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Then You, My Love

Today my wife and I celebrate thirty years of wedded love.

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If love must be awakened
     Then you, My Love,
Stirred mine the day
I first set eyes upon you.
An ardor unceasing,
Unrelenting,
Never to be quiet again.

If love is a banner to be raised
     Then you, My Love,
Have me waving ours gladly,
Shouting from the peaks,
Telling the whole world
Simply
You are the one
Whom my soul loves.

If love is better than wine
     Then you, My Love,
Are fresher than a rosé,
More elegant than a Bordeaux,
Smoother than Chardonnay. 
How delightful you are!

If many waters cannot quench love
     Then you, My Love,
Can be assured that
Rivers of tears
Or trials that may flood us
May sweep all away,
But they will never conquer
This passion for you.

If love no greater is a life laid down
     Then for you, My Love,
I am
An offering pledged,
Willingly, solely
Vowed unto you.
To love until death,
To die loving you,
To cherish you until
The only enemy able
To end these anniversaries
Makes us part.

Yet, O yet,
Remember this, My Love.

If love is stronger than death –
And it is, My Love, it is –
     Then you, My Love,
Need to know our foe’s reminders –
The scars you bear,
The wrinkles you see,
The […]

3GTing

As we announced earlier this week, three of us here on Gentle Reformation have begun a podcast called 3GT (for “Three Guys Theologizing”). Austin and Kyle are the young men with great minds and the gift of ready articulation. They can go at a subject like two ballers playing one-on-one at the corner hoop with chain netting at the end of the street.  As for me, I’m the old guy watching them, every now and then throwing in a comment and calling the occasional foul.

They wondered if I could get an endorsement, assuming that I am well connected. So I went to the important person I am connected with the best.  My wife.  Here is what she said, though I think she may have added new meaning to the term “ringing endorsement.”

Some have told me that I have the gift of listening.  If so, then being married to my husband has certainly helped me cultivate that gift.  He loves to do what I call “pontificating.”  He stands in the kitchen while I am preparing a meal or washing dishes, and then tells me about the people he’s met, the latest thing he’s read, or something he’s seen in the woods out […]

Browse Worthy: Is the Tide Turning on Planned Parenthood?

When the first of the videos exposing Planned Parenthood came out, I stated that the mainstream media was not giving this issue much notice.  I now gladly recant of that opinion.  As the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) continues to unveil other videos, each one more telling of the awful practices of the abortion industry than the previous one, the major networks are now having to cover it.

We need to use this opportunity to continue to press the wickedness of murdering the unborn deeper into the consciences of our fellow citizens.  Doing so will not be easy, for too many care more for an accidentally killed lion than a wrongly butchered baby.  Yet we need to be informed by watching videos such as these below, praying for God to awaken consciences, and being prepared to speak to others.  As we do, let us remember to do so humbly as Rosaria Butterfield reminds us in this post.

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The second CMP video showing a Planned Parenthood executive discussing pricing:

Fox News report on the third video:

The third CMP video showing workers inside a Planned Parenthood clinic negotiating prices:

Brit Hume’s commentary on Fox News was piercing:

I conclude with George Stephanopoulos’ interview of Planned Parenthood’s […]

My New Friend

When we are seen together in the evening service, often one of us is asked a question.  “Barry, how did you meet Thomas?” or “How do you know Pastor York, Tom?”  Thomas is new to our church, so it is an honest question.  But it probably is also due to the fact that in some ways we are different.  He’s in his late 60’s, fairly short, nice and portly, with a head full of gray, bristly hair and a grizzled face, usually wearing the same blue shirt; I’m the middle-aged, taller, bald guy with a more modest paunch wearing my wife-pressed shirt with my wife-selected tie.

So how did I meet my new friend?

