dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


Na08 Recap

Conference registration: $150
Three nights in the Galt House: $85
Transportation: $35
Two trips to the bookstore: $23
(Mostly Unhealthy) food: $34
Main session downloads: FREE



Cute (adj.)

It has long been an observance of mine that a particular word—popularized and almost exclusively employed by the female gender—often fails to convey specific significance. The breadth of application of this word, combined with the ambiguity of its implications, easily results in confusion and bewilderment, particularly for the male population, who are typically as inclined to its usage as they are to spend their summer afternoons sipping tee on a veranda.

Possessing the distinct blessing (and advantage) of having five sisters, I feel it is my duty and obligation to my brotherhood to assist in unraveling this great mystery of the feminine vocabulary. In order to both ensure accuracy and assuage the fears of misrepresentation that are even now weighing upon the minds and hearts of females around the world, I have asked my sisters and mother to elucidate.

My unassailably scientific methodology consisted of gathering the expert forum (my aforementioned mother and sisters), providing them with categories (produced from years of my personal observations), and typing away as they provided generous content.

While I realize the slight possibility that some areas of the female perspective may not be represented among the ladies of my own family, I count the effort worthwhile—I would venture to guess that most men only understand two or three of the following usages. (I will leave any girls reading this guessing as to which those are.)


1. Babies—
Monica: “Elizabeth H-------.”
Natalie “Small things are cute.”
Monica: “No, miniature things are cute; they’re like a miniature person.”
Audre: “No, miniature people aren’t cute. Think of Gulliver’s Travels.”
Monica: “Babies and kids are so cute when you see them and you just want to hold them. They have cute feet, cute hands—everything about them is cute.”
Monica: “Also, because they’re so vulnerable; they depend on you for everything.”

Syn: Precious, Adorable

2. Kids—
Monica: “When kids say things that are smarter than you think they would know–”
Mom: “Precocious.”
Natalie “Or they say things that everyone is thinking but won’t say–”
Monica: “Although that can be embarrassing.”
DeAnna: “It’s really cute when little boys are wearing a suit and tie and look like a little man.”
Monica: “A little cute man.”
DeAnna: “Also a cute thing about kids is that they can be gullible. They’re so trusting.”

Syn: Precocious

3. Other Girls—
Monica: “Usually their appearance and mannerisms—clothes, hairdo, jewelry, makeup.”
DeAnna: “Girls can have a cute face, too. There’s different grades: cute, pretty—a girl can be both cute and pretty—and then there’s beautiful and gorgeous.”
Audre: “They don’t necessarily seem girly-girl, as in nail polish, but fresh off the farm.”
Monica: “Innocent and...”
Audre: “Maidenly.”
Mom: “Untainted.”

Syn: Fresh, Youthful

4. Guys—
ME: “What, none of you want quoted on this?”
Julia: “They’ve gotta be kind of... good looking.”
DeAnna: “Smiles can be cute, like if they’re a little crooked.”
Monica: “Yeah, and hair—like if it’s ruffled up.”
Julia: “But some boys try to do that on purpose and it’s not cute.”
DeAnna: “Yeah, you can’t try to be cute. You have to be cute without knowing you’re cute.”
Mom: “Intentional quirkiness is definitely uncute. What’s cute is a natural quirk that adorns a noble character.” [all the girls concur]

Syn: Boyish charm

5. Couples—
Monica: “When they go so well together it’s like they complement each other.”
DeAnna: “It’s not just that it’s a cute guy plus a cute girl; it’s that they’re cute together.”
Mom: “When they’re funny in the ways they annoy each other.”
Monica: “When they’re concerned for each other. And when they’re so excited to be together.”
Mom: “When they’ve got a warm and tender expression to their love—especially for older couples.”

Syn: Complementary, Tender love

6. Mannerisms—
Mom: “Natural quirks—”
DeAnna: “That you’ve come to like because you’ve come to like the person who has them.”
Julia: “Something that is funny but unexpected.”
Mom: “Humorous idiosyncracies that so nearly match their personality that it tickles me.”

