Nov 262014

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

Nov 252014

timthumb.phpFerguson and the cross…

The crucified God in Ferguson…

Reclaim the spirit of Thanksgiving…

Church gives members 500.00 to do something good…

Immigration an issue in Europe too…

The Marriage Pledge…a way to sustain church marriages outside the civil authorities.

Will we be completely sanctified in this life?

Holiday expectation management…

Sarah with some light and inspiration…

Wenatchee has a lot more on Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll’s appeal to men…

A prayer of lament…

Why we say grace…

Waiting on thankfulness…

The “dead raising team”…

Was Paul “trendy”?…

Why congregations are leaving the mainlines…

My obligatory thoughts on Ferguson…because I’m a blogger and have to comment on everything, even when I don’t know jack about the situation.

I have two thoughts, maybe three.

My first thought on this matter has always been that if you rob a store and assault a police officer who tries to stop you after said robbery, your chances of getting shot go up exponentially.

I haven’t written about this because that thought alone was insufficient information to base an article on.

That brings me to my second thought.

The prosecutor making the announcement said that the grand jury investigation would be released to the public at the end of his news conference.

Therefore everyone waited to carefully read all that information before coming to a conclusion and taking action on the conclusion reached.


People responded as they had already decided to respond long ago and the evidence be damned.

That is the way we deal with all things political and theological these days.

We are not better for doing so…

My third thought is that the divisions among us are deep and evil…and the church can and should take the lead in fostering dialog and seeking solutions.

We can do that as soon as we learn to talk to each other…



Nov 242014

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x325I think I’m not going to insult your intelligence today with less than thoughtful things to think about.

For various sundry reasons, it’s tough sledding for me from now until the end of the year.

I’m not going to see how tough I can make it on my readers because of that.

Some days, it’s going to have to be about what you think…and today’s one of those days.

Tell us what’s on your mind today…thoughts of Ferguson, the holiday season, Thanksgiving…whatever you’re thinking about that you want others to think through with you.

Don’t try to do ten though…that’s for professionals only. :-)

Nov 232014

thumbnail.aspxAs we come to the text, we are mindful that we have not come first – for others have been there before us.

We do not come alone – for a cloud of witnesses await us.

We give you thanks for the brave people of the text, “prophets and apostles, saints and martyrs.”

These cadences come easy to us and are familiar.


But if we pray slow, we acknowledge before you that there hover around this text:

prophets – ancient and contemporary – who have been truth-tellers at risk.

apostles – ancient and contemporary – sent with passion and courage undaunted.

saints – ancient and contemporary – who have been single-minded for the vision of this text.

martyrs – ancient and contemporary who have witnessed and suffered and died for this particular truth.

And we are their heirs, children, continuers. Give us freedom to be in their presence.

Give us their innocence before the text.

Most of all, give us the grace to he haunted by them, haunted as they were by the text, haunted to newness.

We pray in the haunting name of Jesus.

Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 57). Kindle Edition.

Nov 212014

IMG_0027“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalms 100:4 ESV)

Every morning about 6:00 AM, Miss Kitty wakes me up.

She does so by standing on me kneading like a locomotive and purring very loudly.


Should I decide to not rise immediately she will begin to groom me and if I still do not get up she curls up as closely as possible and rests until I do.

Every day.

Without fail.

Now, obviously, she wants something and that something is breakfast.

I’m her provider and if I don’t ever get up and feed her she will be a very hungry cat.

She knows who has her food.

What I finally noticed was how she goes about getting what she needs.

There are other ways the cat could get my attention in the morning…loud yowls, a quick scratch across the face,or a bite to the head would all do the trick.

She does none of the above, she always  acts as if she’s genuinely grateful and very happy to be here at all.

The cat loves me, not just my provisions.

The purring, the kneading, and the waiting are all ways that cats show both trust and affection.

Especially…the waiting.

When I come home at night. she’s waiting in my computer chair and the purring and kneading begin again.

She needs dinner, too.

She gets it.

I’m faithful to feed her as long as she’s faithful to ask.

Sometimes, I give her treats she doesn’t even ask for.

The way she asks makes it a joy to feed her.

Sometimes, she just wants to sleep in my lap…

I wish it were that simple for people to get what they need…

Make your own application…

Nov 212014

Calvin's Corner headerPastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens talk Fantasy Football, answer a listeners question about two books written by George Bryson and talk about Limited and Universal Atonement plus more great talk on this weeks Calvin’s Corner.

Download the mp3 file here

Nov 202014

1*MjYah6eriolXhjUNV33w6AI am not good at mourning.

I suck all the emotions in and soldier on only to have that pain escape at (usually inopportune) moments.

When the writer Charles Bowden died I was devastated.


He was more than a brilliant wordsmith to me, he was a role model for what it meant to be a journalist and a citizen.

He spent the last twenty five years or so putting himself in harms way to find the truth and then he told us the truth, even when we didn’t want to hear it.

He cared little about fame or money, he had far more of the former than the latter when he died and in reality he had little of either.

In a world run by public relations consultants, politically correct liars, and corrupt leaders, he told the truths they covered.

There were similarities between his world and mine.

The main one was that we both reported on worlds where people naturally assumed that their leaders and the systems they worked in could be trusted…that the responsibility of being a steward of something far bigger than themselves overrode the desire for personal gain in the end.

We both knew that wasn’t true.

We both knew that telling the truth made enemies, but they were enemies even if you joined in the lies.

He wrote a lot about Mexico, but Mexico was only a pallet to paint a picture of our common darkness with.

I never had Bowdens prodigious writing gifts, but he made it clear that we all had the same responsibility to truth.

When he died it felt wrong…not just because a great man had left us, but because the great man had not finished his work.

He had left loose ends untied…that only he would risk tying.

Yesterday, we found that he had indeed finished his work.

Chuck Bowdens last story took fifteen years to write.

His last story…’Blood On The Corn”.

I don’t expect many to read this article or the links I’ve posted.

Most people prefer the facade to the reality, whether the false front be in church or government.

What’s important is that the truth be available and accessible to those who choose to see.

Bowden finished well.

May he rest in peace and may God grant that we finish our works as well.

Nov 192014

images“I put God first now, always,” he says. “I pray all the time, really. I do a lot of what’s required. I pay my tithe offerings at the Church of God, in Cleveland, Tennessee. That’s how I was raised.”

So says one of rock and rolls most notorious sinners, Jerry Lee Lewis.

Long time fans know that one of his signature songs “Great Balls of Fire” almost didn’t get recorded because Lewis and legendary producer Sam Phillips got into a heated discussion over how Jerry Lee could ever get to heaven playing “the devils music”.

“You’ve got to walk and talk with God to go to heaven… I have the devil in me! If I didn’t have, I’d be Christian!”

Jerry Lee has always felt the flames of hell licking at the boots John Lennon once bowed and kissed.

Nick Toches, his first biographer, once asked him if there was anything in the Bible he didn’t understand;

“You know why you don’t understand it? Cuz you’re lookin’ for an easy way out. Now, if you can show me somethin’ in there that’ll show me how to get outta this thing without burnin’ my ass off in hell, I wanna know where it’s at. You and me, we’re gonna burn in hell. We’re in trouble. We’re sinners, goin’ to hell.”

Toches named the biography “Hellfire”…

The old man is creeping up on 80 now and the “last man standing” spends most of his life laying in bed wracked with arthritis and trying to find redemption.

He’s stopped running around on his wife, he prays over his food and prays over his past, he reads his Bible, he pays his tithes, and he’s working hard to work his way home before dark.

He wants to get right with God…and that’s the problem.

That’s not the Gospel.

The Gospel says that the work has already been done by Jesus Christ.

The Gospel says that the blood of Christ paid for the sins of those who will believe, even the sins of Jerry Lee and me.

The Gospel says it is finished, the works that could be done were all done on the Cross.

The Gospel says that those works are the only ones that can save you.

The Gospel calls us to rest in His works, not hope our own measure up.

I’m glad the old man is seeking God…eternity without his music would be hell for me.

I’m just praying that Jesus finds him…and lets the old man get some rest.

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