Posted by: futurefaith | December 1, 2010

Start! The Bible for New Believers

Recently Booksneeze provided me with a complimentary copy of “Start! The Bible for New Believers” edited by Greg Laurie and published by Thomas Nelson. The “Start!” Bible uses the New King James Version of the Bible, a commendable translation. Its notes and commentaries are geared for the new convert. After taking several weeks to explore this Bible I have developed some particular thoughts on it. At first glance (or at just a glance) this bible looks like any other book. The “Start!” seems to be marketed to look like a modern publication (a regular book), something I noticed right off and wasn’t impressed with. Secondly, the commentary could be sparse and absent in many areas (especially in the O.T), though the New Testament seemed much more adequate. Thirdly, the commentary contained a theological bias in the way it interpreted and explained salvific passages. I understand that establishing theology isn’t the focus of the commentary, however, understanding most always determines interpretation and as such will be factor of concern for many in circles outside of the General Editor’s persuasion.
As for the things that I did appreciate about this Bible. The fact that the Bible was focused on new believers was commendable. The “Secrets to Spiritual Success” in the front of the Bible was a very good idea and helpful for giving the reader understanding of what it means to be a believer and how they should start their new life in Christ once they have come to faith. I loved that each book had a small introduction to it. My favorite portion of the commentary was the “Essentials” section at the end of the Bible which explained in detail the attributes of God and Jesus Christ. This section made God (and consequently Jesus) tangible and personal. This was well done and a great way to finish this particular Bible.
As for the publication itself. I liked the size. It measured literally 8 3/8 in. tall, by 5 3/8 in. wide, by 1 in. thick. A perfect size to carry or pack. The print size was perfect for me, but then again I have the young eyes of a 31 year old. Someone with poorer eye-sight may not appreciate the smaller font size. The font type was good, very readable and typical. The format was good and everything was easy to find. The use of colors was a help, mainly black, red and gray. The paper was thin, but durable (I didn’t underline or mark on it). The spine was glued, but laid open very well. The cover is laminate so the plastic separates from the paper cover quickly with consistent use. The Bible is priced somewhere around $16. As far as a personal recommendation I would say it depends on one’s understanding of salvation since this Bible is heavily concerned with that area. If you are of the Arminian/Free Will persuasion. I would say buy it by the case. If you happen to be of the Reformed/Predestinarian persuasion, you should look elsewhere.

Posted by: futurefaith | July 20, 2010

I’m Still Here

I know It has been a while since my last post. Being a pastor, teacher, counselor, husband, father, friend…and busy, makes it really hard to do the fun things like blog. I just wanted to let those few of you who check on me via this site that I have several things I’m planning on blogging about…as soon as I get the time. Subjects include:

“Some Thoughts On How To Properly Use a Book In Preaching/Teaching”
“Keeping Logs For Posterity’s Sake”
“Aspects of Amillennialism Strengthening the Here And Now of Christianity”
“Excerpts from My Message Series on “A Biblical Disciple” (as soon as I finish them)”

I am hoping that God will open my mind to other subject matters as I plug away with these idea. Stay tune!

