Saturday, June 30, 2007

Alien Immersion?

Recently I was asked about my view on alien immersion. I must admit that I did not have the foggiest idea. Having to quickly interact with several Southern Baptist pastors about the policy, I discovered that the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention submitted guidelines concerning anyone who desired to become a candidate. Click here to see the official position. Under the section church, the IMB has set forth the following stipulation:

2. The Church

a. Baptism is a church ordinance. Baptism must take place in a church that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone, does not view baptism as sacramental or regenerative, and a church that embraces the doctrine of the security of the believer.

b. A candidate who has not been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his/her Southern Baptist church as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.

Before commenting on this policy, I would like to make a few general comments about baptism. First, along with the Lord’s Supper, baptism is the second ordinance given to the church by our Lord. The commandment to His followers during His ascension set forth the precedence of making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). The early church realized the significance of the Lord’s command and instituted baptism as the framework to identify those who placed their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, baptism is an outward expression of a spiritual reality. The true nature of baptism does not operate ex opere operato, but is only administered to those who have already expressed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Only believers are to participate in baptism because it is a symbol of spiritual union which occurred between Christ and the believer. Subsequent to salvation, baptism is only a picture of what has already occurred in the life of the believer. Accordingly, infants and unbleievers are not to be baptized because only believers who recognize the work of salvation in their lives are eligible for baptism (see the following verses— Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:44-48; 16:14-15). In Acts 16:14-15, the Lord revealed His message to Lydia then she was baptized. Third, the mode of baptism through immersion is a striking picture of our identification with Christ. In Romans 6:3-7, Paul writes,

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be {in the likeness} of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

The mode of baptism illustrates the believer’s death of his old self with Christ. Through faith and repentance, the believer’s baptism becomes a symbolical burial with Christ where one chooses to identify with Christ through death. The believer is united to Christ through His death. However, this is only the beginning. As the believer is raised up in the baptism, this becomes a symbol of the believer’s commencement into a new life with Christ. Not only does the believer united with Christ in His death, but the believer is empowered to live a life of holiness and obedience through the Spirit. Because of the work of the Godhead, believer’s baptism is a manifestation of a spiritual journey from death to self to newness of life. And this newness of life is accompanied by the guarantee of the Holy Spirit who witnesses to our spirit that Christ will one day return to gather all of His followers in order that we will live in unity and harmony with the Godhead.

Outlining the magnitude of baptism in the life of the believer, the church can understand the value and meaning of its symbolic teaching to the body of Christ. The previous statements about baptism are central to Scripture, then I believe that alien immersion is only peripheral. According to the IMB’s position, only candidates who have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church that holds to the doctrine of eternal security are considered eligible for the mission board. The difficulty raised in this policy is the lack of connection to the Word of God. According to the Scriptures, believers who have knowingly placed their faith in Jesus Christ are instructed to participate in baptism through immersion. The Scriptures do not elucidate the location or particular body of believers that the baptism is performed. Unfortunately, this teaching closely resembles Landmarkism which holds to a restricted view of baptism.

I have a few problems with alien immersion. First, when groups place such a restriction upon a particular ordinance in order to be a member of their church, a spirit of pride and arrogance can easily seep into the group. Second, baptism is not necessary for salvation; it only demonstrates what has already occurred in the life of the believer. To maintain that baptism outside of a particular group is invalid because it is considered alien immersion seems to emphasize the administrator rather than the significance of the ordinance. The purpose of baptism is to demonstrate the work of Christ and the newness of life. Third, alien immersion seems to delimit the work of God. His sovereign plan involved the death of His Son, and any one who receives the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit eternal life. Though the message remains the same, God has allowed the body of Christ to grow through creatively and diversity.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Prayers of Francis of Assisi

On Peace and Love...

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Before the Crucifix...

Most High, glorious God,enlighten the darkness of my heart and give metrue faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry outYour holy and true command. Amen.

In Praise of God...

