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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Streeeeeeetch!

The life of the disciple of Christ involves growth (no fruit/no shoot/no root)...and our faith must be exercised...to include the massive stretch of reaching out toward the things that are ahead...here's a vivid picture:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Many A Truth Said In Jest Dept

Once again a cartoon has too much indictment on the professing church, especially in North America...God help us not to get mixed up in stupid/bad "fights," but may we, by the Spirit, not neglect "fighting the good fight of faith." It is not time to surrender, but to advance...on our knees....
Wizard of Id

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Does Obama Think About Mosque at Ground Zero?

This is from Gary Bauer. Can any reasonable person argue his point about Obama's silence?


Have you noticed how President Obama seems to be everywhere, all the time, with an opinion on everything? Yet he has been strangely silent about the effort to build a 13-story mega-mosque at Ground Zero in New York, the site of the attack by Islamists on 9/11. Surely the issue is more than a local concern.

Ground Zero belongs to all Americans. It is hallowed ground. Three thousand of us were brutally murdered there by jihadists who killed us because we were “infidels.” Their fellow jihadists are even now plotting to deliver greater sorrows to us and all free men.

The group that is planning to build the mosque refuses to disclose where the estimated $100 million needed for construction is coming from. This has produced legitimate national security implications that are a federal responsibility.

The president was quite vocal when he did not want Jewish homes built in certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem. So why the silence about building on the sacred land of Ground Zero?

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and urge the president to oppose building a mosque at Ground Zero.

Cling to the Cross/Gospel!

All too often we get so "deep in the things of God" we forget the basics...the most essential...that which is of "first importance"...read these wise words:

“We ought never to set present communion with Christ, as so many are doing, in opposition to the gospel; we ought never to say that we are interested in what Christ does for us now, but are not so much interested in what He did long ago.

Do you know what soon happens when men talk that way? They soon lose all contact with the real Christ; their religion would really remain essentially the same if Jesus never lived.

That danger should be avoided by the Christian man with all his might and main. God has given us an anchor for our souls; He has anchored himself to us by the message of the Cross. Let us never cast that anchor off; let us never weaken our connection with the events upon which our faith is based.

Such dependence upon the past will never prevent us from having present communion with Christ. Unlike the communion of the mystics it will be communion not with the imaginings of our own hearts, but with the real Saviour Jesus Christ.

The gospel of redemption through the Cross and resurrection of Christ is not a barrier between us and Christ, but it is the blessed tie by which He has bound us for ever to Him.”

—J. Gresham Machen

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

28 28 28

Twenty-eight years ago today, at the age of twenty-eight, on July twenty-eighth; Keith Green, his son Josiah, daughter Bethany, and a missionary couple and their children perished in a plane crash.

I vividly remember being in Kansas City, reading section three of the newspaper and seeing a little headline in the lower right hand corner of maybe page 3, "Christian Artist Killed In Plane Crash."

I was stunned. Keith wrote music that ministered, rather than simply entertained. He wrote music that was Christ-centered, not Keith-centered. He wrote music that convicted rather than comforted.

If you are not familiar with him; get familiar (unless you want to subsist on a diet of typical "worship" cotton candy, fluffy junk) with him. Here's a sample of his ministry...music/message:

Quick! Somebody Tell Snoopy the Gospel!

Peanuts

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ALERT! I Just Found This!

RATS! I'll be preaching when this airs...I would still rather preach, but I hope there is a way to watch this after the fact...if you are familiar with Keith Greene, you won't want to miss it. If you are not familiar with him, don't miss it!

One Letter That Changes Everything

Great stuff from the STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE GUY

“So why are you airing our dirty laundry in front of the world? They already hate us, why give them ammunition?”

Someone online told me that a few weeks ago about something I wrote concerning us Christians. Their fear was that I was adding more fuel to an already ugly fire. Their concern was that the world already feels we’re hypocritical or fake or unloving, do we really want to agree with them? And I honestly thought they were asking a very smart, kind-hearted question. Should we really admit our bumps and bruises and failures?

The easy answer is yes.

Like the show Burn Notice having LeBron James do a cameo now that he plays for Miami, the answer is simple. Yes. Yes we should be honest about our mistakes. Yes we should be real about our stumbles. Yes we should be open about our faults. But there’s something else at work that I want to discuss. Something a little devious. Something I realized recently.

Satan likes to throw shame at the very things we are called to share.

He likes to tell you that failure is something to put a coat of paint over. He likes to tell you that no one will ever understand. He likes to tell you that if people really knew you, they wouldn’t love you. He likes to tell you to push things deep and into the darkest spots of who you are. He likes to fan the flames of regret and ask you to hold heavy things you were never meant to carry.

Why?

Because he is afraid.

In God’s hands, your mistakes are not open cuts, they are healed scars that tell stories of great hope. They are not wounds to lie about, they are words other people need to hear. They are warning signs on roads your friends and family and neighbors are on. They are lighthouses in the midst of stormy weather. They are neon signs he uses to point the way toward repentance.

They are something to share.

I believe that when we roll up our sleeves and reveal healed scars, we reveal a God who makes us brand new. I believe that when we tell friends the truth about regrets, we tell friends about a God who knows no condemnation. I believe that when we tear off the wrapping paper of hurt, we show the gift of hope inside.
I believe in the power of share.

I don’t know what you believe about those two words, shame and share. They are so closely wound together and yet so opposite. They share everything but a single letter. The “r” is the only thing that changes “shame” to “share.” One little “r,” but it changes everything.

To me, the r stands for reborn.
To me, the r stands for renewed.
To me the r stands for redeemed.

One simple r, one continuous decision to chose share over shame. A one letter difference, but what a difference it makes. We see it when Christ returns. When overcome with doubt, what do the disciples do to verify the truth? To know that hope is real and returned?

They touch his scars.
Roll up your sleeves today.
Don’t hide. Don’t give in to shame.
Share.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Delay's Deadliness

Though funny, this also causes me to think about all those who hear the gospel, and do the same as Snoopy. Nothing is quite as fleeting as the moment of conviction!
Peanuts

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Prophetic Word Comparing France with U.S.?

Charles Dickens’ description of France in A Tale of Two Cities might be easily adapted to the 21st century U.S.A.

France, less favored on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness downhill, making paper money and spending it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

One of Top People I'd Like to Meet

I've posted video of Nick before; but spend five minutes on this to sharpen your focus of gratitude, and cure any tendency to wimp out...at least for a while:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Private Confession?

I can't recommend PETE WILSON'S BLOG
enough...it is great stuff from a pastor I've not (yet) met...Here's one of his transparent entries:

I’ve noticed a nasty little habit in my life lately. I call it “private confession.”
I’ve found it easy to confess my sins to God privately without going directly to the people I’ve impacted by my sin. I’ve got a feeling this is a disturbing tendency for most of us.
Personally it’s just so painful to go to someone and say…
I’m sorry my jealousy kept me from celebrating your recent success.
I’m sorry my out-of-control schedule has kept me from spending quality time with you.
I’m sorry my self-centered ego has kept my conversation completely focused on me.
I’m sorry my unchecked, lustful mind has damaged our intimacy.
I’m sorry.
So easy to say to God and yet so difficult to say to the people around us.
Matt 5 23″Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too Much Secondary?

This made me wonder...do we followers of Christ sometimes spend too much time in "worship" and not enough time in "work"? Too much time preparing and planning, and not enough time executing? Yeah, I know there is balance here...but am I the only one who thinks this cartoon may be deeper than a laugh?
Peanuts

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

None! Zip! Nada!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Now.  Not five years from now when you are a better Christian.  Right now.  At this instant.

No.  None at all.  Not even a little.  Zero.  Gone.  Poof.

For those in Christ Jesus.  And only because we are in him.  We provide everything that deserves condemnation.  He provides everything that deserves acceptance.

This is the plain message of the Bible, because God not only does not condemn us, he also doesn’t want us feeling condemned.  He wants us feeling freed.  Nothing like no-condemnation to get us riled up for his glory!”
—Ray Ortlund

Monday, July 19, 2010

Daughter Photos



Yes, as a matter of fact, I am proud of all my children. Here are some photos 15 year old Janelle (and her buddy Sarah Williams) took at an abandoned old place near our home...




Sunday, July 18, 2010

Can't Fix Stupid

I have zero idea why this young man decided to eat a ghost pepper...but the laughter of his "friends" in the background brings to mind "A man should be cautious in friendship"


EMBED-Kid Eats Hottest Chili In The World - Watch more free videos

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Run from Some; Fight Some

This video shows graphically what a follower of Christ is supposed to do when faced with, for instance, "youthful lusts." It does not portray what a disciple of Christ is supposed to do when encountering trials, problems (which simply disguise opportunities) etc:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catfish on a Stick?

Catfish on a stick? No idea why someone would impail a huge catfish head on a fencepost at a cemetary in Polo, Mo...but when I went for a jog I discovered this; came back later with my camera. Yeah, it's sorta kinda gross, ey?
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Watch Out for Those With Calculators!

Great stuff from Tozer:


The Church: Philip the Calculator

Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." --John 6:7


Here in the New Testament was Philip the Calculator--Philip the Mathematician, Philip the Clerk. There was need for a miracle, and Philip set out to calculate the odds. Probably every Christian group has at least one person with a calculator. I have sat on boards for many years, and rarely is there a board without a Philip the Calculator among its members. When you suggest something, out comes the calculator to prove that it cannot be done....


As I say, I have been sitting on these boards for many years, and there are always two kinds of board members: those who can see the miracle and those who can only see their calculators and their strings of calculations....


The people with the calculators have seen the problem, but they have not seen God. They have figured things out, but they have not figured God in.


Philip the Calculator. He can be a dangerous man in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every suggestion made in the direction of progress gets a negative vote from this man. Faith Beyond Reason, 137-139.


"Lord, deliver us from the control of the calculator. Increase our faith. Amen."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Ex Gay Speaks Out - Plainly and (to some) Offensively

I know nothing of this man. His words may be too strong for some, but in these dark days they need to be carefully thought about and strategically shared:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Do Lucy's Words Sound Familiar?

I laughed, until I thought about how many times my reactions to the stuff of life may well parallel Lucy's comments about "the producers":
Peanuts

Monday, July 12, 2010

Commotion - Not Devotion

...and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice. --1 Kings 19:12

(Note...this was written decades ago...yet is so very contemporary....to our detriment)

"The accent in the Church today," says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, "is not on devotion, but on commotion." Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, "What is the chief end of man?" is now answered, "To dash about the world and add to the din thereof."...






We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life. The Root of the Righteous, 84,85.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Branded? Yes, You Are!

Quick...fill in the blanks:

Rahab the ________?

Jacob the __________?

Thomas the __________?

(Your name) the _________?

How do you think your friends would fill in the blank by your name? Your associates? Your classmates? Your fellow church goers?

Sobering thought...huh?

That's what I thought of after my initial chuckle at this:
Peanuts

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Daughter's photograph

My daughter, Janelle; took some time today to build a prop and talked her brother, Jacob (who, yeah, is my son!) into being an unpaid assistant...but the work came out rather well, if I do say so myself:

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Change, Change, Change!

“We don’t change so we can prove ourselves to God. We’re accepted by God so we can change. God gives us a new identity, and this new identity is the motive and basis for our change.”
- Tim Chester

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Christian" means pretty much nothing

Don't know much about the author(he obviously tilts a whole lot more left/liberal than I like), but this quote is spot on:

"To refer to peregrinating Celtic monks and fundamentalist lobbyists, Origen and Oral Roberts, the Desert Fathers and Tim LaHaye, Dante and Tammy Faye, St. Francis and the TV “Prosperity Gospel” hucksters, Lady Julian of Norwich and Jimmy Swaggart, John of the Cross and George W. Bush, all as “Christian” stretches the word so thin its meaning vanishes. The term “carbon-based life-form” is as informative."





David James Duncan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Don't They Get Saved??????????

Here are some very significant (and timely, since I'm in the midst of a summer full of teen camp ministry) insights from J. C. Ryle:

"Would you know the reason why so many hear the Gospel year after year, and yet remain unmoved by it? Their minds seem like Bunyan's "slough of despond." Cartloads of good instruction are poured into them without producing any good effect. Their reason is convinced. Their head assents to the truth. Their conscience is sometimes pricked. Their feelings are sometimes roused. Why then do they stick fast? Why do they tarry? It is their hearts which are in fault! Some secret idol chains them down to the earth, and keeps them tied hand and foot, so that they cannot move. They need a new heart. Their picture is drawn faithfully by Ezekiel, "They sit before you as my people, and they hear your words—but they will not do them—for with their mouth they show much love—but their heart goes after their covetousness." (Ezek. 33:31.)"

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Question I Hate!

Perhaps after over three decades of ministry I should be used to it; but I'm not. I've always hated, after a meeting or series of meetings, having someone ask, "How many got saved?" (or the equally annoying, "How many decisions?")

So...I look like the Holy Spirit? Only He perceives hearts...only He convicts, draws, changes hearts.

But we do like the body counts, don't we?

I am not challenging or questioning the hearts of those who ask (or those who count, for that matter)...but I do wonder...does ANYONE really believe the "numbers" tell any kind of story?

And...even if they did...who brought the unsaved to the meeting? Who did the genuine convicting? Who keeps the count that counts?

The Word of God, inspired by God, has so many vague tallies (not counting Numbers, of course, which opens another can)...but in the New Testament the word "about" is used often...as in "about 5,000," "about 120," and in Acts, "about twelve."

Yo...even I can count to twelve. Methinks the Spirit of God could have had Luke write 13, 11, or 12...but, instead, He dictates "about."

Could there be a lesson there for us? Is it possible that lesson is to remind us to walk by faith, and not by sight? Could a secondary lesson be that only eternity reveals what really takes place in hearts? And could the prime directive be that individuals are more important than numbers?

I repented long ago of being a body counter. I read my early newsletters in shame..."I preached 13 times and there were 42 salvation decisions, 13 assurance, and 7 dedications" ad nauseum. As if the numbers indicate "successful" meetings, where if there were not "numbers" than the meeting was a failure.


But...can't we just be confident that His Word cast forth in faith will accomplish His will?


Call me simplistic...but that's where I'll park. (and, just a sidenote; my dislike of numbers is impacted by my service in Vietnam...where numbers were inflated, stretched, lied about, reckoned to be true indicators etc)

The Fireworks are NOT Over!!!

Important reminder:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Musical Tributes to Those Who Allow Us To Watch Fireworks in Peace

A KISS for the troops:



Here's Another:



Do We Recognize the Sacrifices?


AND NOTHING BEATS THIS ONE:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"One Anothers"

One anothers” Ray Ortlund can't find in the New Testament:

Humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, disapprove of one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins, intensify one another’s sufferings, point out one another’s failings . . . .

In a soft environment, where we settle for a false peace with present evils, we turn on one another. In a realistic environment, where we are suffering to advance the gospel, our thoughts turn to how we can stick up for one another.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Friday, July 2, 2010

Grow Up!

Okay, I'm sure I'll get in trouble for this...but truth is truth, regardless of who says, or sings it. Got in a conversation this morning with an adult about human responsibility and so forth, and the fact that there are so many who blame their screwed up lives on things of the past (when I went to prison the authorities told me the reason I was a dealer/thief etc was because of the bad attitude I had because of my Vietnam service...in other words, "poor little boy, it's not your fault")...

Anyway, as we talked, I recalled one of my favorite songs of all time performed by (whatever else you may think) amazingly talented musicians. Caution...there are some "bad" words...sort of...But I strive to convey this message: