Showing posts from December, 2006

Cappuccino: Culinary Learnings of Starbucks for Make Benefit Glorious Mocha of Raspberry.

At what is now the tail end of the Christmas season, I am reminded of another Manspeak blog “man law” inconsistency. The law states a supposed rule about men drinking coffee: “if it ain’t black, take it back.”

Some background information is pertinent to our discussion. Manspeak is a product of several members of Cornerstone Church of Knoxville (of which I am a member). Cornerstone, in turn, is a part of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a family of churches in six countries. Bill Kittrell is the senior pastor of our church. CJ Mahaney is the head of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Both of these men are godly, wise, and humble leaders. Both would be considered by anyone in SGM to be real men.

Both of these men get their coffee from one place: Starbucks. If you’re familiar with our group of churches, you will know that church leaders in Sovereign Grace have a strong affinity for Starbucks (to put it mildly). Now, one of CJ’s favorite Starbucks concoctions is the raspberry mocha. His has declared th…

Merry Christmas

I’m signing off until after the holidays, so here’s my (early) Christmas post...

In the last few days, I’ve heard from several people who are experiencing major difficulties in their lives during this holiday season. I know that suffering and Christmas cheer don’t seem to mix too well.

Then again, the very fact that we have Christmas points to the darkness that clouds human history. After all, the reason a Savior came to us is because we needed saving in the first place. A dark Christmas (or any other dark holiday) may provide a context for us to appreciate God’s grace all the more, albeit in a painfully unwelcome manner. To borrow a quote from my last post, “it is in the darkness where the light is most appreciated.”

The reason Christ’s birth is an occasion for joy is that He came into a dark world to save sinners. And by “sinners” I mean people radically depraved and spitefully opposed to their only source of hope. The “good news of great joy” proclaimed by the angels paved the way for…

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 4)

Today, let’s look at Psalm 130.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
Letting go of idols isn’t easy. Sometimes God makes things even harder by simply taking away an idol even as we try to keep from losing our grip on it. For example, when I lived in California I placed too much importance on my best friend, Peter Bogosian. He and I did everything together. I treated him better than I did my own brother. His friendship meant the world to me.

Then my stepfather decided t…


From the trailers, it really looked like the filmmakers had gotten it right. The classic children’s story was about to get an upgrade. But as it turns out, the live action version of Charlotte’s Web is a disappointment. The 1973 cartoon is far superior in almost every way—especially in plot, voice talent, and character development. Only when it comes to the musical score does the new film come out on top.

Charlotte’s Web is supposed to be a family film, the main thematic element being the importance of friendship and keeping one’s word. However, most of the promises the main characters make are rash, without much thought given to how they will follow through. (Not the best illustration of genuine commitment.)

An even bigger problem is an implicit message that runs through the film: in the case of rebellious children, parents are usually wrong. At least in the cartoon the parents didn’t allow any disrespect from their children, including headstrong Fern. In this new version, Fern repeat…

Christmas Lights – Knoxville Edition

Fellow blogger Gabby Dalton recently posted a link to a rather impressive Christmas lights display. Well, if you’re in the Knoxville, TN area and want to witness such spectacle firsthand, check out the Johnson Family Christmas Display. They have set up a gazillion lights in their yard that blink on and off in sync with a variety of songs. Simply drive up to their house, tune in to 93.7 FM and enjoy the show. You can get more information (and watch a short snippet of the show) at their website.

Actually, there are two separate displays. I’ve visited only Mark’s display, and it was amazing. I still need to check out Everett’s display.

Special thanks to Michael Claytor for letting me know about this spectacular Christmas treat.

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 3)

One of my greatest temptations as a single has been to place my hope in the promise of a spouse and not in the God who designed marriage for His glory. That, of course, is only one struggle among many in which idols of the heart have attempted to usurp the rightful place of Jesus Christ. It is in the midst of struggles like these that reading and memorizing the Psalms has become invaluable. They speak to the heart of my problem and call me to seek refuge in God alone.

We’ll limit ourselves to just one verse today:

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
(Psalm 27:4)
I love how David’s example encourages me to have singleness of heart. There are, of course, many good things I can desire from the Lord. However, when all is said and done what I really need is nothing less than God Himself. If I can just see and savor the beauty of His glory (which we n…


This is what it might look like if President Bush visited a Sovereign Grace Church. Hilarious. (And there I go with that word again.)

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 2)

One of the passages from Psalms that I have most benefited from memorizing is Psalm 62:5-8:

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
When I am tempted to trust that something other than God will bring fulfillment in my life, I often recite this passage. In these four verses is found a plethora of nouns used to describe God: rock, salvation, defense, glory, rock of my strength, and refuge. These vivid descriptions reveal God as the idol-antidote, the Original that makes all substitutes look pitifully insufficient to bring me joy.

I especially like the first two lines because they speak to the future-oriented nature of faith. My hop…

These Quizzes Are Really Fun

What American accent do you have?Your Result: The West Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.The Midland Boston North Central The South The Inland North Philadelphia The Northeast What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Indelible Grace – Free Preview

For a limited time, Matthew Smith’s new album, All I Owe, can be heard in its entirety online. The album consists of ten hymns, including “None Among,” “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,” “My Lord I Did Not Choose You” (an excellent song!), and the title cut. Visit Indelible Grace’s website here.

And You Think YOU’RE Having a Bad Morning?

Suffering from Mondayitis? Check out this video. Quite funny. (I’d say the video is “hilarious”—which it is—but I use that word too often. Of course, now I used it again. Dangit!)

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 1)

First, a little background information. I used to think Psalms was one of the most boring and useless books in the Bible. I didn’t get what the writers were whining about because I couldn’t identify with their struggles. That was before God decided my life was too comfortable and that my sinful self needed an extreme heart makeover. (Ugh. Sorry, that was lame.) He helped me identify with the Psalmists by allowing my family to go through some serious trials. During that time, the Psalms became a lifeline to me and taught me how to cry out to God for mercy.

Fast-forward several years. As God began to deal with me on the topic of idolatry, the Psalms once again spoke truth to my heart. They helped me see more clearly the root of my sin. Idolatry is not just a sin of the human heart, it is the sin of the human heart.

Focusing on specific sins is important in pursuing holiness, but it also helps to know the underlying problem that leads to those specific sins. David Powlison explains it well…