The first question I ask in any political issue is “Who Decides?” Our system of federalism was predicated on man’s fallen nature, and provided for a number of checks and balances to prevent any one man or group of men from controlling the lives fo the people. We have divided powers for a reason. yet while the congress debates the immigration issue, chewing over the so-called Dream Act, the executive branch has already implemented much of its substance without so much as a by-your-leave to the constitution, the congress, or the courts. Witness this ICS memo: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/secure-communities/pdf/prosecutorial-discretion-memo.pdf Who decides? It sure ain’t us.
Just a thought
OK. So let me get this straight:. the head of the IMF is now free from prosecution. We are relieved to discover that the housekeeper with whom he committed adultery was lying about the rape. Hence, we should not be shocked if he now runs for president of France. He is, after all, not acriminal. Well, at least he is not a rapist. I suppose that should be some consolation to his wife and children – dad may be a philanderer, but he only does it with cooperative women. Now there is a presidantial qualificationif I ever heard one.
Just a thought
We spent this week at FCF Family Church Conference. What a blessing. One of the speakers, Dr. James Garlow, had just come from doing a live interview on CNN regarding the subject of same-sex marriage. His interviewer was Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor. It was quite a confrontation of world views. The subject of the legal status of homosexual roommates aside, I thought Dr. Garlow’s comments on the experience were very instructive:
1. We must strive to engage the culture we live in without becoming part of it. That means trying to understand the almost completely unbiblical mind of the world around us while maintaining a transcendent life as citizens of another world ourselves. It is the essence of “in the world but not of the world” and”all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” It is difficult to win someone whom you disdain.
2. The people in the media and academia don’t hate us as much as it may seem that they do. They simply do not understand us. They assume we hate them because their minimal exposure to Bible Christianity has given them that impression. We are here to demonstrate the love of God to them and to inform them on who we are because of who He is. That means we have to talk to them without speaking in Christian code, but in terms they grasp
3. The culture and its human representatives are not our enemy. The enemy is the enemy. People are both the tools of the enemy and the prize in our battle with him. Love the people, stick the Sword in the enemy, and recognize the purpose for which we have been left here on earth.
Scripture Reading: I gave them your word; The godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn’t join the world’s ways, Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. Make them holy–consecrated–with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. John 17:14-18 MSG
Somebody Said: “As long as I see any thing to be done for God, life is worth having; but O how vain and unworthy it is to live for any lower end!” David Brainerd
As Christianity flourishes and grows around the world, we in the United States find ourselves in an almost entirely pagan environment. Whose fault is that?
It’s Saturday morning. I’m trying to faithfully do my morning stretch so I turn on Fox, only to find that even on Saturday, it’s all Casey Anthony all the time. Legal experts of all kinds are endlessly discussing a murder trial with tearful witnesses, gory pictures, and salacious inferences about the accused. All this is interspersed with cute pictures of a 2-year-old prior to her demise. I know that people are watching because networks don’t show stuff that people don’t watch – it’s is all about the Benjamins. The question is, “Why?” Or maybe a better question is , “Why this one?” In our country there are about 600 kids under 5 murdered every year. Over half are killed by a parent. What is it about this one that makes it fodder for a national reality show? Could it be that the victim and the accused are white? Most murdered kids are not. How about the implications of sexual misconduct? Sleaze sells. I don’t really know, but I do know this: it is not a national passion for justice for the child. If it were, there would be similar outrage for every little baby who dies at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them. That would deserve our attention. This is just Jerry Springer with a byline. Maybe I will tune back in when someone does a show on, “How does stuff like this happen and what can you do to stop it?”
Just a thought
Friday, June 17, 2011
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
I got an email ad the other day with the heading, “Does your church need a new stage?” Under the heading were several very colorful examples of the work the company had done in other churches. Lots of backlit crosses and spotlights and glitter, all very pretty. Given that our church at this moment has no stage ( I stand flat on the floor with everyone else) I thought , “Yeah, probably so.” I am used to being reflexively old-fashioned, so I didn’t really pay attention to the hesitation in my heart at the use of the term “stage.” I get that we are in a modern era and we need a swank setting and lots of moving parts in order to hold the attention of the spectators, but something just bothered me about that word. It kept coming back into my consciousness. Today I finally went to the dictionary for some definitions that really helped me:
1. stage: the part of a theater on which the acting takes place
2. pulpit: : an elevated platform or high reading desk used in preaching or conducting a worship service
3. platform: : a place or opportunity for public discussion
The answer to the ad question is, “No. We don’t need a new stage. We have had quite enough acting. We need a good deal less acting and a good deal more living.” Our church needs a pulpit, a place set apart for the holy function of preaching and conducting worship – real worship, not acting; prophetic preaching, not oratory. Once we have received from the pulpit, then we need a platform, not in the church, but in the world. We need places and opportunities where we can proclaim and apply the things we have received from the pulpit. That kind of platform is earned, not built. It may be found in the barber shop or the school cafeteria. It is located in the mind and will of the lost and dying. It is usually behind a door of skepticism that can only be opened by the key of consistent character. Our churches need lots of new platforms and many fewer stages.
