Thursday, 29 March 2007

So long, farewell...

Greetings, Godblog readers. Just an update to let you know this domain will soon be in new hands, as the transfer process is underway. So if this blog disappears in the next couple of days, that’s why!

I continue to blog over at Retrophisch.

posted by retrophisch at 03:38 PM in site
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Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Think of it not as an end, but rather a new beginning

I’ve been thinking for quite a while now (that is, for at least the last eight months or so), of discontinuing blogging here at Godblog. It’s just that the bulk of my blogging has always been at Retrophisch, and I’d like to concentrate my efforts there.

Four and a half years ago, I had this grand plan of blogging in five separate weblogs, each devoted to a certain space of my interests. It rapidly became apparent that this was never going to fly in the long run, and I eventually closed three of the other blogs. It would be a lot easier and make a lot more sense for me to concentrate on just one, and that one is going to be Retrophisch. In other words, what you’ve been reading here you’re now going to read there.

Which left the question of what to do with Godblog. I could simply archive it, as I did my original blog, retaining the domain name and simply not posting to it. But I thought godblog.com was too good of a domain to be left to such a fate. Yet I was concerned as to who might end up with the domain, were it to be allowed back in to the wilds of domain registration.

There were certain individuals/groups I knew would be interested in it, and get more mileage out of it than I have, and I would not mind seeing these persons use the domain to further the kingdom of God. Yes, I did say “further the kingdom of God”, because I look at the this as a mission opportunity of sorts.

Conversations regarding this matter this past weekend were enthusiastic, and we’re in the beginning phases of transferring the domain. This site as it stands now will be moved over to Retrophisch as a subdirectory and archived, with all active blogging on the subjects of God, Jesus, faith, and so on taking place at Retrophisch.

Future posts here on Godblog will be purely technical in nature, i.e., when the site is archived on Retrophisch, etc.

Thanks for having read Godblog for the past four and a half years, and I hope to see you over at Retrophisch.

posted by retrophisch at 03:31 PM in site
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Thursday, 04 January 2007

The Charity Divide

Chuck Colson:

Arthur Brooks, professor at Syracuse University, writes in his new book, titled Who Really Cares, that he grew up in a liberal home and accepted one of the liberal political nostrums: that the political left “is compassionate and charitable toward the less fortunate, but the political right is oblivious to suffering.”

“If you had asked me a few years ago to sum up the character of American conservatives,” he writes, “I would have said they were hard-headed pragmatists who were willing to throw your grandmother out into the snow to preserve some weird ideal of self-reliance.”

But his own research forced him to change his mind. Religious conservatives give more, and do more, for the poor than anyone else. By contrast, liberals, who tend both to be irreligious and to believe that government can and should redistribute income, tend to be far stingier.

Brooks invites us to consider two people: one who goes to church every week and rejects the idea that it’s the government’s job to redistribute income. The second person never attends church and believes the government should reduce income differences. “Knowing only these [two] things,” Brooks writes, “the data tell us that the first person will be roughly twice as likely as the second to give money to charities in a given year, and will give away more than one hundred times as much money per year”—that’s right, one hundred times—and give it to both religious and non-religious causes.

My initial reaction to reading this was, “Well, duh!” Our failth compels us to help others, and we’re glad to do so because we know it’s pleasing to God.

‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Matthew 25:35-40, NASB

posted by retrophisch at 11:37 AM in love , salt and light
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Monday, 11 December 2006

December's in the Grammys

One of my favorite bands, DecembeRadio, is going to the Grammys in February. The band has been tapped for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for their self-titled debut, which you can check out on the iTunes Store. Congrats, guys!

posted by retrophisch at 12:40 AM in music
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Sunday, 10 December 2006

Derek Webb

On September 25th this year, our church hosted a concert by Derek Webb, of Caedmon’s Call fame, along with his wife, Sandra McCracken.

Derek Webb Concert - 13
Derek Webb, accompanied by his wife, Sandra McCracken.

I had a good seat (thanks, Samantha!), and took a few shots of the couple as they performed, plus of the good-sized crowd before the concert, and in between sets.

Beyond his lyrical abilities, one of the things I admire about Derek is his desire to simply get the message of God’s love out there. At one point during his set, he remarked how he was going to freak out all the lawyers and record executives by telling all of us to share his music with whomever we wanted to. Earlier this year, he had even gone so far as to put his latest album, Mockingbird, online as a free download. He says it was a very successful experiment.

posted by retrophisch at 11:47 AM in music , salt and light
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Thursday, 07 December 2006

Advent blog

In celebration of the Advent season, our church has started an Advent blog you may want to peruse.

(Though I’m going to have to have a chat with Brent on his continuing choices of insane colors for blogs he creates. First the neon green at the Diner, then the neon orange at the Holland mission blog, now hot pink. Yeesh. I’m glad I can read the posts in black type on a white background, thanks to RSS. I feel as if I go to the web pages themselves, I need sunglasses.)

posted by retrophisch at 02:45 PM in site
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Monday, 04 December 2006

Feed the Children

I mentioned Feed the Children over on the other blog, and thought to post about it here as well. Hunger is still a problem even in the United States, and it’s especially important for children to get proper nourishment so they develop normally. Please consider a donation to Feed the Children as part of your end-of-the-year giving.

posted by retrophisch at 10:36 AM in salt and light
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Compassion's AIDS Initiative

As we enter the holiday season, please consider a donation to Compassion International’s AIDS Initiative. More than 12 million kids have been left orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and Compassion’s efforts are among many trying to stem the flood. Donations to the AIDS Initiative provide food, shelter and basic care for AIDS orphans, as well as medical treatments, including AIDS-inhibiting antiretroviral therapy, and HIV/AIDS awareness education for surviving adults and children.

You can make a one-time donation, choose to donate monthly, or, better still, choose to sponsor a child on a monthly basis in the affected areas. Sponsorship is certainly worth the time and effort; we look so forward to the letters, photos, and drawings from the child we sponsor in Tanzania.

This season is big on gift-giving, and here is an opportunity to give the gift of live in a land where survival is beyond anything most of us can imagine. Please consider a donation today.

posted by retrophisch at 12:43 AM in salt and light
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Thursday, 16 November 2006

Stand

I’m really enjoying Stand, the latest from Michael W. Smith. I’ve long been a fan of Smitty, having begun listening to him when I was a teenager with The Big Picture. You can certainly tell that Smith has matured musically, lyrically, and spiritually through his career.

He says in the jacket:

Stand was a unique project for me to record. I felt that there was a very specific message that I wanted to communicate, but, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to be. So I just did what I do—I started to play music. I spent hours in my studio recording everything that came to mind. I found myself at church being captured by a worship song that I saw affecting people. I started writing with some friends and sharing my vision of this project with them. And slowly, through this process, Stand began to take shape.

As individual songs started coming together, I became aware of a consistent message. Stand became a collection of songs about hope, forgiveness, and God’s amazing grace. Stand isn’t so much a “call to action” as it is a “call to respond”. As we daily understand more about His immeasurable love for us—we stand in awe of the One Who gave it all.

The album opens with the up-beat and thankful “Cover Me” (iTunes Store link). “Open Arms” follows, and get Journey’s version out of your head. “Come to the Cross”, the album’s first single, is part of that “call to respond” Smitty mentioned, holding out the hope that no matter what, you can come to the cross.

Stand album cover

Tell it in the Savior’s ear
Cast away your every fear
Only speak and He will hear

Hallelujah, everyone
Everyone can come to the cross
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done
Everyone can come to the cross

What an awesome image of hope!

“How to Say Goodbye”, despite being somewhat sorrowful, is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Maybe because it’s just Smitty and the piano, with some soft strings, and I love songs that are stripped down that way. “Be Lifted High” is a modern hymn, written by the talented Leeland Mooring, who shares co-writing credits on some of the album’s other songs.

Smith covers Keith Green’s “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful”, and makes it his own. I keep listening to it over and over and over. It segues perfectly in to “Grace”. Again, these are two songs which are very stripped down, making them very appealing personally.

