Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ahmadinejad’s iPod

Iranian President eases tension between “Annihilate
Israel” speeches with musical inspiration from his iPod. Top 10 guesses at his favorite playlist:

  1. - Borat’s “Throw the Jew Down the Well” extended mix
  2. - “If Annihilating Israel is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right”
  3. - How To Win Friends and Annihilate Israel (spoken word)
  4. - Don’t Know Much About History (Shoah Remix)
  5. - "Make It Naughty, Bring the Mahdi”
  6. - "My Mom the Imam”
  7. - "To Russia With Love” movie soundtrack
  8. - 7 Habits of Highly Effective Megalomaniacs (books on cd)
  9. - Any jazz FUSION
  10. - Def Leppard’s “Armageddon It"

Monday, October 30, 2006

1960's revisited

My 12-year-old son came home with a fascinating (to me) homework assignment last week. He was to create a PowerPoint presentation on 1960's music, tying the music of that decade in with the important events of that time. Having been born in 1967, and having experimented in many of the substances, philosophies, and music of that era, I jumped on the opportunity to be "homework helpin' Dad."
I'd never really looked back at what I knew about the sixties since coming to Christ. How interesting to revisit that era with Christian lenses. Now I'm not gonna say the sixties were evil, as I believe many good thoughts and social awareness came out of that time. However, the biggest thing that struck me was the false belief that mankind could bring utopia through his own efforts. Turn inward, find your inner truth, heal the planet, have everyone love each other and just "get along" (while "doing your own thing," of course). Sex, drugs, and rock and roll mixed with new age/Eastern religions must have had many believing they'd see utopia in their own generation.
What great ideals. However, the Bible is clear that there will be no lasting peace for man prior to Jesus' return. I guess the biggest question I came away from this homework assignment with was "How does one balance good works with the knowledge that we'll only get but so far without God's direct intervention?" God, please guide my life to keep the right balance.
The article below addresses this very question in our day (2006). Considering that the coming anti-Christ will woo the masses with promises of peace and global prosperity based on man's wisdom (backed up with miracles and lies), I guess it's no surprise that humanism's pull would only get stronger as the end-times draw nearer. As we present the gospel to those around us, how do we advocate for social causes without missing the focus of Christ crucified for our sins? Check the link below for more thinking, if not solid answers.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lonely Bookshelf

Picked up a book by Paul Tillich at my local PTA thrift shop. Thank you God, for that lone bookshelf of Christian gems that has provided me with three years of dirt cheap Christian classics. Thank you God, for allowing me to live in a time and place where I can find copies of your word in the NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc, etc. for rarely more than 50 cents. How ironic is it to see people shell out $20-30 for the latest "achieve comfort in your own lifetime" manual, when for a few pennies, one can find the eternal truth? I somehow doubt Jesus would be surprised, since He Himself was sold for 30 pieces of silver.
I've probably haunted this thrift shop's "religious" bookshelf at least weekly over the last three + years. I'm always curious as to what kind of person I'll find myself browsing with. Alas, I'm usually alone, stunned at how nobody else seems aware of the treasure trove. Among the handful of shoppers who I have stood beside, I recall three:
1) A guy who had already selected a few books to buy, including one by popular author Philip Yancey. I tried to engage him in a little enthusiastic conversation about Christ, but he informed me that he ran a used bookshelf himself, and was really just there to stock up on inventory.
2) A lady with a radiant smile, who didn't like my recommendation of a particular author, since the title clearly indicated traditional Christianity. I did attempt to humor her by agreeing that many religions have elements of truth, but went on to suggest that they can't all be pointing to the same God, since there are irreconcilable differences in their basic tenets. She informed me that the Bible was simply "that era's" reflection of the larger truth. Our conversation didn't get any further. She grabbed her selection from the New Age shelf, and was gone.
3) A Hispanic guy in a jean jacket. His broken English was barely good enough for us to talk. He told me about how much he likes his church. I gave him the call-letters of the BBN radio station where he could listen to sermons. He was thankful for the info. We could barely communicate, but we both knew we were brothers, and I left feeling thankful to God for a new eternal friend. I can imagine that day in heaven: "Hey, I remember you! Remember when we met at that dingy thrift shop back in 2006?" We'll speak each other's language that day. We'll both be wearing white. We won't need any books to understand Christ better.
Back to the bookshelf: I'm fairly impressed by the loose categorization the staff have put the books in. There's Christian fiction, Holy books (Bible, book of Mormon, etc.), Christian living, religion in general, Eschatology, New Age/Occult/Mysticism. My pet peeve is when I find books like Benjamin Creme's Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (a new age anti-gem) alongside solid doctrine. That's when I take the liberty of doing a little "re-shelving." Lord forgive me for presuming to know better than the staff how to shelve, but it's probably a lesser sin than my desire to just burn them?
Anyhow, I better not get too righteous here. I should probably spend more time reading the one book where the author is present every time you open it. Meantime, thank you Lord, for the black lady at the thrift shop checkout whose radio is always tuned to the black gospel station. I can always count on her smile as she looks at the titles I'm buying. Even though ours is a simple retail transaction, rather than any service on my part, she always makes me think of Hebrews 13:2:

"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Screen Shot

Well, it looks like yet another celebrity may be headed to rehab. Sometimes, rather than offer commentary, it's best to let a picture do the talking. When I clicked on my excite news portal this morning, this picture was on the top left part of my screen. Obviously, I've personalized this web portal to include a daily scripture passage. Perhaps I need to pay more attention to the coincidental pairings of daily news with Bible verses. Interesting.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Good ol' Testimony

Besides some really cool graphics, there's plenty of superior blogging happening at a site called Pyromaniacs. Here's a great testimony from one of their writers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blogger Pride

I wonder how many folks have started a blog, and let it die when it didn't get them the fame, fortune, notoriety, etc. that they were hoping for? I've heard about myspace folks who have pleaded for people to visit their online world, and even posted angry words to that same world for being ignored.
This is understandable for a secular site. I believe it was the comedian Steve Martin who said that his job was basically "Dig Me!" Isn't that the not-so-secret motivation of most of the online community? Problem is, most folks who would even read a blog are too busy creating their own.
This tendency for self-glorification remains even once we come to know Jesus. Our pride is, in fact, the main thing that must be killed off (however slowly) as we gradually align our thoughts with those of our creator.
As a blogger for God, I have often asked myself what my real motivation for blogging is. Is it REALLY to glorify God, or is it to "Dig Me!" In all honesty, I believe that both motivations are there. All I can do is continually offer prayers of thanks that Jesus has already forgiven my "bloggers pride," and request that God would glorify Himself through this vehicle DESPITE my impurities.
One of the temptations for the blogger is to obsessively track the number of readers, and/or comments. I've deliberately removed my "hit-counter" to minimize this temptation. After all, can God only use a blog that attracts thousands of readers? Could God get his message across with a poorly written testimony? This brings to mind Paul's warning to keep your message simple:

2 Corinthians 11:3

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

What then, should be the goal of any God blog? Simply, to spread the message of Christ crucified, and the redemption available to man. Any time the focus shifts from the message to the messenger, the goal is lost.
However, does this mean that one should not use their talents to glorify God? Hardly. In a perverse way, I believe that Satan even uses a person's humility to curb their efforts for the Kingdom. Natural, healthy humility can be over-emphasized to prevent a person from even using their gifts for Kingdom work. Similarly, a worker's perceived lack of results can make it feel pointless to continue. This frustration at not seeing big results looms largest when we compare ourselves to others. If a new blogger expects to have an impact like that of Charles Spurgeon, throwing in the towel will be tempting.
Today's Bible reading in the Hope Life journal included the first 2 chapters of Haggai. Those who have been called to rebuild the temple of God are dragging their heals for the same reasons I've discussed above:

  • I've got my own issues to take care of first
  • Our paltry efforts pale in comparison to the splendorous temple that Solomon built
  • etc
I wonder if any of the workers also dwelled on things like:
  • I'm not good at construction - who am I to build?
  • If you can't do a job well, it's not worth doing. I don't have the proper time, energy, etc. for this project, so it's better left undone
Of course, the good news is that God encouraged these builders, and reminded them that they could expect His resources (of energy, talent, etc) once they got working. He told them to get going, and leave the outcome to Him. For some awesome commentary on this, I direct you to one of my favorite expositors, John Piper (the kind of writer/speaker that I should NEVER compare myself to, lest I become discouraged).
Hey, speaking of the blogging world, I'm so happy to see that two folks in my life have decided to contribute. One is Mike Remedios, who hosts the men's Bible study I like to attend. Second is his wife Alice, who is seriously gifted in the culinary arts department. Both are blogging their reflections on the Hope Journal daily Bible reading plan (scroll down under the heading "Daily Devotionals).
So, for all God's bloggers, I pray that He use us and our efforts for His glory alone. May our efforts direct our readers to the Bible, the Word, the Christ. Praise be to the most high God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Be Not Drunk With Wine

This bunch of creative Christians is launching a campaign in the UK to get people talking about Jesus. The site even links to a myspace site where folks can converse. What a great way to get folks thinking.
No doubt, the campaign will garner plenty of criticism from non-believers, and believers alike (who will frown upon a beer glass being paired with Jesus).
If you believe that using elements of popular culture to help spread the gospel is O.K., keep reading. If not, you'll probably not like the ideas I present next, and I would redirect you here (please understand this is my crude attempt at humour).
Still reading? O.K.. Well, why stop at using a beer glass to provoke thoughts on God? There are plenty of other vices (false idols) we can choose from...
How about drugs? The thing is with chemical highs, you never get enough. With little more than very casual use, tolerence kicks in, and now the user gets locked in to a pattern of seeking the drug for comfort. Like every addiction, enough uses creates a need that did not exist before. God made us with deep-seated needs for something beyond everyday existence, but a relationship with Him is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy that need. If that were not the case, addicts might report highly fulfilling lives, and not continue to suffer feelings of pointlessnes. I've met plenty of folks who report that they have enjoyed temporary highs, but no one has ever told me that their drug of choice is a satisfying answer to the "why are we here" question.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kiss Army to join IDF?

Funny, but when I think of Israel's long list of contributions to our world (here's a list 0f 57), I never remember Gene Simmons - born Chaim Witz - and his rock band Kiss. Even if you didn't go through your own Kiss phase, you've got to admit that it's fascinating to hear he-of-the-long-tongue sending a personal soundbite of support to one of Israel's recent wounded soldiers.
Shout it Out Loud, Gene! Now maybe you'd consider adding your fire-breathing talents to Israel's military - you know - what with their delapidated equipment and all. Or maybe use your influence to get the Kiss Army to join the IDF? If I recall correctly, didn't US Air Force personnel once play Van Halen tunes in flight to pump them up? I also remember something about the Western military playing loud heavy metal as psychological warfare against their opponents. Maybe Ehud Olmert needs to give Destroyer a few listens?
O.K., I know, I'm getting carried away here. Gene and company did cover the song "God Gave Rock and Roll To You," but beyond that, I have no inkling of Gene's spiritual persuasion.
Despite his sense of humour (using Gene to support an Israeli soldier, using an ex-Palestinian terrorist to spread the gospel), etc., God will take care of His people Israel just fine on His own. Count on it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why I'm Thankful to Jews

Here's a good summary on why we, as Christians, ought to be thankful to the Jews:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Snakes On A Disciple

O.K. I admit it, I'm simply cashing in on the cultural fascination with this movie and it's title to draw unsusssspecting net surfers to the gosssspel. So ssssue me.
You want snake stories? The Bible has plenty:
From online encyclopedia Wikipedia:
In Christianity the snake makes its infamous appearance in the first book (Genesis) of the Bible when a snake appears before the first couple Adam and Eve and tempts them with the forbidden fruit. It is also seen in Exodus when Moses, as a sign of God's power, turns his stick into a snake to devour the pharaoh's snake. Later Moses made Nehushtan, a bronze snake on a pole that when looked at cured the people of bites from the snakes that plagued them in the desert. Jesus instucted his disciples to be be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

My favorite snake story from the Bible is the account of Paul in Acts 28. He and his crew have been shipwrecked amongst a tribe of savages. While making a fire, a snake crawls out from the heat and bites Paul. The islanders think the snake is divine retribution for Paul's badness, but Paul simply shakes off the serpent, unharmed. This site offers some commentary on the scene, and you can read the actual story right from the Bible here.
Of course, there is also controversy on whether one is to prove their faith through the handling of snakes. I agree with this writer, who states that God would certainly be capable of protecting a believer from a snake's venom, but that we are not to go around testing God like this. The upshot of the matter is that God will protect His followers eternally, even if they come to harm in this life.
Actually, snakes will become harmless even before eternity. During the 1000-year millenium, Isaiah 11:8 tells us that:

"The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest."

Celebrate the Savior That Saves Us From the Serpent and Subdues All Snakes!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cavernous Hell

Came across this frightening website, which expands on the reflections I had while spelunking.
Your First 6 Days In Hell

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cave Contemplation

Cave Contemplation
Originally uploaded by tombern.

1 hour in a cave was a nice experience. Steady 55 degrees was a break from the outside mid-summer heat. At the deepest part of the cave, our guide turned out the lights for a minute, informing us that it would take our brains about 7 minutes to realize your eyes would never adjust to the darkness.
If hell is really in the deepest part of the Earth, I can't imagine the dark, hot monotony would lend itself to revelry.
I overheard an atheist who imagined he'd play jazz saxaphone when he got to hell. It's got to be hard to play a reed instrument when your lips are on fire.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Summary by Joel

Whew, I don't think I've ever blogged so much in such a short-time span. Maybe because I feel compelled to get some stuff on here before our 2 week vacation to our home and native land starts.
Anyhow, Joel Rosenberg's latest entry is a quick summary of why many prophecy watchers are very...watchful right now. Great short read.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

We're All Imperfect Recruits

My pastor spoke today (7/30) about not making the mistake of thinking you must be perfectly holy before you can be pressed in to service by God. Not that we shouldn't strive for obedience to Jesus, but that knowing we won't become fully righteous this side of heaven shouldn't allow us to sit on the sidelines of "Kingdom" work.
Since my work is primarily with those who have gotten a DWI charge, I couldn't help thinking of Mel Gibson, who just released a humble public statement following his own recent drinking and driving charge.
No mistake, Mel's action wasn't good, and his apparent anti-semitic remarks during the arrest truly sadden me.
However, this is still the same man who brought us the Passion of the Christ movie. Despite Mel's self-admitted long-time struggle with alcoholism, God used him in a big way.
God's grace is bigger than any sin any of us could commit. Thank God He still loves Mel. Thank God He still loves ALL of us, even when we mess up.
If you're reading this Mel, know that there's a DWI pro who's seen many a case worse than yours. Read that Bible of yours brother. The jews are our brothers, and God will perfect the ones who believe in His son as much as He will perfect you and I. If they bother you, spend time praying that as many of them as possible come to know Jesus.
Meantime, here's a great piece by excellent Bible teacher John MacArthur reminding us to:
"Be Not Drunk With Wine..." I'll be reading it a few times myself in the hopes of applying the wisdom in it to my own ongoing battle with tobacco.

Hezbollah's Civilian Pawns

What will Hezbollah do next, strap their women and children TO their rockets? What kind of army keeps their civilians with their rocket launchers?

