Friday, December 26, 2008

Vision Forum Year End Sale

Vision Forum is having a Year End Liquidation Sale that goes until December 31st. Click on the banner below to see the sale items.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/24/08)

Ligon Duncan offers 10 Reasons to read through Calvin’s Institutes in 2009: Why Read through Calvin’s Institutes in 2009? You can keep up with this at Blogging the Institutes and there is a link so you can have a Reading Schedule emailed to you. I think I will try this which simply adds to the already increasing number of books I am lining up for next year. If you have books you want to read next year leave a comment as I like to hear what people are reading. Thanks to Scott at These are the Generations of… for linking to this site.

At Voddie Baucham’s Truth in Love Blog is the December edition of the Continuing Collapse by Bruce Shortt.

At Al Mohler’s blog he answers the question: Can a Christian Deny the Virgin Birth? This may sound strange to you but it is a place that many attack and in our “lets all just get along” age we need to answer as Mohler answers:
"The answer to that question must be a decisive No. Those who deny the virgin birth reject the authority of Scripture, deny the supernatural birth of the Savior, undermine the very foundations of the Gospel, and have no way of explaining the deity of Christ."

So many people like to take the Christmas story and use it to meet some means other than conveying that the Father sent the Son to live among sinful man with the purpose of dying on a cross to redeem a people for Himself. Gary DeMar in his post; “Is Christmas about a Homeless Couple?” deals with just such a revisionistic rendering of Christ’s birth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/17/08)

If your looking for a new Christmas album that you can play all year long. One that is Christ centered and not season centered, at least in my opinion. Then I suggest Sovereign Grace Ministries: Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

This sounds like a good conference that is being held March 5th -7th in Indianapolis. National Leadership Summit with Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips, Chris Klicka, Voddie Baucham, Dr. Brian Ray. You can get more information and register here.

"In March of 2009, Christian Home Educators of Colorado will host homeschool leaders from around the country at a national gathering in Indianapolis. The Purpose? To lay out a vision for home education in the 21st Century. In the same format of the 2006 Men’s Leadership Summit in Oklahoma City, this Summit will allow a time of vision-casting from nationally-respected speakers as well as a weekend full of fellowship between like-minded homeschool fathers in leadership from across the country."

An interview on ABC “Nightline” with President Bush. Personally I did not hear anything that I did not already know. His answers, unfortunately, are the same that I suspect that many professing believers would give if asked the same questions. They fit a very postmodern bent and the direction that many appear to be heading as the bible becomes only one of many books on the shelf and God becomes moldable to ones own personal beliefs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


With this being the Christmas season and all the conversation of many Christians turns to how secular the season has become. What I find interesting is that the question of whether we as believers should even celebrate Christmas is rarely asked and if one does ask the question is not often appreciated. Now this journey to see God’s desire for this time of year is one my family and I am have been on for the last few years. I also think this is an area that we need to show grace in regardless of our conclusions because hundreds of years of tradition are difficult to wade through. For me as a Pastor I also need to make sure that my personal convictions do not hinder the use of this season to express the need to worship more consistently. I above all things see this conversation revolving around what is and what is not the worship that God not only desires but prescribes. How are we to worship God and where do we find this worship, in our traditions, in the Word of God or some amalgamation of both.

If we truly want to be “bible believing” Christians that see not only the inerrancy but the sufficiency of scripture in all areas of life we need to ask if scripture warrants or calls for a celebration of the birth of our savior and is that celebration to come at a specific time of the year. Keep in mind that if the final conclusion one comes up with is that we are not to celebrate Christmas that does not mean one is disregarding the birth of the savior. It simply means that one sees the celebration of the traditional idea of Christmas as not a biblical mandate. I would go further to say that even if ones conclusion is that the celebration of Christmas is allowed by scripture we need to re-evaluate how we worship in an unbalanced manner. By unbalanced I mean, why do we make much of celebrating the birth of our savior once a year when we should recognize His coming to live among men every day. Why would we not in our corporate gatherings worship Jesus Christ as heartily 52 weeks a year as we would for the 4 weeks or so at the end of the year? I would even go as far as to say why do we put such effort into this one season of the year and comparatively so little effort into the celebration of the Lord’s table as it truly is, I think, the most worshipful event we can partake in as it celebrates both the birth and death of our savior in one activity.

