Archive for June, 2006

Year 15 and counting…

anniversary.gifYesterday, my wife Deborah and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.  It was nice to have Deborah’s parents here to celebrate with us.

My thoughts about my married life thus far:

  1. There is no way I have been married for 14 years!!!
  2. Well, I do have five children–guess it might be that long.
  3. We have moved seven times in 14 years.  I hate moving.
  4. I take far too much for granted concerning my wife.
  5. I am probably better at resolving problems now than I ever have been.
  6. I am also more adept at creating problems than I ever have been.
  7. My wife seems to ALWAYS be doing laundry.  I should probably help out with that.
  8. With three daughters who could marry someday and five upcoming college educations, I am resolved to be poor for the bulk of my life.
  9. My wife is probably the hardest-working woman I know.
  10. The only areas of our marriage which still need work are for her to finally learn how to use the computer and play video games with me! Continue reading

Missions, Martyrdom, and Mediocrity

comfort.gifLast Friday, I sent off my soon-to-be twelve-year-old daughter to the mission field of inner-city Minneapolis.  For 10 days, she and other young people from our church will be ministering to the children, congregations, and surrounding communities of two Bible-believing church, which happen to be in not-so-safe neighborhoods.

No human beings on this planet have seen greater expression of my love than my wife and five children.  Children, to me, are an incredible responsibility.  Each one is so precious, so impressionable, so filled with potential.  I am happiest when I am loved by these little reproductions of my wife and I.  They bring familial sunshine into my life each time I see their smiles or hear their laughter.

Yet, my children are called to die. Continue reading

No Higher Calling


His life could not have been going any better.

And then the phone rang.

He was an evangelist who preached the Word with the Holy Spirit's authority and power.  He was the most sought-after evangelist in his denomination. If you wanted him to come and preach in your church, you had to get in line and wait for a minimum of four years.  He was a man who was enjoying the favor of God on his life and ministry.

The numerous invitations were always a pull away from his family.  But he and his wife had settled on a formula that had worked well and enabled him to spend time at home with his bride and son that he dearly loved.  The formula was simple: He would go out and preach for two weeks and then come home for two weeks.  And then he would go out again for two weeks and back home for another two.  Everything was working and God was blessing.  His marriage was strong. His boy, now a teenager, was doing well in school and athletics.  And his ministry was taking off like a rocket.

And then the phone rang. Continue reading

Thoughts on Unity, Diversity, and Holiness

unity.gifI have to admit–I struggle with all the issues everybody else seems to within fundamentalism: 

What attire is acceptable for believers?  Is it hypocritical if I dress up on Sunday morning but not on Sunday night?  Will my wife be a stumblingblock to other believers if she wears pants in public?

What music can I listen to?  When does too much syncopation become too much?  Should I choose that choir anthem with a CCM author?

Which films can I watch?  Should I even rent DVDs from a video store?  What about cable/satellite TV?

It's summertime and my family wants to go swimming.  Is public swimming a sinful activity?  Should I make my girls "cover up" more when swimming?

I enjoy cooking.  Love it.  Several of my favorite recipes include cooking with wine.  How can I, as a Christian, go into a liquor store and purchase alcohol?  How will my testimony be affected by the Christian brother who sees me at the checkout line with a bottle of wine?  We have an addiction recovery ministry in our church.  How can my liberty coexist with my ministry? Continue reading

Worship God Live – a review

worshipgodlive.jpgWorship God Live is the latest live recording from Sovereign Grace Music, capturing two evenings in February 2005 at Covenant Life Church. Featuring worship leaders Bob Kauflin and Pat Sczebel, this CD includes 14 new songs from two generations of songwriters – Bob Kauflin, Mark Altrogge, Stephen Altrogge, Steve & Vikki Cook, Pat Sczebel, Jonathan Baird, Ryan Baird, Adam Sacks, and Rich Dalmas.

The songs range in style, but are all congregationally oriented. Two of the songs features lyrics from Isaac Watts ("O God Our Help in Ages Past") and William Cowper ("God Moves") in current arrangements from Mark Altrogge and Bob Kauflin, respectively. Continue reading

Lifting Holy Hands, Part Three, by Pastor Josh Larsen

holyhands3.gifThe Purposes Of Lifting Hands In Worship

          If worship is truly our response to the truth of God (and I am referring specifically to praying and singing, although I realize that worship involves much more), I would see lifted hands as symbolic of three God-ward responses. The first response would be our blessing the name of our God. If the act of blessing someone was so closely associated with the hands in both the Old and New Testaments, we should follow the Psalmist’s example when he says, “So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands” (Psalm 63:4). Whether we are in the midst of suffering granted by God, or we are enjoying the pleasures of God, we should be able to lift our voice with Job and stretch our hands heavenward crying out, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21)! Continue reading

Lifting Holy Hands, Part Two, by Pastor Josh Larsen

holyhands2.gifThe Positions Against Lifting Hands In Worship

          Before I attempt to address the views of those opposed to the practice of lifting hands in worship, I must admit that I have virtually no sources for what I present as the primary reasons not to lift one’s hands. This is not due to a lack of searching. I have spent a few weeks scouring books on worship, Internet publications, and periodicals in search of quotable statements against hand raising. I could not find much of anything. So I admit that this portion of my paper is based on my own experience in discussing this topic with a number of people within fundamental Baptist circles. I am also willing to consider any views that this paper does not address, should someone care to bring them to my attention.

          When I ask people who are opposed to the idea to state the reasons behind their opposition, the first response is overwhelmingly something along the lines of, “Well, that’s what the Charismatics do!” One writer who subscribes to this line of reasoning states, “Lifting hands over the head … is a taught religious practice. It does not normally happen (except in utter lostness and hopelessness) unless it is in response to a charismatic leader with whom the worshipers have developed a too-close connection.”[1] Continue reading