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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Digital Christmas Story

I found this version of the Christmas Story both informative and fun. Thanks Mom!

http://youtu.be/GkHNNPM7pJA?hd=1

Merry Christmas!
Darien

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Grace of God book review


“Grace is understood best within the context of relationship. After all, it is only within the mystery and complexity of relationships that grace is experienced. So it seemed to me that the best way to approach this subject would be to simply tell the story of grace. It is a story that begins in the beginning. It is a story that traces its way through every book of the Old and New Testaments.” –Andy Stanley, p. xv

And so Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA writes The Grace of God, published by Thomas Nelson this year. He writes about the “story of grace” by dropping in on the life of a different Bible character in each chapter and seeing how God’s grace impacted their future. In the process, we, the reader, are taken on a journey that challenges the core of our faith.

Stanley delivers his typically engaging content, while maintaining his approachable style. I am personally used to listening to Stanley speak (live at Catalyst (www.catalystconference.com) or via one of his many podcasts through iTunes. (North Point Community Church podcast is his weekly sermon while North Point Ministries include select past series which are more popular and in demand. He also does the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast which I don’t miss on iTunes) So I confess a bias towards valuing Stanley’s work. (I also got this book free through Booksneeze.com for blogging about it. So there are my disclaimers!)

I admit, however, that I prefer his auditory skills to his writing. (I would love to listen to him read the audio book…wonder if he did it) I say this not because his writing isn’t good (it is, actually) but because it’s not as much Andy-esque as I’m used to. In other words, it’s more polished. You can tell many others have edited and reworked it (as all publishers tend to do) and thus you miss some of the spontaneity and bit of irreverence that can slip out in a live message. Perhaps next time there could be less editing Sir Nelson…

But that is mostly just relevant to Stanley’s fans. This is an important book. Few subjects are more significant to the advance of the gospel than grace. And few problems are greater in the life and health of the church. So I applaud him for taking on this writing project.

After his brief introduction, Stanley launches into his Bible starting with creation and marches through it and the New Testament. Here’s what I love about his preaching and teaching: He takes the stories and passages we’re all so familiar with (if you’ve grown up studying the Bible) and he peels away the layers of tradition and assumptions that have accumulated. It’s like he doesn’t know any better than to think for himself as he reads Scripture! (How novel!). It has changed the way I read, study, teach and preach.

Stanley is also a master at pulling out the pearl of a passage. He by-passes a lot of good stuff. Instead, he focuses on the best. A good principle to live by.

Much like Rick Warren, Stanley crafts statements of truth and principle in memorable ways. For example, he writes in his chapter on creation, “Whereas God’s expressions of grace were innumerable, his requirements were minimal” and “A declaration of thirst is an invitation for God to quench your thirst.” (p. 10) Why publishers don’t allow this kind of formatting more often amazes me. It’s bad enough there are no pictures in books today…(don’t get me started).

Chapter 4 “Redeemed by God’s Grace” was particularly insightful as Stanley explained law and grace. He emphasized that they are not opposites because the law was actually a work of grace for us.

Probably the paragraph in this chapter rocked me more than any other. It wasn’t so much what he said but that what he said bothered me so much. Stanley writes,

“I’ve heard plenty of preachers and evangelists argue that if a person isn’t consistently keeping God’s law, he isn’t really a Christian!” (Note: I’VE said this before!) He continues, “This take on law and grace implies that keeping the law is proof of salvation by grace.” (Said that too) “In other words, real Christians will obey God’s law (at least most of the time).” (p. 52)

Perhaps this bothers you too. I believe we’re, “Saved by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9) too. But I also read that those who are truly in Christ will not practice a pattern of disobedience. (1 John) So this rocked me a bit. But I know I am vulnerable to a lack of grace in an attempt to challenge those not walking obediently with Christ. So I guess I’m saying that this was a bit of a wakeup call for me.

Stanley’s last chapter moves beyond his characters of Scripture. “Commissioned for Grace” is his attempt to awaken the American church, as he sees it, to be for the un-churched. He believes the problem in the church today is that it’s just for church people. This controversial statement is at the core of how his own church operates. They exist to be a church that “un-churched people love to attend”. This being a church for the un-churched is the statement that I wrestle with quite a bit.

In the end, I believe this book keeps an important conversation going. The story of grace should never end in our churches. This would be a great book for small groups, although it would be better if it had a few discussion questions included. Ah, but we saved some paper! A DVD curriculum with Andy Stanley preaching messages on this would be awesome.

In sum, I hope you’ll read this and then encourage others to read it as you write about it on your blog or Facebook page. Well-done, Andy!

Generation X-Mas


A couple of years ago a film crew from our church hit the streets of Charlotte to produce a “man on the street” video asking people “What comes to your mind when you think of the Christmas story?”
Number one answer?
“The movie.”

I found this post very insightful. Take 5 and read it to...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In the shadow of the Cross

As I reflect on Christmas this year I find myself saying something over and over. I say something like, "Let's remember the manger was in the shadow of the cross." 


I'm not sure where I picked that up. But what I mean by that is that Jesus' entire life was lived in the shadow of the approaching cross he would die on...the cross he would choose to die on out of love for his Father. Love expressed in unconditional obedience that moved him to surrender to life to that cruel instrument of torture. He was born to die. The manger was in the shadow of the cross.


Chris Tomlin writes in verse 2 of his song "Born That We May Have Life" (emphasis mine):

A throne in a manger a cross in a cradle
The hidden revealing this glorious plan
Of the Child who would suffer
The Child who would conquer
The sin of ev'ry woman the sin of ev'ry man



We want a nice, clean Christmas experience. We want baby Jesus and a nice, clean, warm stable. Not a shiver of cold or any barnyard smells. We don't want suffering in our story--just the good stuff. We want love, peace and joy to be the message. And it is! But we don't like to think about the price that love, peace and joy cost to give us. That raises guilt and feelings of unworthiness. 


My point isn't to raise more guilt in you. It's to raise up gratitude in you. It's to remind you that even at this time of year the cross is everywhere--and it should be. And Jesus wanted us to remember too, didn't he.



"And (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." -Luke 22:19-20


So what? Always a great question.


Perhaps you or someone you know is suffering this Christmas season. It's easy to see that and question God's love, isn't it? I mean, what kind of God allows his children to suffer...and then it hits you. The same kind of God that sends his son to suffer...for the blessing and salvation of the entire world. 


So as you sit by the fire drinking your hot chocolate looking at the Christmas lights and enjoying music in the background remember at least one thing: the manger Jesus lay in was in the shadow of the cross.




Born That We May Have Life
CCLI Song No. 5601839
© 2009 worshiptogether.com songs | sixsteps Music

Thursday, November 11, 2010

So many Bibles: What's the difference?

I found this chart from Tyndale Publishers terrific. Disclaimer: They publish the NLT.

I think this chart does a great job of communicating the differences in many of the popular translations of the Bible out there today. They are all saying the same thing (with the exception of those published by cults like Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons) but they translate with slightly different goals.

My suggestion is to familiarize yourself with this chart and the translations you might use and then read several translations in your study and devotional reading. And I wouldn't feel guilty for reading one that is easier to understand instead of one that is written in a Shakespearean style just because you're grandparents do. It may be a great translation but it's not real effective if you don't understand what it's saying.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Church as a "Third Place" What do you think?

My thoughts are at the end of this article by James Emery White. DG

Recently Starbucks unveiled its biggest overhaul in its forty-year history.
 
Though still a prototype, a new kind of Starbucks has launched in Seattle’s bustling Capitol Hill area which serves regional wine and beer, along with an expansive plate of locally made cheeses served on china.  The barista bar is reconfigured to allow customers to sit close to the coffee.
 
It doesn’t really look like a Starbucks at all, but more like a cafĂ© that’s been part of the neighborhood for years.  So don’t be surprised when you find an outdoor deck and an indoor/outdoor fireplace.
 
Starbucks is trying to get the after 2 p.m. business that other java joints have been peeling away from them for years.  If it works, expect it to come to a Starbucks near you.
 
The point isn’t about beer and wine – it’s about the importance of a “third place.”
 
And Starbucks wants to be that place.
 
Most people have two social environments:  their home and their workplace (or depending on your situation in life, their home and their school).
 
In his book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg argues that we need a “third” place.  His thesis is that the home is where we live and constitutes who we live with; our workplace/school is probably where we spend the most time but is very “task” oriented in nature.  We need a “third” place to provide a mooring for community life and wider, more fluid, creative interaction.
 
So what are the marks of a good “third” place?
 
Oldenburg suggests that they should be free (or at least inexpensive); provide food and drink; be highly accessible (even walking distance); encourage “regulars”; be welcoming and comfortable; and allow for both new friends and old to be found in its confines.
 
In the U.K., I think it’s safe to say that the “third” place has been the pub (though as a frequent traveler and fan, real ones are fading fast).  In the Middle East, the Hookah lounge seems to fit the bill.  In the United States, we didn’t have one.  That is until Starbucks, which might explain the coffee chain business exploding into a $15 billion enterprise.
 
Has it ever really been about the coffee?  Most taste comparisons put Dunkin’ Donuts, or lately even McDonald’s, ahead in the taste department.  No, it’s where you go to read a book, meet a friend, work with others on a project…
 
It is a “third” place, one that we obviously want and need.
 
Where should the church be in this conversation?
 
Right in the middle.
 
The church, wherever she is, should be conscious of casting itself as a “third” place.
 
Biblically, it seemed to be a mark of the early church.  We read that they met in homes, sure, but they also had a “third” place they seemed to frequent on a daily basis – the temple courts (Acts 2:46).  While they may have been there to engage in actual temple worship on a daily basis (not the sacrifices, but the prayer service, cf. Acts 3:1), it is more likely they turned the temple courtyard into a first-century Starbucks in order to gather as a community (e.g., Acts 5:12).
 
From the beginning there seemed to be a need and a desire for the new community forged in Christ’s church to offer a real, tangible “third” place.
 
How is the church offering that today, or is it one more dynamic we’ve given over to the secular world as it gains even more of a hold over our lives?
 
People often denounce churches that invest in such things as coffee bars or bookstores, designed to allow people to congregate throughout the week and around weekend services, as if it is one more sign of selling out to the culture.
 
In truth, Starbucks may be reminding us how to reclaim culture.
 
One cup at a time.
 
James Emery White
 
Sources
 
“Starbucks remakes its future with an eye on beer and wine,” by Bruce Horovitz, USA Today, October 18, 2010.  Online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-10-18-starbucks18_CV_N.htm
 
Veno and ventis at a Starbucks near you, The Today Show, Tuesday, October 19, 2010.  View online at http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/39737111#39737111 
 
The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community by Ray Oldenburg (1999).
 
“Third Place,” Wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place.
 
 
Editor’s Note
 
To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world.




Here are some of my quick reactions to this piece by White...



Could (and should) the church do this? (create a "third place" environment in our community) How would you do it? The entrepreneur in me says, "Let's do this thing yesterday!" The pastor in me says, "Whoa, why can't you take the church to existing 'third places'." Then I wonder, can we do both?

I really see this "Third place" in our culture (even though I don't like Starbuck's in our town). The question is, do we do it or do we just redeem the ones already out there.

Mark Batterson est. Ebeneezer's in DC and it's voted the best coffee place in Wash, DC. They give all the proceeds to missions and their offices are upstairs. (so his church budget doesn't pay for the buildings their offices are in and where at least one worship service happens nor does it appear to pay for all their missions giving). Hmmm...they seem to have embraced the 'third place' idea with great effectiveness. His blog is here.

Never thought of the Temple as a "third place"...I always equated it with the weekly worship/outreach. But I see this...

Did you ever see the Temple as inferior to the Tabernacle? Stephen seems to make this case in Acts 7. Think about it. What's the main difference in the 2? The Tabernacle is mobile...

So putting these together...does the church create 'third places', go to 'third places' or both? What do you think and why?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I'm Challenged by Tim Keller's msg

Keller challenges me to do what I already knew I needed to do...but am afraid to do...

...take the church to the city.

I remember a message I heard years ago by Charles Lyons, Pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago. He was speaking to students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary not long after I graduated.

Lyons' point in the talk was: It's always been about the cities. Paul went from city to city. Why? Because that's where the Holy Spirit led him. But why? Because that's where culture begins and is shaped. The world is influenced by our cities. Therefore, if we want to shape, influence and create culture as the church, then we need to be in the cities.

What I liked about Keller's talk is that he gives us a basic How-to. (My notes) Basically, he says we must do 2 things to impact a city with the Gospel and the Kingdom of God:

1. Plant or renew contextual (read: Culturally sensitive) churches. (He lists several things this kind of church is and does in this talk)

2. Establishing city-wide gospel movements. He defines this as a gospel movement that is growing at a greater rate than the city population itself. And he makes it clear: it's going to take the church working together for this to happen. (He gives how this can work in the talk as well)

His talk is concise and chalked full of practical advise. He is a pastor who is living this out and leading his church in New York City to do the same. He's seeing results. He's credible and spot-on.

Lord, I pray you'll break me from my self-centered, build-my-own-tribe mentality. Exchange it for your selfless, build the Kingdom of God together mentality. Help me connect with others who are already doing this in my city. Help others to begin to align their hearts and lives in this direction as well. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Take Him to the City


Tim Keller Argues For Churches In Cities [Lausanne] from Kenny Jahng on Vimeo.

Here are my notes from listening:


Tim Keller, speaker, Why we can and need to reach cities?

People are moving into cities much faster than the church is moving into cities.

How do we reach cities?

1.     Through planting contextual churches.
2.     Establishing city-wide gospel movements.

1.     Through planting contextual churches. Contextual = There’s a difference between America and urban America. We tend to transplant rural or suburban churches to the city and then wonder why it doesn’t work. Here are 10 things that would illustrate a contextual church in the city.
a.     Culturally sensitive. Have to be extremely culturally sensitive. Because we’re going to be uniting different cultures creating tension that must be dealt with. Any city that is to flourish in the city it must be multi-cultural. An urban church has to constant complaint about racial and cultural issues, be patient with and work through them. They will not go away if you remain multi-cultural.
b.     Have to be churches that challenge people to integrate their faith and their work. Work is more important to people in cities than elsewhere. Most churches don’t give people in their careers much guidance within their careers. Entrepreneurial Forum at Redeemer Pres in NYC. That is, church planting through people’s jobs.
c.      Urban sensibilities.  You must be comfortable with urban people being edgy, and liking change, disorder, and diversity.
d.     Evangelism. In cities, evangelism is complicated. In London, Muslims view Christians as loose morally while secular Brits view Christians as too narrow morally. Evangelism has to be a high priority in the city. It’s really the only way to grow there. It’s almost missions-like because of various cultures.
e.     Be famous for it’s care for the poor. If seeing you only growing by evangelism, they will think you’re just doing it for yourself. If see your love for the poor, they’ll see Jesus.
f.      Artists are an ethnic group in your city and church. An artist-friendly church must include them.
g.     Relationships are more important here than anywhere.
h.     Urban church training should be done in the church near their relationships.
2.     Establishing city-wide gospel movements. A city can’t be reached by a single church or even single network. It needs a city-reaching movement. That is a movement that is growing faster than the city population. What creates a movement?
a.     Inner core: 5-8 church planting movements in different denominations. Why? Because we reach different kinds of people.
b.     Outer core: If I love the city, I will want to grow the movement over my tribe. Around these churches you need “specialist ministry networks”:
                                               i.     a network of prayer
                                              ii.     evangelistic specialists that help reach youth and college age
                                            iii.     justice and mercy initiatives
                                            iv.     get Christians together in their vocational fields
                                              v.     faith work initiative ministries-helps Christians stay in the city
                                            vi.     have these leaders regularly meeting together (kingdom-minded, not turf-minded) asking the question together, “What does our city need?”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

4URw/Me

4URw/Me

"Even though I walk
       through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
       I will fear no evil,
       for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me." -David, Psalm 23:4


Monday, October 11, 2010

What fruit does an apple tree bear?

I like this quote I read today from Neil Cole:
The true fruit of an apple tree is not an apple, but more apple trees. Within the fruit is found the seed of the next generation. Christ in us is the seed of the next generation. The difference this seed can leave in the soil of a people group is significant. We all carry within us the seed of future generations of the church. We are to take that seed and plant it in the soil of every people group under the authority of our King.
I would add that the ultimate true fruit is glory to God. When an apple tree bears fruit that bears seeds that bear more trees that bear more apples (and so on) that's an amazing organism in action. Who could even think that up much less create it...from scratch...from nothing?

God. Therefore, the ultimate fruit is worship of and glory for God.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Radical is more than the diagnosis--It's the prescription.

David Platt talks straight with the American Christian. And he does it with grace and truth. But it's not for the squeamish.

With scripture, personal stories and stories from others who are taking the words of Jesus seriously, Platt not only diagnoses the disease of the American Dream--He offers a prescription.

To the half-way alert Christian, Platt really doesn't offer a lot new. Many have heard this before. It's been preached already. But he lays it out in such a...convicting way...that you can't escape his conclusions. He exposes a huge symptom of the American Dream: spiritual blindness. What you're left with is you and your American Dream--face to face wondering who will flinch first.

This is a dangerous book to read. It truly could change your life in a dangerous way. Talking about faith as a living and dying dynamic does that. Platt does that.

Probably what I like most about this book is that he doesn't try to load on the guilt. (The Holy Spirit does that just fine, thank you) In fact, after his diagnosis, he gives you a plan. A prescription. A way to respond that is solid, challenging and hope-filled.

Thanks David for saying what needed to be said to us American Christians and for doing it with grace and truth. May we change and become more like the Christ we say we follow.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Speaking at Historical Camp Meeting

The Grace worship band and I get to lead worship at the Cypress Swamp Camp Meeting Oct. 22. We'll lead the 11 am service that Fri. There's a lot of history here (not to mention incredible food!). What a privilege to be able to worship together in a place with such a spiritual legacy.

We'll sing It is Well (Todd Fields ver), How Great is Our God, Wonderful Cross, Heart of Worship and Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). I'll speak on why we shouldn't be afraid of anything from 1 Samuel 18 and Acts 18.

If you can come out, we'd love to see you!

Directions

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker: Book Review & Summary


Book Review:
Wow. I just finished reading it. Wow...

From halfway through the book to the end each page is a crescendo of adrenaline and passion...truth and love.

Blood

The images of God's infinite love for His Bride, is all over this story. I'll never sing about the blood of Christ the same way. I now have a much greater understanding of the power of the blood of Christ. No wonder so many hymns include this theme in their verses...

Hero

A new picture of heroism is in this book. Another view of the love of God as well. It seems that Dekker can't find enough ways to entrall us with his heroes...this hero, Thomas (from the Circle series by Dekker).

Song of Solomon

Something I did while reading this novel was read through the Biblical book Song of Songs or Song of Solomon. Dekker mentioned it's influence on this story in an interview I heard recently. I "happened" to be reading through the Bible and hit the beginning of that book of the Bible. Today. So I read it through completely this morning before getting back to IV. (in the New Living Translation) It's influence was vivid. I recommend this as part of your reading experience. It will take you less than 20 minutes. I suggest a modern translation for greatest clarity like the NLT like here.

His Story

This one will be read and read again. Why? Because it fulfills Dekker's mission in writing I remember him telling us at The Gathering in Franklin, TN in 2009. That all his stories are just retellings of The Story. His Story. Ah, and what a beautiful story it is!

If you think that this is just Ted's attempt to cash in on the vampire phenomena in novels today, don't buy it. He shames those stories. And actually, that is a small part of the storyline anyway. In fact, his mythology began before all of that. Back in another powerful story found in a a few lost books and a circle of colors: Black, Red, White and Green.

So here is my disclaimer: Yes, Thomas Nelson sent me a free copy to read and review to my heart's content. And I've done this several times before. But few books have moved me like this one. Few indeed.

I recommend this book for you to read and to give away. For those considered His Bride and for those not yet so blessed.

May the blood of Immanuel's Veins flow through yours...

Darien of Roe, Lover of the Great Romancer


Book Description from Thomas Nelson

This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice.

Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover.

With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds.

Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow.

Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

Book Trailer

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Science & Faith

Shared by James Emery White (see in full here on his blog):

So once again we should remind ourselves of the words of Robert Jastrow, for 20 years the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, on what continues to be the best prediction for the final interplay between science and religion:
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Monday, September 13, 2010

9-11-2010 on 9-12-2010

I want to pass along these thoughts by my friend "Barney" Barnes. Retired Naval Aviator, Chief Deputy (among many other things), this gentleman, my senior by about 20 years, invests in the lives of men for the sake of the gospel. He also loves this country and has a lot to say that my generation needs to hear. So, with that said, here are his thoughts on 9-11 this year. DRG

Some Thoughts on 9-11-01—on 9-12-10

Yesterday I, like many millions of Americans, spent some quality time reviewing and reflecting on the unfolding of the events of September 11, 2001. My thoughts naturally flowed into how those events have impacted our nation and our world over these last nine years. I was somewhat surprised at the extent to which the magnitude of the attack had been minimized in my own mind. I had forgotten the colossal nature of the twin towers’ collapse and the momentary fear, panic, and stunned paralysis on the faces of Americans as the diabolical plot methodically played out. You may have had a similar experience but now it is 12 September once again.

Although it was often reported that “3000 Americans were killed” it is important to note that the actual number of victims of the terrorist attack was 2,977. While the majority of these were Americans, more than 90 countries lost citizens to the carnage. This number, like the 2,350 killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is the number that will live in infamy and forever darken what was to be a bright, late summer day in 2001. We should not denigrate the lives of such helpless victims by carelessly speaking of the magnitude of their sacrifice by even one life.

Accordingly, I believe it wise and prudent to review a brief construct of the 2,977. First we must remember the 246 passengers and crew aboard the four airplanes who endured the horrific and torturous ride to their deaths. Then there are the 2,606 men, women and children in the Twin Towers and on the ground who were simply beginning their Tuesday morning activities. Among these 2,606 dead are 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 8 private EMT/EMS. Lastly there are the 125 who died in the Pentagon attack of which 55 were military personnel.

I can not help but remember the words spoken over another series of killing fields where, during a 3 day battle, 3,155 Union troops and 3,500 Confederate troops were killed in action. We also know that approximately 15,000 were wounded on each side and that, statistically, 15% of these would soon die of their wounds. Accordingly, well over 10,000 were killed at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address begins simply …“Four score and seven years ago our Fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” These words, rooted in The Declaration of Independence, have been a river of life across the generations and resonate in my spirit and animate my thinking on this September 12th. President Abraham Lincoln ends his epoch address with the same profound simplicity …“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain---that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom---and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Thomas Jefferson often spoke of eternal vigilance as being the price of liberty. Achieving this high standard is not an easy task. It is, however, the requirement. It can not be achieved by a government program. It can only be achieved in the hearts and actions of those who love liberty. Perhaps one way we could uphold this standard is by being resolute…“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain” and look humblyand intently to God to “crown our Good with Brotherhood…from sea to shining sea!”

Prepared by: John R. “Barney” Barnes

CDR USN® 9-12-10