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Dr. John Dreisbach with the Lord

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dr. John Dreisbach, missionary pioneer and missionary statesman went home to be with the Lord this week.

Dr. Dreisbach was the subject of the film, "Beyond the Night" and was active in medical missions and other forms of missions for over 60 years. I had the priviledge of meeting Dr. Dreisbach years ago while I was involved with Mission Prayer Band while a student at BJU. He was a gracious and Godly man and his presence on this earth will be missed.

More can be found at the church blog of Heritage Bible Church in Greenville, SC, here.

Just thought some would like to know.


New Free Resource of Interest

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Canadian Blogger extraordinaire Don Jonson has pointed out that Codex Sinaiticus (also known as Aleph) is now available for viewing online.

Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest complete copy of the New Testament and it is physically located in four different locations, the largest portion of which is at the British Museum in London, with other parts in Russia, Germany, and Mt. Sinai. However, through the wonder that is the internet / world wide web, you can now view the entire thing from the comfort of your own home or office.

No matter what position one holds on the text, the availabilty of Codex Sinaiticus online is a neat thing to see. While I find the interface to be a little slow on my old computer, it is neat that you can look up a passage and see the actual manuscript.

You can find the site at

Just someone else's work,


Free* Copy of John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology

Sunday, June 07, 2009

John Calvin is a name that stirs up great emotion from his admirers as well as his detractors. Out of all the leaders of the Reformation, Calvin was the most prolific writer and his works have long survived him, including his famous Institutes of the Chrsitian Religion and his numerous commentaries on different books of the Bible. Even if you are not a fan of John Calvin, you would be hard-pressed to deny

This year, 2009, marks the 500th anniversary of his birth. In connection with that fact, there are a number of projects designed to celebrate this anniversary. One of those projects is the book, John Calvin: A Heart for Deveotion, Doctrine & Doxology, which explores the life and legacy of John Calvin.

For a page that links to more details about the book, including a sample chapter, you can follow this link.

Ligionier Ministries is offering a free copy of this book to Pastors. The offer is only good while supplies last or until 6/12/09. The offer also requires that you pay a $5.00 shipping and handling charge. The offer is also only for Pastors and church leaders. The link for the book is

Surely, Calvinist and non-Calvinist can agree that this could be a valuable resource into the life of an interesting man.

Just my thoughts,


The Sovereign Grace/Getty Music Question

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Sovereign Grace/Getty Music Question. That is the title of this recent post by Scott Aniol of Religious Affections Ministries

We have been using his hymn We Gather Together as part of our celebration of The Lord's Table at Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury for a few years now. It is a rich text that does a nice job of breaking down the various aspects regarding the Lord's Table (Communion) as presented in 1 Corinthians 11. At Scott's old site, he used to have some free hymns for downloading and using and We Gather Together was one of those hymns. Unfortunately, I cannot locate this feature at his new site.

Anyway, I think his article is definitely worth a read to anyone who has struggled with this question.

I do have one quibble with the article, however. Perhaps Scott is correct, but I feel as though he raises a little bit of a straw man in regards to the issue of Calvinism and dislike of SG/G.

He comments:

"But my observation is that for some fundamentalists, the reason they are afraid of SG/G is more because of the associated Calvinism than anything else."

and later,

"If you do not want to use the songs because you are uncomfortable associating yourself with the Calvinism of these writers, then honestly state your reasons and be consistent. But please show grace to those who embrace Calvinism and choose to use these songs because they reflect their soteriological convictions."

Again, there may be creatures out there who exist that fit the trait that Scott puts here, but I have NEVER met such a creature who rejects SG/G because of their associations with Calvinism. I have met plenty who reject SG/G because of their associations with charismatism, but never because of their Calvinism. It seems like to do so would cause some serious problems with some of the most popular hymns of all time. I have yet to see a Fundamentalist that rejects "Amazing Grace" because of John Newton's Calvinism or any of the great hymns of Isaac Watts because of his Calvinism.

Methinks that sometimes the strong Calvinists among us tend to think that anyone who is not also a strong Calvinist is an "anti-Calvinist" who is looking for a Calvinist "boogey man" behind every tree. While there are certainly some who seem to fit that description, it seems more like a charicature than reality.

UPDATE: My friend, Pastor Chris Anderson indicates that he has heard (albeit second-hand) of well-known music speaker Frank Garlock making the exact charge that Scott aludes to in his post. If this is the case, I am sorry for the straw man comments. If this is the case, I would also say that the group of Fundamentalists I associate with must be a strange group, because this line of argument would never come up in my circles.

(Also, if any one has a source of Garlock saying this, I would appreciate it. I would love to see what he said in context.)

Just my thoughts,


Foxe's Book of Martyrs is now available

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 is a site that has a wide variety of Christian books (both classics and modern) in audio format. As with a regular Christian bookstore, discernment is needed, but if you are the type of person who spends a lot of time on the road or in other settings where listening to a book (rather than reading a book) is a legitimate possibility, you can find much on the site that is helpful.

One of the nice features of this site is that every month they feature a "Free Audiobook of the Month." Many of which, over the time that I have been aware of the site, are classics that they have turned into audiobooks. In previous posts, I have alerted readers to their Free editions of Richard Baxter's Reformed Pastor, Jonathon Edwards' Religious Affections, and John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.

There selection for this month is a book that once had great influence and is one of those books with which every believer should be familiar.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe (also Fox) is a classic that traces the history of Christian martyrdom from the days of Stephen in the book of Acts through the days of "Bloody Mary". It is a read that is tough at times, but also a read that will challenge you and inspire you to stand strong when testing comes.

