Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday's Facts

In conjunction with Seams Inspired's Party, I give you my Monday Morning Facts, for what shall we say? For your enjoyment, entertainment, encouragement, curiosity, concern, comprehension, snoopiness, wonder, amusement, to tickle your funny bone, and or your inquisitiveness! 

Fact:  The last couple of days it has been very cold. You know the kind of cold where the chickens rush into KFC and beg to warm up in the pressure cooker. The kind of cold where the dogs had to start the rabbits running with jumper cables. The kind of cold where even the politicians have their hands in their own pockets.

Fact:  I have started reading George Muller's autobiography. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote of this book, "Readers will find their faith strengthened, their prayer life enriched, and their ministry expanded by the life and example of this man of God." I pray that would be true for me as I read this book.

Fact:   I love fall! The leaves are turning colors and falling to the ground. I love the yellows, reds, and orange leaves! The skies are a "warm-looking" gray. The chill in the air is invigorating while brisk.

Fact:  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11, ESV)

Fact:  The Marine Corps recruiters did ship me out the day following my actual signing of the enlistment papers. They shipped me to Oakland, CA where I had to undergo a complete physical, rigourous entrance and placement testing, and swearing in. I was in Oakland for almost a week while a platoon was being collected to ship to Marine Corps Recruiting Depot-San Diego (MCRD-San Diego)

Fact:  We had had a recruit go AWOL while we were in the Holding Barracks in Oakland. It seems they issued him a tooth brush and then pulled all his teeth, then they issued him a comb and then cut all his hair off. The final straw was when they issued him a "jock-strap."

Fact:  That previous entry was just a joke.


Fact:  After the physical, all the testing, and the swearing in (the promise to protect the constitution and the US from all enemies foreign and domestic, etc.) we were flown to San Diego.

Fact:  The recruits that go through and graduate from MCRD-San Diego are called "Hollywood Marines." Let me tell you from experience, we who graduated from San Diego are no less Marines nor less tough than the graduates from MCRD-Paris Island, SC. We still trained under "live fire."

Fact:  I spent 13 weeks at MCRD-San Diego as a "boot," a "recruit," "lady," "maggot," and a few other labels I can't type in mixed company. You were not nor could you call yourself a Marine until you actually graduated. I was assigned to the 2nd Battalion and Platoon 2134. I remember it all so vividly to this day, some 39 years later.

 Fact:  Life as a civilian ends and life as a Marine Corps recruit begins when you step off the bus at MCRD and the Drill Instructor is yelling to get on the "Yellow Footprints." If you don't know what the yellow footprints are you were never a Marine. (I stood right there on those yellow footprints) It was a long flight from Oakland to San Diego, then a bus ride from San Diego Airport to MCRD and sometime in the middle of the night, dark, lonely, and scared - I stood there on those footprints as a 17 year old kid wondering what I had done.

Fact:  My Law and Order Season One DVD Collection showed up! It will be a Law and Order marathon weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How To Study the Scriptures

When describing how he studied the Scriptures, Martin Luther offered this...

First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy!

By popular request, here is my country gravy recipe which I make most Saturdays…


·  1 lb. pork sausage (break up)
·  2 tbls finely chopped onion (optional)
·  5 tbs flour
·  3 cups milk
·  1/2 tsp sage
-1/2 tsp dried basil 
-2 tbs of magerine 
·  1/4 tsp salt
-pinch of cayenne pepper 
·  pepper liberally (black)


·  In a large skillet over medium heat cook the 
sausage and onion until sausage is no longer pink. 

·  Drain, reserving 2-3 tbs drippings in skillet. 

·  Stir flour into sausage and drippings until blended. 

·  Cook and stir until light golden brown. 

·  Gradually stir in milk and seasonings. 

·  Bring to a boil and cook and stir until desired thickness.

(1/3 cup of gravy and two biscuits = approximately 524 calories)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A New Hymn: "Heavenly Father, Thou Art Good"

Psalms 52:1 reads, "The goodness of God endureth continually." (KJV)

Thomas Manton wrote: "He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself" the creatures good is a super added quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature's good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him."

A. W. Pink wrote, "God is summum bonum, the highest good."

I was meditating on the goodness of God Wednesday morning during my devotions. I turned to my hymnal to sing praises to God of His goodness and I was dismayed to learn that there were no hymns referring to the goodness of God in my hymnal (Hymns For the Living Church.)

