Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Dook Travel no call!


It becomes more ridiculous the more you see it. On Saturday at Virginia Tech, Jon Scheyer decided he needed some YouTube love as well. With the Hokies down 3 with about 23 seconds left in the game Scheyer catches an inbounds pass at about the foul line at the Virginia Tech end of the floor. The Hokies trap, and Scheyer proceeds to spin his way about 9 feet towards the baseline, again without ever taking a dribble.

This was a blatant walk right in front of the official, who instead of calling a travel and the Hokies having a chance to tie and force overtime, is for some reason looking at Kyle Singler, who calls for a timeout while Scheyer is still dancing. To make it even worse, 5.7 seconds ran off the clock and there was no 5 second call. Pitiful officiating at the most crucial part of the game.

One call does not necessarily sway the outcome of a game, let me make that clear. But these two travels are two of the most absurd I think I’ve ever seen, and will live in YouTube infamy.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Put the Fire Out #2

(taken from

The most helpful way that I've found to deal with conflict without getting trapped in escalation or withdrawal is by developing a set of rules. These rules or agreed-upon strategies keep us from becoming distracted by the emotions of an argument. They provide guidelines for what is in bounds and what is out, who can speak when and in what way, and how both will listen to the other. Rules do not remove the emotions or solve the problem; instead, they make the disagreement manageable by setting the stage for constructive communication. Finally, rules allow the real issues to be uncovered much faster.

Eight Rules For Protecting Your Relationship During Conflict

1. Above all, strive to reflect HONOR in all of your words and actions during a conflict.
2. Select An Appropriate TIME AND PLACE.
3. Agree to use a TIME-OUT when things get out of control or escalate. However, agree to resume the discussion when your emotions have cooled off.
4. The best type of COMMUNICATION is to actively listen and repeat what you mate is saying. This slows down the process and allows each person to feel heard and understood.
5. Attempt to find a "WIN-WIN" SOLUTION—where needs are met on both sides. Techniques like "brainstorming" and "pros vs. cons" lists work great.
6. ACCEPT ANY BLAME for your part in the conflict and FORGIVE each other.
7. PROTECT times of fun, friendship and sensuality from conflict by agreeing to deal with the conflict at a later time.
8. Make conflict resolution a REGULAR HABIT!

You may be thinking that this sounds too strict or complicated, but as you'll see, it's not. Rules like the ones above can help to prevent poorly handled conflict from harming the wonderful things in your marriage. By creating your own personalized set of conflict rules you can greatly facilitate your ability to handle disagreements in a manner that protects intimacy and promotes growth in your relationship.

Put the Fire Out

(from Marriage

Conflict resolution skills are critical for us to learn. The reason is because we are sure to have conflict in marriage. Without the ability to successfully resolve our problems, anger and emotional distance builds over time.

Every marriage has problems, even good marriages. The difference between a good and a bad marriage is simply the ability to work through our problems. The good news is every person can learn the skills of successful conflict resolution. Regardless of the mistakes you may have made in the past, you can turn your marriage and life around by learning these skills. By the way, conflict resolution skills don't just work in marriage they help us in every relationship.

Because this issue is so important, I'm going to spend the next several weeks explaining to you the different skills involved in dealing with problems when they occur. I'm going to begin by talking about how to deal with your anger.

Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger..." NKJV The first thing the Apostle Paul tells us about dealing with anger is that we must acknowledge it. He says, "Be angry..." Denying anger doesn't make it go away, it makes it build up until it explodes in a destructive and unmanageable manner.

When Karen and I got married, we didn't know how to deal with our anger. We both stuffed a lot of it inside and about every three months we would have an explosive fight. Sometimes our fights were about the dumbest little things but they were just the spark that caused the stored up anger inside of us to explode.

What we learned over time is that we couldn't go to bed on anger. We not only learned to accept our own anger but we also learned that we had to give each other the right to be angry and to express anger. In dysfunctional relationships, there is always a wrong method of dealing with anger. The range goes from an explosive anger that damages others to an enabling spouse who lives in the fear of their own anger and what might happen if they were honest about it. Many people live in fear of their own anger and their spouse's anger. This is one of the ways you know you aren't resolving conflict properly.

Anger isn't necessarily good or bad it's just real. As human beings we get angry. Sometimes it is because we've been genuinely violated. In other cases, it's because we're immature or have unrealistic expectations or are selfish. When I'm angry and need to get it out I'm not claiming that I'm right, I'm just angry.

