Apr 012015
 

imagesBefore I begin this morning, let me say upfront that I’m grateful that we have freedom of religion in this country.

I will say that I believe the Indiana law is a good and necessary regulation.

I will even affirm that there has been much hysteria, hypocrisy, and dishonesty evidenced by it’s opponents over the last week.

Now, let’s talk about Easter.

Easter is the day on the church calendar, the day churches plan way in advance for.

This is because it’s become not only a day for the already faithful, but an evangelistic service as well.

I don’t expect that we will see many gay “seekers” darken the door of our churches.

There will probably not be too many “liberals” undocumented aliens, or other such riff raff stumbling in either.

The Gospel in this country has been buried in the cultural and political war garments that keep it identified with one side of the political spectrum and not with a Christ who came to seek and save the lost.

What the religious right in this country has failed to recognize is that those who support gay marriage and gay rights believe they are doing what is just and loving.

They think they are emulating the virtues people used to associate with the church.

They no longer associate those virtues with us.

The right engages in as much hysteria, hypocrisy, and dishonesty on other issues.

That is the nature of politics.

We have allowed the church to be stained with the same by association.

When our language and attitudes speak only of the law of God and not the love of God we have lost the Gospel message.

We win the political battle and lose the Gospel war.

Until and unless we learn to incorporate a message of redemption and sacrificial love into our political discourse Easter will be a celebration preached to an increasingly shrinking choir.

We may gain political power at the cost of Gospel impotence.

We may uphold the law of God and simultaneously strip the Gospel of it’s power to save sinners and change lives.

That would be a far greater loss than losing the culture war.

 

Apr 012015
 

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.

Mar 312015
 

online_learning-300x199One of the horses I have beat to death with vigor over the years has been the need for solid theological training for pastors and lay people alike.

While someone can glean the basic concepts of Christianity alone with their bible and the Holy Spirit, basic is about as far as that will take you.

Most folks cannot go to a Bible college or seminary, but that need not limit ones theological education.

There are excellent resources online that are not only comprehensive, but free of cost.

I’m going to note some that I have found very helpful.

Biblicaltraining.org

This really is a wonderful resource. It starts you at a beginning level of classes and moves you all the way through a biblical education to a trained pastoral level. I simply cannot recommend this site highly enough for those seeking a deeper and more well rounded, directed, Christian education.

RTS on iTunes

These are the same seminary classes taught on the various campuses of Reformed Theological Seminary. From systematic theology to biblical theology to church history, you can learn from some of the most respected set of professors in the country.

Westminster Seminary

Again, on iTunes, full seminary classes on everything from church history to apologetics. The esteemed Carl Trueman teaches here.

Covenant Seminary

A broad range of seminary classes…the church history classes from Dr. David Calhoun are priceless.

Gordon-Conwell Seminary

A selection of foundational classes.

Third Millennium Ministries

The original intent of this site was to provide education for missionaries overseas who couldn’t attend Bible college or seminary. It has expanded and one could spend the next twenty years learning from some of the best biblical scholars on the planet, all free of charge. There are audio and video classes available as well as scholarly articles on a multitude of topics.

Any of these sites will move you to a greater understanding of God and His word…all that is required of you is a desire to learn and time.

 

Mar 312015
 

timthumb.phpThe women who were an integral part of Jesus ministry…

Nic Kristof defends evangelicals…

The tears of Jesus…

On the credibility of the resurrection…

Every hair on your head is numbered…

Christian bookstores finally dumping heaven visitation books…

Millennials on sex and morals…

What opposition to religious freedom really means…

Adam broke all ten commandments…

How to respond to horrific news…

Steve Brown on a personal Jesus…

The meaning of “paradise” in the Bible…

Confessions of a Christian zombie…

New push to end the death penalty…

Gay marriage and Selma envy…

The new intolerance…

Enslaving habits…

Roger Olson contra Calvinism…

Community rescues elderly immigrant…

The Mars Hill debacle isn’t over yet..Wenatchee has the scoop.

Reading God’s word communally…

A progressive Christian response to Indiana…

Mar 302015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Nothing has deadened the expectation of Christ’s return like the last forty years of sensational signs of the times that actually pointed nowhere. I’ve recently watched a couple of prophecy conferences online and I’m struck by the advanced age of the attendees and their sparse numbers.

 

The younger generations are simply not going to chase every new sensationalistic “sign”, nor are they going to buy the conspiracy theories. Within ten years the end times enthusiasts will have the same traction in the church as the KJV only crowd does now.

2. The Indiana religious freedom law is very interesting. I’ve written on these pages before that I believe a backlash is coming against the LGBT lobby…they’ve overplayed their hand. Unless I’m very wrong, most of America still holds to somewhat traditional views on sex and marriage and while they’re willing to accommodate this small segment of society, they are unwilling to allow them to make the rules for the rest of us.

