Saturday, August 20, 2005

Of Metaphors and Similes

These were sent in by my brother. Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances
like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

16. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

17. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

18. Shots rang out, as shots are want to do.

19. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

20. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

21. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

22. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

23. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

24. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

25. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

26. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Found on Al Mohler's Blog

Al Mohler is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and leader in the Reformed movement among Baptist. I found this on his blogsite.

Consider this statement on the disappearance of hymns from worship from Paul S. Jones:

The postmodern church, like the rest of Western culture, is self-obsessed and seems uninterested in the rich heritage of church music imparted to us from the saints of previous generations. Although worship has become a buzzword in all ecclesiastical circles, minimal attention is given to biblical teaching concerning worship. As a result, we find evangelicals slipping away from biblical worship and justifying their practices on the basis of the Zeitgeist. A hedonistic, narcissistic, relativistic, 'me-focused' age, though, is hardly one that should inform and define our approach to God. And yet, it does. We measure our success by numbers, our relevance by how technologically integrated and up-to-date we are, and our worship by how good it makes us feel. In the minds of contemporary saints, hymns clash with the spontaneity, simplicity, and style that have come to rule in the modern evangelical church.

Paul S. Jones, "Hymnody in a Post-Hymnody World," in Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, edited by Philip Graham Ryken, Derek W. H. Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan (Philllipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003). The book is a collection of essays celebrating the life and legacy of the late James Montgomery Boice. Jones is music director and organist at Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church, where Boice was pastor for many years. See the church's excellent statement, Our Philosophy-Theology of Music, adoped just this year, as well as the congregation's Mission Statement.

Judgment and Mercy

The following question was sent to me following Sunday's sermon on the tongue:

Thank you for Sunday’s sermon and for the important reminder and illustrations of the power of the tongue! Every now and then, though, as a result of a sermon, or something I have read I am once more confronted with confusion that perhaps you can help me with. I do not believe that I have a good, biblical understanding of the final judgment for Christians. On the one hand, I am confronted with texts like the one you mentioned from Matthew 12:36, 37 which certainly seems to indicate that when we speak harshly we are certainly sinning and that sin will be brought up on the day of judgment. Then I come to reading texts like Isaiah 43:25…God says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12). I believe that as a Christian, Jesus has taken all of my sin, every single one, past, present and future, and has suffered God’s wrath for all of my sins so that when God the Father sees me, He sees the righteousness of Jesus. So, what is the biblical understanding of a final judgment for Christians when our sins are remembered no more, and yet they seem to come in to play at the final judgment? Would you help me to finally grasp the truth? Thank you!

That’s a great question. There is a tension between our sins being revealed on the last day and the mercy that will be displayed to us. I will be teaching about that mercy this coming Sunday night. As Christians, the thought of Christ’s return should be filled with hope and joy. 1 Peter 1:3-11 speaks to this glorious hope. So, when it comes to judgment on the Final Day, we should approach that day with confidence. The passages such as in Matthew 12 serve several purposes: one is to sober everyone about the standard of judgment. Most people believe they will be allowed into heaven because the bar of acceptance is rather low. For Christians, such passages should sober us in two ways. They should prevent us from abusing our liberty in Christ. Knowing that our sins will be revealed should temper such an attitude towards sin that says, “God is going to forgive me anyway.” Such passages also remind us of the standard God looks for in our “fruit.” Our sanctification includes more than making us church-goers and fairly decent people. It includes everything we say, do, and think. Everything!

Finally, such passages should impress upon us the depth of God’s mercy shown in Christ. God doesn’t forgive because on the whole we are pretty good; he forgives because of Christ’s atoning work alone. Almost everything we have said, done, or thought could be used against us (if not everything). But praise be to God for such mercy shown in Christ who never committed a single sin in word, deed, and thought.

Jude Completed

Just completed my last sermon on Jude. It's hard to say which is more exhilirating - preparing or delivering a sermon. Preparation brings the excitement of discovering the treasure of Scripture. Preaching brings the excitement of revealing that treasure to others. I'm pscyhed by what I've learned; now I'm psyched with the anticipation of sharing it.

Church Bulletin

Do you know that the church bulletin is posted on the church website every Friday, usually by noon? Check it out to see if there are any activities going on Sunday.

There are three meals this Sunday! Every Sunday, Fellowship Bible Study provides supper for its participants, many of whom are homeless. Grace, which provides support for persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses, will have its monthly bring-your-own-lunch. And Bridge Builders, a support group for the divorced and separated, will have its monthly lunch, as well. By the way, be on the lookout for changes in Bridge Builders as the ministry plans to broaden its audience. They are planning monthly talks now led by pastors.

Back-to-School Supply Drive

TenthWomen is sponsoring a school supply drive for the children of the Chester Arthur School in our neighborhood. Tenth has been encouraging this particular school through the ACTS ministry with after school tutors as well as placing members as classroom aides for reading and math. For the next three Sundays, you bring supplies to the church. There will be a collection box in the Delancey Lobby: ideas are pens, pencils, pencil cases, enclosed pencil sharpeners, crayons, markers, blunt scissor packs, spiral bound notebooks, plain paper notebooks, pocket folders, assignment pads, glue sticks, packages of lined paper, book covers, rulers, erasers, composition notebooks, backpacks, insulated lunch bags. Gina Glennon is the contact person.

John Lenk

For the evening service, Jonathan Olsen and John Lenk will be joining me on the platform. John will give greetings and invite you to meet with him and Jonathan over in the west Amen corner to hear about his work and our recent trip.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Easy Test

This test was sent to me by my sister. Answers are found in the "Comments."

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

The Jude Trilogy

Am working on the third sermon of the "Jude Trilogy" - "Perverting Grace," "Rendering Judgment," and "Keeping and Being Kept." Jude has become for me a case study in how a pastor addresses the problem of a sin pattern creeping into his church. He exposes the sin, makes aware of judgment, and then gives directive on what to do about it. I look forward to knowing those directives as I study the text for Sunday, which includes, by the way, communion.

Hymn Singing

Paul Jones sent me this website info. Go to planetkc and you will find many of the hymn titles, texts, and even melodies of the Trinity hymnbook. Hymns you will find for this coming Sunday are 184, 310, 13, and 76.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ryken on Books

I found this on Phil's new blogsite. Check out

A few years ago my son Josh and I started a book discussion group for boys his age (we started when Josh was in 5th grade) and their fathers. Eleven of us meet every month or two to discuss good books that deal with serious ideas. We call our group the James Montgomery Boice Literary Society. We thought this was a suitable way to express our gratitude to God for the ministry of James Boice, and also to remember his great love for classic literature. Dr. Boice was a keen Hemingway enthusiast (more for his style than his worldview) and made a lifelong practice of reading through the Harvard Classics.

Ernest Gordon's To End All Wars is one of only two books ever to receive a five-star rating from our book group (we are a fairly critical bunch, it would seem). Gordon was held captive at the infamous Japanese prison camp on the River Kwai. His story of survival, depravity, conversion, sacrifice, and reconciliation is a thrilling example of the transformation that only the gospel can brings to the individual and society.

To End All Wars is an edifying book for any Christian to read. It is also a book worth giving to non-Christian friends -- a ripping good read that tells the truth about salvation. For the pastor or teacher there is a wealth of illustrative material. I close with one short example: "We had two alternatives: we could choose the way of men, based ont he sovereignty of the natural order, closed, sealed and impersonal; or we could choose the way of Jesus Christ, free and personal, based on the sovereignty of God the Father. The wind of the Spirit had blown upon us; we could not prove how or whence it had come. . . . Only as we responded to this Word did we receive the power to progress towards true humanity. . . . At the point marked by the Cross we found


Here is statistical information from last night's Trustees' meeting: average attendance through July is 1,432; by service it is 374 (9:00), 782 (11:00), 276 (6:30). The average giving per attender is $23.

Hobbit Habit

I've restarted my habit of listening to books on tape. Found The Hobbit at the Rittenhouse Square library and now enjoy walking and listening. I picked up the habit in Florida when I used my car daily and listened to dozens of books. Some examples: Founding Brothers, How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Man in the Iron Mask, Crime & Punishment, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

For those of you who travel around Philadelphia, I highly recommend the practice.

