Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another Update on Subway Contest

Although I could not find the Subway/Scholastic apology myself AFA has checked into it and has a copy on their website: Subway apologizes to home scholars. Thanks to Paul at Vaughnshire Farm for letting me know about this response.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lay Aside Every Weight - Hebrews 12:1-3

This past Lord’s Day I preached on Hebrews 12:1-3 (Sermon: Exhortations for the Christian Pilgrimage) and the study for this passage was to say the least convicting.  I think we often read this passage, I have, and do not stop to contemplate what “lay aside every weight” really means.  What I think you will find if you take time to stop and pray about it is that these four words are asking believers to make radical decisions about how we go about our Christian pilgrimage.

Since verse one separates “every weight” and “sin” we need to as well and to look at both areas.  Most will easily agree that we need to put aside sin in our Christian walk, or in this case run.  But what are we to do with this idea of excess “weight?”  Well the idea, in taking from the analogy of being in a race, is to put aside or take off what ever will hinder one from the goal of finishing the race they are in.  I would even say that it is not just about finishing but finishing in such a manner that we most glorify God by our manner of running.

With this in mind what does it mean for a believer to “lay aside every weight” or some translations may say “hindrance.” This is not simply about listing specific sins to stop because we have seen the author has set sin as a separate area.  When it comes to hindrances the issue becomes more convicting because there are many things that are not in and of themselves a sin but that get in the way of our Christian walk. 

How often when deciding on what we are to do we contemplate how a particular action will affect our walk?  Many times we do things that not only may lead us to sin but we also do things that simply take time away from what we should be doing.  In a race one puts aside everything that will hinder their run and in our Christian walk we should do the same.  Again it is not just about running but running in a God glorifying manner.

One area that I struggle with and I am sure many others do is in the area of entertainment.  I quite often am good at justifying that I just need to relax but what I find is that a short time of relaxation leads to more time relaxing at the expense of time with God.  Our preoccupation with entertainment seems to be more about escapism than relaxation and renewal.  Should we not get to a point where time with God is the renewal and relaxation we require.  So, while some entertainment may not specifically be a sin if it is interfering with our time with God and doing what God desires of us we need to put it aside.

There are many things that on the surface may seem good but can end up being detrimental to our walk. When areas such as these show themselves we need to make adjustments and lay aside what needs to be laid aside.

I guess my call is for us to better look at what we do.  Not in light of what everyone else does but in light of how it affects our walk in the eyes of God.  In doing this we need to ask if what we are doing takes from God’s glory and if it detracts from our progress towards holiness.  This may, or I should say will, lead to making decisions that will result in us looking different from the world around us.  But being a Christian is to be a pilgrim and pilgrims do not look like those around them.

So re-read Hebrews 12:1-3 in the context of all that is around it and then stop to meditate and pray about the things you do and ask if there are things that need to be laid aside.  Are we not only running the course that God has set before us but are we running it in a manner that God gets all the glory.

Subway Update

I received an e-mail today that made me think that I may need to be clearer on my previous post with regards to the Subway Writing contest that does not allow Home Schoolers to participate.

For me the contest is not a discrimination issue with regards to legalities as I realized Subway is private company and could make the contest for whatever group they like. The issue is more about letting others know that homeschoolers are often singled out for no apparent reason other than a personal bias, in this case a corporate bias. From a Christian perspective if we homeschool for biblical reasons, rather than simply academic reasons, we should not find this bias surprising.

I think that often we as believers rely too much on such things as the constitution, not bad in and of itself, as the Bible tells us to rely on Him, and by extension His Word, and by doing so we will in the end be singled out as every other believer has been in history. Jesus Christ was singled out for doing the Father's will so why should we expect different treatment.

This does not mean we as believers should not seek to have influence in laws and government but I think we do have to be careful not to end up relying on that rather than God, the one who even allows those that lead us to do so.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Subway Contest Prohibits Home School Children

I was forwarded an e-mail that links to a writing contest that Subway is having for students PreK-6. What is interesting and disturbing is the restriction at the bottom of the entry that says:

Contest is open only to legal US residents, over the age of 18 with children in either elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted (I put this in bold to highlight it)

I would encourage you to write them a note to ask why they would restrict Home School students from their contest. You can send comments here.