James Miller Dodds commented in English Prose that, "After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification."

If you want to get it before the month is out, head on over to and download it. You will need to use the code MAY2009 (which you apply at checkout) to get it for free. Here is the link directly to the Foxe's Book of Martyrs page.

BTW, if you want to read it online, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library has it available here.

Just my thoughts,


My Thoughts on the Recent Controversy

Friday, May 22, 2009

My title is taken from Andy Efting's post on Unsearchable Riches. As most of the Fundamentalist blogosphere is aware, there has been a virtual dust-up in regards to some comments that Pastor Danny Sweatt made at a recent FBF Regional Meeting.

I have been too busy to actually listen to the message (and thus, I have not made any comments on any location about this), but I have read enough of the comments and read enough of the sections that others have quoted to get a pretty good feel of what was said.

While Bob Bixby, Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Chris Anderson, Don Johnson, John Piper, Andrew Naselli and others have all commented on either the sermon itself or on the response to the sermon, so far the thoughts of Andy Efting seem to reflect my thoughts the best.

So, while Andy adds some personal comments that I have not experienced, let me say that I think his post on this controversy is (so far) the closest to my thoughts on it as well. In particular, he addresses two of the concerns that I have on this issue:
1. The promotion of Hyles and Gray - I was hoping I was reading this wrong and he didn't actually do that.

2. The idea that Fundamentalism and Calvinism are somehow incompatible. It surely does not take a Calvinist to look at the influence in Fundamentalism of men like Michael P.V. Barrett, Ian Paisley, John McKnight, J. Greshem Machen, Dave Doran, et al to see that Calvinism is not incompatible with Fundamentalism. While there are legitimate issues with the ministries of Piper, Driscoll, etc., from a Fundamentalist perspective the issues with their ministries is not because of their Calvinism, but because of their associations, ministry philosophy, language, etc.

So, if you are dying to know what I think about this (which I am sure no one is), reading My Thoughts on the Recent Controversy by Andy will be the closest thing to my thougths that you are likely to see regarding this. (At least until/if I get a chance to listen to the message and formulate some thoughts.)

Just someone else's thoughts,


The answer to the "Who Said This?" and the full quote.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My recent "Who said this?" post was raised to see what type of guesses I would get. I was kind of curious if the automatic assumption by the "Young Fundamentalist" crowd would be that this kind of thing had to have been said by some "mean, old, ‘Type A' Fundamentalist".

However, judging by the response, I would guess the following things to be true:

1. I think I may have lost most of my "Young Fundamentalists" readers. I guess that is what I get for not posting regularly.

2. If I do still have some of them, they were not taking the bait.

3. This type of statement regarding Billy Graham apparently could have been uttered by many. For instance, I found this quote by Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. after Pastor Wagner mentioned him as a possible source for the quote of the "Who Said This?" post.

"For a long time I believed that Billy was doing more harm than any other living man. What a tragedy to see him building the church of Antichrist, masking the wickedness of popery, and providing a sheep's cloak of Christian recognition for the wolves of apostasy."

However, the answer to the question is probably a little difficult because of the relative obscurity of the person who said it - at least relative obscurity until his son chose to write a book about him and bring him to the attention of a lot of people who otherwise would not have heard of him.

The person who made the quote is Pastor Tom Carson, a long-time missionary/pastor in French Quebec. The particular context of the quote reveals the particular damage done by the compromising ministry of BG in relation to his promotion of and failure to separate from the errors of the Roman Catholic Church.

"I heard a priest being interviewed on a French [radio] station at the time of the Billy Graham crusade, and he was asked point-blank why the R. C. authorities did not come out and denounce it as presenting much that could be construed as against Roman Catholic teaching, though not verbally stated. He hemmed and hawed, but said in effect it was better to leave the crusade alone. I could have told them why: because this upright man that is Billy Graham, his personal life beyond reproach, is the Roman Catholic church's best ally, since he welcomed them as evangelicals at his services. Graham is Jehoshophat with Ahab." (Quoted from Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflection of Tom Carson by D.A. Carson, p. 142)

I recently finished reading the book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflection of Tom Carson by D. A. Carson (his son) and found this quote to be interesting. Pastor Don Johnson in Canada (among others) alerted me to the book with his review of the book, here.

I plan on writing a review of the book shortly, but I would like to make a couple of quick comments regarding the quote.

1. I appreciate the insight that Pastor Carson displays. While it is not unusual to hear such denouncements from Fundamentalists, it is refreshing to hear it from someone who was most likely not a Fundamentalist (although I am not really sure, since D. A. Carson does not really explore that issue in the book.)

2. It seems as though a statement like this would be attacked by the "YF" crowd if it were by a self-identifying Fundamentalist. It makes me curious that while I have read a few reviews of Carson's book (including some reviews from non-Fundametnalists), no one has seen fit to bring this out and attack Tom Carson for the comment. I cannot imagine a favorable biography of Dr. Bob, Jr. that included the quote above not garnering criticism in the blogosphere, but maybe I am just cynical. (Witness the multiple pages of posts at SI when the FBF dared to issue a very mildly written warning about Piper.)

3. While I recognize that the day of Billy Graham is essentially past, why do men like Mohler not recognize the issue that is so obvious to those like Pastor Carson, who have served on the front lines and seen the devastating effect of the compromise?

Just my thoughts,


Who said this? - BG edition

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I found this quote in my reading recently and thought it would be an interesting "Who Said This?" for the blog. (If anyone is actually reading anymore.)

Billy Graham ... is the Roman Catholic church's best ally, since he welcomed them as evangelicals at his services. Graham is Jehoshophat with Ahab.


1. I fixed the title, I actually had accidently titled this post with the title for the follow-up post, so I shortened this one back to an accurate title.

2. I have provided two hints in the comment sections, so far.
1. Don Johnson is correct in that he had read this somewhere else recently (I know, not much of a hint)
2. The person who made this statement is dead.

3. I will add a new hint.
Although the person who made this statement is dead, the statement was only published in 2008.

Congratulations, Ron Bean - as we come to our Final Game

Monday, April 06, 2009

We are almost done with the 2009 edition of A Thinking Man's Tourney Time - and once again, I did not win.

With one game left, I can safely predict that the winner of this year's tournament is Ron Bean and I can pretty much give the entire standings (since no one other than Andy E. has picked either UNC or Michigan State - and Andy is far enough behind that he will not be passing anyone else :) ).

So, here is the (almost) Final results.

1. Ron Bean 245 points and 48 correctly picked games - good job, Mr. Bean. For those who cannot see the brackets, Mr. Bean picked a completely perfect South bracket - getting every single game of every single round correct in that bracket. He also only missed two games in the West and three games in the East brackets. Very impressive.

2. Frank Sansone 241 points and 43 correctly picked games. Not bad. While I did not have a perfect region like Mr. Bean, I only missed three games in the Midwest and the West brackets - and considering the number of upsets in the Midwest region, I would think that my performance in that region was pretty impressive.

3. Jon Knisely 231 points and 46 correctly picked games. Pretty impressive for the newcomer. Not only did he beat his brother (you know that has to count for some type of bragging rights), he also had a very well-balanced bracket. Only missing 2 games in the East, 3 in the South, and 3 in the West.

4. Josiah Sansone 220 points and 35 correctly picked games. Hey, the kid did a good job, I think I'll keep him! He let his allegiance to Ohio State get the better of him, but a pretty nice showing overall. (At least he didn't beat his old man, though, whew!)

5. Sam Knisely 199 points and 41 correctly picked games. And so ends the run of our two-time champion. Not a bad tourney, but a little out of the running this year. Probably his only relief is that while Jon beat him, Jon did not win it all as Sam has done the previous two years.

6. Andy Rupert 198 points and 42 correctly picked games. Wow, so close to breaking into the top five. A very impressive showing in the West bracket, where the only game Andy missed was in picking BYU over Texas A & M in the first round. The best West bracket in the tourney.

7. Andy Efting 184 points and 39 correctly picked games. (With a potential for 191 points and 40 correct games if North Carolina wins tonight) I will say that even Andy's bracket doesn't look that bad. We had some pretty good picking this year. And, as Andy pointed out in a comment on the last post, he is the only one of the regular players who still has a chance of picking the actual winner of the tournament heading into tonight's game - as he has selected UNC to win it all.

For those of you who are wondering, here is how some of the hypothetical and mythical pickers did.

President Obama would have lost our Tourney Challenge. Even if UNC wins tonight (his pick), his best possible score is 183. He currently sits at 177 and 40 correct picks.

Picking the highest seed in each game (at the start of the tourney) would have placed you just between Josiah Sansone and Sam Knisely (theoreically in 5th place and moving Sam down to 6th place).

The coin flip picks ended up with 150 points and 22 correct games.

Picking the lower seed in each game (at the start of the tourney) would have netted 118 points and 10 correct games.

So, Congratulations, Ron Bean - our 2009 A Thinking Man's Tourney Time champion.

(On a side note, for those who actually still come here to read things on interest, I will be making a few "real" posts coming shortly, including a "Who said it" and a book review.)

Just my thoughts,


And Now We Move on to the Elite Eight

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tonight completed the round of 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney and The Thinking Man's Thoughts Tourney Time Challenge has become very close.

I am still in first place, but Ron Bean is only 2 points behind me and newcomer Jon Knisely has moved into third place, with Josiah falling into fourth place.

At this point in the tournament, all of the human players except for Josiah have picked at least five of the elite eight. Ron Bean has 6 of the 8 and Jon Knisely has an incredible 7 of the 8. Very nice, guys.

Here are the standings after the first three rounds.
Name Points Correct
1. Frank Sansone 236 42
2. Ron Bean 234 46
3. Jon Knisely 226 45
4. Josiah Sansone 220 35
5. Andy Rupert 193 41
Higher Seeds only 190 42
6. Sam Knisely 188 39
7. Andy Efting 168 36
8. Barack Obama 165 38

2nd Round of NCAA Tournament

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I worte this a few days ago and just realized that I never published it - sorry. I know some of you are on the edge of your seat. :)

The second round of the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has ended, without a whole lot of upsets and with a change in the leader board of The Thinking Man's Tourney Time.

Josiah had a rough second round - all four of his Final Four teams have been eliminated, making his chances of winning it all pretty slim.

I have overtaken Josiah and moved into the lead - although my picks are not nearly as impressive as the picks of Ron Bean. Mr. Bean has picked 40 of the first 48 games correctly and sits in third place with two regions that he is still perfect in - the South and the West. He also has 15 of the 16 Sweet Sixteen picks correct - very impressive.

