Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Twins Win! Twins Win!

Last Saturday night, April 15, Chase and I had the good pleasure of attending a Minnesota Twins baseball game in the Metrodome. The Twins were playing the Yankees, who happen to be Chase's favorite baseball team. I am sure that this is a travesty to Alex Bejerano and Tim Wines, who taught me to enjoy baseball, and consequently hated the Yankees. Oh, well. I think Chase mostly likes the Yankees because they have a bunch of former Seattle Mariners.

The Twins started out very well, getting up to a quick 4-0 lead. Unfortunately, they couldn't hold their lead, and ended up down by one, 5-4, going into the ninth inning.

The Twins were able to hold off the Yankees in the eighth inning. The Yanks brought in Mariano Rivera at the end of the eighth to try for a five-out save. He shut the Twins down.

On to the ninth. Yankees were at bat first, and were taken care of relatively easily. Three outs left for the home team. The first guy (I don't know their names; I am not from Minnesota) got on base. The second guy got on base. Then the king of saves, Mariano Rivera, struck out the next two Twins batters. The situation was this: down by one, bottom of the ninth, two outs, and facing arguably the games' best closer. The Metrodome was so loud you couldn't hear yourself yell.

The fifth batter hit a single to right field driving in both runs to win the game.

Twins Win! Twins Win!

Chase was bummed, for the mighty Yankees fell, but the two of us, we had a great time. It is good to be a dad.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Out of the Silent Planet

Many years ago, a trilogy of books was placed on my shelves as a gift. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, despite good intentions, has sat there ever since. Have you ever wondered what causes good intentions to never come to fruition?

Well, this last Christmas, I grabbed the first of the three off the shelf as a diversion. And diversion it was. "Out of the Silent Planet", despite being sixty years old, was an amazingly good science fiction novel. Yes, of course, the technology was rather like watching a black and white TV spot of Flash Gordon, but that was easily overcome as the story unfolded and the characters developed.

C.S. Lewis, if nothing else, understood human nature. He was unbelievably in tune with the way that we all think and feel. He could understand and then write about thoughts and feelings that make us say, "yeah, that's me." It is disconcerting at times, because typically it is our sin that he exposes. How could he understand the things that motivate me better than I can?

Anyway, the trilogy follows a gent named, Ransom, who finds himself the unwitting hostage on a space voyage to the planet Mars, also known as Malacandra. There he has several adventures, befriends the natives, and finally has a long discussion with the angelic ruler of the planet. For those of us with a Christian worldview, we can easily see themes that are near and dear throughout the story, but it is not nearly as alleghorical as Narnia. In fact, I don't think it is alleghorical at all.

If you are looking for something to read that is not your ordinary pop-culture fodder, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this gem. You won't want to put it down, and your mind will be engaged. It is certainly more valuable to read than say...the Da Vinci Code.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Maundy Thursday

It is amazing to me how quickly time flies. I wanted to write about this last Thursday, and am just now getting to it.

As part of the Easter season at Bethlehem Baptist, we have a service on the Thursday before Easter. It is called the Maundy Thursday service. Maundy Thursday is sometimes called Holy Thursday and is meant to commemorate the last supper of Jesus.

Bethlehem makes the service very solemn and dark. We have a fifteen foot wooden cross at the center of the stage area lit with somber lights. Then two readers read the Passion story. The readings are intermixed with hymns about Christ's death.

After the reading and singing, a communion meditation is given and the congregation takes communion. Finally, everyone leaves the sanctuary (and out to their cars) in complete silence with all the lights turned out.

It is a deep way to commemorate the Last Supper and to begin to prepare for Easter Sunday.

The Lord has risen!
The Lord has risen, indeed!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jackson's Island

The following sentence is controversial: We are reading Huckleberry Finn to the kids before bed. Despite the controversial nature of that, it was quite interesting to stand on the bank of the Mississippi River tonight and skip rocks.

The weather has been fine, in the upper fifties, and the sun has been shining, so we visited with some friends and walked down to the famous river. It was fun to think about the history attached to that river, and in particular the story of Huck Finn and his friend Jim, the slave. They traveled down the Mississippi from Jackson's Island, somewhere between Illinois and Missouri.

What was the river like then? What did it look like? Did rocks skip any better then than they do now?

For those of you in Washington or Oregon, think twice the next time you cross the mighty Columbia. What was it like for Lewis and Clark? What was it like for Hudson when he founded Fort Vancouver. Hey, I know, take a sunny afternoon this summer and go down and explore Fort Vancouver again. It is worth your time.

We will try and visit Fort Snelling in our part of the world. Then we can compare notes.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

TBI in Three Years

After much prayer and discussion, Wendy and I decided that we would extend our time in TBI to three years. The Bethlehem Institute is set up to be a two year program, with the option of a third year extension. Essentially, the second year of work is split into two halves.

So, next year my classes will include Preaching, Jonathan Edwards, Practical Theology and Galatians. The third year will include Hebrew (eight week summer course), Hebrew Exegesis, Genesis 1-4, and a yet undetermined Greek Bible exegesis course.

This will put off the final completion of an MDiv for another year, but the value of a less hectic schedule and increased time to study and reflect, as well as more time to be with Wendy and kids is too much to pass up.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Men Like These

I know that seminary professors do not make the top-fifty-most-famous-people edition of your favorite tabloid; however, it is amazing to me how many truly amazing men I have had the chance to meet since coming to Minneapolis.

Everyone needs a hero, and of course, John Piper is mine. However, I have several other heroes who are all of the same ilk: extremely brilliant, bible-saturated, God-fearing, Christ-exalting, and well seminary professors. In the last year and a half, I have met most of my heroes. John Piper in August 2004, Tom Steller in October 2004, Tom Schreiner and Wayne Grudem in November 2005, and Grudem again in March 2006.

I am also finding new heroes since we have been here. For instance, Sam Storms has become a hero. He is brilliant and exalts Christ. Get this, he also asked his future wife to marry him on their first date. They have been married for 34 years. He seems like a down-home country boy, but his alter-ego has taught systematic theology at Wheaton College (which is the Harvard of evangelical institutions.) In May I will get to meet Dr. Douglas Moo, who was a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity school and is now heading up the doctoral program at Wheaton.

(I hope you all know that I am not writing this to drop names or sound cool. On the contrary, I am like a kid in the candy store who can't wait to tell everyone what he as seen!)

Last night, was definately a highlight. I was able to listen to a lecture by and shake hands with Donald A. Carson. He isn't as well known as Wayne Grudem, maybe, but he is an incredible man.

Now, forgive me for being so excited about all these men. I am more excited about Jesus Christ. But the thing about these men is that they point me to Christ in ways that few other mere mortals can do. They have such amazing grasps of the languages, and history and, most importantly, the Bible itself that they make it come alive. To listen to them both thrills me and depresses me. It thrills me because they shine light in areas that had only been darkness; and it depresses me because I don't think I could ever have the wisdom, knowledge, or insight that they have.

I pray for that often. I want to be able to teach like them. I believe that God has called us to Minnesota to teach me how to teach. And I have been blessed to sit at the feet of men like these.