Thursday, May 29, 2008

Awesome God

Here are some pictures from our recent trip to Alaska. Who can deny the apostle Paul's words in Romans 1:20? "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Rhonda and her parents.

On a trail in Skagway, AK

Glacier Bay

Rhonda and I are standing on frozen Lake Louise where her father was stationed (Army) in 1955.

We saw Mountain Goats, Porcupine, Moose, Bald Eagles, Caribou, Loons, Snowshoe hare, Grouse, Tundra Swan, Orcas, Porpoises, Sea Otters, Muskoxen, Dall Sheep, and more.

We were blessed with a great trip and saw God's creative wonder and power everywhere we went.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alaska Trip Update

After a week on the ship I finally have internet access. We did get our luggage on Wednesday, thanks to the hard work of the Cruise staff. Yea! The cruise was great. In spite of cold, windy, rainy weather every day except the last two, we enjoyed seeing the towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. The last two days of the cruise were the best as far as weather and sights. We cruised into Glacier Bay and Prince William Sound to see the many awesome glaciers and snow covered mountains. We also were able to see orca, sea otters, porpoises, and we even spotted a couple of whale in the distance.
Monday, we disembarked the ship and headed for Homer and Kenai. What a great drive that was. We saw a number of moose, a caribou, and dozens of bald eagles. The scenery is spectacular. Here are a few pictures of the trip so far.

I will add more as I have internet access. Off to do some hiking.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What an Adventure!!!

Our day began when we got up at 3:30 AM to catch a 6:30 AM flight which was delayed until 8:50 AM. We finally arrived in Chicago just in time to catch the next flight to Vancouver which was cancelled at the very time we were to board the plane. We finally were able to arrange a flight to Sacramento and then to Vancouver. When we boarded the plane to Sacramento they told us the plane was broke and we all had to deboard and catch another plane. We finally left Chicago and made it to Sacramento where we had to go outside and walk half a mile to the next terminal. After going through security again (which is always fun) we were able to grab a quick lunch and catch our plane to Vancouver. We made it to Vancouver 6 hours later than scheduled, but our luggage did not. It seems our luggage is scattered from Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. to who knows where. We are suppose to board the cruise ship tomorrow and so far we have no clothes except for what is on our backs. We are praying our luggage will some how miraculously get here before we board the ship tomorrow. If it does arrive it will definitely be a miracle. Nevertheless, God is good and we are simply going to make the best of it. Rhonda says she needs some new clothes anyway (yea right!). I guess we'll have shirts from every port. At least I won't have to wear that suit to formal night. We'll continue the adventure next time we have internet access. Still smiling and praising God.


Yippee, I have finally graduated. On Friday I attended a lunch meeting with the faculty of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary where I was presented with the Frank Schmitt Doctor of Ministry Award. This is the highest award presented by the seminary. What an honor it was to receive this award. I am pictured with Dr. Schmitt holding the award at the Seminary graduation.

Off to Alaska.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Easy Believism Equals False Salvation

Let me just say it - God is changing my mind.

I am becoming more and more convinced (I believe it's more of a conviction of the Holy Spirit) that the reason the church in America is not the salt and light that it should be and could be is because of a long-term flaw in the way we have been doing evangelism. Evangelists and pastors (including myself) have led people into easy believism - "Just accept Jesus as your Savior, pray this prayer and you'll be saved."
The problem is that you cannot find this kind of "plan of salvation" in Scripture. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we don't need an orderly biblical presentation of the Gospel. What I am saying is that we need one that is truly biblical. John McArthur writes,
The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. Our Lord's words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 7:13-23).1
The reason the church is not making a difference in the world is because too many people sitting in the pews, or who claim to be Christians, are living like the world. I think Jesus makes it very clear that the person who is truly saved will be in the world but not of the world (Jn 15:19, 17:14-16). Many (if not most) church members are still living like the rest of the world because they have not truly been saved. They have not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
How important is this issue? Again, John McArthur tells us,
This issue is not a trivial one. In fact, how could any issue be more important? The gospel that is presented to unbelievers has eternal ramifications. If it is the true gospel, it can direct men and women into the everlasting kingdom. If it is a corrupted message, it can give unsaved people false hope while consigning them to eternal damnation. . . .This is an issue that every single pastor and lay person must understand in order that the gospel may be rightly proclaimed to all the nations.2

1. John McArthur, "An Introduction to Lordship Salvation" at
2. Ibid

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Game Not Just a Game

Paul said in Philip. 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Version IV of the video game Grand Theft Auto was released this week. It is rated "M" for mature and is full of violence, sex, drug use, and killing. Do not think for one minute that when young people spend hours each day on a game like this that it does not affect their minds.

I cannot caution parents strongly enough that this game is evil and will fill your childrens' minds with evil thoughts. An NBC 15 news story by Jenna Susko says, "It promotes violence, contains secret sex scenes, and rewards gamers for stealing cars. . . Mobs battle it out for control of the drug trade in Grand Theft Auto IV- a game that rewards you for meeting up with prostitutes while murdering and stealing cars."

Dr. Josh Foster of Mobile says, "The types of activities portrayed in this game make me queasy and make me sick. If kids see someone being rewarded for being violent, what they learn is that violence is good." One former video game employee said, "You'd be surpirsed how often parents would buy that for even young children, as young as 4 or 5 years old. You can pull out a gun and kill people on the street."

Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, has a warning for us on this issue. Read his blog here. Here is an exerpt from his blog.

In some sense, we are what we play. This is not to say that every young male playing "Grand Theft Auto" is now or will become a violent sexual predator who steals cars. That is clearly not the case. But it is to say that these players are filling their minds with these images and narratives and they are feeling the competitive exhilaration of engaging in immoral acts as players in a game that engages multiple senses and sensations. This is dangerous stuff for the soul.