Monday, June 30, 2008

Overcoming Sin Is Possible & Expected

I appreciated Pastor Ryan's sermon this week on sin (from Gen 6:1-10). Three of his points were,
  • If I don't agressively fight sin that crops up in my life, it will continue to spread and take over.
  • Life-altering, radical cleansing is called for.
  • God needs me to live on a higher standard--His standard.
This fight against sin cannot be successfully waged apart from the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it needs to be trumpeted that it can be waged! It seems there's too much of an attitude among Christians that some sin cannot be overcome because it's too entrenched, and that's simply not true.

Romans 6 is very clear about the freedom from sin that is ours in Christ. Throughout the chapter are clear declarations of our freedom:
  • "We died to sin" (2)
  • "count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (11)
  • "do not let sin reign in your mortal body" (12) -- (Assumption: this is possible)
  • "sin shall not be your master" (14)
  • "you used to be slaves to sin" (17)
  • "You have been set free from sin" (18, 22)
The most entrenched sin in your life can be overcome if you are united with Christ by faith. How? Of immense help are the instructions of verses 11-13.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Searching for the Right Blog Title

I want to start a new blog about family life. I currently maintain our other blog, The Journey for Callie, but we are now past the journey for Callie; she's been home with us over a month now.

So I want to create a new blog that talks about our whole family; we do have 3 other kids.

But I'm searching for a good title.

My favorite is Food's Always on the Floor. It depicts the craziness of family life. No matter how much you clean and try to keep things organized, everything quickly tends towards messiness and disorganization. But Sara doesn't like it because it implies that she's a lousy a housekeeper. I don't want to imply that, because it's simply not true. And I think if I'm clear up front, I won't imply that, but ...

So here's some other ideas:
  • The Scantlins (yawn)
  • Epic Baby Steps -- Family life is sweeping (you nurture lives from babyhood to adulthood) and yet routine and daily. But I don't like the "baby steps" part of it. Sidenote: I often think of the movie Avalon as an epic family story.
  • Epic Routine
  • Almost Too Big for a Minivan
  • Family for Life
  • Too Busy for a Dog
  • Too Poor for a Dog
  • Family 6
  • Put-Together Family -- We often thank God in our family prayer time for putting us together as a family.
  • Bills, Laundry, and the Nucleus of Civilization -- I like the quote by Will and Ariel Durant: "The family is the nucleus of civilization." This title kind of goes back to my "epic" titles above.
  • Civilization's Nucleus on Huffman
Except for Food's Always on the Floor, I don't really like any of these. Do you have any ideas?

Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Comment on My Blog

I welcome your comments to my blog.

All you need is a Google account, which is free and takes only a minute to set up.
  1. Go to
  2. Click on "Sign in" in upper right corner.
  3. Click on "Create an account now" in bottom right corner.
  4. Type in your email address.
  5. Type in a password of your choosing.
  6. Click on "Sign in."
Then go to my blog, click on "comments," and you can begin to inject your wisdom.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What books made you laugh out loud?

Here's my answer:
  1. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (Alexander McCall Smith)
  2. Dave Barry Does Japan (Dave Barry)
  3. Home to Harmony (Philip Gulley)
  4. Elmer Gantry (Sinclair Lewis)

What's your answer?

(22 Words got me thinking about this topic.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Philharmonic in the Park

Heard the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (free) tonight at the Foellinger. My brother Jeff and my nephew Oliver went with me. The night was beautiful, and the music was, too. Of the 9 pieces, I enjoyed ...

"Pomp and Circumstance" -- There's so much more to it than, "naa, na na na, naa naa, naa na na na naaaa." It's much more interesting when it's disentangled from the high school graduation ceremony.

"Lincoln Portrait" (Copland) -- A piece for orchestra and narrator. Narrator gives a portrait of our greatest president in two ways, through description of the man and recitation of some of his speeches. (I think, however, I would have used more weighty Lincoln material had I written it, though it did end with the Gettysburg Address.)

"Casey at the Bat" -- I love this poem anyway, and to hear it interpreted in music was cool.

If you ever think to yourself, "I just love Kent. I wonder what I could get him to show my appreciation of the swell fellow that he is," let me humbly suggest Philharmonic tickets.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Violence Down in Iraq, but How Would You Know?

USA Today reports 2 stories of interest.

First, roadside bombing attacks and consequent troop fatalities are down 90% from last year. That's great news, and it underscores the tremendous accomplishments of our soldiers in Iraq.

Why haven't we heard more about this?

That leads to the second story, which reports that media in general is reporting less about the Iraq war. Why? Because violence is down in Iraq, and therefore the urgency to report is down. If you go to this story, there's a video clip of Lara Logan, a foreign correspondent, expressing some frustration at trying to get her stories about the Iraq war on the CBS Evening News.

Bottom line: Success in Iraq is not something the mainstream media wants to report.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh, It's Double CHURN Ice Cream

At Meijer this evening, I did a double take when I saw Breyers Double Chin ice cream. I'm all for truth in advertising, but . . .

Friday, June 20, 2008

Soap Opera Lovers

Why are they called "soaps"? Do you feel clean after watching them?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Envying Owners of Small Cars

I used to be interested in larger cars. These days I've noticed that I'm way more interested in small cars. (Can you say "high gas mileage"?)

I've always liked the look of the Chevy Vibe, but then I saw the Toyota Matrix, which has a similar look, and I'm sure it has better gas mileage. So right now the Matrix is my dream car.

I won't own one for some time, though. Our Caravan is almost too small for my wife, my three girls, Bigfoot, and myself.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Devotions in the Park

I rode my bike over to Headwaters Park this morning, sat in the shade on a bench in the cool of the morning, and read 1 Timothy. The misters came on about every 10 minutes. After reading 1 Timothy, I read a chapter in another book. Spiritually and mentally refreshed, I drank some water, donned my backpack, and rode to the church to start my work day.

This was the second time within a week I had devotions at Headwaters. This won't become a habit, but I've enjoyed it thus far.

Paul's letters have invigorated me the last few days. One of the things that I have picked up is his industry. He worked hard to witness to the lost and to edify the saints. He challenges my laziness.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top 10 Westerns

The AFI did a "10 Top 10" program tonight. It was fun watching Wikipedia update each movie as I watched the show.

Included in the top 10 westerns were Red River (#5) and The Searchers (#1). I saw both of those John Wayne movies recently, and I didn't like them as well as other John Wayne movies that didn't make the cut, like El Dorado and The Sons of Katie Elder.

And what about a western that didn't star John Wayne -- The Three Amigos? That one's a Scantlin family favorite, because when you think of great cowboy material, your mind naturally drifts to Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gore's Wrong about President Bush's Foreign Policy

Al Gore, campaigning for Barack Obama, said something to the effect that after 8 years of the worst foreign policy decisions in the history of the presidency, it's time for change, etc.

Pardon my skepticism of Al Gore (I realize he invented the Internet), but isn't the fact that we haven't had a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 a significant matter? And isn't the fact that terrorist fatalities are down 40% since 2001 telling evidence in favor of a very good foreign policy?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Excerpts from My Father's Day Card to My Dad

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Books I Am Sure You Will Never Write

1. Where He Went Wrong: Correcting the Theology of Forest Weddle
2. Too Many Cookies
3. Dollar Stores, Email, and Other Bad Ideas
5. How to Be a Subtle Christian
8. I See Your Point: Ralph Scantlin & Wes Gerig Dialog about the Rapture
9. Camera Shy: An Autobiography
10. Too Many Grandkids
11. Honey Dipping and Other Fun Christmas Traditions
12. Brevity in Preaching
14. More Socialism, Please

And . . .

[turn page]

15. Jeff, My Favorite Son

I love you, Dad. I hope you don’t mind me poking a little fun. I do appreciate you, and I think I come to appreciate you more and more as the years progress.

Thanks for your continual encouragement, your involvement in my kids’ lives, and your godly example.

Dad, you have very big shoes for me to fill, and I don’t believe I will ever completely fill them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Flag Day, Diana!

Today is Flag Day, and when it's Flag Day, it means that it's also my sister-in-law's birthday. Diana is 9 days older than me. I can't tell you how old she is, but currently I'm 38, and she's not.

Friday, June 13, 2008

President Bush Exemplifies What Has Made U.S. Great

President Bush's response to the Supreme Court ruling that allows prisoners of war certain Constitutional privileges: "It's a Supreme Court decision. We will abide by the decision. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it. It was a deeply divided court. I strongly agree with those who dissented."

In the U.S., even the president submits to the rule of law.

The world watched in amazement as President Washington turned over the reigns of government to President Adams.

After a very close and bitterly contested election, President Adams also walked away without a fight, leaving the executive office to President Jefferson.

Many Democrats and anti-war demonstraters had their hopes on President Lincoln being defeated at the polls in 1864. They knew that if he were voted out, he would simply ... leave; just like every president before him.

In the U.S., even the head of state is under the law. We are blessed to live in a country where the law of the land is the law of the land.

Supreme Court Backs Terrorists, Jeopardizes American Lives

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay have certain rights under our Constitution that have thus far been denied them.

