3 Life Lessons from Listening to Groovy Music


When it comes to music, I got stuck in the ‘70’s.  In my mind, very little compares favorably to Carole King or James Taylor—or Gordon Lightfoot, America, or Seals and Crofts.  My favorite Spotify playlist is called “Dad’s Groovy Music” because since the ‘70’s, I have been groovy—the way a 33LP ought to be.

So it’s no wonder that I dig Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s most popular single: Southern Cross. (I know, it’s from the early 80’s, but it has the flavor of the 70’s.)   Ostensibly, the song is about the famous astronomical wonder down under: The Southern Cross.  In reality, the song is about the breakup of Stephen Stills’s marriage.  When understood in this context, the song contains at least three significant life lessons.

First—and I will admit that this first lesson applies more broadly than a single song—Southern Cross is about listening for redemption.  Some would argue that Christians ought not listen to secular music at all because it does not glorify God.  They would say that holiness demands our abstaining from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I am not mocking their position.  The point is valid. I once cleansed myself of a 130 volume CD collection out of concern for holiness.  Music is a vehicle for carrying a message, and its message can easily carry us away from everything good. Never listen with an unguarded mind.  But if we listen with a guarded mind, we can find hints of redemption.

Here is what I mean. In the Old Testament, God’s people were told to be Holy because the Lord their God is Holy.  The same message is affirmed for God’s people in the New Testament.  But a significant change happened between the Old Testament and the New.  Jesus came, and with Jesus came redemption.  In the Old Testament, holiness took the form of abstaining from things the rest of the nations were indulging.

Life Lesson 1: In the New Testament, holiness looks less like abstention and more like redemption.  Meditate on Paul’s comments in Colossians 2:20-22, and you will see what I mean.[1]  Christians are holy through the redemption of Christ. We are alive to a new resurrected reality and, as such, ought to be those who point everything and everyone in this world to reality of Christ and His kingdom, which has begun.

So, with redemptive ears turned to the message of the Southern Cross, I offer two more life lessons.  These are easily grasped.  Stephen Sills wrote this song after his divorce in an attempt to find healing.  His crying out to his estranged wife is evident in the line: “In a noisy bar in Avalon, I tried to call you.”  He then admits that he understands why twice she ran away.

Southern Cross on Australia Flag

But in the chorus, he makes plain the permanence of marriage: “What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.”  Stills even acknowledges that “spirits” are using him, and a larger voice is calling.  He gets that divorce cost him something real.  He gets that he needs something larger than himself if he will heal.  He looks to the heavens for his help but comes up short, finding only the Southern Cross. With redemptive ears, we can hear the permanence of eternal things even in secular lyrics.

Life Lesson Two: God has set eternity into every heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Listen to others with redemptive ears, and you will be able to point them to eternal realities.

Finally, realize that most folks live in a contradictory mindset.  While Stills gets the eternal nature of marriage, he feels also that it is lost. So, he must conclude, “Somebody fine will come along, Make me forget about loving you. At the Southern Cross.”  On the one hand, he sees that marriage is an eternal reality which cannot be forgotten.  On the other hand, when he feels all is lost, he professes belief that someone will come along who can erase it all.

If we listen closely to what others are saying, we might help them see that eternal things are real, and they need not give in to the contradiction.

Life Lesson Three: Eternity is real. Don’t live in contradiction.


            [1] Colossians2:20ff, If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (NASB).

Who Is Right About Tim Tebow, Me or President Obama?


Gregory C. Cochran

The NFL season begins in just one month. So, plenty of stories will be generated from how well (or how poorly) Tim Tebow plays.  Getting a jump on the competition, President Barack Obama told a radio audience yesterday that he thought the Tebow trade was a mistake (See President Obama Weighs in on Tebow, Sanchez).

I have re-posted an article below in which I explain why Tim Tebow is a high caliber NFL quarterback (despite his shortcomings).  I have made a few corrections and updates because the original article was written while Tebow was a Bronco.  The data still holds true, and I still believe the Jets will be glad to have Tim Tebow. –I offer one piece of evidence in MY favor at the end of the post.

TEBOW NOT THE BEST, BUT NOT BAD AT ALL

Tim Tebow is not the best quarterback in the NFL. He…

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What! A doctor attempts to pray for his colleagues? Be ready, Christians. Shining your light might cost you.

Project 13:3

Imagine bragging that you have a light in your home, but you never turn it on. What would be the good of having a light but never letting it shine?  Light is meant to shine. Light, by nature, shines into darkness. Jesus calls Christians “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).  Just as it is impossible for the sun to remain the sun without shining its light, so, too, it is impossible for a Christian to remain a Christian without shining the light.

Therefore, Christians will be persecuted by those who hate the light (John 3:19-21).  We understand the dynamic, even if we are saddened by it. At times it is difficult to understand why we enrage people merely by shining a little light into their lives.  Take, for example, the case of Dr. David Drew in the UK.

As Christian Concern reports, Dr. Drew had the audacity to…

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Who Is Right About Tim Tebow, Me or President Obama?


The NFL season begins in just one month. So, plenty of stories will be generated from how well (or how poorly) Tim Tebow plays.  Getting a jump on the competition, President Barack Obama told a radio audience yesterday that he thought the Tebow trade was a mistake (See President Obama Weighs in on Tebow, Sanchez).

I have re-posted an article below in which I explain why Tim Tebow is a high caliber NFL quarterback (despite his shortcomings).  I have made a few corrections and updates because the original article was written while Tebow was a Bronco.  The data still holds true, and I still believe the Jets will be glad to have Tim Tebow. –I offer one piece of evidence in MY favor at the end of the post.

TEBOW NOT THE BEST, BUT NOT BAD AT ALL

Tim Tebow is not the best quarterback in the NFL. He isn’t even in the top 5 of NFL quarterbacks. –And I am not a hater!  I love Tim Tebow. I have enjoyed following him since he entered the Swamp as a freshman at Florida. Tebow supporters have an obligation to be honest about his abilities and his limitations. So, here is my attempt to assess the value of Tim Tebow to the Denver Broncos New York Jets and to the NFL.  Tim Tebow is the 6th best quarterback in the NFL..

You read me rightly. Tim Tebow is the 6th best quarterback in the NFL right now.  You may wonder about the basis of such a statement.  My assessment is not the result of some strange, sports calculus. Unlike both the BCS ranking formula and the ESPN QB Ranking conundrum, my assessment is simple and straightforward. My assessment of a quarterback is related directly to how effectively the quarterback scores touchdowns.

There is no need to lock this secret formula into a vault somewhere; it is both simple and transparent, something that cannot be said of typical QB rankings and passer ratings. Here is a very simple way to assess an NFL quarterback.  How often does he score a touchdown?  On average, on plays in which he is handling the ball, how often does he get the ball in the end zone?

A long, long time ago (it seems now), before Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as the Broncos signal caller, I made the assertion that Tim Tebow gave the Broncos the best chance to win games—much better than Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn or the guy throwing mile-high peanuts in Denver’s stadium.  Tebow was reportedly demoted to 14th string quarterback or something like that before last season. Yet, I made the assertion then that Tebow had something invaluable for an NFL quarterback: Tebow had a nose for the end zone.

He proved (in only 3 starts the prior season) to be willing and able to find pay-dirt.  The classic picture of him in the end zone against his college nemesis Florida State with blood-red paint from his face to his feet was no fluke. He burrowed his way into end zone after end zone in college, and he proved early to be able to do the same thing in the NFL.

TEBOW’S NOSE FOR THE GOAL

In fact, Tim Tebow is the 6th best quarterback in the NFL at finding the end zone.  That is one of the main reasons he and the Broncos were 6-1 over his starting stretch.  Tim Tebow scores a touchdown—on average—for every 18.5 plays for which he is responsible (updated after 2011 Season, Tebow scored a TD for every 17.9 plays on the field).

In other words, when he runs or throws the ball, there will end up being a touchdown (not a field goal) by the 18th play.  There are only 5 quarterbacks in the NFL with better numbers than Tim Tebow.  In order, these 5 are (not surprisingly) as follows: Aaron Rodgers; Tom Brady; Drew Brees; Matthew Stafford; and Matt Schaub.

Before his injury, Matt Schaub was getting 6 points for every 18.06 plays in which he was a primary player.  Peyton Manning’s lifetime number is 18.16.  So, the Broncos did not win in spite of Tim Tebow. They won largely because of the contributions of Tim Tebow (whose TD numbers equal Manning).

The supposedly inept, unorthodox Tebow is scoring more efficiently than Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger.  His efficiency is neither a freak show nor a prep school fad, as some have suggested. It is, instead, basic football well played. “Hey, quarterback, get the ball in the end zone.”  The NFL is not so far removed from the prep school game if one remembers the basic goal of the game—which, for a quarterback, is to get the ball over the goal line.  Tim Tebow reaches paydirt better than most quarterbacks in the NFL.

