Tuesday, August 28, 2007
New Dogtoons Interview with Weird Al
OK, so I know that I haven't blogged much in terms of substance lately, but thought I'd at least pass along the latest release from Dogtoons in their "Weird Al" interview:

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Monk and Neagle, "The Twenty-First Time"
Do you like Steven Curtis Chapman or Michael W. Smith? Do you enjoy acoustic pop music? If so, then you may want to check out the upcoming CD from Monk and Neagle, The Twenty-First Time.

Reunion Records was generous in sending me a free copy to review, and I appreciate hearing new music from fellow believers devoted to the Lord. While I admit that their music was not exactly my cup of tea, I know that those looking for a good beat will not be disappointed.

So if you are interested, it'll be released on September 18th. Here's a little more promo information:



The celebration and contemplation of everyday life is where we discover the truth and joy of who we really are. Even the stories that emerge from daily encounters with ordinary people and conditions can oftentimes offer profound life-lessons and help resolve what really matters in this life.

Telling these stories is front and center for Monk & Neagle, an acoustic-pop duo that sprang to life organically in Amarillo, TX out of a 12-year friendship between Trent Monk and Michael Neagle. Now back with their sophomore album release, The Twenty-First Time—its first on Reunion Records—Monk & Neagle deliver a storyteller’s delight, full of deep spiritual conviction, high-octane fun, passionate imagination, and sincere, heartfelt worship. A road-worthy soundtrack for life from start to finish, The Twenty-First Time beckons you to listen and follow.

“These stories, these songs were born in the everyday,” Michael Neagle says, “from the conviction that comes out of personal experience, faith in the middle of doubt, and our desire to unbox the Gospel. To show how relevant it is to where we all live.”

Produced by Ed Cash, The Twenty-First Time exceeds the John Mayer/Jack Johnson/Bebo Norman jazz/acoustic-pop fusion established on Monk & Neagle’s 2004 self-titled debut with even more irresistible hooks and melodies. The duo’s phenomenal vocal work is powerfully evident. But by far, the telltale mark of distinction here is found in the lyrical depth and meaning that permeates the record.

“I’ve worked on a lot of great records,” says Cash, Gospel Music’s 2007 “Producer of the Year,” “and the special ones you can usually identify. From the beginning, the songs to me on this record are simply at another level… It’s been amazing, watching these guys bring them to life.”

From the unforgettable title track, which pricks at our excuses not to love the unlovable, to the heart-melting “What Soldiers Do,” to the authentically worshipful “Hallelujah, Jesus,” these stories—these songs—grow richer with the telling.

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Monday, August 20, 2007
"Weird Al" Concert
Yes, my wife and I attended the "Weird Al" Yankovic concert in Cincinnati last weekend. What can I say? There is a reason that "Weird Al" is my favorite musician/comedian. Instead of rambling on about how much I loved the concert, here are a few pictures:

Weird Al singing "Do I Creep You Out?"
Weird Al Concert 1
Weird Al performing his classic hit "Eat It"
Weird Al Concert 2
Weird Al singing "The Saga Begins" (yes, he had Darth Vader among a line of storm troopers dancing to the tune!)
Weird Al Concert 3
As you can see, it was an awesome concert! And his encore was definitely memorable, including a song based on an "interview" he had with Michael Stipe of REM. Here is a video of this destined classic (but please remember that this video is not from the concert I attended--I didn't bring a digital camcorder!):

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Friday, August 17, 2007
Personal Update
This evening I would like to try to catch everyone up to speed on my life. I know that I have not been blogging much lately, and I hope this post will explain a little more fully why this is the case.

I am simply amazed at how fast this year has gone by. So much has happened, and there are still several months left! But the Lord has been gracious to me and my family, and we are thankful for his abundant provision and blessing.

My year began with a mission trip to Uganda. You can read my reflections about Uganda in an entry I wrote after my return. In many ways, my heart has remained in Uganda.

Nevertheless, I had one last semester to finish at seminary to graduate. My wife was also entering her third trimester of pregnancy with our fourth child. February to May breezed by, filled with activity and stress. By God's grace, we made it through this turbulent time. I technically received my M.Div. and my new daughter on the same day!

It was in the midst of all this busyness that my wife and I made a life changing decision. After much prayer and hearing wise counsel, we would serve Christ in Uganda. The need for biblical discernment and apologetics is so great in East Africa. Both of us have become deeply burdened for the body of Christ there.

However, if this was to become our future, much remained to work through after graduation. We needed to figure out the details about living and serving in Uganda. Then we had to develop a strategy to raise awareness and support. This process took longer than we expected—the months of June and July.

During this time, I also realized that my work situation would no longer fit our future plans. I didn't need the flexibility during the day to attend seminary; I now required free time on evenings and weekends to travel and speak about our ministry in Africa. Therefore, I found a new full-time IT job and dropped my two part-time jobs.

This brings us back to my blog. My new IT position does not have the down time for blogging that I used to have. Evenings are devoted to family and future mission preparation. With this in mind, I'm not sure what the future holds for The Reformed Baptist Thinker.

I do plan on continuing to post, but the frequency of my entries will likely be less and my focus will probably shift to more missions and international-related posts. I welcome any thoughts or questions that you have. Regardless, I hope this brief personal note helps you understand a little more fully the transition of my life and this blog.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007
ACFAR: Bringing Biblical Discernment to Africa
I know that I have been away from my blog for a while. Much has happened in my life over the last several months. I plan on giving a more thorough update tomorrow. Nevertheless, I wanted to let you know about my family's future now that I have finished seminary.

Our desire is to serve the Lord by bringing biblical discernment to Africa. Ever since I returned from Uganda in January, I knew that my family needed to return. Now we have officially begun the process to make this a reality.

Below is a letter that I sent out today along with a family prayer card (do you know how hard it is for a family of six to have a good photo?!?) and a commitment card. If you or anyone you know would like to receive a copy, I'd be more than happy to send you one. Just e-mail me and let me know.

I pray that God will unite many of us together with a common vision of helping believers in Uganda with biblical discernment, defending the faith, and countering the cults. May Christ bless our efforts!



Dear Believer in Christ,

Imagine waking up one morning and discovering there was nothing in your language to help you respond to the errors of the cultists coming constantly to your door—no tracts on Jehovah’s Witnesses, no books to counter Mormonism, not even one countercult organization you could turn to for assistance. This may be an imaginary problem here in America, but it’s all too real for pastors and lay Christians across Africa. Yet by God’s grace, we can change this!

Kampala, UgandaMy local church is preparing to send me as a missionary with CFAR, the Centers for Apologetics Research. CFAR is a unique international network of evangelical cult research and education agencies whose main goal is to equip Christians in the developing world for biblical discernment, the defense of the faith, and cult evangelism.

You and I can make a lasting difference in Africa! God has opened the door to establish the Africa Center for Apologetics Research, a partnership between CFAR and the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST). Because they share this vision, KEST has asked me to chair a new department of apologetics, from which I can train African church leaders and organize conferences on cults and biblical discernment. Additionally, this Center will become a regional research and training hub for equipping Christians to defend their faith.

It seems the Lord has uniquely equipped me for such a work as this. As a former Mormon, I know what it’s like to be in a cult, and God has given me a strong, continuing love and concern for cult members. And through my studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, He’s given me the tools to defend Christ’s gospel against cultists and equip other Christians to do so.

To embark on this ambitious task, our family will need to raise $6,000 per month to live and minister full time in Kampala. While this amount is more than I anticipated, extensive interviews with missionaries and nationals in Uganda confirmed that it reflects what a missionary family of six will need.

You are very important to me. You can count on my prayers, and in the weeks and months ahead I’ll keep you informed. May God use us both to make a difference for Christ in Africa!

Because of His grace,
John Divito, East Africa Director
The Centers for Apologetics Research (CFAR)
e-mail: divito@thecenters.org

P.S. In case you’re wondering—individuals and churches who want to financially support our family’s ministry in Africa may begin now, because funds will accrue toward our considerable travel and outgoing needs, enabling us to reach the field sooner. We hope to move to Uganda and begin our work just as quickly as our Savior allows!

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Friday, August 03, 2007
Ten Books that I'd Love to See
Some bloggers have recently been posting titles of books that they don't plan on actually seeing any time soon. Be sure to check out the hilarious lists over at Pyromaniacs and Triablogue. I thought I'd continue the series with my own top ten list of books that I'd love to see. Here they are:

10) R.C. Sproul, Presuppositional Apologetics: A Biblical Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Traditional Apologetics

9) John MacArthur, Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Rejects Dispensational Premillennialism

8) Joyce Meyer, A Woman Must Remain Silent

7) Benny Hinn, Don't Give Me Miracles, Just Give Me Jesus

6) Brian McLaren, Absolute Truth? H*ll Yes!

5) Samuel Harris with a foreword by Richard Dawkins an an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, Why I am Not an Atheist

4) Francis Beckwith, The Pope is the Antichrist

3) T.D. Jakes, Christian, Thou Must Believe the Trinity

2) Steve Chalke with a foreword by Scot McKnight, PSA: Penal Substitutionary Atonement is the Heart of the Gospel

1) Robert Millet with a foreword by Stephen Robinson, How I Left Mormonism and Found Christ

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Moore on the Gospel, Culture and Evangelism
I'm sure you have noticed my reduced posting over the last few weeks.... Well, I hope to fill you in on what I've been up to soon.

Until then, be sure to listen to the first podcast from the Said at Southern folks. It is an interview with Dr. Russell Moore on the Gospel, Culture and Evangelism. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

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About Me

Name:
John

I am a former Mormon who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Now I am a missionary involved with the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). I seek to live in light of Paul's words: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

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