Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Thank God for the Life Lessons I Learned From My 96 Year Old Friend

On November 23, 2013 I did a funeral service for a beloved Christian friend, Frank Oleson.  In the year 2000, I started a church service at a newly built assisted living center.   Frank Oleson started attending that service and continued to do so for the next thirteen years.   Frank grew up on a farm in Nebraska and was a farmer until his early forties.   At the age of 44 he felt called into full-time Christian ministry.   He enrolled at Grace Bible College in Omaha, Nebraska while he pastored a church in Jefferson, Iowa.   He went on to plant three churches before he retired in 1982 at the age of 66.  

I enjoyed talking to Frank about his ministry experiences and about life in general.  He was married to Theodosia for seventy-five years.   I took this picture of them on the 71st wedding anniversary.

His wife’s name, Theodosia, means “gift of God”, and she was God’s gift to him.   They were a team in whatever they did.   She was a tremendous prayer warrior and was involved in other ministries of church life.   But the biggest aspect that I learned from Frank and Dodie (Theodosia) was there love and affection for one another.  My wife heard me say often, “I want us to be like Frank and Dodie and grow old together graciously.”  They were the cutest couple.  Their love and happiness as a couple was beautiful. I would often think—who wouldn’t want to be in love like that when they are in their 90’s!  Daily, Frank pushed his wife down the hallway to the dinner room for lunch and supper.  Their granddaughter, Carrie Ann Oleson, produced a video that gives you a glimpse into their life in their golden years.   

As I reflect on Frank’s life I have often admired him as a godly man that I would like to immolate as I age.   I have often asked myself, “How can I have a joyful disposition and peace like he had into his mid 90’s?” There are plenty of websites, books, and articles that talk about pastoral burnout etc.…


Don't Make Your Pastor a Statistic?                                                                          

He wasn’t bitter at God, ministry or life.  He lost his mother when he was only two years old.   He had the same hardships and struggles in ministry that go along with ministry—but he remained deeply in love with his wife, God and church life. 

The first thing that I think was central to Frank’s solid disposition was that he remained deeply grateful for such a wonderful salvation.  Every single prayer that I heard Frank pray, he would include without fail, “thank you for a such a wonderful salvation.”  Frank never got over God’s amazing, saving grace.   The centrality of the cross of Christ caused Frank to overflow with gratitude (Col. 2:6-8).   The day before he died, I had celebrated communion at the church service at the assisted living place where Frank lived.   He was not able to be there, so I went to their living quarters and celebrated communion with him and his wife.   Frank cried and said thanked me for serving the Lord’s Supper to them.   Maybe Frank knew that he was nearing the end of his earthly journey and was moved at the reminder of the work of Christ that was so precious to him.   This much I do know, Frank boasted only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   From that foundation, Frank lived to glorify God in every area of his life.

The second thing that I think made Frank the man he was is that he wanted to be faithful in what God had entrusted to him.   He desired to be a good husband, father, grandfather, pastor and friend as he saw them all in relation to God’s goodness.  Frank would say things like, “God gave us two boys” or “God gave a great gift to me when I married Dodie, you know I wouldn’t have been the pastor I was without her.”  Frank saw his life as being a good steward of what God had entrusted to him.   Even after he retired and his boys had families of their own, he sought out ways to help them.   For fifteen years, after he retired and moved to be closer to his sons, he would change the oil in their vehicles and the vehicles of their children.  He would tell them they were due for an oil change and he would have the car ramps out and the oil and filter ready when they pulled in his drive way.   He and his wife mowed their children’s lawns for them as well.  Why?  Why would he change the oil and mow their lawns, shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Frank wanted to help relieve stress in his children’s lives and serve them as he could.

The third quality that I admired about Frank was that he lived out Ecclesiastes three.  He saw that God had appointed different seasons in our life and that we can look back at the past with gratitude to God. However, he didn’t live in the past.  He could laugh and tell stories about the past, but he embraced the present as well.  I would ask him how he was doing and he would say, “I’m doing well for the shape I’m in” and say it with a giggle.    He made friends with the staff and residents where he lived for thirteen years.  He was a very appreciative person to everyone around him—he embraced the present.  But, he also looked forward to his future.  Frank knew his ultimate home was heaven.  Whenever I spoke of heaven he would always remind me that his mother died when he was two. He knew, that since she was a Christian too, he would one day see her face to face.  

I thank God for Frank Oleson’s life and the impact that he made on everyone who knew him.  

To God be the glory for the great things he accomplished through a person yielded and sold out for serving God until he was called to that eternal home.
It is not a good-bye to a dear friend—but a see you later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our Triune God

If you want to learn about the Trinity I suggest the following:

1. Prayerfully read through the Gospel of John many times

2. Listen to good sermons or lectures on the Trinity

"This is My Beloved Son!" Exulting in the Trinitarian Relationships of Jesus Christ

2005 Desiring God Conference for Pastors
January 31, 2005
Bruce Ware
Download: Audio

Contending for Our All
The Life and Ministry of Athanasius
February 1, 2005
John Piper
Read Listen Download
Download: Audio

Jesus and the Father
2005 Desiring God Conference for Pastors
February 1, 2005
Bruce Ware
Listen Download
Download: Audio

3. Read good articles on the Trinity


4. Read good books on the Trinity

I have read the following books and highly recommend all of them

This one is free at:

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The Kostenberger/Swain book would be great to use while reading through the Gospel of John

click here to purchase
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationship, Roles, and Relevance. Bruce A. Ware (Crossway, 2005; ISBN#: 0-5813-4668-9).

click here to purchase
The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Belief. James White (Bethany House, 1998; ISBN#: 1-5566-1725-9).

click here to purchase
The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology and Worship. Robert Letham (P&R, 2004; ISBN#: 0-8755-2000-6).

click here to purchase
God in Three Persons. E. Calvin Beisner (Tyndale, 1984; ISBN#: 0-8423-1073-8).

click here to purchase
Our Triune God: A Biblical Portrayal of the Trinity. Peter Toon (Victor/Bridgepoint, 1996; ISBN#: 1-5647-6553-9).

click here to purchase
Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Robert M. Bowman (Baker, 1989; ISBN#: 0-8010-0981-2).

In my opinion, Putting Jesus In His Place, is the best single book that deals specifically with the deity of Jesus.

click here to purchase

The central theological distinctive of Christianity--that Jesus is God incarnate--has repeatedly come under fire from adherents to other religions and scholars who interpret Jesus as a prophet, angel, or guru. Putting Jesus in His Place is designed to introduce Christians to the wealth of biblical teaching on the deity of Christ. Using evidence from the New Testament, this book helps readers appreciate the significance of Christ's deity in a personal relationship with Him, and gives them the confidence to share the truth about Jesus with others


Martin Hengel Professor Emeritus of University of Tübingen, Germany : An exceedingly readable and intelligible book on a centraloand hotly debatedotheme of the Christian message. The work is based upon a scholarly, well-informed investigation of the most important Christological texts in the New Testament. It gives not only rich biblical information to the reader but also practical pastoral guidance.

Fred Sanders Biola University : You might be surprised to learn that the case for Christ’s deity has actually become stronger during the past couple of decades. The average, reasonably l-informed Christian has probably missed out on the flood of new approaches, observations, and lines of argument that have been flowing from the scholarly books and journals lately. Bowman and Komoszewski’s Putting Jesus in His Place has gathered the best of all this recent scholarship and put it together in one readable, memorable, and engaging volume. If you graduated from seminary twenty years ago, you need to know that your notes are out of date and that there are exciting new ways of presenting the case that Jesus is God. I know of no other book that gathers such a wide variety of different types of biblical evidence for this doctrine, organizing it clearly and making all the right connections. While reading the book, I found myself at several points thinking, It’s too bad that a popular-level book like this can’t afford to give the details on some of the more complicated evidence, only to discover that Bowman and Komoszewski plunged right in and provided easy-to-understand summaries of the specialist scholarship. Putting Jesus in His Place is the book I’ve been looking for to put into the hands of believers who want to understand how the New Testament teaches that Jesus is God.

Rev. Mark D. Roberts, Ph.D. Irvine Presbyterian Church : As a pastor with a commitment to engage in serious scholarship, and as a scholar with a commitment to communicate with non-specialists, I’m always looking for books that address pressing topics in a way that is academically solid yet available to a wide audience. Putting Jesus in His Place is just such a book. Nothing is more critical in today’s world than the question of Jesus’ true identity. It is often claimed that his divinity was a late invention by the church, and is not taught in the New Testament. Putting Jesus in His Place shows the folly of this claim by an exacting analysis of the New Testament data. The facts are clear: the New Testament writers regarded Jesus as God, both implicitly and explicitly. Putting Jesus in His Place will reassure Christians of the truth and prepare them to be articulate, well-informed defenders of this truth in the wider world. Anyone who reads this book will no longer fall prey to the mistaken notion of the deity of Christ as some later addition to authentic Christian faith. Instead, every reader will be challenged to acknowledge the ancient affirmation of Jesus as God, and to consider the personal implications of this confession for contemporary living.