(In case you are wondering how he could have picked that well and not be in 1st place, well, it has to do with the scoring system in use, which awards points based on the victory and the seed of the team that wins - meaning that a victory by a 4 seed is worth 5 points (1 for the victory + 4 for the seed) whereas a victory by an 11 seed is worth 12 points (1 for the victory + 11 for the seed). It is kind of a risk/rewards system. Picking an underdog increases the chances that you will have a game that earns you zero points (since they are not expected to win), but if you pick a lower seed and it is successful, you get the extra bounce of the seed value. So, while Mr. Bean has more correct picks than I do, my successful underdog picks have given me the lead (currently).

Here is the standings after the second round.
Place Name Correct Score
1. Frank Sansone 37 213
2. Josiah Sansone 33 211
3. Ron Bean 40 207
4. Jon Knisely 38 194
5. Andy Rupert 36 170
6. Sam Knisely 34 166
Higher Seeds Only 36 164
7. Andy Efting 31 146
Coin Flip 21 146
President Barack Obama 33 144

1st Round of March Madness Complete

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wow. That was fast. Real life responsibilities - and sleep because of those real life responsibilities - caused me to not be able to watch more than 2 minutes of any of the games in the first round. As one who thinks this is the greatest event in sports and that the first four days of the madness are the best, this is kind of disappointing. The only exciting thing I was able to see was the last 15 seconds of the double overtime Ohio State loss to Siena. (I woke up* and it was on. The guy hit the three pointer before I could even process what was going on with the game and then in 3.4 seconds it was over and I knew Josiah would be disappointed this morning - as would the rest of Buckeye nation.)

My son, Josiah, joined us in the tournament this year for the first time. He picked a little bit with his heart and choose Ohio State to win it all. (While he is not from Ohio, Mom Mom and Grandpa live in the state of Ohio and he has somehow became an OSU fan as his favorite college sports teams.)

This year Sam Knisely attempts to defend his two-year run as the winner of The Thinking Man's Touney Time. Jon (his brother, perhaps) has signed up to join the rest of us in trying to stop his impressive streak.

After the first round, Josiah is actually in the lead, despite the loss by Ohio State which knocks out his eventual champion and the loss by Illinois, who he also had in the championship game. He does have a perfect West region so far and only missed one game in the East region, but maintaining his lead will be pretty tough unless there are major upsets to ruin everyone else's final four picks as well.

In second place is me :). My best region is the Midwest region where the only game I missed was Ohio State. I think this is a pretty impressive regional backet, considering the fact that my correct picks in that region included picking 13 seed Cleveland State over 4 seed Wake, 12 seed Arizona over Utah (despite many saying Arizona doesn't even belong in the tourney), 11 seed Dayton over 6 seed West Virginia and 10 seed USC over 7 seed Boston College. A region that featured 5 games where the lower seed won and I picked correctly 4 of those upsets and the only game I missed in the whole region was the double overtime loss by OSU.

In third place is Ron Bean. Mr. Bean has picked two perfect regions - the West and the South. Very impressive - someone should get you a Moxie :). Considering the fact that Josiah has lost two of his Final Four picks and I have lost one of mine, my guess is that Mr. Bean is the favorite at this time - here's hoping that someone knocks out North Carolina soon to relieve him of one of his Final Four picks.

New player Jon Knisely is in fourth place with a perfect West region and all four Final Four picks still surviving. Jon also got all four of the 7 vs. 10 games correct - correctly realizing that Texas was the only 7 seed that was going to survive - impressive.

Rounding out the top five is our returning champ, Sam Knisely, who is struggling a little bit. He also picked a perfect West region and still has his Final Four intact, but a rough Midwest bracket has got his score a little down. He may need Michigan State to make it to the Final Four to have a chance.

As I do almost every year, I also added a few "fake" competitors into the mix. For those of you who are in the A Thinking Man's Tourney Challenge and can actually see the standings and brackets of all of the players, "Joe Blow" is a made-up player whose games were picked via random coin flips at with "Heads" as the higher seed and "Tails" as the lower seed. (This mythical person would be in fifth place right now.) "Frank Republican (1)" is simply if all of the higher seeds won every game and "Frank Republican (2)" is if all of the lower seeds won every game. (The "Republican" in the name is because one year I made some mythical picks based on the way the states of the various teams had voted in the previous U.S. Presidential election.)

Here are the standings so far.

1. Josiah 178 points 28 correct picks
2. Frank 161 points 26 correct picks
3. Ron B. 140 points 25 correct picks
4. Jon K. 139 points 25 correct picks
Joe Blow 133 points 18 correct picks
5. Sam K. 123 points 23 correct picks
F. Repub2 118 points 10 correct picks
6. Andy R. 109 points 22 correct picks
7. Andy E. 107 points 21 correct picks
F. Repub1 104 points 22 correct picks
Frank Cheek 83 points 19 correct picks

Rounding out last place is a mysterious competitor listed on your score sheet as "Frank Cheek" - in reality, these are the picks of the President of the United States - Barak Obama, as copied from the website. Considering he is kind of considered a big basketball fan, I thought I would see how he would have done in The Thinking Man's Tourney Time. I am impressed with how our group is doing in comparison. He got clobbered pretty badly in the Midwest region (missing five of the eight games). To be fair, he actually has a prety decent bracket in later rounds (he still has all of his Final Four, all of his Elite Eight, and 14 of his Sweet 16 teams remaining), so he could still do fairly well, but right now he is in last place with less than half as many points as my 12-year old son.

Anyway this is the first round scoring update,


*Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn't just "wake up" - my wife woke me up because I was snoring too loudly.

Tourney Time ... 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Howdy, folks. "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." okay, maybe not quite, but it is definitely time for the greatest event in sports, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

It is almost time to make your picks for March Madness 2009. Tomorrow is Selection Sunday and after the teams and seeds have been announced, you should be able to log in and make your picks and fill in your brackets.

