Tears for the Beloved Turks

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by Todd Wood

My Delight

On March 19, 2007, in New York City, I met some Turks for the first time. These people were neat. Why the initial acquaintance? Turkish Air had just given me, an American Christian pastor, a big-time discount on the flight price to visit. threemartyrs.jpgIt was a rare deal—$777 for 10 days (included the overseas flight, accommodations in five-star resort motels, and food—absent the pork—fit for a king). For Turkey’s administration of tourism, it is an investment, and they hope I won’t disappoint them in the days ahead. Well, I don’t plan to.

In meeting some of the Turkish passengers heading back to their homeland, one of them, a mountaineer, told me he had recently climbed 16,945-foot Mount Ararat with a few buddies. And as a begging Idahoan, I shared, “Next time, take me.” With my fluffy pink pillow and soft, light-blue, fleece blanket, compliments of Turkish Air, I dozed off, dreaming of Noah’s Ark on the trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

That night, my wife and I stepped onto Turkish soil. If you think skiing in deep virgin powder in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is exciting, the experience pales in comparison to the adventure in the land of Turkey, an archaeological and church history paradise. The amount of ancient sites to explore is staggering. I have only begun to investigate all the vast treasure in this land where the bones of Christianity took shape. In contrast, now the country currently swims in the colors of green (color of Islam, garden of Eden), blue (the turquoise water), and red (the blood of the martyrs fighting the crusaders). But with this trip to Turkey (who needs more trips to Israel?), I am hooked on the land. It is very easy to fall in love with the land and its people. Read more about Tears for the Beloved Turks

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Book Review—Faithfulness and Holiness

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by Dr. Sam Horn

Packer, J. I. Faithfulness and Holiness. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002. Hardcover, 256 pages. $17.99

PurchaseCrossway, CBD, Amazon

ISBNs: 1581343582 / 9781581343588

LCCN: BX5199.R9P33

DCN: 283/.092 B 21

Subjects: Holiness; J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

James I. Packer is currently a professor of theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has authored the classic bestseller Knowing God as well as a number of other titles. Most recently, he served as General Editor for the English Standard Version Bible, published by Crossway Bibles. (Author information gathered from www.gnpcb.org.)

Some years ago, I received a copy of J.C. Ryle’s work Holiness as a gift. To my shame, it sat unread on my shelf until some months ago. One paragraph of his introduction written in 1879 convinced me that his message is still timely.
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“Charlie”

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Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

by Doug Kutilek

I can’t recall exactly when I first met Charlie, but it was sometime in the 1980s, likely the early 1980s. For years, he was the owner and proprietor of various used bookstores in and around Wichita (with the last brief manifestation in Hutchinson, 795689_old_books.jpgnearly an hour away). These various bookstore locations and incarnations were all called “The Green Dragon,” and a jade-colored ceramic dragon some two feet long always graced a shelf in the store.

Charlie was a native of Kansas and of Wichita, I believe. Sometime after high school graduation in 1947 or 1948, if I figure right, he entered the Marine Corps and served as an official photographer (as did political and social commentator Thomas Sowell, albeit a couple of years earlier than Charlie). After his time in the corps, Charlie worked as a photographer in and around Washington, D.C., during the Johnson years, and was a great admirer of Lyndon Johnson (a fact I discovered when roundly denouncing LBJ in a bookstore chat early in our acquaintance; it was a subject on which neither of us was likely to change his mind, and so we judiciously left that subject alone).
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Who's Robbing Whom?

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Some Thoughts on Pulpit Plagiarism

by Doug Smith

Is it wrong to preach another pastor’s sermon? This issue is certainly not new, but there has been a good bit of discussion in the last few months concerning possible answers to this question, some of which is quite disturbing.
chain.jpgSome prominent pastors, such as Rick Warren and James Merritt, openly encourage other pastors to take their sermons and preach them—even without giving proper credit. However, others disagree. On December 7, 2006, the Albert Mohler Program featured a radio interview between Dr. Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), and Hershael York, a pastor as well as a professor of preaching at SBTS. They are in agreement about this issue, and the title of the program reveals their perspective: “Plagiarism in the Pulpit: Stealing the Material We Preach.” They believe a pastor should actually take the time to study and prepare messages suited for his own congregation instead of using something prepackaged and pre-processed. Shocking, isn’t it?

I regularly preach in a supply capacity, filling in for pastors or serving churches that do not have a pastor. I also work a full-time job. Study time is a premium amid family and work responsibilities. It could become a temptation to steal others’ sermons.
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Take Time to Stop and Smell the Shark

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by Beth Murschell

Until a month or so ago, my in-laws owned a little vacation cottage on the Jersey shore, built by Mick’s great grandfather. I’ve only been acquainted with it for 12 years or so, but each visit marks changes in the scenery—a kind of renovation beach11.jpgsundial. This time, the new owner (a distant cousin) had transformed the attic into a miniature loft, accessible by a spiral staircase, which enchanted the children. The entire house would fit into our own kitchen/living room. Eight people, his parents and us, occupied 400 square feet of space for three days during inclement weather.

The last time we came six years ago, we had only the photograph of our first child, who was awaiting us in Korea. Now six of us flew up from Florida and headed for the shore in a rented van full of car seats. When we arrived, we saw the markers of passing time everywhere: new construction, pilings and dunes that had disappeared during one storm were back, old shore houses that used to be occupied were decaying. The neighbor ladies next door spent one evening cutting down a set of trees and bushes that had been an eyesore for 40 years. “Remove not the old landmark” has been cast aside as house after house either grows taller or is replaced altogether.

Time should slow down at the shore. But Strathmere’s bell tower chimes hymns at noon and six, and a siren sounds for the end of the work day. Construction crews pound out the hours while their radio pounds out the music.

One chilly walk to the beach to build sandcastles resulted in a treasure of sorts: a small sand shark, decaying in a shallow grave. We were downwind of this treasure for long enough to regret it.
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Book Review—Creation and the Courts

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by Andy Efting

Geisler, Norman. Creation and the Courts: Eighty Years of Conflict in the Classroom and the Courtroom. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007. Paperback, 400 pages. $22.00

(Review copy courtesy of Crossway Books)

Purchase: Crossway; CBD; Amazon

Special Features: Bibliographic references and index

ISBNs: 9781581348361 / 1581348363

LCCN: KF4208.5.S34G45 2007

DCN: 344.73’0796

Subjects: Creationism; Evolution; Religion in public schools

Norman Geisler is the author or coauthor of more than 50 books and numerous articles. For more than 40 years, Dr. Geisler has taught at the university or graduate level and has spoken throughout the United States and in 25 other countries. Dr. Geisler currently serves as dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary (Matthews, NC).
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