Showing posts with label Debts Owed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debts Owed. Show all posts

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory of Our Honored Dead

Reposted from Memorial Day 2010


Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember the unpayable debt we owe. In our nation's 233 years of history, 657,970 service men and women have died in combat. That is combat deaths on the battlefield, not total war deaths nor all deaths in the line of duty.

On Memorial Day, May 31, 1982, after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, President Ronald Reagan made the following remarks. While there are references to the geopolitical situations of the era, but the sentiments are timeless.

Mr. President, General, the distinguished guests here with us today, my fellow citizens:

In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.

In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their ``last full measure of devotion'' were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage -- not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves.

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers.

It's not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.

Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries. We must strive to speak of them not belligerently, but firmly and frankly. And that's why we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality. And that's why we must never hesitate to acknowledge the irrefutable difference between our view of man as master of the state and their view of man as servant of the state. Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion. The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won.

It is this honesty of mind that can open paths to peace, that can lead to fruitful negotiation, that can build a foundation upon which treaties between our nations can stand and last -- treaties that can someday bring about a reduction in the terrible arms of destruction, arms that threaten us with war even more terrible than those that have taken the lives of the Americans we honor today.

In the quest for peace, the United States has proposed to the Soviet Union that we reduce the threat of nuclear weapons by negotiating a stable balance at far lower levels of strategic forces. This is a fitting occasion to announce that START, as we call it, strategic arms reductions, that the negotiations between our country and the Soviet Union will begin on the 29th of June.

As for existing strategic arms agreements, we will refrain from actions which undercut them so long as the Soviet Union shows equal restraint. With good will and dedication on both sides, I pray that we will achieve a safer world.

Our goal is peace. We can gain that peace by strengthening our alliances, by speaking candidly of the dangers before us, by assuring potential adversaries of our seriousness, by actively pursuing every chance of honest and fruitful negotiation.

It is with these goals in mind that I will depart Wednesday for Europe, and it's altogether fitting that we have this moment to reflect on the price of freedom and those who have so willingly paid it. For however important the matters of state before us this next week, they must not disturb the solemnity of this occasion. Nor must they dilute our sense of reverence and the silent gratitude we hold for those who are buried here.

The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ``just the best darn kids in the world.'' Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.

Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.

Thank you.

I can add nothing to President Reagan's words except my own humble, "Thank you," to all who have paid the highest price for the liberty that you and I enjoy.

2011 • It is often said that freedom isn't free. Freedom is payed for by the blood of heroes and patriots. Join me in thanking God for the heroes and patriots who have paid the price for our freedoms. Pray also that our nation will repent of using those freedoms to pursue lives of ungodliness and unrighteousness and return to the Biblical morals that were foundational to America at her birth. Amen.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Shepherds’ Conference – or – What I Did During My Spring Vacation

It was a great joy and blessing to get to travel to the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church two weeks ago. – I am so very grateful for God's providence through the generosity of His people – Especially you and you (& you know who you are!) There is no way I could have made this trip without your help!

I had intended on doing a bit of blogging each day I was there, but, wow! Did they keep us busy! From early Wednesday morning until late Friday night, the schedule was pretty well packed full.

I had been told that they really took good care of the pastors who attended the conference, and boy, were my sources right! They really gave us 5-star treatment the whole time. It was a hot week for early March, and there was cold water available at stations all around the Grace Community Church campus. They had breakfast available for us every morning and snacks between each session. And, everywhere, there were smiling faces. It was plain that they were very glad to have us all there. My thanks to the conference staff and volunteers who worked so hard and treated us so well!


