Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Al Mohler's Library

This is a clip of Al Mohler's library. If you love books, you'll love this. Note: another use for coffee in the video

Al Mohler - Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Preaching and Worship

As recently as today, in conversation with someone on the subject of "worship," the essence of worship was understood by my friend to be a matter of a particular style of music. Dr. Mohler reminds us of the centrality of preaching in worship. Although the study cited concerns Great Britian, I doubt that, except for a few exceptions, things fare little better on our side of the Atlantic. Maybe if we returned to the primacy of sound biblical preaching, we could at least call a cease fire in the "worship wars."

How Will They Hear Without a Preacher?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fair Trade Coffee

This article is from the Philadelphia Barista Examiner:

Over the past five years, the sale of Fair Trade products has increased almost 40%, and continues to grow as consumers become more concerned with sustainability. The movement's roots can be traced all the way back to the 1940s in North America and Europe with the intention of providing relief to the impoverished communities of the world, but started to make real strides in the late 80s. As world coffee prices started to decline considerably, the first Fair Trade certification initiative was born, opening doors to both the mainstream coffee industry and coffee growers alike.
The United States is the largest consumer of coffee in the world, and Fair Trade Certified coffee is currently the fastest growing segment of the specialty market. It guarantees a living wage to farmers by increasing their income and putting in place tools for self-sufficiency, and also empowers consumers by helping them be part of a social movement that positively impacts the lives of poor farmers throughout of the world. Fair Trade is also beneficial to the environment, because smaller farmers tend to grow organic, shade-grown coffee that protect certain species of wildlife as well as preventing the clear-cutting of large areas. Not only are there notable community and environmental impacts of Fair Trade, but small, artesanal farming methods result in better quality product than high-quantity, cost-cutting practices.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Idolatry's Empty Promises

I heard someone describe some writers as “grocery list” authors; meaning that if they write a grocery list it would be worth reading. Tim Keller is one of my grocery list authors. His latest book is Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope That Matters.

Keller deals with those things that are not always seen to be idols by many Christians. He refers to surface idols and “deep idols” of the heart. True to his commitment to expound Scripture, Keller demonstrates the danger of idolatry in Biblical examples, but he always defaults the “only hope that matters,” namely, the gospel of Christ.

Read this book! It may shake up the way you think about idolatry.

(Buy it from Monergism Books)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Political Idolatry

Timely words from Tim Keller:

When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has lived a privileged life. It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods. Ernest Becker wrote that in a society that has lost the reality of God, many people will look to romantic love to give them the fulfillment they once found in religious experience. Nietzsche, however, believed it would be money that would replace God. But there is another candidate to fill this spiritual vacuum. We can look to politics. We can look upon our political leaders as “messiahs,” our political policies as saving doctrines, and turn our political activism into a kind of religion.
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.98

Saturday, January 16, 2010


On today's date in 1604, at the Hampton Court Conference, John Rainolds presented to King James I the motion "...that there might bee a newe translation of the Bible." This motion was approved the following day by the attendees of the conference and the result was the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible in 1611. Read the whole story in Alister McGrath's account of the history of the Authorized Version in In the Beginning: the Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture.

Young Spurgeon

I love this "actual historical photograph" obtained from the "Sacred Sandwhich." This explains the Downgrade Controversy quite clearly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

Wow! I guess Pat Robertson is due an apology! At least, Pat blamed Deity for the Haitian earthquake. Danny Glover, who makes a living by playing make-believe, blames global warming. Now, I am no geologist or climatologist, so I don't know if there is a link between earthquakes (a geological event) and climate. But then, maybe I was sick that day...


In the light of Pat Robertson's idiotic and embarassing statements, Al Mohler's comments are worth reading.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check Out the 9Marks E-Journal

J. Mack Stiles has an insightful insiders look at some of the issues confronting InterVarsity (read it here). It seems to me that what is happening at IV is what may eventually befall any church or para-church ministry that fails to clarify the gospel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Strange, but True?

I recall one of my earlier mentors who greatly admired the antics of fundamentalist Baptist leader J. Frank Norris. He told of Norris’ using pieces of the brain of a Forth Worth Texas city official who died as a result of drunk driving to illustrate a sermon on the evils of “demon rum.” He also is reported to have said, “I’d do anything to keep a man out of hell.”

If you are interested, you can read about Norris here and here. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these accounts, but I do know, from my own background, that for many in the fundamentalist camp, nothing is too sensational in the name of evangelism.

I thought of this as I read Phil Johnson’s report on Erwin McManus. Read it here, and make sure that you read the addendum in the box.

Green Religion

Al Mohler writes about saving the planet and the religion of environmentalism, just in time for the Avatar mania. Read his post here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coffee Bean vs. Cell

OK, this is kind of cool, but the question remains, why???

Influential Books

Here are the top 5 most influential books I have read:

Knowing God­ - J.I. Packer
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God­ – J.I. Packer
Desiring God - John Piper
Holiness, Its Hindrances, Its Root and Fruits - J.C. Ryle
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer

These certainly are not the most influential books ever written, and probably your list would differ from mine. They made my list because I read each of them at difficult times in my life - times when they challenged my Christian development in a significant way.

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Most Influential Books

Besides the Bible, what do you consider to be the 10 most influential books you have ever read? C. Michael Patton gives his list here. I have read 2 of these. Soon, I will give my personal list. Feel free to share yours.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself will be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus Name, Amen. - A.W. Tozer

Friday, January 8, 2010


As I was catching up on my reading of Albert Mohler's blog, I was impressed by the connection between his 2 most recent posts. The post for today covers the death of radical feminist theologian Mary Daly. Read it here.

The previous post deals with the promotion of dolphins as "non-human persons." Read the entire post here.

Is there no limit to how far some people will go to find the most bizarre positions? Christianity is phallocentric (is this a real word)? It is "morally unacceptable" to kill or capture dolphins, yet there is no morality allowed in the discussion of abortion. Really? I guess dolphins get rights because they are "non-human persons," but the fetus has no rights because it is a "non-person human."

If this is intellectualism, then there is something to be said for being dumb.

Soup Kitchens & Mr. Coffee

I don't usually "cross-post," but I posted this today on the Mission's blog City Lights:

According to this website, on this date in 1800, "the first soup kitchens in London were opened to serve the poor." Serving people in need has a long history in England and America. Inventor Benjamin Thompson, aka Count Rumsford, is credited with originating the 1st soup kitchen in America prior to the American Revolution.

If you follow this link, you will note that Benjamin Thompson was also the inventor of the drip coffeepot. Was he the 1st Mr. Coffee?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Today marks the 154th wedding anniversary of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon. Read about the wedding here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coffee Facts

A friend of mine noted today that I have very few posts about coffee, even though the blog is titled "All Purpose Grind." Of course, he is correct, but it was a rather hypocritical observation since he is not a coffee drinker (yes, I do have friends who shun the bean).

OK, I want to remedy this somewhat by posting this brief history of coffee from this really cool website:

The year 1689 saw the first café opening in Paris.There was a time in our history when you could be executed for harming a coffee plant. At the same time in another part of the world, you could be executed for having one! Ironically, Kenya imported its first successful plants from Brazil while the actual origin of coffee was only some hundreds of miles away in Ethiopia!

It’s a good thing coffee plants are self-propagating. The heritage of the vast number of coffee plants in the French Colonies, South and Central America and Mexico can be traced to ONE plant that was a treasured gift given to King Louis XIV in 1714! Coffee was denounced by many religious leaders as the drink of Satan. Coffee houses were known as “hotbeds of sedition”. In the 1700’s many coffee houses were ordered to close. For failing to comply, the punishment for first time offenders was public beating and humiliation. Second (and last) time offenders were sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the river. Think about that the next time you order a Latte!

In 1615 the Italian clergy beseeched Pope Clement VIII to ban the evil brew. The only problem was that the Pope already drank coffee “religiously” so he, in his wisdom, fooled Satan, and baptized the drink, claiming it to be a truly Christian beverage. Today, there must be 10,000 coffee shops in Venice alone! (In the year 1763, there were already over 200 coffee shops in Venice).

In the year 1773, tea was replaced by coffee as the national drink in the Americas when angry colonists were enraged by King George’s enormous tax on tea. This of course led to The Boston Tea Party where the new nation gained its strong allegiance to coffee.Much of the U.S. Declaration of Independence was forged in coffee houses on the Eastern seaboard. (Hmm, hotbeds of sedition…?) By 1843 there were more than 3000 coffeehouses in Paris. A Parisian coffeehouse was said to have been the root of the intellectualism that led to……. the French Revolution!

The world’s very first (I’m not sure how this was substantiated) coffee house was opened in 1475 called The Kiv Han. An interesting Turkish law decreed that it was quite acceptable for a woman to ask for a divorce if her husband failed to provide her with adequate coffee rations. Cappuccino derived its name due to its similarity in color to the robes of an order of Monks called the Capuchins. The original blend called "Maxwell House" got its name from The Maxwell House Hotel, where it was first served in Nashville Tennessee in 1886.(also where Teddie Roosevelt was heard to say "good to the last drop", creating the Maxwell House jingle!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Book Review: Kabul 24

In the 1500’s, John Foxe wrote his famous Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a chronicle of the Protestant victims in England, particularly those who perished under the reign of Mary I, also known as “Bloody Mary.” If Foxe’s stories seem distant and surreal, Kabul 24 brings the reality of religious persecution into the 21st century.

Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson tell the story of 8 Shelter Now International workers who spent 105 days in captivity in Afghanistan. This international team of western Christian relief workers were arrested by the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. The 2 men and 6 women were detained on charges of proselytizing Muslims – a crime in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. During their captivity, they were moved between several prisons, faced interrogation, and lived in constant fear of execution. Only the American incursion into Afghanistan after 9/11 paved the way for their escape and rescue.

Kabul 24 is a compelling book. The story unfolds in such a way that the reader is drawn into the captivity with the SNI workers. Several insights emerge from this account of religious oppression:

  1. Kabul 24 gives insight into the thinking of Islamic extremists. To those in the West who cherish religious liberty, the Taliban mindset is incomprehensible.

  2. American Christians have much to be thankful for and very little cause for complaint.

  3. Religious persecution is a reality in our 21st century world. It is not relegated to the Dark Ages.

  4. There are still some who are willing to lay all on the line for the sake of the Kingdom.

Every Christian would profit from reading this book. Particularly as hostilities continue in Afghanistan and western Christians continue to minister among Islamic people, it is a challenging to see the price that may be exacted from those who represent Christ.


In the vein of New Year's resolutions, some time ago, I wrote this list of determinations based upon Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:16, and 2 Pet. 3:18. From these passages, I have derived these principles:

1. I am responsible for my own progress in holiness.

2. My own sanctification takes priority over ministry to others. 1Tim. 4:16 says that I will not be able to be an instrument of salvation to others if I do not take heed to myself.

3. Being is more important than doing

Therefore, in order to better "take heed" to myself, I have composed these determinations:

  • I will say fewer prayers, but pray more.
  • I will read the Bible, and allow myself to be read by the Bible.
  • I will be less critical of others and more critical of myself
  • I will be ruthless in the sin I see in myself; gracious in the sin I see in others.
  • I will be ready for the worst and anticipate the best
  • I will take the work that God has set before very seriously; I will not take myself seriously.
  • I will be a better husband, father, grandfather, and friend; I will be an enemy of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
  • I will declare war on pride, arrogance, conceit, and Phariseeism – beginning with my own.
  • I will approach the work of God with the same attitude that David had in 2 Sam 24:24. I refuse to offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Goals

Author Don Whitney (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life) provides great advice for all who struggle with goal setting (or "resolutions" if you like) for the start of a new year.

Just Wondering...

I read this morning in the Youngstown Vindicator an AP report on a race to save the Tasmanian devil from extinction. According to the story, available here, the animals are falling prey to a deadly form of cancer that is spread by biting in the face, apparently a common practice among Tasmanian devils.

I know that this is an unsophisticated question, but I must ask it: if evolution is the driving force behind life in this world, then why would we dare to interfere with the process? Isn't survival of the fittest what its all about? Should we not expect some species to become extinct in order to give way for the advancement of others?

Is it just me or is there really an inconsistency between the advancement of evolutionary dogma and the frantic - albeit well-meaning - attempts to prevent the extinction of any species?