Thursday, December 08, 2011

New Living Translation Giveaway

Tyndale Publishers is giving away copies of the New Living Translation as well as offering a chance to win an iPad 2. All that is required is to "like" their Facebook page.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review - When God Created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall

When God Created My Toes
Written by Dandi Daley Mackall
Illustrated by David Hohn
WaterBrook Press, 2008
Category: Children
ISBN: 978140073153
36 Pages
MSRP: $9.99


As a new dad who is relatively clueless about children’s books, I decided it was time that I begin to research the scene before haphazardly stocking my son’s bookshelves with termite fodder. At seven months, he is still a little young to be keen on the Kindle so the hard copy, illustrated editions will need to suffice. At least until they develop an e-reader that can project a hologram on the wall. Now there’s your million dollar idea! So, WaterBrook Press was kind enough to provide a copy in exchange for an honest review (see FTC Disclaimer below).
When God Created My Toes is a short children’s book reminding its readers that God has been intimately involved in every facet of creation. Looking at various parts of the body, Mackall (through the illustrated young girl) asks simple questions about what was going on in the mind of God when he chose to create those various parts. “Did he have to hold his nose when God created my toes?” “How I wonder what he said when God created my head?”

David Hohn’s illustrations cause the author’s words to leap from the page. They are life-like and believable. This is not a cartoon book where the characters are able to leap small buildings. This is a book that will relate to a real kid with real questions and I love it. As any individual who has spent more than ten seconds with a child will attest: kids ask questions. Lots of questions. Strange questions. Funny questions. And sometimes these questions are seemingly ridiculous but carry a great weight of repercussions. When a child is asking about the character of God how we answer is of immense importance. This book does not provide the answers to these questions; it only illustrates the reality of there presence and our need to be prepared for when the time arises. If the time has never come for you, reading this book with a child will provide the occasion.

Employing short rhymes for short attention spans, this little book teaches a big truth: God is “intimately acquainted with all [our] ways” (Psalm 139:3). And there is no body part too small in which his hand did not play a part in creating. And while it is true that When God Created My Toes will be helpful for the child to begin to identify his head, shoulder, knees, and toes, more importantly; it will help him think about the God who knows his heart.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group Press in exchange for an honest review. I am under no obligation to provide positive feedback and do so willingly of my own accord.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Our Son at 20 Weeks

This is Watson Chase Armstrong (our son). This video was taken December 10, 2010 when he was just 20 weeks old. He is not a fetus, a sack of cells and tissue, or a blob of unrecognizable DNA. He is a baby. In the state of Alabama, he still has another four weeks until he could be legally aborted--no questions asked.

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"Jane Roe" Speaks

Norma McCorvey, also known as "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the infamous Roe v Wade Supreme court Case of 1973. This is her take on the decision.

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Planned Parenthood: Pro-Choice and Pro-Pimp

Planned Parenthood (PP) is obviously a "pro-choice" organization. That is, pro-choice unless you are a 15 year old girl caught in human sex trafficking, slavishly bound to a pimp who desires to protect his "investment." Apparently, according to PP, she is not entitled to a "choice."

Live Action is a pro-life "youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion." This is an undercover investigation at a PP clinic in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. This video was recorded January 13, 2011; nine days prior to the 38th anniversary of Roe v Wade.

WARNING: This video is VERY troubling. There are no graphic depictions and the language has been edited, but the nonchalant conversation should disturb you. Or, at least it should.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Usher's Body of Divinity - $5!!

One of the best deals on the web currently: James Usher's Body of Divinity on sale for $5 (regularly $50.00).

Thanks to Mike Gaydosh and our friends at Solid Ground Christian Books who are "uncovering buried treasure one title at a time."

From the publisher:

A BODY OF DIVINITY: Being the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion
Archbishop James Ussher, New Introduction by Dr. Crawford Gribben

"Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) was a leader par excellence among the Irish Puritans. His colorful history is inseparable from that of Irish Christianity and from major events transpiring simultaneously in England and Scotland. Ussher's range of achievements are outstanding, including ancient languages, patristics, ancient and Irish history, theology, and chronology. Though he is best known for his biblical chronology, I believe that his Body of Divinity is his most valuable legacy. This volume, long overdue to be reprinted, was once regarded as a classic in the field of Reformed systematic theology and deserves to be so regarded again. Here is pristine Irish Puritan theology, presented to us in a captivating question and answer format." --Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Raised in a Bible-believing Calvinistic environment, Dr. Ussher soaked himself in the Holy Scriptures without ceasing. He also read the Early Church Fathers - systematically, every day, for eighteen years. Head of Ireland's foremost Theological Faculty, Ussher was internationally the greatest Anglican antiquarian and theologian of his age - if not of all time." -Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Professor-Emeritus of the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College

"Among those volumes that are most useful for understanding British Reformed theology of the 17th century and especially that of the Westminster Assembly few are as valuable and therefore welcome in republication as Ussher's Body of Divinity." -R. Scott Clark, D.Phil., Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary California

"Archbishop Ussher remains a theological giant upon whose shoulders many Reformed believers have unkowingly stood. Ussher penned the Irish Articles published in 1615. The terms and theology of that confession are found in the Westminster family of confessions. Westminsterian Presbyterians, Congregationalists who look to the Savoy Declaration and confessional Reformed Baptists all owe their theological heritage to Ussher, humanly speaking. Publishing the The Body of Divinity will help many in our generation to recover or reaffirm the faith of the Reformation--the greatest revival of true religion ever." - Dr. Mike Renihan, Heritage Baptist Church, Worcester, MA

Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656), author of the newly reprinted "Annals of the World," wrote his Body of Divinity in a way that would make it useful to the family. Long out of print, used copies regularly bring $400.00 and more on the used market. This edition is newly typeset and will be a smyth-sewn hardcover volume with a full color dusty jacket that will endure for generations. A new Introduction by Dr. Crawford Gribben and a complete Bibliography on Ussher make this the most valuable edition ever produced.


Click here to order.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Official

It's been official for a few weeks now so I guess I can begin to link here as well.

I would like you to meet Malcolm.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Super Spiritual Dog

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Friday, August 06, 2010

August 6, 1945

"In the following waves [after the initial blast] people's bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured. Then the blast blew the broken bodies at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour through the flaming, rubble-filled air. Practically everybody within a radius of 6,500 feet was killed or seriously injured and all buildings crushed or disemboweled." -- From the article "Atom Bomb Effects," LIFE, 3/11/1946. Above: Hiroshima, 1945, by Bernard Hoffman. To this day, of course, historians, politicians, and military men and women the world over argue whether the American use of atomic weapons in WWII was, in fact, justified. That the bombs hastened the end of the war is, on the other hand, something that even the United States' fiercest critics generally concede. One week after the obliteration of Nagasaki, Japan surrendered.

From's never before published pictures of the aftermaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

My Hope Begins and Ends with The Gospel - 1 Timothy 1:12-20

1Tim 1 12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. a Amen. 18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Vine's Topical Commentary on Christ

Here's another one from our friends at Thomas Nelson

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MacArthur Study Bible NASB - Gospel of John Flip Book

A pretty cool little tool from out friends at Thomas Nelson.

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Free "Then & Now" Bible Map from Rose Publishing

Thanks to the good folks at Rose Publishing you can receive a free copy of an abridged version of their "Then and Now" Bible Map pamphlet. It is essentially a one page layout of the Middle East with modern boundaries drawn. Sign up for their newsletter and receive another free e-chart every month.

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What’s in a Name? – A Sermon from 2nd Timothy - Part 6

The following is Part 6 of a series prepared for an ordination service in the life of the church based on selected texts from 2 Timothy. You can access the other parts here:

II. Fan
III. Guard
VI. Flee and Pursue
VII. Conclusion

Flee and Pursue

2Tim 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

So how does our fanning, guarding, entrusting, and preaching play out in real life? In one practice of ministry that has two commands: flee and pursue. We see in 2 Tim 2:22 one of the other commands that Paul has given to Timothy. “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” This is a brilliant statement because we are always doing one or the other. We are always fleeing something while we pursue something else. In your education, you are fleeing from Kindergarten as you move close to the next goal. In a race, the runner is fleeing from the starting line as he pursues the finish. And for the Christian, he is to flee from the world and pursue Christ Jesus. Yet you cannot flee the world and pursue the world at the same time. You cannot flee Christ and pursue Christ at the same time. As I stand in this room I am about half-way in between these two side walls. If I take two steps to the left I have decided to pursue the left and flee from the right. On the other hand, if I decide to turn around and go the other way, I am now fleeing from the left and pursuing to the right. The same thing is true between the cross and the world. As I take one step towards the cross I am fleeing the world. But if I choose to flee the cross I am then pursuing the world. Let us flee the world! Let us flee the wisdom that it attempts to offer! Instead, let us pursue Christ! Let us pursue all that he has for us! Let us pursue not the gifts but the Gifter himself! This is how Paul can say in Philippians 3 that he has forgotten what lies behind and is pressing forward toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He is fleeing what lies behind and pursuing what lies ahead – Christ Jesus himself. Let us pursue him.