Syn: Unique

7. Clothing—
Mom: “A lot of times I’ll think ‘that’s so cute’ when somebody can put together an outfit that totally complements them.”
Mom: “A fresh idea on what can go together.”
Monica: “Some clothes are pretty, but they’re not cute.”
Mom: “Pretty clothes reflect class and taste, but cute clothes connote youthfulness.”
Monica: “It’s the complete outfit that’s cute.”
DeAnna: “Or a cute idea to do something a certain way.”
DeAnna: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy wear cute clothes... which is a good thing.”

Syn: Youthful, Complementary

8. Decor—
Mom: “Putting things together that is a fresh idea. You wouldn’t have thought of it together before, but it creates a satisfying impression. It might not seem to be compatible at first, but when you see them together it’s like, ‘Oh, that works.’”
DeAnna: “A homey feeling, too, because it doesn’t feel like you can’t touch it.”
Monica: “Miniature—teacups, dollhouses...”
DeAnna: “Things that would normally be overlooked, but are emphasized. Everyone notices roses, but it’s cute when someone paints forget-me-nots on a teacup.”

Syn: Fresh, Original

9. Animals—
Julia: “Baby animals.”
Natalie “Except for mice.”
Monica: “Innocent, precious...”
Natalie “Helpless.”
Monica: “Usually they’re furry. And usually they have such cute eyes.”
[chorus: “yeah”]
Monica: “Baby animals are so cute because they need nurtured and cared for, and they’re dependent.”

Syn: Cuddly, Vulnerable

10. Cars & Houses—
Mom: “They remind you of a toy.”
DeAnna: “Again, the small aspect.”
Monica: “Usually cute cars are expensive.”
Mom: “Customized with little quirks.”
DeAnna: “Cottages are cute. Cabins aren’t cute; they’re rustic.”
Mom: “Something you never would have thought of.”
Audre: “On the smaller side.”

Syn: Personalized, Charming, Enchanting

DeAnna: “And there are some times we say cute when we really don’t mean it. At the moment we lack a better word.”
[Personal Note: Now everything makes sense]
DeAnna: “Also, just because things aren’t cute doesn’t mean we don’t like them.”

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Book Review: Why Small Groups?

What is the purpose of small groups? How do small groups serve in building strong local churches? How are small groups supposed to serve in strengthening biblical fellowship? For that matter, what is biblical fellowship?

If you find yourself asking these questions--or ones similar to them--you would benefit from reading Why Small Groups?, one of five books in the Pursuit of Godliness series published by PDI (now Sovereign Grace Ministries) in the mid 1990s. Edited by C.J. Mahaney, with contributions from six other pastors, Why Small Groups? casts a vision for active small group participation by all church members. Chapter topics include the purposes of (and hindrances to) fellowship, the role of the small group leader, and the practice of loving and caring correction, among others. (To view chapter titles, peruse the text, or even print it out to read it, check out the free PDF downloads.)

Rating: Recommended



Reviewing Humble Orthodoxy, Week 10

Title: Discern Your Culture
Speaker: Al Mohler
Session: Main Session #3, Na07
Date: May 27, 2007

Main Text
Matthew 22:23-33

Some Opening Thoughts
It’s obvious, at this point, that I will not be able to finish posts on all five remaining messages. I think I’ll probably be able to fit one more in before the conference, and simply listen to the rest in my car (which I am excited to do).

This message is typical Al Mohler content. Even typing at a keyboard, I usually found myself unable to keep up with him. There is one thing that I must comment on, though, since I strongly disagree him: cargo shorts are a good thing. (No, there’s no good reason for having iPods hanging out of them, but Dr. Mohler slammed cargos in general.) They’re great for carrying around wallets, keys, cell phones, notepads...