Three months ago I was heading into a session meeting one night when I saw Thomas standing on the street, looking at the church sign.  When I said hi and asked if he needed anything, he started asking about whether we had evening services.  As any pastor knows, this is a very unusual request for help!  As our evening service schedule was entering into a confusing period, with special services in different buildings, I did the best I could to explain then we parted company. Several days later, he […]

Textiquette for Teenagers

My children will tell you that I’m a bit of an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to cell phones and texting.  For a long time, I refused to get texting on the phones, much to their chagrin.  After all, I reasoned, I did not want to add any more interruptions to my day, much less invite them, so why should they? When I finally did allow for texting capability, I did not tell people for a long time I could receive texts and still use it pretty rarely. (Except when I can send my family something like a video link to a chameleon popping bubbles. Then it has some merit.)

Anyway, like I say, texting makes me grumpy, especially when I see my children being rude with it. Should we not sit our kids down and have some good, old-fashioned, Emily Post time with them about texting etiquette?  Here are five basic rules of textiquette I try to encourage my kids to consider.

Stay in the conversation you are already in.  Do we not train our children it is bad form to interrupt a conversation others are having? Do we not also teach them to pay attention when someone else is speaking to them? So how is a text any different?  Why let […]

Augustine on Using Another Preacher’s Material

In the Digital Age, with so many other men’s work available at SermonAudio, blogs, ministry websites, etc., every preacher wrestles with using another man’s material. Augustine, in his fourth book on On Christian Doctrine, has some wisdom to offer us regarding this matter.

In his frankly titled Chapter 29, “It is permissible for a preacher to deliver to the people what has been written by a more eloquent man than himself,” we find the following words of wisdom.  I have broken this chapter up into sections and added above them my own summary statements of the principles.

1) If your conscience will not allow you to use another man’s work, then do not do it.

If, however, he cannot do even this, let his life be such as shall not only secure a reward for himself, but afford an example to others; and let his manner of living be an eloquent sermon in itself.

2) If you do not know how to compose a text for a sermon, but have found someone who has done it well, then use it.  Just be sure to give credit to the one you quote so as not to plagiarize.

There are, indeed, some men who have a good delivery, but cannot compose […]

Love (III) by George Herbert

In posting about the darkness of our age earlier this morning, I thought I would share the poem below.  In a class I am in being taught by Dr. Dennis Johnson, he read aloud this poem with tears. One help in reading these verses is each time you see Love to substitute in the name of Jesus. Truly Love will conquer all.

Source: George Herbert and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Poets  (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1978)

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Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look […]

Browse Worthy: Planned Parenthood

Though being mainly ignored by the mainstream media, the video capturing a Planned Parenthood executive talking about selling body parts of aborted babies is all over social media.  What makes this sickening tape all the more so is that the woman, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, with the ironic title of Senior Director for Medical Services, causally boasts of this practice while enjoying a fine meal and glass of wine.

Below is the video in case you missed it, along with commentary from some of the prophetic voices of our day. These hard facts and truths are shared with you in the spirit of Ephesians 5:11.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Al Mohler: “A Lot of People Want Intact Hearts These Days” — Planned Parenthood, Abortion, and the Conscience of a Nation

Collin Hanson: EVIL, LEGAL, AND COMMON

Philip Holmes: Five Ways We Fight for Children

Russell Moore: Planned Parenthood and the Atrocity of Corpse-Selling

Carl Trueman: Congratulating Planned Parenthood

Douglas Wilson: Ghouls

Two Dates My Epitaph

Corrupted from the womb,
Consigned to damning tomb –
Two dates my epitaph.
Soon chiseled upon stone,
Story of my life.

Yet He came forth!
First a babe 
From virgin womb,
Then a man
From virgin tomb.

A babe delivered,
By mother’s anguish,
Grew to receive 
Sin’s imputation
And the death it brings.

A man raised,
By Spirit’s power,
Now victorious
Over sin’s invasion
And death’s vain sting.

So now I,
United to Him,
Have two dates my epitaph
As my life’s story
No more.