Friday, October 24, 2008

Autograph for the Day - John Piper

If you have read the last couple of posts, then you will see how today's entry needs no explanation. By the way, the book that was signed, Spectacular Sins, is a great book and you all should read it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back from Desiring God

Well, the Desiring God conference (see last blog post) went great. It was a real blessing. You know how lots of times most people refer to their church service schedule as "worship, and then the sermon", as if worship only consisted in singing songs and not in hearing the living and active Word of God preached? Well, as you can tell from the way I worded that last sentence, I hate that false dichotomy. It is all worship. There is worship in the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and then there is the worship of hearing the preaching of God's Word. Anyway, I say all of this because listening to John Piper's sermons this weekend in Austin was a very worshipful experience. As he talked about Job's suffering and God's sovereignty over all things, there were so many glorious truths brought out that made my soul shout within me "Thank you, Lord! Thank you for your mercy! Thank you for being so valuable! Thank you for your wisdom!"

All of the sessions from the conference are already available at in written, audio, and video formats. Check them out! It is all very encouraging to the soul.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting Ready for Desiring God

Well, I'm excited as all get out because soon and very soon I will be leaving for Austin to go the the regional Desiring God conference. John Piper will be speaking on "Job: When the Righteous Suffer", which is a topic very near and dear to my heart. When it comes to Christians suffering from afflictions and depression and so forth, John Piper is the best at shepherding hearts. Other good conservative Christians either never address the topic in too much depth, or they generally chalk it up to faithlessness or unbelief. But not Piper. He fully recognizes the reality of the suffering of the righteous. He can reprove and rebuke when necessary, but he also knows that it is not always necessary. And the neat thing is that John Piper also seems to be the most joyous person there is! He is so joyful and has marked his ministry on joy, yet he also understands suffering so well. I am very excited about this conference.

I do pray, as we prepare to leave, that God will keep my focus on Him as my joy and as the only focus of my worship, and that I am not a man-worshipper. I am very excited about seeing John Piper in person, in a celebrity sort of way. I do not think that in itself there is anything wrong with that. But it can be very easy to focus my excitement on Piper himself, and not on the word of God that Piper will be speaking. Keep my heart pure, Lord.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cigar Review: CAO America: Potomac

I just had a cigar so good that I had to write about it. I used to be a regular cigar smoker but that sort of fell by the wayside. I have been trying to get back into the godly habit by having a cigar every month or so. And I just had a great one. It is a new cigar from CAO called America. The particular one I got was the Potomac, their name for the America that is 5 x 56 in size.

The look of this cigar is what made me want it. It is really neat looking. It is made with two different colored wrappers. The main one is a dark brown, but then there is a layering of a light brown that spirals around it. Just really neat. Just see the attached picture.

Now, the look alone wasn't the determining factor. If it had been a neat looking Helix, for example (which tastes terrible), I wouldn't have purchased it. But I like CAO and have never had a bad CAO cigar. But the neat look combined with the trustworthy name cinched the deal for me. And the price wasn't bad at all. I don't remember how much I paid, but I am sure it was less than $7. Maybe around $6. CAO has always been good on price. Other brands that taste as good are often much more expensive.

The CAO website describes this cigar as full-bodied. I've never been good at determining that sort of thing myself, because it is a rather subjective determination, but I will go with that. It was full-bodied (certainly full of flavor!) but it didn't make me sick to my stomach, as full-bodied cigars often do, especially if I haven't smoked any cigars in a while, which is the case now. But the flavor! Oh wow! It was very cedary and almost sweet. In fact, when the wind would blow the smoke back in my face, I thought it smelled like Drew Estate's Kahlua cigars. There was no harshness or bitterness to it at all. You know how good smelling things often smell better than they taste? For instance, I put sugar in my coffee to make it taste the way it smells. Candles taste terrible. And sometimes cigars just don't taste as great as they smell. But this tasted great in every way. Not a negative drop of smoke touched my tongue. And if you are patient and skinny-fingered enough to let it burn to the last half-inch, then you get the best taste. Pure, straight-on flavor. My my my.

I recommend that you buy yourselves a box of these cigars, invite me over and give me some, and we can smoke and talk theology. That is, after, what Heaven will be like.

Thank you.