October 31, 2004



y son David was Han Solo for Halloween. He had a great time carving a pumpkin with me. We set it out as it began to get dark and took some pictures. Then David and Kim (my wife) went to the neighbors' houses as I distributed candy to the trick-or-treaters.

The sad observation I have is the huge change from how it was when I was a kid. My parents would get grocery bags full of candy in preparation for Halloween. They would line up a few bags next to the door and distribute it to the lines and lines of kids that came to the house non-stop from the time the sun went down until about 9:00. During that time, my sister and I went door to door and typically filled two grocery bags with candy. We would return home in the middle of the evening to empty our bags on our beds so we could head back out and refill them.

We had only 4 groups of trick-or-treaters and the largest of those groups was only 3 kids. The majority of the time, I stood at the door and looked around the neighborhood hoping to see someone coming our way. I think many parents are so afraid of the dangers now that the kids have lost out on the whole deal. Also, many of the houses in our neighborhood were dark, which in Halloween parlance means, "Don't knock on my door—we don't give out candy."

Very sad.

October 29, 2004

I'm a hedonist


’m teaching adult Sunday school. Wow! This is a new experience for me and it scares me to death. I can sing a solo in front of thousands of people, but teaching a handful of adults makes my legs wobble and my stomach do flips.

The course of study is John Piper's Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. What a fantastic book! My parents and sister always told me that you learn most when you teach. They were so right! I have loved every minute of this—even the studying and preparing.

The basis of Piper's concept is the fact that, as Blaise Pascal said, all of us seek pleasure—whether we want to admit it or not. Pascal actually said that even the person who commits suicide is seeking pleasure in some way, perhaps the pleasure of not having to deal with his current situation.

Piper builds on this premise by looking at the things that we might look to for pleasure and joy. He shows that seeking pleasure in worldly things is basically idolatry. The object of our desire should be God, who alone is able to fulfill our desires and passions, and who wants to bring us joy in Him.

This is a radical but biblical concept and is potentially life-changing. If you would like to live a fulfilled life with great joy, get this book and apply its principles. You won't regret it.

Some comments on the book:

"...a modern manual of true spirituality" —R. C. Sproul

"...[a]soul-stirring celebration of the pleasures of knowing God...a must-read for every Christian, and a feast for the spiritually hungry." ——John MacArthur

"The healthy biblical realism of this study in Christian motivation comes as a breath of fresh air. Jonathan Edwards, whose ghost walks through most of Piper's pages, would be delighted with his disciple." —JI Packer

"The first edition of this book profoundly influenced my life. I am delighted to commend the tenth anniversary edition." —Jerry Bridges