Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Those who say they have faith...

Last night I was talking with a customer at Starbucks while on my ten (a ten minute break). It started raining cats and dogs for the first time in months, so of course, we were blabbing on about that when he exclaimed: “I love all this f****** rain! I hope the power goes out like it did at Berean a couple of months ago.”

“Don’t you work at Berean?” I inquired.

“Sure do.”

“And you’re a Christian?”

“Yeah. I curse like a sailor, but I believe in Jesus Christ,” he announced.

“Uh-huh,” I unenthusiastically muttered. “What church do you attend?”

“St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa,” he answered.

I left the conversation there only because I was technically still being paid by Starbucks. Otherwise, I would have continued as follows: “If you claim to believe in Christ, should you really be boasting in your sin? Also, I’d love to share my gospel with you …”

As I went back to work, one passage of Scripture was burning in my mind. Any guesses? James chapter 2, specifically verses 14-26. This fellow professed faith in Christ. But do his works back up his profession? I would argue no. He flaunts his sin before others. Even when asked about his faith he expresses no shame in his sin. Finally, he goes to an apostate church: the Roman Catholic Church.

“Gosh darnit Casey, well who are you to judge?!” I recognize that I am not the Judge over men’s souls and their destinies. But I can recognize a Christian by his fruit, just as I can recognize an unbeliever by his fruit. When someone’s life is defined by sin, as this man’s life is, upon what basis should I consider him a Christian? He has no valid profession of faith. I’m willing to bet he doesn’t believe in the true gospel – evidenced by his attending the Roman Church. He has no remorse for sin, even when asked by a fellow believer.

1 John 3:10, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

What that man needs is to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ can save him not only punishment of sins, but from his life of sin.

This fellow is a regular at my store. I’d appreciate your prayers for him.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Reformed issues about the gospel - Part 3

Hello Dee,

You said: “I am reading a recommended book called Systematic Theology 2 and 3 written by Dr. Norman Geisler. Do you know of it?”

I know of Dr. Geisler, and have read sections of his Systematic Theology. I've enjoyed his book on skepticism.

You said: “His all-goodness: I am sure some say his goodness is an attribute and love is an act of his goodness. But 1 John 4:16 says GOD IS LOVE and that term applies to his essence. The definition of love is willing the good of its object. So the term used for God's love is omnibenevolence, means all-good. So if God is omnibenevolent and whatever he is he is completely, then God is unlimited goodness. Granted that love is a characteristic of God , he must be all-loving. To change that would be to imply God has parts. Then we would destroy God's essence.”

God is certainly a loving God, but this is not His only attribute. God is also described as holy. In fact, “holy” is the most common adjective describing God in the Bible. God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6). However, the numerous times God is described as “holy” does not mean God is more holy than He is loving. No, God is both holy and loving. This does not divide God up into “parts,” as if to say that God cannot have more than one attribute.

You said: “So God cannot choose (which implies less then ALL) to have special love for some and not others. That would be a contradiction of his very own character.”

I’m glad you have clearly stated your presupposition that God lacks the ability to choose to give His special love to some.

Romans 9:10-13 defends God’s right and ability to love whom He wills: “10And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." 13Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."”

Paul uses Isaac’s children, Jacob and Esau, as his example. Before the twins were born, before they had done any good or bad works, God chose to love Jacob and hate Esau. God’s choice was not based on their works, but solely according to His own purpose. God did not have to choose to love either of the twins. But God decided to be merciful upon Jacob (notice the next few verses in the passage).

So when you say that God cannot choose to love some and not others, doesn’t this contradict Paul’s argument in Romans 9?

You said: “No, we don't deserve anything of GOD. Including his all-loving character. He offers his love because He is love and no other reason, not because of anything we do or didn't do.”

I’m glad we agree on this =).

When I asked if all people receive God’s special love, what I meant was: “Does God give His special love to all people?” You answered this above by stating your presupposition that God is incapable of not loving everyone equally.

You said: “I read the words form Ephesians 2:1 and 2:5. I do not believe I can change myself alive spiritually.”

Again, I am glad we agree that spiritually dead people cannot raise themselves to spiritual life.

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. He describes their unconverted state as “dead in trespasses and sins.” Unconverted men are “dead,” that is, they cannot make positive steps towards God. Dead men have no spiritual understanding, and cannot believe. This is why the Apostle says in verse 5 of this chapter: “5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” We were dead, and God made us alive.

You said: “Can sinners dead in sin repent or believe? It depends on how you define dead. If you mean dead as in a corpse(physically dead) then they can not respond to anything because they are in a morge, they have no life in them. But if you mean dead(spiritually dead) as in seperated from God, then due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit one can answer the call and receive the gift of salvation.”

Yes, I was referring to the “dead in trespasses and sins” that Paul uses in Ephesians 2 … spiritually dead. All people are born dead to the things of God. They cannot make themselves alive. They cannot choose to make themselves alive, because spiritually dead people cannot make positive spiritual choices towards God.

You said: “I don't get Deut. 29:29 and its relation to this subject but isn't that about Moses asking the Israelites to recommit their obedience to the law of God? I guess you can explain this to me and how it applies to Gods special love.”

Moses’ wrote that there are secrets only God knows, and there are things He has revealed to us. When you asked me how one can be sure if God has predestined you to be one of His elect, I cited Deuteronomy 29:29 because God has not revealed to us who He predestined. That is secret knowledge. I challenged you to examine yourself and see if you have repented and believed. If so, then you have reasonable assurance of your salvation. If not, then you should beg God to have mercy on you, a sinner.

Thanks Dee, I look forward to your response,

In Christ,
Casey Ryan

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bucks Adventures: Behind the Counter

I have been a Barista for about three weeks, and it has been so much fun. My partners are a joy to work with. They continue to demonstrate their unending patience towards me during my training. I know more about coffee than I ever thought possible, and there is still so much to learn! One day I will count the number of drinks we’ve got on the menu (not including the infinite possibilities from modifying drinks).

Time flies like no other while on the clock. This morning I opened at 4:30am (yes … AM =)) and it was noon before I knew what hit me. You’re on the go the entire time. Between the work and the free beverages while working, I could probably work all day and hardly notice (kidding).

Funny story – last Friday night, around 11pm, we’re working hard, goofing around, and laughing it up. We started adding a “UH” following every drink call, which was then repeated three or four or five times by my partners. Imagine hearing: “I have an Iced Quad Venti Five Pump No Whip Mocha for Mike, UHH!!!” repeated over and over. I couldn’t stop laughing. See what caffeine does to people?

I have enjoyed being up before the sunrise though. It’s nice to know that the sun does actually rise. One moment it’s pitch black outside, and the next it’s bright as the sun (umm, yea).

One of my goals is to prove myself a good worker. I want to do the best I can at all times. When asked to do something I need to do it immediately, without complaint. My attitude should be positive, even when I’m having a crummy day. Why do I want to do this? Because the Bible says that when we serve our earthly masters we are serving Christ. So in my case, when I serve my managers, or my shift supervisors, I am really serving Christ. This should give me all the motivation I would ever need to be a hardworking employee. By God’s grace alone can I do this. Therefore I will seek the blessing of God each day. I’d appreciate your prayers.

Anywho, come in and see me sometime. I open (4:30am-noon) and close (5:30pm-12:30am).


Over My Head

“Everyone knows I’m in over my head. With eight seconds left in overtime she’s on your mind.” --The Fray

Every now and then my friends ask me if there are any girls I’m interested in. For a little while I honestly had no one in mind. Thank goodness things have changed. That’s all I can say for now. Oh, and w00t

Case of Base


Believe it or not, I only have a few things to say about Pirates. It was overly long. By this I mean that there were jarbled portions of the film that were almost irrelevant to the plot. The acting was so-so. I wasn’t impressed by the special effects. The plot did not excite me. In fact, I was so bored that I almost fell asleep (which is unheard of in the official Casey Ryan Chronicles (Purchase your copy today!)). To summarize in one word: snooooooooring!

So do yourself a favor and skip Pirates. Instead, see the movie of the year: Superman Returns =)

Oh Snap I am Long Overdue on Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates. Over two weeks without one word from Case of Base! Can you hardly stand it?! I apologize to my audience of three (you know who you are, and you each get a gold star) and I promise more regular updates.

Where have I been? Well, I’ve been working at both jobs: Starbucks and American Family Insur. Still pumping some iron. Hanging out with buddies. And Reading … books.

Now I shall ask the question you’re all dying to ask: does any of these excuses excuse me from blogging? Answer: Absolutely Jose No Way! – err, you know what I mean. It’s true that I am busy, but never too busy for the blogosphere. Expect regular updates. Hold me to it. If I ever go four days without an update I will do 100 pushups.

Time for some real updates …


Monday, July 03, 2006

I don't blame people for their mistakes...

Friday night was my first busy night working at Bucks. This was also my first time on the register. Earlier in the day I finished my training module that supposedly prepared me to do all things glorious using the register – eh, it does a pretty good job. After two hours of the line clear to the door I learned quite a bit about the register. In fact, I’ve been thinking of giving both registers a name (too bad “Leia” is already taken by my truck).

Seriously though, I had a blast. I was excited to be there. They threw me to the wolves, and now I fear nothing. I can handle anything they throw at me. Still got a ton to learn, but I know I can do it.

My partners (aka co-workers) are truly wonderful people. Everyone is friendly. Everyone is encouraging. To say they have been helpful to me in my training would be a huge understatement.

So my shift is coming to a close, and it’s just Patrick, Ericka, and I. I don’t know the back-story to what happened exactly, but Ericka did some minor slip-up – who cares. Patrick, totally kidding, says in a serious tone: “I don’t blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask that they pay for them…”

LOL! I busted up laughing. I knew he was quoting some movie, but couldn’t put my finger on it.

Any guesses???

Jurassic Park. Mr. Hammond says that to Dennis.

Anyways, it was a classic moment. You rock Patrick.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and see me. I open and close.

Case of Base, now more caffeinated than ever!