A Brief Outline
–> What is discernment? It is not only knowing what is right; it is knowing how important something is, what’s central versus what’s peripheral, what are truth issues versus what are taste issues.
–> What is culture? A system of language, symbols, laws, products, and institutions, along with presuppositions, that emerge from the human situation.
5 Wrong Mottoes for dealing with the culture
1. Let’s get completely wet
–> Just dive in and assume it’s all neutral.
2. Let’s stay completely dry
–> Have nothing to do with the culture.
–> This is not possible (at least, not Biblically possible). A big danger is thinking that we’re not in the culture when we really are.
3. Let’s take a dip
–> Dropping in the culture as it’s convenient; or dropping in thinking that we can then dry ourselves completely off.
–> The truth, however, is that there’s no basic way to enter the culture without being in contact with the entire system.
4. Let’s take a sip
–> “We’re going to understand another culture by doing an immersion experience for a little while, then we’ll understand them.”
–> This, however, is naive.
5. Let’s treat culture by watching it like it’s an aquarium
–> You can’t just look at a culture from a distance. This is a great challenge for missions and evangelism.
–> The most dangerous things about our culture are the things we don’t even notice anymore. For Christians, this is particularly dangerous, because often the last things we see with the eyes of Christ are those things that are closest to us.

Other Points
–> You can’t have maturity without discernment; one of the signs of maturity is discernment.
–> Matthew 22:23-33
–> The two main criteria we are to use in evaluating the culture are love of God and love of neighbor, in that order.
–> Nothing tells us so much about ourselves as our loves, and that which we love most is our God.
–> Why do we love our neighbor? Because we love God, and because God loves our neighbor.
–> Every one of those persons with whom we will share the Gospel is deeply entwined in the culture.
–> Augustine’s two cities: there is a heavenly city, and there is an earthly city. There are two loves corresponding to the two cities: love of God, and love of man.
–> If the heavenly city is marked by the love of God, then, for Christians, the earthly city is the place where God’s love is our responsibility.
–> One of the earliest Christians put it this way: “for us, no place is home, and every place is home.”
–> Our epistemology is rooted in the fact that we believe that God has spoken to us in the Scriptures. We have a means of epistemological rescue: our knowledge is not limited to what any culture can tell us. We do not judge the Scriptures by the culture, but the culture by the Scriptures.
–> Ethnicity, race, and cultural differences are not things we should see as evidence of a fallen humanity, but as evidences of a glorious God.
–> When Jesus humbled Himself to take on humanity, he also humbled Himself to take on certain forms of culture (language, dress, food). He entered the culture, but He was not bound by that system. He was, at one and the same time, Lord and Master of that system.
–> We are not saved from culture; we are saved from sin.
–> Wherever the church is, it is a counterculture in the midst of its culture.
–> Discernment means understanding that we are fish swimming in a giant, toxic sea. We aren’t supposed to jump out of the water; but, one day, we will be snatched out of the water.
–> The most important things about the will of God, we already know. Scripture has already revealed to us almost everything we will ever need to know about the will of God.

Some Application Questions
–> Do I tend to fall into any of the five errors in the way I treat the culture?
–> Do I evaluate the culture based on love of God and love of neighbor?
–> What are some aspects of culture that I don’t even notice anymore? What might some of the dangers be?

One Thing That Has Stuck With Me
I remembered him going over the five wrong mottoes toward culture. I’m not sure, however, if I could have named them all, so re-listening was definitely helpful.

One Thing I Re-learned By Re-listening
I want to make it a point to specifically ask myself, when evaluating culture, how my thoughts are based on a Biblically understanding of love of God and love of neighbor.

–> What are one or two things that you learned in listening to this teaching?
–> If you were re-listening to it, what are some ways that God has used this teaching in your life over the last two years?
–> Also, feel free to give suggestions on the focus and format of these posts.
–> Finally, as great as it is to be able to talk about this online, talk about it personally with people you know. Use it as an opportunity to share with each other what God is teaching you, and how He has given (and is giving) you the grace to apply it.

This was Week 10 in the fifteen weeks of reviewing humble orthodoxy, leading up to New Attitude 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky on May 24-27. Listen to “Discern Your Culture” for free.

Next Week: Discern Your Heart (C.J. Mahaney)

Background on this series: Humble Orthodoxy



The Turning Point

The man stood motionless in the dusk, staring forward, lost in thought. Tomorrow would be the anniversary of that terrible day, so many years ago. He hated to think about it; and yet, somehow, he had come again to revisit the place—and its memories.

He looked up at the tree. Its branches hovered solemnly overhead, just as they had twenty years before. The tree was older and now grander with the passage of years, but it was still bent—no, deformed. The gash seemed to be staring up at him with a hideous grin, as if to tell him, “It was your fault. It never would have happened if it weren’t for you.”

