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Showing posts from 2009

The Neurosurgeon, Richard Dawkins, and Me -- Part 3

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This is the third installment in this little series about my neurosurgeon friend recommending to me a book by Richard Dawkins ( Part 1 , Part 2 ). I am going to get ahead of myself just a bit with this particular post. There are other specific things that I will address most likely sometime next week concerning those who are trending toward atheism. One of the chief reasons that I cannot buy into the concept of atheism is because of what I have been associated with for my entire life. I have been an eyewitness to the transforming power of the grace of God and the Gospel. My father-in-law started the church that I now pastor 43 years ago and over that course of time I have only been absent from it for 3 years when I was a kid because of a job transfer that my dad took in Niceville, Florida. Another three year absence occurred from 1989-1992 when I went to Texas Bible College in Houston, Texas. Other than these two times, I have been actively involved in our church. So when R

The Neurosurgeon, Richard Dawkins, and Me -- Part 2

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Picking up from yesterday’s post about Richard Dawkins’ book The Greatest Show on the Earth , I have had several e-mails asking me if I would recommend someone to read this book. I have two answers to that. First, I would suggest that anyone who is not very well founded in Scripture or if they are questioning the authority of Scripture not to read it. What Dawkins is doing is preying on those who are on the fringe of the Church. Having done a bit of investigation on Dawkins, it is very important for us to note that he has a very strong influence among a younger set, generally college-aged crowd. YouTube has some various lectures that he has given and one that I watched was at Oklahoma University. Another lecture that I watched as given in Washington, D.C. to a large and somewhat rowdy group of old fat guys (like me) who fancied themselves as intellectuals. Paul (1 Timothy 4:1) mentions a seducing spirit and it is my thoughts that this is what this book is based on. Dawkins

The Neurosurgeon, Richard Dawkins, and Me

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A little over a month ago, my dad ended up needing a five vessel bypass via open heart surgery. Throughout the process, I spent a lot of time at the hospital that I have worked in off and on since 1985. I occasionally still work in the Radiology department and in some of the intensive care units but have not been full-time since January 2006. I discovered once again some of the advantages of being an insider when a family member is in need of health care although that may change after Obama has committed his “bailout.” My dad is now doing well and overall did remarkable throughout the affair. On one of the days that I was spending with him, I left the hospital for a bit and returned after lunch. As I was getting into the elevator, I ran into a physician that I have known since the summer of ’92 or so. He is a kind-hearted soul and has always been very genial and I have never personally observed him demonstrate the messiah complex that most neurosurgeons seem to get equipped wi

The Voices of Vanity Fair -- Part 2 -- The Voice of the Consumer

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Continuing with a blog that I wrote back in August concerning the voices of Vanity Fair ( Part 1 ), I trust you will find some food for thought with this thought. Long before Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress Paul wrote a letter to the Galatians addressing some of the voices of Vanity Fair. Galatians 1:6-7 KJV I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. He was alarmed that there were those who would work to create great upheaval in the soul. It was of such a nature that it could be described as a hellish agitation attempting to perplex the soul. It was with the subtle suggestions of doubt or half-truth created by asking questions that would subvert the simple. The Greek indicates that the words “trouble” and “pervert” the Gospel implies a shaking back and forth with the intent of stirring up spiritual distress. Th

Book Recommendation--Timothy Keller. . . Counterfeit Gods

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One of the noticeable differences in my reading habits over the last three or four years has been the content of religious materials that I now read. Years ago, I spent a lot of time reading Max Lucado, Max Lucado, and Max Lucado. Max was good for my inspirational quirks years ago but after the 45th book has dropped out of the chute and landed on the bookshelf, I discovered that Max was apparently saying the same things but under a different cover. I gained a bit of inspiration but little education. All-in-all, it was good because his writings caused me to reach for things on the next shelf. Higher up on the proverbial shelf is a writer that I have grown to enjoy reading simply because of the “thinkabilty” factor involved. That writer is Timothy Keller and his newest book fills the bill. He has written a new book entitled “Counterfeit Gods—The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters.” The introduction kicks off with a provocative thought conc

The Persecuted Church

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For the most part, I feel that many in the American church are very unaware of the international persecution that some in the global church have to endure. Recently while working on a set of sermon notes, I paged through Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and once again felt the deep-seated conviction that most of the American church probably would not be able to endure physical challenges to their faith. In fact, I even questioned whether or not I would stand in the face of persecution and even martyrdom for what I believed to be true. Perhaps many are choking on God’s blessings at the expense of our soul. Blessings and prosperity have a way of dulling one’s spiritual senses. Why do we really need God when we have a surplus of wealth and health? Why should we depend on God when we have become self-made men by following the advice of the best life now routine? I have been accused by some of my “preaching buddies” of always reading heavy or even dark books and they are probably right! Of

Don't Silence the Alarms. . .

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My thoughts in the last couple of weeks has increasingly been turned back toward the world of medicine of which I have somewhat lost touch with in the last 4 years. In January 2006, I had the great opportunity to leave the field of medicine and devote myself to the role of being a full-time pastor. What turned my thoughts back to that venue was my oldest son having graduated from the RN program that my wife and I both graduated from 24 years ago has gone to work in one of Intensive Care Units at Flowers Hospital in Dothan. His orientation process has caused me to think of several instances over the years that taught not only valuable lessons about medicine but about life in general. While I have been able to be involved in a host of good things there are also some instances that horrific outcomes took place. As I look back in retrospect I realize now that they could have been prevented. One such experience happened early on when one of my co-workers was admitting a fresh open-hea

The Voices of Vanity Fair -- Part 1

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I have over the years gotten much inspiration and a lot of devotional mileage out of the Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Back at the first of the year (2009), I was rummaging around through the massive amounts of cassette tapes of sermons that I have and ran across a sermon preached by Pastor John Harrell in Bridge City, Texas. Sometime in the late ‘80’s or early ‘90’s he preached a two-part sermon series on Vanity Fair and although I only had the second part, it proved to be much for mental and spiritual rumination for me over the last eight months. In fact much of my encouragement to dig into Pilgrim’s Progress from a devotional standpoint came from my friendship with Brother Harrell. He is a masterful preacher that week –in and week-out does much from the pulpit in Bridge City. From that old classic Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan there is a scene that serves well as a leaping off point for this blog. Christian and Faithful are on their way to the Celestial City and h

When Bathrooms Are No Longer the Priority. . .