I found a hymn called Good Christian Men, rejoice and sing. I couldn't find one extolling or praising the goodness of God. That I thought was almost criminal. So, I wrote one. Here is an attempt at a hymn extolling the goodness of God. If there is anyone who would put music to this "traditional" hymn I would gladly share credit. Hopefully we could begin to sing in our churches hymns of God's goodness.

Heavenly Father, Thou Art Good!
(Gregg Metcalf) 

Heavenly Father, thou art Good, you are so; Praise to you joyfully
is offered by your children below. We shall give by our lips what is only
befitting to you, receive our praise this day which is all we can do

Heavenly Father, thou art Good, you are so; You with great grace
allow us to know. Your blessings are to us as creatures unworthy
tis true, yet we receive all we need from the richness of you

Heavenly Father, thou art Good, you are so; filling us with goodness
from you which flow. Our senses are pleased and our palates are
favorably bested, as the limits of your goodness remain untested

Heavenly Father, thou art Good, you are so; from this goodness
do your children grow. The goodness of God endures continually
says the word, therefore these praises will forever and ever be heard.

Heavenly Father, thou are Good, you are so; in you abide such
heavenly light to bestow.  No darkness resides in you for you
are of such perfection, and we are but creatures of your affection.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: Lectures to my Students

Title: Lectures to My Students
Author:  Charles H. Spurgeon
Publisher:  The Banner of Truth Trust
General Subject Matter:  Christian Living, Spiritual Growth 
First Published 1875-94, Banner of Truth Trust Copyright:  2008
Type:  Hardback
Price:  $39.00
ISBN: 978-0-85151-966-1

The purpose of Lectures to My Students was to compile Spurgeon's Friday afternoon lectures to his ministerial college students into a convenient collection. According to Spurgeon's comments in his introduction, this request came from former ministerial students who had sat and listened to those lectures.
There is no central theme to this book. The book is divided into three "series" which contain a number of lectures on various themes. The first series contains thirteen chapters, the second series contains ten chapters, and the third series contains seven chapters. Each chapter deals with a particular theme related to the pastoral ministry.

Pastor Spurgeon used both exposition and argumentation to develop the various themes that he taught his students. Spurgeon was very committed to explain various parts and responsibilities of the pastoral ministry to his students.

In evaluating this book, I found it to be very interesting and helpful. It was written in the tone, spirit, and language of 19th century England. Yet each chapter is filled with pertinent and relevant information that can be beneficial to pastors today. Those who read these series and this book will find the information to be very useful.

I highly recommend this book to every man in pastoral leadership. One would do well to read and study this book. I would say that if one read one chapter a week, maybe on Friday, one would find this material to be both relevant and refreshing.
I received a free copy of this book for this evaluation. I received nothing else, nor was I required to give a positive or negative review. The opinions expressed here are mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Reponse to Richard Dawkins Refusal to Debate William Craig

 Today's Post is brought to you by Trees For Lunch

Consider Adding this Blog to your Blog Roll!

(Read my response on Trees for Lunch's Monday post) 

It seems that Richard Dawkins has had to stoop to feigning fake moral hand-wringing in order to avoid debating arch-apologist William Lane Craig.  While I would surmize that the main reasons that he is avoiding such a debate is because, as Dr. David Berlinski has">described, that Dawkins is a 'crummy philosopher' who 'lacks the rudimentary skills to meticulously assess his own arguments' would publicly be laid bare publicaly in a most embarrassing manner and also that debating WLC">did not work out very well for the likes of Dr. Peter Adkins and Sam Harris.

However the fact that Dr. Dawkins has raised a poorly constructed argument to rationalize adopting the Run-and-Hide Method of Argumentation in this instance by claiming God condones 'Genocide' is monumentally stupid, even by his own lofty standards.  In specific, Dawkins claims to have a problem with the instructions found in">Deuteronomy 20:13-15.

"When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. " (NIV translation)

As Brother Gregg mentioned in his response, we should start from the beginning.  If were to read just slightly ahead in this chapter of scripture, you would see in verse 18 that if the Israelites do not attack these peoples, then "they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods".  Since the Book of Leviticus chronicles the horrific religious practices of these people ranging from all manner of sexual depravity to the human sacrifice of young children, one can see why the people of the Ancient Near East would be much better off not absorbing their practices.  There is indication that such practices were starting to seep into other cultures and this did not bode well at all for the region.

One thing I would like you to consider is the very distinct option (that I heard raised by">Dr. Norman Wise at a lecture recently) that a society can become so completely and utterly depraved that it can reach a point where there is no turning back.

A point in which there is no societal cure.

Nor a remedy of any kind.

Their morally reprehensible attitudes and perversions can be so thoroughly ingrained from top to bottom of a society that change is not possible and the most likely outcome would then be for their attitudes to start affecting surrounding cultures.  Therapy did not exist at the time and I doubt they would have listened anyway.

Additionally, God waited for many years for these peoples to renounce their ways before extolling judgement upon them.  They had every opportunity to change, and yet they refused, or as this writer">describes for us...

"Thus Canaan had, as it were, a final forty-year countdown as they heard of the events in Egypt, at the crossing of the Reed Sea, and what happened to the kings who opposed Israel along the way. We know that they were aware of such events, for Rahab confessed that these same events had terrorized her city of Jericho and that she, as a result, had placed her faith in the God of the Hebrews (Josh. 2:10-14). Thus God waited for the "cup of iniquity" to fill up -- and fill up it did without any change in spite of the marvelous signs given so that the nations, along with Pharaoh and the Egyptians, "might know that he was the Lord." 
I can only guess as to why Dawkins concentrates on this particular passage from Deuteronomy when, if he wanted to wail about the destruction of certain peoples, then the judgement that befell certain 'cities of the plain' would seem much more likely a candidate for criticism as entire towns were made to disappear from the face of the earth through natural disasters.  However, to use an example that utilized fire and brimstone to achieve it's ends would deprive Dr Dawkins of all of the lurid and vivid imagery that the word Genocide conjures up in the mind, complete with internment camps of poor souls, wasting away and awaiting The Big Dirt Nap while the outer perimeter is patrolled by whatever equivalent the Ancient Near East had to Shutzstaffel guards.  Fire and brimstone just don't cut it in this sense and would not be nearly as useful to Dr. Dawkins in committing his pet">appeal to emotion fallacy. 

We know that when fallible man was put in charge of carrying out God's judgement rather than a natural disaster that these people">were not wiped out.

"That many of the Canaanites continued in the land even to the days of Solomon, we have the fullest proof; for we read, 2 Chronicle 8:7 "All the people of the land that were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were left in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute to this day." Thus Solomon destroyed their political existence, but did not consider himself bound by the law of God to put them to death."

Dr Dawkins, I would encourage you to examine God's written word with something other than a mind that is completely closed and through the clouded lense of poor, militant, evangelical atheist apologetics and that you embrace the faith of your youth. He is waiting for you now and would like to see all come to repentance...
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Facts

In conjunction with Seams Inspired's Party, I give you my Monday Morning Facts, for what shall we say? For your enjoyment, entertainment, encouragement, curiosity, concern, comprehension, snoopiness, wonder, amusement, to tickle your funny bone, and or your inquisitiveness!

Fact:  This Monday came out of nowhere. Well, it seems like that anyways. I guess it came in between Sunday and Tuesday rather than nowhere. I wasn't ready for it.

Fact:  The coffee is good this morning! I love Irish Cream.

Fact:   I thought the cleaners had lost a my charcoal pair of trousers, but I found them wadded up in a box. Somehow they didn't make the cleaners.

Fact:  I am a "guest-blogger" over at Trees For Lunch today. Check it out. He assigned me to respond to Richard Dawkins refusal to debate William L. Craig by accusing God of genocide.

Fact:  I will have a guest post from Trees for Lunch on my blog tomorrow. Be sure to check in and see what he has to say on the topic of Richard Dawkins refusal to debate William Craig.

Fact:  "For a day in your (God's) courts is better than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:10a, ESV)

Fact:  It's 5:30 AM. I got up at 5:00 AM; I love this time of day! It is so quite, so peaceful, and so beautiful.

Fact:  My first job after the San Jose Mercury News was at McDonalds. I started out as a fry cook at a whole $1.60 an hour.

Fact:  One day in October of 1972 I walked out of MacDonald's (after my shift of course) and walked into a building that housed the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps recruiters and told them all, "Who ever can ship me out today, I will join." The Marines could ship me out the next morning, so I joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17. It took over four hours pleading with my mom to sign the enlistment papers allowing me to join. I finally wore her down.

