Jun 232014
 

thinking-pic1.  One of my greatest frustrations is that I can no longer write about examining some issues from a biblical perspective because all issues now have a political component that is more important to the church than anything the Bible might say. The Word of God unfiltered turns all nationalistic and cultural concerns to rubbish.

 

2. From studying and teaching through the Gospels over the last couple of years, I’m convinced that the church is in great need of prophets who will cut through all our political and cultural templates and declare the Kingdom of God.

3. There is nothing more deadly to a living faith than a demand for certainty.

4. The road to heresy is paved by those who refuse to acknowledge paradox.

5. There is no way to comment intelligently on the “spiritual state” of the U.S…by law we allow any faith or no faith at all. Unless you’re in favor of a state religion, one can only address the state of ones particular faith tradition.

6. The road to true humility begins with humiliation…and that is why it is the road less travelled and rarely travelled by choice.

7. The journey back to Eden requires passing through Gethsemane…when you reach Gethsemane, you know you’re going the right direction. It is not the end of your travels, but the beginning.

8. Judas committed the most morally depraved act in history when He betrayed Jesus. You would never know this by the way that Jesus treated Judas…right to the end. Was the grace of Christ toward the morally depraved descriptive or prescriptive?

9. You cannot  biblically separate justice from righteousness. They are synonymous. The church that cares nothing for justice has abandoned righteousness.

10. Every great theologian has been very right about some things and in error about others. The errors do not negate the value of the revelation they gave to the church. If you believe otherwise, you’re probably an idolater.

 

Jun 212014
 

 thumbnail.aspx_I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

John Wesley

 

Jun 202014
 

IMG_0703If you’ve read here more than a few days you know I grew up and live near Crater Lake National Park and still visit it frequently.

One of the treats of my life has been to take folks there for the first time…and see their reaction at first sight of the wonder.

Most people gasp audibly…it is literally a breath taking sight.

Some are just silent as they try to take in the view.

I’ve been there too many times to count…and still reel from sensory overload when I arrive.

Thus, I decided to watch a tour bus unload on my last visit to see their reaction.

You can’t actually see the lake until you’re almost in the lake…so the bus took them right to the edge of the caldera.

What I saw stunned me.

They all glanced at this masterpiece of God…then immediately looked at their smartphones and began asking about where they could get wi fi.

Within a couple of minutes the whole group had turned their backs on the lake and began trudging toward the gift shop to get a signal.

They spent some time inside downloading texts and messages, bought some park labeled junk, then trudged back onto the bus and left.

They had missed it all.

The tyranny of the supposed urgent and the addiction to the trivial had blinded them to the work of God in front of them.

The handiwork of the Creator was counted as nothing in comparison to that of Samsung and Apple.

Wonder and worship are irrelevant when one has the opportunity to snap a selfie in a strange place.

The acts of the One True God are ignored as we act as lords over the virtual reality we rule with handheld devices.

The largeness of God makes us feel small in comparison…so we turn our backs on it and declare one our friend and block another, chart our course with an app, and move on.

Whatever place or circumstance you are in right now the true Creator God is doing something worthy of wonder and awe.

He is doing things that will change you…He is doing things that you cannot do.

You must look up to see them.

If you do, the sight may cause you to drop your phone.

Make your own application…

Jun 192014
 

St Thomas AquinasIn a century marked by giant intellects, the greatest intellectual of this century had been dead for 1500 years.

Here, in the 13th century, the world rediscovered Aristotle.

Previously, the Christian scholastic community had only fragments of his thought translated…then came the Crusades.

 

The Muslims had translated all of the philosophers works way back in the 9th century…and now the Christian world had acquired them through the wars with the Turks.

The writings sent shock waves through the Western church.

Dr. Frank James gives this progression of Aristotelean influence:

In 1210 a church council in Paris forbade anyone to read Aristotle.

In 1215, the 4th Lateran Council allowed his books on logic and ethics to be read, but nothing else.

By 1250, the elite University of Paris makes Aristotle required reading to become a theologian.

The first theologian of note to incorporate Aristotelean thought with theology was Albert Magnus…whose star pupil was Thomas Aquinas.

Aquinas went on to be one the foremost apologists, philosophers, and theologians of all time.

He is still the primary theological voice of the Roman Catholic Church.

His philosophic and apologetic works are still consulted and debated inside and out of the church.

His greatest theological work was the “Summa Theologica” his systematic “sum of all theology”.

Interestingly, he never finished it.

One day after the Mass he had a vision…and as a result he decided he would never write again.

“I have seen a vision of God and everything I’ve written is straw”.

History has decided otherwise…but I suspect all theologians will have that vision in the end.

Names You Should Know:

John Duns Scotus: philosopher and theologian

St Francis of Assisi: founder of the Franciscan order

The Inquisition began in 1252

 

Jun 182014
 

PaulSmithAccording to sources, Paul Smith, the brother of the late Chuck Smith, has been asked not to attend the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference in July.

His invitation was revoked and his fee refunded.

This was done in the name of ‘unity” by  CCA representative Don McClure.

This email is circulating from an anonymous source.

After researching the matter, we have no reason to doubt it’s authenticity.

“Dear Paul,

I write to you as both a brother and at least someone who was regarded as a friend.

As you know, most of the CC movement is well aware of the struggle within the Smith family, and some of us within the CCA council, and some of the leadership of CCCM.

I am sure that this breaks your heart as well as many others and we truly pray for a day when all of this is joyfully and peacefully healed in the Lord. 

But, a pastors conference does not seem to be the arena where such could ever happen.  I am sure that your presence there would be a lightening rod of disunity.  You would not be able to attend without voicing your differences and others would certainly be asking you how you think about many things.  We truly want the focus on the Lord and the encouragement of the churches; something I hope you do as well.

I honestly hope for the day when we could all come together in fellowship and enjoy friendship once again.  Until there is some sort of healing in these matters, I need to let you know that we will be returning your conference fees and invitation.

If you would like to have a cup of coffee sometime, I will be available.

Don McClure”

Commentary:

McClure’s rational was that he didn’t want the Smith family disputes over the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa empire disturbing the felicity of tranquil fellowship at the annual meeting.

While there may be some  truth to that, the real reason is to quell any dissension in the ranks.

This purge was initiated by the expulsion of George Bryson…and the purge will continue.

This is not a theological dispute…Bryson and Paul Smith both are as true blue, classic, Calvary Chapel as they come.

This is a political dispute…because both Smith and Bryson have disputed the narrative being sold by McClure and others about Chuck Smith’s endorsement of the CCA and it’s leadership.

Rather than allow their voices to be heard and real questions raised, dissenters are now purged and exiled.

So much for the value of “affiliation”.

So much for the truth.

More to come…

Jun 182014
 

 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we remember that a brother languishes in a foreign prison.

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.

His wife has asked that we write letters to him as well;

 Hi All,

Writing letters to Saeed in prison is a great way to let the Iranian government know that there are many who are concerned about him and it helps keep him alive and treated better at the prison. Here is the address to Rajaei Shahr prison. Please join me in writing letters to him. It should cost $1.10 for postage. You can share scripture and about Jesus as long as you are not attacking Islam or the Iranian government.

Saeed Abedini

Zendane Rajaee Shahr

Bulvare Moazen

Karaj, Iran

God Bless

 

Jun 172014
 

155547_468929542642_7884233_nFirst, thank you folks who use the Amazon links to make your purchases.

A small percent comes back to me and it helps out a lot.

Support our advertisers…especially when they are part of the online community.

You can also make direct donations via PayPal.

We covet your continued support and your prayers for what we do here.

I can always be reached at phoenixpreacher@gmail.com with your questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Jun 172014
 

links_image1The unholiness of the beard…

What Americans believe about evolution…

The religion of sports..

Evidence of massive underground oceans…

Five common characteristics of sex offenders…

Arguments for infant baptism…

Social media forces article retraction…

Most depressing jobs…

The crisis of biblical illiteracy…

Biblical literacy quiz…

Smaller is better…the return of the local church.

Should a theologians life affect how we view his theology? Very good…

Conditions in Iraq worse than they have ever been…

It’s not adultery, it’s abuse…

Can Christianity kill creativity?

Driscoll tells church to stay off the blogs and internet…when Calvary Chapel told people to stay off the PhxP it was the best thing that ever happened to our numbers.

The blog he wants his church to avoid…

God is sovereign, we are responsible…

Steve Brown on suffering…

I almost forgot…Ed Young Jr. is an ass…