You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful. You are strong.You are great. You are the Most High. You are Almighty. You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth. You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good. You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true. You are love. You are wisdom. You are humility. You are endurance. You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. You are all our riches, and You suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector. You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation. You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Saviour. Amen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Values vs. Virtues

“Values are only half the story when it comes to the leader’s character. Values are principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable. Values are beliefs that a person or group holds and in which they have emotional investment and heartfelt commitment…Virtues, on the other hand, are moral excellencies and qualities pf righteousness corresponding to the nature and character of God. Because virtues are drawn from the character of God, virtues are universally morally correct. Truthfulness, wisdom, justice, compassion, love, and courage are examples of such virtues. These qualities are not right for one culture, era, or situation and wrong for another. Virtues are not relative…Virtues are part of our moral fabric producing the longing to do what is right even when there are no rewards in doing the right.” - Gary Bredfeldt, Great Leader Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership, 90

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Church and Postmodernism

"My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure that there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and some other guys do believe in God and they can prove God does exist, and the arguments stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care. I don’t believe I will ever walk away from God for intellectual reasons. Who knows anything anyway? If I walk away from Him, and please pray that I never do, I will walk away for social reasons, identity reasons, deep emotional reasons, the same reasons that any of us do anything." – Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, 103.

After realizing the failures of the modern era with all of its promises and optimism, the postmodern culture responded with a cynical outlook on life. When the sciences left man with an empty bag, postmodernism entered the stage and questioned anything of truth and absolute. Our culture is an environment where truth is relative and anything of authority is questioned. As a believer, it is our duty to know our culture and seek ways to interact with others to bring them the power of the gospel. For an explanation of postmodernism, read here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reflections of Yahweh in the Psalms: King

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory…” (Psalm 115:1)

One of the intriguing marks of any artist is one’s ability to capture abstract ideas and place them in concrete images for their audience. Within their art forms, the artist uses an array of techniques and styles to lure an audience into an environment of passion, adventure, and suspense by tapping into our emotions. The participant is given the opportunity to share in the artist’s masterpiece and become entangled within plot or scene. Herein lies the mystery and beauty of art.

Even so with the Psalms, the psalmist uses poetical elements to reveal the glory and power of our God through words. Each expression is carefully used in order to illustrate the person of God. Within a single image, the psalmist captures for us the person of God but then hands over a key that will unlock the depth and richness of that image in order to describe who this God is. One particular image is the concept of a king.

In several of the psalms, the sage refers to God as King:

“The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land.” (Psalm 10:16)

“For the Lord Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2)

“You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob.” (Psalm 44:4)

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; Sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm.” (Psalm 47:6, 7)

“They have seen Your procession, O God, The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.” (Psalm 68:24)

“For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:3)

“I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1)

It is questionable to what extent the ancient Near Eastern world influenced Israel, but the role of the king in the ancient world spoke volumes about their countries. The position, prestige, and honor of the king’s position represented the country and their god. For example, the Egyptians revered Pharaoh as a god who established law and order within their land. However, in other countries, the king was seen as a divine son or servant of the king god (see Gary V. Smith, “The Concept of God/the gods as King in the Ancient Near East and the Bible.” Trinity Journal 3 (1982) 18-38).

Much of the kingship language in the Psalms has been debated. Whether the reference to God as King is in a type of liturgical form or some allusion to the mythopoetic language has been a source of discussion among scholars (see Elmer B. Smick, “Mythopoetic Language in the Psalms,” Westminster Theological Seminary 44 (1982): 88-98). There appears

Yahweh is King over creation.

“Yet God is my king from of old, who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.” (Psalm 74:12-17)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day: A Tribute

What’s so special about being a dad? When I woke up this morning to my first father’s day and watched my daughter quietly sleeping in her crib, this question penetrated my thoughts. I have not had much time to discover what all will be required to raise a little girl, but I do know the deep love and passion that I have for her. It’s like I have known her all of my life and honestly I cannot think of a day when she was not in my life. When I leaned over to kiss her, I gently whispered in her ear, “You are a marvel; daddy loves you so much.”

Being the financial provider for the home, my job is to make sure that the bills are paid and food on the table along with many other responsibilities. But does this mean that I am a dad. I read a bumper sticker that read “Anybody can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy.” What kind of heritage will I leave for my children? Our little ones look to us to teach them about our beliefs and values. This is the true test of a father, and we fail them when we neglect our responsibility to teach them about the meaning of life. Living a wholesome, godly life and directing their lives back to our Father is the greatest mission that we will ever have in this life. What an opportunity given to fathers!

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:3-5)

Being an involved father is every man’s battle. We enter the front line each day armed with a mission to protect our homes. Our children are looking for answers. Living in a culture where everything is relative, we are to stand in the gap. This is not the time to be Freud’s description of a father: like a Sphinx— heavy, silent, massive, and mysterious. Standing in the gap requires courage and strength. True fathers lead, guard, and protect setting the direction of their home.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hymns to the Father

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

William Whiting

Almighty Father, Who Dost Give

Almighty Father, who dost give The gift of life to all who live, Look down on all earth’s sin and strife, And lift us to a nobler life.

