December 2, 2014

Regardless of where you fall on the issues surrounding Ferguson, you watched and listened because you desired to see good prevail (in whatever that means to you) and justice upheld. The problem is that “justice” may mean something different to you than it does to me, or the rioters. Therein lies the big problem. Sin has a way of skewing our perception of reality. It warps it. Our natural desire for justice becomes distorted, mixed with pride; it becomes an ugly, self-justifying, animal. Read more

December 1, 2014

I don’t know what happened to M. Night Shyamalan the director, but I’ve always enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan the writer.  So, even though I’m not a fan of horror films, I was interested to see what story M. Night would tell about the devil in a film written by him and directed by John Eric Dowdle.  Devil (2010) is not very profound or very scary (although my 12-year old might not sleep for a week if she saw it).  But what it is is entertaining and decidedly moral.  Sure, there’s a good amount of folk religion here (a suicide paves the way for the devil to become incarnate), but the story hinges on the reality of 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” which the movie quotes at its opening. Read more

November 20, 2014

There are many things in this world that can discourage us. Every single day we hear something in the news that makes us frustrated and often times even causes us to feel exasperated because the sad and negative never seem to lighten up. So, let me ask, are you discouraged by this week’s headlines? Sometimes what can help us is to fast-forward to the end in order to remind ourselves of what is in store for us in the future. Here we go: Read more

November 17, 2014

It is no secret that Calvinists love books. As a new believer I remember seeing a picture on a friends desk that said, “When I get a little money I buy books; if any is left over I buy food and clothes”. Given the topic of the blog, this quotes source (Desiderius Erasmus) lends itself to some irony. Don’t worry. He doesn’t have any books on this list. However, there is some amount of truth in this mindset. Reformed thinkers love to read and collect books.  Read more

November 10, 2014

Personally, as an American, I am grateful for the Thanksgiving Holiday. In the busy (yet cushy) American lifestyle, I think it is all too easy to forget to be grateful to the Giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). That’s why I’m glad for October 3, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln set aside the fourth Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”[1]. I think we need to be reminded of our need to be grateful for all the Father has lavishly bestowed on us, especially as Americans. In Romans 1, Paul is speaking about the sinful patterns of the world and he is careful to add “neither were they thankful”. Ungratefulness is a natural inclination… for the Romans… for the Israelites in the wilderness… and for us. Thankfulness, then, must be taught. It is a habit we must develop, both in ourselves and in our families…. Read more

November 7, 2014

Woody Allen has been making movies for almost 50 years, and will be 80 years old this year.  He is the classic ‘auteur,’ a creative artist who is responsible for a film’s content, as he writes and directs (and often stars in) all of his movies.  It is standard critical opinion that, even though he pumps out a picture a year, he goes long stretches without making a really great movie.  He seems ok with this fact, hoping that quantity will make up for lapses in quality.  I wonder, though, if he hasn’t given up (at least a little) hoping to please audiences today.  A film he made in 2011, Midnight in Paris, is all about the struggle between living in the past and living in the disappointing present.  As always, with Allen, you wonder how much is autobiographical. Read more

November 5, 2014

When Christ spoke in saying that they render unto Caesar that which was his, He did so without qualms. Why is this? Was He not concerned with responsible stewardship? Was He not concerned with money used to fund blatant sin? When Paul and Peter wrote that the church ought to be submissive to governing authorities that would sooner have them dipped in tar and lit aflame to be torches for dinner parties then give them equal rights – did they not have concern for the wickedness of such men and for the well being of the church? Read more

November 4, 2014

Some directors have such a distinctive style that we should name a subgenre after them. As with the subgenres known as ‘Wes Anderson films’ or ‘Woody Allen pictures,’ I can (almost) always tell when I’m watching a Lasse Hallström film. Hallström is the director of over 30 films, whose name may not be familiar, but whose films are: Chocolat, Safe Haven, The Cider House Rules, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, and my favorite of the lot, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Most viewers probably would be surprised to know a Swedish man made them, all of them feeling quite American and nothing at all like, say, a Bergman film Read more

November 3, 2014

his is the meaning and hope that escapes so many in our world today. Death is sad and young death is confusing and difficult. But Jesus and the gospel of grace gives meaning to life, regardless of how short. Our lives are vapors, but, in Christ, they are  vapors blowing towards a greater truth and greater reality God’s glory.Human life, no matter how short, is exploding with meaning and purpose. This was true for Brittney and this is true for every life lost in a miscarriage or an abortion. We don’t exist to make a name for ourselves. We exist to make a name for God and his greatness. Read more

October 29, 2014

All of us are aware of annoying phrases that have long since worn out their welcome, or were never welcome to begin with. You know what I’m talking about, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Is it really? Sounds like someone is being lazy and unoriginal to me. “Let’s git her done.” Annoying. “Just sayin.” No, you’re not “just sayin,” you’re trying to be a smart mouth. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Ummm, no it’s not. You don’t earn something by saving it, it was already earned. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Are you sure? How about we test that theory out? “Good things come to those who wait.” They do? Usually good things come to those who get off their butts and work for them (if they are able, of course). “It’s time to sink or swim.” Well, I’m tired so I think I’ll float a while.  Read more

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