Fact:  Shannon and Sonja, along with Madilynn and Bryttany stopped by yesterday. WE had loads of fun. They brought Russian Tea Cakes, cookies, banana bread, and pumpkin cake. I am still hurting from processing all that sugar. It was excellent. Sonja is quite the baker. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unrevealed Heart of Many

Naturally this is a parody of songs we sing almost every Sunday. Many times our lips say one thing while our hearts if they were revealed would say another. May this never be true of you.

"And the LORD said: 'Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people with wonder upon wonder, and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.'" (Isaiah 29:13, ESV)

"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:8, ESV)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sad but True

Unfortunately many homes, yes even so-called Christian homes, are like the one in which the little girl pointed to the Bible on the mantle that was never opened, and said to her mother, "Whose book is that?"
      Her mother quite startled by her daughters question replied, "Why honey, don't you know? That is God's book!"
      The child demonstrating that she had a very practical turn to her mind said, "Don't you think that we had better give it back to him? No one around here ever reads it."

Friday, October 21, 2011

“Lighting Bugs”

It’s almost dark!” shouted one of my cousins. “Almost, are you ready?” “Did you bring any jars,” I asked  really no one in particular.

Us kids painstakingly waited almost every night in the summer time for the sun to go down out in the country where we lived. Who are us kids? Well, usually it was my sisters Donna, Nancy, my brother Craig, and our cousins Karen, Janet, and Brian. LeeAnn would not be coming along for another 10 years. My cousin Brian however was too little to join in and he usually sat on his mother’s lap on our porch swing.

My mother’s sister Merle, or as she was called almost all her life, “Tootsie” and her husband, my uncle Bob would come over to our house and visit my mom and dad. Naturally they would bring their three kids which gave us four kids built in play mates. The first eleven years of my life were spent in the wonderful company of my three cousins.

Why were we painstakingly waiting for night to fall? Why did I ask if everyone had jars? Simple silly, in the summer time and after dark the fire-flies came out. Our huge back yard would come alive with twinkling, flashing yellowish-orange lights. We kids hardly ever called them fire-flies. To us they were just plain and simple “lightning bugs.”

Of course not many people knew it, but they weren’t really flies at all. Nope, they were beetles. But again, we kids, the seven of us could care less. They were lighting bugs and when they lit up we would catch them carefully in our hands and then put them in jars.

We would punch holes in the jar’s lid so that air could get in. Being only 6-10 we didn’t really know what the lighting bugs would eat, so in hopes of keeping them alive to flash their lights we put grass in the jar. Then we would run round the yard with dozens of lighting bugs in our jars watching in child-like fascination as they would glow in the dark. To a young child it was like a personal flashlight.

 Those summer time evenings were simple, yet filled with such wonder and fun. We didn’t have Xboxes, Play Stations, computers, Wii’s, or even cell phones in those days. Our imagination became our play time guides. We had never even heard of video games. Running around in the back yard on a hot summer night catching bugs that glowed in the dark was just good down home fun.

Now and then my uncle and my dad would “light up and glow in the dark.” That’s right, my dad and my uncle smoked. My dad would light up his Marlboro’s and my uncle his Camels. (Both my uncle and dad have quit smoking, my dad after becoming a Christian and growing in the Lord, and as far as I know my uncle when he died)

Those were good times for us kids. We didn’t have to worry about gangs or drug pushers. We didn’t even have to worry much about anything. What is there to worry about when your mom and dad and uncle and aunt are sitting talking on the back porch while you ran around the yard with your cousins catching bugs?

It seems that playing outdoors with your friends or cousins is nearly lost to kids these days. Kids are into reality TV shows, cell phones and texting. They are worried about being made fun of and left out if they don’t have the right back pack, jeans, and insignias on their clothes or if they have the latest video game. Kids grow up way to fast while being forced to dodge drugs, alcohol, exposure to sex, and divorcing parents. It seems sad to me that we have lost the art of entertaining ourselves with imagination and simplicity.

It has been a long day as an adult. I have had to the adult things that enable me to provide for my family and being a contributing member of society. So, I think I will sit on the back porch and watch the cats chase mice and the sun go down. While I am sitting there I will let my mind transport me back to that wonderful backyard on West Wilson in Salem, Ohio where I chased “lightning bugs.”