Regarding the ruling, Justice Scalia, who disagreed with the majority opinion, wrote, "the game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays upon the nation's commander in chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

Also disagreeing, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "So who has won? Not the detainees. The court's analysis leaves them with only the prospect of further litigation, and certainly not the American people, who today lose a bit more control over the conduct of this nation's foreign policy to unelected, politically unaccountable judges."

So thanks to 5 Justices, we have lost a little bit more of our democratic power and a lot more of our security.

Does anyone remember 9/11?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

13 Years at Northside

Today is my 13th anniversary of ministry at Northside Missionary.

Besides the obvious (i.e., birthdays, wedding anniversary) what anniversary do you tend to remember? (Click on "comments.")

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Religion" Isn't a Dirty Word

"Christianity isn't a religion; it's a relationship."

I understand the sentiment, but it's only half right. Christianity is both.

As a religion, Christianity is the worship of and service to God through Jesus Christ, and that worship and service has its rituals (e.g., baptism, the Lord's supper) and rules (e.g., the Great Commandments, the Great Commission). That worship and service is regulated by the Bible.

The Christian faith has its structures and its doctrines that circumscribe worship and service to God. What falls outside of these boundaries is unacceptable.

It is very true that central to the faith is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and we must guard against rituals for the sake of rituals. ("These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.")

But let's not chuck the rituals, rules, and doctrines of our religion because they appear to obscure the relationship. They don't. At least they shouldn't. They clarify and enhance the relationship.

Terrorism Down 40%; American Media Bias Continues to Rise

The Canadian Press reports that fatalities related to terrorism are down 40%.

Since when? Since 2001!

Let's see, when did the war on terror being again?

Huh. I thought the war on terror wasn't working.

You mean President Bush did something right?

Why isn't the American press reporting this?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sister-by-law Turns 30

Yeah, I know, lots of birthdays mentioned lately. Sara turned 38 yesterday. Her sis, Suzanne, turned 30 today.

There are odd connections between my sister-by-law and me:
  • My firstborn, a son, was born on her half-birthday.
  • Her firstborn, a son, was born on my half-birthday.
  • Our sons are both huge for their age.
  • We both play piano.
  • She didn't like my wedding (reason: stole her sister).
  • I didn't like her wedding (reason: wedding).
  • We both love Sara.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

38 and Lookin' Great

My beautiful bride's birthday is today.
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing" (Prov 18:22).
So I assume that he who finds a great wife finds a really good thing.
God has been good to me. Happy Birthday, Hon!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Books That'll Never Be Written

  1. You Have a Choice by John Piper & R. C. Sproul
  2. Repent and Escape Hell by Joel Osteen
  3. Orthodoxy by Benny Hinn
  4. Systematic Theology by Brian McLaren
  5. The Case for Charismatics by John MacArthur
  6. 21 Irrefutable Church Growth Methods by Eugene Peterson
  7. America a Christian Nation? Hah! by D. James Kennedy
  8. I'm Not Sure about That by Norm Geisler
  9. The Earth Sure Looks Old by Ken Ham
  10. The Tradition Driven Church by Rick Warren
  11. Leap of Faith by Lee Strobel
  12. Kenneth Copeland Is My Friend by Hank Hanegraaff
  13. Pre-Trib and Loving It by Hank Hanegraaff
  14. Golfing with Tim LaHaye by Hank Hanegraaff
  15. Your Best Life Now by Randy Alcorn
  16. Only Four Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  17. Celebration of Wingin' It by Richard Foster
  18. Evangelical Arminians by Michael Horton
  19. Jesus Is the Only Way by Joel Osteen
  20. Jonathan Edwards Was a Ninny by John Piper

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wave a wand, and *poof*, you now play what instrument beautifully?

For me, either clarinet or cello. (Actually, some day I'd like to play the piano well, but that's another story.)

What about you?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Western Christianity Lacks Depth

"Evangelicalism, now much absorbed by the arts and tricks of marketing, is simply not very serious anymore." --David Well, Above All Earthly Pow'rs

What evidence do you see that Wells is right?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Reagan

No, Ronald's birthday is Feb 6. But my niece Reagan turns 6 today.

It's hard to get her to smile for the camera these days, so I count this as a real gem. It reflects her personality, too. Full of fun and mischief.

Monday, June 2, 2008

10 Things I Love about Sara

  1. Servant-hearted
  2. Likes a neat and clean house
  3. Sharp mind
  4. Takes interest in my interests
  5. Doesn’t like debt
  6. Good lookin’!
  7. Good cookin’!
  8. Ambitious
  9. Supportive and encouraging
  10. Best friend

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Was the Hymn Sing a Success?

We had a Hymn Sing at our church this afternoon. 15 were in attendance, 8 with the same last name.

So was the Hymn Sing a failure because of poor attendance?

Or was it a success because most of those in attendance enjoyed singing their favorite Christian songs?