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August 2006

August 28, 2006

Monday August 28, 2006

Theology: Tom Ascol of the Founders organization is one of many bloggers to comment on the recent issue of Christianity Today which featured an article on Calvinism. I really ought to try to find a copy of that one…

Abortion: A woman in China has caused a ruckus by having her baby aborted at six months because of a cleft palate. It seems to me that a day is coming when only Christians will continue to give birth to “flawed” babies.

Emergent: Justin Taylor has a roundup of articles from the latest issue of the IX Marks newsletter which deals with the emerging church.

Weird: Mark has dug up information about a new cowboy church in North Carolina. “Instead of suits, ties and wing tipped shoes, they will be wearing blue jeans, big belt buckles and cowboy boots and instead of a fancy baptism pool, the Cowboy Church will baptize their converts in a horse trough!”

August 27, 2006

1845500628.jpgI remember praying for the Christian men and women who lived in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War we knew that countless Christians lived on the far side of the Iron Curtain and that they suffered immeasurably for their faith. We knew they needed prayer that God would sustain them and allow the faith to spread despite vigorous persecution. I remember hearing Brother Andrew speak at a nearby church and rejoiced to hear the incredible stories he shared of God’s faithfulness in providing Scriptures for the Russian church. I remember lists of Russian believers known to be suffering in prisons for their faith. It is a stark reminder of what seems like a different world.

August 26, 2006

The first I remember of Anderson Cooper was as host of the short-lived reality program The Mole. Prior to The Mole he had apparently been a successful reporter for the Channel One and ABC networks, both as correspondent and news anchor. I knew nothing of this and thought he made a more than adequate host for what was surely one of the better shows to appears at the dawn of the reality craze. After 9/11 though, Cooper decided he had had enough of reality television and returned to the news, this time as a co-anchor of CNN’s Good Morning America. He has since begun anchoring his own program, Anderson Cooper 360. But what Cooper is best known for is for appearing in the world’s most troubled spots. He routinely reports from the scenes of disaster and devastation, both natural and man-made. Dispatches From The Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival is his memoir of his life and of the most difficult situations he has covered as a reporter. An immediate New York Times Bestseller, the response to this book proves that Anderson Cooper has become a much-loved and highly-respected journalist.

August 26, 2006

Saturday August 26, 2006

This is a special weekend edition of A La Carte to announce the birth of my nephew, Micah Nathaniel Rose. He was born in Atlanta yesterday morning. Congratulations to Susanna and Rick! I now have two nephews and a niece (with another niece due around Christmas).

These are the first photos of him (courtesy of Pat, my other brother-in-law).

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August 25, 2006

I came to my office this morning ready to post the utterly brilliant article I wrote yesterday. I couldn’t remember exactly what it was that I had written about, but knew it was good. I opened up the folder where I keep the upcoming posts I’ve written for this site and was unable to find the article. That’s strange. I looked on my desktop and other likely spots and found nothing. And, try as I might, I couldn’t remember what it was that I wrote about.

I think I know what happened. I probably had a dream last night in which I wrote a really good article. Somehow I had a bit of a disconnect and convinced myself that I had really written something when in reality it was only a dream. This was very disappointing to me. Still, this is not all bad, for it allows me to tackle another project. I am interested in compiling a list of conferences for the year 2007. I would prefer to keep this as a list of conferences that will be of particular interest to Reformed believers. I will format this list to look all pretty and make it available to anyone who is seeking a good conference to attend next year. I will differentiate between national and regional conferences. Here are the ones I have come up with so far. Please feel free to suggest others and I will update and formalize the list as we go.

National Conferences

February 16-19 - Resolved (Long Beach, CA) is a ministry of Grace Community Church and targets primarily College-age students and young adult Christians. Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include John MacArthur, John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Rick Holland and Steve Lawson.

March 7-11 - The Shepherd’s Conference (Sun Valley, CA) is a ministry of Grace Community Church. It is geared towards pastors and includes both general sessions and seminars. General session speakers include John MacArthur, John Piper, Steve Lawson, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever. Seminars are led by pastors and elders of Grace Community Church and professors from The Master’s College and Seminary.

March 15-17 - Contending for the Truth - Ligonier Ministries National Conference (Orlando, FL) is the national conference for Ligonier Ministries. This year’s speakers will be John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul and Ravi Zacharias. R.C. Sproul Jr. will be a special guest. This conference is targeted at a general audience.

May 7-9 - The Basics (Pastor’s Conference) (Cleveland, OH) is a ministry of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio and is targeted at pastors. The list of keynote speakers includes Alistair Begg and others.

May 26-29 - New Attitude (Louisville, KY) is the annual conference of New Attitude. This year’s theme has yet to be announced. The primary audience for this conference is single young adults. Featured speakers include John Piper and Josh Harris. Further well-known speakers will be announced in the near future. The conference includes both general sessions and seminars.