Gregg Metcalf
Oct 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Going Deep

Title:  Going Deep
Author:  Gordon MacDonald
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
General Subject Matter:  Christian Living, Spiritual Growth 
First Copyright:  2011
Type:  Paperback
Price:  $15.99
ISBN: 978-0-7852-2608-6

The purpose of the author, Gordon MacDonald, utilizing an imaginary church in New England is to identify the danger of an immediate shortage of "deep people" who will carry on the mission and vision of this local church. MacDonald through the use of fiction and this imaginary church takes the reader through the process of developing what he calls "deep people" to be a future crop of spiritual leaders.

The theme of Going Deep is becoming a person of influence. The thesis of Going Deep is that in order to ensure the survival or continuation of a local church, people of true depth must be cultivated into lives of spiritual maturity in an intentional manner.

MacDonald uses narration to develop his thesis. MacDonald takes the reader from the discovery or the identification of what he calls a "serious shortage" through the entire process of developing the means and mechanics of the process of developing deep people to its final stage of actually producing deep people. MacDonald develops his thesis in a chronological order in this fictional story. MacDonald begins each chapter with a memo, a journal entry, a voice-mail, or email entry of these fictional events.

Going Deep is a very interesting book. MacDonald is a very talented writer and is able to draw the reader into the story using conversation, questions, discussions, and events to hold the attention of the reader. Although Going Deep is a fictional story about people and events in a fictional church, the theme and thesis proves to be extremely objective and accurate. Churches, church leadership, and even laypeople will benefit greatly from this book. 

The main argument of MacDonald is that there is a shortage of leaders and that most churches are not developing future leaders. MacDonald sets forth the idea that most churches are great at preaching but not so great at teaching or discipling converts and seeing them grow in to potential leaders. I agree with MacDonald. I think very few churches truly disciple converts, at least in the manner in which Jesus discipled his twelve followers. I also agree that most churches are not preparing leaders for future leadership. Whether the "old guard" is jealous and insecure or simply due to a lack of vision, most churches are not prepared for the departure of their current leader. Therefore churches are usually damaged during the transitional period of no leadership. I also feel that churches should never have to look outside of their congregation for their leadership. The next or succeeding pastor should be developed and grown right in the church and the transition then becomes very smooth.

I didn't like some of the examples of so called "successful" leaders or churches MacDonald used in his book. I think some are not necessarily biblical in doctrine or practice. I was very surprised to find that I enjoyed this book and agreed with much of MacDonald's premises.

This book raises the issue the greatest weakness in most churches. It raises the issue of what happens when this weakness is undiagnosed and untreated. It raises the issue of challenging churches to intentionally develop both godly disciples and future leadership. It also explores the issue of rearranging the teaching pastors duties and responsibilities in order to be a true teaching pastor.

Going Deep is similar in its primary thesis and answer to other books of true discipleship, such as real disciples by Jim Putman. It is not a reworking of these other works since it is "original" in its use of a fictional setting. I found it to be very spell-binding when it came to delineating the steps MacDonald's fictional pastor and church used to identify the need, implement the process, and work through the steps. 

MacDonald is a highly respected pastor, author and Seminary professor. He is currently the chancellor at Denver Seminary. MacDonald serves as editor-at-large for Leadership Journal. He is a highly sought after speaker at numerous leadership conferences. 

MacDonald has written several books including, Ordering Your Private World, Building below the Waterline, Who Stole My Church?, and A Resilient Life.
There are no footnotes or indexes in Going Deep. There is a short one page bibliography. MacDonald did not include footnotes or end notes so the bibliography is simply a listing of books from which he drew inspiration or ideas.

In summary I was surprised to have enjoyed this book and to have profited from it. I hesitantly selected it from Thomas Nelson to review because it had been a very long time since they had offered anything remotely worthy of a review. I thought I would take a chance on this book since I was familiar with the author. I enjoyed the content of Going Deep. My general conclusions are as follows:

  • it was well written and holds one's attention 
  • it identifies a major problem in the church today
  • it provides a very viable means of solving this major problem
  • it is a valuable tool (even though it is fictional) for church leadership
  • it is a needed read by pastor, elders, and lay-leaders in today's churches
The author's concluding chapter is somewhat gratuitous and self-congratulatory. MacDonald summarizes the theme and thesis by having the "characters" give their evaluation of the process of going deep. Naturally it is all positive and forms a nice bow ties around a great package.
I received a complimentary copy of Going Deep for this evaluation. I was not required to give either a positive or negative evaluation. I received nothing else for this evaluation. It is strictly my own opinion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do I Make The Grade?

One thing that I couldn't wait to be free from while in school was report cards. Actually report cards were not a problem during my elementary school days of grades one through six. During those years my report cards were times of praise and appreciation by my parents, extended family, and some friends. Those report cards were typically filled with either +'s showing very positive evaluation or "P's" for passing, "A's" for acceptable, and glowing comments about my participation and cooperation.

It wasn't until I reached Junior High that my attitude about school and school work began to change. As my attitude deteriorated my grades began to slide downward in a horrific spiral. I began first to get B's. That alone was enough to sound the alarm in my household that I wasn't applying myself and had become lazy. When my grades turned to C's and D's I thought I was either going to be murdered by my parents or incarcerated in some correctional facility that would raise my grades back to the long coveted and expected +'s, P's, or A's.

That didn't happen. When I hit high school, and I don't know how I did, I got my first F. You would have thought that I had been found to be the shooter on the grassy knoll, Jack the Ripper, caused the Mutiny on the Bounty, and was responsible for the cancellation of Gunsmoke all rolled into one. Nor was I the one-armed killer who killed Dr. Richard Kimble's wife.

Having finished school and graduating from college with a B average I thought I was forever finished with report cards. Little did I know that they still exist. Those pesky, emasculating, and tattle-tale bearers followed me into the work place. They aren't known as report cards in the workplace, they are called "Performance Evaluations." You don't get +'s, gold stars, or plays well with others. No, your proficiency in how you do your job and how well you live up to company standards are now the subject.

So, what is my point you ask? I find myself seeking a report card. I have come to the conclusion that I and the Gospel-driven Disciples need to be evaluated for its effectiveness, value, benefit, and existence. Comments have been dropping off like flies. By the way, what does that mean, dropping like flies?

I am wondering if this blog has run its course? Has it served its purpose? Is it time to retire it? I am well aware that the Gospel-driven Disciples is a highly specialized blog that does not appeal well to mainstream bloggy land. Comments have rarely reached over a dozen, accept during the April A-Z Challenge founded by Arlee Bird over at Tossing It Out. Now comments have steadily dropped to 4 to 2 to 0. (I know the day isn't over yet, but I haven't been O on comments since I began to receive comments)

What do you think? Is it time to say goodnight? Has the proverbially weight challenged woman sung?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten Reasons To Like Luke's Gift

Tuesday's with Theophilus

Ten Reasons Why Theophilus likes Luke's Two Volume Gift

10.  It is a great source for new and exotic baby names when the time comes.

9.  The Roman Raiders are last in their division. Reading the Gospel/Acts gift from Luke give me something to read while I watch the Raiders loose the chariot races on Monday Night Chariot Races."Are you ready for some Chariot Races?" All my rowdy Romans friends are coming over tonight!

8.  I still get a thrill when I read the introductory inscription to each volume: " write unto thee...Most Excellent Theophilus...;" and "O Theophilus..."

7.  I like to read books filled with drama, love, suspense, and intrigue that make me laugh, cry, and root for the hero.

6  They have helped me to find happiness and inspiration

5.  They are part of a larger work that will one day be acknowledged as the world's best selling book

4.  It gives me a chance to tell Pontius Pilate I told you so!

3. Because it is truth. After all, people in court put their hand on it and swear by it.

2.  The two volume work is still smaller and lighter than the ESV Study Bible
 #1 Reason I look liked Luke's Two Volume Gift

1.   It confirms my faith and tells me of the Amazing Grace that engineered and secured my redemption

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Facts

In conjunction with Seams Inspired's Party, I give you my Monday Morning Facts, for what shall we say? For your enjoyment, entertainment, encouragement, curiosity, concern, comprehension, snoopiness, wonder, amusement, to tickle your funny bone, and or your inquisitiveness!

Fact:  Just like last Monday morning it is raining today. Sky is gray, clouds are dark, but Sonshine is in my heart! Didn't somebody sing about "Rainy days and Mondays?" (Written on Monday the 10th)

Fact:  I am a creature of absolute habit. I would be an easy assignment for a hit-man. When ever I go out for breakfast I order biscuits and gravy, when I go to Olive Garden I always order the Pasta e Fagioli.

Fact:  I found their recipe and learned how to make Pasta e Fagioli this weekend. It was fantastic. By the way I can make a mean biscuits and gravy now also.

Fact: I was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on this day in 1975. I was mustered out of the service at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina on October the 17th, 1975.

Fact:  I was a 5711 (MOS) - Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfarfe Specialist. For three years I served as an NBC NCO, Training NCO, and Operations Clerk. (Oct 18-1972 to Oct 17, 1975)

Fact: For six months or so after my discharge I drove a "Roach Coach" between Bluffton and Beaufort, South Carolina. If you don't know what a roach coach is go ask a construction or factory worker. Google is no fair.

Fact:  Shortly after moving to San Jose, CA in December of 1966 my dad left Lockheed and went to work as a District Manager of the San Jose Mercury News paper. I became a paper boy and ended up with three paper routes. He retired 20 some years later from the Mercury News as it was affectionately called and I "retired" when I reached the age limit of 17. Between prizes, awards, tips, Christmas gifts, and monies earned I did very well from 12-17. Among the major purchases I was able to make as a carrier was a $1,200.00 Ludwig Drum Kit, a pure bred AKC minature poodle, and a 1963 Pontiac Tempest.
Fact: I was a "genius" when it came to "selling" subscriptions to the San Jose Mercury News. As a 12-13 year old salesman I wouldn't take no for an answer. I sold subscriptions to people who didn't want a paper by helping them see the benefit of having a regular newspaper in order to line "kitty-boxes" or even wrap fish in before disposing for 30 days so I could go to Disneyland. Hey, there were a lot of prizes on the line for sold subscriptions: Disneyland, bikes, T. V.'s, radios, cash, etc.

Fact:  I dropped Fi Fi off at the groomer yesterday. Her first words were, "what happened to her?" Remember, Irene found clippers at a yard sale? The groomer did a great job and was able to restore Fi Fi to her absolutely and natural beautiful self.

Look at that face! Isn't she a living doll?

Fact:  I am not in favor of 9-9-9.


Fact:  I spoke way to soon and way too hopeful; gas went from 3.69 to 3.85 overnight. What frustrates me is that I am frustrated over the increase. I know better, they are just crooks.

Fact:  If it wasn't for the fact that it is Portland (OR) I would think that the government had lost its mind as it tries to "find an answer" for the protesters and illegal squatters occupying downtown Portland. I can't believe they are allowed to stay. We were downtown Portland the other day for some reason and areas are blocked off, parks inaccessible to the public, businesses hindered, not to mention the sanitation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The True Path to Greatness

"You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." 

-- Jesus
(Mark 10.42-45 ESV)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is This Watch Broken?

 One minister says that it doesn't bother him at all if his members look at their watches during his sermons. It does affect him, however, when someone not only looks at his watch, but also holds it up to his ear to see if it's still running

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Porch Sittin..."

“What are you doing?” I asked Willie as I passed by his house on my way home.

“Awwww I’m just doin’ some porch sittin” he replied as he swung back and forth ever so slightly on his porch swing.

As a child, I would often see Willie out on his porch. He was an older man who still worked hard around his place but he often took time off for some “porch sittin’”.

“I got the radio on and the Cardinals will be playing ball here in a minute if you want to sit a spell,” Willie said as he scooted over on the swing and patted the seat next to him as he adjusted the volume on the radio.

It was summertime and many other scenes such as the one I mention above took place everyday where I grew up. “Porch sittin” was a common activity. Nearly everyone had a porch with a wooden swing that hung down from chains that were held by hooks on the porch ceiling. Most swings held two or three people and if neighbors showed up to sit a spell then more chairs would be brought out from inside the house. The younger folks might sit on the porch steps while children played in the yard or found a tree to climb.

The porch was like an extension of the living room because it was cooler out on the porch when the summer’s heat became uncomfortable. There wasn’t air conditioning so houses were often built so that they were situated where the breeze would waft across the porch and there was a roof that protected porch sitters from the sun and rain. Essentially, all the work that could possibly be done outdoors was transported to the porch where it was cooler and it seemed to make the job more enjoyable just by being outside in nature’s living room.

It seems like a lot of living took place on porches in times past. At least it was that way where I grew up. Seeing a person sitting on their front porch was pretty much the same as an invitation for neighbors to stop by and pass the time of day.

Many people did part of their garden work on their porches. It didn’t matter if it was snapping beans, hulling peas, or peeling apples someone was apt to sit down beside you and give you a hand with the chore.

