Sunday, October 02, 2011

We Will Return, Part II

According to Haaretz News, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said, "Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed (emphasis added)."

That was said in Iran at an international conference supporting the Palestinian Intifada, which was headlined by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei was quite outspoken regarding the two-state solution. Among other things, he said, "Our claim is freedom of Palestine, not part of Palestine. Any plan that partitions Palestine is totally rejected," And, as if he was intentionally confirming the content of my last post, he clarified, "Palestine spans from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Mediterranean), nothing less."

Other reports from/about the conference:
-The full text of Khamenei's speech is provided by the Islamic Republic News Agency.
-The Arab Monitor also has some commentary.

Monday, September 26, 2011

We Will Return!!!

Many people who are discussing a "two-state solution" to the Middle East problem are unaware of the sentiment and symbolism expressed in this photo:

The key in the photo can be found at the southern entrance to Jericho and is used both as a reminder and a warning. It is used as a reminder to the Arab people that they have an obligation to regain any territories that are considered to be stolen by the Jews (i.e. the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea). Also, it should be understood by the West to be a warning that a Jewish state is ultimately unacceptable in the neighborhood.

The key in the photo isn't a unique example; it's actually a well-known symbol among Palestinian refugees, many of whom still hold keys to property they (or their predecessors) left in 1948. This is why the final disposition of the Palestinian refugees "right of return" (to Israel or Palestine) and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state are critical issues in the negotiations between the two sides in any discussion of a two-state solution.

"The Key" demonstrates that it's much more complicated than simply having the UN declare a Palestinian state as was requested last Friday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Word Picture of the Day: How Dangerous Can a Fool Be?

Proverbs 17:12 NASB - "Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly."

This Proverb effectively uses a word picture because everybody knows a mama bear is fiercely protective of her cubs and that it is unwise to cross her path when she's worried about her cub(s). Far fewer people think of fools as being as dangerous as an angry mama bear. However, the Bible warns us that fools are more dangerous than angry bears.

Be careful whose path you cross.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Missionary Letter

The letter below drew my mind to days gone by that I've read about in mission journals or biographies. It serves as a reminder that some missionaries are still working in rough conditions.

I have edited out the location references to protect the people involved.

If I have ever needed prayer, it is NOW. Today, I thought of war movies I have watched in the past and how it is like I am walking through the middle of them now.

Yesterday, we crossed the border into ____________, in the heat, on foot, pigs, trash, the smells, I was sick and vomiting on the side of the road. Thank God that I vomited before I had to pass through the health section or they wouldn't have let me in. I was sick for two days.

This [place] is much different from ______________. Pray against tiredness, pray for health, pray for the spiritual realm, Mom; it's heavy. Today, I went into a hut where a deamon possessed woman was chained to the floor. Pray for things to be lifted in the Spirit. Pray, pray, pray!

Please pray. Please tell anyone who prays to pray. I love you so much! I will try to contact you when we get to our next destination.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tweeting in Church

A growing number of people (including pastors) have suggested Tweeting reactions during the sermon is a good thing. Some pastors have even encouraged their congregation to interact with the sermon in this way, and will try to respond within the framework of the sermon.

Someone asked me what I thought about that. Here's my answer:

First, while my general reaction is fairly negative, I can't say that nothing good could come from Tweeting during the sermon, but . . .

I think serious and sober consideration should be given to these pitfalls of Tweeting during the sermon:

Being self-centered: Tweeting seems to say, "Here's what I think was cool about the sermon. It's important that my followers know what I think about what was said."

Juvenile behavior: Tweeting during the sermon seems to be little more than impetuous pass-alongs of what hit me just now, with no time to give consideration to the rightness or wrongness of the statement, or the implication of implementing what was just said only 2 seconds ago. Some things deserve more than a few moments of reflection.

Distraction to the Tweeter or others: Admittedly, I'm not capable of texting without lengthy concentration . . . (where's the y?) . . . so it would definitely be distracting to me. "What did he say while I was Tweeting?" What about the constant "chimping" up and down the row and in front of me? Of course, I'm easily distracted by those kinds of things. I assume others are, too.

Temptation to do something else: If I don't value what he's talking about right now, I can just surf the net and find something that is interesting to me. BUT what about what he might say in a minute that will give clear value/meaning to what he just said that I didn't find valuable? Everything can't be said at one time, so why don't I just hold on and hear the whole package? Why is so much more interesting during the sermon?

Friday, June 03, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Day After: Beware

I can't think I would need to remind ANYONE that a certain man/Bible teacher/prophet (or whatever he actually is) predicted specific end times events would occur yesterday. And, in the aftermath of none of them coming to pass, I want to offer a word of caution to those born again Christians who have been or are starting to scoff at this man and his prediction(s) . . . and end time events.

It's a fine line between mocking him and ending up mocking the rapture of the saints or the Lord's return, whichever you happen to have understood him to be predicting. As May 21, 2011 approached, I watched many Christians blog/tweet/comment to the effect that "the Bible teaches that we can't know, so this guy is a crackpot for saying so dogmatically that he knows the day . . . and this isn't the first time he's done this!" That's all well and good, but we need to be careful that we don't begin to mock the events themselves.

I found some of the bloggers and tweeters following the deadline as it moved through the various timezones easily crossing the line to essentially say, "See, I knew it wouldn't happen today. Today is just like yesterday, which was just like the day before." That kind of blogging/tweeting is very close to "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. (2 Peter 3:4 NASB)"

And we don't get a free pass to mock because a "crackpot" has predicted a certain day. Neither do we get a pass to believe that nothing can happen today because someone predicted this date. The Lord's hand isn't stopped because someone disobediently or incorrectly issued a time line.

In reverse order: the scriptures encourage us to look expectantly for the coming of the day of God (2 Peter 3:11-13), not be ignorant that the "slowness" of God's promise is actually a sign of God's patience toward us (3:8-9), and beware that scoffers will arise in the last day questioning the Lord's coming (3:3-4).

So, in these days after, let's please be careful that we don't follow the path of scoffers regarding God's promises just because someone did what they weren't supposed to do.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Zach's First Game

Last Friday, we took Zach to his first baseball game. He didn't have any clue where he was, but it was fun for us.

Midland Rockhounds 11
San Antonio Missions 0

Friday, May 13, 2011

We're Not Raising Grass!

Famed Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew has decided to end his battle against esophageal cancer and enter Hospice care.

As a kid, I had the opportunity to see Killebrew and the Twins play against the Texas Rangers at (the old) Arlington Stadium more than once. And, while I don't remember a specific occasion of seeing him play, I do remember something that I heard said about him.

He is quoted as saying: "My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, 'You're tearing up the grass'; 'We're not raising grass,' dad would reply. 'We're raising boys.'"

I've always thought that was one of neatest things a father could say, and locked it in my memory bank in case I ever needed to use it. Now, that I have a boy, I just might get to use it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Churchill on Cowboy-ing

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We've Got a Baby!

Zachariah Samuel Dunning

Born on April 8, 2011, 6lbs 3oz (2.8k) @ 11:38.

All indications are that he is healthy, and both mom and baby are doing fine at home.

We are thankful the Lord heard our prayer and has blessed us in this way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We've Got a Date!

Okay, the doctor has decided the little guy in the photo below will be introduced to the hard, cold reality of this world on Thursday, April 7, 2011.

At this time, both mother and baby are fine. However, mother wouldn't be disappointed if today were April 6. Please pray for her as she waits another nine days.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Worth Reading

David Gunner Gunderson offers some wise and helpful thoughts about how we should respond to the thought that life is short . . . and they might be different than you assume.  Life is short so don't waste it

Pastor Wade Burleson shares his story of leading a fellow prisoner to Christ in a Cozumel, Mexico jail. The story should encourage you in your faith, and it offers some insight into the risk of renting a vehicle in a foreign port of call while on a cruise. Saved from Hell in a jail cell in Cozumel

Friday, March 25, 2011


We ID! That's a logo and a mantra at many convenience stores in our area, which is intended to tell minors they can't buy tobacco or alcohol. Here's a story from Fort Worth about a liquor store that allegedly sold vodka to an underage patron that ended very badly.

In the story, the owner of the store says that he recently made a mistake and didn't ID an underage buyer that had been sent in a sting operation. But, he explains, "I was so tired and exhausted and I wasn't even paying attention" before assuring the readers: "I check IDs, and if they're too young, they aren't getting anything."

I don't know what the protocol for ID-ing an alcohol buyer is supposed to be, but a couple days ago, at the Walmart in Odessa, two men clearly in their 60's got carded before they could purchase two large cases of beer.

They were in line behind me, so I was already walking away when I heard the clerk ask both for identification: "Since you are together, I have to see ID from both of you," she said. I didn't think I heard her right since I was already walking away and they were both obviously old enough to be AARP members. But, I hesitated long enough to see both of them present their driver's licenses. One actually gave me a sly grin as I turned to leave. I wanted to verify their ages at the door, but thought I better mind my own business.

If a manager from the east Odessa Walmart reads this, you can be sure that at least one checker does ID those buying alcohol . . .  even if they obviously aren't minors.

I'm guessing this is part of the zero tolerance movement that sets certain rules that eliminate judgment on the part of those in authority. In this case, the clerk apparently doesn't have to make any determination . . . just ask EVERYBODY for ID. Maybe it's better this way for alcohol purchases, but I'm afraid zero tolerance policies generally dumb down society and end up hurting people along the way. Usually, the stories of zero tolerance lunacy come from elementary schools, but I think I've found one here, too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pastors and Affairs

Gary Lamb, a self-described (former) rock star pastor who committed adultery offers some interesting thoughts on pastors and affairs.

In his blog post about a year after his rock star life at Revolution Church Atlanta came tumbling down, he listed four things that contribute to marital infidelity among pastors.


Mr. Lamb elaborates on each of the four factors, and I think his thoughts are worthy of consideration.

I appreciate his candor and willingness to make himself vulnerable to further criticism in order to help other pastors avoid the sin of adultery. And I appreciate that he didn't shift the blame for his sin onto others.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Refreshing Testimony

Recently, I heard a refreshing testimony at a men's prayer breakfast. Appropriate for the season, the speaker was the head coach of the local university's NCAA D2 womens basketball program.

A few things that made this testimony refreshing:
1. It's always refreshing to hear a man stand and tell how he came to know Jesus.

2. Although the coach was named conference coach of the year and his team won their conference, he didn't mention those things. In fact, he deferred such accolades to the men's coach from his university who shared the same awards: conference champs and coach of the year. Humility is refreshing.

3. The reason he mentioned the men's coach was that the men's coach was one of the men who had pursued him for the gospel. His testimony was focused on how God used others to bring him to an understanding of the gospel, which was a gentle reminder to the men in attendance that they have a responsibility to talk to others about the gospel.

4. The man giving his testimony had coached at the highest levels of men's NCAA D1 basketball and for some reason is now coaching women's D2. He didn't seem to use the D1 reference as a way of drawing attention to himself, but rather as an illustration of how "dropping" to D2 women's basketball was part of God's plan for him to come to faith. He mentioned hind-sight as being helpful to understand the work of God in our lives. It also struck me how he demonstrated contentment by not seeking the men's job at his university when it came open. 

5. He also gave credit to his best collegiate player who as a player gave the coach at least three Bibles with various verses highlighted and took the coach's son to church regularly. And the coach gave this credit to the player who presumably is or was in the NBA without dropping any names. That's really unusual in our day and age of marketing and building "street-cred" by dropping names of famous or powerful people . . . as if Jesus isn't famous or powerful enough.

Thanks, Coach. You honored the Lord in the way you gave your testimony.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Melons to Market

When I think back to my childhood, I only remember watermelon in the summer, but these melons are currently in the Jerusalem market. These are what I call personal size melons, though a few may serve two.
Even though I have never liked melons (of any kind), I have a knack for picking good watermelons by thumping them, which is an "art" I learned from my Granddad. However, I didn't thump any of these, so I can't say whether they are good or not.