June 26-29 - Southern Baptist Founders Conference (Owasso, OK) is a ministry of Founders Ministries and is targeted towards a general audience. This year’s theme is “God’s Truth Abideth Still: Confronting Post-Modernism.”

October 2007 - Desiring God National Conference (Minneapolis, MN) is the annual national conference of Desiring God. At this time details have not been released.

Fall/Winter 2007 - Alpha & Omega Conference is a ministry of Alpha & Omega Ministries. It is targeted towards a general audience. It typically features a debate involving James White as well as sessions led by Dr. White and other keynote speakers.

Regional Conferences

Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology (Sacramento, CA) is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and is intended for a general audience. Speakers includes Donald Carson, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, Richard Phillips, Philip Ryken and R. C. Sproul. The conference is held four times: Sacramento, CA March 2-4, 2007; Jackson, MS March 23-25, 2007; Grand Rapids, MI April 20-22, 2007; and Philadelphia, PA April 27-29, 2007.

August 25, 2006

Friday August 25, 2006

Interview: On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Cindy Swanson has an interview with Don Elbourne, pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church in Lakeshore, Mississippi. He speaks about God’s grace in what has been an incredible year of ministry.

Humor: Mr. Dawn Treader has an funny series of posts about “Rule Changes That Would Improve Sports.”

Sports: On the subject of sports, have you ever wondered just how long the ball is actually in play in a game of baseball? Ask Yahoo tracks down an answer.

Weird: An Austrian girl who was abducted eight years ago, has been found alive. “In the quiet, small-town street where a kidnapped Austrian girl is believed to have been held for more than eight years, police searched on Thursday for clues about her captivity, her dramatic escape and the man who allegedly imprisoned her and has now killed himself.”

August 24, 2006

Through the past week or so my wife and I have been working our way through the Extended Editions of the three The Lord of the Rings movies. I had seen Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers many times in the past, but had not yet had opportunity to watch the Extended Edition of The Return of the King. Aileen had seen only the theatrical editions of the first two. Three movies, each clocking in at three and a half to four hours is quite a commitment, but we made our way through an hour or two at a time after the children had gone to bed. I think I enjoyed them more than Aileen did, but she still seemed to get caught up in the story. Few movies can compare to a good book and these ones are no different in that regard. Still, they are stunning for their accurate creation of the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and for their great acting. They are always a joy to watch.

My favorite scene in the entire series happens near the end of the final film. As you no doubt remember (it has, after all, been fifty years since the books were first published!), Frodo and Sam have finally carried the ring to Mount Doom. Despite the months they have travelled and the dangers they have faced, Frodo still finds himself unable to part with the ring. The ring has thoroughly gripped his heart and now owns him more than he owns it. Frodo declares that the ring is his and puts it onto his finger for the last time. As he does so, Gollum leaps upon him, also desiring the ring. They struggle for some time and Gollum eventually bites off Frodo’s finger, steals the ring and rejoices in reclaiming it. A fight ensues in which Gollum maintains possession of the ring, but loses his balance and falls from a cliff. And here is the scene that has so often gripped me. Gollum, captured in slow motion, falls into the molten lava of Mount Doom. But as he falls, there is no terror in his eyes. No scream escapes his lips. Instead, he falls into the flame gently petting the ring, cooing to it, and delighting in his “precious.” His last word is “precioussss!” The evil ring that had first caused him to commit an act of murder and that had so long enslaved him is the object of his affection as he falls to his death.

That scene contains such a profound statement about human nature. Every time I see Gollum fall to his death, enraptured by the evil that has enslaved him, I think of the power of sin. I think of the power of sin that exists even in my own life. I know there are areas in my life that are precious to me even while they enslave me. There are areas in my life that I cling to and fight for even though they are wrong, even though they are evil. When I see Gollum fall, I see myself and the sin that enslaves me. I have to ask myself if there is sin in my life that grips me so much that I would cradle it and coo to it, even as it pulled me to my death. Often I have to ask not “if” but “where” such sin exists. It is a sobering time of reflection.

August 24, 2006

Thursday August 24, 2006

Theology: Nathan Busenitz quotes John MacArthur who says that everyone is a dispensationalist. “Everybody is a dispensationalist, everybody. I don’t care who they are in theology, they’re dispensational. It’s only a question of how many you have. Let me show you why.”

Feminism: I remember wannabe feminists in my high school trumpeting the annual “Take Back The Night” marches. Well, now apparently these marches are being geared for men as well since men are even more likely to be victimes of nighttime violence. Fox reports.

Children: “Christianity Today” has a list of suggestions for helping children sit through a church service. Some of them are quite good and are surely better than the oft-used tactic of brute force.

Church: And speaking of CT, it has an article about America’s youngest megachurch pastor. “With a Matt Damon smile, short-sleeve button-up shirts — no tie — and an aw-shucks demeanor, Platt seems to put an audience at ease, then stuns them with his apparent near-memorization of the New Testament.”