Monthly Archives: January 2011

 

Jan

31

2011

Trevin Wax|3:14 am CT

4 Reasons To Eat Meat Just Once a Day

I don’t do diets. And I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

But I did adopt a pseudo-diet as a pseudo-resolution for 2011. (Confused yet? I prefer to call it a lifestyle change.)

I decided to eat meat at only one meal a day.

Why I Made the Change

I will turn 30 this summer. Up until now, I haven’t had to worry much about my weight or my health. Friends tell me that once you get into your thirties (particularly your late thirties), your body begins to turn on you, causing you to be more conscious about exercise, food, etc.

I’m not a health nut, but I do want to be a good steward of the body God has given me. God has put longevity in my genes (I knew four of my great-grandparents, all of whom died in their late 90′s – aside from one: she was 102). God could take my life tomorrow if He wishes, but as much as it depends upon me, I hope to live a long and healthy life to serve King Jesus and enjoy the people I love.

That’s why reducing my meat intake has been a good change for me. Here are four reasons why:

1. Eating Meat Once a Day Leads Me to Healthier Eating

If I’m on the go during my lunch hour, I am less likely to pick up a fast food burger. Why? Because that means I would miss the good food my wife is preparing for dinner.

In addition, foregoing meat has caused me to eat more salad, more fruit, more oatmeal, and more vegetables. My diet has changed substantially – in a good way.

2. Eating Meat Once a Day Leads to Less Eating

For the first few days, I was hungry by the time I got home from work, especially if I had not eaten meat at all yet. After a while, I got used to the difference. In fact, on the two days in January that I did eat meat twice (I was traveling), I felt sluggish after the meal.

Likewise, on those days when I have chosen to eat meat for lunch and not for dinner, I have discovered that I sleep better after eating a light meal in the evening. Eating less has actually given me more energy.

3. Eating Meat Once a Day Leads to Weight Loss

The meat-once-a-day discipline doesn’t lead to major weight loss, especially if you don’t eat a lot of meat anyway. But I did lose four pounds during the first week and stayed at my new weight for the rest of the month. Of course, my goal in changing my eating habits was more for health reasons than for losing weight. But you can lose a little weight this way.

4. Eating Meat Once a Day Leads to Better Meat Choices

We all know that chicken is healthier than beef. But if you’re like me, there’s nothing like a good cheeseburger or a steak.

Once I limited myself to eating meat once a day, I found that I was eating more white meats. My wife makes more chicken and pork dishes than beef, so whenever I choose to not eat meat for lunch, I wind up eating more white meat than beef over an extended period of time.

What about you? Has anyone else tried a similar discipline? What are the “non-diet” diets that work for you?

 
 

Jan

31

2011

Trevin Wax|2:54 am CT

Worth a Look 1.31.11

The 2011 Christianity Today Book Awards

Ken Samples’ 100 Academic Commandments:

When I became a Christian at age 20, I began to understand that my mind really matters. (Beforehand, I didn’t engage in my studies and did just enough in school to get by.) It was then that I realized the importance of cultivating a well-informed, logical mind as well as building a coherent and defensible Christian worldview. Now as an adjunct professor at Biola University, I hope to encourage my students to come to that same realization. I offer my list of 100 academic commandments to help show students (and their parents) how to take full advantage of their school years and beyond.

Lincoln’s stepmother:

If Lincoln saved the Union, she saved him, and for that alone she’s entitled to a decent respect. Measured by the usual yardsticks of wealth and distinction, her own life may not have made much of a dent in the historical record. But at just the right moment, she encountered a small motherless boy, and helped him to become Abraham Lincoln.

The best church ad I’ve ever seen: “Before we tell you who we are, we want to tell you who we were.” We are those foolish ones, those weak ones, those low and despised ones. Watch the video below.

 
 

Jan

30

2011

Trevin Wax|3:41 am CT

I Lay My Sins on Jesus

I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.

I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem:
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.

I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes His Name abroad is poured.

I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father’s holy Child:
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the angels’ song.

- Horatius Bonar

 
 

Jan

29

2011

Trevin Wax|3:35 am CT

Saturday Humor: Vitameatavegamin

It doesn’t get much funnier than this bit of classic television. It’s amazing that this scene is done in one take, and even more amazing that sixty years later, people still talk about it. If you’ve never seen Vitameatavegamin before, you can thank me later.

 
 

Jan

28

2011

 
 

Jan

27

2011

Trevin Wax|3:05 am CT

10 Favorite Movie Scores

Many people go into a movie theater and are barely conscious of the music that provides the atmosphere to the movie they are watching. I can’t do that. My ears are always tuned in to the melodies coming from those mega-speakers.

If I enjoy a movie’s music, I sometimes download the score. Occasionally, I download scores to movies I haven’t even seen, simply because I enjoy the music from a specific composer.

There are not many movie scores that I can listen to straight through. Suspenseful movies often have music that matches the action, which means it’s a little much to have music playing softly in the background that sounds like a car chase or a shoot-out. There are, however, certain tracks in the scores from action movies that I enjoy.

Below, I’ve listed ten of my favorite movie scores. (Please note: I am not endorsing these movies, only recommending the music!) Some of these CDs have tracks that I rarely listen to (for the reasons listed above), so I am putting in parentheses the best tracks from each one. If you click over to the Amazon page, you can listen to some of the samples and download a few mp3s.

1. Forrest Gump (best tracks: “Suite from Forrest Gump,” “I’m Forrest… Forrest Gump”, “You’re No Different”)

2. Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) (best tracks: “Buon Giorno Principessa”, “La Vita e Bella,” “Abbiamo Vinto”)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (best tracks: “Evacuating London,” “The Wardrobe” and “Only the Beginning of the Adventure”)

4. Pearl Harbor (best tracks: “Tennessee,” “Brothers,” “And Then I Kissed Him”)

5. The Village (best tracks: “Noah Visits,” “What are You Asking Me?” and “The Gravel Road”)

6. Wall-E (best tracks: “Define Dancing,” “2815 AD,” “72 Degrees and Sunny”)

7. Titanic (best tracks: “Distant Memories,” “Southhampton,” and “Rose”)

8. Peter Pan (best tracks: “Flying,” “Main Title,” “Fairy Dance”)

9. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (best tracks: “Concerning Hobbits”, “The Fellowship,” “Hope and Memory”)

10. While You Were Sleeping (best tracks: “Riverside Walk,” “Opening,” “An Untimely Accident”)

These are ten of my favorites. What about you? What movie scores do you enjoy? I’m always open to building my music library.

 
 

Jan

27

2011

Trevin Wax|2:09 am CT

Worth a Look 1.27.11

A good quote from G.K. Chesterton on obsession with trends (this, after I posted earlier this week on future trends in evangelicalism!):

When Chesterton spoke of those sociologists who spoke of the great need we have to accommodate ourselves to the trend of time, he noted that, in any given time, the trend of the time at its best consists of those who will not accommodate themselves to anything. Athanasius had to stand contra mundum, and it is he who is the representative man from that era, and not the whole world he had to contend against.

How are churches using their websites?

While 78 percent have a website, less than half of those congregations use their sites for interactive purposes like obtaining and distributing prayer requests (43 percent), registering people for events and activities (39 percent) and automating more church processes (30 percent).

Brent Prentice on the benefits of preaching through the Bible:

I acknowledge that preaching through the Bible is not the only way to preach… Whatever each pastor’s unique style or angle is, he must be faithful to the meaning of the Spirit-inspired text. I just happen to believe strongly that preaching through the Bible, not around it, is the best way.

There’s really no explanation for failing to cover an event of this magnitude, except bias:

None of the broadcast news programs from Monday evening and Tuesday morning covered the 2011 “March for Life” in Washington, DC, a pro-life rally that reportedly drew at least tens of thousands of attendees.

 
 

Jan

26

2011

Trevin Wax|3:40 am CT

Baptists at the Lord's Table: A Review of "The Lord's Supper"

It’s ironic that the central practice that unites the church across two millennia has often caused major division between Christians. Start talking about the Lord’s Supper and you’re confronted by a host (pun intended) of questions:

  • How frequently should we partake of the Lord’s Supper?
  • Is this a sacrament or an ordinance?
  • How is Christ present in the elements? Is he present at all?
  • What does it mean to partake of the Supper in an unworthy manner?
  • Who can join us at the table?

Each of these questions (and many more) are covered in a recent book edited by Thomas Schreiner and Matt Crawford. The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes (B&H, 2011) is part of the NAC Studies in Bible and Theology. A number of Baptist scholars have contributed essays that deal with particular questions about the Lord’s Supper. The result is a solid resource for pastors and church leaders (from all denominations) who want to go deeper in their understanding of the Supper’s significance.

Below is a brief overview of the essays in the book, followed by some considerations and some areas I think the book could have been stronger.

Biblical Exposition

The book begins with biblical exposition of New Testament passages that describe the Last Supper or the early church’s practice of the Supper.

  • Andreas Kostenberger makes a convincing case for viewing the Lord’s Supper as a Passover meal.
  • Jonathan Pennington outlines the way the Gospels treat the Supper, both the common and distinctive elements that emerge.
  • James Hamilton exegetes a relevant Pauline passage on the Supper (1 Corinthians 11) within the context of the whole letter.

History/Theology

Several essays in the book deal with the historical development of thought on the Supper.

  • Michael Haykin contributes an excellent essay that traces Eucharistic thought through the Patristic era.
  • David Hogg covers debate between the medieval monks Radbertus (who believed in the physical presence of Christ in the elements) and Ratramnus (who believed in a spiritual presence).
  • Gregg Allison provides a thoughtful, accurate overview of contemporary Catholic theology on the Mass, keeping the Catholic view of the Supper tied to the rest of Catholicism’s theological structure.
  • Matthew Crawford leads us into the Reformation era by introducing us to Luther and his largely traditionalist view of the Supper.
  • Bruce Ware covers the Zwinglian view, dispelling some myths about Zwingli along the way (primarily, that he was a mere memorialist). The Zwingli-Luther debate at Marburg is summarized as a debate about Christology, a point I have argued elsewhere.
  • Shawn Wright describes the Reformed view of the Supper, focusing primarily on the role of the Holy Spirit and the idea of the spiritual presence of Christ. He critiques the Reformed for overemphasizing the power of the Eucharist and thereby detracting from the centrality of the gospel.
  • Greg Wills surveys the “open communion” versus “close communion” controversy that has raged on and off throughout Baptist history.

Theological/Pastoral Reflections

The end of the book contains theological and pastoral reflections on the Supper and its meaning for today.

  • Brian Vickers provides a fresh take on the Supper, particularly in the way the past and future meet in the present.
  • Greg Thornbury encourages us to view the Supper as stirring up God’s people to love and unity. He describes the table as “ground zero for learning how to be a Christian… If you cannot get it right there, you will not get it right anywhere.” (358)
  • Ray Van Neste contributes perhaps the most controversial chapter of the book because it deals solely with questions about how Communion should be practiced.

Considerations

I enjoyed this book for the wealth of information it provides and for the way this information seems to be geared toward pastors and church leaders. This is not a book of information collected for its own sake. It’s for the good of the church and the glory of Christ.

Nevertheless, there are a few places I think the book could have been stronger.

First, this is a Baptist book filled with solid contributions from Baptist scholars. And yet the only chapter that includes anything distinctively Baptist about our vision of the Supper is the historical account of open versus close communion debates. Surely there’s more to the Baptist position than the debate about who can join us at the table! Perhaps a chapter examining the Supper in Baptist confessions or explaining/critiquing the view of Charles Spurgeon (who advocated both the spiritual presence and open communion) would have been helpful.

Another odd omission is Augustine. Haykin’s essay on the patristics is a fascinating examination of the Supper in the thought of Justin, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Ambrose and Basil. But not including Augustine in this list is like writing a book on the twelve disciples without including a section on Peter.

The Lord’s Supper is an interesting collection of essays, primarily because the authors don’t always agree. For example, in his historical survey of the close communion controversy, Greg Wills argues that open communion has – at least historically – been a gateway to liberalism. In the next chapter, however, Ray Van Neste argues theologically and exegetically for open communion as the biblical position.

In my opinion, Wills’ historical assessment is accurate, but his contemporary application is deficient. His chapter reminds me of scholars who argue that taking an amillennialist view of the end times leads to liberalism. It’s true that at one point, dispensationalists were almost always conservative, whereas liberals were almost always amillenial. But the context is too different today to assume that end times debates are determinative of one’s theological trajectory. In the same way, when giants of the conservative Baptist movement can hold to open communion (W.A. Criswell, C.H. Spurgeon, John Bunyan) and not abandon traditional beliefs, it doesn’t make sense to warn against open communion as if it is a slippery slope.

Van Neste’s essay will probably elicit the most response because of the practical nature of his contribution. He seeks to ground many of his preferences in Scripture, though some of these are surely debatable. All readers will appreciate Van Neste’s pastoral sensitivity and thoughtfulness regarding these issues. Few will agree with all of his conclusions.

(For example, I believe that his opposition to serving Communion to shut-ins is misguided. Van Neste overemphasizes the physical presence of the church gathered and misses the beauty in showing how members who are unable to gather together physically are still part of the body.)

Overall, this book contains insightful essays that describe the beauty of the Lord’s Supper and the ways this ordinance has been viewed throughout church history. Pastors who are preparing to preach again on the Lord’s Supper will find a feast in this book.

 
 

Jan

26

2011

Trevin Wax|2:28 am CT

Worth a Look 1.26.11

Darrin Patrick responds graciously to John MacArthur’s critique of Church Planter:

When I misunderstand or am misunderstood, I want to quickly ask, “What is God teaching me?” And, He is teaching me through Dr. MacArthur’s critique.  For that, I am very thankful!  For those of you who have been quick to be critical of Dr. MacArthur, please remember that we all need to be corrected from time to time.  Also, ALL of us who are younger need to give a careful listen to the concerns of seasoned pastors, many of whom have forgotten more than we might ever know.

Good point about Obama’s use of “private family matters” to mask the hidden horror of abortion:

Since when is lethal violence used on the defenseless and the most vulnerable members of our society considered an intrusion on “private family matters”? This line of argument is absurd. Would the president argue that our laws should be silent on matters of spousal and child abuse? After all, based on the Obama Criterion, those, too, might qualify as “private family matters.”

Michael Kelley: Today’s Gospel is Tomorrow’s Law

- When Christians believe that public school is the only appropriate way to be missional with your family.

- When Christians say that home schooling is the only good and proper way to educate your child.

- When the mark of your spirituality becomes whether or not you have adopted a child (or how many).

- When those believers who feel the liberty to consume alcohol turn up their noses at those who refrain.

Do you see it? We have an immense propensity to take the gospel and turn it into law. We love to take good and turn it into chains. Why do we do that?

J.D. Greear reports on the gospel-centered life conference:

The Great Commission begins with the Great Announcement.  It is only as we grasp what Jesus has accomplished in the Gospel and what that tells us about how willing He is to save the world that we’ll ever be successful or bold in our pursuits of the Great Commission.

 
 

Jan

25

2011

Trevin Wax|3:12 am CT

This Pro-Lifer Wants to Change Laws AND Hearts

Yesterday, my friend Jared Wilson wrote on the need for churches and Christians to focus not just on changing laws regarding abortion, but also to focus on changing hearts. I agree with Jared that we need a both/and approach, not an either/or (a point he makes explicitly).

I do worry, however, that some people might hear Jared’s point as saying something to the effect: “It’s more important to change hearts; therefore, let’s not busy ourselves with seeking to enact legislation.” Within the cultural climate I mentioned yesterday (where young evangelicals are less inclined to seek cultural change through the political process), I fear that we may be backing away from seeking legislative victories when they are right within our grasp.

Not long ago, I saw a clip from The View in which the hosts were discussing a new Oklahoma law that requires women to see an ultrasound before choosing abortion. Elisabeth Hasselback defended the law, but then acted as if it were misguided to seek this sort of abortion legislation. She said something like: “Change a law or change a heart? I’d rather change a heart.”

Put me on record saying, I’d like to change both. The moment we dichotomize changing laws and changing hearts is the moment we postpone the day abortion is illegal.

So, even though I agree that changing laws doesn’t ultimately solve the problem (yes, yes, yes – on all of Jared’s points), I want to make sure that we do not in any way downplay, denigrate, or discourage Christians who are actually seeking to change laws. All over the country we’ve seen a decline in the number of abortions where legislation has been enacted. Whether it’s in the form of parental notification, 24-hour waiting periods, banning late-term abortions, etc., we’ve made significant progress in pushing back the murderous rage of the Evil One against the children.

It’s one thing to say, as Jared does, that we would happily line up to cast a vote ending Roe v. Wade. It’s another thing entirely to be on the front lines of creating and passing legislation that does indeed decrease abortion. If all we say is, “I’ll vote to end it when it’s on the ballot,” the ballot will never arrive because no one will think it’s productive or effective to work at ending abortion from the legal angle.

Let’s imagine a different scenario. Pretend you live in the Deep South in the 1960′s, and you say, “I’d like to see civil rights enacted, and if I had the chance, I’d vote for it. But we need to be more concerned with individual hearts than with enacting legislation.” If we had taken that approach in the 60′s, then the Civil Rights Act would have never gone into effect. Even today, we wouldn’t have civil rights, as there are still racists out there whose hearts have yet to be changed.

Likewise, if we sought to change hearts before passing laws against human trafficking, the evil of the sex slave business would only increase. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the gospel is powerful enough to regenerate the pimp and his prostitute, the businessman with a double life and the woman who has been forced into subjugation. But it’s irresponsible for us to downplay the good work – even the legislative work – being done by Christians who want to make it harder for this kind of evil to flourish.

In the same way, there is more than one front in the battle against abortion.

So, I urge my missional pastor friends: by all means, preach the gospel of forgiveness. Preach against moralism and legalism. Offer the balm of the gospel to those who have had abortions. Let’s tirelessly seek to change the hearts of people who would snatch a baby’s right to life.

But let us never place a barrier between changing laws and changing hearts. We need to do both. And while it may not be every Christian’s responsibility to work to change the law, we must be thankful for those who are on the front-lines of the legal battle. Their work in squashing opportunities for the Evil One to snatch away more children is a crucial part of the fight for life.