Liberating Ministry

Ginger and I finished reading Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, by Kent and Barbara Hughes. It discusses the problem of viewing successful ministry in terms of worldly success. We benefited from it. There is a chapter for how the congregation can help the minister, if anyone is interested in reading it.

Tenth Jeopardy Questions

The questions to the Tenth Jeopardy posting have been entered in the comments section. How did you do?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Phil Ryken in Seven Parts

Go to Sharper Iron to read a seven-part interview with Phil on a blog whose mission is "to edify Christian brothers and sisters by providing a place to publish and discuss news and ideas from a Christian, Biblical, Fundamentalist worldview." The interview is posted August 10. Click the "comments" on Part 1 and see pictures of Tenth, plus responses to the interview. Interesting to get outside perspective on our pastor and church.

New York's Next Borough?

Jessie Bible sent me this article about Philadelphia in the New York Times: Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough.


Just heard that our missionary Lin Brown is returning for furlough. She will be here September-December. Lin is our former Missions' Assistant.


Phil's latest commentary on Exodus has just arrived. You might need a cart to transport it. It is big! He has a book signing scheduled for September 15 at Barnes and Nobles. (And you are the first to know!)

Lenks Back in Town

John Lenk will give greetings at this Sunday evening's service. The Lenk family arrive in town tomorrow. They will be on a 6 month furlough.

Blog Me In

Add Phil to the list of blogging ministers, though he is actually joining a group blog. Go to That will bring you to the Alliance's new online magazine. Click "Reformation 21 Blog" on the left column and catch Phil's first effort.

How Much?

That will be the recurring response of the trustees tonight as they look at the first draft of next year's budget. All line item requests are submitted. Then the hard work of reworking the drafts begins. Pray for wisdom and discernment of God's will in what is always a tough process.

Value of Human Life

I've taken this news from the latest issue of byFaith magazine, our denomination's periodical.

The General Assembly adopted Ohio Valley Presbytery's request to appoint a committee to study the issue of the value of human life. Technological advances and changing medical ethics have called for an update on the issue, last visited by the 1988 General Assembly's "Report of Heroic Measures" committee. The moderator will appoint a committee of seven to study the value of human life and report to the 35th Assembly in 2007.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tenth Jeopardy

I watched Jeopardy tonight. Can you provide the questions for these answers?

Category "Elders":
1. Clive Stockdale, Dave Collins, Frank Harder
2. Teaching and Ruling

Category "Worship":
3. Proclamation of the Word, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper
4. The title of the one hymn we always begin singing while sitting.

Category "Ministries":
5. It is an umbrella for ministries
6. The one ministry that loans rather than gives

Category "Staff":
7. In earlier years he was a bowling champion
8. No man is an island, but this man owns one

Category "History":
9. The five "Bs" of course
10. This hired consultant proposed the position of Executive Minister

Back in the Saddle Again

Phil is back. I walked into his study at noon time to find him reading baseball boxscores.

Sunday Highlights

From Sunday morning's sermon "The Power of the Tongue":

Remember one thing more. I said at the beginning that men and women of great power sit in this sanctuary. Be sure to know that there is One in here of infinitely greater power. His Word – Jesus the Son of God – did turn away the wrath that should have fallen upon us. His Word who came to us gentle and in meekness truly is the Tree of Life. And this Word came to us from a heart of love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

May we be filled with such love that our tongues, that our whole beings, glorify the God of love and draw others to the Tree of Life. Such love is power indeed.

From the evening sermon "Rendering Judgment":
It is when I get to the cross that both perspectives are made clearer for me. How terrible, how horrible sin must be that such a price must be made to free us from it. How awe-full must be the holiness of God that he must turn his face from his Son calling out to him on the cross. What do I know of sin and holiness? What do I know of righteousness and love? How pure must God’s righteousness be that he cannot wave off the smallest of sin, but carry justice against it on the cross.

And most mysterious of all – how wondrous must be such love that God the Father would give up his Son, that the Son would willingly give up his life, for…whom? For sinners, for enemies: “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”; “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:8, 10). The cross presents a God with wrath who brought men with sin into a kingdom of righteousness through the sufferings of a Christ – his only begotten Son – on a Cross.

Both sermons can be read by clicking DMCmessages.