Scripture Reading: so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food–catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. (2 Timothy 4:2-4 MSG)
Somebody Said: Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be. Edwin Hubbel Chapin
It is a fine thing to be up to speed on what is popular in the culture. It is not a fine thing to feign a thing in order to be accepted by the culture. We too often become what we mimic and lose what we are.
Today I see we are debating the justness of asking a young man to pull his pants up so as to cover his rear and his crotch while riding on a public aircraft. This is deemed by some to be reactionary and even racist. This on the heels of the great Weiner controversy wherein we are asked to decide of it is inappropriate for a sitting US congressman to send nude pictures of himself to random women via the internet, thus insuring eventual exposure (pardon th pun). What occurs to me is how pitiful that a once-great nation now has to even consider such questions. Pull up your pants, you are disgusting. (Normal people have to sit next to you) Put down your camera, the rest of us are not enraptured by your body. You are a narcissist and should go back to the bar stool to purvey your lies. The only question in both these issues is whether the perpetrator should be arrested, or simply fined and sent home to be spanked by his father.
Just a thought.
It struck me odd this morning to hear an ad on the radio encouraging me to call my congressperson (if I had one) in order to influence her vote on financing for public transportation. It sounded so reasonable! I mean we all have to get to work and to the store and to the movies, and gas prices are just going on up. Shouldn’t we expect the government to provide a way for us to get around, no matter how inconvenient it is to carry groceries on the train the bus and the trolley? That is the subtle double-speak of government intervention. The same government that is causing the energy shortage by outrageous regulation of the energy industry also wants to provide a mass transit system to move us around paid for by by taking tax dollars from us. How about we get government out of the way, empower R&D and exploration, and let us drive where we want to. If the government drives the bus, then I can only go where the government wants me to go. The issue is not energy or transportation, the issue is liberty.
Just a thought
I’m thinking if someone asks me, “Is that a picture of you in your underwear posted on Twitter?” I will be able to answer without hesitation. I am very sure that no such picture exists. The current uproar over the good Congressperson and his exposed skivvies is a good object lesson. Especially in the techno-age in which we live, it is a good idea to avoid doing really stupid stuff. Privacy is no longer respected, much less guaranteed. Even the indiscretions of youth are likely to be immortalized. If you don’t want the world to know it, don’t do it. If you happen to be a 40ish poloitician and you can’t remember if you took a picture of your crotch, shut up and go home.
Just a thought.
Thursday, May 27, 2011
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Thanks for the memories, me and tobie.
I consider myself very privileged to have lived my life in the 235 year hole in history marked by the United States of America. The era from the end of the Second World War until 2001 was an especially remarkable time of prosperity and freedom. We have experienced wealth unimaginable to earlier generations. Our poor have televisions. Thanks to the automobile and the airplane, we have traveled the globe at will. We take for granted a level of personal liberty unheard of before our Founders codified the notion. We live longer and better than our fathers. This weekend we take time to give thanks for all those who have paid for our privilege with their lives. I encourage you to spend a few moments thanking God for the men and women whose blood was shed to procure your liberty. Take time for memories on Memorial Day.
In addition to those who have died for my freedom, I got to thinking how grateful I am for those who have lived to impart gifts to my life. I am grateful for the folks who have given up their desires in life to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many have labored in places they would not have chosen doing things they would not have done for compensation they would not have accepted, save they were obedient to the call of God. I thank God for Kenneth Hagin who taught me esteem for the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I thank God for Dave Larkin who showed me what a Pastor looked like, and for Jonas M’Butu who gave me lessons in integrity, and for Dennis Cook who showed me what Philippians 4:13 really means. I could go on. Just this month, a good friend ended his tenure here on earth. Gary Devoe went to be with the Lord very unexpectedly. He was a blessing to me in any number of ways – funny, intelligent, encouraging – but the big lesson he taught me was that a man can be realistic without being cynical. In a world filled with flawed human beings, that is a real gift. Thanks, Gary!