Learning to be honest about your anger and allowing your spouse to do the same is the first step in successful conflict resolution. Remember, Paul said, "Be angry and do not sin..."

Once you are able to accept your anger you must also commit to doing the right thing with it. You can never use your anger to justify unrighteous behavior. The end doesn't justify the means. How you resolve conflict is crucial. It must be done in a manner that honors God and treats your spouse with dignity and care.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dook Player Takes 12 steps and a walk is not called!

Elliot Williams managed to move back about six feet without actually bouncing the basketball he was carrying,Dook biased officiating at its best.
Hard to argue with this footage. How can you not call a walk? Elliot Williams needed a passport for all the traveling he is doing in this video.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chandler on Preaching

Debt is Dumb ya know :)


(from the great C. Michael Patton)

Believing in the sovereignty of God is not an option of yes, no, or maybe within the Christian context. If the Bible is our authoritative guide, one must believe that God is sovereign. It is not unlike the issue of predestination. That God predestines people to salvation is not up for debate, what is up for debate is what it means that God predestines.

Both Calvinists and Arminians agree that God is sovereign, but they will often disagree as to what this means.

Here are the four primary options:

1. Meticulous sovereignty: God is the instrumental cause behind every action and reaction there has ever been. In other words, you chose white socks instead of the black socks because God caused it to happen. You have an itch on your eyebrow right now because God is actively causing it. In other words, every molecule that bounces into another is a result of God active agency in being the first and instrumental cause to the action.

This position holds little or no tension with regards to the human will and the divine will.

God is actively controlling everything.

Adherents: Hyper-Calvinists and some Calvinists

2. Providential sovereignty: While God is bringing about his will in everything (Eph 1:11), his will is not the instrumental cause of all that happens. God’s will plays a providential role in “causing” all things. In other words, all that happens happens because God did in some sense will it, but secondary causes are usually the instrumental cause behind the action. In the case of your socks, you chose them because you decided to, but it was also part of God’s will. God allows evil as it is part of his imperfect will to bring about a perfect end, but he is not the instrumental cause of evil.

This position holds much tension with regards to human will and divine will.

God is in control of everything.

Adherents: Calvinists and some Arminians

3. Providential oversight: Here God’s sovereignty is more of an oversight. He has a general plan, but is not married to the details. When necessary, God will intervene in the affairs of humanity to bring about his purpose, but this does not necessarily involve an intimate engagement with all that happens. God does not care what color socks you pick unless it somehow effects his meta plan.

This position holds much tension with regards to human will and divine will.

God could control everything, but only controls some things.

Adherents: Arminians and some Calvinists

4. Influential oversight: Here God’s sovereignty is self-limited. God could control things, but to preserve human freedom, he will not intervene in the affairs of men to the degree that the human will is decisively bent in one direction or another. He is hopeful that his influence will be persuasive to change a person’s heart or to guide them to his will, but is not sure if this will happen. Being all-wise, however, God will make strategic moves in people’s lives that will manipulate the situation to his advantage.

This position holds little or no tension with regards to the human will and the divine will.

God could control everything, but decides only to influence.

Adherents: Open Theist Arminians and some Arminians

Here are some charts that might help.

This first one is God’s relationship to evil. Please note: the definitions below are that of emphasis, not necessarily exclusivity—there will be overlap with some of the concepts.

I write this for many reason:

1. To give the spectrum of belief with regard to the issue of divine sovereignty.

2. To clear up some misconceptions about both Calvinists and Arminians. Most Arminians see Calvinists as only associated with number 1 (meticulous sovereignty). As well, most Calvinists see Arminians as associated necessarily with number 4 (influential sovereignty). To do this is to construct many possible straw-men representations.

Notice, according to my argument, an Arminian holding to number 2 can actually hold to a stronger view of divine sovereignty than a Calvinist holding to number 3 (although this is not typical). If that does not confuse your categories, I don’t know what will!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

No "D" at UNC

part of an article by Adam Lucas....

See, when you're raised in Carolina Basketball, you know one thing to be an absolute truth: defense wins games. Take every flashy, offense-driven team you can think of--Loyola Marymount in 1988, Kentucky in 1995--and Carolina's defense stifles them.
Try this stat--five different perimeter players (Toney Douglas, Kyle McAlarney, Greivis Vasquez, Jeff Teague and Jack McClinton) have scored at least 30 points against Carolina this year. That's a list of scorers who could have a hot day against anyone, of course. Here's something equally troubling. The Terrapins have a 6-foot-6 sophomore swingman named Cliff Tucker. In 23 games since Nov. 21, he has scored in double figures exactly twice: 18 points against Carolina in Chapel Hill and 24 points Saturday in College Park. In his other 10 conference games combined, he has 19 points.
But despite Vasquez's triple-double and Tucker's explosion, it looked like Carolina would have enough offense to survive. Some teams have must-stop defensive possessions. Maybe, my theory went, this Tar Heel team would have must-score offensive possessions instead. And twice in the final seven minutes, Lawson made miraculous end-of-clock hoops to convert those possessions.

