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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

CELEBRATE!

When we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word that shouted all the galaxies in to being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby.
 
Madeline L'Engle

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pondering Psalms...

Psalms. I still try to read five a day and thus all each month.

Why? Among other reasons, the psalmists record a wide range of emotions and realities. Sometimes life has "blah" moments; other times life is full of excitement and high emotion. 

There are other times in (honest) Christians' lives when life just sorta sucks, and God is questioned. 

All these realities and more are recorded in psalms.

Doesn't quite go in with the flashy, prosperity-geared hype of much "Christian" television. Doesn't "sell" well. Goes against the "glitter." Exposes the lies. 

But it is genuine. "Speaking the truth in love" is too-often cited as the proper way to give criticism, but the essence is to speak the truth. Methinks there are far too many followers of Christ wallowing in self-induced misery because they feel they are the only ones to be going through a dry spell, a time of doubts, a time of listlessness.  Why?

Because believers too often not only don't speak the truth, we lie. "How ya doing?" "Great, praise the Lord," when, in fact, we are close to dying inside.

Vulnerability isn't "safe," and no one wants to be around someone who is always whining, but we all need to work at being real, genuine, and open with our brothers and sisters in Christ. That "we all" does, of course, include me.

Motives for not sharing? Perhaps some don't think "real" Christians go through down times? Others don't want their particular issue to be spread..in other words, we don't trust those to whom we might be vulnerable. 

Some don't want to admit to having any less-than-mountaintop-experiences.

Perhaps some just don't want to run the risk of making another "down" because of our "downess"? Not sure if that last sentence conveys what I'm attempting to say...

The Psalms are a look inside the heart as well as head of David and the author psalmists. Superintended by the Holy Spirit, the recorded words are sometimes shocking, other times comforting, occasionally confusing.

Sort of like life. Real life. Redeemed life. Life for which we can be certain of one crystal-clear fact...the Lord is with us 24/7...and though He rejoices with us when we rejoice, He weeps with us when we weep...and equips us to do the same with one another.

In a valley? He is with you now...not "just" at the other end.

And the way out of the valley is through the valley...with the Lord your God taking the "point."

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Not Just for a November Thursday

Giving thanks...
"give thanks in all circumstances..." NIV, ESV
"in everything give thanks..." NKJ
"give thanks in everything" HCSB
"No matter what happens, always be thankful..." NLT

Just a few versions of 1 Thessalonians 5.18; and all conclude pretty much the same, "...for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Wanna know God's will?

Can't tell you specifically (nor can any other human) what His will is for your life, but we can see one of the few places in scripture where "His will" is specifically defined (there are at least three others)...to be thankful.

But notice we are to be thankful in all situations, not for all situations. We need not be thankful for cancer, divorce, crime, war, gossip, etc. But we can trust the Lord and His sovereignty (to include Romans 8.28, which is a delightful verse to quote to other people!) and be thankful in the valleys, in the bad times, in the doubt and confusion. Important distinction...

I am so very grateful that God chose me in Him (and we don't have to understand stuff to be thankful for stuff!) before there was time. I'm grateful He called me to Himself.

I'm so very thankful for Jane...a Proverbs 31 wife who puts up with so much of "me" and still loves me. And I'm thankful for four great, wonderful, exasperating, prayer-provoking children.

I'm also grateful I get to "brag on Jesus" vocationally, and for those folks who pray and give that we might continue to serve as home missionaries totally dependent on "support/deputation."

And I'm thankful for you...a zillion things you could be doing, and you are reading this! Amazing!
Here's something from Elisabeth Elliott: "It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. one or the other becomes a habit of life."
And this chewable from G. K. Chesterton: "The modern world (he died in 1936) has had far too little understanding of the art of keeping young. Its notion of progress has been to pile one thing on top of another, without caring if each thing was crushed in turn. People forgot that the human soul can enjoy a think most when there is time to think about it and be thankful for it. And by crowding things together they lost the sense of surprise; and surprise is the secret of joy." (emphasis added)

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, remember the giver of all good gifts and give thanks to Him...remember to verbalize your love and thanks to those who are crucial, precious, irreplaceable parts of your life...and remember that an optimist is one who sees a 28 pound turkey on the dinner table on Thanksgiving and who, on Friday, asks "What's for lunch?"

