Thursday, August 27, 2009

Team RadioShack to debut 'down under'...

SYDNEY, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong’s new professional cycling team will make their racing debut at next year’s Tour Down Under in South Australia, local organisers said on Thursday.

The American made his comeback at this year’s race for the Astana team but the seven-times Tour de France winner told officials he would be back in 2010 racing for Team RadioShack.

“I’m delighted to announce that Lance Armstrong will be back in Adelaide to race in next year’s Tour Down Under,” South Australia state premier Mike Rann said in a statement on Thursday.

“This will be the first time Lance’s new team, Team RadioShack, will compete anywhere in the world.”

Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer, retired in 2005 but returned to the saddle this year to raise awareness about the disease that almost killed him.

The 37-year-old finished third in the Tour de France behind his Astana team mate Alberto Contador but announced he was coming back for another shot in 2010 with his own team.

“I’ve been in regular contact with Lance and his management since he made his world cycling comeback in Adelaide at the 2009 Tour Down Under,” Rann said.

“He really enjoyed his time in South Australia and has told me how much he appreciated the massive support he received from the thousands of cycling fans during the race and from the communities supporting the launch of his global cancer campaign.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by John O’Brien; To query or comment on this story email

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No music in church...

I've been listening to John MacArthur's message The Case Against the R-Rated Church today. (An interesting message on many fronts only one of which I'm going to mention here.)

Toward the end of this message, John talks about the reasons many people choose to go to a particular church. He mentions things like "the pastor's a cool guy" and "I like the music" and things like that. He rightly points out how shallow these reasons are, then he asks a rather pointed question: "If all the music stopped, where would you go to church?"

How would you answer that question? What would you look for in a church? It would be, I hope, a church that is faithful to God's Word and calls you to holiness. Any church that exists that is not focused on the Bible or which downplays God's standards is not a church...not really.

So enjoy the music at your church. It is a gift from God to you. But don't worship it. Don't put all your eggs in the "I like the musical style" basket. Put the bulk of your "eggs" in the biblical faithfulness carton.


“If you really want to be a rebel, get a job, cut your grass, read your Bible, and shut up! Because no one's doing that! THAT'S rebellion.”

- Mark Driscoll

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A solid start in Ireland...

In his first competitive race since finishing third in the Tour de France, Armstrong came home in a 14-strong group, 16 seconds behind Britain's Russell Downing, who won the stage.
And Armstrong, who last rode in the Emerald Isle competitively in 1992, revealed on Twitter the conditions were not best suited to cycling.

"Up/down/left/right/windy!! I felt like I was breathing thru a straw. A small straw," he tweeted.

Russia's Alexander Kolobnev finished second, with Matti Breschel of Denmark in third - both one second behind Downing.

Saturday's 196km ride will head from Clonmel to Kilarney before the 576km race finishes in Cork.


Friday, August 21, 2009

A daily dose of "good" sense...

A friend sent me a few bits of advice that are, if you really think about them, they make sense in a sick sort of way...
  • Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.
  • For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.
  • A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

Don't know where these came from originally, but they sound like Red Green to me. Where's the duct tape?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama goes postal...

“UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.”
- Barack Obama, Aug. 11, 2009

No institution has been the butt of more government- inefficiency jokes than the U.S. Postal Service. Maybe the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The only way the post office can stay in business is its government subsidy. The USPS lost $2.4 billion in the quarter ended in June and projects a net loss of $7 billion in fiscal 2009, outstanding debt of more than $10 billion and a cash shortfall of $1 billion. It was moved to intensive care -- the Government Accountability Office’s list of “high risk” cases - - last month and told to shape up. (It must be the only entity that hasn’t cashed in on TARP!)

That didn’t stop President Barack Obama from holding up the post office as an example at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, last week.

When Obama compared the post office to UPS and FedEx, he was clearly hoping to assuage voter concerns about a public health-care option undercutting and eliminating private insurance.
What he did instead was conjure up visions of long lines and interminable waits. Why do we need or want a health-care system that works like the post office?

What’s more, if the USPS is struggling to compete with private companies, as Obama implied, why introduce a government health-care option that would operate at the same disadvantage?

Commentary by Caroline Baum on

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The false gospel of prosperity...

"God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you." That was the message of Gloria Copeland as she was speaking at the Southwest Believers' Convention recently held in Fort Worth, Texas. The event drew the attention of The New York Times and reporter Laurie Goodstein contributed a compelling report about the meeting and its message.

The Southwest Believers' Convention drew a crowd of more than 9,000 to hear an "all-star lineup" of preachers deliver the message of the prosperity gospel. One by one, the preachers and the speakers enticed the gathered thousands by offering them the assurance that God wants them rich -- even fabulously rich.

As Goodstein reports, the preachers were not shy about drawing attention to the luxurious lives they lead. "Private airplanes and boats. A motorcycle sent by an anonymous supporter. Vacations in Hawaii and cruises in Alaska. Designer handbags. A ring of emeralds and diamonds." According to the preachers of the prosperity gospel, these are merely examples of the riches and rewards that come to those who have sufficient faith -- and invest sufficient funds in the ministries of the prosperity preachers.

The New York Times took note of the fact that the current recession and financial distress did not keep the crowd from attending the Southwest Believers' Convention. The event is part of the ministry of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, described by Laurie Goodstein as the "current patriarch and matriarch" of the prosperity gospel. The paper summarized their message as the promise that if an individual has sufficient faith in God and donates generously, God will reward that generosity by multiplying the offerings a hundredfold.

Those who might curtail their donations during the recession were warned of the spiritual consequences. "Fear will make you stingy," said Kenneth Copeland.

Goodstein's report included the story of Edwige Ndoudi, who attended the meeting with her husband and three children. Pointing to the prosperity experienced by the Copeland's, Ndoudi asserted: "If God did it for them, He will do it for us." Similarly, Stephen and Millie Biellier brought their family from Missouri with the confidence that 2009 could be their "overcoming year," even though they are $102,000 in debt. They credit the Copelands with rescuing them from a financial crisis two decades ago, and are now among the Copelands' "partners" in ministry. The Biellers spoke of their excitement as they participated in an effort to buy the Copeland ministry a Citation X airplane. They joined the "Elite CX Team" after Mrs. Biellier said she heard the Holy Spirit tell her, "You were born to support this man." The couple gave $2,000 toward the airplane and recently gave $1,800 toward the ministry's purchase of high-definition television equipment. She is proud that the Copelands fly on a private jet, explaining that "trashy people like Hugh Hefner" also have private airplanes.

Prosperity theology is not new, and it comes to the attention of the secular media again and again. In 2006 TIME magazine published a major cover story on prosperity theology, documenting its development and tracing its influence. As David Van Biema and Jeff Chu explained, prosperity theology "is a peculiarly American theology but turbocharged." This "turbocharged" theology offers a false hope, presents a failed message, and is a False Gospel.

The prosperity gospel usually comes packaged in terms of the word-faith or faith-promise theology developed early in the 20th century by preachers such as E. W. Kenyon. Kenyon drew from the tradition of New Thought associated with movements such as Christian Science. In one sense, he attempted to bring elements drawn from positive thinking movements into his message, mixing New Thought with Christianity. Kenyon promoted his "new type of Christianity" and found a ready following, especially among those who were experiencing financial distress or poverty. Kenyon, who died in 1948, exerted a significant influence on prosperity preachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, and Kenneth Copeland (who was once Oral Roberts personal pilot).

Prosperity theology is now preached by a wide assortment of televangelists and local figures who assure congregations that God promises to make them healthy and wealthy, if only they will possess and demonstrate adequate faith. A significant number of these preachers have departed from Christian orthodoxy altogether, adopting Trinitarian and Christological heresies. The entire movement presents the Gospel as a message that is primarily about earthly rewards -- a theology that turns God into a heavenly banker who is obligated to invest His people with material riches if they possess adequate faith and claim these blessings for their own.

Sincere believers in Christ are found among both the impoverished and the wealthy, but the vast multitude of Christian believers throughout the ages have experienced nothing that can be described as material wealth. Their hope was and is established in Christ, who accomplished their salvation from sin and secures their hopes for eternal life through His death and resurrection.

Prosperity theology is a False Gospel. Its message is unbiblical and its promises fail. God never assures his people of material abundance or physical health. Instead, Christians are promised the riches of Christ, the gift of eternal life, and the assurance of glory in the eternal presence of the living God.

In the end, the biggest problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it promises far too little. The Gospel of Jesus Christ offers salvation from sin, not a platform for earthly prosperity. While we should seek to understand what drives so many into this movement, we must never for a moment fail to see its message for what it is -- a false and failed gospel.

It Promises Far Too Little -- The False Gospel of Prosperity Theology
Albert Mohler

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lance wins Leadville!

LEADVILLE, Colo. — Lance Armstrong has won the Leadville 100 in a record time, finishing the nation's highest-altitude mountain bike race on a flat tire.

Armstrong dethroned six-time defending champion Dave Wiens on Saturday, winning in 6 hours, 28 minutes, 50 seconds. Wiens had set the previous record of 6:45:45.

He had beaten the seven-time Tour de France winner by nearly two minutes last year. But that was before Armstrong began training in earnest for his return to the Tour this year.

Armstrong and Wiens were in a pack of pro racers that broke away early. The race featured 1,400 mostly amateur cyclists and began with snow-crested peaks as a backdrop.

Associated Press

Slip and slide and fly...

This is the craziest stunt I've ever "witnessed" in my life. Yeah, he was wearing a helmet, but what if he missed? "Uh, 911, can you send an ambulance. My friend broke his back on a slip 'n slide." Silence.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Penalized for praying...

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla., Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman are both facing criminal contempt charges for a prayer offered at a Field House Luncheon. The luncheon included former booster club members and other adults who helped the field house project. Liberty Counsel represents Principal Lay and Director Freeman in this case.

Last year the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District, claiming that some of the teachers and administration "endorsed" religion. Rather than fight, the School District consented to the entry of an order that prohibited, among other things, all prayer at school-sponsored events. The School District then consented to a much broader order fashioned by the ACLU, which essentially bans all employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities, whether before, during, or after school hours. Without any legal argument, the federal district court in Pensacola, Florida, entered the Consent Order. The order unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of teachers, administrators, and students. Liberty Counsel filed a motion to intervene, on behalf of Christian Educators Association International, to challenge the overreaching order.

In the meantime, the ACLU began to go against individual employees. The ACLU complained to the court that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Lay offered a prayer to bless the meal served to consenting adults at the appreciation luncheon. Based on the ACLU's allegations, U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers has now initiated criminal contempt proceedings and has referred Messrs. Lay and Freeman to the United States Attorney's office for prosecution. The U.S.A. has accepted the assignment and is prosecuting Mr. Lay and Mr. Freeman criminally for the mealtime prayer. Trial is scheduled for September 17. If convicted, Mr. Lay and Mr. Freeman are subject to fines and imprisonment, yet neither willfully violated any orders of the court.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "It is a sad day in America when school officials are criminally prosecuted for a prayer over a meal. The Founders believed that religion and morality are the twin pillars of the Republic. Judeo-Christianity was taught in public schools, because such teaching was the foundation of liberty. George Washington said that whoever undermines the twin pillars of religion and morality cannot be called a 'Patriot.' It is outrageous and an offense to the First Amendment to punish a school official for a simple prayer."

Christian Newswire - August 10, 2009

Hincapie is in 'The Shack'!

Lance Armstrong has confirmed that he is to reunite with his friend and former team-mate George Hincapie in Team RadioShack in 2010.

Hincapie is currently riding for Team Columbia-HTC and was a strong influence when he helped Armstrong secure his seven Tour de France victories while riding for Team US Postal Service and Team Discovery Channel. "He's already committed. Has been since before we got our funding," Armstrong told Outside Magazine.

Armstrong intends to build his new Team RadioShack – or The Shack as it will be known – around a solid base of riders well-known to him, such as his friend Levi Leipheimer, Hincapie, Chris Horner and Andreas Klöden. Armstrong's impressive network is sure to open doors to additional powerful riders.

Commenting on his 2010 Tour de France prospects, Armstrong told Outside Magazine: "I think we can have a better team [than Alberto Contador, this year's winner with Astana]. But it's not rocket science. You have to avoid mistakes and accidents. To win, I've got to climb at a certain consistent speed, my tempo has to be fast, and I've got to get my time-trial back. I can't accelerate like I did before. And what you saw from Contador this year – I'll never beat that. I wouldn't have beat that before. But, who knows, that might have been the form of a lifetime ... What's important is that we show up and try hard. People understand that I'm an old guy. Nobody expects 2001 again."

Armstrong will compete in the 2009 Leadville 100 mountain bike race tomorrow.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fab five...

Ok, I'll admit it. I watch 'America's Got Talent' with great regularity. I love to see who goes on and who's out. I've loved the Fab Five's routine every time. I hope they win. (Still can't believe the frisbee-dropping dog got through. Sharon, David, what were you thinking?)

Bicycle ambulances...

EDINBURGH, Scotland - Ambulance crews are set to test fast-response paramedics on bicycles as they prepare for a rise of up to 10 percent in emergency calls during the Edinburgh festival.
Scottish Ambulance Service chiefs have also brought in more support vehicles to deal with the estimated 300 extra calls during August.

Two bikes equipped with supply packs have been introduced to weave in and out of busy crowds. They will have mini defibrillators in case a patient requires treatment for a heart attack.

Peter Connor, head of service in Edinburgh, said: "During the festival there are always large numbers of people on the streets of the Capital and the bicycles will allow better access to patients - particularly in pedestrian areas and parts of the city centre where roadworks and large gatherings might restrict access for some of our other response vehicles.

"Because of the festival, August is one of the busiest months for us in Edinburgh and we have put in place additional measures to ensure we continue to respond quickly to those that need us most."

On average the service receives 3,400 calls from the Capital in a month, and officials have also brought in extra support vehicles to deal with the increase.

The Evening News reported earlier this year how the Scottish Ambulance Service was introducing bicycles at big events.

The festival will be the first sustained test of the bikes, which will be ridden by paramedics, with the option of a nearby ambulance should a patient need transferring to hospital or specialist care.

Ambulance chiefs hope to keep average response time for a call to six minutes. Most of the calls are expected to be alcohol-related, as with an average weekend for ambulance staff in the Lothians.

It is understood accident and emergency staff will also be preparing for additional patients coming through the door.

The ERI's winter ward, which has remained open throughout this year long after it has traditionally ceased, is expected to be used both to deal with the extra capacity and ease bed blocking.

Copyright 2009 The Scotsman Publications Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Riding in traffic...

Stopping and starting in traffic can be a pain when you're clipped in. More than once, I've fallen over and had to twist out of my pedals before resuming an upright position. So I understand this cyclist's actions. I also understand the Fiat driver's concern for his car. (I hate to admit it, but I laughed at the end of this Fiat commercial.)

Farewell Eudora...

My week with family in Eudora, Kansas, has come to a close. It was a good week. I enjoyed very much time with my brothers and sister and with mom and dad...not to mention all the nieces and nephews. We took in Worlds of Fun, DQ, Red Robin and a few dinners in. We played Rack-O for hours on end a couple of days, making up our own rules. It was a blast!

I also put in a good week on my bike. I rode 209.6 miles at an average speed of 17.9mph. The hills were a challenge. One day, lost just a bit in Lawrence, I ended up climbing and climbing onto the KU campus. Every intersection I came to was ONE WAY up hill. I survived. The group ride was fun too, if just a bit exhausting. I also posted a new top speed, 45.5mph. Did the same speed twice on two seperate rides. Yippee!

I return to ride the flat rodes near home tomorrow. Farewell, Eudora!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I went riding with the Lawrence Bicycle Club this morning. Their Muffin Ride sounded like a lot of fun when I read about it on their website.

The Lawrence Bicycle Club's most popular ride. A 35 mile ride good for all levels of experience and speed, the route goes to Lone Star Lake, where the riders stop to "regroup" all participants. Returns to Lawrence for breakfast at a local restaurant. This is a beautifully scenic ride that members never grow tired of repeating. Successfully integrates beginning riders and faster riders who can "hammer" the first leg. Mixed Pace - Multiple groups of different speeds from moderate to fast, 15-20 mph.Beautiful, I thought. A group ride I can hang with.

So I set out early this morning, arriving at 31st & Louisiana with time to spare. I talked with a few riders before the ride rolled out. Everyone I talked with said it would be fast. We'll see, I thought. I'm stronger than you think.

Just after 8:00am, the sound of shoes clicking in filled Broken Arrow Park. Around 36 riders cruised down the drive and out onto Louisiana headed south. The strong headwind was a bit painful, but not unbearable sitting fourth or fifth wheel. The guys up front were doing the hard work.

We rode about a mile south then turned west up a slight incline before plunging down a steep hill. Across the highway, the leaders - I was still with them - slowed up to let the pack regroup.

For the next several miles, the pace was fast, but not unbearable. I took a turn at the front then dropped back. I latched on the the tail of the train and slowly worked back to the head of the group. I was about fourth wheel when the leaders accelerated. I tried to latch back on, but there was no way. Several riders whizzed past. I tried to grab someone's wheel. No dice. I watched with tears in my eyes as my ride south faded into the distance. (I'm being a bit melodramatic here. I didn't really cry.)

No man's land is not a fun place to be. My average speed which had been in the high 18s, started dropping fast. I crept up hills. Three guys caught me from behind and I slipped in just off the last guy's wheel. That lasted for less than five minutes. I couldn't hold their pace and dropped again. Did I mention no man's land is not fun?

Well, I made it to Lone Star Lake, the turn around for the ride. I leaned my bike up against the fence and drank from my remaining bottle and from a conveniently close water fountain. I poured a little water over my head and talked with one of the guys who'd warned me the group was fast. I wasn't laughing now. My heart was not glad. I was bushed.

