September 30, 2008


Here is a letter sent to the editor of Kiplinger's Magazine.

In the November 2008 issue, Fred Frailey asks “What causes otherwise smart, super-intelligent, people to take leave of their senses and do really dumb things?” The answer is plain and simple: greed. Greed, from top to bottom, from the CEOs to the janitors. Everyone wants more and is not content with what they have. We all (individually and collectively) need to live within our means. This also includes the government.

A wise man named Solomon once said, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” He got it right thousands of years ago. We should all learn a lesson from this.

September 29, 2008

$700 Billion Bailout

Here is a message I sent to A. Spector, B. Casey, and J. Murtha regarding the $700 billion bailout of poorly ran businesses.

Bailing out the irresponsibly run businesses is a huge mistaken. It is a waste of taxpayer money and one that I do not support. The problem has been blown out of proportion and CEO’s simply want to protect their own interests.

Let the businesses fail and the market will correct itself with time. Yes, some jobs will be lost and homes will be foreclosed on, but the market forces of supply and demand are always at work. They only get screwed up when the government steps into the picture. Pass laws that encourage CEO’s to run their businesses effectively and efficiently. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

September 24, 2008

Bible Study

Chapter 2: Words, Words, Words
James 1:19-27

Last week we read about two tests James gives us regarding a true believer. The first test was of their response to trials. The second test was of their response to temptations.

Last night we looked at a third test of a true believer. James tells us you can know a true believer by their response to the Word of God.

When a true believer hears God's word they want to hear more of it while at the same time they desire to obey it. This is the natural reaction of a true believer. Like a baby’s desire for milk, a believer desires the Word.

The believer must be careful not to have a simple intellectual interest in the gospel (ie learning more of it), but a heart that desires to obey it. This is not a one-time feeling, rather it is a life-long pursuit.

How about you? How well do you handle these three tests of a true believer? Evaluate your response to trials, temptations, and your reception and reaction to the Word of God.

September 19, 2008

Book Review

I finished reading "the wired church 2.0" by Len Wilson with Jason Moore. This book is not what I was expecting.

The book is separated into four parts:
  1. Developing a mission for media.
  2. Designing meaningful media for worship.
  3. Building a championship crew.
  4. Mastering the technology.

Each part describes the way and reason why of doing things.

The book's main focus is using technology for the worship service. This is not what I was hoping for. I am looking for ways to utilize technology for our small, rural church in general. The book focused more on how to start using a projector for worship services in a large church setting. To get started would cost around $15,000 to use technology for worship.

The book really didn't seem to be very helpful for the complete beginner. It was wrote on a "higher education" level. It almost seems to me that the author was writing this book to be used in a classroom setting. In other words, more theory than practicality.There were however, some good points.

Overall though, this is one book the beginner can skip.

September 17, 2008

Bible Study

Last night was our first bible study at the Strongstown Church for the fall. We started a 9-week study on the book of James. We are using the lifeguide series as our study guide.

James is an interesting epistle. Some church leaders have practically rejected it's teachings, most notably is Martin Luther. However, James is a letter that basically says if you say you are a follow of Christ, then your life should show it.
There are only a few men named James mentioned in the Bible. The early Church fathers have affirmed that the human author of this letter is James, the half-brother of Christ. It is interesting to note early in Christ's ministry that His family basically rejected what He was doing. Some time later, however, they were converted to His followers, probably after His death or resurrection.
The first study looked at chapter 1 verses 1-18.

These portions of scripture deal with perseverance, trials, and temptations and the Christians reaction to them. We discussed the fact that even the world can often notice the difference between genuine Christians and those who simply claim to be a christian.

God is not responsible for our temptations. Nor is God responsible for people giving in to sin. The true christian perseveres through trials and temptations. In fact, they are drawn closer to God.

What do you do when faced with a trial or temptation? Are you drawn closer to God or do you give in to the temptation?

Next week will be Chapter 2 in the study guide which covers Chapter 1:19-27 of James.

September 15, 2008

2008 Suzuki SX4 Rear Differential Oil Change

A few weekends ago I changed the rear differential oil in my 2008 Suzuki SX4. Here is a brief overview of the process.

Items needed
At least 1 quart of 80w90 gear oil (2 quarts is a better idea)
Socket wrench
Drain container

The manual says to change the rear differential oil at 7,500 miles.

The manual calls for 80w90 gear oil. I like to use synthetic and it was tough to find locally. I ended up with Valvoline Dura-Blend. It is a synthetic blend gear oil.

The process was not hard. It is simply a matter of crawling under the rear of the vehicle.

First, I loosened the fill plug with the socket wrench. Then, I removed the drain plug and let the oil drain out. I noticed the oil was bluish. I replaced the drain plug and added slightly less than a quart of gear oil. It is easy to tell when you have added enough oil as it will start to drip out of the fill hole.

It was easy to squeeze the oil into the fill hole. However, I noticed that when about half the bottle was emptied I couldn’t get anymore out of the bottle. So I took the other quart and refilled the “squeeze” bottle.

I finished filling the rear differential, tighten the drain and fill plugs and then cleaned up.

Simple process to do. The oil was about $5 a quart and it took less than an hour to complete.

September 12, 2008

Book Review

This is a great book for those Christians struggling with understanding the government and how to think and act Christ-like to those in authority.

MacArthur gives a Christian perspective on the government and political involvement. He discusses the purpose of government and the Christian’s responsibility toward it.

MacArthur also teaches in this “Bible For Life” series about the Christian’s obligation toward taxes. Basically, Christians are to pay their taxes. He demonstrates this with Jesus’ teaching on taxes.
Here is a just a quick "Why Government Can't Save You" by John MacArthur

Of course, no book like this would be complete without a couple of examples from the Bible. MacArthur uses the example of Daniel and Paul to show how a Christian should live and interact (maybe even be a part of the government) with the government and its authorities.

Christians are to support their leaders and obey them, provided the leaders are not giving orders in direct violation of God’s Word. Finally, there is a chapter about how to live in a pagan society.

There is also a sermon from Charles Haddon Spurgeon at the end of the book about Citizenship in Heaven. The book includes a study guide for group study or further individual reflection.

True to MacArthur’s style, this book is filled with scriptural references. I highly recommend this book for anyone to read. This is this best book I have ever read about how a Christian should respond and deal with their government.

September 10, 2008

Chapter #9 - How to Live in a Pagan Culture

"The church will really change society for the better only when individual believers make their chief concern their own spiritual maturity, which means living in a way that honors God's commands and glorifies His name." page 130

Christians are not called to use their life simply to protest the government. We are called to proclaim the gospel and live lives that show its transforming power.

There are four areas of spiritual truth that Christians need to be reminded about
  1. A Christian's Duties
  2. Their unsaved condition
  3. Their salvation
  4. Their mission

What our our Christian Duties? pages 132 - 134

  • Obey government and all authority
  • Be prepared for good works
  • Do not malign anyone
  • Be peaceful and gentle to everyone
  • Be considerate of others

"And although we detest the sinful, unbiblical aspects of society, we must remember that the same ungodly characteristics once defined our lives. Such awareness will keep us humble and prevent us from putting down sinners simply because they rub us the wrong way by their values and lifestyles." pages 138-139

"If anything should prevent us from feeling hostile toward the corrupters of contemporary society and keep us from wasting our time trying to bring about moral and political reform, it should be the reminder that all the wonderful benefits of salvation derive from Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross." page 143

"We must remember to be engaged in good works, which Scripture says will result from salvation." page 144

September 08, 2008

Chapter #8 - Paul's Example before Worldly Authorities

"A good conscience is not the supreme factor in determining whether or not our actions toward authority are right or wrong (Paul's conscience once permitted him to oppose Christ)." page 115

"When Rome eventually persecuted and killed many in the early church, it was not because Christians were revolutionaries but because they refused to worship the emperor." page 122

"... what happened to Paul in his confrontations with worldly authorities clearly reveals the triumph of God's sovereignty over human affairs." page 124

"... Paul used his circumstances as an opportunity to witness, or at least speak a word that honored God or edified others." page 125

"... Paul always endeavored to maintain the proper attitude." page 125

"... all of Paul's words and actions before various worldly authorities summarize for us in a practical way and remind us again ... that God expects the believer to relate properly to governmental authority." pages 125-126

"The apostle Paul indeed was a model citizen and a knowledgeable one." page 112

For more information about Paul and his ministry, read his inspired New Testament letters.

September 05, 2008

Chapter #7 - Daniel's Uncompromising Civil Service

"There is no better Old Testament example than Daniel of one who had an ideal relationship with secular authority - he maintained his walk as a believer and his life as a responsible citizen in perfect harmony." page 99

"Daniel's uncompromising stance regarding dietary matters reminds us again of how we sometimes must relate to our leaders: at time we will have to refuse obedience if such compliance would violate God's will." page 102

"In all of our interaction with civil authority, we should strive, with God's help, to act from a foundation of unwavering excellence - spiritually, morally, and ethically." page 105

"Our duty is simply to live consistently, obeying the principles from Scripture we know to be true." page 106

You can read more about Daniel's life in the book of Daniel.

September 03, 2008

Chapter #6 - Supporting Our Leaders: How and Why

"There is a general bias against the truth and righteousness that genuine Christianity stands for, but we as believers should nevertheless live as godly citizens who support the civil authorities." page 86

"First of all, Christians need to periodically remind their leaders that civil responsibilities are given to the from the supervising hand of God." page 87

"From time to time as appropriate, we should respectfully remind our government authorities that God 'disciplines nations' (Psalm 94:10, NIV) and that some day 'He is coming to judge the earth.' (Psalm 98:9)." page 88

"Another reminder that proves we are truly supportive of our leaders is the one that affirms we will choose only those who are faithful to all their governing responsibilities." pages 88-89

MacArthur mentions four specific requirements God makes upon them (pages 89-90)
  • God requires humility
  • God demands justice, mercy, and compassion
  • God calls for enforcement of the law
  • God opposes selfish oppression

"Officials ... should empathize with citizens' needs and extend kindness to them by actually relieving suffering and want." page 91

"When we give proper support to earthly government it demonstrates that we 'fear God' and trust Him no matter how difficult and discouraging it is to live in an ungodly society. It shows other that we reverence Him as the Sovereign who is working all things according to His perfect plan." page 94

September 01, 2008

Chapter #5 - Jesus' Lesson on Tax Exemptions

"If our Lord and Savior did not ignore or rebel against the tax laws of His day, neither can we flout our taxpaying duties today." page 70

"No matter how unfair or unjustified a particular tax is or seems to be, the son of God instructs His disciples (then and now) to pay it, even if the assessment is used wastefully, foolishly, and in other ways that do not honor God." page 74

"The point of Jesus' lesson is clear. All believers must obey the requirements of the tax system under which they live. And God is there to provide the means - perhaps not as dramatically as for Peter, but nevertheless just as faithfully - for us to fulfill those obligations." page 75

"Included in any testimony of model citizenship would certainly be faithful and consistent compliance with all the government's tax requirements." page 76

"By obeying all the laws we demonstrate a love for God, for our country, and for our fellow citizens." page 77