Archives for April 2007

on a brutal start to round two

Man, I have a brutal record on the first two days of round two… just 1.2 points (I was negative the first day). The Canucks win tonight, which will help a lot, but only two goals — not many points there. I have dropped to position 9851 in the HNIC game …

on to something a little more serious than hockey…

Since the Canuckleheads lost Game 1 of the second series, I think it would be a good idea to get back to my ‘one-liner’ sermon summaries. Here is the month of March:

03/04/07 10:00a 11:00a
The Living Hope Under Fire (1 Pt 3.8-4.19)

The will of God for the Christian under pressure is the same as the will of God for the Christian without pressure: ‘well doing’ [1 Pt 4.19].

03/04/07 11:30a 12:15p
The Living Hope in the Care of Elders (1 Pt 5)

The care of the flock by faithful elders ensures its endurance under attack.

03/04/07 1:15p 2:15p
Peter’s Last Will and Testament (2 Pt 1-3)

The major theme of this epistle is spiritual growth. The soul’s answer to error is spiritual growth.

03/07/07 7:00p 8:00p
The Need of the Hour (2 Tim 1-3)

Christians have a responsibility to commit to memory the truths of the Word of God for the purpose of perpetuating the Christian faith in others.

03/11/07 10:00a 11:00a
Paul’s Last Will and Testament (2 Tim 4)

Paul’s will for Timothy? Dedication, commitment, endurance.

03/11/07 11:30a 12:15p
The Captain of Your Salvation (Heb 1-2)

Jesus Christ is the highest being in the universe, you must listen to him.

03/11/07 1:15p 2:15p
There Remaineth Yet a Rest (Heb 3-4)

There is a risk of real loss to those who go back on Christ – they exchange the superior for the inferior, they risk the real loss of God’s blessing.

03/15/07 7:00p 8:00p
Our Great High Priest (Heb 5-7)

The work of God in elevating the Son to the role of eternal High Priest is perfectly fitted to the needs of faltering saints.

03/18/07 10:00a 11:00a
The Superior Sacrifice (Heb 8-10)

Major thesis of Hebrews: Everything is better about Christ – don’t go back
· A better revelation (1-2)
· A better rest (3-4)
· A better priest (5-7)
Now we are going to concern ourselves with the better ministry of the priest.

03/18/07 11:30a 12:15p
Life of Faith (Heb 11-13)

From Warren Weirsbe: “True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences.” [Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. (Heb 11:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.]

03/18/07 1:15p 2:15p
Earnestly Contend for the Faith (Jude)

The fundamentalist manifesto: earnestly contend. [very sparse notes]

03/21/07 7:00p 8:00p
Behold the Lamb of God – 1 (Jn 1-2)

Jesus introduced to the world, Behold the Lamb of God.

03/25/07 10:00a 11:00a
For God So Loved the World (Jn 3-4)

The God who loved the world loves you.

03/25/07 11:30a 12:15p
The Christ of Controversy (Jn 5-7)

When a man has a controversy with Jesus Christ, the man must yield.

03/25/07 1:15p 2:15p
I am the Light of the World (Jn 8-9)

The light of the world makes blind eyes see.

03/28/07 7:00p 8:00p
The Good Shepherd (Jn 10-11)

The words of Christ are life to those who live; they are death to those who die.

I am mainly doing this to make the notes avaiable and give a complete record of our work in this series. Sometime in the summer we hope to have a dvd with all the notes, all the study guides, and all the audio.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on the hockey playoffs

It is the rite of spring in Canada. Our news and public interest is dominated by one thing – hockey. Hockey defines a large aspect of Canadian culture. There are, of course, many other nations who play hockey, but I don’t know that any other nation is so dominated by hockey culturally.

Well, this year, Hockey Night in Canada has a feature on-line where you can pick a set of players (two forward lines, three defenseman, and a goalie) and gain ‘points’ as ‘your’ players shoot, score, win, and lose points when they take penalties or lose a game. The position of goaltender is huge. Wide point swings come by a win or a loss.

I played this game for the two segments in the regular season and failed abysmally. After the first round of the playoffs, I am sitting pretty… somewhere between 700th and 800th out of over 20,000 players. My playoff strategy has been to pick players primarily from one of two teams, especially the goalie I think will win one of the matchups. I was fortunate in having the Vancouver Canucks [known around our house as the Canuckleheads or Can-yuchhs] win their series. They nearly lost after going ahead 3-1 in games, having to win at home in the seventh game to move on.

The other side of my ticket, besides several Canuckleheads came from Tampa Bay and Nashville, both eliminated in the first round. The players I used were big point producers (Lecavallier and St. Louis, etc), but their teams didn’t advance. I had to replace all of these players and went mostly with Ottawa Senators. I am sticking with the Canucks for this round as well, but I am on thin ice with my picks. The two teams I am mainly supporting are receiving indifferent support from the experts, especially Vancouver. No one is picking Vancouver to win, and the opinion on Ottawa is evenly divided, I think.

I picked Vancouver because over the course of the season we get the most exposure to them and because they [and their goalie, Roberto Luongo] have had such an impressive run since Christmas. In that stretch, I think the Canucks lost only 5 or 6 games outright. Their opponent for this round, the Anaheim Ducks, have two towers on defense, and had an impressive start, but seemed to fade through the stretch. I am hoping that my gamble on the Canucks pays off, otherwise I am toast in the HNIC game.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on ‘hello, blog’

Needless to say, I am hopelessly behind in giving you summaries of my preaching. I see that I have not updated you since back in February… lots of water under the bridge to be sure!

Well, two momentous things [to me] happened this week. First, I finished my duplex renovation. I now am trying to sell it, have had a few nibbles, but no bites yet. The project took twice as long as I expected, but only cost half again as much as I projected… and the market continues to rise, so I think I am ok!

The second momentous event was finishing the Study Guides for our Thru the NT series. That happened last night (well, really, early this morning). I have seven more sermons to preach in the series and then we are done. What an incredible journey!

The study guides are printed on 506 pages, comprise 306,897 words [by MS Word count], or 1,486,986 characters, not counting spaces. That worked out to an average of 16.3 pages per week, about 9900 words per week, and almost 48,000 characters per week. Is it any wonder that my fingers are sore? Not to mention carpal tunnel!!!

I propose to give you some one sentence sermon summaries to catch myself up. I am not sure when that will all happen, I will work on it some this week perhaps. Next week I head down to SC to officiate in the wedding of my number one son [Hi Dunky] and his lovely Meg. I will have computer with me, but…

During these last few months, some of my messages have been rather sparse note wise. One extremely pressure filled week, I was up until 5 am on Sunday morning, and only got one page for a message on 1 Tim 6. It was one of those ‘bare bones’ outlines, but the work on the study guides was a big help (and I did manage a couple of hours of sleep!) so the preaching of even my poorer outlines seemed to be fruitful inspite of the pressure.

Tonight I finished my mesages at 10:40 pm on Saturday night. That’s pretty early for me! So I decided to give you this little update and hope to be more active in the coming days.

BTW, if anyone would like to get a job up here and help us in the work, I have a lovely duplex you could buy…


A few summaries, to catch up February:

02/14/07 7:00p 8:00p
Humility and How to Attain It (Phil 1-2)

Humility is a state of mind produced by a commitment to self-sacrificial giving.

02/18/07 10:00a 11:00a
Press toward the mark (Phil 3-4)

Christian maturity comes by adopting a Christian mind.

02/18/07 11:30a 12:15p
The Preeminence of Christ (Col 1-3)

The preeminence of Christ demands complete devotion from the saints.

02/18/07 1:15p 2:15p
Transformed Relationships (Phile)

Salvation means everything changes, including relationships.

02/21/07 7:00p 8:00p
Priorities of Ministry (1 Tim 1-2)

The first priority for preserving the ministry in the face of false teaching is the prayers of holy people.

02/25/07 10:00a 11:00a
Christian Leadership (1 Ti 3, Tit 1)

The predominant issue concerning Christian leadership is character — everything else about Christian leadership only brings character into sharper focus.

02/25/07 11:30a 12:15p
Regulating Life (1 Ti 4-5, Tit 2-3)

By way of reminder to men well-trained for men who follow as new trainees – this is how Christian life should be regulated, by sober spirits and earnest effort.

02/25/07 1:15p 2:15p
Be Aware and Beware (1 Ti 6)

Preacher, guard your own heart.

02/28/07 7:00p 8:00p
Called to Holiness (1 Pt 1.1-3.7)

The call to holiness is based on the doctrine of the living hope.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on son number three as poet

My youngest son the other day had an assignment in school. He had to write a poem. He handed it in with something like, ‘Well, I did it.’

Here is the result, I thought it was pretty good, but I am biased of course:

Seeking the Saviour

Men seek their gods with all their heart
As blind lead blind they all depart
On pilgrimage and journey long,
They join the sighing, searching throng.

Toward the ground some fixed their gaze.
“The earth’s grass is worth my praise!”
Like vultures watch with hungry eyes,
They stood there to philosophize.

Beside the road some took their place
And mocked the others with sneering face,
“Look not in weeds and dirt for peace,
In our own selves we find release.”

And on they plod with patient toil,
In search of God in self or soil.
If they but knew how small the cost
To look upon the true Lord’s cross!

on Shelton Smith and the blogosphere

Shelton Smith, the editor of the Sword of the Lord, wrote an editorial regarding the blogosphere here. I don’t know how many people blogged about it, but I first became aware of it here, at paleoevangelical, a post linked by Greg Linscott at Current Christian. Later Bob Bixby unleashed on it over at Pensee’s. Paleo Ben, as I like to call him, linked to Bob’s post by commenting again on paleoevangelical here.

I finally got around to actually reading Smith’s article after all these links and commentary. I have to wonder what all the anxiety is about. Shelton Smith didn’t say that Christians should never have a blog or comment on a blog. What he said is that Christians should be responsible when they blog. What is wrong with that? By ranting and raving about Shelton Smith and his call for responsibility, I suspect that the rant is about something else. I wonder if those complaining (especially Bob and Ben) read the same article I did. They certainly got a different impression.

It seems that Bob’s offense with Smith’s words has nothing to do with what Smith actually said. It has to do with fundamentalist politics in general and in particular with Smith and the SotL’s practice of editing sermons they publish, especially Spurgeon’s sermons. They have a tendency to edit out the more Calvinistic bits. Well… I suppose that is true. What does it have to do with the content of Smith’s editorial? What, specifically, is ‘anti-blog’ about it? The editorial seems to accept that blogs are here to stay (they are until the next fad). It merely suggests that those of us who blog should be careful about what we say and make absolutely certain about the assertions we make.

I know first hand how easy it is to post something that one regrets later. I have done it more than once. The on-line world is self-corrective, they say. Yes it is. But one error can seriously damage an individual and his future ministry. (At least I haven’t gone so far as to damage my ministry — that I know of, anyway!) Surely Smith’s call for caution is well worth heeding. And it is well worth reading as well. Go over and have a look. Compare it to the reaction. Don’t you agree that those reacting are over-reacting?

Is the Sword the absolutely best periodical in fundamentalism? Maybe not. But the reactions to the editorial were weird. They had nothing to do with what was said and everything to do with an axe that keeps getting ground at certain blogs. Methinks those protesting protest too much and become an example of what Smith was editorializing about. From a knee jerk antagonistic reaction to Smith and the SotL, the invective becomes a rant against the whole of fundamentalism, caricaturizing it in a way consistent with the blogs involved, but not consistent with the reality I have experienced.

These are bro. Smith’s recommendations for the blogosphere. They are well worth heeding:

1. I’m all for free speech! Our First Amendment freedoms have come at great cost, and they are precious!

But Christians (of all people) should use their freedoms responsibly. Opinions, rumors, etc., should be checked, rechecked and fully certified before being repeated or published. …

2. Scandals (even Christian ones) should be exposed! If and when there are issues of scandal, the scoundrels should expect to get some bad press. But the blogosphere so often has no journalistic credibility whatsoever. It often is “my thoughts” and “your thoughts” which are given with no other purpose than to smear good people. …

3. Gossip is not a Christian activity! Even if you do it with a computer, it is not right! The fact that you have your own blog does not give you scriptural license to peddle gossip. …

4. Christian integrity demands accountability of all of us. Don’t open your mouth unless you’ve done your homework and know for sure whereof you speak.

5. It is neither faithful nor fruitful, neither pious nor prudent to tell everything you know—even if it is true! Some things serve no public good by being spoken. …

6. Some things are issues of sufficient public interest and for the public good that they must be reported. But even then, it should be done in a responsible manner. Facts must be checked and rechecked. Primary sources must be consulted. Be accountable for your actions. Sign your name to whatever you say or write.

7. Christians ought to be Christian! As I review the Christian blogosphere, I see a lot that doesn’t look certifiably Christian to me.

All Christian bloggers would do well to abide by these recommendations. In particular, the question we should ask is this, “Is it necessary?” Perhaps it would reduce our output, especially posts such as this one that holds others up to criticism. The temptation is to simply let fly. Better to wait. Think it through, and ask God’s guidance.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3