Like last year, each person is able to fill out two brackets if you so desire. This will enable you to make one bracket based on what you THINK will happen and one bracket based on what you HOPE would happen - or in other words, a set of picks from the head and a set of picks from the heart.

Anyway,you should be able to find the tourney information at A Thinking Man's Thoughts Tourney Time Picks located at

If you have played last year, you should have gotten an email and all you should need to do is log in with your account from last year and fill in your brackets after the teams and seeds are announced.

If you did not participate last year, but you would like to join in, just send me an email at fcsansone - at - gmail . com.

Just for fun,

Frank Sansone

Wow! What a Great Week! -- And, boy, am I old!

Friday, February 27, 2009

This week I have had the privilege of preaching eight times at Heritage Christian Academy in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey for the 2008-2009 Spiritual Emphasis week. (I also had the privilege of preaching in chapel last Friday at Faith Baptist School in Salisbury, Maryland and three time on Sunday at Mosherville Bible Church in Mosherville, Pennsylvania, to make for 12 times in the last 8 days.)

I love to preach and I love to preach to our folks here in Salisbury, but I also love it when the Lord gives me opportunity to preach at a different location and (having served in youth ministry from 1990-2003) preaching to young people is a special joy.

The theme for the week was "profit that matters" with a theme verse of Mark 8:36

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Heritage Christian Academy is a great school that is led by Mr. Ron Hamilton (no, not THAT Ron Hamilton). Mr. Hamilton (whome I knew as "Pastor Ron") was my Youth Pastor at Heart to Heart Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona when I was a fairly new believer in Christ as a teenager. Pastor Ron's influence in my life has been an ongoing and profound. As a teenager, his life and consistent faithfulness for Christ were an example and challenge to me - a challenge to me that has continued to this day. In addition to the overall effect of his life, he also helped me specifically in giving me a chance to preach as a teenager and helping me to prepare my first "real" sermon and a sermon I heard by him as a teenager encouraged me that God can use me, despite (perhaps because of) the weak vessel that I am.

It was also a special treat to me to see a number of my former teens who are now serving the Lord by teaching at Heritage Christian Academy and helping out in other ways in the ministry there at Heritage Baptist Church. There were four teachers at the school who had been in my youth groups at various times in their lives. This fact was encouragement to me - but it also made me feel very OLD. To see Pastor Ron's daughter Beth (a 24-year old nurse at the same hospital in New Jersey where my wife worked for 9 years) especially made me feel old, since I knew her when she was still in a car seat when I was a teenager in Arizona and she was later in my youth group there at Heritage.

I also had the privilege of meeting up with some other friends and students from years gone by. It was an exciting week. Thank you to all who made the time enjoyable.

Just my thoughts,


An Awesome Speech by a Little Girl

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I generally shy away from posting YouTube videos on my blog because one click of the video moves you to the YouTube site where the comments are often not appropriate reading.

However, this speech by this young lady on the topic of abortion is so well done, I thought I would try to "embed" a YouTube video here at A Thinking Man's Thoughts for the first time. Hopefully this will work.

It is my understanding that this young lady won first place for this speech - after a judge quit in protest.

I do not know anything about this young lady, but her message is very good. May God use it in the ears of the many who need to hear.

Some related posts on this topic:

A National Scandal

Consider This

Change I Wish We Didn't Need to Believe In

There's Something Rotten in the State of ... New Jersey (Part 2)

Just my thoughts,


Spiritual Emphasis Week at Heritage Christian Academy in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey

Next week, I will have the privilege of preaching a spiritual emphasis week for the young people at Heritage Christian Academy in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. I am looking forward to visiting Heritage again, as it has been a while since I have been up there.

Heritage Baptist Church and Christian Academy was our first place of full-time ministry and it is neat that some of the teachers and staff at HCA now were teens in my youth group when I was the Youth Pastor at Heritage. I am looking forward to seeing them again. I have to admit that it always makes me feel a little old when I end up visiting with former teens of mine who are now grown up, married with children, serving in ministry, etc.

Anyway, I will be preaching for the older chapel every day and for the elementary chapel on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The theme for the week is "What Shall it Profit a Man." (Granted the theme is geared more for the older students than the younger students.)

I would love to catch up with some of you readers who may be in the area. Drop me a note and we can try to meet up while I am up in New Jersey.

Just my thoughts,


And you thought putting a fox in charge of a hen house was bad...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I don't really like to do politics too much on this blog, but the reality is that many times, political issues are also moral and Biblical issues.

Jesus said that "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Now, it is true that in the wickedness of man's heart this sin can be committed by anyone and it does not require that the woman who is the object of the lust be dressed in an immodest fashion, the reality is that a whole industry - a powerful and rich industry - exists that seeks to encourage this sin. The pornography industry is one of he most dispicable of industries that blight our nation.

I read today, however, that one of the great supporters of the pornography industry has been nominated by President Obama as Deputy Attorney General - David Ogden.

The Justice Department is charged with prosecuting our laws - including laws against child pornographers. Instead, David Ogden has fought to make it harder to prosecute child pornographers.

