Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Poor in America

Here is an article about a Census Bureau study on the "poor" in America. The following are some stats...

- 46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

- 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

- Only six percent of poor households are overcrowded; two thirds have more than two rooms per person. The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

-Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

- 97 percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

- 78 percent have a VCR or DVD player.

- 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

- 89 percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

- As a group, America’s poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100-percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, super-nourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and ten pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Leeland in Concert

This past wednesday night, my wife and I took 11 students to go see Leeland in concert. This is my second time to see them and I was even more impressed this time.

What impressed me?

1. There is an obvious humility that shows up in their desire for the audience to not just come to a concert but to worship God through song.

2. They sounded really great. The album is really good but I think they actually sound better live.

3. They are young. The lead singer, though engaged is only 19. He shows a maturity in his desire for God to be exalted through the music that is lacking in most young people I know.

4. But what impressed me the most was when they played some new songs from the next album they did not seem to "graduate." For some reason alot of the bands/singers I used to listen to used to have an OBVIOUS evangelical faith oozing out of their lyrics. But when I listen to new Derek Webb and new Waterdeep their is an obvious lack thereof. Sure, there is God-talk here and there and perhaps all the songs sprang from a heart for Christ. But there is not much more than "poetic" generalities, lines about the effects of sin without mentioning sin and leftist social/political jargon. They seemed to have graduated by the second or thrid album.

Not Leeland though, they were content to exalt Christ for students, adults, parents and more than a few grannys to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thoughts on Worship: Part 2

1. I know of no man or woman, who wants to truly go back and start wearing the the clothing styles of the Victorian era or previous to it. And I know of no one who thinks we should talketh liketh this! We all expecteth that those are ways of speaking and dressing of a bygone era that we may romanticize and long for to some degree. but no one is calling for the continuation of such practices.

Is it not strange that we would then have so many voices decrying the use of "contemporary" music styles and demanding the exclusive use of traditional songs from a bygone era? It is at least curious.

2. Because I work with teenagers, I tend to try and look at various aspects of church life and all of relaity from their perspective. Music is huge for teenagers. They are always listening to it, spending lots of money on it and talking about it. In my denomination, we celebrate this demographic and call them covenant children. Most churches will pay someone like me alot of money to disciple them week in and week out.

Why do all this if you are unconcerned with what kind of music they might enjoy in corporate worship? Does it even matter that they rarely ever enjoy the tunes of "the great old hymns"?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Discussions on Baptism

Over at 9Marks they are discussing the debate over whether a paedobaptist should be able to be a member of a credobaptist congregation, here here and here.

And at Between Two Worlds you can read simply a run-of-the-mill discussion on paedobaptism verses credobaptism, here and here.

My guess is alot of this has come from this discussion.

Update: Sam Storms joins in here on the debate regarding paedobpatists being barred from membership at credobaptist churches with a point I find hard to argue with.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Emergent Posters

The above is my personal favorite. For more go here.
Update: Well, I have been thinking about these posters. And I am not sure now that these reflect the character of the gospel of grace I wish the emrging church promulgated. There is a lot of truth here. But I am not sure this is the kindest way to teach that truth. But I leave the post here because I am unsure about it and there is some benefit to be had.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Ready for Sunday's Sermon

I am preaching on Sunday from Psalm 115:1a.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory."

Here is a great quote from Thomas Manton which I got from the indispensable work of Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.

"Self and God are the two things which come in competition."

A Post I Never Expected to Post

Piper vs. Grudem

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I have Been Reading "Girl Talk"

Yeah, so I admit it. I am no the manliest of men. My favorite novelist is Jane Austen (I have read all of her novels multiple times). And I am reading now reading a Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughter Nicole Mahaney Whitacre. The book is for moms and daughters. I am neither of which. So. But it is a a radical call to Biblical Womanhood and that I love to read about.

I wanted to post what I found to be a helpful set of questions as regards "true beauty" which comes from pages 134 and 135.

1. Do I spend more time each day caring for my personal appearance than I do in Bible Study, prayer and worship?

2. Do I spend excessive money on clothes, hair, and makeup, or is it an amount that is God-honoring?

3. Do i want to lose weight to "feel better about myself," or do I desire to be self-disciplined for the glory of God?

4. Am I on a quest for thinness to impress others, or do I seek to cultivate eating habits that honor God?

5. Do I exercise to try to create or maintain a good figure, or do I exercise to strengthen my body for God's service?

6. Is there anything about my appearance that i wish I could change, or am I grateful to God for the way he created me?

7. Am I jealous of the appearance of other girls, or am I truly glad when I observe girls who are more physically attractive than I?

8. Do I covet the wardrobe of others, or do I genuinely rejoice when other girls are able to afford and purchase new clothing?

9. When i attend an activity, do I sinfully compare myself with others, or do I ask God to show me whom to love and how to do it?

10. Do I ever dress immodestly or with the intent of drawing attention to myself, or do I always dress in a manner that pleases God?

These ladies also blog at Girl Talk.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Eccentric Preachers

I just finished a small book by Spurgeon entitled Eccentric Preachers. Having just finished, I cannot tell you how it has affected me entirely. But I can say it has had a couple of effects as I was reading it.

1. It has confirmed what I knew in my heart and from the Biblical witness about preachers. Preachers ought to be themselves and not try to be someone else. Our environment and the preachers we hear will have an influence on us naturally. But the goal is not imitation but making sure the Gospel is heard and the glory of God in it is protrayed.

2. My criticisms of preachers are very often wrong. My chief concern should be that a preacher give his hearers the gospel meat to chew on. Is the gospel clearly preached? Are the hearers pressed to conviction? If I can say "yes" then I should be glad and rejoice that His name has been exalted and the cross lifted up and the glory of Christ displayed.

You can read this book online for free here.

Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?

Mark Dever has been asking the question, "Where Did All These Calvinists Come from?" He is an influential SBC pastor in Washington DC. His 9th reason (in no particular order) for Clavinists reappearing in the SBC after being gone for the most part in the past 100 years is John Piper

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Two Responses to the Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

Piper, who pastors a church a mile from the bridge and Morris, who is a Fox News Contributor.
Update: Al Mohler tag teams with Jonathan Edwards here.

Some Thoughts on Worship Styles

There are a number of reasons I have been thinking about worship styles lately. One is bethany and I went to a church this past weekend that is nothing like the church I serve in. First it was not a Presbyterian Church and second it was very "non-traditional." We actually sang songs written previous to the Civil War. There were guitars, drums and an accordian. This was nothing like my church.

Here are some thoughts I have had over the past couple of weeks.

1. We are commanded in the Psalms to "sing a new song" in praise of our God over and over again. This is an explicit command to pen and seek after and sing songs that are new. This does not seem all that complicated to me. Yes, we should sing old hymns but we should also be singing new songs also.

2. Every song and every hymn ever written and sung and played was at one time "contemporary." And every song sung today that lasts will be an "oldie-but-a-goodie" or a "classic" one day.

3. Colossians 3:16 calls us to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. At the very least this teaches us that a variety of different kinds of songs should be sung...not just one kind of song.

4. In the Old Testament, the Jews used all kinds of instruments. Now I believe in some discontinuity between the covenants but are we to then chuck this practice? Can we not use at least the modern day equivalent of the lyre and stringed instrument? Can we not at the very least use more than the organ and pinao...neither of which was in the Temple Worship?