I. Howard Marshall Professor Emeritus, University of Aberdeen, Scotland : This book is a very comprehensive study of all the material in the New Testament that testifies to or is consistent with the full deity of Jesus Christ, the sheer quantity of which may come as a surprise to some readers. There is helpful detailed discussion of many controversial passages that will be useful to students who want to go more deeply into the problems.

Craig A. Evans Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada : Putting Jesus in His Place is a reader-friendly treatment of a difficult topic, one that is often neglected in New Testament scholarship. Bowman and Komoszewski clarify the issues, focus on the key passages, and mount an impressive defense of a cardinal Christian doctrine. Anyone who wonders about the divinity of Jesus should read this book.

Paul Copan Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL : This wide-ranging yet accessible book by Bowman and Komoszewski is a splendid compilation of the evidenceoboth explicit and impliedofor Jesus’ deity, which pervades the New Testament. The authors make a convincing case as they discuss biblical texts, interact with important recent literature, and present the striking significance and entailments of Jesus’ divinity. A remarkable work!

Daniel B. Wallace Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts : Finally, here is a book that lays out the case for the deity of Christ in clear, compelling, memorable language. Putting Jesus in His Place fills a huge gap by converting the best of biblical scholarship on the subject into language that anyone can understand. This book is a feast for the mind; the endnotes give the reader a glimpse of the meticulous work the authors went through to make the reading so palatable. The acronym HANDS is an ingenious memory device to help any Christian know the basic teaching about Jesus’ deity. When you learn what it means, youill never forget what the New Testament affirms about the divinity of our Lord. I thank God that Bowman and Komoszewski have combined their talents on this supremely important topic and well-written book. The church of the 21st century is in their debt.

Craig L. Blomberg Denver Seminary : The one thing we have no record of Jesus of Nazareth ever saying is iI am God,i though countless charlatans and madmen over the centuries have used precisely these words. As a result, some people, including some Christians, think the case for Jesus’ deity rests solely on the half-dozen passages in the New Testament where others directly call him “God.” Bowman and Komoszewski here offer massive disproof of this minimalist notion. While a sizable majority of the texts they survey afford implicit rather than explicit evidence for the deity of Jesus, and while it is possible to dispute the implications they derive from certain passages, it is impossible to dismiss the cumulative case that the first Christians, following Jesus’ own lead, viewed him as God incarnate, and that the New Testament is replete with dozens of texts that attest this conviction. The book itself is remarkably clear and uncluttered, but detailed endnotes interact with almost all of the significant, recent relevant scholarship as well. Warmly to be commended.

Craig J. Hazen Biola University : Rarely have I seen such a comprehensive and deeply scholarly presentation in theology at such an accessible leveloand on one of the most important topics anyone can study: the deity of Christ. Bowman and Komoszewski obviously know this topic as well as anyone in the world because it takes that depth of knowledge to present a case like this in language that can be grasped by non-scholars in every walk of life. I predict this will be a standard textbook on the subject and a much-used resource for anyone who wants to make the case for Jesus’ deity to unbelievers such as Muslims, Mormons, Jehovahis Witnesses, New Agers, and skeptics in this generation.

Ravi Zacharias Ravi Zacharias International Ministries : Putting Jesus in His Place is a meticulously researched and brilliant book on a subject that continues to remain significant even after 2000 years. Robert Bowman and Ed Komoszewski have given readers a unique and unparalleled resourceoand one with life-changing implications. I commend this volume to you with much appreciation for their work.

Richard Bauckham St. Mary’s College, University of St Andrews : Bowman and Komoszewski do a splendid job of showing that the divine identity of Jesus is not confined to a few key texts, but presented throughout the New Testament in a wide variety of ways. Their arguments are fully based on the best of recent scholarship, and explained in a way that all serious readers of the New Testament will appreciate.

Murray J. Harris Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield, IL : An exciting, compelling and user-friendly investigation of the full range of New Testament evidence for the unique divine identity of Jesus Christ, admirably suitable for the non-specialist reader, yet with detailed up-to-date specialist notes.

Thomas R. Schreiner Southern Baptist Theological Seminary : The deity of Jesus Christ is central and foundational to the gospel. Bowman and Komoszewski show that Christ is deity pervades the New Testament and is not limited to a few proof texts. Those who have eyes to see will find it everywhere, and if your eyes are deficient this book is just the corrective you need. The work is convincing, clear, and scholarly. Most of all, the book is glorious, reminding us that Jesus is to be worshiped as our Lord, Savior, and God.

Larry W. Hurtado University of Edinburgh, Scotland : This book gathers up admirably the results of a number of recent studies that combine to show how remarkably early Jesus was reverenced as somehow ring a divine status, and how this reverence was exhibited overtly in a whole range of confessional terms and devotional actions. Whether or not one shares the authors’ own particular stance on some matters, they have provided a readable and well-informed summary of a large body of scholarly work showing a very early and very high view of Jesus, not as something emerging by slow evolution, but as an explosively quick and remarkable phenomenon.

Kenneth Boa Reflections Ministries, Atlanta, GA : Putting Jesus in His Place is the finest and most comprehensive apologetic for the deity of Christ that I have yet encountered. The material is rigorous yet highly accessible because of the transparency of the structure and the directness of the style. It is my hope that this book will become a standard resource for educational institutions and for people who desire a clearer vision of the Lord Jesus.

In Jeff Miller's review over at, he closes with this:

Bowman and Komoszewski have put Jesus in His place. Jesus is fully God. The authors stage a direct attack upon certain core errors in the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses and Arius (the 3-4th century precursor to today's JWs), as well as contemporary Oneness and Modalism movements. Certainly there is enough here to place an element of doubt in the minds of many Jehovah's Witnesses. Every serious Jehovah's Witness will have this book on his shelf; how much more should it be on the shelf of every serious Christian.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Abortion: The Irony of the Gosnell Murder Trial

April 11, 2013
"Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?" It's not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.-- So says USA TODAY Column--Philadelphia abortion clinic horror: Column


In the Grand Jury report, the opening paragraph states: "This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors."

In February of 2010 government officials raided the abortion clinic operated by Dr. Gosnell.  You have to read the whole report for yourself to see how unbelievably horrific this story really is. The report says, "The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic– in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen. Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls" (p.21).

When Latosha Lewis began work at the clinic in 2000, the practice would perform approximately 20 first-trimester and 5 or 6 second-trimester abortions every procedure night.

On page 4 of the report it states:

When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.”

Dr. Gosnell performed hundreds of late term abortions.  The problem is that he destroyed most of the files.  Gosnell wasn't the only one doing the killing. According to the report:

"Ashley Baldwin remembered Gosnell severing the neck of a baby that cried after being born. The baby had “precipitated” when the doctor was not in the clinic. Lynda Williams placed the baby in a basin on the counter where the instruments were washed and called the doctor to come.

Ashley heard the infant cry. She saw the baby move while it was on the counter. She estimated the infant was at least 12 inches long. When Gosnell arrived at the clinic, she recalled, “he snipped the neck, and said there is nothing to worry about, and he suctioned it.”

If Gosnell was absent, his employees would kill viable babies. Ashley Baldwin saw Steve Massof slit the necks of babies that moved or breathed “five or ten” times" (p.103).

Further it states (p.104): Kareema Cross testified that, between 2005 and 2008, she saw Steve Massof sever the spinal cords of at least ten babies who were breathing and about five that were moving.

When Massof left the clinic in 2008, Lynda Williams took over the job of cutting baby’s necks when Gosnell was not there. Cross saw Williams slit the neck of a baby (“Baby C”) who had been moving and breathing for approximately twenty minutes.  Gosnell had delivered the baby and put it on a counter while he suctioned the placenta from the mother. Williams called Cross over to look at the baby because it was breathing and moving its arms when Williams pulled on them. After playing with the baby, Williams slit its neck.

Adrienne Moton also killed at least one baby by cutting its spinal cord. Cross testified that a woman had delivered a large baby into the toilet before Gosnell arrived at work for the night. Cross said that the baby was moving and looked like it was swimming. Moton reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck.

Here a few other cases that were documented.

"Baby A" :  His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant – seven and a half months– when labor was induced. An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds. He was breathing and moving when Dr. Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal. The doctor joked that this baby was so big he could “walk me to the bus stop” (p.5,   101-102). The workers were so shocked that they took a picture of the child.

"Baby Boy B, whose body was found at the clinic frozen in a one-gallon spring-water bottle, was at least 28 weeks of gestational age when he was killed."

You can see how his neck was slit (see p. 115).

"Baby C was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times."

In 2007 Gosnell did an abortion on a 14 year old girl that ended up going to a local hospital where she delivered a 30 week old baby pictured below  (see p. 84-85).  When a baby was past the 24 week stage the abortion process could be a two or three day procedure.  According the the report, "The neonatologist told us that the survival rate for babies born at 29 weeks is 95percent; at 30 weeks, the survival rate is nearly 100 percent."

Gosnell began an abortion on a 29-week pregnant woman and then refused
to take dilators out when the woman changed her mind 
(see p. 86).

"We learned of another illegal, third-trimester abortion only because the mother changed her mind. In 2004, a 27-year-old woman went to Gosnell, pregnant with her first child. She testified that she was surprised when Gosnell told her she was 21 weeks pregnant. On the first day of what was to be a two-day procedure, Gosnell inserted dilators in the woman’s cervix. After Gosnell had finished inserting the laminaria, the woman asked him what happened to the babies after they were aborted. She testified that Gosnell told her they were burned.

At home, thinking over how Gosnell disposed of the fetuses, the woman had a change of heart. She called her cousin and the cousin called Gosnell to tell him that they wanted him to take the laminaria out. Gosnell said that he could not do that once the procedure was started. And he did not want to return the $1,300 that the patient had already paid. The pregnant woman ended up going to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania to have the laminaria removed. It was determined at the hospital that she was 29 weeks pregnant. A few days later, the 27-year-old delivered a premature baby girl. She was treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is today a healthy

Do a Google search of premature babies and you will find many stories of babies surviving 24, 25, 26, 27 weeks early and are doing well TODAY.

Grand Jury Report, p. 79 states, "The Philadelphia medical examiner analyzed the remains of 45 fetuses seized from the clinic. Of these, 16 were first-trimester; 25 were second-trimester, ranging from 12 to 21 weeks; 2 were 22 weeks; 1 was 26 weeks; and 1 was 28 weeks."

Gosnell, according to the report, "Gosnell left dozens of damaged women in his wake. His reckless treatment left them infected, sterilized, permanently maimed, close to death, and, in at least two cases, dead. Their injuries and deaths resulted directly from Gosnell’s utter disregard for their health and safety. However, if their fate was entirely foreseeable, it was not necessarily the product of specific intent to kill. The same cannot be said of untold numbers of babies – not fetuses in the womb, but live babies, born outside their mothers – whose brief lives ended in Gosnell’s filthy facility. The doctor, or his employees acting at his direction, deliberately killed them as part of the normal course of business" (p.99).

Here are a few articles concerning the present trial (April 2013 articles): *maybe other major news organizations will get on board....

Gosnell Trial: 15-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Helped Kill Live Babies at Hellish Pa. Abortion Clinic

Former Gosnell employee testifies that problem abortion "really freaked me out"

Pennsylvania Abortion Doctor Charged With 8 Counts Of Murder



ABORTION SURVIVORS: The Ones Who Got Away                                                                                                                     
Planned Parenthood recently claimed that the possibility of infants surviving late-term abortions was "highly unusual."  The irony is that in the Gosnell trial you have a doctor that saw more babies born alive because he failed to kill the child while it was still in the womb. They were born alive and then he and others would kill the child.  On p. 111 of the Grand Jury report it states, "He tried to inject a drug called digoxin into the fetus’s heart while it was in the womb. This was supposed to cause fetal demise in utero. But because Gosnell was not skillful enough to successfully administer digoxin, late-term babies continued to be born alive, and he continued to kill them by slitting their necks."

So many see this abortion clinic as a house of horrors and it really is.  However, just because other doctors are better at making sure the child is killed in the womb, the horror continues in clinics across our nation as children are killed in the womb.

 Is it unusual for a baby to be born alive? Absolutely! You have a small baby that can be killed easily by chemicals and instruments... but they have been known to survive their attempted murder.

Have you heard of the stories of the babies who survived being killed? The scenario is that you have a child in the womb that survives an abortion attempt by a person who attempts to kill the child by chemicals or instruments. The odds are astounding that a tiny infant could survive the attempt by full grown adults skilled at taking a human life. BUT there are those that have survived abortion attempts and their stories are amazing.
Melissa Ohden articles:                                                                                                               The Des Moines Register did an excellent article and video on Melissa Ohden's story:
  Claire Culwell, abortion survivor, pro-life advocate, national speaker


Click this link for other abortion articles on this blog