Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Self Control

I've noticed lately that I don't have self-control in a few areas

1. When I am eating something I like, I eat too much of it. I get to the point where I know I am full, but I keep eating anyways b/c I know it wouldn't be as good when it's a left-over. I also fear someone else will eat it if I don't and who are they to eat my favorite stuff!

2. There are many nights that I know I should go to sleep and yet I don't. It's not that I'm doing something terribly exciting. In fact, I'm probably doing something boring like talking to you, but I just don't wanna go to bed.

3. Once in a while I find myself clicking through my 'favorite' websites when I really have no desire to be on the internet. Or I'll catch myself signing onto MSN & AOL without even realizing it or wanting to chat. I need help.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Next Year Has Arrived

I'm pretty excited that Bethany Bible College is finally breaking ground for a new Chapel on September 13th. The Saunders Irving Chapel is closer to existing than ever before! My initial thoughts? 1. It's tall. 2. I'd hate to fall from the sky onto that tall part. 3. I wonder if people will call it 'sic' for short.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Talking Today

When I'm driving around or trying to fall asleep I listen to all kinds of radio talk shows. Here are the 5 that I listen to most often in the order of my liking:

1. The Narrow Path- This is my absolute favorite show. I am listening to it almost every weeknight now. Steve Gregg is the host and it's a simple Bible-answer call in show. The reason I like it is b/c there are ZERO commercials and he'll spend 40 minutes on 1 person if the discussion is interesting. Plus, he's not aligned with a denomination OR sponsored by a group, so it may be the least biased Bible show possible. Lastly, Steve seems to be the closest thing to a doctrinal match I have found in my life.

2. Dr. Laura is my 2nd favorite radio show. I don't always agree with her (though I usually do), but I like her show a lot. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's thought-provoking. Sometimes it's just good to stay in touch with what kind of problems people are having around the country.

3. The Bible Answer Man show with Hank Hanegraaff used to be my favorite, but it has become very predictable. Too many commercials, too much asking for money, too little depth.

4. Rush Limbaugh's program is not one I get to listen to often. I think what I like about his show is that no matter how much people love or hate him, they listen to him. He's the best in the business.

5. Jim Rome is the most annoying show in the history of the world. It's like a cult. His callers speak their own language. It's a 'sports' show, but they really never talk about sports. I hate it. I listen to it just to get mad.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Preaching Today

One of my favorite Christian websites is OnePlace.com

OnePlace.com makes available tons of audio files of some of the best ministers and ministries around today. Personally, I like to listen to great preachers. I think it's important for pastors to find places where they can be fed spiritually. At OnePlace, I can listen to recent sermons by some of the most well known pastors in America. My personal favorites are Adrian Rogers, Bob Russell & Ravi Zacharias.

Do you have any favorite non-local preachers?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dessert? I Just Ate!

Sometimes it is best to 'save the best for last'. In fact, that's what the master of the banquet was impressed by when Jesus performed His first miracle. That might apply to wine, but I just don't get it when it comes to food! If desserts are so good, why do people serve them when everyone's pretty much full?

When we watch a movie at a near empty cinema, we don't sit right behind the other 3 people. Why? Because the more room the better the experience! The same applies to stomachs. My new reply to someone who offers me dessert right after a meal is, "Dessert? I just ate."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

And the Antichrist is...

If yesterday's verses are the only one's that use the term 'antichrist' (and in so doing, seem to speak of the antichrist as a 1st century denial of Christ), then why have we been looking for a Super-Powerful, Super-Political, Modern-Day man?

It seems the contemporary investigation has combined a whole bunch of bad-guy verses into 1 composite bad-guy. Here are some examples:

Daniel 9:26-27
From this passage, modern day interpreters find a 'prince' who will make a 7 year covenant with Israel, but go back on his word half-way through (by the way, this is the ONLY place in the Bible that they clearly see a 7 year tribulation). Nearly every historical commentator takes the OPPOSITE interpretation of verse 27. It's not the 'prince' who makes the covenant, it's the Anointed One (Jesus). He doesn't break the covenant half-way through, He is crucified as a once and for all sacrifice.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
From this passage, modern day interpreters find a 'lawless' one who will proclaim himself to be God right from God's temple. But they seem to miss the fact that the mystery was 'already at work', was being restrained in the 1st century, and that the Thessalonians knew what was holding him back. The man of lawlessness was almost certainly a 1st century individual.

Revelation 13:18
From Revelation 13, modern day interpreters find a 'beast' that will recover from a fatal wound and somehow be associated with the number 666. But they seem to ignore both the time indicators of Revelation (soon, near, quickly) and the fact that the beast is most likely a kingdom, not merely 1 king. It seems the best candidate for the fatal-wound/666 combo, then, is Nero (one of the heads of the Roman beast). Nero Caesar, in Hebrew, adds up to 666 and when he died it put the Roman beast into a year of turmoil, but it recovered under Vespasian.

It may be fun to combine the 'prince' the 'man of lawlessness' and the 'beast' into 1 Super-Villain (and steal John's term 'antichrist' since it's a dramatic name), but it almost certainly isn't hermeneutically correct.

So who's the antichrist? I think instead of pointing fingers at newspaper headlines, purple dinosaurs, former Presidents, rich nerds, giant Austrian's, and fictional characters...maybe we should let the Bible speak for itself. Antichrist is ANYONE who denies Jesus was exactly who He said He was and is, especially those who did so in the generation after He ascended.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Biblical Antichrist

To conclude my investigation, I suppose I should look at what Scripture has to say about the Antichrist. Hmmm.....where to look. I KNOW! Revelation. I bet he's mentioned in every chapter. Looking. Looking. Looking. Hmmm. No Antichrist. Better Biblegateway the guy! Hey, turns out there are only 4 verses that use the term Antichrist. Let's look at what they tell us:

1 John 2:18...1 John 2:22
1 John 4:3...2 John 1:7

Well, from this it seems:
1. There were a whole bunch of antichrists in John's day 2. The Antichrist was on his way in John's day 3. The Antichrist will deny that Jesus is the Christ 4. Anyone who denies Jesus' 1st coming is the Antichrist

Seems like my investigation has had a few major flaws. I've individualized 'the antichrist' too much. I've neglected 1st century people as possible candidates. I've made 'the antichrist' about power & politics istead of spiritual denial. Why did I do this? How? Tomorrow I will investigate where I got all these super-villain characteristics from.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Suspect #5 NICOLAE

There are so many suspects I'd love to consider, but I think (in the interest of urgency) I should limit myself to 5. Our final suspect in the 'Pin the Tail on the Antichrist' Series is Nicolae Carpathia! What?!?! You heard me correctly.

Much like God re-inspired all of Scripture in 1611, God has re-inspired the book of Revelation through the great work of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. These men understand that crazy book better than anyone in history*. Even though their series is fiction, perhaps God has been working through them to reveal reality**!

Clearly, though, the Antichrist won't be words on a page. He's gotta be somebody. Let me suggest 2 possibilities. 1. The actor who who played Nicolae. Gordon Currie was born in 1965***! Like Arnold, his filmography is a scary list (The Killing Mind, Puppet Master, The Fear: Resurrection, The Dark Hours, etc). Who is better prepared for the role of the real Antichrist? Nobody. 2. Someone actually named Nicolae Carpathia. The closest person I could find is a billiards player named Nicolai Carpathia (only 1 letter off). We should keep an eye on THAT guy!

*Probably even better than John!
**Much like Dan Brown's DaVinci Code!
***That is VERY close to 66'

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Suspect #4 ARNOLD

The case against our 4th suspect is even stronger than he is! When I think about the Antichrist (and like any good Christian, this takes up most of my day), I think of him as a villain, a destroyer, a terminator, a predator, a false hero that deceives humanity at the end of time. Well, just look at the movie titles of a certain celebrity and you'll see the connection:

The Villain
Conan the Destroyer
The Terminator
Last Action Hero
True Lies
End of Days*

Nowadays, though, Arnold Schwarzenegger is more than a mere actor. Amazingly, he is the Governor of the most important of the United States. This group wants to amend the constitution so that he can become President. Prophecy seems to predict they'll be successful! If you make A=2, B=4, C=6, etc**...the phrase PRESIDENT ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER equals 666! Amazing!

