Nov 202012
 
  1. A couple got married yesterday with their terminally ill son as best man.” (HT)
  2. And I can yell it all I want, but God won’t damn this season–he’ll be in it.” (HT)
  3. For one fleeting moment, it occurred to me: everyone around this table, myself included, would have argued passionately that our political agenda was shaped by our religious convictions. Yet those same convictions seemingly held no sway over the means we used to advance our agenda.” (HT)
  4. But if you read his entire story, you’ll see it is one of hope: that even after you and your family have been hurt by arrogant and abusive clergy and their enabling lay leaders, you can find a new church where the leadership are transparent, loving, and seek to minister to you and your family.
  5. For all the talk of the Jewish vote in the recent U.S. elections, I can’t help but wonder how Canadian Jews are conceiving of their own political commitments towards Israel.
  6. We need kids who are unafraid to ask the sorts of tough and exciting theological, philosophical, and scientific questions you can only ask when you know that, however this world came to be, God did it.
  7. They aren’t interested in a 140 character-at-a-time conversation — they simply want followers — ones who will buy what they’re selling.
  8. Stunning pulpit vomit from…Creflo Dollar’s ‘preaching’ as he warns his congregation that “a curse” will come on them if they say bad things about the appointed men of God who have fallen into sin. Where does this curse come from? Writing things on Facebook and Twitter.
  9. Another response, the one James K. Wellman, Jr. suggests in Rob Bell and a New American Christianity, is to see Bell as a faithful follower of Christ who is seeking to reject false American orthodoxies for a truer gospel…
 Posted by at 11:08 pm
Nov 202012
 

With the re-election of President Obama and a new round of conflict in the Middle East, the prophecy wonks are working at full speed with end times conjecture.

Despite the fact that I share some foundational doctrines with these folk, there are few things that irritate me more.

While there are a number of reasons that this is so, the main reason is that I don’t think they really believe He’s coming soon at all.

 

I think they enjoy the constant drama they whip up and love believing they have special insight that the rest of the church and the world lack.

If they really believed He was popping in at any moment, behaviors and attitudes would change with that belief.

Age and failing health have convinced me that I’m going to meet the Lord sooner rather than later…and I’m working on keeping short accounts with Him and the people He brings into my life.

My hope is that if He comes for us all before He comes for me personally, He finds me having got to work on time after telling Trey I love him before I left the house.

I pray He finds me being faithful to both vocations He’s called me to and finds me at work with the tiny part of His kingdom I’ve been given to build.

I pray He finds that I am walking in forgiveness and grace, both given and received.

With all that on my plate I have no need, interest, or time to attend a prophecy conference…I have one every day in prayer.

How about you?

Do you think the end is near and if so, how does that change your thoughts and behaviors?

There is a story romping through Facebook that was originally published in the OC Weekly concerning a fellow who was allegedly from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa who made a call to an LA radio talk show.

In that call he stated that Democrats, (and more specifically people who voted for Obama) were not welcome to attend CCCM.

I purposefully didn’t link to the story, nor will I give much thought to it other than what I’m writing today.

The story doesn’t meet any standard of responsible reporting…at all.

It appeals to my own prejudices and tendencies to stereotype, but it does so without a shred of documentation.

It’s easy (and sometimes enjoyable) to be divisive and petty, but in the long run it hurts the real case we’re trying to make and mocks our own attempts at real reform.

When one of the leaders at CC says the same thing on the record, then we have a story…until then, we really don’t.

 

Nov 192012
 

1. From a Christian perspective, Thanksgiving should rank with Christmas and Easter as a holiday. Unfortunately, it’s become just the day before Black Friday.

2. I’ve never understood why people enjoy horror movies.

3. The post election hangover doesn’t seem to be going away…

4. It’s an odd time when the general is fired for adultery and the preacher just gets relocated…

5. I’m not sure how I accomplished this, but I’ve never been more cynical about the public institutions of the church and more hopeful about the church itself.

6. I’ve been informed that it’s nit picking for me to think that it’s irresponsible for a pastor of thousands to announce the end of the nation because of the conflict in the Middle East and that the devil was behind Hurricane Sandy because Satan was angry about the (then) upcoming election. My church actually listens to what I say, so I choose my words carefully…Since Obama won, does that mean we’re in for a spate of good weather?

7. I would dearly love to never preach or teach on eschatology, but I would have to cut out about three quarters of the Bible to accomplish that.

8. I was going to watch the Steelers game last night, but it turned out that the Ravens were playing the Pittsburgh Swizzle Sticks instead…

9. The idol of political power and influence has fallen on it’s face and we’re stuck with relying on God…and I’m excited about the possibilities there.

10. “The key is the culture. One must ask cultural questions of such men, not simply doctrinal ones. Is the culture of their church or organisation transparent?  Are there clear lines of accountability which flow both ways, from the leadership to the grassroots and from the grassroots to the leadership?   Is opposition to leadership decisions addressed in an open fashion or via thuggish backroom manoeuvres and public derision and isolation of critics? And one interesting question which I remember a pastor once asking in a pulpit when I was a college student: how far above the average economic level of the congregation or funding constituency does the leadership live?  That little old lady putting her ten dollars in the plate each Sunday or sending in her pledge — is she funding a lifestyle for functionally unaccountable leaders which is lavish beyond words and built on gospel rhetoric, on not-for-profit tax breaks and on an overwheening sense of entitlement?  That can be quite an interesting gauge of whether the church or ministry takes seriously its role as steward of the money it receives.    It is, after all, easy to prostitute yourself to the prosperity gospel when your own prophecies of material wealth are effectively underwritten by the desperate dreams of the poor and destitute which you yourself have helped to create and upon which you prey with a depraved and insatiable hunger.”

Cultists and con-men are identifiable only by their culture, not by their confessions.

That’s Carl Trueman and you can read the whole article here.

Nov 182012
 

In your presence and in the company of your good saints,
we offer you our praise and thanksgiving,
for the joys of friendship,
and for the burden of faith.
As we sit in the midst of your many mercies,we are mindful of so many of our brothers and sisters
who dwell in places short of mercy,
absent of justice,
defaulted on the gifts of life.

We can recite the grocery list of needful people
and violent places,
but you know them all.
As you know them and we know them,
we pledge in this company
to take these needful people in these violent places
as our call from you.

We are so poorly equipped for such a call.
But you are the God who gives
bread and wine,
table and towel,
book and song,
and with them courage, freedom, and energy
for the task to which we are unequal.

Catch us up this day into the reality of your good purpose, that by the time we leave each other
we will know –
yet again –
that your mercy and justice and compassion
outruns all the needs of the world.

Sign us on and bless your church,
bless the bishops and the priests,
bless the pastors and the elders,
bless all the faithful in places harder than our own,
in places of seduction like ours,
in places of temptation we know too well.

Keep us simple and on task,
and we will praise you by our glad obedience.

Walter Brueggemann

Nov 172012
 

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook…

Last night Mike Macintosh had a rumbling in the bowels and spake forth this prophecy on Twitter;

“Good bye America Russia joins Syria, and Hamas.Israel (Ezekiel 38-39) tells the story.75,000 troops called up550 missiles frm Gaza in 2 days”

Yeppers, it’s all over for us.

After some further rumbling, he offered a minor correction;

 

“Good bye America “If” Russia joins Please note my correction/addition”

Correction noted.

As this will inevitably turn out to be yet another false prophecy, I have provided other corrections for Mike just in case;

“Good bye America “If” Russia joins and the hockey season remains canceled Please note my correction/addition”

“Good bye America “If” Russia joins and the hockey season remains canceled and Hostess doesn’t find a buyer Please note my correction/addition”

“Good bye America “If” Russia joins unless the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars. Then peace will guide the planet and love will steer the stars.Please note my correction/addition”

I kid because I care…

I mock this sort of irresponsible fear mongering because it stifles any real discussion of eschatology.

I believe that Christ will return and I believe Israel has a role on the end times…I don’t believe in hysterical statements that create more anxiety in already anxious people.

I’m off to work…it’s all yours now.




Nov 162012
 

I keep hearing and reading that because of the re-election of President Obama that God will no longer be blessing America.

In fact, because of this singular act, God will allegedly judge America.

I find this an odd notion.

We’ve done worse …

 

 

God blessed America despite the fact that America was born out of rebellion against a legitimate sovereign.

God blessed America despite the fact that almost every inch of it was gained through the murder or forced displacement of its original occupants.

God blessed America despite the fact that much of it’s early progress was built on the backs of slaves.

God blessed America despite some of our leaders keeping and even impregnating slaves.

God blessed America even though we refused equal rights for some of His children through most of our history.

God blessed America when we went to war with each other and when we waged unjust war against others.

God blessed America even though we were born in sin and have continued to walk in it since then.

America, America, it was never about how good and godly we were.

America, America, God shed His grace on thee…

His grace.

The undeserved, unexplainable, inexplicable favor of God to sinful people…and sinful nations.

This country was born in rebellion and sin and could have went the way of every other empire…but we have received what we did not deserve.

God has shed His grace on America…and on thee…and me.

Perhaps if we shed the same on each other in the wake of this election, He will continue to do so.

Make your own application.

 

Nov 142012
 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVTK3cmGQuU[/youtube]

1. (HT)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnGkfZrXLsw[/youtube]

2. (HT)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_fFF50A53A[/youtube]

3. (HT)

4. Tony Jones on how the religious voted last Tuesday.

5. “Vatican II it wasn’t, but the meeting of the two Atlanta ministers on the dais of First Baptist bridged two of the most storied religious careers in Atlanta’s history. It also demonstrated that old hurts do, in time, heal.” (HT)

6. “A new study finds that women faculty say they’re undermined and passed over for advancement because of their gender. But they’re happier than they’d be at secular schools.

7. “With no further ado, THE FUTURIST Magazine releases its top ten forecasts for 2013 and beyond.” (HT)

8. “But I think that disaster might actually be a good thing for evangelicalism as a whole.

9. “What we might need to ponder is if the modern theories of complementarianism owe more to a Victorian construct or a Victorian ideal than to the Bible.

10. Are Christians losing the culture war?

11. “While I would be happy to see the Ten Commandments back on the courthouse wall, the fight over symbolic issues is backfiring, alienating people from the truths of the gospel rather than attracting them to it.

12. “The church was already divided, you might say. It may have been, but the tear now runs deeper.

13. “But the reality of economic reconciliation is coming. Christians must be prepared to help. In doing so, the harvest will be enhanced.

14. Chuck Pierce’s vision. (HT)

15. Fried burgers!!!

 Posted by at 6:10 pm
Nov 122012
 

1.  I think it’s a bad sign when you miss your regular scheduled article and no one notices…

2. When my church wanted to donate to help the victims of Sandy, we didn’t go to the Red Cross…we found a church that was giving aid and comfort before they were. It was the best use of Gods money and Gods people did His work with it. The media  didn’t notice, but the people who were served surely did.

3. If the worst case scenario presented by the anti abortion movement happens and Supreme Court justices are appointed that will uphold Roe vs Wade…what’s plan B?

4. When we protest the deterioration of the family do we include the growing number of businesses that are requiring people to work on Thanksgiving?

5. I wanted to write profound thoughts about the election but there are times when discretion is the better part of valor. We held an election and we all lost…no matter who you voted for.

6.  Times like these are great opportunities for true leaders…if we have any.

7. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”(1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV). When you can say amen to that one, you’re all in. Amen.

8. Steve Brown teaches that “when pain exceeds payoff, positive change occurs”. When the cost of separation exceeds the joy of whacking each other, we’ll start putting the country back together again.

9. Stopped at a rest area on the way home and as usual there was someone in need soliciting donations. He was a rough looking character with a rougher looking dog and people were giving them both a wide berth on the way to the bathrooms. Just as I was leaving a lady come up and laid hands on him and prayed. It was…beautiful. As I pulled away I wondered for a moment why I hadn’t done that, but didn’t like the reasons I came up with.

10. Adrian Peterson.

Nov 112012
 

Light from light.

Creation from chaos.

Life from death.

Joy from sorrow.

Hope from despair.

Peace from hate.

All your gifts, all your love, all your power.

All from your word, fresh from your word, all gifts of your speech.

We give thanks for your world-forming speech.

Thanks as well for our speech back to you, the speech of mothers and fathers who dared to speak in faith and unfaith, in trust and in distrust, in grateful memory and in high hurt.

We cherish this speech as we trust yours.

Listen this day for the groans and yearnings of your world, listen to our own songs of joy and our own drudges of death, and in the midst of our stammering, speak your clear word of life in the name of your word come flesh.

Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

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