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Teresa said, “Philip, let’s go do the Parade of Homes!” Philip said, “Teresa, I don’t want to do the Parade of Homes! ” Teresa said, “Philip, we are going to do the Parade of Homes! ” Philip said, “Teresa, we are not going to do the Parade of Homes! ” Then we got in the car and went to the Parade of Homes ! I have found that doing such things as this creates for a mostly blissful state of marriage. Little did I know what was in store for me on that day several weeks ago. I have not gone to the Parade of Homes in over ten years because. . . well, just because. One of the reasons that I don’t go is because it has a tendency to skew my priorities and it gives me the “Greedy Galloping Gimme’s.” This is one of the good lessons the Berenstain Bears taught me years ago when I was reading to my kids. The Parade of Homes, in times past, has created an uncomfortable discontentment with where I currently live which is not a good thing (not that there is anything wrong with

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church--Doctrinal Conference--General Session 3--David Bernard

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NOTE: I realize I am out of order with this post. . . I will post the second general session later today. Pastor David Bernard began his third session with “Baptism of Water and Spirit.” What follows are my scribbles from this session. -He pointed out that in the OT there is much typology particularly in the Tabernacle that is an expression of NT salvation. He noted that sometimes we have been accused of beating only one drum—Acts 2:38. If this is the only thing that we can identify as a point of NT salvation, then the burden is on us to find out exactly what the Scriptures are stating. -However, the whole of Scripture emphasizes the New Birth (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38) and every man who has an experience with God must come under the auspices of what Scripture has to say. Acts 2:38 is addressed to “every one of you.” This is all inclusive to every man, to every nation, to every race, to every tribe, and to every tongue. This is the job of the church, to evangelize the world

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church--Doctrinal Conference--General Session 1--David Bernard

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Several weeks ago at our Alabama District Family Camp, Pastor Darrell Johns of Atlanta West Pentecostal Church , mentioned to me a doctrinal conference that would be hosted at church he pastors the last weekend in June. Immediately when he invited, I felt like it would be beneficial for me. My only regret is that more of our Dothan folks could not make it. As it stands Brother Patterson along with Charlie and Patty Joyner made the trek with me. On arrival we received a 1st class notebook of some 30 pages or so of very good notes that are going to be very useful in the future. The notes alone are worth the price of registration. From reading Brother Johns’ welcome in the notebook, this whole endeavor was apparently created by Jonathon and Missy Copeland who attend AWPC . Again, my hat is off to them for such an outstanding effort that is going to serve many very well. After a brief time of good-spirited music, Brother Johns introduced Pastor David Bernard of New Life Unit

A Culture in Limbo

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On Tuesday morning I was out and about doing some errands that I had put off for longer than I should have. One of the things that I had sorely neglected was changing the oil in my little ’05 Honda Civic. In fact I am not even inclined to tell you how long it has been since my last oil change. So as I sat and waited in the large comfortable waiting area at one of our local Firestone stores, I was confronted by American culture. Head-on, in-your-face, unapologetic American culture. . . at least that is the impression I am getting from a lot of voices these days. It was delivered to me in crisp-clear, digital, flat-screen TV. I had a comfortable chair in a comfortable room and yet my heart was very uncomfortable. I encourage you not to think of yourself as strange and “old-fashioned” if your heart is uncomfortable with a lot of what is going on in our society these days. There are a lot of unspiritual voices who think they are providing good spiritual advice to our world when

Book Recommendation -- Horse Soldiers -- Doug Stanton

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If you enjoy summer reading, you are in for some good recommendations here in the next several days. Stories about the war on terror are beginning to surface by various soldiers who have been actively involved in the battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new book that has just come out is entitled Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton . It is a very, very interesting book about the role the Special Forces played in the very early days of the American attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Special Forces faced overwhelming odds in getting their high-tech equipment up and down the sides of the mountains on horseback. The word pictures that Stanton uses to describe the 6-foot, two-hundred pound plus warriors riding horses that were meant for 130 pounders, is almost hilarious. You will almost picture an adult trying to ride a three-year olds’ tricycle, knees to chin sort of thing. His account of the SF having to ride their horses on rain-soaked trails that had cavernous drop-offs of tho

The Powerful Pull of Perfection

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If you have never known it, I pray that you will at some point find it or rather that it will find you. You must understand that the desire for perfection also has some ominous undercurrents because the demands it has are only embraced by a hearty few. It has collapsed many who could not withstand the gnawing, relentless passion that hunger for perfection created. But that noble few who believed it, sought it, pursued it, and disciplined themselves to it, perfection crowned them in the end. Perfection presses and pushes to such an extent that it can cause great calamities of defeat and disappointment. But it is in those precious moments of calamity and disappointment that the great souls are born. It is bewildering and mysterious, to say the least, of how calamity and disappointment can crown the man who pursues perfection with all of his heart. The difference is that the great souls just keep on stretching toward that shining. They do so in spite of those who believe the wor