There were a lot of seminar sessions available to attend. Here are the ones I went to:
Day One – Wednesday
General Session 1 - Phil Johnson
The Forgotten Field - Alex Montoya
General Session 2 - Tom Pennington
General Session 3 - John MacArthur
Day Two – Thursday
General Session 4 - Rick Holland
General Session 5 - John MacArthur
Exegesis and the Powerful Pulpit – Bill Barrick
Exposition and the Powerful Pulpit – Rick Holland
General Session 6 - Al Mohler
Day Three – Friday
General Session 7 - Nathan Busenitz
Delivery and the Powerful Pulpit – Alex Montoya
General Session 8 - Steve Lawson
General Session 9 - John MacArthur
Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with Fred Butler. I was treated to breakfast at his home, and enjoyed spending time with his lovely wife and their children (to whom I am now known as "Mr. Squirrel".) After breakfast, Fred and I drove out to Semi Valley and toured the newly-renovated Reagan Library. Considering how much I admire Reagan, it was a very moving experience. Then, after lunch at Chick-fil-A, Fred gave me a short tour of the Grace to You offices.

Afterwards, we drove south to Bellflower, stopping in Van Nuys to pick up Tony Bartolucci (my roommate for the week), to attend James White's lecture on Conducting Debate to the Glory of God.

After a late-night nosh at Olive Garden, Tony and I drove Fred home and got back to our hotel after midnight -- and that was the night that the time changed! After a good, solid 4 hours of sleep, it was time to get up and go to church. Tony and I met up with Fred and his wife again, and attended GraceLife Fellowship, where Don Green preached on The Pastor, His Pulpit, and His People. In the main service that morning, John MacArthur preached on Paul's Philosophy of Ministry.

After church, Tony and I made the drive to Phoenix, where we met up with his family for dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. After dinner, it was straight to bed - without setting an alarm clock!

Monday morning, after breakfast (at Chick-fil-A!), I was on the road home! I got home Tuesday night around 11pm. (And, no, I didn't sleep in my car. I got a motel room in Beaver, Utah.)

All I can say is that it was a fantastic trip! I heard some great preaching and teaching, made a lot of new friends, and got to eat at IN-N-OUT Burger twice and Chick-fil-A four times!

That's the big picture, anyway. I'll post a few stories from the trip soon.

(There are more pictures here.)

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Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memory of Our Honored Dead


Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember the unpayable debt we owe. In our nation's 233 years of history, 657,970 service men and women have died in combat. That is combat deaths on the battlefield, not total war deaths nor all deaths in the line of duty.

On Memorial Day, May 31, 1982, after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, President Ronald Reagan made the following remarks. While there are references to the geopolitical situations of the era, but the sentiments are timeless.

Mr. President, General, the distinguished guests here with us today, my fellow citizens:

In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.

In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their ``last full measure of devotion'' were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage -- not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves.

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers.

It's not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.

Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries. We must strive to speak of them not belligerently, but firmly and frankly. And that's why we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality. And that's why we must never hesitate to acknowledge the irrefutable difference between our view of man as master of the state and their view of man as servant of the state. Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion. The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won.

It is this honesty of mind that can open paths to peace, that can lead to fruitful negotiation, that can build a foundation upon which treaties between our nations can stand and last -- treaties that can someday bring about a reduction in the terrible arms of destruction, arms that threaten us with war even more terrible than those that have taken the lives of the Americans we honor today.

In the quest for peace, the United States has proposed to the Soviet Union that we reduce the threat of nuclear weapons by negotiating a stable balance at far lower levels of strategic forces. This is a fitting occasion to announce that START, as we call it, strategic arms reductions, that the negotiations between our country and the Soviet Union will begin on the 29th of June.

As for existing strategic arms agreements, we will refrain from actions which undercut them so long as the Soviet Union shows equal restraint. With good will and dedication on both sides, I pray that we will achieve a safer world.

Our goal is peace. We can gain that peace by strengthening our alliances, by speaking candidly of the dangers before us, by assuring potential adversaries of our seriousness, by actively pursuing every chance of honest and fruitful negotiation.

It is with these goals in mind that I will depart Wednesday for Europe, and it's altogether fitting that we have this moment to reflect on the price of freedom and those who have so willingly paid it. For however important the matters of state before us this next week, they must not disturb the solemnity of this occasion. Nor must they dilute our sense of reverence and the silent gratitude we hold for those who are buried here.

The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ``just the best darn kids in the world.'' Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.

Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.

Thank you.


I can add nothing to President Reagan's words except my own humble, "Thank you," to all who have paid the highest price for the liberty that you and I enjoy.

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