Scripture Reading: I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:5-7 NLT)
Somebody Said: Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
Memorial Day: A uniquely American holiday, but not a uniquely American principle. Take time to remember the lives that have been invested in you.
Don’t forget to check out Faith Ministry Training Institute online. www.fmtionline.com
I read that Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt and the pols who invented it can’t figger out what to do about it. (Frankenstein comes to mind) I am 62. In just 3 years I will be at the show-me-the-money threshold of 65. A little break on health insurance would be nice, since I have basically lived without it for 35 years. But, I love my country, and if I thought it would actually help the nation deal with its debt, I would happily forego my benefits under both plans for 5 years. I don’t think I am alone. I believe there are many “seniors” who would keep on working and put off retirement in order to save the nation. Here’s the rub: even if we do it, the pols will steal the money again just like they have been stealing it ever since I was 14 and started paying into the system. Obama’s “shared sacrifice” means that Washington shares in whatever they can force me to sacrifice. Their record is just too poor to trust them with anything of any importance. I would feel better if they would just offer me a lump sum buyout for SS and Medicare, then let me fend for myself. Kind of a bankruptcy settlement for willing seniors. I would take 50 cents on the dollar for my projected benefits right now and they can get my part of the unfunded liability off the books.
I have been remiss in writing on this blog for a good while. Every time I start, I back off. This particular page is supposed to be just me and my thoughts, but i realize that in my job, there are those who will be disturbed by some of my comments. Therefore, I have been silent. Nearly every day I am struck by something that seems to me to portend the end of our nation as we know it. I have for some years felt that the United States would decline from its position as a world power prior to the coming of the Lord. As I watch the acceleration of the twin snowballs of economic collapse and political tyranny, I am both saddened and excited. I am saddened to see the end of such a grand experiment in government, but I am thrilled to know that Jesus is coming. That said, if folks get offended, then so be it. Our country is on fire, and the bucket brigade that has shown up to fight it is armed with empty containers. God fill me afresh and help me get back in the fray.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Hell? Yes, me and tobie.
The other night I watched a news program that had advertised an interview about the demise of Hell. It seems that a new book by some Evangelical Superstar has created a bit of a hubbub, and the Catholic newsman wanted to clarify the issue. I watched as he sparred with a very liberal minister whose reasoning went something like this: “God is a loving God, therefore anything that looks unkind to me must not be true.” He said that the idea of a God who would consign anyone to an eternal torment is simply unacceptable. In fact, he opined, “that makes God a monster." The newsman rightly argued the more traditional approach. God is a just God and must make a difference between the righteous and the unrighteous or He is no God at all. In fact, he made this remarkable statement: If there is no Hell, that undermines all of Judeo-Christian society.” Not bad for a TV news guy.
The truth is, I am not too wild about Hell, myself. It seems a little extreme. But then, I am not God. I do know God, and I know He is perfectly just in everything. That means there will be a payday for all of us. For those who choose Him in this life, there will be a day of reckoning at The Judgment Seat of Christ. That is not a Heaven or Hell decision, but an accounting of what we did with His grace while in the body. (2 Cor 5:9-10) For the one who has rejected God’s offer of fellowship, there is a day when he will stand before the throne of God and be judged according to his works. Those not written in the Book of Life are consigned to an eternal punishment. (Rev 20:12-15) The exact nature of the punishment is up for some interpretation and has had many a re-construing over the centuries. I know this: Torment is not good, and God will deal justly. The abolition of Hell causes several problems. If there is no Hell, then most of our evangelism is without point: “Hey, why worry. We’re all going to Heaven!” All the calls of the New Testament for a decision concerning Jesus, including our Great Commission, are meaningless. And, as previously noted, our Judeo-Christian society is without foundation. Sin really is a socio-genetic problem, not the manifestation of a hopelessly fallen nature. A man really doesn’t have to make choices for which he is individually and ultimately responsible. That, my friend, is unacceptable.
Scripture Reading: All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about His Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. 1 John 5:10-12 NLT
Somebody Said: "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for." Charles Spurgeon
We can debate the exact nature of Hell. We can prattle on about the plight of the unreached. But something in our hearts, as well as something in the Book, witnesses that there is an eternity to face, and that only there will justice ultimately be served. Without that notion we are indeed bugs adrift on a giant dirt clod speeding aimlessly toward nothing. Hell lends meaning to life. Thank God for Hell!