Archive for February, 2012

On a terrific Tuesday here’s some links on Movies, Music, Murder, Medicine, & Money:

Movies & Music: In honor of the recent held Oscars and Grammy awards let’s start with some music & movie helps. Being a father of four kids my wife and I don’t get dinner and a movie often (outside of the Dreamworks/Pixar variety). When it does happen normally it is late night DVD we watch together on the couch after the kids are in bed. As a Christian I want to guard my time (no bad movies!) and what we take in (striving to pursue holiness). Since my wife will only enjoy one or two westerns a year with me I found this helpful article from Randy Alcorn : Evaluating Movies in Light of  Scripture. It offers great insight and some links.

Of course I have used the Philippians 4:8 test for years to help me. It says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV). If that verse helps you try using Tim Challies’ visual theology infographic of this verse.

The main thing I can say about music is: “they don’t make it like they used to.” I grew up listening to “Solid Gold Saturday Night” country music, the good old days as us oldies (wink, wink) like to say. I am not a big fan of the contemporary mainstream crossover junk (that is a blog all unto itself).  So do yourself a favor and remember what would have been Johnny Cash’s 80th birthday by reading Russ Moore’s piece on why he still matters.

On the explicitly “Christian” side of music I hope you are familiar with the very gifted and gospel-driven musician & worship leader, Matt Papa. Read his take on contemporary Christian music scene explaining that Jesus Isn’t safe (check out Part 2 here). Or read his recent interview with Trevin Wax:  A Renaissance of Gospel-Centered Music: A Conversation with Matt Papa.

  Don’t have time to read, then definitely give  him a listen.

Murder: This unique coalition of African-Americans thinks so and calls out an organization and African-American leaders they think have betrayed them (supporting the abortuaries). The National Black Pro-Life Coalition has done us a great service by producing a media piece alerting us to the #1 killer of African-Americans (& the genocide supported by Planned Parenthood). Take one minute and watch it. Then pray and take action.

Medicine: As we live in culture that has been described as “One-Nation on Prescriptions” (referring to behavior modification medicine) Here is a helpful short piece asking the question:  Is It Right for a Christian to Take Anti-Depressants?

Money: If this economy has hurt your wallet or bank account here are links to help including FREEBIES (both great & small). First, check friends’ or relatives’ attics you know that live in old houses and check for old comic books. You could score a cool $3.5 million!

Next, just in case you were up late last night watching the never-ending Daytona 500 and missed breakfast you can get your FREE pancakes today during National Pancake Day at IHOP. You get a short-stack of pancakes free but you’ll probably pay anyway. That’s okay because their proceeds go to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Finally, BMW-USA is giving away a 2012 BMW 328i Sedan.  All you have to do is like them on Facebook. and submit a 5.9 second video.


1)    The #1 movie at the box office last  weekend was “The Vow“.  It’s an incredible true story of love and commitment. I don’t know the liberties the movie takes with the book and true story but I am grateful that the real-life couple in “The Vow”,  Kim and Krickitt Carpenter are reminding people the place that Christ played in their story. The Carpenters appeared on The Today Show earlier this week to promote the book and movie. This clip below includes an portion from the book that shares about their faith:

It was so encouraging to see them continually draw attention to their faith and the importance of commitment in to their TV interview. The book shares more of that emphasis so read the exerpt with the clip above .  You can order the book through Lifeway.  (HT @edstetzer)

2)    We so often hear in our culture of the deaths of celebrities and athletes that was the finish to amount of tragedy. While we are aware that these tragic and troublesome (albeit often the trouble is self-inflicted) stories of celebrities & athletes lives (off stage & off-the field) preceding their deaths; as Christians we often don’t know how to respond. As Whitney Houston’s funeral is today Marty Duren gives Christians great insight with his article: Reflections on Celebrity Deaths.  He wisely points us to avoid “sloppy, sappy, sentimental theology,” and passing rank judgment while we look for ways to not be silent but to speak with wisdom, grace and truth.

On a different end of the spectrum this week was the passing of the 57 year old Hall of Fame catcher, Gary Carter. Many baseball pundits argued what place Carter will go down as being one of the all time great catchers. At the same time stories emerged of a man that lived a life and left a legacy more important than any of his accomplishments as a player. World Magazine captured the refreshing and encouraging account of this man that was a husband (married 37 years), father, grandfather, humble coach.