Lift up our hearts, O King of kings, To brighter hopes and kindlier things; To visions of a larger good, And holier dreams of brotherhood.

Thy world is weary of its pain; Of selfish greed and fruitless gain; Of tarnished honor, falsely strong, And all its ancient deeds of wrong.

Hear Thou the prayer Thy servants pray, Uprising from all lands today, And o’er the vanquished powers of sin, O bring Thy great salvation in.

John H. B. Mas­ter­man

Friday, June 15, 2007

God as Father: Second Temple Judaism

Along with the New Testament writers, the Jews of Second Temple period emphasized the weight and authority of the God of the Old Testament Scriptures. In the event of the exodus, the God of Israel demonstrated His mighty hand to both the Egyptians and to Israel and revealed Himself as Israel’s Father who delivered His firstborn son from the bondage and chains of slavery. Bringing them out of Egypt, He gave them a land as an inheritance and promised to bless them as long as they remained obedient. However, because of Israel’s disobedience, they were exiled out of their land and banished from their homes. Though the exile was the penalty for their waywardness, He did not forget His people, but He brought them back to their land. An evidence of Israel’s sonship was its rightful place back in the land. The reflection of God as Father continued to thread its way from the Old Testament into Second Temple Judaism. As the Jews of the Second Temple period found themselves in similar circumstances as their forefathers, they looked to the Lord to deliver them from the hands of their enemies and restore their rightful status as children.

“And He said unto us: ‘Behold, I will separate unto Myself
a people from among all the peoples, and these will keep the Sabbath day, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify it unto Myself, even so shall I bless them, and they will be My people and I shall be their God and I have chosen the seed of Jacob from amongst all that I have seen, and have written him down as My firstborn son, and have sanctified him unto Myself for ever and ever; and I will teach them the Sabbath day, that they may keep Sabbath thereon from all work.’” (Jubilees 2:19-20)

“And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us. But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands. If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? How long shall this endure?” (2 Esdras 6:57-59)

“Lord, Thy mercy is over the works of Thy hands for ever; Thy goodness is over Israel with a rich gift. Thine eyes look upon them, so that none of them suffers want; Thine ears listen to the hopeful prayer of the poor. Thy judgements are executed upon the whole earth in mercy; And Thy love is toward the seed of Abraham, the children of Israel. Thy chastisement is upon us as upon a first-born, only-begotten son, To turn back the obedient soul from folly that is wrought in ignorance. May God cleanse Israel against the day of mercy and blessing, Against the day of choice when Blessed shall they be that shall be in those days, He bringeth back His anointed. In that they shall see the goodness of the Lord which He shall perform for the generation that is to come, Under the rod of chastening of the Lord's anointed in the fear of his God, In the spirit of wisdom and righteousness and strength; That he may direct every man in the works of righteousness by the fear of God, That he may establish them all before the Lord, A good generation living in the fear of God in the days of mercy. Selah.” (Psalms of Solomon 18:19)

In Judaism, the concept of God as Father takes on a greater meaning. In the Old Testament, the Israelites looked back to the work of God in their history, but in Second Temple Judaism, the Israelites not only remembered the past but also looked forward to a new hope when God will place Israel back to their rightful status and posititon as the firstborn son.

“And after this they will turn to Me in all uprightness and with all their heart and with all their soul, and I shall circumcise the foreskin of their heart
and the foreskin of the heart of their seed, and I shall create in them a holy spirit, and I shall cleanse them so that they shall not turn away from Me from that day unto eternity and their souls will cleave to Me and to all My commandments, and they will fulfil My commandments, and I shall be their Father and they will be My children and they will all be called children of the living God, and every angel and every spirit will know, yea, they will know that these are My children, and that I am their Father in uprightness and righteousness, and that I love them and do thou write down for thyself all these words which I declare unto thee on this mountain, the first and the last, which shall come to pass in all the divisions of the days in the law and in the testimony and in the weeks and the jubilees unto eternity, until I descend and dwell with them throughout eternity and He said to the angel of the presence: "Write for Moses from the beginning of creation till My sanctuary has been built among them for all eternity and the Lord will appear to the eyes of all, and all will know that I am the God of Israel and the Father of all the children of Jacob, and King on Mount Zion for all eternity. And Zion and Jerusalem will be holy.” (Jubilees 1:33- 28)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

