Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: March 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Doing The Impossible

To whom does salvation belong? Scripture repeatedly reminds us that Salvation belongs to the Lord. As certain as we are concerning the reality of salvation, we are equally certain that God and God alone brings about the "light from the darkness." Simply put, no human can save anyone.

Therefore, we find reason to contemplate the very words of Christ as he instructs a new believer named Paul of Tarsus in Acts 26. Verses 15b and 16 say,

"I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."

Do we find contradiction in the texts? Does God open their eyes or do we open their eyes? As with many of the glorious truths to which we cling, we as believers have to learn to let the Bible speak in all it's glory. Whether we are a new Christian or an advanced scholar, the tendency is to take one clear Scriptural truth and water down another, equally clear Scriptural truth.

The very fact is that God calls us to do what only He can do.

I have been comforted by that thought today. The cross is foolishness to those who are blinded. Only God can make them see. And He does it by using me. And you.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Evel Knievel for $1.00

I just bought the classic movie "Evel Knievel" starring George Hamilton (nod to Columbo) for a whopping $1 at Wal-greens. It is actually a "double feature" dvd also including BMX Bandits with a very young Nicole Kidman. But, who cares about that? So, here's to Evel Knievel, the greatest daredevil to ever live.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ministry and Stress - An H&R Block Perspective

I just returned from the last meeting with my H&R Block representative (Three cheers for self-employment tax!). The lady's name working with me is Jackie. Over the course of our 30 minute time together today, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel.

What better, and perhaps easier opportunity is there to share the Gospel with someone than with the person who works on your taxes and is dealing with an issue related to your being a minister! I already had my foot in the door. As the conversation began to take a spiritual turn, she said something very interesting.

She told me about her friend who was in the pharmaceutical business. He made a nice living but was unhappy due to the stress of the job. Jackie was beaming as she proudly told the story of how this friend one day decided to leave the lucrative yet stressful pharmaceutical business to enter the peaceful, stress-free life of ministry. I almost spit Mountain Dew all over my W-2. Apparently Jackie picked up on my un-affirming gaze and asked me what I thought. So, I told her. Within the framework of my explanation as to why ministry is certainly not "stress-free", I was able to mention sin, the effects of sin, and the need for a Savior. Jackie is a good hearted person who has a mental picture of ministry and spirituality being a care-free world that you escape to when things get bad. Although I did not leave the H&R Block office with Jackie professing to be a follower of Jesus, I am confident about our conversation and trust God to use our time together for His glory.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Follow Up

The Beast and Rex react to the caption offered by Paul in Bethel Park.

Southern Seminary Quote of the Day

From Dr. Vines in Chapel on Tuesday as he began his message:

"Turn to the book of Jonah. If you are sitting next to a music major, show them where it is."

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Classic Moment in Time

Every so often something comes along that brings repeated laughs and recollection. With my family, this happens quite often. But there is one thing that seems so pointless, so insignificant that it could understandably perplex anyone as to the reason for the hilarity of the event.

Well, for the last 5 months there has been one "thing" that has brought my brother Rex and I to tears with laughter on several occasions. Just a few moments ago he called me in laughter, reminding me of how amazingly funny this is. I posted this in October 2006 under the title "HHN 16 PHOTOS." I really don't think I gave enough credit to the brilliance of what happened with that blog article, thus I am now giving better credit where credit is due, even if it is 5 months later.

This requires a little set up.

Rex and I are mutually incredibly gifted in one spectacular way. (perhaps in more than one way, but I am certain of this.) We are the masters of staged photography. I kid you not when I say that we have spent countless hours thinking and strategizing about the next classic photograph. Our brilliance all started when we, some 10 years ago, staged the ALL TIME greatest roller coaster photo at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. For my rookies out there, most roller coasters these days take your picture at some point on the ride and you can purchase the picture and the "memory" of riding the coaster after your ride is over. Well, on this momentous day in Busch Gardens, Rex and I were going 65 mph down the main hill on the "Gwazi" wooden roller coaster pretending we were studying the park map. The picture, which we purchased, is undoubtedly the greatest coaster picture ever taken. I mean, this bad boy looks just like we are studying the park map to decide where we want to go next, and we are in full speed down the main hill of Gwazi.

Anyway, I say all of that to let you know that during our waiting time inside the park before HHN (Halloween Horror Nights) at Universal Studios, we decided to take a few staged photos. We were simply drinking some cokes at "Mel's Diner" inside thhe park and tried to figure out some fun photos. We decided to take one of our ol' classics.

This particular classic goes something like this: One person, either me or Rex, appears to be completely relaxed and oblivious to anything that is happening. The other person is flipping out because they see something horrific about to happen, like a meteor getting ready to fall on us. The dichotomy between the one person relaxed and the other flipping out is what makes the picture funny. So, in Mel's Diner, we decided that Rex was going to be the one who noticed the pending calamity and I was going to the oblivious one. (side note - Rex is heads and shoulders above me in the ability to look "flipped out.") The picture you see below is this scenario in full effect. Notice how I look relaxed and chilled out, while Rex is realizing that NOT GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

Ok, here is where this gets hilarious. Even looking at the picture with the scenario I just described in mind, it is very funny. You probably chuckled yourself. Imagine our surprise when a Beast's Lair reader leaves a comment under this picture that makes our original scenario look like an amateur's attempt at humor.