*Though it is true that Arnold often plays the good guys, I'm sure that is just part of his plot to butter us up.
**This is a legitimate system wherein a lower case 'a' equals 1 and an upper case 'A' equals 2. The phrase 'president arnold schwarzenegger' in lower case, then, equals 333.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Suspect #3 GATES

In 1948 (the same year Israel became a nation, thus awakening God's prophetic clock) Bernard Silver & John Woodland began working on a way to make buying & selling easier for all involved. I'm sure you recognize their invention. A series of bars divided into two sections by 3 guard bars. These guard bars have a value of 6*. Thus, a bar code is divided by 666! Bar codes were first used commercially in 1966.

The Bible tells us that money is the root of all evil**. Revelation 13:17 declares that in the end times, "no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark." Today it is practically impossible to buy and/or sell without a barcode.

The wealthiest man in the world (and therefore the most evil) is Bill Gates. Some speculate that he is developing a barcode computer chip implant. One author even observes that his haircut could be the mortal head wound***!

*Technically, they don't....but why get technical?!?!
**Please ignore my misquote of 1 Tim. 6:10
***Jason in
THIS book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Suspect #2 CLINTON

In 1993, President Bill Clinton was named the 66th* Time Magazine 'Man of the Year'. As you can see in the darkened section of the cover, his horns are clearly visible. This makes him a prime target in our 'Pin the Tail on the Antichrist' series!

Let's look at the evidence against Mr. Clinton. He was the 42nd President (4+2=6**), so he certainly has the power necessary to be the Antichrist. He was, and still is, popular enough. He's morally depraved***, that fits. And if you use the Hebrew & Greek values of 'William J. Clinton' and add them together, you'll get 666!

Or is he just a decoy for the real Antichrist....his WIFE!?!?

*Notice, this is just one 6 short!
**There's that other 6!
***At risk of being grotesque, some would even argue that the Lewinsky scandel fits with Revelation 13:3's mortal head wound in that Clinton's Presidency seemed to be in jeopardy, but he 'miraculously' recovered to leave office with a fantastic approval rating.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Suspect #1 BARNEY

Part 1 of my 'Pin the tail on the Antichrist' series focuses on a purple dinosaur named Barney*. The case against him is strong! Revelation 17:8 says 'Once was, now is not, and yet will come'. Dinosaurs** once were. Then they were not. Now they are back and Barney is the most famous of them all!

"But Barney is just a cute purple dinosaur" you say? Let's take a closer look:

CUTE PURPLE DINOSAUR. First, we need to change the U's to V's (proper latin). CVTE PVRPLE DINOSAVR. Second, we need to extract all the Roman numerals. CVVLDIV. Third we need to find the Arabic values for these letters. 100, 5, 5, 50, 500, 1, 5. Fourth we need to add these numbers together. You guessed it...666.***

Obviously Barney is our prime suspect based on this evidence, but we'll target another suspect tomorrow as we continue to 'Pin the Tail on the Antichrist'.
*Notice in the pic that Barney has '6' toes
**John, not having ever seen a dinosaur, could certainly have equated Barney with the term 'beast'
***This 666 formula is not original with me. It was 'discovered' by literary scholar Kathryn Lindskoog. She seems to have been using it humorously...boy will she be surprised!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

Boys vs. Girls 3

Today was the last day of VBS. It was rainy. When it came time for the 3rd and 4th grade class to come out, only half of them came running: THE BOYS. All 7 of them. Only 1 girl ventured out into the wetness. I guess this proves the point that while girls may be smarter, faster, nicer, prettier, etc...they are not TOUGHER.

So I declare toughness the #1 virtue

In other news, I will post a VBS Photostory within the next 48 hours. After that, I am going to start a series called 'Pin the tail on the Antichrist' which will start out with some comedic finger-pointing and end with some Biblical exposition. All in all, it should last about a week.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Boys vs. Girls 2

Today when the 3rd and 4th graders came out to play kickball, I asked them if they wanted me to play defense or just pitch. The boys wanted me to just pitch this time since they believe I've been playing better for the girls. So I just pitched.

And the boys won like 18-13.

Now I guarantee I wasn't purposefully playing harder for the girls. Was I subconsciously? I guess it's possible...BUT...I have a different theory on why the boys won for the first time this week. They played very differently. They strategized where to kick the ball. They weren't overaggresive on the basepaths. They didn't call eachother names (at least not as much).

In other news, the rest of the grades are sick of kickball and we've switched to frisbee related activities.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Boys vs. Girls

This week we're doing VBS at church. I'm in charge of Games and PowerPoint. Anyways, I'm having a 'ball' being the all-time-pitcher of the daily 3rd & 4th grade kickball game. We've been playing boys vs. girls and the girls have won 3 games in a row!

