October 29, 2005

The Best Film Festival in the World

The San Antonio Independent Film Festival, which is the brain child of Doug Phillips from The Vision Forum, is perhaps one of the most important things to happen to film and family in decades.

For a rich, moment by moment documentary of what is happening at the most important film festival in the world today, check out the link below.

Alex and Brett Harris are posting up to the minute commentaries on the people and the sessions and movies of the festival...

Hold on to your hat... you will get an education


Up to the Minute News From: San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

For a wonderful moment by moment documentary of what is happening at the most important film festival in the world today, check out the link below.

Alex and Brett Harris are posting up to the minute commentaries on the people and the sessions and movies of the festival...

Hold on to your hat... you will get an education


Coming In on a Wing Without Prayer

My twenty year old daughter Kelly has just finished her book "Coming in On a Wing and a Prayer", published by The Vision Forum. It tells the story of her flyboy grandfather who served in the Seventh Air Force in WWII flying P51 Mustangs on missions from Iwo Jima to defeat the empire of Japan. http://www.visionforum.com/booksandmedia/productdetail.aspx?productid=55860

She documents flyboys in organized prayer before missions and the bible my father kept in his leather flight jacket.

But, the modern US Air Force is not my father's air force. The new guidelines for the US Air Force promote "diversity" which means no prayer, and no "making disciples" which means no sharing your faith with others.

Enter the US Air Force "Coming in on a Wing Without Prayer."

October 24, 2005

Communion Joy at Trinity Baptist

Celebrating Communion Weekly?

The vast majority of people at our church, Trinity Baptist, never took communion more than once per month in their entire Christian lives until recently. But now we are celebrating communion weekly. Why?

The elders of the church came to the conclusion that the New Testament record reveals that it was a weekly celebration. In Acts 20:7 we are informed that ‘On the first day of the week we came together to break bread” Establishing the idea that the church met on the first day of the week “to” break bread. The language uses the infinitive, indicating purpose, ‘to break bread.” The purpose then, in Acts 20:7 of the weekly meeting was to celebrate the Lord’s supper. This is the only place in the New Testament that assigns a purpose for the meeting – the Lord’s supper.

Here are four things that happened to us as a result:

First It helped us to see all of the preaching under the lamp of the gospel. All of the urgings and commands from our preaching (which are a blessing to all who heed them) are seen in the light of the grace of God. Simply, it helps all preaching to be gospel preaching. How easy it is to slip into a moralistic gospel.

Second, the communion service sweetens everything
It puts the preaching in context and freshens it in a way that nothing else can do. In the celebration of communion we see the kindness of God which leads us to repentance and action.

Third, it has increased joy in the church.
I think some might have wondered if it would become routine and lifeless. The opposite has been true. Our hearts soar with more joy.

Fourth, it has increased the regular practice of church discipline.
Examining ourselves during the communion service, is the first line of church discipline. If we do not examine ourselves, we take participate “in an unworthy manner.’

A joyful sound rises among God’s people when they love the gospel of Christ in the celebration of communion. I can say with certainty, that we have found that a measure of the happiness of the church hinges upon the celebration of the gospel message that is the communion service.

October 19, 2005

Fertility The Cause of Mainline Decrease Researchers Say

Rejection of biblical commands and patterns is always disasterous. Sometimes though, the effects may not be dramatically illustrated for a time. Notice how obedience to the command to "be fruitful and multiply" has a dramatic affect on church life and power.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article:

"The popular notion that conservative churches are growing because mainline churches are too liberal is being challenged by new research that suggests a simpler cause -- the use of birth control -- explains most of the mainline decline. Differences in fertility rates account for 70 percent of the decline of mainline Protestant church membership from 1900 to 1975 and the simultaneous rise in conservative church membership, the sociologists said. "For most of the 20th century, conservative women had more children than mainline women did," "It took most of the 20th century for conservative women to adopt family-planning practices that have become dominant in American society," the writers said. "Or to put the matter differently, the so-called decline of the mainline may ultimately be attributable to its earlier approval of contraception."

See the following article for details:


October 10, 2005

Remember Benedict Arnold's Wife

Benedict Arnold was a revolutionary war hero... singularly courageous in Battle as demonstrated in the Battle of Saratoga where five thousand seven hundred Red Coats were taken prisoner. He was on his way to becoming one of the truly great personalities of the Revolution.

Unfortunately he had a beautiful young coquette for a wife who not only had loyalist sentiments and enjoyed access to position and party, but she also had high rolling personal requirements.

She was a socialite who liked all the nice things Society could offer and she needed a husband to keep her there. The Revolution was going badly and she nagged her husband into turning coat – for a tub of gold and an appointment.

Remember Mary Shippen… in the same way we should remember Lot’s wife.