Posted by: futurefaith | February 26, 2010

Living Under The Law

Darkness and bondage of Muslim extremisim

Posted by: futurefaith | February 26, 2010

PBS Frontline: 10 Days With the Taliban

Posted by: futurefaith | February 11, 2010

The Success of Child Rearing

Even though, by God’s grace, my parenting skills mature and progress, I find, way too often, reasons to question the effectiveness of my child rearing. It isn’t due to the fact that I don’t know what to do, for I am pursuing it diligently by the books, firstly the Bible, then Ted Tripp’s, ‘Shepherding a Child’s Heart’; Lloyd-Jones’, ‘Raising Children God’s Way’; and of course everything Doug Wilson. But sometimes I am overcome with the burden of instructing my children. Not that I mean this in a bad, begrudging, I-wish-I-didn’t-have-to-do-this way, but that the responsibility God has given Christian parents of training them for Him is such an awesome task. It is bad enough that my boys often times seem to posses half of my virtues (which explains a lot) and double my faults (They diagnose this as the “terrible two’s” and the “fearsome fours”), which in reality I find often is that I, as a father, have halved my virtue and increased my faults, which means that I then must deal with the exasperation of fighting myself in administrating the appropriate means for meeting the heart issues head on, while at the same time trying to avoid joining the club of mediocrity which comes in the form of being content to only treat the symptoms of my child’s problem. So, yeah, about right now I am feeling like I just punched my own ticket to the “terribly inapt and most-likely to fail” hall of shame, and if this is all I had, I would indeed reach this destination by speeds rivaling that of sound. Surely there are others who feel this great and awesome task snuggly fitted on their shoulders? So what do we do about this? I want to do it the way that Joshua did it, he just said it, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”, but for some reason God has not granted me the same force of words, mine seem to require hours of talk, prayer, discipline and much self-evaluation. So I am now left to find comfort in some way other than by “fatherhood decree”, and where is it that I should find my comfort? Well, here are some truths from one verse in the book of Proverbs that I constantly claim and am presently resting in for the future result of “rejoicing to know that my children walk in truth”.
1. I must settle for nothing but the right training. (Proverbs 22:6) “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart form it” (ESV). I know, I know, you’re probably saying that you know of kids who didn’t follow the training they received from their Christian parents after they flew the coop; I have the same experiences to flame this fire and the aptness to question this for myself. However, there are some thoughts on this verse that we should keep in mind as parents. The first is in regard to what training the child receives. Sure a lot of Christian parents have taught their child “the way” but it becomes very apparent that “the way” was the way according to the parent! The parent really didn’t train by the Scripture (which is Spirit and Truth), but by what the result of biblical training might and should look like. In other words they got the cart in front of the horse. The way parents should train their child is the same way God trains us, by His Spirit. Many kids have received training by “the law”, that is, their training was primarily militant do’s and don’ts. Now, I am not saying that parents shouldn’t have rules for their kids, I have some for my own children, but when we train a child by rules, they still have the “natural tendencies” of sinful humans, and all we accomplish with the rules is a type of reformation which will ultimately fall well short of the desired transformation we desire to see. (Gal. 5:16a) “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desire of the flesh” (ESV). After all, what good does it really do to regulate one’s life merely by rules? Consider Col. 2:20-23, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (ESV). So we can clearly see that living by the letter of the law is not how we are going to accomplish a biblically “successful” training. To train our children then, it seems to me, must be by the Spirit.
2. I am resting in the hope that God will be pleased to produce the “even when he is old he will not depart from it” part. After all one of the sanctities of Christian marriage is found in what it is intended to produce, (Malachi 2:15a) “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” (ESV). What an assurance we have in that! I am resting in the hope that the reason God has placed this heavenly duty upon me in the first place is for the purpose of calling them [my children] unto himself as His seed (Acts 2:39). Now in closing I gladly admit that it is God who grants the Spirit to our children to adhere to this type of training, and that without Him [the Spirit] our instruction will not have the final result we are working for. But we can’t ignore the exciting expectation that comes with training by the Spirit, namely, that God has commanded it (Deut. 6), He is sovereign therefore we know it is to fulfill a purpose, His purpose. I am resting in the promises of God. Therefore, when I question why I am doing what I am doing, or even if what I am doing is going to work, I can confidently say [to myself], that the promises of God are sure, and His Word gives me hope that it will not return void, and in that, we can all agree, there is much comfort to be found. All in all, the reality is that we as parents can not assure that our children will indeed turn out to be God-fearing, Spirit-led, believers. However, this does not negate the fact that we have a calling and that calling is to water and plant. The comfort comes in knowing that God blesses obedience and that it is He who gives the growth (1 Co. 3:7).

Posted by: futurefaith | December 10, 2009

Christmas Light Show

A couple friends of mine turned me on to this display. I thought it was really cool and wanted to share. Take some time to hear Mr. Holdman’s story and check out some of the facts concerning the display. Thanks Ron and Ryan!