The boys are very very mad! They have accused me of playing harder for the girls team. They have accused the other adult helper of the same. They have called eachother 'dumb'. They have told each-other to 'shut-up'. They have tried to whip the ball at my face. Etc.

I hate to admit the real reason they are losing though. The girls are just better. They are playing way smarter. The girls are kicking the ball towards the holes in the defense instead of just kicking as hard as they can. The girls are catching the boys' kicks whereas the boys run up so far in the field that the girls' kicks go right over their heads!

Yesterday the boys said the girls only won b/c the other adult helper played for the girls team. The funny thing is, though, that he didn't kick once the whole game. He didn't make a single play in the field. The boys didn't realize this though :)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Pool of Siloam

Sometimes when we read the Bible we're so busy looking for a sermon, Bible study, practical application or doctrinal insight we forget that the Bible records events that really happened. Many times I've read John 9 and focused on the doctrinal significance of Verses 2-3 or the strangeness of Verse 6, but half-missing the realness of the account.

That's why I love Biblical archaeology. It reminds me of the historicity of God's Word. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of the Pool of Siloam where Jesus sent the man born blind to wash before he 'went home seeing'. I'm thankful for archaeologists that bring me back to the reality of God's Word.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Youth Ministry

One thing I find strange about myself is that I'm both incredibly laid-back AND very structured at the same time. Actually, the more structured the event...the more laid back I become (if that makes sense...well, it's true even if it doesn't make sense).

This is why I've never been good at youth ministry. There's a certain amount of chaos in that field. I shut-down in chaotic situations. Chaos doesn't really make me feel stressed though, it makes me judge the situation as lacking potential. I stink at youth ministry UNLESS I'm given a structured forum to work with. This has happened on a few occasions and I've enjoyed youth ministry immensely at those times.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all you who work with teens. Thanks for being able to produce within chaos AND thanks for providing some structure for others to minister to youth as well.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Family Camp 05

My Top 10 Highlights of Family Camp 05

10. It was my 20th straight year of camp. 9. Having so many members of our congregation come for the week (I think we finished 2nd in attendance). 8. Drinking 2 glasses of Upstate Farms chocolate milk every meal. 7. Finding the book I lost...turns out it was in my car the whole time. 6. Seeing old friends (from BBC, internship, etc). 5. Staying up late and playing cards. 4. Beating my brother in tennis 6-4 (It was too hot to play a 2nd set). 3. Some of the kids spent their craft time making lady bugs to scare me (I'm scared of lady-bugs). 2. Seeing my best friend Aaron for the first time since last year. 1. Walking around campus with my niece Emma (the cutest niece in the known universe).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Last Days Madness

I don't recommend that Christians spend a ton of time reading books about the supposed end-times. But if you're seriously interested in this subject you should check out Gary DeMar's Last Days Madness.

DeMar does a sensational job at exposing sensationalistic 'prophets' that have falsely predicted Jesus' return time and time again. He demonstrates the 1st century fulfillment of many prophecies that have been hijacked by dispensational madness. He offers interesting clarity to subjects like the abomination that causes desolation, the tribulation, the rapture, 666, and the antichrist.

Great book.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What Saint Paul Really Said

Some of my beliefs were never challenged until relatively recently. Some of them are solidified when they dialogue with differing views, but others are weighed and found wanting when they finally face some scrutiny.

I like that NT Wright's What Saint Paul Really Said challenges the popular view of Paul's theology, but I especially like that it does so by re-examining the 1st century character instead of re-aligning that character with 21st century opinions.

It'll take me some time (and probably a couple more NT Wright books) to more fully consider implications of this book, but I can say immediately that his thoughts resonated with my previous suspicions.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I'm @ Family Camp

This week I'm at our District Family Camp and so I most likely won't be posting. Our district camp is at Houghton College...which makes it a lil unique compared to most district camps. I like it. This is my 20th straight year of attending this camp. My friend Aaron H. is here for the 2nd year in a row, so that makes it a lil more fun. Anyways....I'll post more when I get home....I'll even fill in the days I missed with the following book reviews:

1. Last Days Madness (Gary DeMar)
2. What Saint Paul Really Said (NT Wright)
3. Anything else I finish by the end of the week