Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Bird Men

These guys are positively nuts. Nevertheless, what they are capable of is impressive.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday morning smile

Ladies and gentlemen, Louis Armstrong...

Post Christmas melancholy

Jon Bloom from Desiring God has some great thoughts on the post Christmas blues many have this time of year:

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we’re left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.

But it’s possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.

So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

  • Gifts and events can’t fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They're designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.
  • Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul’s deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, “Is that all?” because we know deep down that’s not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.
  • It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It’s just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that’s when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charles Spurgeon - God's promise of strength

“They go from strength to strength.”
- Psalm 84:7

They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress.

Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way.

But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”

Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Childhood aspirations

Does anyone remember Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot? As a kid I always wanted one for Christmas. Actually, I still wouldn't mind having one; so if anyone knows a mad scientist out there, please have him drop me an email. But I digress. Now as a child I didn't actually expect to find a three-stories tall robot under the tree on Christmas morning. But it would have been pretty cool to find this little guy under the tree.

Remembering the miracle of Emmanuel

That's Christmas (3 min version) from St Helen’s Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The heavens declare the glory of God

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
         And the firmament shows His handiwork.
 Day unto day utters speech,
         And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
         And their words to the end of the world. 

- Psalm 19:1-4 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday morning smile

This is a very talented group of high school students. I just wish they had a better sound and camera man.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Charles Spurgeon - Humble occupations

“Ye serve the Lord Christ.”
- Colossians 3:24

To what choice order of officials was this word spoken? To kings who proudly boast a right divine? Ah, no! too often do they serve themselves or Satan, and forget the God whose sufferance permits them to wear their mimic majesty for their little hour. Speaks then the apostle to those so-called “right reverend fathers in God,” the bishops, or “the venerable the archdeacons”? No, indeed, Paul knew nothing of these mere inventions of man. Not even to pastors and teachers, or to the wealthy and esteemed among believers, was this word spoken, but to servants, aye, and to slaves. Among the toiling multitudes, the journeymen, the day labourers, the domestic servants, the drudges of the kitchen, the apostle found, as we find still, some of the Lord’s chosen, and to them he says, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

This saying ennobles the weary routine of earthly employments, and sheds a halo around the most humble occupations. To wash feet may be servile, but to wash his feet is royal work. To unloose the shoe-latchet is poor employ, but to unloose the great Master’s shoe is a princely privilege. The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then “divine service” is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all life becomes holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing, as consecrated as the tabernacle and its golden candlestick.

“Teach me, my God and King, in all things thee to see;
And what I do in anything to do it as to thee.
All may of thee partake, nothing can be so mean,
Which with this tincture, for thy sake, will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws, makes that and the action fine.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Christmas classic from "Downhere"

I just became familiar with this band and their new Christmas release. This is an excellent song with great lyrics.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday morning smile

Ah, a song simply titled "The Christmas Song", a perennial favorite that brings to mind everything nice, warm and fuzzy about the holiday's. Kind of like anything baked with cinnamon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Charles Spurgeon - Let none despair

“Base things of the world hath God chosen.” - 1Corinthians 1:28

Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see sinners then. Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is howling, and the picklock is grating in the door, and you will see sinners then. Go to yon jail, and walk through the wards, and mark the men with heavy over-hanging brows, men whom you would not like to meet at night, and there are sinners there. Go to the Reformatories, and note those who have betrayed a rampant juvenile depravity, and you will see sinners there. Go across the seas to the place where a man will gnaw a bone upon which is reeking human flesh, and there is a sinner there.

Go where you will, you need not ransack earth to find sinners, for they are common enough; you may find them in every lane and street of every city, and town, and village, and hamlet. It is for such that Jesus died. If you will select me the grossest specimen of humanity, if he be but born of woman, I will have hope of him yet, because Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save sinners.

Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the best. Pebbles of the brook grace turns into jewels for the crown-royal. Worthless dross he transforms into pure gold. Redeeming love has set apart many of the worst of mankind to be the reward of the Saviour’s passion. Effectual grace calls forth many of the vilest of the vile to sit at the table of mercy, and therefore let none despair.

Reader, by that love looking out of Jesus’ tearful eyes, by that love streaming from those bleeding wounds, by that faithful love, that strong love, that pure, disinterested, and abiding love; by the heart and by the bowels of the Saviour’s compassion, we conjure you turn not away as though it were nothing to you; but believe on him and you shall be saved. Trust your soul with him and he will bring you to his Father’s right hand in glory everlasting.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My latest favorite old hymn - Come Thou Fount

I love the old hymns. Hymn writers toiled over their songs as they took Scriptural truth and put them to rhythm and rhyme. The end result is magnificent. Hope you enjoy as you meditate upon the words.

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Arrogance - The air we breath

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A diamond in the rough

The top movie this weekend was the The Blind Side which tells the true story of NFL player Michael Oher. Oher grew-up in Mississippi with twelve siblings and a crack addicted parent. Michael, at the age of 15, was already 6'5" when he was adopted by the Tuohy family. With their love and dedication, Michael's life was set on a new trajectory.

Here are the real people behind the movie.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday mornin' smile

Well, let's get the week started on a pleasant note. Don't forget A Charlie Brown Christmas airs Tuesday night, eight o'clock on ABC.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Charles Spurgeon - Thanking God for what we take for granted

“O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”- Psalm107:8

If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies-common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish.

Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him, in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed.

But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God’s redeeming acts towards his chosen are for ever the favourite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ-our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity captive, as ye cry with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Let the new month begin with new songs.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Surpised kitty

I know, I know, this is all over the web; but I just can't resist, I must post it for anyone that might have missed it.

Famous failures

Wednesday, December 2, 2009