It matters what kind of person you marry for your name is on the line. What does the name, Benedict Arnold mean to you?

Golden Era of American Painting

We celebrated the Golden era of American painting with a viewing of hundreds of NC Wyeth's paintings at the Brandywine River Museum. This is where the famous, "Brandywine school" emerged.

The Brandywine School reacted against the sterility for the neo classical era and it featured landscapes, the vitures of boyhood, optimism.

This stop on the Faith and Freedom Tour was to acknowledge the Christian theory of aesthetics. The mission of the Christian artist must be shaped by the knowledge of God, Truth, Order and Beauty.

NC Wyeth's children did not produce such compelling and beautiful and biblically consistent, morally pure works. Lesson: we mst pass on a view of life, not just a trade.

Open Ended Nature of Liberty

Liberty Bell

The inscription on the Liberty Bell is a quote from Leviticus, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants of the earth.” The Bell cracked when it first rang, and then after it was fixed, it cracked again on George Washington’s birthday in 1846 and was silenced forever.

Interesting sideline. In the museum, there is a display that bears a picture of the Dali Lama and Nelson Mandela with the inscription: “the liberty bell embodies the legacy of the American Revolution, the ongoing struggle for freedom and the open ended nature of liberty’.(italics mine)

Unfortunately this is code for "there is no absolute truth." It means that there are no fixed points of reference for the maintanance of liberty - or anything else.

Prophesy of Our Times From Revolutionary War Pastor

George Duffield
One of the preachers in Philadelphia, George Duffield proclaimed a truth that should be heeded today:

“Whilst sun and moon endure, America shall remain a city of refuge for the whole earth, until she herself shall play the tyrant, forget her destiny, disgrace her freedom and provoke her God. P106 In God We Trust, Stephen McDowell. George Duffielld

Men of Letters Wanted - Needed

When Washington looked for leaders, he first looked for men of letters. He could find fighting men, but what he needed was communicators who were also courageous. He himself wrote 15,000 letters in a six year period during the revolution.

Carpenters Hall - Honor God

Carpenters Hall housed the carpentry guild during the revolutionary war. The Motto of the members: Honor God” in all of your work.

Even though this was the meeting place of the carpenters guild it served a dual purpose during the revolution.

Carpenters Hall was also the place where the committees of correspondence met. The committees of correspondence were the communication arm of the revolution up and down the eastern seaboard.

Quaker Inner Light Diminishes Importance of Scripture

William Penn, one of the very passionate founders of Philadelphia was an ardent Quaker.

Quakers created a denomination based on inner light of revelation above scripture and the rejection of the ordinances.

They exalted the egalitarian work of the spirit in every person. Their meeting houses generally put the chairs in a circle and women, children or anyone was allowed to give “the word of the Lord to the church. With everyone equal, they would wait for the word of god to be spoken by one of the men, women or children.

Quakers rejected the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture and exalted the “inner light” of continuous revelation and private interpretation. They were pacifists, and dressed plainly.

Christ Church - The Church of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Christ Church, the place where Whitfield preached.

Seventeen signers of the Declaration of Independence went to church here. George Washington occupied pew #58 for over half a decade. Benjamin Franklin was a member there for forty years and writes of a time when he observed 20,000 people in the street in front of Christ’s Church listening to George Whitfield.

Benjamin Franklin did some of his experiments for electricity from the bell tower of Christ Church.

Philadelphia - City of Prayer

Independence Hall where prayer launched a nation.

Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty, but that cradle was rocked with the sounds of Prayer.

On Sept 7 1774 the Continental Congress opened with prayer.

John Jay voted against opening congress with prayer because he feared the prayer would not be orthodox. But the worldview of the founding fathers was betrayed by what happened on that day. The founding of our country was bathed in prayer and informed by a Christian worldview.

America's Providential Past

George Washington wrote:

"It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

We are with Doug Phillips and Bill Potter on the Vision Forum Faith and Freedom Tour in Philadelphia to trace some of the lines of America's providential past.

A Christian view of history states that God is at work in all things, and looking back we can see His kind providences – even in the actions of those who did not know Him.

Howard Pyle Rendering "The Nation Makers"

This understanding of history is what distinguishes a Christian world view and a godless worldview. Godlessness frets and pines away at the reversals and difficulties of life. The Christian possesses the peace that passes understanding, because he is assured of the providence of God in all things.

The colonists lost many battles, but God's providential hand favored them at strategic moments.
Yes, it is important to see and document and revel in the working of God in our past. The great bible expositor Matthew Henry said:

“He who notes providences, will have providences to note.”

Westminster confession defines the doctrine of the providence of God.:

“God, the great creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose and govern all creation … to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice goodness and mercy.”