Oct 312013

Luther-nailing-theses-560x538Today, those who are not Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox celebrate the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg and started what would become the Protestant Reformation.

Luther wasn’t intending on starting a religious revolution, he was hoping for a debate on the issues that concerned him.

In those days, nailing something to the church door was the equivalent of posting something on the town bulletin board.

He got that debate…and much, much more.

His courage and his scholarship launched the Reformation and the political and religious repercussions resound to this day.

Most will ignore this celebration in favor of celebrating Halloween…so I thought I’d combine the two with Luthers thoughts on the Devil himself.

He believed in “haunted houses”…

“It is not a unique, unheard-of thing for the Devil to thump about and haunt houses. In our monastery in Wittenberg I heard him distinctly. For when I began to lecture on the Book of Psalms and I was sitting in the refectory after we had sung matins, studying and writing my notes, the Devil came and thudded three times in the storage chamber [the area behind the stove] as if dragging a bushel away. Finally, as it did not want to stop, I collected my books and went to bed. I still regret to this hour that I did not sit him out, to discover what else the Devil wanted to do. I also heard him once over my chamber in the monastery.”

and witches…

“Doctor Martinus said a great deal about witchcraft, about asthma and hobgoblins, how once his mother was pestered so terribly by her neighbor, a witch, that she had to be exceedingly friendly and kind to her in order to appease her. The witch had cast a spell over the children so that they screamed as if they were close to death. And when a preacher merely admonished his neighbor in general words [without mentioning her by name], she bewitched him so as to make him die; there was no medicine that could help him. She had taken the soil on which he had walked, thrown it into the water, and bewitched him in this way, for without that soil he could not regain his health.”

His method of spiritual warfare?

“Almost every night when I wake up the devil is there and wants to dispute with me. I have come to this conclusion: When the argument that the Christian is without the law and above the law doesn’t help, I instantly chase him away with a fart.”

and if that didn’t work…

“When the devil comes at night to worry me, this is what I say to him: “Devil, I have to sleep now. That is God’s commandment, for us to work by day and sleep at night.” If he keeps on nagging me and trots out my sins, then I answer: “Sweet devil, I know the whole list. But I have done even more sin which is not on your list. Write there also that I have sh.. in my breeches. Hang it around your neck and wipe your mouth on it.”

Luther thought and said some very strange stuff…some things that history rightly condemns him for.

We learn almost as much from his sin and error as we do his brilliant theological works.

Yet, history also recognizes the greatness of the man and God gets all the glory for how He used him.

I’ll leave you with one last quote…

“When I awoke last night, the Devil came and wanted to debate with me; he rebuked and reproached me, arguing that I was a sinner. To this I replied: Tell me something new, Devil! I already know that perfectly well; I have committed many a solid and real sin. Indeed there must be good honest sins — not fabricated and invented ones — for God to forgive for His beloved Son’s sake, who took all my sins upon Him so that now the sins I have committed are no longer mine but belong to Christ. This wonderful gift of God I am not prepared to deny [in my response to the Devil], but want to acknowledge and confess.”


Happy Reformation Day…don’t eat too much candy.

If the devil shows up, you know what to do…

Oct 292013

links_image1More on Strange Fire…

Bunch of Kindle deals…

9 facts about the persecuted church…

Multiple partner unions…

The Duck Dynasty Christmas Album….

What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Misunderstanding grace…

A false Gospel?

Phil Johnson defends “Strange Fire”…and makes a couple very good points…

Wenatchee the Hatchet nails Driscolls hypocrisy…

The anatomy of apathy…

My next job…

A twist on a Halloween haunted house…based on a real teen killed in crash.

Where your donation to Israel really goes…

God’s anointed abusers…

Furtick defends his mansion, sheep nod in agreement…



Oct 282013

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. I wrestled all night with whether or not I would speak to the Chuck Smith memorial service or if I would simply move on and spare myself the grief.When I arose this morning I chose to speak because of some comments here and in my Facebook mail. There are too many questions about why some are so angry and too many references to folks being bitter and influenced by Satan for me to be silent.

Here is what you must understand if you choose to be fair.

There was only one man who had the authority to make right the wrongs that were perpetrated by some pastors in the Calvary Chapel movement.

There was no real hierarchy…there was only Chuck.

His was the only vote that mattered, indeed, his was the only real vote.

In the vast majority of those cases he refused to act, in some cases he participated in the cover up of the incidents.