After a not-nearly-long-enough recovery, the group rolled out again. The wind was at our back now which brought a measure of joy, but the pace quickened right out of the gate. I felt okay, but knew I wasn't going to stay with the lead pack. That's when this big guy in a Sunflower Bike Shop jersey rode past me and invited me to take a slightly longer, but easy route back. I thought about it for the next few ticks of my odometer and decided as he and another guy pulled a lefty when everyone else turned right down the hill that I was going the easier route.

Let me tell you, easier is a relative term. There were a ton more hills on this long easy way home. I got dropped by my buddies on nearly every uphill, but caught them when my nearly 200 pounds pulled me down the other side. I hit 45.5mph on the last major drop, a personal best in the top speed category. Yippee!

The rest of the ride home was a blur. We located my second water bottle, the one I'd dropped when I was at the back of the train on the way back. My big friend stopped and picked it up and handed it off to me. I was grateful. More Gatorade!

I made it back to 31st & Louisiana, talked briefly with another rider who was there and then started back to Eudora. No breakfast. The group was long gone and I was spent. I rode slowly up hills, coasted down the other side and pedaled only hard enough to maintain balance. My average dropped a tenth or two. I didn't care.

As I approached Eudora from the west, I prayed that God would give me strength enough to climb the hill into town. I knew I didn't have it in me. He came through. I climbed at about 10mph, but I made it.

Then I turned south. The wind hit me with brute force. I could hardly keep moving. I wobbled back and forth at times. I was fading fast. When I rode through the last stop sign before the highway overpass, my spirit was broken by a powerful gust. I couldn't ride any further. I turned left into the Kwik Shop and clicked out. I picked up my Trek and leaned it against the wall before dropping to the sidewalk near the pay phone.

I had $10 with me, but no quarters. So I just rested in the shade, breathing heavily. When I was sure I wasn't going to recover sufficiently to make it the remaining one or two miles back home, I begged a call off a exiting customer. I spoke briefly with my mom and asked her to send out the cavalry. I needed a ride home.

I hung up and thanked my benefactor as I handed back his cell. "No problem," he said. Then he asked, "Can I get you something to drink? It's not a problem." I thanked him and ordered a cold lemon-lime Gatorade. Less than a minute later, I had cool refreshing liquid. "God bless you," I said as he handed the quart bottle to me. I meant it too!

A short time later and my dad's van rounded the corner. He rolled to a stop in front of me. He and my brother helped me load my bike and gear in the back then we drove home. I drank the whole bottle before we made it there. A quick check of my cyclocomputer revealed the truth: 67.27 miles total at an average speed of 18.2mph. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I'm glad I rode the Muffin Ride, but I learned a valuable lesson. When someone says, "It's fast," trust them and hang out with the riders at the back. You'll get a much more enjoyable ride and have energy to make it home alive!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Inspiration at midnight...

Inspiration hit my eldest in the middle of night while working at camp. A haiku came to her and she leapt out of bed to write it down. Here it is...

There are thirty hens.
The first one is a chicken.
The others are brave.

Think about it for awhile. You'll get it. I have faith in my readers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Proper hydration for cyclists...

Cyclists, like all athletes, need plenty of liquids. But beyond that basic tenet, things get murky fast - and for years, riders have heard conflicting reports about what, when and how much to drink. So we [at Bicycling Magazine] tapped our best separate the facts from the hype. (Learn more!)

Town hall meeting...

Last night I was folding laundry when the phone rang. After a brief pause, a recorded message from my senator, Sam Brownback, started. I was about to hang up, but then I realized that this was a live town hall meeting with the man who represents me in Congress. So I stayed on the line.

Mr. Brownback was talking about health care reform when I joined the conversation. It was interesting to hear him interact with people all over the state. (It was interesting to hear from a Nicholas Neifert from some where near Kansas City.) I listened for about a half hour and then quietly signed off satisfied that my values are well represented in D.C.

Another word on health care reform...

I received an email from a friend this morning. It was a short note with a link to an article about the very issue I spoke of earlier this week: end of life counselling. I clicked on the link and read the article. I was a bit chagrinned. It seems I may have over reacted to someone's take on the health care reform bill.

With my apologies, I offer the link submitted to me...

Please read it.

The postchurch perspective challenged...

There is a growing phenomenon in the body of Christ today. Alongside of the missional church movement, the emerging church movement, and the house church movement, there is a mode of thinking that I call "postchurch Christianity."

The postchurch brand of Christianity is built on the premise that institutional forms of church are ineffective, unbiblical, unworkable, and in some cases, dangerous. Institutionalization is not compatible with ekklesia. So say postchurch advocates.

But the postchurch view goes further saying, "any semblance of organization whatsoever...any semblance of wrong and oppressive. Church is simply when two or three believers gather together in any format. Whenever this happens, church occurs."

Here are some examples of what you might hear a postchurch advocate say:

"Sally and I had coffee at Starbucks last week. That was church."

"I get together with two other men once a month at Sonny's BBQ. That's church for us."

"I travel a great deal and whenever I visit Christians in other cities, we're having church together."

"I live in Dallas, TX. Last week, I talked to my friend on the phone for an hour. He lives in Miami, FL. The week before I talked with a friend who lives in Portland, OR. We were having church on the phone. I belong to the same church that they do."

"I don't attend any Christian meetings. I have church on the Internet. I belong to several Christian discussion groups and social networks, and that's church for me."

"I don't understand how people can talk about church planting? How can a church be planted when we are already the church? I'm the church. You're the church. So just be the church."

To my mind, all of the above reflects a redefinition of ekklesia as it is found, used, and understood in the New Testament. No first-century Christian would have used "church" in this way. While there's certainly nothing wrong with fellowshipping with Christians at Starbucks, on the phone, or through the Internet, the biblical meaning of ekklesia is something quite different.

The biblical text that postchurch advocates hang a great deal of their doctrine on is Matthew 18: 20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

But it's important to read this verse in context:
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:15-20)
Here, Jesus is speaking of a local ekklesia, a community of Christ-followers who live in the same locale. The people in this ekklesia know one another. And what this passage has in view is an excommunication meeting. Therefore, it's a horrifying text--a text that no Christian should ever want to use. It has to do with a person who is acting in a wayward manner and refuses to stop.

When this happens, the injured person must go to the offending person in private. If the offending person refuses to reconcile, two or three others from the local ekklesia must talk to him. If the offending person still refuses to stop his wayward conduct, he must be dis-fellowshipped from the ekklesia.

Note that Jesus says that the two or three should "tell it to the church" if the offending person doesn't repent. Now think: If the two or three people are the church, then this text becomes incoherent. Consequently, the two or three cannot be the church. They are simply a part of it. The implication is that the two or three who went to the unrepentant person should be praying for him. And the Lord will be with them in a special way as they do. He will stand with them.

This context indicates that the ekklesia is an organic entity where a group of committed believers in a locality "bind and loose," using the keys of the kingdom that Jesus has given to them. Consequently, Matthew 18 is not a text in which Jesus is trying to define the church for us. Rather it's a text describing the awful process of excommunication.

Because this is the primary passage the postchurch viewpoint is founded on, I'm of the opinion that the position cannot stand up against the light of the New Testament. I'll say more on that in my second post.

Guest Blogger, Frank

(The article above is the first of two posts concerning the "postchurch perspective" by Frank Viola of Pagan Christianity fame on Christianity Today's Out of Ur blog. Read Franks's second post here.)

Submit to your elders...

“Young men…be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6, NIV)

Submission is not a bad thing. It is simply a humble acknowledgement of the facts: those among us who are older are, generally speaking, wiser than those with fewer years under their belts. Submission is the acceptance of guidance from one who knows better than most the potential pitfalls of taking a certain path in life.

What harm is there in submitting to an older man? What do you have to lose in sitting under an older woman’s tutelage? There is no shame in listening to sage advice. There is wisdom in following it on a regular basis.

Does this mean older folks are right about everything and that younger folks should follow their direction blindly? No! But the young ought to pay attention when their elders warn them, ought to consider the way they recommend. The gift the oldest living generation has to give, the gift of wisdom, is valuable.

Proverbs 13:14 says, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” (NIV)

Those older than us know the wrong paths and can turn us away from them. They know the right paths, too, and can point the way if we’ll listen. And when we listen, we become wise.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” (Proverbs 19:20, NIV)

The wisdom of the aged is a gift. It is a blessing to them. It is a guide for those younger than them. So young men and young women, receive the gift offered to you.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Just a wasp sting...

After yesterday's biking fiasco, I was a little leery about this morning's roll out. I wondered what the winds would do to me. In short, they did no harm. They acted exactly like expected. Not sudden shifts. I started east with the wind in my face. I crept up to 16.4mph at around five miles out and then dropped a bit ending my outbound journey of 16.36 miles at 16.0mph.

I turned around and headed back. The wind remained at my back the entire way home. I got back up to a respectable 18.0mph average before leaning my bike up against the wall in my garage. 32.72 miles completed in under two hours and the only thing out of the ordinary today was a wasp sting at 27 miles. (You know you've had a really bad day recently when a good day is a day with "just" a wasp sting. A little Benedryl and some ice are taking care of that quite nicely.)

I live to ride another day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do not rebuke harshly...

Dear Friends,

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (Timothy 5:1-2, NIV)

Good instruction to young and old alike here, but our focus is on the older men and women today.

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly.” If you disagree with him, do so civilly. If he has wronged you, resist the urge to speak rudely. Honor his years with politeness and courteous speech. This is God’s way. It is also God’s way to treat older women like your mother.

And remember, it was God who commanded it plain as day: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12, NIV) Similar words were recorded for us in Leviticus 19:3. “Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:3, NIV)

Once there was a little old man. His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth.

Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son’s wife didn’t like the arrangement. “I can’t have this,” she said. “It interferes with my right to happiness.”

So she and her husband took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with wistful eyes.

One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the earthenware bowl fell and broke. “If you are a pig,” said his daughter-in-law, “you must eat out of a trough.” So they made him a little wooden trough, and he got his meals in that.

These people had a four-year-old son of whom they were very fond. One evening the young man noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing. “I’m making a trough,” he said, smiling up for approval, “to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big.”

The man and his wife looked at each other for awhile and didn’t say anything. Then they cried a little. Then they went to the corner and took the old man by the arm and led him back to the table. They sat him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things. (Joy Davidman, from Smoke on the Mountain)

Grimm’s fairy tales have a way of making a point, don’t they? His point is the same as God’s. “Do not rebuke an older man harshly…treat older women as mothers…”

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Twilight zone, dust bowl ride...

I have never had a ride like today's. Never!

I looked at my WeatherBug before taking off this morning and saw basically flat winds out of the southwest. I'm serious. The wind speed was mostly 0mph. I checked the predicted wind direction and it matched the southwest I was seeing. Ride direction wasn't a hard choice. Ride west into the wind.

I walked out to my bike, got my lights and water bottle situated, loaded up my sunglasses and garage door opener and stepped out onto my driveway. Soon I was clipped in and rolling north up Pine Street to the highway. A quick left turn at the high school set me on my journey west. I was quickly up to speed, pushing my pedals in smoothly in circles. My average climbed quickly and reached 17.9mph in less than five miles. I was feeling good. This was the hard part of the ride.

As I looked west from the Drouhards' house, I noticed dust blowing across the road a short distance up the road. I didn't think much about it. I've ridden through dust before. Usually, it's just a little annoyance and then smooth sailing again. I rode nonchalantly toward the brown cloud.

Just before I actually entered the dust storm, I noticed an odd shift in the wind. Suddenly it was out of the northwest and it was not flat! Windspeeds had to be in the 15-20mph range or higher. I struggled to move forward and to stay off the road. One eye, the one on the north side of my head, was shut tight and breathing was a bit labored. In less than a half mile my average speed dropped from 17.9mph to 16.9mph. I was creeping along in the 12mph range most of the time. It was all I could do to stay on the bike.

I made it through a little dirty, but none the worse for the wear. Then it happened again. The wind shifted. It returned to the southwest. It wasn't quite as strong, but certainly not the little patsy wind I'd dreamed of gazing at my WeatherBug twenty minutes earlier.

I rode on through Danville, my average speed still bleeding. I was down to 16.2mph. I was maintaining just over 15mph when a dog, a big black dog with nasty teeth and a not-so-nice look in his eyes, decided today was the day to chase a lonely cyclist. He was aggressive as any dog I've faced. I squirted him with Gatorade. I told him to go home in the firmest voice I could muster. He kept coming at me. I finally gave up on an easy exit and just accelerated into a sprint to drop him. He gave up and went back to sniff my Gatorade. I was safe again.

Then the wind shifted around to the northwest again. I kid you not. Did I mention that I have never had a ride like today's? Never has the wind shifted back and forth like it did this morning. In the ten miles out it shifted from southwest to northwest to southwest to northwest and, just before I turned around, back to southwest. Bizarre!

So I made it out to my turn around. I flipped a U-turn and headed back east. I rode hard and in just over five miles I was back up to 17.9mph. It was like none of the twilight zone, dust bowl stuff had ever happened. The wind was never gale force. It was never out of the north. I blasted down L'Alpe D'Anville, reaching a top speed of 38.8mph.

When I got within three miles of town, I decided I had time to turn back back west and pick up an extra five miles. I did that and ended my outing with 25.27 miles completed at 18.2mph.

Sure hope tomorrow's ride is less interesting.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bless your elders...

There is, according to the Bible, a proper way to treat the older generation. God’s treatment plan maintains their worth. His directions acknowledge every senior citizen’s right to life.

In Romans 13:7, Paul gives these words of instruction: “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (NIV)

I suppose that seems like a strange verse to start this discussion with. It doesn’t appear to directly address the issue at hand. What do taxes and revenue have to do with the treatment of the elderly? Nothing. But respect and honor are another story. Those who are older are worthy of both.

Tucked away in the book of Leviticus is a single sentence that will direct us in the proper treatment of our elders.

Listen to what God says to his people through Moses in Leviticus 19:32. “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” (NIV)

Give everyone what you owe him makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Respect is owed to those who are older. Those who do not respect seasoned saints are, as a matter of fact, guilty of irreverence toward God. That’s what this verse says. Respect for the elderly and reverence for God are tied together. They’re inseparable. You can’t neglect the one without neglecting the other. If you reverence God, you will respect your elders. Respect for those long in years is commanded by God.

Will you choose to be obedient to God’s command? Think of a mature believer who blesses you regularly. Rise and call them. Pray with them. Thank God for them. Bless them.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

New church van...

I'm excited about a new church van...and it's not even "mine". Plains Church (formerly Argonia Wesleyan) received the van pictured here as a gift. The graphic wrap was part of the donation. I pray God uses this vehicle to bless Plains Church and those they will reach in Sumner and Harper counties.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What kind of pastor?

So we're eating lunch and talking about a couple we know who are getting married in a couple of weeks when something crazy comes out of my middle daughter's mouth. I had barely finished saying of the bridegroom-to-be, "He's been a pastor for a year or more already," when she blurted out, "What kind of pastor, youth or real?" We all burst out laughing.

Poor youth pastors...they get no respect. They're always hearing that age-old question, "So when are you going to grow up and become a senior pastor?" Let me apologize to all the youth pastors out there on behalf of those who unthinkingly say such things. They don't mean to sound like what you do is a stepping stone position...or as my daughter accidentally implied, a position for those who aren't yet "real" pastors. Give them grace and keep on loving and serving the younger set, teaching them clearly from God's Word and preparing them for life's many surprises and complications.

Moving up in the world...

A while back, I complained that I just couldn't get out of 1,191st place in the Where Have You Been? trivia question game on Facebook. Well, there must've been an error back then, because I have moved up in the world.

As of today, my 303 correct and 177 incorrect answers have moved me up to 374th place! Yippee! The only Facebook friend of mine who is ahead of me is Michelle Murray currently in 249th place.
If you're on Facebook, play the game! It's a blast!

A word on health care reform...

I was disturbed by a bit of news that came across my desktop this past week. It had to do with the Health Care Reform bill that President Obama is pressuring Congress to pass.

Hidden within the thousand-plus-page document is a requirement that those who receive Medicare benefits undergo end of life counseling at least every five years. A repeat session would be required of those who get sick in between their regular meetings.

What is end of life counseling, you ask? It is, at best, a “you don’t really need life-prolonging medical care because it’s too expensive to sustain you” pep talk. At worst, it is a “you need to take action to end your life soon so you won’t be a burden to your children or your government or your friends” browbeating.

Government employees encouraging suicide! How crazy is that? In my wildest dreams, I never imagined a day when such morally reprehensible nonsense could be given serious consideration by elected officials in America.

Our own Declaration of Independence shouts foul in the face of such lunacy. “We hold these Truths to be self-evident,” Thomas Jefferson penned, “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

Whether all three of these rights have biblical backing is debatable, but the one Creator-endowed right that is clearly scriptural is the right to life. All men are created equal and have the right to life which includes the preservation of life! Ignoring this, the Supreme Court in 1973 denied the right of unborn children to be protected in the womb. In 2009, will Congress and the President deny this right to the elderly of our land? I pray not.

Now, let me make this personal for all of you. Look around you. Everywhere you look, there are people whom you love who will, if this bill passes, be receiving end of life counseling. People you love will be told that their life isn’t as valuable as a healthy young person’s life. Unrepentant Uncle Scrooge, er, I mean Uncle Sam may say to your friends, your loved ones, “Die…and decrease the surplus population.”

And what happens if this way of thinking continues on to its logical conclusion? Denial of life-sustaining care will come and not just to the elderly. Government execution of the elderly and disabled – they’ll call it physician-assisted suicide – is not out of the question. Call me alarmist if you like, but I don’t think either of these scenarios is all that outlandish or far fetched.

Now, please understand. I’m not trying to be political here. All I’m doing is stating the truth as I see it about this particular part of the health care reform plan. Though I freely admit that modern medicine and technology has forced us to face difficult questions and ethical dilemmas that we were likely not intended to face, I believe that denying life-sustaining medical care is morally questionable. I further believe that encouraging or forcing suicide on a person because of age or disability or disease is, without question, an immoral assault on that person’s right to life, a right that God has given to all.