According to The Witherspoon Institute, in this article: David Ogden and the New Pornographers: Why the Senate Should Reject His Nomination

In addition to making it harder to prosecute those who sell images of child molestation and rape, Ogden has sought to ensure that pornography can be easily distributed and readily accessed in almost any medium or location. He has fought cases in Puerto Rico to allow Playboy to broadcast explicit programming on TV. He represented Philip Harvey, a man who runs the nation’s largest mail-order pornography shop out of North Carolina, in his attempt to deflect a Department of Justice investigation of his business. Completing a sort of multi-media grand slam, Ogden has sued to allow sexually-explicit content to be transmitted over the phone. Taking this quest to its absurd limits, he has even claimed in court that there is a constitutional right for pornography to be kept in firehouses. Ogden’s position is good for the industry groups he has represented but bad for female firefighters who could be subjected to humiliating and harassing images in the workplace. With an equal disregard for the comfort and protection of children, in 2000 Ogden sued to allow pornography to be accessed in public libraries.

Americans should reject this "Change We Can Believe In" and should encourage their Senators to do the same.

Albert Mohler has some additional thoughts on the topic, here.

Just my thoughts,


New Barna Poll

Friday, January 30, 2009

Many of you may be familiar with pollster George Barna, who some "evangelical" leaders view as a guru of how to do church - or is it "be church" in his current vernacular?

Anyway, a friend sent me the following link via email and I thought it was interesting:

Shocking New Barna Poll

Enjoy your read,


A National Scandal

Thursday, January 22, 2009

(I recognize that this post is extremely long. The topic of the post, however, is very important.)

Almost two thousand years ago, a scandal spread across the country of Israel. It was a scandal that was large in its scope as everyone knew about what was going on, yet no one was doing anything about the scandal. Finally, one man stood up against the scandal. One man understood the need to speak the truth in an age when the truth was unpopular and standing for the truth could cost you a lot. In this man's case, it cost him his life.

The scandal of which I am referring to is referred to in Mark 6:14-29. In this passage, we read the story of the encounter of John the Baptist with Herod Antipas. Herod Antipas was one of the sons of Herod the Great and had a half-brother named Philip. As Herod visited his half-brother Philip, he lusted after Philip's wife, Herodias, and took her for his wife (ditching his own wife in the process). To make bad matters even worse, Herodias was also Herod's niece!

John the Baptist stood up against this scandal of his day and it ended up costing him his life.

Today, we live in the midst of another great scandal. This scandal is not one done by one man or one family, but a scandal that is done on a national level and is a scandal that is on a great scale. It is a scandal that we mark today, January 22.

As many of you are probably aware, on January 22, 1973, a court ruling was handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Roe v. Wade. While much has been said and written about this case, the result of this case is that it opened the door for abortion on demand to become the law of the land - and the practice of abortion has skyrocketed since then. It is estimated that there have been approximately 50 million abortions in the 35 years since this decision was handed down by the courts.

When we consider the statistics regarding abortion, the totals really are staggering.

In the 35 years since Roe v. Wade, there have been about 50 million abortions. Think of that a minute and let it sink in. FIFTY MILLION. We often hear big numbers today and kind of just skip over them. What does this 50 million mean? As I mentioned in a post on this topic two years ago, this 50 million represents more than the population of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Nebraska, West Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington, D.C. - COMBINED! (This 50 million also represents over 10 million more lives than our largest state, California.)

The Abort 73 Web-site does a great job of listing some stats regarding abortion. Some of these follow:

Looking at some other numbers regarding abortion, we find that in 2000, there were 3,600 abortions per day, 149 per hour, 1 every 24 seconds. As of 2001, there were 246 abortions for every 1,000 live births. On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about 2/3 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

While those who support abortion often speak about the "hard cases" - rape, incest, or some health concern with either the baby or mother - only 7% of all abortion cases fit into any of these categories - the other 93% ARE ELECTIVE.

The scandal of abortion is a blight upon our nation. And, as Christians, we ought to speak up against this scandal - even as John the Baptist spoke up against the scandal of his day and exposed the sin.

A couple of thoughts come to mind regarding our need to expose this sin.

1. If we are going to expose sin, we should understand our responsibility to expose sin.

The Bible tells us that we are to reprove - admonish, rebuke - the works of darkness:

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Christ also told us that we are to be salt and light - to be different and to make a difference.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

As Christians we have a responsibility to expose sin. We have a responsibility to explain to others what God has revealed regarding a particular matter. As we expose the sin, we need to do so with a heart of love for the sinner and a heart of obedience to Christ. We also need to be careful that we do not just give half of the story. We need to not only reprove the sin, we need to do so in such a way that we point people to the answer to the sin - forgiveness in Christ.

2. If we are going to expose sin, we should do so with the right character.

If we are to expose the sin and scandal of abortion, we should do so with a basis of right character. Herod understood that even though the message of John the Baptist about his sin was a message that he did not want to hear, the character of John was so evident that Herod actually kept him alive despite the desires of Herodias.

Mark 6:19-20 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

When we take on the awesome task of exposing sin, we need to do so with the right character. We read that John the Baptist was just and holy. We also find out that he was bold (Luke 3:7-9) and humble (John 1:27 and John 3:30). We can have this delicate combination of boldness and humility when we understand that without Christ we can do nothing, but we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.

3. If we are going to expose sin, we should have clarity in our message.

When John the Baptist confronted Herod, he clearly laid out the nature of Herod's sin. In regards to abortion, we need to present clearly two important truths. The first truth is the fact that murder violates God's law. For most people, this is obvious. The second truth is establishing the fact that a child in the womb is a person - and thus murdering that child in the womb is a violation of God's command not to murder.

Some of the facts that point out the truth that a child in the womb is a person includes the following Biblical evidences.

1. Children in the womb are described with the same terminology as children outside the womb.

Ge 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

The word children used here is the normal word for child or son, even though the children are still in womb. It is not a word that refers to a fetus or even an "unborn child."

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

The word translated babe in Luke 1:41 is the same word used in the next chapter when we read that Mary laid the "babe" in the manger.

2. Children in the womb are shown as active and alive.

For instance, in Luke 1 - John the Baptist recognized that the other baby was Christ. This baby (in the womb) was active.

By the way, we see this when we consider children in the womb today. Many of us have seen the photograph where a baby being operated on grabbed the finger of the surgeon.

3. Children in the womb are described as persons.

In Psalm 51:5, the Psalmist writes: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Note that it is "I" that was shapen - not some "pre- I"

In Isaiah 49:1, the prophet declares: "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name." Again, it was "me" that was called, not some "pre-me." (Similar examples can be found in Psalm 139:13, Job 31:13-15, etc.)

The reality is that the world inherently KNOWS that the unborn baby is a life. Some may have been able to plead ignorance in 1973, but with the advances in technology (including the awesome 3-D sonograms), it is beyond reaonableness to claim that this child is not a life. That is why most states have laws that if you kill the child that the mother is carrying, you can get arrested. (Remember Scott Peterson a few years ago - he was convicted of two counts of murder, Laci and the Baby.) The only time when killing a child in the womb is considered acceptable is when the killing is done by a doctor in the name of "choice."

The reality is abortion is taking an innocent life and the image of God is being destroyed by this act. (See Job 1:21 and Genesis 9:6)

4. If we are going to expose sin, we should do so recognize that exposing sin is compassionate.

It is compassionate because exposing sin helps people to recognize their need of forgiveness. Galatians 3:24 reminds us that the law is a "schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

In our society today, we are often afraid to directly confront sin and to tell someone that their actions are a sin against a holy God. In not directly confronting sin, people think they are being compassionate and kind. In reality, this is not compassionate. Allowing those involved in sin (in whatever form the sin might be) to think that they are okay and just making a "choice" can lead them into a complacence of not recognizing their need of forgiveness.

Instead, as we point out the sin of abortion, we should do so while sharing with them the compassionate truth that there is forgiveness for sin - even for the sin of abortion. That forgiveness is only found in the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin.

So, as we mark with sadness this important anniversary, may we step forth boldly and stand against this scandal in our nation. And doing so, may we compassionately point people to the One who can forgive even this sin - Jesus Christ.

Just my thoughts,


(Some of the these thoughts are adapted from the Abort73 web-site.)

Change I Wish We Didn't Need to Believe In

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In less than five minutes today, the message of the White House (through its official website - www.whitehouse.gove) changed from a message that celebrated life and family to a message that supports a radical view of abortion and a radical twisting of the family.

It is amazing how quickly the desire was to get rid of words like these:

All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.

In about five minutes, the White House website went from defending innocent life to touting President Obama "a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Adminstration [sic]."

Not only is the hopeful message that celebrates a "culture of life" gone from the official White House website, the hopeful message regading the importance of marriage between one man and one woman is gone as well, replaced instead with one that supports the repeal of the Defesnse of Marriage Act (which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996) and one that opposes the federal marriage ammendment.

If you go to the White House website to look for the page that contained the words that proclaimed January 18, 2009 as "National Sanctity of Human Life Day", you will not find the page. Instead, you get a 404 message which tells you -"The page you requested wasn't found at this location. The Obama Administration has created a brand new White House website, and it's possible that the page you were looking for has been moved. Please take a moment to explore our new site, learn more about President Obama and his team, and read about their plan to bring about the change America needs."

Unfortunately, it seems that very few (if any) on the Obama team (or perhaps in Washington altogether) even have a clue about what constitutes "the change America needs." The change America needs is to recognize our sinfulness before God, to repent and to turn to Him. Certainly it is not a change that hearkens back to the days of the Ammonites who sacrificed their children to the false god of Molech.

In regards to praying for the President, while I don't agree with Dr. Al Mohler on everything, I appreciate the following words from his post on "A Prayer for President Obama."

Father, may this new president see that human dignity is undermined when human embryos are destroyed in the name of medical progress, and may he see marriage as an institution that is vital to the very survival of civilization. May he protect all that is right and good. Father, change his heart where it must be changed, and give him resolve where his heart is right before you.

Father, when we face hard days ahead -- when we find ourselves required by conscience to oppose this president within the bounds of our roles as citizens -- may we be granted your guidance to do so with a proper spirit, with a proper demeanor, and with persuasive arguments. May we learn anew how to confront without demonizing, and to oppose without abandoning hope.

Father, we are aware that our future is in your hands, and we are fully aware that you and you alone will judge the nations. Much responsibility is now invested in President Barack Obama, and much will be required. May we, as Christian citizens, also fulfill what you would require of us. Even as we pray for you to protect this president and change his heart, we also pray that your church will be protected and that you will conform our hearts to your perfect will.

Father, we pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, the ever-reigning once and future King, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He and he alone can save, and his kingdom is forever. Above all, may your great name be praised. Amen.

Here is an article at Baptist Press that gives some additional details about the change in the White House website: With Obama in power, now backs abortion rights, 'gay rights'

Some thoughts on Spiritual Leadership

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yesterday, I had the privilege of addressing some Pastors from the Fellowship of Fundamental Bible Churches at a Pastor's Prayer Breakfast in New Jersey. We met at the Cracker Barrel in Pennsville and then headed over to Bethel Bible Baptist Church in Carneys Point (Pastored by Ron Whitehead) for the message and time of prayer.

While the fellowship was enjoyable, it was unfortunate that more Pastors could not have made the Prayer Breakfast.

I know I have not written much on here lately, but I thought I would post some of the key thoughts from the message for my readers. Feel free to comment, adapt, criticize, etc.

We live in a day and age in which leadership is talked about often, but demonstrated much less often. A search on Google for leadership shows about 164,000,000 (that's 164 MILLION) hits. An Amazon search shows over 300,000 results when that term is searched for in books.

Even if you narrow the focus to spiritual leadership, there is still much that is said about this important topic.

I have appreciated some of the resources that men of God have written over the years on this subject. J. Oswald Sander's book, Spiritual Leadership, is one of those books that I try to read at least every other year.

In Mark 10:35-45, we find some important teaching regarding Spiritual Leadership.

The context, of course, is the request by James and John for positions of authority and leadership at the right and left hand of Christ in His glory. The Matthew passage adds the details that the mother of James and John (Salome, the sister of Mary and aunt of Jesus) was also involved in this request.

When Christ responds to James and John, He does so by reminding us all of some important truths about spiritual leadership.

I. Spiritual Leadership is Burdensome

Jesus' initial comments draw them to the fact that rather than Spiritual Leadership being something glamorous, it is, in fact, something burdensome.

Mark 10:38 - But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

Both the drinking of the cup and the being baptized with the baptism refer to the concept of suffering and difficulty. Remember the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane, where he asks to "let this cup pass from me."

While their are great joys in spiritual leadreship, Christ also reminds us that there are great burdens in spiritual leadership as well. There are joys when "my children walk in truth." But there are heartbreaks when those you love and give your lives to choose to walk in disobedience and make wrong choice after wrong choice.

Paul also speaks of the burdens of spiritual leadership, speaking of the "conflict" (agon) he has for the Colossians and Laodiceans (Col. 2:1) and mentioning "the care of all the churches" as the concluding aspect of his list of difficulties he has faced for Christ in 2 Corinthians 11:28.

When we think of spiritual leadership and when we experience burdens in spiritual leadership, we should not be not be shocked or disappointed, but rather recognize tht this is part of the package - and rejoice that we can heed the admonition of Peter in 1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Not only is Spiritual Leadership Burdensome, Christ also reminds us that Spiritual Leadership is Bestowed.

II. Spiritual Leadership is Bestowed

While many often seek Spiritual Leadership and clearly, "if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work" (1 Timothy 3:1), the reality is that ultimately, Spiritual Leadership is not something that we strive to for ourself, but rather is something given or bestowed by God.

Mark 10:40 - But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

This truth should help to remind us to be careful of not seeking promotion or great things for ourselves, but rather to seek to be obedient to Christ and to live according to His will and recognize that God is the one who places us where He will.

Psalm 75:6-7 - For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Jeremiah 45:5a - And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not:

The final lesson is one about which there has been much talk, but is one that is essential if we are to function as spiritual leaders in whatever roles that Christ has given to us.

III. Spiritual Leadership is backwards from the world.

Mark 10:42-44 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

While the world often encourages us to "look out for number one" and views roles of leadership as symbols of power, Christ encourages us to understand that spiritual leadership is backwards from that model - that spiritual leadership focuses on service rather than on being served. Spiritual leadership is concerned with ministering rather than being ministered to.

There is always a danger of believing that being a leader somehow makes you superior or should give you an advantage, but the reality is that being a leader gives us responsibility and should force us to focus on serving.

As a Pastor, we must serve those in our church and in our community as we serve Christ. As a husband, we must serve our wives and be sensitive to their needs as we lead them. As a father, we must serve our children and lead them to what is best, not just to what is easy or desired.

The easy way can fall towards two extremes. The first extreme is to give in to our desire to be served and fail to heed Peter's warning not to "lord it over God's heritage" (1 Peter 5:3), the other extreme is just give those we serve what they want instead of what they need in an attempt to not make waves. We would be wise to avoid both extremes in our role of serving others.

The closing verse of this section remind us of the Perfect Spiritual Leader - Jesus Christ Himself.

Mr 10:45 - For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

May we seek to follow His example of spiritual leadership.

Just my thoughts,


Some Good Thoughts on Retirement

The Ohio Bible Fellowship is a strong group of churches in Ohio that take a strong position for Christ and Fundamentalism. They put out a nice little paper entitled the OBF Visitor and about a year ago or so, they began to publish an OBF Visitor Blog with featured articles from the newsletter. The site (and the paper) are definitely worth your time to read and check out.

Pastor Chris Anderson (an OBF Pastor and blogger over at My Two Cents) has written an excellent article entitled Rethinking Retirement that is now available over at the OBF Visitor Blog.

Below is an excerpt:

Whatever specific ministry (or ministries!) you pursue, resist the mindset that says the goal of life is to work now and play later—both for Christ’s sake and for your own. Many a retiree has stopped working only to fall into an emotional, spiritual, or physical funk. There’s a reason for that. God created us to be productive for His glory. The church needs the ministry of retirees, and retirees need to minister.

Retirees, use your newfound freedom to serve the Lord! Retire from your job, not from life or ministry. Workers, minister now and plan to minister with an even greater focus when the Lord allows you to stop working 40-plus hours a week for your employer. Finally, pastors, teach your flock that their greatest usefulness may actually lie ahead: help them plan for their futures with an open mind and an open Bible. Help them rethink retirement.

You can find the entire article at the OBF Blog - Rethinking Retirement.

Just Chris' thoughts,