Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NOW can't use RICO to stifle free speech

Supreme Court Backs Abortion Protesters

NOW's use of the RICO act was a blatant, heavy-handed attempt to not only stifle the freedom of speech of abortion opponents, but to intimidate them into silence, since under RICO the plaintiff can seize all the assets of the defendant.

Freedom of speech - it's a Good Thing!

NT06 - Acts 8, in which God uses evil for good yet again

In Acts 8, the stoning of Stephen ignites a general persecution against the church in Jerusalem. The disciples were scattered.

Philip went down to Samaria, where God had a divine appointment for him - an Ethiopian official on his way back to Africa.

I'm sure that when Philip fled Saul's rampage, he had no idea that God would use that persecution to bring the Gospel to a new continent and a new people.

Likewise the Ethiopian, returning from a religious ritual in Jerusalem, had no idea that his eyes would be opened to the truth. The eunuch was a religious man - he'd made a long and dangerous journey in order to worship at the Temple - but he had no understanding of what he was reading.

In like wise, many religious people may be celebrating Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday without a clear understanding of what that really means.

Has God set up divine appointments for us to "tell them the good news about Jesus?"

NT06 - Acts 7, in which Stephen gets stoned

Got to do some fast catching up on the ol' Bible-blogging! I've kept up on the reading, but have been terribly remiss in posting. Tomorrow we start Hebrews, so I've got to fast-forward through the rest of Acts.

Acts 7 records Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin. I've often wondered what it was he said that got them so riled up. Most of his speech is just a recounting of Jewish history. The "killer" comes at the end, though, when Stephen tells them to their face that they've killed the Messiah, and that he sees Y'Shua now seated at God's right hand.

You can imagine that didn't sit too well with the religious leaders.

When they drag Stephen out to stone him, a young man named Saul holds their coats.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dear Elena

A father writes through his pain.

I need to go home and hug my little girls. When they ask me why I'm crying, I'll just tell them, "Because I love you so much."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Who's making the doughnuts?

Varifrank (ht:HH) as an interesting post on the law of unintended consequences as applied to the Dubai port-management mess.

This whole thing has had me concerned since it broke. I trust the President's big-picture strategic thinking - I agree that true democracy will stabilize the ME.

But tactically, this looks like yet another administration cmmunications and coordination blunder. How is it possible that this deal was investigated and approved without at least running it past the office of the President first? He's the Commander in Chief, the Head of State, and the Chief Executive.

SOMEBODY should have had the brains to say, "Hey, this might fail the sniff test with Joe Sixpack at first glance. We better make sure all the t's and i's are crossed and dotted. And we ought to get the story out ourselves."

Bush has proven to be a terrific strategic thinker. But at some point, somebody has to go make the doughnuts. You have to have competent execution.

The pattern that I see is not encouraging.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Waiting to exhale

Re the ports thingy, this news tidbit: Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

There is more to nearly everything than meets the eye, eh?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This. Is. Just. Too. Cool.

Multi-Touch Interaction Research The video takes a while to load, but WOW.

Cancer is so Limited

My friend and colleague Laura (see comment on the previous post) was good enough to send along this:

Cancer is so limited...

It cannot cripple Love,
It cannot shatter Hope,
It cannot corrode Faith,
It cannot eat away Peace,
It cannot destroy Friendship,
It cannot suppress Memories,
It cannot silence Courage,
It cannot invade the Soul,
It cannot steal eternal Life.
It cannot conquer the Spirit.

Author Unknown

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Supremacy of God in Suffering

John Piper, on the eve of surgery for prostate cancer, has powerful words of hope in a sovereign God. (The surgery went well and he is recovering.)

Piper has a very high view of God, and that is often confusing to people. It's terrible in its simplicity - God IS GOD. God is fully sovereign in every way, in every respect. Nothing happens that He does not permit, and did not forsee from before His creation of time. Everything - everything! that happens is due to His plan and design, whether or not we can understand it.

That's the sticking point for a lot of people. "I can't understand how a loving God could let my mother die of cancer," they say. So they either dismiss God as callous and uncaring, or limit His sovereignty by saying that pain isn't part of His plan.

They ignore the third path - the paradox that a loving, merciful God can design pain and suffering into our lives. Sometimes we can see His hand clearly - would the Acua Indians have come to salvation if not for the martydom of Jim Elliot?

Oftimes, though, we can't.

And that's where we have to simply accept the paradox. God IS infinitely loving and merciful. Yet He permits suffering.

We can't understand it.

But we don't have to understand everything.

Disclosure - I consider myself blessed to have sat under John Piper's teachings for a decade. He baptized me and my wife, and officiated at our wedding in the old sanctuary at Bethlehem Baptist Church (now the site of the new education wing at BBC).

Also, I lost my mother to cancer when I was 4. I was at my uncle's side when he died of stomach cancer 20-odd years ago. My stepmother died of ovarian cancer about a decade ago. And as an asthmatic, I've stared death in the face a couple of times myself.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Martyrdom 101

A speaker at a Teheran university boasted that his organization has hundreds of potential suicide bombers ready to strike US and UK bases in Iraq, should there be an attack on Iranian nuke facilities.

The things they teach in schools these days.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

NT06 - Catching up - why was Stephen set up?

I have been keeping up with the reading, mostly. But I am waaaay behind in the blogging. So let's pick up at the end of Acts 6, where Stephen gets arrested.

The setting is in the first few years after Jesus' earthly ministry, "in those days when the number of disciples was increasing." Acts 6:7 contains an interesting tidbit: "a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."

Priests were becoming believers in ha'Mashioch. Levites were starting to think that this carpenter's son from Hicksville was The One.

This was a challenge to the religious power structure.

Especially, it seemed to challenge the belief system of the Hellenic Jews, as we see in verse 9. Now, I don't claim to be an expert in the religious practices of 1st-century CE Hellenic Jews in Jerusalem. (If you are, or if you have links to the same, please leave a comment.)

But anyone who has spent time around people can attest to the fact that folks don't like boat-rockers. Especially if you've just climbed into the boat. Newton's third law applies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Apology accepted

The Liberal Avenger and I have some sharp differences, but he showed class in this case. Wish I could say the same for some of his blog-mates, but that's their problem.
UPDATE 2/16. Their webadmin sgo (who I had thought was a decent fellow) decided to label me a spammer and block my IP. Life goes on. Speaking of which, I'm waaay behind in my liveblogging of Acts...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Italian Judge gets one right

ROME, Italy (AP) -- An Italian judge has dismissed an atheist's petition that a small-town priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.

I hope the judge assessed a big chunk of court costs against Cascioli.