Although...in my opinion...there is nothing quite as good as a cold turkey sandwich loaded with onions late Thursday or Friday...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


So last night I decide to read Psalm 119. I do that fairly often since it is so focused on the Word of God (though using a number of, in my mind, synonyms).
As I read I spotted three verses that methinks will develop into a sermon...I share them for your own edification and/or comments:

Psa 119.133 Keep steady my steps according to Your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Psa 119.165 Great peace have those who love Your law, nothing can make them stumble.

Psa 119.173  Let Your had be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
Rather cool, huh?

I'm sure some will think it is sacrilege, but makes me think of an old Beatles tune:

Verse 133...help me to walk steady...don't let any sin creep up and get power over me

Verse 165...prerequisite...love God's law; guarantee, nothing can make you stumble (cue D.C. Talk..."what if I stumble, what if I fall; will the Lord still love me when the walk becomes a crawl")...Doesn't say we won't stumble; does say nothing can make us stumble...we stumble on our own...

Verse 173...because I've chosen His precepts, God's got my back!

Here's another great verse: Isaiah 41.13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who says to you, "Fear not, I am the One who helps you."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Simple Test - Profound Message

Take this quiz mentally:


1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier? The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care. Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.
I remember a teacher once saying that there were two kinds of people in the world, those who were interesting and those who were interested.
Interesting people spend most of their time telling you about themselves and are easily forgettable. Interested people on the other hand, tend to listen and act like they care. My best guess is the reason they act like they care is because they genuinely do.
If it's been a while since you've connected with and thanked a person of genuine influence in your life, maybe it's time?
And...as we proceed through life...may we all remember that people are more important than projects, those ministered to are more important those ministering ("as you've done to the least of these...") and that Jesus is vitally interested in individuals...and therefore so we should be...

Friday, August 26, 2016

Spurgeon Slugs

This slapped me the side of the head...

"Remember that your brethren and sisters in Christ, with whom you find so much fault, are God's elect. And if He chose them, why do you reject them?
They are bought with Christ's blood, and if He thought them worth so much, why do you think so little of them?
Recollect, too, that with all their badness there are some good points in them in which they excel you. They do not know so much, but perhaps they act better than you. It may be that they are more faulty in pride, but perhaps they excel you in generosity. Or if perhaps one man is a little quick in temper, yet he is more zealous than you. Look at the bright side of your brother, and the black side of yourself, instead of reversing the order as many do.

The drift of this lesson is this; as your heavenly Father has pity on you, have pity on one another. Jesus, the Compassionate One, covers our sins with the mantle of His love! Be as tender towards those who sin as the Master was. He remembers that we are dust; remember this of others. I will not find fault with you, my friend, if I can help it, because you will be one day without fault before the throne of God! If God will so soon remove your faults, why should I take note of them?"   Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reconnected with one of my favorite quotations of all time..it is from Peter Kuzmic. He was born in Yugoslavia (which became Croatia) and started a seminary there...

Anyway...the quote:
"Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future.
Faith is having the courage to dance to it today."
May we all have the courage to keep our feet moving in light of the hope that the Lord has stored up for us in heaven (see Col 1.5)
And, should you have a problem with the concept of dancing, read Psalm 150.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Finally - The Truth About Diets!

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies. 
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. 
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Italian Pasta Diet! It Really Works!

1) You walka pasta da bakery.

2) You walka pasta da candy store.
 
3) You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
 
4) You walka pasta da table and fridge. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

BOOM! If We Don't Like It, Why Would Anybody Else Want It?

"The glum, sour faces of many Christians. They rather give the impression that, instead of coming from the Father's joyful banquet, they have just come from the Sheriff who has auctioned off their sins and now are sorry they can't get them back again."
 
Helmut Thielicke

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What You Can Not Judge (and it's not what the Matthew 7.2 quoters-out-of-contest say)

"We may judge doctrine and behavior by the objective standards of right and wrong that are given to us in Scripture. What we may not do though, is judge a person's heart and motives."
 
Tim Challies 
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, p. 77.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Apostle Paul's Resume?

 A man, as he goes down in self, goes up in God.  It is apostlepaulinteresting to trace this in the experience of the apostle Paul, as gathered from his Epistles.  In the year of our Lord 59, he is the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God.  In the year of our Lord 64, after four years more of growth in grace, he is "less than the least of all saints."  But in the year of our Lord 65, and not long before he was about to receive his crown in heaven, he is, "the chief of sinners."
George Cheever

Confession Time:

It seems that lately my life has been getting more complicated, and I want to thank those of you who are brave enough to still associate with me regardless of what I am today.
 