Barry, from the Inn of the Last Home, has absolutely achieved what must be one his great lifetime moments. He has no idea that Rex and I have laughed about his comment time after time after time. This is one of those things that every time you look at the picture and think about his comment, you see and appreciate new depths of brilliance. If Barry had left out any single word from his comment, such as "once again", it would not be near as funny.

So, this goes out to Barry for giving me and Rex something to repeatedly laugh out loud about. Here is Barry's brilliant comment. Now, go back and look at the picture again with this comment in mind. If you are not laughing out loud, you need to check on your sense of humor.

"Rex realizes with dismay The Beast has once again tricked him into putting helium into the tires of his car"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mohler Follow Up

Read Dr. Mohler's latest blog entry here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dr. Mohler's Comments on Homosexuality

Dr. Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is in the news once again for an article he has written within the last week. (An article that we seminary students were privy to before the rest of the news reading world I might add). In his article, the biological means by which homosexuality might possibly be genetically passed is discussed and Mohler has raised the eyebrows of both evangelical conservatives and liberals.

When I first read the article last week, I was shocked by the tone of the article, as if the scientific community had called Dr. Mohler as a courtesy and told him that they would be announcing in 6 months a proven, biological source for homosexuality. The reason I say that is because Mohler seems to be laying the foundation for future scientific "proof" that homosexuality is, in fact, biological. He still admits that there is no proof yet, but that the evangelical Christian world should not be surprised if this development does come about.

Mohler argues correctly that regardless of a biological or cultural causation for homosexuality, the Bible's instruction and mandate on the issue remains in tact. Humans are predisposed to a great many sinful actions, some of which are genetic. We are by our very nature sinful, so to argue that since homosexuality might be "natural" and therefore oblivious to the teaching of Scripture is wrong on all levels. I think most Christians would agree with that.

Where Mohler raises some interesting points is in the outcome of such a discovery within the homosexual community. Certain homosexual advocacy groups have encouraged and funded the research to make a biological discovery for the homosexual lifestyle. The idea is that if homosexuality is proven biological, then all discussions of it being a cultural choice would have to cease and homosexuals can be seen as living a natural life, just like heterosexuals. Mohler points out that if there is in fact a biological link, that it would be possible for some kind of prenatal testing and even potentially a biological process to reverse the genetic tendency from homosexual to heterosexual. Now, the same homosexual advocacy groups who would have pushed for this discovery have this possible side effect to think about: Would most people, if given the choice, allow their child to remain a homosexual?

Mohler does seem to be in favor of such a hypothetical reversal process if made available. I look forward to hopefully hearing him expound more on this.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Your Thoughts On Worship

Having readers from a rather diverse theological and denominational background, I am interested in your thoughts on what makes a "successful" worship service.

A couple of side notes. 1) I am referring to the typical Sunday morning activity (or Saturday morning for my adventist friends out there) that we call worship. We all know, or should know, that worship is an ongoing activity of offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. So, for the purposes of this discussion, when I say worship, I mean our corporate gathering time on Sunday mornings. 2) Please don't respond with a philosophical mud pie of how we can't calculate worship services as successful because God is in control. I am aware that worship is from God, but those of you who are fellow ministers know that every Sunday we walk away with varying ideas of just how well that particular service went. If that is a fault of ours, very well, feel free to address that, but I am more interested in what you think makes a service successful.

For example, is a worship service successful if:
- the singing is good
- people make a decision for Christ
- there is a big altar call
- the preacher delivers a great sermon
- the sanctuary is stone silent with meditation
- the sanctuary is filled with screaming and yelling
- the Holy Spirit "moves" (and what does that mean?)
- none of those things matter
- all of those things matter

I am probably going to get several, "as long as God is glorified" comments and that is fine, I agree. But will some of you dare to actually get specific, what makes you leave a church and say, "that was a great service."

Friday, March 09, 2007

JF on road

I will be on the road with Judah First until Sunday. Blessings to all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America - Dead.

As my loyal Beast's Lair readers know, Captain America is my favorite Superhero. He is dead.

Thanks to my brother-in-law Andy for keeping me up to date on this one. I can only imagine the backlash Marvel comics will receive on this one. A few years ago, Marvel killed off popular heros Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch. Now Captain America.

My only hope is that this is a gimmick. Perhaps a way to let the character rest for a while and then bring him back when the storyline calls for it. Cap seems to be too big of a Marvel icon to kill him. Not quite as popular as Spiderman and the Hulk, but more important in my opinion and still one of the most beloved of all superheros.

To my fellow Cap lovers out there, I feel your pain.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ann Coulter, Dr. Mohler, and Appearances

Ann Coulter, super conservative political commentator, has said this concerning John Edwards, democratic presidential candidate:

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I – so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."

One crucial area for the Christian is to be consistent with what we preach. Although Coulter might support and represent a group of political candidates that a good number, although not all, of conservative Southern Baptist's would support, to identify with or "look over" this kind of nonsense can't happen.

Dr. Mohler has written a great article on why conservatives who might support the candidates Coulter argues for simply cannot get behind this kind of garbage. Notice how Mohler talks about "demeaning homosexuals." Very, very interesting how someone like Mohler, who most people on the "outside" would think hates homosexuals, speaks of how sickening it is to demean homosexuals in this way.

This is the classic danger of branding a party, organization, or whatever with the people who represent that entity in its most extreme fashion. Liberals shouldn't think that all conservatives take lightly this kind of talk because Coulter has said it. Nor should conservatives think that every liberal believes that President Bush should be impeached because he didn't sprint out of the school classroom when told of the tragic events of 911 just because Bill Maher says so.

Monday, March 05, 2007


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