People who were genuinely wounded with real grievances were told to simply vote with their feet and get over it.

Those people were ignored and often shunned and despised for speaking at all.

For those people, the torrent of accolades for Smith reinforces the shame and pain of their forced silence…it reaffirms that they were nameless, faceless collateral damage in the building of the kingdoms of God and Smith.

In a faith that allegedly is based on the love of God and neighbor, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Only a bitter fool would deny that untold numbers of souls have been touched through the ministry of Smith and Calvary Chapel.

It’s another kind of fool that refuses to acknowledge that the system also chewed up and spit out a lot of people in Jesus name.

My prayer is that those who embrace the Smith hagiography will prove it’s worth by reaching out to those who were disenfranchised by the group that made it’s ecclesiastical reputation by reaching out to those the church didn’t want…then, maybe they can celebrate too.

That’s all I think today.

Oct 262013

thumbnail.aspxWe have known forever that you call to obedience, that our obedience to your purposes brings well-being, that our departure from you may bring trouble, that life proceeds on a tight calculus of expectation and requirement, that in your awesome rule there is rigor along with generosity.

We have set out to he your faithful people and then we fall into an unintended brokenness.



We know about alienation from you and loss; we know about shame before our neighbors and embarrassment in the family; we know about the will to hide and become invisible, and we are consumed by depths of remorse.

When we are able, we come out of hiding long enough to face you.

We know all the cadences of confession and repentance, and that we have no secrets not already known to you.

We sense before you our deep dread of failure and our last shred of innocence gone.

We ask forgiveness and wait, at times before your presence we wait a very long time as we know of your silence and absence in our bottomness.

But we know more! We know of your unfailing love, your willing generosity, your readiness to remember our sin no more.

And so, after shame before neighbor, after embarrassment within family, after dread before you, we wait and then eventually you appear, you reach, you speak, you touch.

You give yourself to us without judgment-after we have judged ourselves.

You invite us to your presence, to the table of your feast, to your walk of companionship, to your mission of well-being.

We take timid steps toward home and are welcomed.

Now, in this hour of free-fall, be your good self again, meet us not according to our flaw but according to your generous self-giving: Be our Christmas, and start the world again; Be our Easter, and draw us from death to new life; Be our Pentecost, and breathe on its to begin again; Be your full, generous self toward us; we will begin again in obedience, and as we can obey, we will begin again in wonder, love, and joy.

Walter Brueggemann. Prayers for a Privileged People (p. 116). Kindle Edition.

Oct 252013

lot-family-saltThe Bible is brutally honest concerning the people we read about between it’s covers.

It’s honest about their lives, their successes and failures, and especially their sin.

My favorite example is always Lot…Lot who was comfortably settled in Sodom, Lot who escaped the destruction of Sodom only by divine intervention, and Lot who we last see in the older Testament in a cave getting drunk and having sex with his kids.

We don’t see brother Lot again until the New Testament where he is enshrined as a “righteous man”.

How in the name of everything holy does he end up on that list?

Only by the grace of God.

He enters glory not on his own merits, but by the goodness of God.

The grace of God changes a sinner into a hero of the faith.

Whatever good Lot accomplished is credited to his God and to that grace that flows to the unlikeliest of men.

As a result ,we celebrate God and his grace, not the transformed sinner.

God is glorified because the flaws of the vessels He uses are so obvious.

On our own, we’re not so honest when we record our histories.

This weekend there will be a huge memorial service for Chuck Smith.

They rented a sports arena that seats 18,000 and thousands more will watch via the internet.

They will not mention anything that might tarnish the popular hagiography about Smith, though many of those attending will have done so loudly in private.

As a result, God will only get credit for making a good choice.

Smith was used greatly of God, but like all others on this mortal coil, he was used greatly despite his sin, not because he lacked any of his own.

My own memorial service will be contained to a front room, or perhaps a closet.

There will be no mention of what a fine man of God I was… they will all know better…but I hope there is much mention of what a great God such a scoundrel had.

We’re all Lot.

Make your own application…

Oct 242013

Christianity  tourism destinationsGreat book, highly recommended.

I kid because I care…

It’s the one book we all own and that most of us here claim to follow in the precepts it speaks to us.

We argue about it, we refer to it to win arguments, and we act as if it’s sacred.

My question today is “how much do we read it”?

During the course of a week, how much time do you devote to reading what we call “the word of God”?

Do you think you spend enough time in the Scriptures and if not, why not?