Jets logo from Wikipedia

So, in favor of my position, I offer the following evidence from the Jets Training Camp:

Rich Cimini of ESPN, “Team insiders say the plan is to use Tebow in the red zone, where they can replace Sanchez with another player/blocker to bolster the running game. “

See Also, Tim Tebow Dominates at Goal Line.

Who is right, me or President Obama?

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Garden Majesty


[This post was composed on the morning of June 25, 2011, in honor of a certain young lady who helped her Daddy in the garden.]

Chivalry these days appears to be in hiding, and some think it is dead altogether; but I am happy to report that chivalry has made his appearance known today in grand fashion, with all the majestic splendor one would expect from regal character.  As anyone who follows the affairs of the Royal Family could attest, the arrival today of Lord Tiller had long been expected.  All of the faithful who are familiar with the garden kingdom have looked for—nay, longed for—the day that Sir Tiller would enter the garden kingdom with his entourage of power trailing in smooth succession behind his every move.  Today, Lord Tiller arrived.

Good Sir Tiller has been called many things, but weak was never one.  His power is nearly unparalleled in the garden kingdom.  Indeed, if there were a fault with Sir Tiller, it would be the very power which gives him his strength.  While Sir Tiller no doubt accomplishes his tasks—all of them—with the force and vigor of a king leading the charge in battle, he sometimes engages those tasks with the prowess of a bear.  Just as you wouldn’t want your own garden trampled by a wild grizzly bear, you also would not want your productive little plot of vital vegetables mangled by the unbridled power of Lord Tiller.  He tramples underfoot the habanero as easily as he does the dandelion.  He is so high above each that he distinguishes neither from the other.

Lord Tiller understands his exalted status.  Thus, Lord Tiller wisely puts in place his precautionary pawns to prepare the way for his every arrival.  And today was no exception to his exceptional ability to deploy noble personnel who make ready the pathway for his regal procession.  On this particular occasion, Sir Tiller employed the remarkable assistance of Lady Rebekah—the finest path preparer since John the Baptist himself.  In selecting the Lady Rebekah, Sir Tiller’s wisdom was once again on dazzling display.  Lady Rebekah wielded her 2 green protector rods through the garden plot as a careful shepherd would guide and guard his most vulnerable little lamb.  The Lady’s rod gently held back this tomato, while her other rod was pushing forward the cucumber. It was a splendid show of balance and dexterity as the good Lady selflessly floated backwards to the rhythm set by Lord Tiller, never missing a beat.  Lady Rebekah’s deftness was bedazzling to the eye of every onlooker.  She moved in perfect time, following the commanding lead of Lord Tiller. Together, they practically waltzed through the garden with the grace and beauty of the finest ballroom dancers. Oh, splendid indeed was this array of talent coursing through the cowpeas.

After these two had finished pirouetting through the peppers, there was no doubt that royalty was on display.  The unmatched beauty and regaled splendor of this happy pair will long be remembered in local garden lore.  This celebrated fable is, of course, untrue, but it is undoubtedly a real account of the improvements made to the central garden on this stunning summer day.

And because this tale is labeled a fable, it must indeed have a point. The point is simply this, the Royal Family has entrusted us with a fertile plot which we must yet tend. We cannot always rely on the selfless appearance of Lord Tiller or his faithful Lady Rebekah.  We must take our yeoman’s hoe into the garden kingdom ourselves and with our own less-than-regal fingers pluck out the enemy’s tares so that our Lord’s wheat abounds. We may not be so royally blessed in the coming weeks, as Lord Tiller has now taken his leave from us this day.  Let us be thankful we had his magnificent presence for a day and continue our work tomorrow, with or without good Lady Rebekah.

Keeping Coffee Fresh


I don’t post much on coffee, but I am guessing that many of you have wondered what is the best way to keep your coffee fresh.  There are a lot of rituals out there about how to keep your coffee fresh, but, honestly, the best way is to buy Kerusso Coffee and leave it in the bag in which it comes.  I explain why in this article.

Emergency h1n1


I am glad to hear this response from Secondhand Smoke regarding the emergency declaration by President Obama.  Wesley J. Smith had the same initial reaction as I had to the news.  It makes me think I am not crazy.  Of course, it could simply mean we are both crazy.  It seems to me that some measures could be taken without publicly declaring a state of emergency.  The word emergency needs to be reserved for times of serious action in which the potential for hysteria is overruled by the magnitude of the impending disaster.

The Corner on National Review Online


Check out the entry from Thursday at The Corner by Mark Hemingway; it is astounding what blinders operate in the press.  We must continue to speak up and point out such glaring hypocrisy because there are still many folks who are reasonable and do not hate Christians.  Interesting, too, is a comparison of the science produced by the Christian in this story as opposed to the science proposed by the non-Christian.  Pay attention; there may just be a lesson here. 

The Corner on National Review Online

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Twitter and Friends


Dr. Mohler and John Piper have both written small pieces praising Twitter for the power it possesses to spread good news and good intentions.  Even though this story does not have spreading the good news of salvation in view, it is a tangible demonstration of the power of Twitter and other new media to do good in the world–rather quickly.  We are living in a fascinating age that has more potential than the printing press gave to the Protestant Reformation.

Check Out This Hilarious Headline


Argentine glacier advances despite global warming (AP)

It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

FYI New Wave


There’s a new wave of internet technology on its way.  Check out google wave.  It is the next generation of communication technology for the internet.  It’s like e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, and a few others all rolled into one.

Charlie Bit My Finger


If you haven’t seen this video, you have missed out on a treat.  Take a quick look, and see if you don’t laugh.  Great kid moment.

Google Tip


I learned a trick recently from my sister.  You might already know it, but, if you do not, you will be glad to find out about this google service.  If you have text messaging on your phone, you can get quick access for free to the google internet database.

Google has search terms like weather, directions, definition, spelling.  If you send a text message to google (466453) with one of these search terms, the google database will very quickly text you back the answer to your question (for free).  So, for instance, you might not know how to spell sargeant.  Text “spelling sargeant” to google, and google will quickly text you back “sargeant; sergeant,” letting you know the correct spelling is “sergeant.”  Likewise, you might text “Weather Louisville.”  You will get back the weather forecast very quickly. 

Sometimes, google also sends an extra text message with a website advertisement on it, but the answers to your questions always come back quickly.  You can even get simple directions, such as “directions Louisville to Bardstown.”  Try it out and see if you like the google features.  I use the feature for definitions and for weather.

Only in Louisiana


I have a couple of pictures here from the trip back home which I thought were peculiar to the swampland.  I post them here for your enjoyment.  The first is a friendly reminder to food stamp purchasers. (In case you are wondering, the word is “boo-dan,” and the taste is delicious.  We purchased some to bring back to Kentucky, but we ate it before we left Louisiana).  The second picture features a grocery basket at a regular grocery store filled with fresh smoked sausage, C’est bon!

Way to Go, Britt Hume


Wow, Go Britt Hume.  Read this interview, especially to the end.  Many public figures will say that they want to retire in order to spend more time with family, but this is refreshingly new to me.  Mr. Hume wants to retire so he can spend more time in Bible Study? Super fantastic job, Mr. Hume. 

 

Palin’s Anthropology Live


One of the most hopeful signs of Sara Palin’s rise to the VP nomination for Republicans is what she brings to the table of humanity. Sara Palin’s life (her anthropology lived out) highlights the strength of the conservative tradition and the weakness of the liberal. Allow me to explain.

When one looks at Palin’s family, he is immediately taken by the fact that a mother of five is governor of a state and potentially will be the Vice President of the nation. Next, one notices that Palin is married to a blue-collar, sled-racing fisherman/oil-field worker. And, in a day of aborting “defective” babies, the fact that Governor Palin—a working woman with a political career—gave birth to a Down syndrome child (in a day when 90% of babies diagnosed with DS are aborted) speaks volumes about her view of human life.

Sara Palin’s life highlights the fact that Americans don’t need government dependency in order to succeed. She and her husband didn’t have enough money for a wedding; so, they spent their $35 at the local courthouse and were married. They are still married. Now, she is the governor and potential Vice President—all without government assistance.

Palin highlights the divide between the liberal views of humanity and her own. In Palin’s world, it is ok for a governor to be married to a fisherman. The liberal (more socialistic) view, pits these classes against each other. The liberal view—say, in the vein of Edwards, Obama, and Biden—thrives on driving a wedge between the “two Americas,” between the so-called “haves” and “have nots.” How many of us—even conservatives—think somehow Palin is above her husband in class or worth? This thinking does not come from the Judeo-Christian view of human worth or human calling. Both Palin and her husband are fulfilling their calling—their vocation. Both have significance and worth. Their worth is not found in fulfilling a service to the state; their worth is not found in being victims in need of the state; their worth is found in fulfilling their calling.

Nowhere is the case for human dignity (and fulfilled calling) highlighted better than in the case of Palin’s last child Trig Paxson Van Palin. The Palins believed that this Down syndrome child was a gift to them from God. They never hesitated to affirm the worth of this child. Obama stumbled and mumbled about pay grades when asked about human rights for babies. Sara Palin has answered the question clearly with the birth of her 5th child. Her story highlights liberal weaknesses and affirms human worth: Babies are humans, too, even those who may have chromosomal disorders.

More On Orissa, India


If you followed the India post below, you may want to know that the violence has only gotten worse. My good brother Dr. Mooney has updated his blog with the latest on the killings in India. Read more at SoCal Theologica…

Orphanage Attacked


Murderous cowards are attacking unarmed Christians in India even as you read this.  This post comes as a call to prayer.  As you and I sit in our homes, our brothers and sisters in Christ are having to hide in the jungles of India in a desperate attempt to save their lives.  The story linked below describes the scene in Orissa state in India. 

After the death of a fundamentalist Hindu leader, other Hindus have begun rioting and killing (or attempting to kill) Christians, even though the evidence indicates no Christians were involved in the original murder.  In the latest violence, these thugs (being so tough) raided an orphanage and burned it to the ground, killing one of the adult workers at the orphanage, proving once again the human heart is desperately sick. Who can understand it?

Read the full story…

Zoei’s Song


I wish I had more information to share with you about this very special little girl, but I only know this video from an e-mail forwarded to me.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss viewing this one.  Oh, my goodness, you’ve got to see this little girl!

 

Happy Memorial Day


Get to know Frank Buckles.  He is perhaps the last living American veteran from World War I.  He got in the army by not telling the whole truth about his age.  The marines and navy didn’t buy his story, but he convinced an army recruiter that Missouri didn’t keep birth certificates; so, he got in.  That was in 1917.  He served throughout World War I.  He would also be a prisoner of war for three years during WWII.  You can read all about him here: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp-stories/loc.natlib.afc2001001.01070/

Huck’s Building Momentum


This morning on ABC, Mike Huckabee was interviewed concerning his building momentum in his bid for president.  A few conservatives have spoken against him, but specific allegations have been lacking.  The two quotes against him on ABC were by Phyllis Schlafley and Betsy Hagan, each of the Eagle Forum.  His response to them was to acknowledge that he did make folks mad while he was governor, implying that there would always be detractors when one has a strong message.  I find the comments from Betsy Hagan interesting.  She asserts that Huckabee is pro-life but then says that we ought not be surprised if he changes once he gets in office.  This is interesting to me because Huckabee has never changed on the pro-life position.  He remained firm throughout 10 years in the governor’s office.  Mitt Romney, however, has changed, and Rudy is on the other side of the issue.  It seems to me that, though it is possible–as anything is–that Huckabee might change after elected, he is the only viable candidate who can be counted on to actually be pro-life.  Sure, there is always a possibility he might change, but he never actually has.  Neither has Rudy (but he needs to).   

Farewell to Belle


For those of you who know our family, you surely know our dog Belle.  More than a family dog, Belle was always sort of a community dog.  We didn’t have to feed her.  She was fed by the Greschels, by the Mathenys, and she always knew when there was a fellowship dinner.  Her spot was just outside the back door where various folks would bow down to her with various food offerings.  She was a family dog, an office dog, a church dog, and a community dog.  But now she is gone.  The vet has no idea what happened to Belle.  In a matter of days, she went blind, got very sick, and died last night in her sleep in our garage.  Along with many others around Cedar Grove, we will surely miss Belle.

The Height of a Tiger


You have to see this; it is incredible.  Watch the video [click here] and see whether you can spot the very large female tiger stalking these men on the elephant.  The tigress killed a couple of cows in this area (India) so several park rangers went search for her.  They found her.  They know where she is; yet, she still surprises them.  They are unable to catch her or subdue her.  She leaps 12 feet into the air and attacks the man sitting on top of the elephant.  Though you cannot see it in this video, the elephant traps the tiger under her foot for a while, but the tiger gets away.  The man on the elephant throws a metal rod at the tiger (which she dodges in mid-flight).  The man lost 3 fingers off his left hand as a result of the attack.

D. James Kennedy


Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministry passed away in his sleep early Wednesday morning.  I can remember back in my Christian walk anxiously waiting to hear Dr. Kennedy’s daily radio program, “Truths That Transform.”  He was quite an eloquent speaker.  He wrote more than 60 books, including Evangelism Explosion.  A nice tribute to him can be viewed here: