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What if God chooses not to “elect” my children?

Front Page Tough Questions VIP

During the Summer, I worked through the book of Romans in my Sunday messages at Lafayette Community Church. To hear the messages, visit the Great News II page.

One of the topics that Romans raises is the notion of election vs. free will. I took a rather strong position from Romans 9-11 that God chooses who will be saved. I taught that everyone has the freedom to choose God, but because of sin’s deceitfulness no one does unless God makes the first move to choose them and draw them to himself.

This has raised some very interesting questions in our church’s “CONNECT” cards over the past couple of months, and one that came in this past week really got me thinking. Tonight, I wrote a long response to the couple that asked the question, and I thought it would make sense to post the answer here as well. Continue reading

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LCC Weekly :: October 7, 2012

Front Page Lafayette Community Church Leadership

This is part of a series of posts aimed at supporting and encouraging the volunteers of Lafayette Community Church.

Sunday Review

Before I report on this last Sunday, I need to apologize for not putting out a report for the previous week. I have no excuse other than I let myself get too busy with other things.

This past Sunday, we were blessed with Andrew Johnson’s return to the stage as our worship leader. Even though I enjoy leading worship music, I was grateful to have him on stage because this past Sunday was PACKED with some really great stuff. Continue reading

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LCC Weekly :: September 16, 2012

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This past weekend was a real answer to prayer. For me, the biggest thing was that all last week, I was out of commission with some kind of respiratory sickness. It was like a cold, but I was really, really tired. I spent most of Tuesday through Thursday sleeping, and during it all, I had next to no voice. After whispering all week long, I eventually went to the doctor on Friday, got dosed up with some antibiotics, and started feeling better. Nevertheless, the mere fact that I was able to speak on Sunday and have anything worthwhile to say was a real answer to prayer! Continue reading

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LCC Weekly :: September 4, 2012

Front Page Leadership

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how to be a better leader, how to do a better job of organizing and inspiring people around a common vision with healthy relationships, and one conclusion kept coming back to me. I need to do a better job of communicating what is truly important to those who are truly important.

That’s why I’m starting this weekly post. It is my intention to write a summary of the goings on at LCC each week that will primarily be aimed at the leaders and volunteers of our church, but you can listen in to the conversation too. Continue reading

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HOW TO: Create Custom Versions of TextWrangler or other Mac Applications


I maintain two separate workflows. On the one hand, I do a lot of writing, and I like to work in plain text for the most part. As a result TextWrangler is my favorite Mac text editor for that. I have it configured to be all black background, no margins, light color text, etc. It’s perfect for distraction free writing.

I also do web programming and Text Wrangler is the best free text editor for that too. However, when I do web programming, I want syntax coloring, tab indicators, the open file sidebar, and other settings as well.

Ideally, I want to have two copies of TextWrangler with completely different preference files, different icons, etc. I want to create a custom version of my favorite text editor.

With about 20 minutes of Internet searching and 10 more minutes of tweaking, I was able to get 90% of my holy grail customized!

Here’s how to do it yourself with TextWrangler, and I think the principles should apply for creating customized versions of other apps as well.

  1. Copy TextWrangler to a new location (I put it on my desktop at first)
  2. Rename the app file to whatever you want. I chose “DarkRoom” as an homage to WriteRoom.
  3. Right click on the app icon and choose “show package contents”
  4. Double-click on the “Contents” folder
  5. Open up Info.plist using your original TextWrangler App or any other text editor.
  6. Replace all instances of “com.barebones” with “com.custom.barebones” (this changes where OS X stores the preference files on your computer)
  7. OPTIONAL: replace instances of “textwrangler” with your customized name. There is one instance in the original file of “com.barebones.textwrangler” that after step 6 will be called “com.custom.barebones.textwrangler” You can freely change that to anything you want. For mine, I changed the word textwrangler to darkroom.

FINAL OPTIONAL TWEAKS: Replace instances of “TextWrangler” with your customized name. There are hundreds of instances of TextWrangler and changing the wrong ones might break your app, however there are a few ones you can change safely without breaking things. To determine which you can change, read the field. Key string pairs look like this:

<string>TextWrangler text document</string>

You can safely change any string in the following keys:

  • CFBundleTypeName
  • CFBundleName
  • NSMenuItem
  • NSPortName

ADVANCED TWEAKS: You can also change the icons for the app by going into the “Resources” directory and replacing any one of the icons with a different icon so long as you keep the file name of the icon the same.

When you are done, you’ll be able to have two completely different instances of your app running at the same time with different preference settings and you can associate different file types with different apps.

Here’s a screenshot:

For those who want it, here is my entire plist file.


When you open your edited app, it will behave like a completely new installation of TextWrangler and it will use separate preferences files…

HOWEVER: Your customized app and the original TextWrangler app will use the same recent document list. That means if you have one of them set to “reopen last document” it will open the document that is currently open in the other editor. It’s a bit annoying, but I haven’t found a way to solve that problem yet.

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Is Modern Worship too Simplistic?

Front Page Leadership Tough Questions

Earlier this week, a discussion among the worship band members at my church pointed to this article where Bill Blankschaen describes his frustration with worship songs sung in churches on Sunday mornings and tells us “Why I’ve stopped singing in your church.”

As of this writing right now, he has 241 comments, and he only wrote it three days ago (July 15). Clearly, he has struck a nerve—a nerve deep enough to get my worship band talking about it, and a nerve deep enough to make me blog about it.

Continue reading

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Reflections on Sin

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life Tough Questions

Some Context

This past week, a number of stories came out in my local newspaper reporting on and analyzing the arrest of a local pastor. He has been accused of placing and monitoring video equipment in the female bathrooms at the church. If you haven’t read the articles, don’t worry about not knowing the details. I’m not going to address the specifics of that story, but it has burdened my heart so much that I feel a need to reflect here in my semi-public space what these moral failures reveal about God, humanity, and the state of the church. Continue reading

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Harmony Not Unison

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I have just finished my sermon series on gender issues in the Bible and how to understand the biblical teaching on the topic. If you want to hear the entire series, you can click here:

Now, I promised you that I would write some articles here regarding some of the most controversial passages in the Bible regarding gender, and as a matter of fact, I have addressed a good number of them in my four sermons on the topic, but in the process, I have not had the time to write up the articles I wanted to write. Continue reading

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Boys and Girls Part 1

Front Page Tough Questions

This past Sunday, I started a series of messages at Lafayette Community Church entitled “Born this Way” in which I intend to investigate the number of different Bible passages on gender issues.

The biggest problem for me was that for most of the week, I was wrestling with how to tackle the message. You see, there are a lot of controversial passages in the Bible when it comes to gender issues, and I always want to teach the Bible in a compelling, motivational way, and I am always cautious to teach in such a way that the contentious emotions can be defused. So I struggled with the message.

I actually had two different angles I could have gone with the message. One angle was to tackle the emotions by sharing personal stories in light of Genesis 1-3 and illustrating the beauty of our gender differences. The other angle was to survey the major passages in the Bible to get a comprehensive overview of its teaching. Continue reading

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He Came

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  1. Jesus came as Prophet to bring the Word of God to us.
  2. Jesus came as Priest to represent us to the Father.
  3. Jesus came as SON to bring us into God’s family
  4. Jesus came as Savior to take away our sin.
  5. Jesus came as King to receive our submission.

  • to have 1-4 without 5 is pointless mercy
  • to have 5 without 1-4 is Islamic legalism
  • to have them all together is the beautiful harmony of grace
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The Church: Can you be a Christian without going to church?

Front Page Tough Questions

This post is part of a series investigating the most important items of Christian doctrine. View all posts by clicking here or the DOGMA tag above.

This past Sunday, I ended our service by taking some live questions from the congregation, but I wasn’t able to address all the questions live. Therefore I’m tackling some of them through this blog.

Does this mean that you cannot be a Christian unless you go to church?

The simple answer is that you can be a Christian without going to church if you define “Christian” Continue reading

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The Church: Why Sundays?

Front Page Tough Questions

This post is part of a series investigating the most important items of Christian doctrine. View all posts by clicking here or the DOGMA tag above.

This past Sunday, I ended our service by taking some live questions from the congregation, but I wasn’t able to address all the questions live. Therefore I’m tackling some of them through this blog.

If the church is the community of believers who are to be continually gathering and working to build the kingdom, why do we meet on Sunday mornings the way we do? How does this fit and/or conflict with the picture of the church in Acts?

Continue reading

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The Father: God’s will and human freedom

Front Page My Beliefs

This post is part of a series investigating the most important items of Christian doctrine. View all posts by clicking here or the DOGMA tag above.

At the end of our service last Sunday, I took some live questions from the congregation. An interesting pattern revealed itself. Here are all the questions that came in:

  • How do you mix all knowing, all powerful, and free will? Do we mess up his plan? Or does he choose not to know what we are doing so as not to compromise our free will?
  • Can you expand the reality of God’s power & righteousness as it applies to being in or “outside” of God’s will?
  • If the Bible doesn’t discuss a particular issue, is the answer always “It’s God’s Will”?
  • If God knows the future, why did He create us if He knew we would fall?

Each question came from a different person, but nearly every question addressed the issue of how God’s will relates to human free will. Continue reading

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