But just like with your parents, Dean Smith and Roy Williams always seem to be proven right. Funny how those elders seem to know what they're talking about. During the two-minute meltdown at the end of regulation that saw a 76-67 Carolina lead vanish, the Tar Heel offense suddenly disappeared. That stretch was everything Carolina Basketball is not supposed to be. It was bad decision-making, it was poor shot selection, and it was too much individual play on a day when the Tar Heels had a meager five assists on 29 field goals.

Once that happened, when the shots stopped falling--just like Williams always says they eventually will--it came down to needing one stop. And the Tar Heels never got it. The Terps sliced seven points off the 9-point deficit in 35 seconds.

(end article)

I think my Grandmother could drop 30 on this squad. I know she would hit at least 5 three pointers.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Divorce Proof Your Marriage

Dr. Gary Rosberg and his wife, Barbara, have identified a number of key biblical principles they feel are key if a marriage is to truly be “divorce proof.” And following these guidelines will not only improve your relationship with your spouse today . . . doing so will also establish a pattern your children can follow for their relationship with their future spouse as well.
I call these principles, “6 Keys to a Better Marriage Today.” If you want to strengthen your union right away, start showing your spouse . . . .

1. Forgiving Love Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, all of our sins have been forgiving. The Forgiving Love He has shown us is essential in a marriage. It offers a fresh start after one spouse hurts or offends another. Without forgiveness, no marriage will ever last.

2. Serving Love Do you know your spouse’s deepest needs? Loving him or her with a servant’s heart is the best and quickest way to find out. Serve one another in love (after all – the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve).

3. Persevering Love Marriage is a marathon – not a sprint. Are you in it for the long haul . . . or do you have the tendency to “bail out” when the going gets tough? Persevering Love sustains us through the trials of life (and trials are what makes any marriage real).

4. Guarding Love In other words, let him or her know that you’ll do anything to keep the marriage together (as long as its legal and moral, of course). The modern culture isn’t all that keen on marriage -- even though it’s the backbone of society. Guarding Love protects your heart and the heart of your spouse from the threats to your marriage . . . and believe me they’re out there!

5. Celebrating Love That’s right – celebrate your marriage! What a gift the two of you have been given. Celebrating Love equips you to maintain a satisfying emotional, physical and spiritual connection with your mate . . . so celebrate it!

6. Renewing Love No marriage will survive if either or both spouses constantly challenge its integrity by threatening to leave. The fact is, Renewing Love enables both husband and wife to regard the marriage covenant as unbreakable (just like God does). So share this gift with your spouse every day. Rejoice in the fact that you’ll be together forever . . . “for better or worse!”

These six vital expressions of love will make your marriage better. They’ll also help you teach your children how to understand what biblical love and marriage are all about.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Secret Power of Sweat

By Jimmy Evans.

Recently I saw another report about how male sweat causes positive responses in women. The latest research was published by the University of California. In testing the effects of male sweat on women they once again recorded positive hormonal changes for the majority of them who were exposed to its smell. This is significant.

First of all, those hormonal changes mean sexual arousal. For all of the men who are looking for a way to rev up their wife's libido — this is it. This is really good news — but there is a twist involved. To produce sweat — you have to exert effort. Jumping in a sauna and collecting sweat in a jar and that you put under your wife's nose probably won't produce the desired result.

The issue is how God has wired women to respond to a sacrificial, servant-hearted man. Besides the sweat research, wives who have been polled in studies say that their husbands are more sexually attractive to them when they are doing housework. Men really need to understand the truth of this. Whereas males are sexually wired to respond more to visual stimuli, women respond more to emotional stimuli. Specifically, they are attracted to men who serve them and help around the house.

Another important element of the sweat research has to do with the calming influence male sweat has on women. A study that was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that male sweat causes women to relax and feel happy.

To look at the other side of this, without sweat, women tend to be more tense and less happy. I know a lot of men who wonder why their wives are so up tight and "hormonal" in the bad sense. In many cases, it just goes back to the fact that they feel as though they are not being supported and served by their husbands. In other words, they just need to get a whiff of a little sweat around the house and they would calm down and get into a better mood.

When Karen and I first got married, I wanted her to honor me and respond to me sexually. I tried everything I knew to get the results I wanted. However, since I was a male chauvinist pig and was very selfish, serving Karen and helping around the house wasn't something I tried very often.

Over the years as I have matured and grown as a husband, I have noticed that Karen is very uncomplicated. The more she feels as though I care and am there to support her, the more naturally honoring and sexually responsive she is. Even if I don't break a sweat, her response is consistent.

In counseling and helping many couples over the years, I have found this to be a universal truth. A wise man will realize that this is a part of the unchangeable nature God has wired into women. Science is just now revealing how profound this truth really is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lincoln on Critics

Abe Lincoln once said:

"If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."


Monday, February 16, 2009

Stay Out of The Doghouse

Remember Your "Man Pledge" and stay out of the Doghouse! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Caption This

What do you think Coach K is saying in this picture during Dook's 4th straight loss to UNC at Cameron Indoor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


UNC celebrates their 4th straight win at Cameron Indoor!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Watch Out!

Going Going ....Gone

Rod Dreher on 24 things that are about to disappear in America

Taken from

24. Yellow Pages
This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much
like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to
their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages
(IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing
services like Reach Local and Yodle Factors like an acceleration of
the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession will contribute to
the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of
newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year --
much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

23. Classified Ads
The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper
classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long
list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could
signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if
newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites
like and Google Base, then newspapers are not far
behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores
While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing
store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left
across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down
considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of
Circuit City. Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand,
closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and
mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.

21. Dial-up Internet Access
Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The
combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed
Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but
pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines
According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics,
at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of
those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on
their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
Maryland's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake
Bay. Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million
pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million
pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a
formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and
they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population.
Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the

18. VCRs
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and
staple in every American household until being completely
decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact,
the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack
are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone
and VHS decks are practically
nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

17. Ash TreesIn the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now
known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with
ash wood products imported from eastern Asia. In less than a decade,
its larvae have killed millions of trees in the Midwest, and continue
to spread. They've killed more than 30 million ash trees in
southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio
and Indiana. More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.
(Number 17 explains why MLB and Louisville Slugger are experimenting
with Maple in place of Ash to mill Major League Baseball bats...much
to the horror of pitchers and infielders who are in the trajectory of
a shattered bat.)

16. Ham Radio
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless
communications with each other and are able to support
their communities with emergency and disaster communications if
necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and
radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity
among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five
years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has
dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming HoleThanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing
of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert
Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of worry that if
someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in
Seattle. The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was
paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park.
As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to
post 'Keep out!' signs.

14. Answering MachinesThe increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied
to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA
Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159%
between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York;
since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical that as cell
phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there
will be fewer answering machines.

13. Cameras That Use FilmIt doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of
the film camera in America. Just look to companies like Nikon,
the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it
announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the
shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of
sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs
Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt)
bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and
all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Light
bulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent
bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly
doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20
percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a
new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next
four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
BowlingBalls.US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl
at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling
alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all
types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video
game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes
also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult
communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The MilkmanAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half
of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it
was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent.
Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The
steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the
rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting
milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the
U.S., they are certainly a dying breed.

9. Hand-Written Letters
In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion
e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of
2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80%
of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004,
half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt
increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of
gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses
It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses
were roaming free within the United States. In 2001, National
Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased
to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro
Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten
Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada. The Bureau of Land
Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to
27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.

7. Personal Checks
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of
consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two
years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill
payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments -- for
the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill
payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring
bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis,
checks account for only 49% of
consumers' recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in TheatersDuring the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters
in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still
operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only
one reopened in 2005 and ive reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a
movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5. Mumps & Measles
Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles ad mumps actually,
truly are disappearing from the United States. In 1964,
212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure
had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to
the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million
cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450
deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

4. Honey Bees
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire;
plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our
food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,'
or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few
years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers --
and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last
several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the
diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported
that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9
million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is
half that.

2. Analog TV
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in
the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite
providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who
are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local
stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you'll
need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new
stations which will only be broadcast in digital.

1. The Family FarmSince the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining
rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in
1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm
census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been published).
Ninety-one percent of the U.S. farms are small family farms.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is Your Music Too Loud?