He hated the sight of that old tree, and usually did all that he could to avoid driving by it. Why it had survived he could not see, unless to torment his memory. But the tree wasn’t the only reminder. He looked down at the scars on his arms...

He had made many wrong choices in his youth. After falling in with the wrong crowd, he began a life of petty crime. Petty, that is, until he decided to rob the bank. He knew that it would devastate his parents when they found out. He knew that his brother and sister—hard-working and law-abiding—would feel betrayed. What he did not know was that his brother was on duty that night.

As he held up the bank, the emergency call went out. His brother answered. The flashing lights appeared in his rearview mirror as he pulled away in his car. A high speed chase followed, and continued until, about three miles outside of town, he missed the bend in the road. His car careened into the tree. The police car pulled up behind as his own car became engulfed in flames. Memories of what followed were scattered... his brother walking into the blaze to pull him out... throwing him down on the ground... smothering the scorching flames... shielding him from the explosion...

The man shivered. The night was cold; the darkness, colder. No longer at the side of the road, he stood in the cemetery, weeping. He felt a hand rest on his shoulder. “I thought I would find you here,” his wife said. “The children were worried.” The man lifted his gaze from the gravestone in front of him. “You know why he did it,” she whispered. “He was at peace with God; and he knew that you were not.”

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A Double Portion

"When they had crossed [the Jordan], Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." (2 Kings 2:9-10)
I wonder what kind of answer Elijah expected. I wonder if Elisha thought for a while, or gave his answer immediately. I tend to think the latter, but either way, he made a startling request: a double portion of Elijah's spirit.

Think about this with me for a moment. It is a common thing to say, "I hope to be half the [you fill in the blank] that so-and-so is." It seems like a nice way to honor a person. It seems humble. But Elijah did not ask for a half portion--or even a full portion--of the spirit of Elijah. He asked for a double portion.

I think that what Elisha didn't ask for is significant. He didn't ask for a double portion of Elijah's power, nor to be able to make twice Elijah's accomplishments. Elijah's power was from God, and Elisha did receive power--maybe even a double portion, if the number of miracles that 2 Kings records is an indication. But Elisha was not interested in the mere outward manifestation of the hand of God.

Elisha longed for the hand of God in his life. He wanted a passion for the Lord. And so he set his eyes on the Lord, not, ultimately, on Elijah.

That's the other thing I've been pondering: by asking for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, Elisha was indicating that Elijah was not his standard. Role models are good, but when our eyes are fixed on role models to the point that their model becomes our standard, our eyes are no longer on the Lord.

How could Elisha ask Elijah for a double portion of his spirit? A man might go to one he admires and say, "Give me some of what you have." But he does not go to him and say, "Give me more than what you have." Elisha would not live his life trying to "be like Elijah," or simply trying to follow in Elijah's footsteps. God gave the spirit of Elijah. And God could give Elisha an even greater measure.

So what about us? How can I learn from this story? How can you?

Do you read of Jeremiah's boldness in speaking the truth, and think, "That's nice. Maybe God could help me to be a little bit more bold." Do you ask--not just to be more bold, but to be that bold?

Do you look at David's heart for God and say, "Gee, I wish I were a bit more like David"? Or do you say, "Lord, make me a man after your own heart"?

Do you look at the Gospel-centered passion of the apostle Paul and wish that you had a little bit of it? Or do you ask God to give you that same great Gospel passion?

Or more. Dare you ask?

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Reviewing Humble Orthodoxy, Week 9

Title: Discern Your Doctrine
Speaker: Mark Dever
Session: Main Session #2, Na07
Date: May 27, 2007

Main Texts
John 17 & 2 John 10-11

Some Opening Thoughts
Not are doctrinal differences are equal. How do we tell the difference between what is compromise and what is cooperation? How do we discern between primary doctrines that we need to contend for, and secondary doctrines where we can work with each other, despite our differences? Read on. Listen in.

A Brief Outline
Six questions to ask ourselves:
1. Do we follow commands to purify or to unite?
–> We have a tendency to be either too inclusive or too exclusive, to become either a “unity person” or a “purity person.” But we don’t want to play off one aspect of God’s character (His love) with another (His holiness).
–> “Unity people” love John 17. Purity people love 2 John 10-11. How do we take the best of both of these—the unity and the purity that we are commanded in the Bible?
2. What are some common fights that Christians have?
–> Dever listed many. I’m sure you have thought of several already.
3. What are we together for?
–> Before we say, “who do we need to cooperate with?” we need to ask, “what does cooperation mean?”
–> A much higher level of agreement is needed to be members of the same church than to cooperate together in certain events.
4. What must we agree upon?
–> What are the basics, the essentials? (We don’t want to ask this in a “what’s the least I can believe?” manner.)
–> Christian fellowship can only be shared by those who share the Christian faith.
–> Examples of disagreements: disagreements about church membership is not as important as disagreements about who Jesus Christ is.
–> Certain doctrines can go awry, and a person can still bear fruit as a Christian.
5. What may we disagree about?
–> We are not getting permission on how little of God’s Word we can try to get away with obeying; rather we want to see how much we can cooperate.
–> We can work together with another Christian so long as those things that we disagree on won’t prove to be a distraction to our cooperation.
6. How can we disagree well?
–> In essentials unity. In nonessentials diversity. In all things charity.
–> What do I owe the person who differs from me? Love (Ephesians 4:15), respect (Matthew 7:12).
–> When you’re in disagreement, make it evident that you care about them more than you simply care about winning an argument.
–> Consider what goals you share. What is your aim in your conversation?
–> What can I learn from the person I’m differing with?
–> It is good to have Christians friends that disagree with us on some things. It gives us opportunity to display love and to center on the cross.
–> We want to be known more for what we are for rather than what we are against. We want to be known as being for the Gospel.

Other Points
Three ways to discern
1. Through the Bible
–> We learn the truth fundamentally, supremely, finally, and mostly through the Bible.
–> Get to know God’s word; grow in your understanding of it and your love for it.
2. Through our church
–> God does not intend us to be earthly orphans. He has called us to be in local churches that preach the truth well and faithfully, among a people who are growing in godliness.
3. Through our conscience
–> Each of us has a conscience, but because of the fall our consciences are also fallen.
–> We have an inherent sense of right and wrong, but the conscience is inherent, not inerrant.

A four-fold test of a doctrine:
1. How clear is it in Scripture?
2. How clear do others think that it is in Scripture?
3. How near is it (and its implications) to the Gospel?
4. What would the effects be of allowing disagreement in this area?

Doctrines: The essential of the essentials:
1. God
–> We have to believe in the One True God.
2. The Bible
–> If we tell an unbeliever something about God, who knows what they are thinking about. So how do we know the truth about God? He has revealed Himself in the Bible.
3. Gospel
–> Of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
–> Most fundamentally, a Christian is one who believes this Gospel.

Some Application Questions
–> Do I tend to be a “unity person” or a “purity person”? How can I grow in the other area?
–> Do you feel uncomfortable prioritizing some truths above other truths? (Paul didn’t, see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
–> Do I look for ways to learn from people that I differ with, or do I tend to discount everything they say?
–> Do I care more about the truth than I do about “winning the argument”?
–> Is it evident that I care more about the truth than I do about “winning the argument”?

One Thing That Has Stuck With Me
Probably the tension between unity and purity. We need both, but we tend to emphasize one and neglect the other.

One Thing I Re-learned By Re-listening
I didn’t do very well remembering his specific points. I’d especially like to be able to recall his four-fold test of doctrinal importance, and re-listening to this message has been helpful in that area.

–> What are one or two things that you learned in listening to this teaching?
–> If you were re-listening to it, what are some ways that God has used this teaching in your life over the last two years?
–> Also, feel free to give suggestions on the focus and format of these posts.
–> Finally, as great as it is to be able to talk about this online, talk about it personally with people you know. Use it as an opportunity to share with each other what God is teaching you, and how He has given (and is giving) you the grace to apply it.

This was Week 9 in the fifteen weeks of reviewing humble orthodoxy, leading up to New Attitude 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky on May 24-27. Listen to “Discern Your Doctrine” for free.

Next Week: Discern Your Culture (Al Mohler)

Background on this series: Humble Orthodoxy



May's Quote to Ponder

"When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon educations, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do."
--A.C. Dixon