Friday, February 26, 2010

If You've Been "Burned" by Christianity...

... this message by Voddie Baucham will help you understand why. Oh, for more preachers to speak this way!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Using Skype under Windows 7

Note: if you don't use Skype, this post will be utterly boring to you. Feel free to skip it!

My parents blessed me with a laptop computer for Christmas. It has Windows 7, while my old computer ran XP. Officially, Windows 7 does not support Skype 3.8, which meant I was going to have to upgrade finally to Skype 4. My parents are both running Skype 4 and I have gotten used to its layout from seeing theirs. But, I have about 420 mb of Skype chat history, and apparently this is a bit much for Skype 4 to handle. Under Skype 4, despite my new laptop's speedy processor, it took about 20 seconds between clicking "call" and actually hearing the "dialing" noises. (It is instant under Skype 3.8.)

I did some research on Skype's forums, and discovered that it's only really the most recent version of Skype 3.8 ( that doesn't get along with Windows 7. An earlier version,, works fine under Windows 7. I downloaded and installed it and am enjoying being able to continue with my clean, fast Skype that I'm used to. Plus it's kind of nostalgic having the Skypecasts tab back again, even though it doesn't work!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

When Education is a Mirage

Education can be a beautifully dressed lie. You can find it in this sentence from Google:
"At Google we believe information is the key to success"
Or in this eloquent idealizing from a much more conservative source, Hillsdale College:
Self-government is a challenge with the promise of a rich reward: liberty of the soul. A soul enjoys liberty when its passions are ruled by reason and its habit is virtue. Hillsdale College understands education as the path to this reward, and believes--as the founders of the College believed 165 years ago--that education is vital if we are to preserve "the blessings of civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety."
A little more in the same vein from their honor code:
A Hillsdale College student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service, and respectful of the rights of others. Through education the student rises to self-government.
With respect to the valuable contributions that both Hillsdale and Google make in other ways to our world, I must state that their elevation of information and education is a dangerous philosophy.

It is dangerous because it is so appealing. It is appealing because it says our primary problem is mental, not moral. At core, it says, we are not depraved people, just ignorant. It is also appealing because it puts the solution to our problem within our own power. We can pull ourselves up to success (Google) and self-government (Hillsdale) by our own exerting and reasoning.

This idea is diametrically opposed to the primary message of the Bible, which is that our hearts are so desperately wicked that the only remedy was for Jesus to die on the cross. If education could have solved the human condition, Jesus was a fool to die.

Ironically, sometimes the Bible is invoked to try to support the "education is the solution" philosophy. The verse of the Bible most frequently used to support this is John 8:32:
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
When we look at the context of that verse, however, it becomes clear that education is not the panacea.
As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?"

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:30-36, NASB)
First notice that the freedom Jesus has in mind here is freedom from slavery to sin. This immediately refutes the idea that our core problem is not moral.

Second, notice that knowing the truth is not the cause of freedom, but an intermediate result on the way to freedom. Verses 31 and 32 contain one condition and three promised results to those who meet that condition. The condition is "if you continue in My word". The results are "you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free". In other words, if your goal is freedom, you don't start by learning the truth. You start by continuing in the word of Jesus. Knowing the truth will flow naturally as a result.

Third, note also the parallel between verse 32 and verse 36. Verse 32 says that the truth frees; verse 36 says that the Son (Jesus) frees. This makes me think of John 14:6, where Jesus says that He is the truth. We cannot be freed from sin simply by a philosophy or a teaching. Only a real, crucified, resurrected Messiah Jesus can rescue us from our plight. He not only can, but He will--if you will turn from your sins and from your futile attempts to atone for your sins, and trust Jesus alone to be your rescuer, master, and treasure.

Is education bad, then? Of course not. I could not have written this article (and you could not be reading it!) if we hadn't received education. Education is a tool that helps us get whereever we are headed faster. It is the accelerator and transmission but not the steering wheel or GPS. Knowledge can be used either for great evil (to control people) or great good (to serve people). Be saved by Jesus, know the truth, and the truth will set you free to use education well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Someone in a White Coat? Um, Who Might That Be?

Until we all stand before God, none of us will know for certain how this man survived 28 days in the rubble of Haiti before rescuers found him. I did find it humorous how difficult it was for the news media to accept his claim that someone in a white coat brought him water while he was trapped. If God could send an angel to Elijah with food and water I reckon He could do the same for Evan. Enjoy this video.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tim Tebow's TV Touchdown

For a 22 year old, Heismann winner Tim Tebow has drawn a lot of flak. Infanticide supporters were upset when they learned that CBS agreed to show two 30-second Super Bowl commercials featuring Tim and his mother Pam. Pam was advised to abort Tim because of complications during her pregnancy. The abortionists had not seen the ads in advance, but they assumed they knew the message because they knew the Tebows' story. Ironically, the commercials did not even mention abortion. The efforts of the pro-abortion lobby probably succeeded only in attracting more attention to Tim and Pam Tebow. Check out the commercial for yourself below. Then click here to watch a fantastic interview with Tim's parents by Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Robert Park's Release

North Korea has announced that it will free American missionary Robert Park, who crossed unarmed and alone into North Korea on December 25th. They released a video tape of Mr. Park apologizing for his actions and saying that everything is fine in North Korea. (Right, like we will believe that?)

While we wait for Mr. Park to be able to tell us freely what really has happened to him during the last 6 weeks, you might enjoy watching the following videos, recorded shortly before his fateful crossing. They reveal his passion for God and the North Korean people.

Most experts seem to expect conditions for Christians in NK to worsen (if they change at all) as a result of Mr. Park's daring gambit, but I'm personally praying that they are wrong this time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How My Musical Tastes Are Changing

Often you can tell something about a person's God (or god) by the music he uses to worship him.

Here, for example, you can see a music video from a Christian children's TV program I enjoyed in the 80s. What does this tell you about my idea of God then?

Now, here is a music video I currently really like. Comparing it with the previous video, how would you guess that my perception of God is different now?

If you would like the rest of the words to this song (there are 2 more verses), Cyber Hymnal has them.

My musical expressions of worship to God will hopefully continue to improve as I come to know Jesus better. Even in heaven, where my praise of God will be finally and forever free of sin, I will still be growing to know God better and worship Him more adequately. Even there, my music will fall short of fully expressing His magnificence.