of course)

* Establish a regular schedule of posting (e.g. certain things on certain days)

* Adding some specific Gospel messages or links

Anyway, this is my new commitment. We have a busy month ahead of us as a church, but I have discovered that there always seems to be a busy time ahead, so there is no time like the present.

Just my thoughts,

Frank