Holdman Christmas display

Posted by: futurefaith | November 17, 2009

Musing About Speaking Intelligently

One of the things I really struggle with is the ability to speak in a manner salubrious to satiate conversation. What I mean to say is that I find it easier to speak a lot of little words to get a single thought across when I am convinced that I could accomplish the same task much quicker and more intelligently with less words. One of my favorite men to read is Charles H. Spurgeon, the great reformed Baptist theologian of the middle and late 19th century. I have many of his works and I am always amazed, and often times ashamed, when I think of how prolifically men of that time were able to convey to their readers their points and ideas when compared to the seemingly indelible empty speech of this day and age. The men of the 17th century also capture my attention, whether it be the Puritan theologians, the translators of King James’ translation of the English Bible (and it’s original preface) or the founding American “fathers” of the rebel colonies, they all demand attention and adherence with the wit and power of their words.
We have moved away from this limpid style of language to embrace a horribly crude and suggestive form of speech which, without it, text messaging would be half as less attractive from what it currently is. While we don’t want to speak over or past an individual (that would hamper the learning experience of the situation) we certainly do not want to remain content with ingenuous vocabulary either.
Not to long ago a friend of mine (who is very well spoken) was mocked by an individual who I would consider a base English user, for using in a sentence the word “vernacular”. While I understand this word would not be considered an “average” English word, I would have suspected it to still be on the “well understood” list of English vocabulary. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case any more.
There is nothing more refreshing to me than to hear a young student use words of common speech from a time not to long ago, and while the child might be considered “grown up” by his word choices, I would simply and causally like to propose that the youngster is simply speaking intelligently.

Posted by: futurefaith | August 22, 2009

We Have Been Promised This

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9)

Posted by: futurefaith | August 18, 2009

Wonderful Words





I went to the library today with the family to return some books and DVDs and happened to stop by the “book sale” corner. As always I started looking for Bibles and Theology books. Usually I don’t have much success but today I found a treasure. I came across a KJV Teacher’s Edition Cambridge Bible. I took the Bible off the shelf and began to thumb through it. It was a personal size edition, smyth-sewn in a French Morocco leather. The binding was still intact with no broken stitches. The pages edges were the classical gold-red gilding. There was no markings or underlined verses in the text and none of the pages had more than a slight rip. In the front of the Bible someone had written in ink their name, address, and a date 1924 (I assume the date received). There were no publishing dates to be found, however, in the back I found a stamped marking for the patent of this particular edition as March 8, 1910 (one day before my birthday…different years of course) just 7 months shy of 100 years! A Bible Dictionary was placed between the text and the concordance, a pretty good one at that, and as I mentioned already, the Bible is in excellent condition. The amazing thing for me is that I acquired this gem for the hefty price of $1. Wow!

As I sat in my office and thought about my new “Sword” My mind went to the song I learned as a child ‘Wonderful Words of Life’. As I began to hum the words of that song I found myself wondering how many lives in the almost, 100 years has these Words brought to life. How many hearts were strengthened by a simple phrase in this old book? What wrongs did the Holy Spirit make right by the truths resting on these pages? I began to think more generally about the revivals, reformations, revolutions these words caused. I thought of the governments, and kings/kingdoms God established and toppled because of the words in this book. I thought of Paul as he explained that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). I thought of how God has taught me by the force of His Word as I studied its teachings. What power! What authority! What assurance!

I am in awe as I think of how this book has affected history, nations, men and women. I think of how all the power as contained in the cover of this book, a power that trumps any and every spell book in the world, was mine for the price of a large McDonald’s ice tea. Indeed, these are wonderful words.

Posted by: futurefaith | August 14, 2009

Something You Can Do With All Your Scrap Metal

So the Wisconsin Public Television channel came through again by amusing me (this time it had nothing to do with politics). I was sold on this guy the moment he started playing, and I am sure many of you will be too. I can’t vouch for the songs (I couldn’t understand them) but the things he did with this thing was quite amazing. Take the next few moments and be…amused.

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