It seems to me that Christians create an atmosphere that tells people that this time of year is more important than all other times with the effort we put out, along with Easter. But should we not worship every day as we do this time of year. Should we not celebrate the Lords’ table each week as a sign of our devotion and love for the one that came to live a perfect life among us sinners to be the perfect sacrifice to die for those that would call upon His name. Should we not offer up our praise more than once or twice a year and would not our consistent worship reflect more love for our Savior to the world than a once or twice a year production?

Most know of the background that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday (Saturnalia), and is rapidly returning to its roots, that the church took over so as to minimize the pagan celebrations. I realize this is a very over simplified rendition but it is the gist of the matter. I would say that in and of itself should not be enough to prohibit someone from worshipping on the 25th. I am sure that many pagans worship, check out how filled sporting venues are, on Sundays in their way but I will still worship on the Lord’s Day. It should be realized that the name itself, Christ-mass, is something that we should at the least wince a little at as protestants since we should have an aversion to the idea of the “mass.” There is much that can and has been written on this and I will list some below but at the end of the day we have to answer to scripture as that needs to be the final court of arbitration with regards to Christmas.

My goal here is not to necessarily sway anyone but to spur others on to investigate what they believe and why. At the end of the day we need to turn to His word to see how God wants to be worshipped. Many will say it is all about the heart but while that is true there is more as the heart reveals itself in actions. Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2) may have had a good heart but they offered up strange fire and suffered for it. Saul could not wait for Samuel (1 Sam 10:8; 1 Sam 13:-14) and may have thought it was a good thing to offer up a sacrifice but God did not think so. I would even go as far as to say the issue with Cain’s offering was not just about his heart but also about what he offered ( Gen 4:5). Worship is about both what we do and the focus of our heart and without the two being acceptable to God, as defined by His Word, our worship is unacceptable, no matter the time of year or place of worship.

So again it is not just about the heart as we need to make sure that our hearts align with God’s Word. I am still on the journey and my families worship this time of the year is not as it has been or as mine was as a child. But my goal is not simply to minimize worship now but to maximize it daily and weekly. My sermon this week will speak to Christmas in a manner that tries to get people to focus on Christ in a way that I pray would be taken past the 25th to every day of the year. I want to maximize Christ and minimize the day. My challenge to others, and myself, is that if you feel that God desires you to celebrate Christmas make sure you do so in a biblical manner and that your worship overflows to the rest of the Year. Let our worship be directed by Him, through His word, and not the world

Other sites, alphabetically by name of article, with thoughts on Christmas that I have come across lately. Some of these may challenge you but that is a good thing as it is when I have been challenged that my understanding and faith have grown the most. I think you will find that this is an issue that is not so easily resolved but as I have said often whatever your answer it needs to be based on the word of God and not the wisdom of man.

Luther on Advent

Feedback: The Origins of Christmas

Take Christmas back to its Pagan Roots

The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of all Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas by George Whitefield

Once Upon A Time, When Christmas Was Banned...

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? By John Piper
Why Christian's Don't Seem to Mind Violating The Regulative Principle During Christ-mass

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Vision Forum Sale Dec 15-17

Click on the banner below to go to the new Vision Forum Sale that runs from December 15th to the 17th (Midnight CST). Also, this time they are offering FREE SHIPPING* on all orders of $25 or more (domestic orders only and no specialty items). Now is the time to stock up on great gifts for your entire family!

Starting Monday, Vision Forum is offering discounts on everything in the store! The sale will last for just 3 days, ending at midnight on Wednesday, December 17.
Once again, all toys will be 20% off, and all books, audio and DVDs will be 30% off.
But here's the best part: a long list of new and old favorites will be 50% off!

50% off items will include:
*Thoughts for Young Men
*All-American Pop Gun
*Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
*Spy Monocular
*Toy Crossbow w/Darts
*Teach Them To Your Children
*1911 Official Handbook for Boys Scouts of America
*Ten P's in a Pod
*Swiss Family Robinson
*Little Bear's Outdoor Adventure Guide
*True Story of Noah's Ark *Umbrella Doll Stroller
*(DVD) Return of the Daughters
*Western Revolver Cap Gun
*The Coral Island
*So Much More
*Fuel Cell X7 Car
*20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
*Gulliver's Travels
*(DVD) Training Dominion Oriented Daughters
*Frontier Tomahawk
*Air Burst Rocket System -
*Men of Science, Men of God
*(DVD) Putting on the Whole Armor of God
*(CD) Curriculum Advice Volumes 1 & 2
*Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
*Candy Factory
*The Family
*(DVD) Measure Twice, Cut Once
*Juggling Balls A-08-204
*Ice Cream Maker
*Ping-Pong Gun
*(CD) Sabers, Spears, and Catapults
*Fighting the Flames
*The Book of Psalms For Singing
*(DVD) Awesome Forces of God's Creation
*(DVD) History of the World Boxed set
*Silk Ribbon Embroidery
*Princess Ka'iulani Doll Dress
*Coming In on a Wing & a Prayer
*(CD) Bible Lessons for Manhood
*Rubik's Cube
*1599 Geneva Bible
*Prairie Bonnet Multi-Print
*Swiss Military Field Telephone
*Edison Light Bulb Kit
*John Gill's Commentaries 9-vol SET (With Free CDROM and Book)
*Jonathan Park Hat (Blue) Child's Size Adjustable

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/10/08)

I asked my wife to let me know what blogs and websites she frequents so I could provide some godly resources directed at women and the following are the sites she gave me. To tell the truth I have checked out many of these myself and highly recommend them.

Ah.. the Life
Amy’s Humble Musings
A Pondering Heart
Being Virtuous Women
Biblical Womanhood
Divine Calling
Generation Cedar
Girl Talk
Joyfully at Home
Ladies Against Feminism
Laine’s Letters
Living Sacrifice
Noble Womanhood
Passionate Homemaking
Prairie Muffin
Pursuing Titus 2
Revive Our Hearts
Sisters with Standards
Tammy’s Recipes
Training Daughters Teaching Wives
Vaughnshire Farm (for both men & women)
Visionary Daughters
Your Sacred Calling

(I've added these to a new "Sisters in Christ Blogs" listing in the sidebar)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Studying Scripture: What did the original listener hear?

As I have been preaching through Genesis I have been stressing that to understand the text one must, to the best of their ability, try and hear what the original audience heard. We may hear more but we cannot hear less and also what we hear should not deny what they heard. This is applicable to both the Old Testament and the New Testament and is of great value. Much of the troubles we have in interpreting scripture comes from not taking this principle into account and thus coming up with interpretations of scripture that the original listener would never have understood or even have contemplated. Again this does not mean we will not see more but this would come from God revealing more through His Word over time.

Also, all too often we read the text of scripture, especially narrative texts such as Genesis, as sort of a travelogue rather than a message from God. By attempting to see the text through the eyes and ears of the original audience it opens up a new world of understanding, understand that I believe is that which God desires us to have. It will also help us to move past simply knowing more about the text to understanding how it is to affect our lives as it was to affect the lives of the original audience.

So, when it comes to Genesis we need to understand that this was written by Moses, in all probability, as the Hebrews were wandering through the wilderness preparing to enter the promised land. Moses is both trying to educate as to God’s work in the world up to that point in time and to give the Hebrews the hope and insight they needed as they headed into a pagan land with all sorts of issues. Pagans that would be enticing them to abandon the God that created them, release them from Egypt and was now promising a new land.

When they read Genesis chapter one and hear words such as “day” (yom) the Hebrews of course would understand it as the twenty four hour day they regularly experienced. If Moses wanted to convey a different thought he could have and would have done so. Moses wanted the Hebrews to see the magnitude of God’s creative power and revealed that to the Hebrews, through the inspiration of God, by letting them see God as the creator and sustainer of all things. A God that created in a manner that would relate to their week and the Sabbath they celebrated. This would add meaning to their days and in process give great hope to them in their up coming journeys.

They would also understand the bareness of the world at the beginning of creation by the bareness they saw around them on their journeys and so this is how they would understand scripture. This they would gain hope that as God turned bareness to fruitfulness so could God do the same for them, what a great hope to hold on to. For us to try and see things that they could not see and had no reason to see would be to do the scripture an injustice and not give the hope that the Hebrews were to gain as they headed into a pagan world.

As I have studied Genesis it has amazed me how relevant this text is to today as we believers are constantly bombarded by the pagan world we live in. While I think it is important to understand the “how” of creation we only make much of it because we do not take it as fact as the Hebrews did. I would suggest that Moses did not delve into the “how” because by simply telling the Hebrews that God created all things in the same twenty four hour cycle the Hebrews daily experienced they were to see this as fact and no extra information was needed. When we try and see the text other than intended and argue over it we then begin to miss the greater point and that is that God is the creator of all and the one we owe all to, something that needs to be grasped when faced with pagan thoughts that question this paradigm.

This integral part of interpreting scripture is vital if we are to see and hear all of what God is saying. To ignore this principle of hermeneutics (the art and science of biblical interpretation) is to be historically arrogant. By this, historically arrogant, I mean we tend to think we simply know better than those before us but often I find this is not so. We need to understand God’s word to the original listener to hear what He has to say to us today. While this was only a short and probably inadequate explanation of this principle I pray that the next time you read a text one of the first questions you will ask is, “what did the original audience hear or read.” I pray this will help you understand what God is really saying.

Friday, December 05, 2008

R.C. Sproul Interviews Ben Stein

Over at the Chalcedon blog there is a video of R.C. Sproul interviewing Ben Stein. It is a good interview that was done some time prior to the release of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The interview is about 28 minutes long and for some reason I could not get it to play on my blog from Google Video so it is broken down into 3 parts below from You Tube.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Franklin Springs DVD Special

Franklin Springs Family Media has a great price on their 10 Pack Library Collection of their DVD’s. Our family has many of these and they are very good. You can get this 10 pack for $99, regualr price is $199.50, for two more weeks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Discount on “The Second Mayflower”

Until December 12th you can get Kevin Swanson’s The Second Mayflower for $19.95, that’s 20% off. When you buy the book online using the coupon code SAVE20 from the Generations with Vision resource store.

"Four hundred years ago, a ship landed on the shores of New England bearing a fledgling band of people, committed to living life by the principles of God's Word. This people eventually formed a nation conceived in liberty and blessed by God.

Now four hundred years later, their vision has almost faded. Liberty is dying. Humanism dominates. The family, by all indices, has disintegrated. But there still beats within the hearts of a remnant in this nation, the principles of the First Mayflower. In this 300 page manifesto, author Kevin Swanson lays out a vision by which the values of faith, family, and freedom may be salvaged for at least one nation for future generations. The voyage of the Second Mayflower is just beginning."

Also, if you have not already and wish to, you can read my review of this great book from an earlier post: Review of The Second Mayflower

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Free From

December’s free offering from is 90 days of Morning & Evening (Unabridged) by Charles Spurgeon. Simply sign up for an account ,if you do not have one yet, and order the audio book then when asked for the coupon code put in: DEC2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/1/08)

There is a good article on what is referred to as the separation of church and state at The American View: Jefferson’s “Wall” Not In Constitution, Misrepresents Constitutional Principles In Many Different Ways

There is a good article at entitled: Childish Homeschooler Syndrome. While this may not perfectly reflect your family it is good to know the tendencies spoken of so that we can make sure we avoid them. We need to realize in Christian Homeschooling that above all else we are to be raising children for the glory of God and that means preparing them to be the most God glorifying ambasadors for Christ we can raise. As the article accurately relates children need to take responsibility and move past parental failures, of which there may be many, but we as parents also need to do the best job we can as well. Check back to the Visionary Daughters site for Part Two.

Paul Vaughn’s article: How the Industrial Revolution Made Life Harder has a link to an article written at Pursuing Titus 2 that speaks to some ways the industrial revolution has made some things tougher. The industrial revolution is one of those events, if you can call it an event, in history that is troubling as we enjoy many of the benefits but seem to not realize the many issues it created. Mrs. Parunak writes about this with regards to motherhood, which also deals with fatherhood, in her two part article: Why Modern Motherhood is So Much Harder than it Ought to Be & Why Modern Motherhood is So Much Harder than it Ought to Be, Part 2: What You Can Do About It

Scott Brown announces an Expansion of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC).
This expansion includes the following:
1. Spinning the NCFIC web site out as a stand-alone resource.
2. Locating the offices of the NCFIC in Wake Forest, NC.
3. Getting to work on a big build-out of the web site content in audio, print and video.
4. Adding new functions and capabilities to the web site.
5. Adding employees.
6. Conducting a national conference in Dec 3-5, 2009 with Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips
7. Discipling interns.

Vision Forum's December Kick-Off Sale

Check out Vision Forum’s Sale. Click on the banner below to enter their site and see the specials they have. The sale runs through Midnight (CST) on Friday December 5th.