I remember a lot of visiting, discussions, and even problems solved while snapping green beans. Women learned from one another and often offered help for whatever need that was mentioned. “Try using a little corn starch on that baby’s diaper rash,” a young mother might learn from an older neighbor lady, “And next time you need to work out in the garden, just bring that little one over here and I’ll watch him, I kind of miss having a baby around,” the neighbor might say.

Those were good times when porches were used for many things. Women did needle work or rocked babies, men whittled or fixed things, and children played “pretend”.

Sometimes the porch was used to just get off alone for a time and read, meditate, or just do some thinking…“woolgathering” Momma used to call it.

Even if the sun wasn’t shining, there was nothing quite like the sound of rain on the porch roof. It was such a secure feeling and a perfect time to curl up on the porch swing with a quilt and a good book and listen to the soft pattering of the raindrops.

The summer nights were also very good for “porch sittin”. We made friends with the night sky as we enjoyed God’s creation. As a child I learned about stars and constellations from my parents. I learned how to identify the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and then identify the North Star and the Milky Way.

There were all the different night sounds that were a little frightening at first until Momma explained the howling of the coyotes, the loud noise of the bullfrog, and the calls of hoot owls and whippoorwills. We also watched the mysterious twinkling lightning bugs flit around in the dark. A permanent picture is engraved in my mind of my mother standing in a long white nightgown, arms outstretched above her, as she caught lightning bugs in a jar for me one hot summer’s night.

Occasionally, when summer nights didn’t cool off enough to be comfortable for sleeping, some folks would sleep outside on their porches. My girlfriends and I thought that sleeping on the porch was a great adventure, except for that one time when the cat decided to bring us a gift and we woke up to find half of a mouse upon our quilt!

In later years, my parents enclosed our front porch for an extra room. I hated to see the porch closed in but I was glad when my parents simply moved the old porch swing and hung it from the huge old maple tree where the family still gathered. Daddy and my brother would often sit out there under that tree and play their guitars, usually with a dog or two stretched out beneath their feet as they played one more chorus of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”

I have always loved porch swings. After I was grown and married, the one thing that sold me on the house that we bought was the swing on the back porch that overlooked a pond.

I’m glad to see that some houses being built today are going back to adding porches. Yet, it isn’t the porches, it’s the people that make the difference. As I drive through neighborhoods these days I sometimes wonder, “Where are all the people? Are they all at Wal-Mart or inside watching television?” If so, they are missing out on a lot.

Why not shoo the kids outside and take a little time out for some “porch sittin”? Take something along to read or work on if you like but there’s nothing wrong with just sitting and doing nothing because it really isn’t doing nothing, it’s “porch sittin”. If practiced enough, you can become an expert at it.

It seems like “porch sittin” is nearly a lost art. Perhaps we can still revive it. If you don’t have a porch, don’t worry, a chair out under a shade tree will do. I don’t have a porch like I once had either but I have a great imagination and all of God’s creation is still right there to enjoy.

Well, it’s been a long day so I think I’ll go outside for a spell because it’s just about “porch sittin” time.

~ Pamela Perry Blaine ~
© June 2005

I love our porch! We do our fair share of porch sittin'
What about you? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Goodness of God

Ps 52:1 says – “The goodness of God endures continually.”

The goodness of God refers to the absolute perfection of his nature. We need to understand that there is such absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that His character lacks nothing, there is nothing defective in His nature and nothing can be added to His Nature.

Thomas Manton wrote: “He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good but goodness itself… He is infinitely good, He is eternally and immutably good for He cannot be less good than He is…”

Arthur Pink wrote: “God is summum bonum, the chiefest good.”

Did you know that the original meaning of our English word God is “The Good” 

Ps 119:68 says “Thou art good and doest good.”

So, all that comes from God – His decrees, His creation, His laws, His providence can only be good. Take just a minute and think of where and when we see God’s goodness:
  • We see the goodness of God in the variety of pleasures He has given to us.
  • We see the goodness of God in His patient withholding of His wrath against sin
  • We see the goodness of God when He gave His Son to redeem us & adopt us as sons
Charles Spurgeon wrote: “When others behave badly to us, it should stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto God, because He is good, and we ourselves are conscious that we are far from good, we should only the more reverently bless Him that He is good. We must never tolerate an instant of unbelief as to the goodness of God, whatever else may be questioned this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good, His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same.”

“The goodness of God endures continually.”