I was born white, which makes me a racist.
 
I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which makes me a fascist.
 
I am heterosexual, which makes me a homophobe.
 
I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.
 
I am a Christian, which makes me an infidel.
 
I am older than 60 which makes me a useless old person.

I am a Veteran, therefore this makes me more dangerous to our nation than ISIS!
 
I think and I reason; therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which makes me a reactionary or conspiracy theorist.
 
I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.
 
I value my safety and that of my family; therefore I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.
 
I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which makes me anti-social.
 
I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland by all citizens, which makes me a militant.

Please help me come to terms with this, because I‘m not sure who I am anymore!
 
Newest problem, considering our current state of politics – I'm not sure which bathroom I should use.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rabid Dog Details Press Bias

Rabid Dog Attack ((NOTE - I first posted this in September of 2005!)
Two boys in Boston were playing baseball when one of them was  attacked by a rabid Rottweiler. 

Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board off of a nearby fence, wedged it into the dog's collar and twisted it, breaking the dog's neck. 

A newspaper reporter from the Boston Herald witnessed the incident  and rushed over to interview the boy. The reporter began entering data into his laptop, beginning with the headline: 

"Brave Young Red Sox Fan Saves Friend From Jaws Of Vicious Animal" 

"But I'm not a Red Sox fan," the little hero interjected. 

"Sorry" replied the reporter. "But since we're in Boston, Mass, I  just assumed you were." 

Hitting the delete key, the reporter began:  "John Kerry Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific Dog Attack" 

But I'm not a Kerry fan either," the boy responds. 

The reporter says, "I assumed everybody in this state was either for  the Red Sox or Kerry or Kennedy. What team or person do you like? " 

"I'm a Texas Ranger fan and I really like George W. Bush" the boy says. 
Hitting the delete key, the reporter begins again: 

"Arrogant Little Conservative Punk Kills Beloved Family Pet" 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stones

((I wrote this in September of 2005...had you told me they'd still be rocking in 2016 I may have shaken my head)

Just amazed at the Stones...dudes older than I am still rocking out...the biggest tourband ever...quite probably not role models for my kids except that they are enjoying the fruit of a basic truth:

 The secret to success is to find people who will pay you  money to do what you would pay to do if you had the money. (depending how awake you are, you may have to re-read)

Anyway, rock on, Mick and crew. I obviously would love for them to come to Christ...though not the most important reason, can you imagine a praise and worship set with the Rolling Stones??????? I can even help them write one - "I finally got some, satisfaction..I found Christ, I found Christ, I found Christ, I found Christ, I finally got some (some/some/some) satisfaction."

I guess me writing p/w music is as possible as a democrat praising President Bush for anything.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ME? Agree With A Liberal? Well, Yeah...

Here's an intriguing quote from Henry Sloane Coffin:

"If there is one characteristic more than others that contemporary public worship needs to recapture it is this - awe before the surpassing great and gracious God."

Why so intriguing? 

One, Coffin was a pioneer of the ecumenical movement and...more important...though I can't determine when he wrote those words, he died in 1954!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Willie and Oprah Pontificate

((NOTE - I typed this August 3, 2006 - thought it apropos to repost)) Truth is truth, whether uttered by a king-james-donkey, a Bible-believing seminarian, or an atheist. A lie is a lie, but too many people take the uttered lies (though the lie may not be intentional) of "celebrities" as "gospel."
xanga willie In this weeks "Time", Willie Nelson says, "I believe that all roads lead to the same place. We're taking different ways to get there, but we all end up in the same place. It's kind of like Kinky Friedman's (a rather unique person running for governor of Texas) statement, 'May the God of your choice bless you.'"
The Christian group "Casting Crowns" has a line in "What if God's People Prayed?" that suggests instead of praying for guidance people "ask Oprah what to do"?xanga oprah
And whereforth is Oprah? Well, she says "...one of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe that there is only one way. Actually, there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God."
I'm certain there are some who will attack me for being...horrors...judgmental; but if these two talented individuals are accurately quoted they are not part of the family of God...
So perhaps it would behoove us to pray that their eyes...and hearts...are opened by the Spirit of the living and true God?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yup - The Shoe Fits Too Often...


Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. I have destroyed as many relationships with the same weapon.

Anonymous

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Prayer/Sin

Not only does sin hinder prayer; prayer hinders sin. The two are always opposed. The more careless we are about sin, the less we will pray. The more we pray, the less careless we will be about sin. Both sin and prayer are powerful forces. Which one is moving you?
-- Dr. Alvin Vander Griend

Monday, August 1, 2016

Too Late?

A moldy oldie from young songstress Amy Grant seems rather contemporary...no real good you tube videos of the song, but here's one:



And here are the lyrics; the song came out in the mid 80s...

[Chorus:]
Well, it's too late for walking in the middle
Too late to try
Yes it's too late for sitting in the balance
No more middle line
Oh, it's too late for walking on fences
Time to choose your side
Yes it's too late for flirting with the darkness
Make up your mind

Oh the time has come for making a decision
And you say you found the light
But the talk is cheap when I see the way you're living
Walking in the night

[Chorus]

Well, it's too late for walking in the middle
Too late to try
Yes it's too late for sitting in the balance
No more middle line
Oh, it's too late for thinking you can walk the middle line
Better get wise.

You may think you can live by your feelings
Different every night
But an emotional religion will crumble at our feet
If we're made to stand and fight

Well, it's too late for walking on fences
Time to choose your side
Yes it's too late for flirting with the darkness
Please make up your mind
Well it's too late for thinking you can walk the middle line
Better get wise.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why Bother?

Relationships. Counseling. Hugging. Love. Weeping with those who weep. Rejoicing botherwith those who rejoice.

Why bother?

To love, to care, to share is to place your heart out in the open, for it to be caressed or crushed, abused or adored, manipulated or molded.

For months, or years; your help may be appreciated; then situations change and you are demoted from a mentor to a meddler. From a friend to a foe. From a confidant to an outsider.

Why bother?

Because God bothered.

A role as a parent or a friend is a role filled with risk.

You know - from painful experience - this is true.

More important, the Lord knows this. And, yes, He knows from extremely painful experience.

His children hurt Him, disappoint Him, fail Him, ignore Him. His friends desert, dismay, distort.

Yet the Lord continues to love, forgive, and desires to be an incredibly close counselor and comforter.

And He says, "Go and do likewise."

Why bother?

Because God bothered.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bull Headed? Narrow Minded? Open?

From The NIV Application Commentary on Romans, by Douglas J. Moo

After talking about turning 50, the author says, commenting on Romans 11.33-36:

"One of the most common sentiments I express these days is a greater humility about certain theological positions I hold. 

Like many young people, I felt confident of my positions in the first years of my career. 

I sometimes propagated views orally or in print that I had not thought through as thoroughly as I should have. 

While I have not changed many of these views, I am much more inclined now to notice evidence that might not fit my view. 

Therefore, I feel much more keenly the need to nuance what I teach by calling attention to this evidence and by admitting that my own view may not be correct. Increasing age should not turn us into theological milquetoasts - uncertain about what we believe and swayed by the latest wind of doctrine. 

And I am as passionately committed to the essence of the Christian faith as I have ever been. But I would describe my current approach in theological study and teaching as "humble."

What does all this have to do with Romans 11:33-36? 

Just this: Paul's reminder that God's thoughts are far beyond anything we could ever approximate and His plan more intricate and marvelous than we could even imagine certainly calls on each of us to exercise great humility in seeking to understand God and His Word. 

On this side of glory, all our theologizing is uncertain and tentative. 

Humility, willingness to listen, and respect for others are the appropriate attitudes for us finite creatures as we seek to plumb the depths of God's character and truth.

To be sure, God has graciously given us in His Word a revelation of Himself and His plan that everyone can understand: The essence of what that Word says is clear and undebatable. 

But the details are not always as clear as our theological traditions or denominational loyalties suggest. 

People holding views with more tenacity than Scripture justifies have done untold damage to the church and to the cause of Christ in the world. 

So even as w praise God for His amazing and gracious plan of redemption, we must also bow our knees in humility before him and keep a good perspective on our own limitations in understanding the specifics of that plan."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wanna Be Disturbed? You Should

"We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior."
      -- John Stott

Friday, July 15, 2016

"Saved but Not Seized"

This is from a ten-year-old book (Serious Times by James Emery White) with the subtitle "Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day."

Very early in the book he is talking about being moved, as a young man, by the film "The Empire Strikes Back," and transitions into how books, films, perhaps sermons, and more can move us...but all too often not change us because we let the "buzz" die (as I believe Randy Alcorn says, "nothing is as fleeting as the moment of conviction")
Anyway, couched in his text are the following words, which leave me thinking, pondering, praying...I'll give some of the context:

"We allow the movement of God on the surface of our spirits to become lost amid the stones the world tosses thoughtlessly into our lives. As a result, we lose the vision God could give us of our world and our place in it. Too quickly, and often without struggle, we trade making history into making money, substitute building a life with building a career and sacrifice living for God with living for the weekend. We forgo significance for the sake of success and pursue the superficiality of title and degree, house and car, rank and portfolio over a life lived large. We become saved, but not seized..."

"Saved, but not seized..." Methinks these four words are loaded with potential to change, challenge, and conform...What sayeth you?

(by the way, the photo has absolutely nothing profound to it; just came up when I google-imaged the word seige and I thought it was kinda cool)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'll Take a Helping of "Jesus," but Hold Off on the "Christ"

((NOTE - This is by Keith Drury, and I first posted it in 2006...rather prophetic, huh?))

There is a big competition coming - a playoff between Jesus and Jesus Christ  The rivalry has already started and I expect the coming decades to be a knock-down drag-out contest.  What's the difference, you ask?  There are two competing stories, one about Jesus and the other Jesus Christ

The Jesus story presents a wandering peasant teaching profound lessons in how to live life meaningfully.  

This Jesus showed love and acceptance to all kinds of people and was a perfect example of tolerance and compassion.  

This Jesus worked the fringes of society and spent most of his time with the outcasts.  

He was eventually killed by none other than the leaders of organized religion, who are the bad guys in this story. 

This Jesus story is both a romance and a tragedy-he was a really good man we all liked who got screwed over by the people with power. 

The bad guys in this story are religious and the heroes are all rebels and outsiders led by the radical religion-hating Jesus.  

The lessons are about how to treat others and live a meaningful life.  

The Jesus story gives a model or example to follow in the genre of WWJD.  

Those who tell this story make the synoptic gospels primary sources and downplay the epistles and John (and also church history).  They are "Jesus people"through and through; trying to fashion their lives after the example Jesus gave when he was on earth long ago. ((2016 note from Jack - nowadays they'd be called "red letter christians"))

The rival is the Jesus Christ story.  Jesus Christ did not only live an exemplary life but he also was resurrected from the dead.  

Jesus Christ was much more than a wise Middle Eastern guru back in history but is the risen son of God today and the coming King of the future.  

More, He is very God Himself. 

Jesus alone may give a model for following to become good persons, but Jesus Christ is a savior to take away the sins of the world, including mine. 

Those who tell the Jesus Christ story do not abandon the earthly Jesus and his teachings but rather take them to be the very teachings of God and therefore all the more meaningful and compelling.

Jesus Christ is the promised messiah of the Jews who now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.  

When Jesus Christ returns as Judge he will not come as the accepting-approving-affirming psychologist we want to make him into, but as a mighty judge who will dare to condemn some to eternal punishment. 

Will Jesus edge out Jesus Christ in the future?
Can anyone read the above without immediately seeing why Jesus is more popular than Jesus Christ?  

Jesus is eminently more salable.  

Tell a person on the street the Jesus story and they will love it-a poor guy who did what was right and got trampled down by the corrupt leaders of organized religion. Amen! 

It reminds them of themselves.  

Jesus sells better than Jesus Christ.  He is more likable to consumers than Jesus Christ, and He's less rigid.  Once you add Christ you've got religion, and theology, and judgment, and eschatology and you've got the church: the body of Christ.  

These things are all liabilities to selling a religion.  

Then too, Jesus is a better amalgamateĆ¢ - he is more easily fused with other religions than Jesus Christ.  Jesus and his teachings have a lot in common with Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. After all, they too fully accept the basic Jesus Story - it is Jesus Christ story that is a stumbling block. 

I expect Jesus will become quite popular in the coming decades while Jesus Christ fades and is put on the back shelf (maybe even returned to inventory "in case anyone asks"). I sense a rising bull market in Jesus stock and a coming decline in the stock of Jesus Christ.  

In an increasingly pluralistic marketplace where toleration and acceptance are the primary virtues Jesus might sweep the deck. 

Jesus Christ will be a hard sell in the future in the world's bazaar of ideas.  Jesus is going to outsell Jesus Christ in the coming decades.

So, the question is this.  Is this new packaging of Jesus real Christianity?  Is it orthodox? Does it matter?

Is a Christ-less Jesus just as good as Jesus Christ? 

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An 1899 Look at "Mohammedanism"

Winston Churchill published, in 1899, The River War, conveying his experiences in the middle east. In the book he makes the following rather remarkable observation...

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. 

Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. 

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. 

The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

.. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. 


It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Too Much Credit

I heard it again today. A member of a ministry team that will be active this weekend is afflicted with a bad, bad bug. And someone said, "Well, the devil knows how important this weekend is."

satan I am not hammering anyone, for my guess is the theology is okay; just the choice of wording is more-than-fuzzy.

Satan does not know anything about the future...except his doom. 

He and his legions may be aware that the ministry team has a tremendous opportunity; but he does not know the results of that ministry...as only the Lord God is Almighty, to include all-knowing (which is why the so-called "open-theism" is so weak).

Is Satan buffeting this ministry-team member?

Could be. Not necessarily. God is on the throne. 

I think of two incredibly gifted ministers-of-the-gospel who, from my perspective, died way ahead of their time...Keith Green and Rich Mullins. Did God know Keith's plane was going to crash? Of course. Why did God allow it to happen? I certainly don't know; but I do know the plane was way overloaded. I do not remember whether or not Rich had a seat belt on when he crashed, was ejected from the vehicle, and was struck by a truck. 

Could God have prevented these tragedies? Certainly. But "our times are in His hands." Our life is "hid in Christ." Satan can buffet, Satan can not kill a child of God.

And Satan does not know the future.

In my almost forty years of experience, the hours and days after significant ministry are always the toughest. Then Satan is aware of genuine conversions (as opposed to "decisions") and other spiritual impact. Then perhaps he sends some of his troops to attack.

We need to fight not "for" the victory, but "from" the victory that is ours as heirs and joint-heirs. We need not look at every illness, every microphone failure, every flat tire as satanic attack. It could be lack of sleep; lack of someone checking batteries, or careless driving.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Yes, This Is More Important than Racism

Lives Matter.

ALL lives.

To include the unborn.

I see nodding heads...

What are you doing about it?

When is the last time you specifically prayed against abortion?

Does your checkbook reveal your commitment to pro life causes?

There is now therefore no condemnation...but I fear too many have a "head knowledge" of the horror of abortion but have become hardened, forgetful, dispassionate in their hearts.

But what can one do?

Here's something to consider...watch this video for this film to be released in October.

After watching, pray and ask God what, if any, involvement you and/or your church should have.

America makes Hitler look like an amateur. We grieve, as we should, at the death of officers and alleged innocent victims.

There is nothing more "innocent" than an unborn baby; and nothing more horrific than that baby being slaughtered because he/she is "inconvenient."

God bless America?

Why?

Watch this: PLEASE click here

Friday, July 8, 2016

Predictions I Hope/Pray Do NOT Happen

I am not a prophet, nor a son of a prophet.

That said, here is counsel and a prediction:

Reservists - Don't make any concrete plans for stuff this summer

Convention cities - Look at 1965 in L.A. and 1968 Chicago; prepare yourselves


Need a Movie Recommendation? How about an oldie?

((NOTE-I wrote this a decade ago...still give it a high recommendation)

 Yes, there are some "bad" words (mild...street language). Yes, it is a bit cheesy in spots. But after returning from Missouri I took my wife on an overnight date and Tuesday afternoon we went to see this movie which came highly recommended by our two oldest sons as well as our daughter.


Witch-hunters (you know, professing Christians who always find something to gripe about...kind of like the vulture and the bee...the vulture always finds dead, stinky things and the bee always finds the sweet nectar...why? Because they (and us) always find what we are looking for!) will find numerous things about which to complain...the language, a good quotation from a fuzzy source, and a few other things...

BUT...don't let them rob you of enjoying this film. It is more than feel-good; it is just plain great.

Need a Movie Recommendation? How about an oldie?

((NOTE-I wrote this a decade ago...still give it a high recommendation)

 Yes, there are some "bad" words (mild...street language). Yes, it is a bit cheesy in spots. But after returning from Missouri I took my wife on an overnight date and Tuesday afternoon we went to see this movie which came highly recommended by our two oldest sons as well as our daughter.


Witch-hunters (you know, professing Christians who always find something to gripe about...kind of like the vulture and the bee...the vulture always finds dead, stinky things and the bee always finds the sweet nectar...why? Because they (and us) always find what we are looking for!) will find numerous things about which to complain...the language, a good quotation from a fuzzy source, and a few other things...

BUT...don't let them rob you of enjoying this film. It is more than feel-good; it is just plain great.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Me and Race - Or (non)confessions of an old white dude


I shall try not to editorialize here.

I shall just describe my interactions with people who, unlike me, are not Caucasian (is that an okay word?)

I was born into a military family. My earliest recollections are living in military housing with black neighbors. I vividly remember, when I was about 13, living across the street from a black soldier who had married a German woman - they had two children; one was black, one was white.

No big deal to me. In fact not even a "deal."

I graduated high school just outside of Los Angeles in 1965. My school (named after a dead cowboy actor) was probably predominantly white, but had a good portion of blacks, as well as what were then called chicanos (and the Mexican-Americans I knew called themselves chicanos). 

I don't recall ever seeing anything racial.  There were a few black/white couples. The only "racism" I saw was when I would be cruising with my buddy (who later died in Vietnam) who happened to be black. Sometimes we'd be at a stop light and there would be a group of blacks on the corner and just before the light changed my bud would duck down whilst yelling the "n" word. I did not find this humorous.

I enlisted in the Army right out of high school. While at basic training Watts broke out. They had us (recruits) on standby in Fort Ord, California. I'm very grateful they didn't ship a bunch of newbies like us down to L.A. to help deal with the riots.

My first overseas assignment was Korea; I was there two years. In my ten-man detachment were two blacks and one Chinese-American. We all got along, and discussed the increasing race tensions amongst ourselves. 

The only issue of race I saw was that the ville outside our military installation clearly had an exclusively black side. Blacks could and did come on the "white" side with no problems, but it was not safe for a white dude to visit the black side.

From Korea I was shipped to Germany. While there the Germans invaded Czechloslovakia, and my unit traveled to the border a couple weeks prior to the invasion so we could gather intelligence. Enroute we stopped at a military base to spend the night.

Walking from our vehicles to our housing, a group of four or five black soldiers walked by us going the other direction. Our idiot lieutenant (not necessarily redundant) yelled at them, "Don't you boys know when to salute a superior officer?" His use of the word "boys" was intentional, and definitely meant as a racist statement. I didn't like the jerk anyway; I despised him after this.

The men turned, frowned, saluted, and left. Later that night they came after us, and that was the first time I fired a weapon in self defense. No one was injured or killed, but it was scary.

From Germany I went to Vietnam. This was '68-'69. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were dead. There were a few times that I was more concerned about some of the black soldiers than I was of the Vietcong and N.V.A. 

On July 9 I left Vietnam...the couple hours in Bien Hoa airport waiting to get on the plane were incredibly tense as blacks and whites separated themselves and many glared at each other. 

Throughout all these years I had no personal racism, nor any negative encounters with a black (or any other 'minority').

After the Army I got involved in drug dealing etc and got away with it for a few years. The guys I worked with were like the United Nations - blacks, whites, Chinese, Mexican etc.

Then I got busted and eventually ended up in Oregon State Prison. This began in 1973 and ended in 1977. Racism was for real there. Most of the gangs were based on race, from the Aryan Brotherhood to the Black Muslims (who then were more political/racist than religious). Though I had a couple black friends behind the walls, the heaviness of racism was tangible. It remains my opinion that the officials fueled this, with the thinking that if the inmates were divided among themselves less danger to the guards etc.

In jail, enroute to prison, I became a follower of Christ. He made (and makes) a huge difference in my life; but my feelings toward people of other colors did not change...it never was, nor is, an issue.

All that to say I am not racist.

But I'll not be the token white guy apologizing to others for someone elses' racism. I'll do my own time; and ask you to do the same.

And I wouldn't be a cop for all the money in the world. All the rules are on the side of the bad guys. Therefore stuff happens. Sure, there are some bad cops, some racist cops. 

And, frankly, I'd like as much outrage and expressions of support for slain officers as there is for victims and "alleged" victims. I type "alleged" because in the most recent cases, I think "innocent until proven guilty" should apply to the officers involved.

I'm a felon. I can't legally have a weapon. But if I could, (and one never knows how strictly I obey the law), and if you tried to break into my home and/or harm me or a loved one, I would do my dead level best to dispatch you into eternity - whether you be white/black/brown/asian/etc.

(Oh - in case you were wondering, my grandfathers immigrated from Germany and Ireland; so no plantation owners in my bloodline)