Logos Bible Software

So, I recently purchased the Logos Bible Software, and so far, I love it. There is still a lot that I have to learn, however, I love the customizability of the program. You can have it simple or complex, or a combination of both. And, how you can save the layouts and everything. I think it’s great!

 

So far, I think that my favorite feature is creating custom collections and guides. Here are some videos about it that explain it better than I can:

Creating a Custom Collection

and

Creating a Custom Guide

So, yea, I love it so far! I can’t wait to get more out of it and to start taking classes with it at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary(taking some online courses).

 

An Open Letter to Foster Agency Case Workers

Dear Case Worker(therapists, case workers/managers/supervisors, etc.)

When you are sitting in your home, with your family/loved ones, drinking coffee in the morning or having a snack and family time in the afternoon, or even dinner in the evening, is it okay with you if I stop by unannounced and walk into your front door without knocking or ringing the doorbell? Or, if I do knock or ring the doorbell, enter immediately thereafter without waiting for you to have the courtesy to answer the door?…I can only imagine that your answer to these questions would be “No.” And, I would hope that would be true, as well.

So, now that we know you (probably) don’t want to have random people at all hours of the day(and sometimes evening/night) walk into your home, let me ask you this question: Why do you do just that to foster homes? Is there something different? Are they not a normal family? I work in a group home, which, yes, is not a “normal family setting,” however, something we try to instill into our residents here is how a home works. And, one of the ways it does NOT work is having people just walk into the house, relatively unannounced. That is not normal, for if it were, then you should not have any problem with me, or anyone else for that matter, just randomly walking into your home.

But why, you might ask, my clients are there. My foster kids, of whom I am their legal guardian, are there? There are many reasons, in my opinion, and here, I will go over just a few of them.

1. Normal people and normal families generally don’t allow or like it when random people that they know or may not know walk into their homes. If someone were to walk into my of duty apartment without knocking first or waiting for me to answer the door, I would have some serious words with that person. And, in some instances(not foster homes and this is not meant to be threatening), people have been killed for that(Google Florida Stand Your Ground laws).

2. Safety. Safety should be about the most obvious one of them all. If I don’t recognize someone who is coming into the home I work and live in with my family, and they identify themselves as case-worker this, or therapist-that, I ask for identification. Why? Because people can lie. Yes, people lie. And, in those lies, someone could easily get into a home without even having to lie. Why? Because many of you like to walk right into the house like you own the place. Use your imagination on this one.

3. Common Courtesy. It really is just a common courtesy to knock and wait for the door to be answered. I don’t care if it’s storming out, snowing or there’s a lot of wind. If you’re worried about that, you should have prepared beforehand. Or called ahead and asked if you could walk in when you get there. It’s not like we’re gonna say now. We aren’t cold hearted people. Why do I suggest this? Because I do it myself.

This morning, before anyone else was out of their rooms and beds, as I was reading my Bible, the doorbell rang, and then the person who rang the doorbell just opened the door before I could even stand up out of my chair, setting off our home security alarm. Now, I know that the door shouldn’t have been unlocked, however, at 7:30am on a day during spring break, someone shouldn’t just be walking into a home that’s not there own(nevermind the fact that she was at the WRONG HOUSE).

Ok, now that we have gone over those, remember this: We aren’t going to deny you entry. We can’t. You’re the legal guardians of those we care for. We just ask that you show the same common courtesy to us that you would expect from us if we came to your residence. Is that too much to ask for?

Sincerely,

Jon Bradley,
House Parent

It’s been too long….

Today, I was *reminded* that I had a blog…when I got my email about having to pay for the domain name that I use through WordPress. It has been far too long since I have posted on here.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV

I have come to realize the amount of waste in my life, and in the lives of most people I should assume, is greater than I could ever imagine. Now, I don’t mean garbage. I mean waste. Things that take up our time and pull us away from our God glorifying work. Things that are sold to us in an effort to save time, giving us more time to seek God’s glory, when in all reality, it has taken our time away from us.

Lecrae Moore, a Christian Rapper, posted this on his Facebook page:

Random thought : I bought a smart phone to give me the luxury of time saving and communication but instead I find it TAKES more time FROM me and make me a poor communicator. I rarely talk on it, I don’t text in proper English and I sometimes miss being involved with people in person because I’m occupied with all my apps. 

But at least I’m aware right? Lol
(click HERE for the post)

After I read that, while in the car on the way to pick up my kids, I had a realization that so much that we call “Christian” really isn’t truly “Christian”. It’s branded that way, with all the right words and looks. But, in all reality, it’s “entertainment” not Christian. It might be a Christian author or musician or artist, however, so much money is put into something that, short of the Lord’s divine intervention, won’t save anyone. Now, don’t get me wrong, there has been plenty of songs and books that have pointed me towards specific passages in scripture in such a light that I hadn’t realize before. When I hear that this song saved me or that book changed my life, it makes me cringe. A song cannot save you. A book(other than the Bible) cannot change your live. God does all of that, and God alone. He uses His Holy Word, the written embodiment of His Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior(John 1:1,14).

I have no doubt that songs can encourage and books cane make people see something they have looked at their entire lives in a different, beneficial way. However, when something changes in us, we need to give glory to where glory is due: To God. And only to God. “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”(Proverbs 25:27, ESV). We need to not seek our glory, but His. We must remember that every good gift is from above(James 1:17). It’s when we loose sight of this simple truth that we begin to commit idolatry, as if we don’t already commit it enough. Movies, technology, social networking, our phones, jobs, careers, money, anger, hatred, vengeance, laziness…I could go on and on. That short list are just some of the top things that compete all too often for my affections agains the our Jealous God(Exodus 34:14


O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

That is my prayer. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Thank you, God! Thank you!