But notice one tiny but important clause that Paul tacks on to this. He does so, I think, because he knows how Lone Ranger prone we are, how individualistic we can become, how “my ministry” we can get. He says that we are to flee and pursue “along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” The Christian’s ministry is not one that is to be conducted in isolation. We need people. We need each other. We need each other to help us flee these youthful passions and to flee the things of the world. We need others to hold us accountable so that we are continually pursuing our Lord Jesus. We are to encourage each other as we collectively pursue the Lord Jesus Christ. “Two are better than one,” says the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, “for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who falls and has not another to lift him up! (Eccl 4:9-10).

There are many of you here today who may not necessarily be called to a full-time vocational ministry. You may have other gifts that God has chosen to employ for his kingdom in the business world or in the health sector. Praise God for those who have been obedient to do precisely what God has called you to do. However, be warned that these verses that address the Christian minister specifically also apply to the Christian generally. You are a part of the “along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” It takes the entire body of Christ functioning together to cultivate a healthy Christian community. The eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of you (1 Cor 12:21). Instead, we all need one another: preachers, deacons, accountants, stay-at-home moms, elementary school teachers, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, contractors, elected officials, police officers, and the list goes on and on. Wherever you find yourself employed (or unemployed) today, know that you are a vital part of the Christian ministry. Christian ministry is not just for those who get to bear the title “minister” it is for all of those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. And if you are in Christ today, then he has given you a pure heart by which you may call upon him.

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From Sea to Crying Sea

The Gulf Coast of North America is not the only place in the world where an oil spill has occurred.

According to the Jordan Times, the oil spill began last week, and "was caused by a leak from an offshore oil platform in Jabal Al Zayt, north of Hurghada, and has polluted about 160 kilometres [about 100 miles] of coastline including tourist beach resorts, according to news agencies."

According to Bloomberg, the oil spill was caused by a passing oil tanker. However, the AP is reporting that "Oil company officials in the port city of Suez said the spill was caused by a leak from an offshore oil platform in Jebel al-Zayt north of Hurghada and has polluted about 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline including tourist beach resorts. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media."

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Muse Upon Amman

Some initial impressions of my arrival to Amman:

I am amazed at how westernized this city is (at least the few parts that I have seen). I knew from reading that Amman has progressed greatly beyond much of the two-thirds world, but I did not expect it to be like a walk through The Summit or Brookwood Mall. Across the street from our Guest House is the California based Safeway store. They operate mainly in the West, Rocky Mountain, and Mid-Atlantic states but have over 1700 locations in the US alone. They operate the Randall and Tom Thumb brands in Texas if you might be familiar with them. For those not, Safeway is like a supped up Wal-Mart. You thought that was Target? Keep supping. This has a full blown grocery store on one level and electronics, appliances, furniture, clothing, etc. below. Like Wal-Mart and Target – just bigger and better. It also has a fine restaurant with coffee and juice bar. This is not what I was expecting in a two-thirds world country.

Just down the road and around the corner is an outdoor lifestyle center mall. This is the Summit on steroids. High end retailers galore and many open-air restaurants line this shopper’s paradise and provide yet another surprise for this westerner in the Middle East. No one is dressed shabbily in this area but decked out in designer jeans and chic footwear. Many of the women are dressed in head coverings, but they are the type that would make a derby wearer in Kentucky jealous. Gleaming with color and varying in texture from the head up many of these women are Muslim, from the shoulders down they have just stepped out of Vogue magazine. It’s an interesting compilation. Many women do not wear the headdress at all and I have yet to ascertain if this says anything of their status or relationship with Islam.

The people seem very warm and friendly and forgiving of the language barrier. Many speak English but many do not which would lead me to believe that it may be an optional course of study in school. Given the generally negative opinion of the West by many in the region, it has been comforting to know that (at least in our presence) we have not openly rejected. I may have a different perspective after we visit the Al Hussani Mosque tomorrow (aka King Hussein Mosque).

This is the desert. It is 95 degrees in the daytime. At night, I am cold. I made the conscious decision not to bring a jacket to the Hashemite Kingdom. Wrong decision!! On our walk home from dinner this evening I was shivering and inundated with goose bumps. During the day there has been a slight breeze that makes 95 degrees (with no humidity) feel like 75. It is wonderful to say the least. It is only supposed to be in the mid-80s the rest of this week...I might need to buy a jacket! There is a 0 percent chance of rain until August which is part of the reason that this is a “water poor” country.

See Amman Weather Here.

During chapel this morning, the gentleman who was leading the devotion preached (in Arabic with a translator for us) from Mat 4:23-5:12. It was a wonderful sound to hear the local believers read The Beatitudes together in Arabic. But the preacher focused on the earlier parts of this section of Scripture. First, there was a clear emphasis to these believers that they could identify with Mat 4:25: “And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.” Here we were, “beyond the Jordan,” surrounded by a group of followers who together form a crowd that mirrors the description Matthew gives us.

The speaker then moved on to discuss the blessedness of the one who knows of his own poverty. He made a clear distinction between economic poverty and spiritual poverty. He noted that Jesus’ concern was for those who knew they were morally and spiritually bankrupt knowing that they had nothing to come to him to offer that could considered an equal exchange for their salvation. Jesus then and now desires that we maintain our poverty. When we come to the point that we believe we have enough to do without Jesus, we no longer hold to the poverty of the blessed ones. The speaker pointed out that when we think we have had enough Scripture teaching, theological training, or moral disciplining and we surmise that we can now “move on from Jesus” we are sorely mistaken. It is at this point that we find ourselves further from the cross and nearer to our own security which is really of no security or substance whatsoever. This was a passionate and personal plea offered by the preacher “to continue the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Col 1:23).

He then (brilliantly I might add), connected the blessedness of the one knowing his own poverty before the Lord with the blessedness of the one who is “persecuted for righteousness' sake” (Mat 5:10). This one who is persecuted for righteousness’ sake will be the one who knows his own poverty for the one who knows not his own poverty may suffer for wrongdoing (as discussed in 1 Pet 2:19-25) but this is not suffering for righteousness’’ sake. This is suffering for his own sinfulness which he is unaware of, because in his mind he is rich and does not need to recognize his poverty before the Lord. As I sat and listened, I looked around to the men and women who have forsaken all others because of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These have acknowledged their poverty before the Lord and called upon his riches for an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for them (1 Pet 1:4). These also have suffered persecutions for righteousness’ sake. This persecution has come at the hands of family members, the state, and the society.

This is how I would describe my first impressions of biblical Christianity being practiced by our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Yet they have embraced this life with joy because he is the Joy that is set before them (Heb 12:2), in fact, their “exceeding joy” (Psa 43:3-4) by whom many have found themselves surprised. It is only in the economy of the gospel that one can become rich by becoming poor, and by becoming poor one can become rich.

SDG from Amman
كل المجد إلى حسن مستقل

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Ease Drops - Muses to My Ears

An interesting spattering of a few quips overheard (or underheard) from my herd.

“If its yellow, let it mellow” – regarding water preservation at the Guest House

In an attempt to describe a Birmingham suburb to someone unfamiliar with the area: “Well, a lot of people drive a truck…”

“I think I’ll go back in now…since I was just called a little girl.” Statement from a 30-something male who was just told by an Australian Sharkologist that his intense fear of sharks based on the movie “Jaws” and a traumatic childhood beach trip was “stupid and silly.”

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Alabama to Amman by Way of Paris

4 cities, 3 countries, 3 continents, 2 bad meals, and 26 hours later I am in Amman, Jordan. The trip has been relatively uneventful and all arrived safely with luggage in tow. I experienced by first taste of "Turkish Coffee" this evening around 11:00pm Amman time (+8 hours from Birmingham) and I am hoping that this will not keep me up through the night. Unfortunately it is only 4:00pm at home so my clock is far from being adjusted.

Our schedule begins at 8:00am tomorrow as we begin to explore Christianity in the Middle East.

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