Denny Burke posted this article on his blog. What do you think?

John Stackhouse penned an article this week for Christianity Today with the apt title, “Memo to Worship Bands: Five sound reasons to lower the volume.” Stackhouse’s central concern is summed up in this sentence: “I find almost every worship band in every church I visit to be too loud—not just a little bit loud, but uncomfortably, even painfully, loud.” He then goes on to give five reasons why worship leaders should turn down the volume

Here are the Five.

First, I know it's breaking the performer's code to say so (the way magicians are never supposed to reveal a secret), but cranking up the volume is just a cheap trick to add energy to a room. The comedic film This Is Spinal Tap showed us all the absurdity of using sheer noise to compensate for a lack of talent. (The knobs on the band members' guitars and amplifiers were modified to go to 11.) Do not compensate for mediocrity by amping it up to MEDIOCRITY.

Second, when your intonation is not very good—and let's face it, most singers and instrumentalists are not anywhere close to being in perfect tune—turning it up only makes it hurt worse. If I hear one more "harmony singer" have trouble deciding whether to hit the major or the minor third and instead split the difference at a scalp-tightening volume, I think my head will split also.

Third, the speakers in most church PA systems cannot take that much energy through their small, old magnets and cones, especially from piano, bass, and kick drum. So we are being pounded with high-powered fluffing and sputtering—which do not induce praise.

Fourth, consider that you might be marginalizing older people, most of whom probably do not like Guns N' Roses volumes at church. And if you suspect older congregants may be secretly delighted behind their tight smiles, ask them. I dare you.

Fifth, let me drop some church history and theology on you. By the time church music matured into Palestrina and Co. in the 16th century, it had become too demanding and ornate for ordinary singers. So Christians went to church to listen to a priest and a choir.

The Protestant Reformation yanked musical worship away from the professionals and put it back in the pews. Luther composed hymns based on popular melodies, including drinking songs. Calvin insisted on taking lyrics from the Psalms. This was music in which almost anyone could participate. The problem today, to be sure, is rarely elaborate music. We could use a little more artistry, in fact, than we usually get with the simplistic and repetitive musical figures of many contemporary worship songs.

He closes by saying this:

Now, I like Palestrina and I like good Christian rock. So, church musicians, if you want to perform a fine song that requires advanced musicianship, by all means do it. We will listen and pray and enjoy it to the glory of God.

But when you are leading us in singing, then lead us in singing. And turn it down so we are not listening to you—or, even worse, merely enduring you. I know that is not what you want to happen. But I am telling you that's what is happening.

John G. Stackhouse Jr. is the Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada

Bail Out Cost

Amanda Shaw collects the numbers on the price tag for the new "stimulus" plan:

Adjusted for inflation, here are some other massive expenditures:

* The Marshall Plan ($115.3 billion)
* The space race ($237 billion)
* The Korean War ($454 billion)
* The New Deal ($500 billion)
* The invasion of Iraq ($597 billion)
* The Vietnam War ($698 billion)
So the proposed "stimulus" package costs more than the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and the New Deal combined.

Here are some thought experiments:

If you took collected a $1 million per day, ever day from the birth of Christ, in 2009 you'd only be about 3/4 of the way to a trillion.
If you got $1 every second, it would take almost 32,000 years to get to a trillion.
If you stacked a trillion dollar bills on top of each other, it would go 68,000 miles into space--1/3 of the way to the moon.
If you took 100-dollar bills and put them side to side, it would circle the equator 38.9 times

HT: Between Two Worlds

Saturday, February 7, 2009

E.M. Bounds on Prayer

We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by importunate prayer. It surmounts or removes all obstacles, overcomes every resisting force and gains its ends in the face of invincible hindrances.

God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them.

Non-praying is lawlessness, discord, anarchy.

The goal of prayer is the ear of God, a goal that can only be reached by patient and continued and continuous waiting upon Him, pouring out our heart to Him and permitting Him to speak to us. Only by so doing can we expect to know Him, and as we come to know Him better we shall spend more time in His presence and find that presence a constant and ever-increasing delight.

The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be; the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.

Our praying, to be strong, must be buttressed by holy living. The life of faith perfects the prayer of faith.

Men would pray better if they lived better. They would get more from God if they lived more obedient and well-pleasing to God.

Jesus taught that perseverance is the essential element of prayer. Men must be in earnest when they kneel at God's footstool. Too often we get faint-hearted and quit praying at the point where we ought to begin. We let go at the very point where we should hold on strongest. Our prayers are weak because they are not impassioned by an unfailing and resistless will

I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbor's door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.

Prayer is our most formidable weapon, the thing which makes all else we do efficient.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Gospel is Confrontational

HT: Delivered by Grace

Article by Josh Buice
In Acts 19:21-41, we see an interesting story about Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. The preaching of Paul literally stirred up the entire city. Ephesus was saturated with the worship of Artemis (aka Diana) - the false god. The people had an elaborate temple built there whereby they would have formal worship practices devoted to her. In the temple, there was a large statue of Diana that was complete with animals surrounding her head, multiple breasts, and surrounded by extensive architecture within the temple itself.

The silversmiths gained greatly from the worship of Diana - the goddess of fertility. They made shrines and other images for use in their pagan worship practices and ceremonies. During the spring each year the city would fill up and prepare for a week long worship ceremony of Diana. During this time of celebration the silversmiths gained greatly through the sale of these images made for worshipping Diana.

Paul comes to Ephesus with one goal. He came to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the preaching of Ephesus, the truth about false gods was revealed. Paul pointed out that gods that were made with the hands of men were no real god at all. Paul pointed to the cross and Jesus crucified and slain for our sin as the hope of the nations. It was that message that literally shook the city of Ephesus. It shook the lives of specific people who laid down their false gods. The message of the Gospel shook the city’s foundation which was built upon idol worship. It caused an economic recession in the lives of the silversmiths. The Gospel threatened to overthrow the great temple of Artemis and diminish the magnificence of her image. It was literally the collision of two opposing worlds. The world of the Gospel and the world of Diana!

Led by a man named Demetrius, the silversmiths started a city wide riot. The confused crowd grabbed two of Paul’s companions and took them into the theater. The crowd was out of control and full of wrath. When Alexander tried to calm the crowd, the angry Ephesians cried out for two hours claiming that “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Finally, the clerk was able to convince the angry crowd to calm down and bring official complaints against these men if they have done anything wrong. By the providence of God, the crowd calmed down and dispersed back into the town.

Paul was spared from the wrath of the people. He intended to run into the theater and address the crowd, but some people prevented him since they believed his life would be in immediate danger. God had spared Paul and his friends from the wrath of angry pagan worshippers. God had more work to accomplish through Paul and his preaching. The collision of two opposing worlds endangered the idol Diana and it also endangered the lives of the Christians. However, in the end - the Gospel prevails. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was not overcome! Warren Wiersbe writes:

Ephesus is gone, and so is the worldwide worship of Diana of the Ephesians. The city and the temple are gone, and the silversmiths’ guild is gone. Ephesus is a place visited primarily by archeologists and people on Holy Land tours. Yet the Gospel of God’s grace and the church of Jesus Christ are still here! We have four inspired letters that were sent to the saints in Ephesus—Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Revelation 2:1–7. The name of Paul is honored, but the name of Demetrius is forgotten. (Were it not for Paul, we would not have met Demetrius in the first place!) The church ministers by persuasion, not propaganda. We share God’s truth, not man’s religious lies. Our motive is love, not anger; and the glory of God, not the praise of men. This is why the church goes on, and we must keep it so.1

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Philippians 2:9-11 - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Songs They Don't Sing

James MacDonald describes songs they don't sing at Harvest Bible Fellowship.
What do you think?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Did You Know?

Stanley on Sovereignty

19The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Psalm 103: 19-22

Sometimes it's hard to understand why God allows adversity. In the midst of a personal tragedy, the Lord's sovereignty may seem to be impractical and unrealistic theology. But Romans 8:28 says God works all things together for the believer's good.

David's writings show the importance of trusting in God's sovereignty, no matter what. Sometimes it's easy to think of biblical writers as perfect, almost Christlike figures. But David's life was full of adversity, temptation, sin, and forgiveness.

When he ran for his life from King Saul, God spared him. When he yielded to temptation with Bathsheba, God spared him. When his son attempted to take David's throne, God spared him and kept him as king.

In all of these unfortunate circumstances, David discovered God was protecting and guiding Him every step of the way. God used him for extraordinary purposes, despite his human failings. These experiences taught David to fully trust in the Lord's sovereignty.

Those of us in similar situations should ask, Do we believe God is in control? If He's not, then who is? In other words, if life events are random and without purpose, then who do we turn to in our trials?

In 1 Chronicles 29:12, David says God rules over everything. His hand strengthens everyone. Have faith in the Lord's ability to strengthen you with His sovereign hand. You may not always understand His reasons. But you can surely trust His purposes.