Friday, July 28, 2006

If You Want Blood, You Got It

Say what you want about blood, but when it's spilled, it sure gets everyone's attention. My 5 year old daughter ended up with a nasty bloody nose during a play (?) - fight with her neighbour friend. Near as we grownups could make out, they were swiping at each other through a tent, which had been set up in the back-yard for a sleep-over for the punching boy's older brother.
As my daughter screamed, blood pouring out of her nose, everyone was drawn to her plight, of course freaking her out even more. Here I am, holding damp tissues to her nose, wondering what happened (the story didn't come out until she was calm).
As I gave her a bath, we realized that her shirt was quite bloodied. We both noticed that the blood stain seemed to land primarily on the Lion character (Aslan) of her "Narnia" t-shirt. If you've seen/read the Narnia film/book, you no-doubt know that Aslan represents Christ. Of course, this lead to a great discussion of Christ's sacrifice as we cleaned up. Yes, the discussion did involve Christ's shedding his blood for us. Some may say that this would be too traumatic a topic for a 5 year old. However, she was not horrified, but strangely calmed. When the impact of what Christ did for us on the cross hit her, she simply exclaimed: "Thank-you God!" She already knew what Christ had done, but I believe the experience of having her own blood shed (and feeling the pain of it) really drove home the precious blood of Christ for her.
The night had a happy ending, as we were able to go back to the birthday party, where my daughter and the boy played some more, albeit gentler games. We even had cake and ice-cream, and all was understood and/or forgiven.
No one likes blood, but it sure draws a crowd. I guess it's impossible to ignore. It sure is hard to watch it flow from your own child. Thank God there are times when the shedding of blood concludes with everyone at the party (who is hungry for it) eating cake and ice-cream.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Psalm 83

Did you read about the ancient book of Psalms dug up in Ireland? It was opened to Psalm 83 - a prayer to ask God to keep Israel protected from her neighbouring enemies. Seriously.

Not familiar with Psalm 83? You can view an excellent presentation of it right now by clicking here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I experienced a true first tonight. Despite their numerous gaffes, I've never actually laughed out loud at the comments of any politician. Even when they've made outrageous, silly, boombastic brags, I've never heard one that resulted in a spontaneous belly laugh. John Kerry, however, achieved this tonight.
According to Kerry, had he been elected, this whole middle-east thing would not have happened. Read the quote here. The setting? Some Detroit pub (?) called "Honest John's bar and grill."
Thanks Mr. Kerry. Guess I'll have to live with the remorse of contributing to this war by voting for your opponent. Would you also have used your diplomatic wiles to prevent Adam and Eve from tasting that forbidden fruit? I guess on both accounts, we'll never know. Sigh...

Iran's Diversion Tactics?

I've been waiting for Hal Lindsey to comment on the Middle-East situation. He hasn't let me down. Not only has he brought some light to the Damascus prophecy, but also expounded on current intelligence that brings Ezekiel 38 (Gog and Magog) to the table. Could the timing of Hezbollah's attack in Israel be one big diversion tactic?
This whole situation in Israel right now is fascinating to prophecy watchers. If it's not heading toward the end, these days sure do foreshadow the end of our church age.

Syria Threatens Involvement

I may be too hung up on the whole Damascus thing, but it keeps inching closer. "Syrian information minister says country to enter Israel-Hizbullah conflict if IDF forces invade Lebanon, approach Syria border."
Haven't IDF already done this? Maybe he means Beirut proper, or Northern Lebanon?
Syria: We'll join conflict if Israeli troops approach

Meanwhile, I'm praying for as few casualties as possible (on both sides). Lord, would you make yourself known to those who may perish, before they do so.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Are We On The Road To Damascus?

Updated on Monday July 17th:
Syria watches and waits

Got news? If so, you might want to re-read Isaiah 17 right quick. Here's an article that will get you up to speed on the potentially prophetic implications of what the headlines are plastered with:

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Concerning Damascus

My question for non-believers is this: If Damascus were to be utterly destroyed in this middle-east crisis, would it make you reconsider the truthfulness of the Gospel?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:12

Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Ecclesiastes 12:11

The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:10

The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

Ecclesiastes 12:9

Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:8

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.
"Everything is meaningless!"

Ecclesiastes 12:7

and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:6

Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,

Ecclesiastes 12:5

when men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.

Ecclesiastes 12:4

when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;

Ecclesiastes 12:3

when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;

Ecclesiastes 12:2

before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
"I find no pleasure in them"-

Friday, June 30, 2006

Ecclesiastes 11:10

So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 11:9

Be happy, young man, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you to judgment.

Ecclesiastes 11:8

However many years a man may live,
let him enjoy them all.
But let him remember the days of darkness,
for they will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 11:7

Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.

Ecclesiastes 11:6

Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let not your hands be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:3

If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain upon the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where it falls, there will it lie.

Ecclesiastes 11:2

Give portions to seven, yes to eight,
for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

Ecclesiastes 11:1

Cast your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will find it again.