3)   It does not matter if you watch basketball or care about sports at all to have some interest in the New York Knicks recent phenomenal play and story of Jeremy Lin. As a matter of fact you would almost have to be on a deserted island this last week to have not heard about the phenomenon surrounding him called, Linsanity. Bryan Cribb, a professor at Anderson University, in his article helps us take Linsanity & Tebow-mania all in.

4)   February 19 will mark 200 years since the first (known) American foreign missionaries, Adoniram & Ann Judson, departed America for India settling eventually in Burma (now called Myanmar).  To read about their lives and ministry will challenge and inspire you. Their lives teach us not just about taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth but they teach us about a deep affection for Christ among much suffering. It was a great joy when I visited where they were baptized at William Carey’s church in Calcutta and saw the fruits of their ministry that remains and grows on my visit to India and Myanmar 9 years ago. I want to encourage you to know more about them not just for knowledge’s sake but I promise you will be challenged and encouraged in your walk with Jesus Christ.

John Piper has done a great service to us in his biographical piece on Adoniram Judson. He also wrote a piece on Judson in his fifth book in the Swans are Not Silent series that also tells of the lives of William Tyndale, and John Paton. It is available as a  free book download in PDF. The stories show “how the gospel advances not only through the faithful proclamation of the truth but through representing the afflictions of Christ in our sufferings.”

Also, Jason Duesing and other contributing professors have Southwestern Seminary have written this week a  four-part series on Judson’s life and impact.

It is estimated that some 100 million people will tune in to watch the Super Bowl on February 5. While relatively few viewers actually care who wins between the Patriots and the Giants (we just want a good game, right?)  people will watch for a variety of reasons:

  • many will watch just for the commercials
  • some viewers just to see the half-time entertainment
  • still others viewing lament that Tim Tebow’s not playing in the big game

Whatever the reason we watch, we all can agree that it has become a huge American event.  So much so it has become an unofficial national holiday called:  Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl falling on a Sunday leads churches to react in different ways: many churches will cancel normal Sunday evening activities, some will say it is sin to watch it (can we all say together: legalism), some will gather to watch the game after their services, while others will use it as a strategic outreach opportunity.

Regardless of your response to the Super Bowl, it is important to remember that something much more important happens as Christians gather together every Sunday morning and worship the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. So I hope we will gather to worship with a greater and deeper affection for the Lord on His day than we will do anything else on game day. Michael Horton has reminded us that every Sunday is the “Big Day” in his article: Hey Football Fans, the Big Day is Nearly Here Again.

I am not so concerned with how, where, or if you are even watching the Super Bowl.  I would like to point you to some resources to help “redeem”  your viewing experience and to alert us to activities and statistics that are much more important that football.

   There is something beyond sad that happens in Super Bowl  cities (and all major cities).  At an estimated 10,000 victims, this will be the largest sex trafficking and child prostitution event of the year in the US. I am grateful that Justin Holcomb has alerted us to these terribly crimes.  Fortunately, Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels  passed legislation to make the law tougher on criminals caught doing this and enabling hotels to take a more active part to stop this. It is encouraging that the public is becoming more aware of this issue and many are fighting back.

Me at Super Bowl XXXIV (Jacksonville, Florida, 2005) Patriots vs Eagles


C.J. Mahaney has some great tips to watch the Super Bowl to the glory of God in his post from Super Bowl XLIV. While the post is from 2010 (so disregard the game predictions) the viewing advice is timeless. I do disagree with C.J. about the event being overrated and not just because I had an incredible time helping on the field at Super Bowl XXXIX (that is a post for another day).

Missiological Thinking  has given some insightful posts to help think about the more important numbers of the cities represented in the Super Bowl. The first post tells the numbers of Evangelical Christians and Churches in the Boston, New York, and Indianapolis areas. The next post gets more specific with these important statistics in these cities that need the Gospel.

Adoption Journey is offering a great video resource to use on Super Bowl Sunday that features Tony Dungy and hopes to raise awareness about adoption.

I hope these resources will help with your viewing pleasure for the big game and get you thinking beyond football this Super Bowl Sunday.