Thinking about the entire album, it is for the most part “stripped down”. While different songs have different assortments of instruments, there isn’t any case where there is more than is required. This is a sign of Smitty’s maturity as a composer, and it causes several of these tracks to shine, since nothing is getting in the way of the message, of the song itself. There is a musical simplicity in the album, which says a lot about Smith’s humility, considering how talented he is as a musician. It’s clear this is not about him, but about Christ.

“The Stand” is just such a simple song, with only two stanzas of lyrics, but they are very powerful in Smith’s capable arrangement. “Come See”, as the title implies, is a song of invitation, of Christ offering rest, freedom, and grace, in arms open to all. “In Silence” is a toe-tapping motivator, and the album closes with the seventies-ish “Escape Your Love”.

At many levels, Stand is not Smitty’s best album, but I don’t believe that was his intention. It is a great album, and accomplishes its mission in not only welcoming those who are seeking, but calling Christians to remember to always look to the One they call Savior.

posted by retrophisch at 11:44 AM in music
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Sunday, 12 November 2006

You really have to admire his enthusiasm

It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, it cracks me up every time.

[Via Mike and Katie.]

posted by retrophisch at 12:41 AM in salt and light
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Saturday, 11 November 2006

No greater love

Today is Mike’s birthday. He shares it with Jason Dunham. Who’s Jason Dunham, you ask?

Jason Dunham grew up in Scio, New York, a small town in the western part of the state. His dad is a factory worker, and his mom is a teacher. He has three younger siblings. He joined the Marines right out of high school, and his natural leadership ability found him, as a corporal, in command of a squad while in Iraq.

On April 14, 2004, his unit was involved in combat near the Iraqi-Syrian border, and an insurgent dropped a live grenade. Jason Dunham covered the grenade with his own helmet, shielding two of his fellow Marines from the blast.

Jason Dunham lingered in a coma for eight days before he died.

Today, at the opening of the Marine Corps museum in Quantico, Virginia, President Bush announced that Jason Dunham is being awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military honor.

Jason Dunham would have been 25 today.

Jesus tells us in John 15, verse 13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” We see that love in Jason Dunham.

We also see it in the one who spoke those words. For Jesus wants to call all of us his friends. For us, all fallen sinners, to be able to be friends of God, we have to approach him perfect and holy, something we are unable to do on our own. We can’t earn it, we can’t perfect ourselves through our own thoughts or deeds. None of our sacrifices are good enough to wipe away the stain of even a single sin.

But because he wants all to be reconciled to himself, God sent his Son to stand in our place, to accept the judgment we all deserve. Jesus died on the cross to pay our debt for us; that’s the kind of friend he is. If you don’t know him as your friend, I encourage you to seek him out, for he is the best friend you could ever have. He died for you to prove it.

Service to others is a high calling, as evidenced by Jesus himself, who said he came to serve, not to be served. Jason Dunham answered the call to service, and paid for it with his life, doing so willingly, so that his brother Marines might live. We often say he “paid the ultimate price”, but I believe that honor rightly goes to Jesus Christ, who died in the place of everyone, including Jason Dunham and the terrorist who dropped the grenade.

Today, take a moment to remember Corporal Jason Dunham, United States Marine Corps, and the thousands like him who over the years have given their lives in service to our country. Please thank a veteran for his or her service (Thanks, Dad!). Their selfless acts should not go unnoticed by those of us whom they have served. I pray the selfless act of Jesus will not go unnoticed, either.

[Information on Corporal Dunham courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.]

posted by retrophisch at 02:11 PM in love
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Thursday, 09 November 2006

In Whom do you trust?

Mike Messerli:

God is sure good at making things clear. He leaves us with no confusion about the lives of those who trust in him and those who don’t. What a contrast! God makes it clear how these lives will turn out, doesn’t he? To be a “tumbleweed” or a tree with an endless supply of water…let’s see…which would be better? Wow, what a contrast. So it’s obvious that who you trust in is really important. Trust in one who gives you some stability and life or trust in one who leaves you driven and tossed by every wind.

posted by retrophisch at 01:23 AM in quote , thoughts
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Wednesday, 08 November 2006

March of Dimes + MasterCard

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and the March of Dimes has teamed up with MasterCard to raise awareness and double fund-raising efforts. If you use your MasterCard to make a donation to the March of Dimes, MasterCard will double it!

