Unglaublich! Incroyable! Ongelooflik!

Instead of several Facebook posts sharing these videos as I lately came across them, here they are in one go…

The city of Paris as seen from the back of a white-tailed eagle when he jumps off the Eiffel Tower: 

Aerial sunrise views of Cape Town, South Africa, and the sharks below:

And lastly, the coup de grâce, the bide-ride to end (or inspire) all bike-rides! The scenery alone is astounding. 

I think I got an adrenalin rush just from watching that one!


Courageous Discernment

In the Heaven is for Real film preview, Mr. Burpo tells his young son that some people might be afraid to believe him.

However I fear that multitudes of people will be afraid NOT to believe him, because of genuine belief that “you can’t and shouldn’t just write off someone else’s experience”. Very many kind, sweet, strong and otherwise godly people do and will hold this view.

But on the contrary, we should and must have the courage to discount anything that doesn’t agree with the divinely inspired Words our Creator has already given us. They alone are trustworthy and they are final. Neither myself nor the preachers I quote are out to make our fellow Christians look or feel stupid. Instead we beg them to step back, search the Scriptures, and seek after priceless wisdom.

You may be thinking, “Look, even if we ourselves can’t confirm whether or not the kid’s story is true, why is it so bad to at least consider the possibility? What’s wrong with just acknowledging that maybe God allowed this experience, and let it give people hope?”

Because it feeds the notion that God’s revelation isn’t complete; that we can depend on something outside His Word to give us hope. David Platt says it thus: “Why, why do we buy this stuff when we HAVE the Word of God? Let’s minimize the thoughts of man, magnify, trust, bank our lives and our understanding of the future on the truth of God. On the other hand let’s lay aside our traditions and submit to God’s Word. None of us want to believe something is true about Heaven or Hell just because it’s what we’ve always been taught. There’s too much at stake for that.”

With superhuman intelligence and thousands of years of practice, Satan is extremely good at his primary goal: deceiving people. He is the Father of Lies.  Originally created the chief of all God’s angels, he is cunning. A master of subtlety. He delights most in using lies that sound like truth (hence Catholicism, etcetera). They’re the most effective kind, after all.

In a video clip from a sermon of David Platt’s that is going around Facebook (the same from which the above quote comes), Mr. Platt quotes a man I know from our 17 years of residence in California, preacher and editor Phil Johnson. I wholeheartedly recommend his words for your consideration. (Copied farther below.)

Input from men like this, whose scriptural acumen and faithful perspicacity in their efforts to always be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) is exceedingly valuable. God has provided us with gifted expositors of His Word, but they won’t do us any good if we are failing to obey Hebrews 5:12-14 and feed ourselves with the solid food of truth — not just milk! — and exercise ourselves to be discerning.

(All of the following is excerpted from Phil Johnson’s blog post “The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine” which can be found on the Grace To You website http://www.gty.org/Resources/Print/Blog/B121018)

“Only four authors in all the Bible were blessed with visions of heaven and wrote about what they saw: the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, and the apostles Paul and John. Two other biblical figures—Micaiah and Stephen—got glimpses of heaven, but what they saw is merely mentioned, not described (2 Chronicles 18:18; Acts 7:55). As Pastor MacArthur points out, all of these were prophetic visions, not near-death experiences. Not one person raised from the dead in the Old or New Testaments ever recorded for us what he or she experienced in heaven. That includes Lazarus, who spent four days in the grave.

Paul was caught up into heaven in an experience so vivid he said he didn’t know whether he went there bodily or not, but he saw things that are unlawful to utter, so he gave no details. He covered the whole incident in just three verses (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

All three biblical writers who saw heaven and described their visions give comparatively sparse details, but they agree perfectly (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1 and 10; Revelation 4-6). They don’t agree with the Burpo-Malarkey version of heaven. Both their intonation and the details they highlight are markedly different. The biblical authors are all fixated on God’s glory, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the bestseller lists.

Evangelical readers’ discernment skills are at an all-time low, and that is why books like these proliferate. Despite the high profile, high sales figures, and high dollar amounts Christian publishers can milk from a trend such as this, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Christian publishing—or for the future of the evangelical movement.”

Good Links for Good Thinks

Regarding the SCOTUS decision: “His majesty and person define what the word good means, and His majesty as expressed in creation defines what nature means. This requires that it also defines what against nature means.”

and (audio)

Regarding the Statue of Liberty. It was 128 years ago last week that Lady Liberty took up her post, light of freedom ablaze in her hand at the front door to the country. I wonder, if she were able to look over her shoulder and see America today, would she be tempted to lower that torch a little?

Regarding what a man really is:

Regarding one of my favorite things, adventures in etymology:

We’ve Locked Ourselves in a Hothouse

Two articles I’ve read this week speak powerfully to two related issues: Reclaiming and teaching to the upcoming generations both inner fortitude and a healthy level of detachment from the screens to which we devote so much of our time.

From the second article:
“Louv tells of interviewing thousands of children in the course of previous research. At one point, he received this candid comment from a fourth-grade boy in San Diego: “I like to play indoors better, ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.’”


“A Nation of Wimps”: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200411/nation-wimps

“Nature Deficit Disorder”: http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/06/25/nature-deficit-disorder-is-your-child-at-risk/

He decided to live

This young man passed away today. What an incredibly special family! I so hope they know the Lord and that Zach did as well.

“Zach, these things aren’t happening because you’re dying. They are happening because of the way you’re living.” (documentary director)

“I want to be remembered as the kid who went down fighting, and didn’t really lose.”  Zach Sobiech, age 17


A Stratagem

Marathon training has begun!! During training for the 2012 race, I did nothing additional to the running itself. This time my goal is not only a better race time, but to take better advantage of the whole effort through healthier food choices, smaller portions and supplemental workouts.
So far it’s working: in two weeks my average pace has gone down by a minute per mile, and I’ve lost 6lbs. I’m super excited about 3/3/2013! 

Even if you’ve thought you could never run a marathon, you probably can. Start with something small and build up to it, it’s possible! 🙂

Hostel Hostility

At the youth hostel where we stayed one night near Maktesh Ramon in Israel, I went out for a walk in the early morning. The freshly risen sun on the Negev desert was so lovely.

A loud cracking noise caught my attention. Following it, I noticed two large ibex just outside the gate having quite a row! They knocked their horns together and leapt at each other over and over, wrestling when horns interlocked.
From the photos I took, I later counted over twenty bumps on each horn so they were both older than I was.

Later that day we repelled a little way down into the Ramon craters, and I discovered how much fun it is to drop over the edge of a cliff! With a rope.

Two great memories from one of my favorite days in Israel…

To Finish the Course

On March 4 of this year I ran my first full marathon. It was, I hope, the first of many! My time wasn’t bad, but I think I can do better =) 

To train for and finish a 26.2 mile run…for me, it took a lot of self-talk and self-motivation. As I continually completed longer distances than I’d thought possible, the sheer excitement of the prospective accomplishment was enough to motivate the final few months of 6am runs every Saturday. On the morning of our final long training run of 20 miles, it was drizzly and 18 degrees!

Training year-round is a great way to keep oneself comfortably in shape and feeling energetic! Currently I’m not feeling either of those due to lack of running the last few weeks, but this laziness (and weird fatigue) shall soon end! I sincerely hope so anyway.

The point is, I highly recommend distance running if it is at all within the scope of your abilities. I thought it wasn’t within mine until I actually went out and DID it. Funny how that works, eh? Try it!

Enjoy some photos from my big day!




IFO Culture Night

It’s long past bedtime but I want to quickly share with you all some of the exciting things we saw and heard this evening at UALR. Got to have dinner at a table where Rwanda, Iraq, Chile, and South Korea were all represented, surrounded by many many more. Loved meeting Valens, Yassir, Anita, Sami, and reconnecting with Claire from France.

If I can get this to work, enjoy!