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Saturday, March 25, 2006

just what I needed to hear today.....

Todays Devotional from DTS's devotional page

Disciplines of Durability
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Hebrews 11

Tucked away in the folds of Hebrews 11 is a two-word biography worth a second glance: “he endured” (11:27). The “he” refers to Moses. Moses was the one who hung tough, who refused to give in or give up, who decided that no amount of odds against him would cause him to surrender. He had staying power. He possessed the disciplines of durability.

He endured, despite the contempt of Pharaoh, the mightiest monarch of that era. He endured, despite the stubbornness of the Hebrews who grumbled, blamed, complained, and rebelled. He endured, despite the criticism of Miriam and Aaron, his own sister and brother. When ten out of twelve spies came back with their nay-sayings, Moses stood fast. When Korah and Dathan and Abiram led a cold, cunning conspiracy against him, Moses remained resolute.

Maybe the great Apostle of Grace had such things in mind when he introduced his classic essay on the armor of God by saying, “and having done everything … stand firm” (Eph. 6:13).

Stand firm when the wicked appear to be winning. Stand firm in times of crisis. Stand firm even when no one will know if you compromised. Stand firm when big people act contemptibly small. Stand firm when people demand authority they don’t deserve. Stand firm … keep your head … stay true … endure!

I have no idea where this finds you. For all I know, you are stronger than ever, pressing on with a full tank of resolve. That’s great. However, you may be getting shaky. Your normally thick hide of moral purity and ethical integrity may be wearing thin. It’s possible you’ve begun to listen too closely to your critics or need others’ approval too much. Maybe you’ve started giving in to the kids in little areas you once resisted because you’re tired, sort of shrugging off your better judgment.

Moses endured—even in his eighties. How? The same verse tells us: by focusing his attention on “Him who is invisible.” He fixed his heart and soul on the One who, alone, judges righteously. He continually reminded himself that his sole purpose in life was to please the Lord … to obey Him … to glorify Him … to gain His approval at all cost.

Whatever it is you’re facing, stand strong. Walk in quiet confidence, not veiled pride. Be sure without being stubborn … firm without being unteachable … enduring but not discourteous … full of truth balanced with grace.

Exacting indeed are the disciplines of durability.

“To be torn unmercifully by external forces, and still to preserve one’s inward integrity, is to know the discipline that endures.” —V. Raymond Edman

Seems that discouragement is never in short supply, but 'forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus' Phi 3:13-14

Grace and peace,


Thursday, March 23, 2006

100 Guitars of Praise!!

We have been practicing for a couple of weeks, tonight is the final rehearsal, and tomorrow is the big event.

Check it out:
100 Guitars of Praise!!

It is a blessing to be a part of this and I am ready to play! I imagine it is going to be an awesome time worshipping God in song with our fingers of praise.

Grace and peace,

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mark loves Tori

Happy 3rd anniversary sweetheart!

You are beautiful! You are a gift.

Nothing in this crazy thing called life compares to you and your love in capturing my heart, my imagination, my commitment, my peace, and my hope. I thank God for you everyday.

Our celebration at the French Room this Saturday is going to be wonderful!

I love you with all my heart.

Your devoted husband,


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Who needs theology?


Everyone is already doing theology. Because everyone has their own thoughts about God.

Theology is 'what we think about God'. It is a basic but apt definition I got from a book I read a few years back, "Who Needs Theology" by Stanley J. Grenz & Roger E. Olson (great book, easy, fun read). The definition stuck with me because it seems that getting into 'theology' is laid aside for being cool, or practical. But good theology is practical and very hip (Biblically speaking, you're down with God).

But it is what you think about God that makes all the difference. A.W. Tozer said "the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God say everything about you".

When you have good theology (correct thoughts about God), then you live the best life possible, as Jesus said, "I have come so that may have life and have it to the full", Jn 10:10.

It isn't enough to merely have thoughts or just any particular understanding about God, but to have the correct thoughts. Because it is your thoughts that shape how you will act, and acting through incorrect thoughts about God will lead you to be grounded with your feet firmly planted in mid-air. In other words, it isn't merely practice that makes perfect, it is practicing the RIGHT things that make perfect, says H. Hendricks.

Grace and peace,

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Does your car make you mean?

We love our cars don't we?

To many, our cars have always been more than merely a means of transportation. Cars are one part of our self expression, our identity. Our cars tell each other alot about ourselves. Some cars tell people we are environmentally friendly; other cars suggest we have alot of money, and so it goes.

We are all aware of the increase in road rage and how it is taking over the safety of driving our vehicles. Drivers nowadays just seem less respectful and courteous, and more self-absorbed and agressive.

I guess there are more than a few reasons:
- we are a rushed, on demand society (we wanted it yesterday!!)
- we are less connected to the communities we live in (do you know your neighbors?)
- it is a me first world (that is enough about you, now let's talk about me) :O)

But now it seems it may be because your car helps you look mean, and is telling other how mean you are too.

Check out the latest design intent for the 'face' of your car in these two articles:
The Glare of the Headlights
Car 'faces' looking meaner for a reason

Don't people think differently when you approach them with a smile, and another when you are frowning?

Grace and peace,

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Have you read your Apocrypha today?

Typically you would hear me say "Have you read your Bible today?"...... :O)

However, yesterday while driving home from work I am came across R.C. Sproul's radio program, Renewing Your Mind on KVTT 91.7 FM. RC was just beginning a series of talks on the Apocrypha, and it's value to understanding the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Surprisingly, RC shed quite a positive light on a subject you usually either hear nothing about, or mostly negative commentary.

Even though I have learned a little about the Apocrypha during my studies at the Center for Biblical Studies at DTS, and now my coursework at Criswell, I have never read it for myself. I guess mostly because it is not included in most English versions of the Bible, but also because I have never heard anything too positive about it.

However, it is included in the online version of the NET Bible, which is the version I am using this year and last year. Some of the Apocrypha is in the Catholic version of the Bible, but not all of it (did I mention that it is a disputed group of texts?)

(NOTE: I only started reading the Bible after accepting Christ as Lord and Savior 5 years ago. My born-again day is March 13, 2001. I will be celebrating my "Bjorn-again" birthday in 4 days! Praise the Lord, thank You Jesus!).

RC was saying that historically the Apocrypha has been highly regarded by the Reformers and was considered by many to be the most important historical document outside of the Bible itself. Most agree that the Apocryphal books are valuable historical documents, but since it wasn't considered canon it was not included in the Protestant Bible and it's 66 books. It could have been included (it was included in the Septuagint), but in thinking that it could be mis-interpreted as equal to the inspired, authoritive Scripture texts, it wasn't (there are many Bible versions that include non-canon texts: commentary, study notes, archaeological notes, poems, etc.). Consequently, since the Reformation, in trying to avoid any misconceptions, it seems the extreme has taken place and the Protestant church has all but done away with associating with any of the Apocryphal books.

I listen to a lot of different preachers: on the radio, at my church, at churches I visit from time to time, and churches I have been a part of in my Christian walk. But, it seems to me that I haven’t heard any preaching that includes any quotes, references or allusions to the Apocrypha. I have heard countless quotes from various Barna polls, Bible commentaries, Newsweek, CNN, Oprah, dictionaries, Lincoln, Einstein; you name it, pretty much from every popular secular frame of reference, but nothing from the Apocrypha. That’s fine and all, but I imagine we can learn something from the Apocrypha as well.

Now the Apocrypha does have some stories that have caused some to create bad church doctrine, so we need to have a discerning Spirit and be careful not to confuse it or go astray by giving it authority over Scripture. I am also not saying we need start preaching from every pulpit using the Apocrypha.

So, despite the Apocrypha not being considered canon, and despite all the differences of who uses it and who doesn't, and why, it seems that the Apocryphal books offer a meaningful, worthwhile and exceptional insight into God's Word in the Bible. Isn’t that great?

That is why I am going to read through the Apocrypha, and I really look forward to it.

Have you read the Apocrypha? If not, are there reasons you haven’t? If you did, what is your impression of it?

Grace and peace,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Liar, liar

People lie, don't they?

From just trying to be nice, to just trying to gain a slight advantage, or not wanting to look bad or sound they don’t know what they are talking about, people seem to lie quite often. You don't always know when or if someone lies, so you take people at their word, right?

Well, here is a not so surprising survey about people who lie in the workplace:
Survey: 1 in 5 workers lie

Are you surprised? Does this happen in the church? From the research I have seen, whatever ails society, unfortunately seems to ail the church just the same, and sometimes even more.

For the record, I hate liars. Liars hurt people in many ways, and overall I can't see the justification. So why lie?

For example, see the people on American Idol that think they can sing? I am willing to bet somewhere in their life people were not honest to them about their abilities, and now they end up on TV set up to feel foolish or even ashamed. So, even well intended suspension of truth can have a negative impact. That isn't right.

It has been my habit not to lie. Not even about little, or seemingly harmless things. I don't think I have mastered it yet, but I believe there is a way to be completely honest without being hurtful. I have found great comfort in not being regretful to have lied about things, or puff things up, or stroke people's ego, or all the other clever ways we seem to find in straying from the truth.

I think it is possible to try to always be completely honest, in all things, all the time. This doesn't mean being perfect, and when mistaken we can own up to it, but I don’t think there is ever a good reason to be dishonest, or lie.

Your thoughts?

Grace and peace,