3. I’m having a hard time convincing Trey that the outdoor “survival” experience doesn’t come with Wi-Fi…

4. Please get a clue. The reason Chuck Smith didn’t like Rick Warren had nothing to do with theology and everything to do with Warren being successful in Chuck’s front yard. He was angry with Greg Laurie for the same reason…

5. When we invite people to church, what are we inviting them to? A lecture, a lifestyle, a community, or Christ?

6. The Scriptures say that one who is forgiven much, loves much…and that the opposite is also true. It may be that the person you have the hardest time loving is the one that looks most like your own unconfessed sin..

7. I note that the internet gives me the ability to be everywhere, yet to avoid being where I actually am…

8. I also note that being offline is a picture of death…a few people take notice, then move on. This should be ample incentive to be completely present where you are with the people God put there with you.

9. I find myself praying for as many pets as people these days. I do not consider this heresy.

10. Learn the difference between the visible church and the invisible church. Things are not always as they appear…many members of the invisible church are not “officially” connected to the visible one.

Mar 282015
 

thumbnail.aspxThe pattern of faith and life is clear enough among us.

You give and we receive,

You give and overwhelm us and we receive,

You give far more abundantly than we can ask, or imagine … and we receive.
You give life and breath to the world and we receive.

You give miracles of deliverance and newness, and we receive.

You give rain and sunshine and food, and we receive.

You give yourself in this strange Jesus, and we receive.

You take and bless and break and give, and we receive … nourished, quenched.

You give and sometimes we are among the tenth that thanks:

thanks with our words;

thanks with our study;

thanks with our money;

thanks with our lives;

our abiding thanks,

gratitude transient when contrasted with your abiding gifts.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann;Anna Carter Florence. Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (Kindle Location 406). Kindle Edition.

 

Mar 282015
 

Christianity  tourism destinations“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

(Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV)

Now, I’m a Calvinist and for my tribe these verses are the song of our people.

In Chapter 1 we saw that God chose us, predestined us, adopted us, redeemed us, forgave us, and sealed us by the Holy Spirit.

God is the one initiating and completing every action.

When did He do this?

When we cleaned up our act and asked Him to?

No.

He did all of the above when you were “dead” in your trespasses and sins.

God had to do it all because as a rule of thumb dead folks don’t respond.

We had to be “born from above” before we could even “see the kingdom of God.” (John 3).

Because of His love for us and His mercy towards us He did all that was needed to do to make us alive in Christ despite finding us walking in sin.

By grace you were saved and it was not by your doing…or it wouldn’t be grace.

We’re His “workmanship”…his new creation in Christ Jesus.

A workmanship forged through love, mercy, and kindness toward us.

Here’s the important thing to remember…those are still His attitudes toward His kids…even when you are walking back the wrong way.

Now, those of you that are opposed to a Calvinistic interpretation of these verses have a choice.

We can argue about the meaning of “dead” and look for free will in this passage…or we can rejoice together that God is the author and finisher of our faith, however we parse the mechanics.

I’m up for either…

One last thing…

We were created  in Christ Jesus for “good works” that we might “walk in them”…works that He chose us to do before the foundation of the world.

That means that you won’t have to go looking for good works to do… you’ll walk right into them as you walk through your daily life.

Relax… all He asks of you will be right in front of you…along with all you need to accomplish them.

God has provided all His kids will ever need…and always will.

Mar 282015
 

community-pictureI had a chance to get away overnight and have been offline for a day or so.

I was going to write a TGIF about how Miss Kitty faithfully occupied until my return and how I found her watching for the signs of my coming…but I chose to pass on that one.

It’s all yours today…

 

Mar 252015
 

Whenever this guy starts to speak, I keep expecting him to yell for Norton…

I digress…

YouTube Preview Image

Prasch begins this dissertation with a long bloviation about prophets and how he really isn’t one but the implication is that he really is.

It’s an old trick, but it works well on this audience.

He “prophesied” that there would be problems in Calvary Chapel after Chuck Smith died.

I once prophesied that it would rain in Oregon.

It’s a gift I suppose…

He states that these problems would have not happened if a man “everyone respects” like Joe Focht of Philadelphia had been Smith’s successor.

There is a problem with this.

Many in the movement think Focht is a legalistic fossil who is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

He is one of the leaders of the old guard along with Dandy Don McClure who is paid to administer the CCA… two days a week.

A man has to make a living…

He then moves on to the family lawsuit as proof of these problems.

The lawsuit filed by a family member who is now having the lawsuit re-written so it’s not hooted out of court.

Make your own application….

He then goes on to claim that many in the movement are now “seeker sensitive” and others are following after Mark Driscoll.

It is also alleged that the progressives in the movement pull the toilet paper from the top, rather than the bottom…a sure sign of apostasy.

That was actually a funny I added, but the rest of his speech is a joke as well.

The only thing Flintstone Prasch got right is that the show is over.

Costa Mesa is going to do what it wants and so is everyone else.

If Prasch was a prophet he would have spoken out against the moral and ethical charges we and others have been bringing for years.

That would have cut into those lecture fees though…just as this nonsense will guarantee some.

and awaaaay we go…

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