God as Father: An Old Testament Concept

“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, My firstborn.’” (Exodus 4:22)

“For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.” (Isaiah 63:16)

“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” (Hosea 11:1)

What are we to learn about God as Father in the Old Testament? Rarely referring to the Lord as Father, the father-son motif is a more developed reflection of Israel’s relationship with God. Deeply embedded within their historical and theological framework, Israel’s identification with their God is pictured through a familial relationship. It was God who promised to deliver His children out of the land of Egypt. Because Pharaoh refused to liberate the children of Israel, the tenth plaque was the final warning to Pharaoh. Israel is God’s firstborn son chosen from all other nations. Not because of their size for they were small in number, but God graciously chose the people of Israel because of His compassion and mercy.

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8

As with each of the other plaques that the Lord of Israel was greater than any of the Egyptian gods, God sent the angel of death to visit the land of Egypt. Because Pharaoh refused to free Israel, God’s firstborn son, God would take Egypt’s firstborn child. Every firstborn son in every Egyptian home did not escape the divine judgment. Establishing the first Passover, the Hebrews followed Moses’ instructions by placing blood on their doorpost, and when the “slayer” came over the land, He passed over each Hebrew home because of the blood that protected that home. The Passover became the historical catalyst by which Israel identifies with God as their Creator and Father.

In addition to historical earmarks to the father-son motif, there are theological overtones within the relationship. The book of Deuteronomy illustrates that the love between Israel and their God must be expressed through obedience to the covenantal treaty between the two parties. Dennis J. McCarthy (“Notes on the Love of God in Deuteronomy and the Father-Son Relationship between Yahweh and Israel,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 27: 144-47) produced a short article explaining how the relationship between God and Israel and its covenantal treaty are two sides of the same coin. Verses in Deuteronomy demonstrate the care, provision, protection, and discipline of the Lord to his people:

“The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” (Deuteronomy 1:30-31)

“Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)

“Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you.” (Deuteronomy 32:6)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Old Testament: Father's Cathechism

Exodus 12: 26-27 “And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.”

Exodus 13:14-15 “And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’”

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers. So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is it is today. It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.’”

Joshua 4:6-7 “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.’”

Joshua 4:21-24 “He said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.’”

The Hebrew term “father” has its origin in childish speech (pronounced aba).
[1] The emotions of those Hebrew fathers listening to their children pronounce their names for the first time are no different than the emotions of fathers today. If you are like me with your child, you hang on to every word and action of your little one. I can sit next to our couch and can remain totally captivated by my daughter’s coos. What is more amusing is when I talk back to her in her own language. I believe my wife is more enthralled with my baby talk than she is with our daughter’s. I try to capture every new movement that she makes with our camcorder, and I am obsessed with a camera. There is not a position or angle that I can’t take with a camera.

Fathers will often tell me how they remember every little detail of when their children were babies and can often describe in detail each moment. I wonder what our children would say about their first memories of their dads. Were they workaholics who lived and breathed their jobs everyday? Or were they couch potatoes who never relinquished the remote control and knew all the scores of the latest games? Or will they remember a dad who taught them about God and His Word? Their lives exhibited a life of holiness and they set an example of what it means to follow God with all of your heart.

The previous verses are examples of fathers who were instructed to teach their children about the work of God in Israel. The Exodus verses (12:26-27; 13:14-15) center on the Passover where God delivered his children from the bondage and slavery of Egypt. The verse in Deuteronomy (6:20-25) elaborate on the first commandment, that is, not worship any false gods or idols. In the Joshua passages (4:6-7, 21-24), another important event occurred in the history of Israel. When the Israelites entered into the Promise Land, they established a memorial made from the rock of the river bed as a perpetual symbol of the faithfulness of God.
[1] Gottfried Quell, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. V. Ed. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich. Trans. By Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 960.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

O' Father!

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” -William Shakespeare

“The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”- Theodore M. Hesburgh

“Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.” -Ecclesiasticus, 44:1

“A man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.”- Author Unknown

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.- Clarence B. Kelland

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”-William Shakespeare

“To become a father is not hard, to be a father is, however.”- Wilhelm Busch

“A wise son maketh a glad father.” Proverbs 10:1

“It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”- Anne Sexton

Friday, June 8, 2007

South Carolina Heritage

You know you are from South Carolina when...

      • You measure distance in minutes.

      • You've ever had to switch from heat to air conditioning in the same day.

      • You see a car running in a store parking lot with no one in it no matter what time of the year.

      • You use "fix" as a verb. Example: I am fixing to go to the store.

      • All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.

      • You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

      • You carry jumper cables in your car... for your OWN car.

      • You know what "cow tipping" is.

      • You only own four spices: salt, pepper, Texas Pete and catsup.

      • The local papers cover national and international news on one page and six pages for local gossip and sports.

      • Your think that the first day deer season is a national holiday.

      • You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit "a little warm."

      • You know all four seasons: almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.

      • Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as "Goin' wal-martin" or "Off to ' Wally World'."

      • You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good pinto-bean weather.

      • A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola, or's a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: "What kinna coke you want?"

      • Fried Catfish is the other white meat.

      • You know if another South Carolinian is from the Low Country, the Sand Hills, or the Piedmont section of South Carolina, as soon as they open their mouth.

      Thursday, June 7, 2007

      And the greatest of these...

      "God wants us to be courageous people who are deeply bothered by the horrors of living as part of a fallen race, people who look honestly at every struggle, who feel overwhelmed by what we see, yet emerge prepared to live. Scarred, still troubled, but deeply loving. When the fact is faced that life is profoundly disappointing, the only way to make it is to learn to love."

      Larry Crabb, Inside Out, 19.

      Wednesday, June 6, 2007

      Operation Overlord- June 6, 1944

      "Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you!"
      -Dwight D. Eisenhower
      Supreme Allied commander

      Tuesday, June 5, 2007

      Leading Through Reflection

      Charged with heresy and sentenced to die through lethal ingestion, Socrates boldly stood before his accusers and stated, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Much of what we know about Socrates is through the writings of his protégé, Plato. Because of his reputable work in both moral and political philosophy, which has become the basis for Western philosophy, Socrates contributed a major factor in theoretical reasoning. Known as the Socratic Method, or dialectical technique, Socrates interacted with many philosophers of the day by refuting their position on any doctrine or teaching. Once a philosopher introduced a principle, Socrates offered a series of rebuttals to discover their underlining beliefs and continue with a verbal assault to prove their lack of knowledge.(Wikipedia; Philosophypages; Stanford)

      Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:7-8

      “Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” A phrase for every Christian leader. The writer of Hebrews prompts us to bear in mind those who have lived before us. As we reflect and study their lives, we will do well to follow in their footsteps as they pursued our Lord. We will face the same obstacles as they did; however, our challenges will be masked in different garments. In his book, The Making of a Leader, J. Robert Clinton suggests that the lessons learned from our predecessors will reveal patterns and themes which will benefit many leaders to come. He writes, “Leadership is a lifetime of lessons. It is not a setoff do-it-yourself correspondence courses that can be worked through in a few months or years. In our attempt to ‘think back on how they lived and died,’ we will learn to analyze these lessons...we will see various patterns emerge that will indicate the many ways God developed and strengthened leaders in the past for their particular leadership roles. We can profit from both how God developed them and what God taught them. As we apply these lessons to our lives, we will be imitating their faith” (40).

      Saturday, June 2, 2007

      Meaning of Christian Leadership

      Christian leadership is a misconstrued term in the church. Often linked with a persona or an accomplishment, Christian leadership loses its luster because its focus ends with the final form rather than the quest. This is not to say that there are no good Christian leaders in the world, but how often do we see the billboard of someone’s achievements without understanding the amount of time and toil involved in developing godly character. To pen a definition of leadership is nearly impossible because of its complex and multifaceted nature.

      Godly leadership can be compared to an iceberg. Most of the makeup of a leader lies below the water. The ten percent above the water manifests itself through action, behavior, and decision making. All of these outward expressions are a direct result from the motivations, beliefs, and values of a leader that has developed over a period of time. Though not directly written about leadership, a quote from his book, The Complete Green Letters, Miles J. Stanford illustrates the point how external actions do not necessarily correlate with inward growth:

      Important as it is, service is often a condition-centered detriment in the lives of many zealous believers. When service is given predominance over fellowship with and growth in the Lord Jesus, doing, instead of being, takes over in the life. Fellowship and growth must ever take precedence over service and activity, otherwise spiritual declension sets in. In this reversal of God’s order for us, the heart seeks satisfaction and a sense of acceptance through production (law), instead of reception (grace). Bible study and prayer, as well as one’s outlook, become almost exclusively service-centered. Instead of bringing forth service, service becomes the life (91).