Nov 252015

History_BYDK_Thanksgiving_SF_still_624x352You’re already inundated by now with pastors telling you to be sure to be thankful and sometimes even telling you what you should be thankful for.

As I am not the Holy Spirit, I will not be joining that choir.

One of the things I’m thankful for is that God delivered me from the need to tell the people I pastor how to think or feel about things…they are quite capable of doing so on their own.

My job is to just give people good things to think about.

I digress…

For many folks Thanksgiving is the beginning of yearly sorrow that doesn’t end until Jan 2.

They not only have to deal with their own sorrow and depression, but the guilt laid upon them for not fully participating in the “happiest time of the year”.

I’m one of those people.

I participate for the sake of others, not myself.

I endure the season like one endures a dental appointment.

My challenge is to “rejoice with those who rejoice”… a challenge I’m just now mastering with the help of Jesus and kids.

It’s worth the effort… because I’m thankful for those kids and the people I know who love this season.

I’m thankful for a lot of things.

Every day.

Being thankful or joyful isn’t something that should be contrived to satisfy the religious sensibilities of other people… people express their joys and thankfulness in different ways.

All those ways are received by God as praise.

So, I’m thankful for those who are excited about this season and I’m thankful for those who endure it like me.

Whichever side you fall on, I’m thankful for you.

I’m thankful to the God who has sustained us all for His many blessings.

May Thanksgiving and the season to come be the best it can be for you and yours.


Nov 252015

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini.

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.

We will continue to do so until he is released.

I never though this campaign would ever be controversial, but in the light of Naghmah Abedinis accusations of domestic abuse it has become just that.

Because victims of spousal abuse and child abuse have so often been marginalized or ignored (especially in the church) the expectation now is that all accusations of such acts be accepted without question and without any due process.

I have much sympathy with this stance.

I’ve seen victims ignored or worse, revictimized by those in authority.

I’ve seen more cover ups than I can count.

However…I’ve also been lied to.

More than once.

There have been allegations sent to me with the hope of my advocacy that upon minimal scrutiny have collapsed like a house of cards.

The necessity to hear both sides of a matter is both a Christian and democratic ethic.

I do not disbelieve Mrs. Abedini, but I believe Saeed Abedini has the right to answer these charges before we convict him.

He has to be home to do so.

Remember Saeed…

Nov 242015

medical-symbolYesterday I received a bad report from my doctors.

An echocardiogram showed that I have “moderate to severe valve regurgitation”.

In layman’s terms that means my heart needs a valve job.

It means I will probably be having heart surgery sooner than later…I’m waiting now for a call on the next step.

It’s pretty obvious my time here will be limited for a while and I won’t always be available to moderate the site.

I ask for your patience and understanding as I decide how to navigate the near future.

Am I scared?

Are you crazy?

Hell yes, I’m scared.

I’m more scared about the impact on my family and loved ones, but I’ve saved a little fear for myself as well.

We will try to keep up with the stories we’re covering, the comments, and the email, etc…but a sabbatical may be necessary.

I already have someone to take care of the cat… :-)

I believe God is in this…the problem was discovered when I was in having my elbow looked at.

His ways are weird at times…but they are always good.

We covet your prayers and support.


Nov 242015

timthumb.phpSeven reasons to ban the Lords prayer…

On choosing a church home…

Frances Collins on being a man of science and faith…

Judas painting survived Reformation by being turned around…

Spiritual breakthroughs don’t came easily or quickly…

Scott McKnight says we need to get past Dickens at Christmas…

Trevin Wax says not so fast, Scott…

A four part definition for evangelical Christianity…

On being a defiant woman…

A good gripe about books…

Serving God when you’re not sure God is there…

Four reflections on the Syrian refugee crisis…

Jim Bob Duggar offers parenting advise…which is like me offering advise on being tall…

How women who aborted feel about the local church…

Why so few Syrian Christian refugees?

Ranking denominations on church involvement…

Church growth vs. pastoral care…

Thanksgiving thoughts from Roger Olson…

Underground revival in the Middle East…

20 observations on healing after 20 years in Charismania…

All of Martyn Lloyd Jones recorded sermons will be available free…

Steve Brown diagnoses unbelief…

Many thanks to EricL for the link help and his awesome work on my books…and it’s his birthday.

Support him at the top right…


Nov 242015

CBS 11 in Dallas ran their piece on Gospel For Asia last night.

While it could have been a lot harder hitting in light of what we know from our sources, it’s a start.

They are willing to do follow up stories.

Warren Throckmorton has already posted on discrepancies in David Carrolls statements.

I’m not going to complain about the coverage the story received, when any coverage is a net positive.

Here is the text version of the report.

This may be one of those times when because God’s people don’t respond to sin God’s way, He calls in the Assyrians.

If you want to help this station report more or if you have information you think they need, you can contact them directly.

If you want to reach CBS11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at If you want to reach CBS11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her at

Nov 232015

Calvin's Corner headerPhil and I update the Gospel For Asia story and discuss the Syrian refugee crisis. We do not discuss how I beat his fantasy football team… 😉

Download the mp3


Nov 232015

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251.Reports came forth this weekend that the “reality” show “Alaskan Bush People” was almost entirely fraudulent.

The show centers around a large family that has chosen to live “off the grid” in wilds of Alaska and focuses on how the family depends on each other in these primitive conditions and the deep faith the family has in each other and in God.

The “reality” that has been exposed is that the family doesn’t live out in the bush, they go out there only for filming the show.

The harsher “reality’ is that it is alleged that the family is actually a traveling band of con artists led by the patriarch of the clan.

The show is a fraudulent facade of Christian family values behind which seems to be all manner of sin and wickedness.

Trey loved this show, and I loved that he loved it, because of the values it promoted.

I spent a good portion of the weekend explaining to him that it was all a lie.

Unfortunately, the situation is a picture of so much we see in American corporate Christianity…a facade of virtue with much corruption behind the holy front.

I’m so very tired of explaining to believers the lies…

2. The lesson that Trey learned was never to trust what people appear to be…my hope is that he applies mistrust judiciously, but he won’t. I can’t blame him.

3. This is why the church should guard it’s reputation, not with covering up corruption, but by exposing it and dealing with it honestly. So many who now claim to be against the church were once devoted members of it and we drove them off by ignoring them when they were wounded among us.

4. When I write a story, my name is on it. Its cost me dearly. If you want to attack me or what I’ve written have the integrity to put your name on it. Attacking the messenger might be effective, but it’s hardly Christian.

5. One of the interesting developments in the scandal I spoke of in #1 is that the responses have fallen in line with the ones we get here. One group wants them tarred and feathered, one group refuses to believe a word of the charges despite the documentation, and that group attacks the reporters with virulence. The Christian response is a third option that is rarely used, even in the church. The charges are heard, they are fairly investigated, and the accused is offered the option of repentance with the promise of restoration. Victims are to be heard and protected, not attacked and discarded. The goal is family restoration, for the whole family. So far, in my experience, that is nothing but a holy theory, rarely practiced.

6. In a family, you can safely admit your failures. In a corporation, that will get you fired. Which does your church look like?

7. I left conservative politics because I felt it lacked compassion. I’m unable to embrace liberal politics because it lacks intelligence. If you can’t tell that there’s a difference between male and female and really believe that there aren’t groups that really want to kill you, you can’t be trusted with governing people and protecting them from evil.

8. I’ll say it again. Denying the existence of evil doesn’t change the reality that it exists.

9. Free Saeed

10. I’m wondering if the sign of the times we’re missing is that “the love of many will grow cold”. I’m having a hard time keeping the fire burning myself…

Nov 212015

thumbnail.aspxBehold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.

I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.

I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you.

In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.

I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.

I am a sinner; you are upright.

With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.

Therefore I will will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.


Martin Luther

Nov 212015

bible-word-of-god_thumbHebrews 8:1-7

The people wanted to leave what was invisible for what was visible. They were ready to go back to the types and shadows not realizing that they (the types and shadows) were the non real – and Jesus, his person, his priesthood and his covenants were the reality of what was foretold.

All of chapter 7 leads to v 1 & 2 here in chapter 8 – who is Jesus? This is the only question. When you answer “who” is Jesus, all other questions about him or his purpose or the nature of God and salvation are answered.

8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,

  • The main point! Who was it who said “let’s keep the main point as the main point?
  • Our High Priest – you don’t have to look elsewhere
  • Sat Down = the work is done
  • The right hand = the place of authority and power.

and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

  • In the sanctuary = the heavenly tabernacle
  • The true Tabernacle = it means that it is real
  • The OT temple was physically present but it was not the true tabernacle.
  • Set up by the Lord – NOT by man
  • Jesus could not serve in the earthly temple / tabernacle because he was from the wrong tribe.
  • So where do we see this heavenly tabernacle? How were the people to know and understand heaven?
  • We see it in the temple description in Ezekiel 40-48.
  • People only understand God living in a temple – but alas God lives in heaven, not a temple, so he must give a description we can understand. People may be brilliant, but when it comes to God, well God must talk to us the way we talk to our pets.
  • We look and wag our tail but have very little understanding.
  • Somewhere along the line, some groups have misread this to be the description of a temple again on earth – which totally denies every point the writer makes in this book.

Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.

  • The OT sacrificial system is like Macy’s bill – each month you must pay for your debt.
  • Where today is our bloody altar?
  • What is it that Jesus has to offer as a sacrifice? His Body – His Suffering – His Good Works – His Obedience.
  • Jesus offers not a lamb, a goat or pigeons as a representation of Himself – but He offers Himself.

If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.

  • On earth Jesus is not qualified to be a priest let alone the High Priest.
  • Earthly priest follow the law.

They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

  • Did Moses see this in a vision?
  • Why didn’t Moses get free reign? “Build me a temple you think would be worthy of me.”
  • What Moses saw was only a depiction of what was real.

But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

  • The new covenant is established! – out with the old.

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

  • Is there something wrong with the old covenant?
  • Did God make a BAD covenant that took him generations to realize?
  • The covenant depends on the actions of the people.
  • Garrison Keilor said – “God is a great writer, but he has very bad actors.”
  • What are the different covenants? I think it is good to read through them to see who God made covenants with, for what purpose and how they would be carried out.
  • Noahic – Gen 9:8-17
  • Abrahamic – A = Gen 15:9-21
  • Abrahamic – B = Gen 17
  • Mosaic – Exodus chapters 19-24
  • Phinehas – Numbers 25:10-18 = son of Eliazer – son of Aaron Covenant of Peace.
  • Davidic – 2 Sam 7:5-16
  • New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-34
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