As parents of a preemie (though you’d never know it to see him now!), the March of Dimes is a charity near and dear to our hearts. Please consider using your MasterCard to double your donation this month. Thanks!

posted by retrophisch at 08:08 PM in salt and light
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Friday, 27 October 2006

GodBlogCon '06 under way

GodBlogCon 2006 launched yesterday, with what sounds like an awesome opening address delivered by John Mark Reynolds. Matthew has in-depth coverage at Mere Orthodoxy.

posted by retrophisch at 10:58 AM in salt and light
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Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Behind enemy lines

“Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church, you are really listening in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery.” —C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

posted by retrophisch at 01:55 AM in quote
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Thursday, 19 October 2006

Thanks for working in spite of the mess

Mike Messerli:

Life is messy! For all our desire to live for God we still sin. We still make mistakes. We still choose poorly.

God is so good to us to graciously love us, care for us, and draw us to himself. It is such a blessing to already have our sins dealt with at the cross. It’s such a glorious thing that God has done to forgive our every sin and take care of it all when we receive him as our savior.

The rest of my life is a growing into God dependence, allowing him to do in and through me what I cannot do on my own (note Romans 7). It’s wonderful to have the sin issue taken care of, now my life is focused on the constant goal of setting myself aside for his use (sanctification), allowing him to live his life through me.

It’s messy, and I don’t always get it right, but it’s how he chose to work, so Lord do in me what I cannot do on my own, live through me and show the world what you look like, and thank you for forgiving my sins even before I asked….in all of this your grace is our blessing, and your glory is your goal. Thanks for working in spite of the mess.

posted by retrophisch at 12:59 PM in teaching , thoughts
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Thursday, 05 October 2006

Poop on Satan


Nick’s Tee
Originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

There are times when you see a t-shirt and wish you were the one who came up with the idea for it. This is such a time for me.

posted by retrophisch at 12:01 AM in thoughts
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Wednesday, 27 September 2006

The Point

Chuck Colson announced today a new blog from Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. Called The Point, it features sixteen different bloggers looking at a variety of issues of culture, politics, and life, from a Christian worldview.

posted by retrophisch at 11:04 AM in site
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Saturday, 23 September 2006

Shouldn't everyone have access to clean water?

Jeff lays in to Richard Branson for donating billions to “blue-sky research” on alternative fuels, when for a fraction of that, he could be helping people survive by having access to potable water. I’m all for alternative fuels, but I have to agree with Jeff that priorities seem to be a bit skewed, and it’s not just Branson who’s doing the skewing. (Hey, that’s actually a verb. Wow.)

Jeff notes Dean Kamen’s latest venture, which sounds fascinating, and it reminded me of Blood:Water Mission.

Blood:Water Mission was started by Jars of Clay, as a result of a visit Dan Haseltine, the group’s lead singer, made to Africa. Its mission is to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing clean blood and clean water, digging 1,000 wells, and providing medical facilities to treat the sick. All Blood:Water Mission is asking for is a simple, one-dollar donation per person.

The new technology Dean Kamen is working on will help untold thousands, perhaps millions, but it’s not available yet, and won’t be on a massive scale for a while. In the mean time, please consider a donation to Blood:Water Mission or a potable-water charity of your choice.

posted by retrophisch at 01:36 AM in salt and light
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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Will the real "religion of peace" please stand up?

Joel C. Rosenberg highlights a key difference between Islam and Christianity:

Rosie O’Donnell declared this week that “radical Christians” are as dangerous as “radical Muslims.” The Pope, meanwhile, declared this week that radical Islam is “evil” for trying to force people to follow Mohammed or be killed by the sword. Christians were understandably disappointed by Rosie, yet no violent protests have resulted so far as I know. Radical Muslims, on the other hand, are on a rampage, rioting throughout the Islamic world and even burning the Pope in effigy.

Joel’s best line, however, is this:

That said, I think the world would be best served not by papal pronouncements about Islam but by the Pope — and all followers of Christ — staying focused on the message of the gospel, preaching about how much Jesus loves all the people of the Middle East.

That’s what called “staying on message”, folks.

posted by retrophisch at 12:37 AM in religious liberty , salt and light
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