While my family don't have children in this age group and would probably not enter this contest if we did it does show a blatant disdain for home schoolers. In a time when there is increasing acrimony towards Home Schooling it is good for others to know of things such as what Subway is doing.

Here is whatI have written to them:

I would like to air my concern and surprise that you would exclude home school students from your writing contest. A brief look at history would mean that you would also exclude the following authors that were all home schooled in some manner: Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Irving Berlin, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis. Not only were these authors along with others homeschooled but so have many other great men and women in the past and present.

By singling out “Home School” as excluded for your contest you are displaying that you have some bias against this group of people. You do not restrict the contest from private school and parochial school students but you deny home school students the opportunity to enter an seemingly otherwise open competition.

As a public company I am sure you accept money for sandwiches and other foods from home schoolers so why not stories written by home school students. I would ask that you please reconsider your restrictions and allow students to be able to freely enter your contest no matter where they are schooled.

Thank you for your time,
Tony Konvalin

I have added an update to this post to clarify some things as far as how I view this issue: Subway Update

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (5/25/08)

Keep the Steven Curtis Chapman family in your prayers as they lost their five year old daughter this last week.

Paul at Vaughnshire Farm writes on Big Oil, Big Government, Big Profits, Big Contributions and Big Tax Cuts.

At the American Vision site they write on Voddie Baucham and Bruce Shorts resolution at the next Southern Baptist Convention Annual meeting. Their resolution urges parents in California to withdraw their children from public schools. Voddie Says:

“What do the California school administrators and California legislators have to do to children before people say enough is enough?” he asks. “Do they have to start eating children before we finally say we’ll pull them out of those schools? Because so far they have done some of the most radical, unspeakable things as it relates to the training of these children, and parents still have not woken up. And what’s worse, the church seems to be asleep on these issues,”

Here is a link to Voddie Baucham's blog post on this subject: John Wesley on Education

James McDonald writes in The Abortion President? about Senator Obama’s views on abortion. Also be sure to watch the video.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Giveaway at

Click the banner below to enter this months giveaway, a $200 Shopping Spree at, from

May Giveaway

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Faulty Theology in Songs

I was listening to the radio today, maybe that was my first mistake, and heard some words to a song by Kutless called Run. I had to listen hard as I could not believe the words I heard. Here are some of the words from the song that was playing:

Why do you run why do you hide oh don't you know I
just, just want to be with you

Looking down from above as you watch TV
Wondering why, why you're ignoring me

Do you remember, remember when I came to you and you loved me

And I'm waiting for you, And I'm waiting for you

Why do you run why do you hide oh don't you know I

just, just wanna be with you, to be with you
Hey, why do you run why do you hide oh don't you know

I just, just wanna be with you, to be with you...

Whatever happened to the love, the love you had for me

When you first came to me

Don't you know that I died, I died so I could be with you, forever

And I’m waiting for you, And I'm waiting for you

As I heard this song I wondered what Jesus it was speaking about as it reflects a needy Savior who is helpless and in need of a friend. Christ did not die so He could be with us forever but died so sinners could come before the Father. So a disobedient obstinate people could come and worship the God of all creation. A basic reading of Hebrews, let alone the rest of scripture, revels a Savor quite different from the Jesus of this song.

What is disconcerting about songs such as this is that some will get their theology from words such as these. They will get their understanding of Jesus from words that speak nothing of what scripture says about the savior rather than taking the necessary time to read the true source of truth.

This also speaks to the necessity of the church taking preaching and teaching seriously. It is only when we instill a firm theological base that songs such as this will be seen for what they are. Songs such as this are the result of a church that delivers milk instead of meat.

This is also a lesson for parents to make sure they listen to what their children are hearing. Just because a song sounds good and Jesus or God is mentioned is not enough as the theology of the music, and all music has a theology, will influence ones children if they are not firmly grounded in the truth. My prayer is that the church will raise up families that raise up children that will discern the error of songs such as these themselves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (5/14/08)

You can download a sample of the new ESV Study Bible on the ESV site as they have the Introduction to Luke. They are also giving a 35% discount on pre-orders.

At the Surgeon Blog there is a good article on being God-Centered: God is not Man-Centered. In the article Richard Smith makes the excellent point that unless we see God as God-Centered we will invariably have a Man-Centered God. This will in the end affect all that we do as it will make our evangelism man-centered, our discipleship man-centered and our worship man centered, among other things. People will often proclaim in their speech to be God-Centered but their theology played out in life, orthopraxy, will end up being anything but if they do not start with a God-Centered God. I would even go so far as to say that over time ones orthopraxy, or lack thereof, will have the effect of changing ones beliefs as we try and mold them to the practices we partake in. So in all things we need to keep a focus on a God-Centered God as all we do should flow out of this.

Mike Ratliff at Possessing the Treasure writes on the loss of a focus on personal holiness in; Strange Fire. When we loose sight of our place in Jesus Christ as priests we loose sight of living as priests are called to live.

And by the way did I mention the new Sovereign Grace Music CD is out: Come Weary Saints :) Just another reminder as I have listened to this CD quite a few times and it is very good. Again, not simply for the music but more so for the content.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Come Weary Saints – Sovereign Grace Music’s New CD

I just received the new Sovereign Grace Music’s CD: Come Weary Saints. As usual it is excellent. I have long enjoyed their music and while they do a fine job with the musical side of things it is the words that capture my heart. Even the description from their website drew my interest, see below. So often we sing in such a way as to lead the world to think being a believer leads to a life devoid of sorrow and pain. However a cursory reading of scripture will reveal something quite contrary to that. Believers we will get weary and suffer but we can find joy in the being able to go to our heavenly Father through the Son. Here is how SGM describes this album:

As Christians, we know that our greatest problem—separation from God—has been solved. Jesus Christ, the only Savior, has taken our sin upon himself, enduring God’s wrath in our place and rising from the dead to assure us of our forgiveness.

But all our problems don’t end when we turn to Christ. We still get sick. Marriages end. Children die. Our plans, great or small, are disrupted. We grow weary in the battle.
Scripture assures us that God is sovereignly using our difficulties as tools to make us more like his Son. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Ro 5:3–5) While we know these things are true, in the midst of our hardships we can lose perspective. Problems can loom large, and our hopes can grow dim.

Come Weary Saints is an invitation to redirect your focus to the God whose love has been forever demonstrated at the cross of Calvary. As you listen to these songs, may your faith and joy in the Savior be strengthened for the challenges you face, now or in the future.

You can also download a free song from the new album here. I highly recommend this CD as well as a previous release of theirs, Valley of Vision.

Here are words from the song As Long As You Are Glorified; you will not find words such as these many places:

Verse 1
Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Verse 2
Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

So quiet my restless heart,
quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (5/1/08)

Voddie Baucham has a good article on Barack Obama and abortion: BARACK OBAMA: A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. People can call it “a CHOICE” but it is only a choice on one side of the ledger.

Thanks to Erik at the Irish Calvinist in pointing me to this video. What Piper says is so true and even for us that agree with him we need to always be aware of what we preach so that we do not preach the world rather then the WORD.

Mark Chanski writes an article entitled: Jesus the Lone Refuge in which he speaks of Christ as the only way. This is not popular in our pluralistic anything goes age but it is what the Bible teaches and what we need to proclaim. I was thinking the other day that if our biblical views are well accepted in the world we either have unbiblical views or we are not expressing them correctly and completely. Scripture and history shows us that the exclusivity of Christ is a thorn in the side of the world and if we do not expose that thorn in our preaching and evangelism then we may be falling short of the full message of the Gospel.

Here is this months free book from Martin Luther: In His Own Words (Unabridged). All that you need to do is to put the following code, MAY2008, in when you order the MP3s.

Most all Christians know the name Martin Luther. Less familiar, however, are his words. This compilation of many of Luther's most important writings serves as an excellent introduction to those new to Luther. It also provides a fresh medium for people familiar with his writing.