Soli Deo Gloria

Something I have noticed…..

…..About opposing theological views and their Facebook groups…..

I am a member of two different groups on Facebook, each of which have opposing theological views when it comes to reformed theology, or, more specifically, Calvinism. One group is Calvinism Fellowship Debate and Discussion(CFDD for short). The other is Christians AGAINST the Heresy of Calvinism and TULIP(Against for short for this post). And, before I go ANY further, if the name of my blog did not clue you in, I am reformed in my theology and I think that Arminianism is heretical. This is post isn’t a review of the two groups, it is more of an observation that I have had over time, both online with these groups and with interactions I have had with Calvinists and Arminians in real life.

With that aside, my first observation is that too many people on both sides of  the argument spend too much time damning the opposing side of the argument. Secondly, most of the them when I have brought up Calvinism around arminian friends/acquaintances/people, I get a nasty response and a lecture on why I am a heretic. It’s not a discussion, it’s been a one-sided verbal belittling. Now, it’s not all the time. There are many do like to have a good discussion about the topic. Something else I have noticed is that so many Arminians refuse to listen to exactly what Calvinism, or Reformed Theology, really is. They’ve probably never taken the time to really research it, scripturally.
On the flip side, when Arminians bring up Arminianism around many, not all, Calvinists, they, too, get not the nicest reception. However, I have observed that Calvinists are more up to a good scripture-based, theological discussion about the subjects. In CFDD, they like to talk about a range of topics and discussions, from debating Paedo and Credo baptism to heresies and heretics. And people are passionate about their positions on every subject that is discussed there. And I love it. In Against, the first thing that I noticed is that it’s really that: A group devoted to bashing the crud out of Calvinism and Reformed Theology as much as they possibly can. Click HERE for a wonderful illustration to illustrate my example.
Now, once again, may I remind you, this is NOT an unbiased review(see the URL at the top of the page for proof). My prayer is, however, that people can get off their trash cans and stop hurling mud at each other and can come together to preach Christ Crucified. And, remember, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”(Ephesians 4:29, ESV). 

Now, while I view that Arminianism is, in itself, a heresy, I’m sure there are many arminians that have been saved by our gracious Creator, and I hope that and pray that He reveals Himself to them through His ultimate Truth, the Word of God.

 

PS there are other groups about Arminianism and Calvinism, however, these are the two most active that I have found.

The “One-Up” Game….

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 18:9-14

 

Lately, in my home, I have been hearing a lot of “one-upping” going on. What is one-upping you may ask? It’s when someone talks about something they did, and someone else butts in and one-ups them, saying they did something similar, or the same thing, just better. And it goes back and forth from there. I cannot stand this. At all. It’s like a virulent pest that festers at me when I hear it going on. And, I am also not afraid to call people out on it. In fact, some of my foster girls in our care know that when I am around, they are going to get called out on it(and they still do it, I just don’t get it). Well, tonight, I used Luke 18:9-14 for our devotions and talked to them about it. And, surprise surprise! The one who is the most guilty of one-upping had this blank expression on their face like they had NO IDEA AT ALL what I was talking about. So, I related it to the one-upping, and she finally understood, now, however, I hope and pray that it sticks. I also brought up the Parable of the Wedding Feast, Luke 14:7-11, to help better illustrate things.

Now I know that these girls are unregenerate sinners, and that most of this will go in one ear and out the other. However, it is my hope and prayer, by the grace of God, that this is a lesson they will learn in their lives for the future.

The Insanity of God

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” -2 Timothy 3:12

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken is a must read for all believers. Riveting and convicting, it is a must read.

The Insanity of God A Story of Faith Resurrected is an amazing tail of a a journey, ney, a pilgrimage of one family around the globe who, with the goal to learn more about persecution, instead found Jesus and who He really IS and that is IS alive and working very boldly in the 21st century.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” -John 15:18-20

After finishing this book several minutes ago, I have come to a major realization: I have been praying for missionaries, both friends and those I’ve never met, in the totally wrong way. I cannot dare ask for the end of persecution of believers, but that believers around the world remain faithful to Jesus, deciding that He is worth it, worth everything. That they remain strong and steadfast with joy in their hearts(James 1:2-5, ESV). Along with this, I feel woefully inept and inadequate for what I do. I fully recognize the scenes of desperation and anguish and despair that Nik Ripken describes in The Insanity of God, however, I don’t see it around me, I see it in the youth that my wife and I serve. And God, through Nik’s eyes, has made me realize that I feel totally inadequate for the calling God has on my life.

Reading this account of just a small portion of what Nik Ripken has experienced has made me begin to reassess my prayer life and commit to praying for faithfulness and strength through persecution for my brothers and sisters around the world. That they are free in Christ before they could ever be free through any other means(governments or family or whatever).

Part of my conviction about this is my frustration of dealing with some of the youth we may or may not receive in our home(we really don’t have much choice, those decisions are made by people who don’t really interact with the kids. Boy am I thankful that God is ultimately behind all the decision making!). I get frustrated, when in all reality, I should be thankful for another youth to love on, talk with, listen to their stories with, and proclaim to and share with the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. That is where I need to ask God for forgiveness and for the help and strength and guidance and discernment to redirect my efforts. I need to stop worrying about awkwardness and rejection, moving towards the resurrection power of Jesus. God said, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,”(Ezekiel 11:19, ESV)That is my prayer for all those I have cared for, am caring for, and will ever care for. And for everyone out there whom hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ.