Sunday, February 26, 2006

Any Mountain (???) Any Snow

When I lived in Chile, one of my favorite things to do was go skiing. The first slope I ever skied was in the majestic Andes Mountains. Do I need to remind anyone that they are much higher than the Rockies?

Since returning to the U.S. in June of 1994, I have skied a grand total of 5 times:
  • 1995 in Chile (it was a terribly blizzardy day, and I didn't have that great of a time)
  • 1999 at Eldora Mountain in Colorado (near Boulder) with my son's band, Brother John
  • 2001 at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado (it was Memorial Day!!) and the snow was really slushy. I had to stop skiing early in the afternoon because of a thunderstorm. It was the first time ever for me to ski in the rain!
  • 2005 in Chile (we had a wonderful time)
  • This past Saturday (in Missouri!)
The first time I saw a ski resort in Missouri it was between Springfield and Bolivar, and I think that in a very wintery winter, their season lasted about 2 weeks. I remember thinking (when I drove past it once--out of season) that I would really have to be hard up to ski there.

Last semester I was enrolled in a doctoral level course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. One of my classmates works at a private college in the northeast. She is a National Ski Patrol trainer. In an online discussion, after we had discussed pertinent course material, I commented on snow skiing, how I missed getting to do it, that I had skied in Colorado two days since moving back to the U.S. in 1994, etc. Another woman in the class, who has worked at William Jewell College near Kansas City for over 25 years, asked me if I knew about Snow Creek Resort near Kansas City. I did not, but I did check out the website. I thought that if I couldn't get to the mountains, maybe I could try it out.

I had a free Saturday, and decided I might try to go. On Thursday night, I talked to my wife, Rose about the possibility of going skiing on Saturday. She thought it sounded all right. On Friday, she invited our daughter Charissa who wanted to go. As it turned out, Rose had a pretty sore back on Friday, and dropped out, but Charissa was looking forward to a Dad/Daughter type of date. I picked her up about 7:45 AM, and we drove north to Kansas City. As we drove into the area, of course, there was no snow anywhere. The resort was easy to find. About a half mile away I saw the sign on the road. We drove back into the parking lot, and voilá, there was snow! Man made snow, but snow nonetheless.

We got our tickets, got our skis, and hit the slopes. It was much larger than the one I had seen near Springfield. They had a base of near 60" of snow, and 10 runs open. We only used two different lifts. The chair lift near the bunny slope was usually crowded. I found out that it used to be at the place near Springfield. There were some places that were a bit steeper, but the entire place was skiable. We had a good time. We skied until a little past 5:00 PM, then headed back south. We stopped to eat at a Chili's restaurant in Kansas City, then got home around 9:30 PM. It was a good day.

Any Mountain (??) Any Snow? Well, you can't call where we were skiing a mountain. It was snow, though, and as Charissa said, "I've done without this for 12 years. I can certainly come up here once a year." My sentiments exactly. I'd rather ski in the mountains, but if that can't happen, give me Snow Creek.

I was happy to ski!



Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Missed It--February 21 in Bible Interpretation History

One of my favorite blogs is Rick Brannan's of Logos Bible Software. One of his favorites is Stephen C. Carlson's. On Carlson's Hypotyposeis his post "On This Day in Biblical Studies" made me smile. I thought maybe you would enjoy it as well.

Peace to you all!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

P & T and Randomnity

Preaching & Teaching Convention. It has been very good. Yesterday I helped David Ferguson from Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL get set up for a workshop on Multi-site Churches. He has a very interesting blog, and other than being a White Sox fan, I found him to be a good guy. They are doing some interesting things in church planting. Check out his site, as well as the links. On the church site, I found a video about a Self-Baptism Kit that made me laugh out loud. Since generally I laugh on the inside, I thought it was great! I first met Dave Ferguson when I spoke at CCCB when he was a student there in the early 1980s. I think he graduated from Lincoln Christian College. I've known of his father for years, as he was from Vandalia, MO where my father ministered for two and a half years. His uncle was a couple years ahead of me in school there.

Later I attended a workshop led by Brent Foulke of the Orchard Group. I first met Brent when he was a high school student in Ft. Myers, FL. He later was youth minister at another Florida church that supported us when we were on the mission field. Brent has been a church planter in Albany, NY since 1992. There were a couple of other church planters present (Marc Bigelow of Stadia, and Jerry Kilson of M.O.V.E.), and both of them contributed comments to the workshop. The basic idea, which could result in the multiplication of church plants, is to cast a vision for groups of four existing churches to form collaborative networks that will finance a church plant, and commit to repeat the process after three years with another network, as well as train the new church to do the same. Since I live is Missouri, I might be tempted to say "Show me!", but in reality, the collaborative network part is already taking place. The only thing lacking is the vision casting, and the commitment both to repeat the process, as well as to cast the same vision within the newly planted church at the same time. Times are good!

Randomnity. The Cubs are in spring training now. I keep waiting for some big news of a trade. All indications point to the Cubs trying to trade Todd Walker. Walker himself has said that he does not expect to be on the opening day roster. I would like to see the Cubbies keep him, but 2nd base seems to be rather overloaded with the presence of Walker, Jerry Hairston and Dusty's favorite Neifi Pérez.

The OCC basketball teams will be leaving this evening to go to Saint Louis Christian College for the NCCAA Divison II Central Regional, which will be played Thursday-Saturday. It has been a tough year for both our Men's and Women's teams. The Central Regional is tough as well, with Central Bible College Men (Springfield, MO) ranked 2nd in the nation.

Reading Dave Ferguson's blog led me to some of his relatives who are dear old friends. It was nice to see that connection.

I'm giving a Greek test tomorrow. I'll see if my students studied over the weekend and during the P & T Convention. One of the sentences I will give them to translate is:

ἀκηκόαμεν τὴν φωνὴν τῆς χαρᾶς· ὁ Ἰησοῦς σέσωκεν, σώζει καὶ σώσει.
A lot of the churches that I frequent these days sing more choruses than hymns, but that sentence reminds me of a great hymn.

I'm just about out of random thoughts now.

Peace to all!


Sunday, February 19, 2006

P & T and Purpose Driven Life

This week OCC is sponsoring the annual Preaching-Teaching Convention. P & T is kind of like a homecoming. Our campus will be invaded by people from many parts of the U.S. Classes will not meet either on Tuesday or Wednesday, resuming Thursday morning. While we were on the mission field, there were about 18 years that we were unable to attend this convention. Our first convention after that hiatus was a special treat. We have become accustomed to it, but it is really a good convention. This year should be as well. Guest speakers coming in include Dave Ferguson from Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL, David Faust from Cincinnati, OH, Jeff Vines from Savannah, Georgia, Ben Merold from St. Charles, Missouri, as well as others more frequently connected to the college.

Our home church, College Hts. Christian Church, just kicked off a 40 Days of Purpose program. In services this weekend, members participated in a 2-hour long multicast by Rick Warren. I have done some reading in Warren's Purpose Driven Church, but (it may be embarrassing to admit this) I have not read through the Purpose Driven Life all the way. We will be leading a small group in our home on Thursday evenings. I have resisted leading a small group for the past several years, as I have been pretty busy with my doctoral work (I gave up Wednesday night service). I thought that I should consent to lead one of these groups, so I did. They wanted groups consisting of 7-10 adults. Ours has 13, so I declared it "closed." We should have a pretty good mix: a couple young married couples, some mid-life singles, some married couples our age, and a bit younger. I am looking forward to it.

Let me comment a bit on the multicast. It was a thoughtfully produced video presentation of an introduction to the book, that the Christian exists for the purpose of:
  1. Worship
  2. Fellowship
  3. Discipleship
  4. Mission
  5. Evangelism
I had read some criticisms of Rick Warren before watching the multicast. I would categorize as coming from one of two positions:

  1. Staunch Restorationist Arminianism. If being a life-long member of the Stone-Campbell movement makes me a Restorationist, I suppose I am one. If forced to commit to take a Calvinistic or an Arminian position, I would be much more inclined to land on the Arminian side. At the same time, my brief incursion into graduate education at an interdenominational educational institution at Columbia International University introduced me to J. Robertson McQuilkin, who liked to describe himself as a Calviminian. I like that, and have used it to describe a position that chooses not to be locked in to a specific theological perspective, but rather (to quote McQuilkin again), "to live along the golden mean of Biblical tension." Therefore, when I read a fierce criticism of Rick Warren that is written from that polemic stance, I prefer to cut him some slack.
  2. Strict Fundamentalism. I once knew a minister who over a period of about 12-15 years who seemed to draw the circle of the truly redeemed so tightly that I wondered whether or not there was room for anyone else in the group except for himself. As I read this particular criticism of Rick Warren's book, I was reminded of that minister. A constant diet of such a polemic spirit may produce cerebral Christians who trust more in their cerebral capabilities than they do in the redeeming work of Christ. I choose not to participate in such wars.
Should one believe that I no longer believe in absolute truth? Absolutely not! So far I have successfully resisted the temptation to drink the postmodern kool-aid. I believe in what Francis Schaeffer called Truth truth. However, whereas I may find some tendencies in Warren's book with which I disagree, I refuse to look upon him as the enemy. Those of us who name the name of Christ have a common enemy (1 Peter 5:8). I refuse to act as if my brother in Christ were my enemy, regardless of however right I may be when compared to his wrongness. Perhaps I came to this position after having lived for years on a mission field, but I figured out long ago that anyone who is a son of my father must be my brother. Warren is a Baptist, and I am not, but we are fighting on the same side! I used to enjoy arguing with Baptists! I stopped participating in that sport a long time ago. That reminds me of some very good friends, who, years ago took their youngest child out of the public school system and put him in a private Baptist school. Several years later when he (as an adult) became a Baptist, it caused no small amount of anxiety. Talking with them, I remember saying, "I can think of a lot of things that would be worse than becoming a Baptist!"

One more comment, and then I will quit. In the Warren multi-task, there were some very moving baptismal scenes. Warren talked about watching videos of baptisms and being moved to tears. He came across as genuine. He was moved, as was I. Though videos of baptisms that take place at our church are not as beautiful (our baptistery is your basic water tank, whereas the Purpose Driven video showed beautiful baptismal pools as well as baptisms in the ocean), they are at the same time every bit as moving.

I may comment more on this in the coming weeks. If I find something that I think needs to be corrected, I may mention that. The purpose of the church though is to get unsaved people into a relationship with Jesus. And that trumps pointing out the doctrinal errors of those that we ought to treat as brothers.

Our speaker at Perspectives last Monday night (Dr. Jim Frost from Southwest Baptist University) taught at a Baptist college in California many years ago. Rick Warren was one of his students. He told us that he could tell us some Rick Warren stories. He refrained, except to say that Rick Warren had TP'd his home. I hope that by now Warren has grown up. :)



Friday, February 17, 2006

Grandchildren--A Heritage from the LORD

I'm paraphrasing the Psalmist in the title of this post:

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ps 127:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Eli (the one with the bucket for a hat) is almost 2 years old. Nathan (future first baseman for the Chicago Cubs) will be 4 this summer. The boys are coming to Joplin on February 27.

I think they are adorable. Don't you?

I hope you all have a very nice day!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Basketball, Baseball, Perspectives (Missions) & GNT

Basketball. Quin Snyder was a high profile signee as Norm Stewart's successor as head coach of the Missouri Tigers. He was mentored by Coach K at Duke, and things looked great for MU's upcoming basketball glory. Over the past few years, there was no small scandal, primarily involving transfer students from the College of Southern Idaho. Quin's days are now over, and as a Tiger fan or sorts, I am looking forward to improvement. I think Mizzou has had some top-flight talent, but in my opinion, Quin has not known how to get players to maximize their potential.

I have friends for whom OSU refers to The Ohio State University, but around here, OSU means Oklahoma State University. The head coach there, Eddie Sutton, is on a leave of absence, apparently related to a substance abuse problem. He went through the Betty Ford center years ago. He has 794 career wins. Early indications from the university have stated that he will receive credit for any wins the team gets under the leadership of Sean Sutton, his son, believing that 800 career wins will insure that he make it into the Basketball Hall of Fame. I don't know Coach Sutton, but sincerely hope that he can get help for his substance abuse problem.

The Midwest Christian College Conference Basketball Tournament started this morning on our campus. Our men's team, thanks to some other teams that knocked off conference favorite, Manhattan (KS) Christian College, won the conference championship out right, and gained the number 1 seed for the tournament. They have a bye tonight, and need to win tomorrow, to play for the conference championship (probably against Manhattan) on Saturday afternoon. I will be on the game clock for seven games, working the two prime time games tonight, the last three tomorrow, and then the championship games on Saturday. Go OCC!

Baseball. Good-bye, Sammy! I used to be your fan. Will Sammy Sosa make it into the Hall of Fame? He is already in my Hall of Shame! I have a number of Sammy Sosa bobble head dolls, including one my son got for me in a Tulsa Drillers uniform. Sammy's name should be spelled SaMMMMMEEEEEE, as that appears to be what you are about. $500,000 a year for Sammy adds up to humiliation. Sammy, you have forgotten whence you came. The little boy who polished shoes for a few pesitos has one of the largest heads in all of professional baseball. As a life-long Cub fan, I cheered. I was ready for you to leave a year ago. I thought you would do well in Baltimore. You did not. I thought you might go to Japan, but I guess I was wrong on that count. I work hard for my paycheck. My annual family income is pittance compared to what you call a humiliation. Get real, Sammy! You don't have a clue!

Perspectives (Missions). I am the prof of record for our Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course, and have enjoyed it very much. I found out late last week that one of the teachers lined up will not be able to do the class, so I will teach Week 11, titled Bridges of Love. Another course I am teaching is called Cross Cultural Mission Trips, which will culminate in a trip to Costa Rica during our Spring Break/Week of Evangelism. There will be six of us on the trip, and I'm looking forward to it.

Greek New Testament. I am immensely enjoying my reading through the GNT this year. I am into the gospel of Mark now, through mid-April on my schedule. It has been a blast.

Chapel. One more thought, then I'll close. Our chapel speaker today brought a message from Luke 15. In it, he referenced Henri Nouwen's work, and the purchase he made of Nouwen's book in a monastery in Georgia. The monk working in the bookstore told him that the book was improperly titled, and should have referred to the Prodigal Father. The term does apply to the father's actions in Luke 15. Generally we think that the term prodigal refers to someone who is reckless or wayward in lifestyle. An accepted meaning of the word is generous:

1prod•i•gal \ˈprä-di-gəl\ adjective
[Latin prodigus, from prodigere to drive away, squander, from pro-, prod- forth + agere to drive — more at pro-, agent]
(circa 1520)
1 : recklessly extravagant
2 : characterized by wasteful expenditure : lavish
3 : yielding abundantly : luxuriant — often used with of 〈nature has been so prodigal of her bounty —H. T. Buckle〉
synonymy see profuse
— prod•i•gal•i•ty \ˌprä-də-ˈga-lə-tē\ noun
— prod•i•gal•ly \ˈprä-di-g(ə-)lē\ adverb
2prodigal noun
: one who spends or gives lavishly and foolishly

Merriam-Webster, I. (1996, c1993). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (10th ed.). Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster.

Aren't you glad we have a prodigal father?

Peace be with you all!


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Well, it's IFW (that's International Focus Week, for those of you in Río Linda). Since I am the professor of record for the Perspectives course, we continue in the same vein all week. Our guest speaker last night in Perspectives was Phil Luckett, affiliated with Bob Sjogren's Unveiling Glory ministry. Wait, it's not about Bob, or Phil, or Kevin, or any of their other speakers, it's about God! Phil is an NFL referee, who has done some big games, and has been involved in no small amount of controversy. He spoke at Perspectives in Springfield, MO during the Super Bowl! I was impressed by that. I watched the Super Bowl, and was glad that I didn't have class that night. Well, this coming Sunday evening is the Pro Bowl from Honolulu, and our speaker from last night will be working that game. Normally I have no interest in watching a Pro Bowl, but I'll watch some it this one!

IFW kicked off today. Jon Weece, Sr. Minister of Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY spoke in chapel. What a fine young man! Jon became the Sr. Minister there about 4 years ago, at the age of 29!!! I had him as a student in the Spring of 1995, my first year teaching at OCC. I could tell that he was going to be a good one.

Tomorrow IFW kicks off with an International Breakfast at 8:00 AM, then workshops meeting the rest of the morning. I will meet at 7:00 with my Greek class, but my other classes will not meet tomorrow. Corey Scott (son of my boss, and a member of my son's band from yesteryear, Brother John) came to play bass guitar. He is Worship Minister at Northside Christian Church in Springfield, MO. Ed Holt (formerly a co-worker in Chile) is the Sr. Minister at Northside. Corey is just a cut above most bass guitarists I know. I enjoyed listening to him play today.

I was especially moved by one of the songs sung in worship:

And I am with You always
And I am with You always
For all this life and even in death
I am with you always

Go and find a world where
My name has never been said
And say it there
Let it ring like a song
Ring like a song
Go and find a world
Where My face has never been shown
And show it there
Let it shine like the sun
Shine like the sun

Go and find a world
Where My word has never been said
And say it there
Let truth fall like the rain
Fall like the rain
Go and find a world
Where My love has never been shown
And show it there
With a love that is pure
A love that is pure

I am with you always
And I am with you always
For all this life and even in death
I am with you always
Always always

Music and lyrics by Jami Smith
© 2001 Integrity's Hosanna! Music
CCLI# 3423002

Jon Weece likened the movement of God to falling rain, alluding to Elijah's prediction of torrential rain after three and a half years of drought in 1 Kings 18. As an illustration, he pulled out a rain coat and put it on. As God's people pronounce God's word to a world where it has not been said, "may truth fall like the rain." And remember:

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

Aland, B., Aland, K., Black, M., Martini, C. M., Metzger, B. M., & Wikgren, A. (1993, c1979). The Greek New Testament (4th ed.) (Mt 28:20). Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies.

Peace to all!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

On Library Books (In-Print and Electronic)

Thirty years ago my wife and I embarked on a journey of missionary service. From 1976-1994, we made many trips back and forth. I have shipped items from here to there, and back several times (we took an extended furlough in the mid-1980s). My library is probably my most prized possession, and took top priority in our inter-continental moves. Since returning to the U.S. in 1994, however, the composition of my personal library has changed radically. Though I have added a number of "in-print" books, my library has increased substantially by adding electronic resources.

My laptop computer weighs about six pounds, but has over 1,000 full-text, searchable books on the hard drive. I love the in-print books in my library, but were I to move 8-10 thousand miles away, I might be persuaded to leave some of them back home, and use my electronic library. In the past I have literally spent hundreds of dollars transporting my library (my tools) around the world. I have carried my laptop around the world with me as carry-on luggage.

Not only do I have a laptop computer, loaded with books, but I also use a handheld computer. I currently have a Dell Axim x50v, loaded with quite a few resources. On my Pocket PC, I have 8 English Bibles, 3 Spanish Bibles, various devotional books, notes from 2 study Bibles, the Greek New Testament, an exhaustive concordance and Greek and Hebrew lexicons. One of my English Bibles is the NET Bible, which in its print edition has over 2,500 pages with over 60,000 translation notes. Anymore, when I go to church (or to chapel), my Pocket PC is the only Bible I usually carry.

I would encourage each and every student to consider adding electronic books to their personal library. Though the 1,000+ books on my laptop are spread out across several Bible study software packages, my favorite package these days (both because of what is currently available and because of what is projected for the future) is the Libronix Series X Library System from Logos Bible Software. I am really excited about some of the original language products that will be available for Libronix in the near future, including:

  • Two new databases for the Greek New Testament, capable of clause-level syntactical analysis ( Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament, and the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament)
  • A database for analysis of the Hebrew Old Testament (Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis of the Hebrew Bible)
  • The ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament

OCC students will have an opportunity to purchase Libronix software at a 40% discount for a two-week long period beginning February 27. No interest payment plans can be spread out over a 6-month period (there is a $5/month service fee). This is a great opportunity to acquire books at a price much below the cost of their in-print cost. Students will be receiving information soon in their mailbox.

There are some free or nearly free Bible software packages available, that may be worth mentioning. BiblePro for Windows has a free downloadable version, or will send a CD for a nominal charge. E-Sword is freely downloadable, and has versions for both Windows and for Pocket PC. A problem with free software packages is that the selection of books is generally composed of texts that are in the public domain. Many of them are excellent, but newer works are not available. One more free option is worth mentioning. A company called E4 puts periodically makes a CD full of resources for a nominal handling fee. I have purchased several of them

I use electronic Bible study resources every day. If I can help you in a similar quest, please don't hesitate to give me a call.


Logos Bible Software:

Laridian Bible Software (Handheld):

Olive Tree Bible Software (Handheld):

BiblePro for Windows:


Free Bible Study Software: