Apr 302015
 

ten-commandments-297x300““You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

(Exodus 20:7 ESV)

The most common exegesis of this commandment believes it refers to using the Lord’s name as a swear word, such as invoking the name of God to damn objects inanimate and animate.

There is some value and some truth in that exposition.

There is a far greater and more damning meaning to it however.

That being when we attach His name to anything that would diminish His person or cast doubt upon His character or attributes we take His name in vain.

I would go so far as to say that when we as His representatives behave in a manner that does the same, we have taken His name in vain.

On the heavenly side that is sin and God is offended.

On the earthly side, the people we misrepresent God in front of no longer believe we come in love, grace, or peace.

Nor do they believe what we say about God, or His word.

We… who they trusted to be the bringers of truth have proven to be false, so all we have said is thought to be false.

Because our actions and our attitudes emptied our words of worth, the entirety of the faith once delivered is called into question or rejected.

The ones we have harmed are left in confusion and anger, trying to patch together a faith that won’t break them.

We end up with ash in our mouths and blood on our hands.

Be careful what you put His name on.

May He forgive me as I spit out the ash and try to clean my own hands.

icemanI don’t watch much TV and I go to very few movies.

My not so well kept secret is that I love to read comic books.

There were part of my survival as a young boy…the characters modeled virtues and character that were sadly missing in the people in my real life.

They modeled something akin to biblical virtues like honesty, self sacrifice, and heroism.

They ‘taught’ me those things.

That was then…

Today, the old Captain America I grew up with (and who evidently resonated deeply with movie goers very recently) has been stripped of his powers and his uniform given to an African American who is noble, but without the history that made Cap…well…Cap.

Thor is now a woman.

Finally, Iceman, one of the original X-Men, just came out as gay.

While this latest development inspired a number of very funny off color jokes in me, this really isn’t funny at all.

Now, I have nothing against women, African Americans or even gay people being portrayed as heroic characters.

What I object to is the real message behind these changes…which is that the old virtues must be changed to accommodate the current culture.

The writers could have simply created new characters, but they chose to transform old ones into the new mold.

It’s sneaky, but effective…and comic books are still teaching “values” to young and old alike.

The latest edition of the theological journal “Themelios” is available now for download.

Matt Redmond said everything else I want to say today better than I can…

Apr 292015
 

flag_and_Bible-300x199I have received much criticism from some quarters for allegedly over playing the marriage of conservative politics with evangelicalism.

In response, I offer this article about Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel.

 

The article leaves out references to the times Hibbs has played clips from Fox News and Bill O’Reilly as part of the sermon…

It is very evident that Hobbs considers right wing politics to be part of the Gospel message.

A vote for candidates he endorses are “a vote for God”.

Let’s discuss…

Is this an appropriate use of the pulpit?

What do you do with folks like me…who believe differently about some hot button issues, based on their understanding of what the bible teaches about them?

Are we voting against God?

Apr 292015
 

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.

Apr 282015
 

galleryDespite the stalling tactics of the Tom Randall paid defense team, the trial against two men accused of child abuse at an American run orphanage in the Philippines will continue.

Every time we have run a story on this situation we receive inquiries as to whether or not we have any proof that this is true as the former head of the orphanage, Tom Randall, and his pastor, Joe Coffey announced that all charges had been dropped .

That was a lie, a lie that has not been either confessed or retracted.

Update: Coffey admitted to the church the charges have not been dropped. No explanation was given for the other claim.

In the meantime, Randall continues fund raising junkets for his World Harvest Ministries.

The latest from the courts can be found here and here.

It is vital that this story be spread and direct questions asked of Coffey and Randall about their statements and their involvement in this case.

If you or your church  donates to World Harvest Ministries…you need to be asking some tough questions.

Update from my friend John: Just so everyone knows, the trial is set down for 28th August .. Joe Mauk and myself and two of the children were in court last Friday 24th April for the arraignment .. what disturbed me was a policeman walking through the courtroom stopped to shake hands with Toto .. he and Tom Randall are very close to the military in the local area .. In God we pray

From my friend Melanie: The attorneys for Toto and Jake have tried to QUASH the SWORN AFFIDAVIT STATEMENTS of these abused victims and attempted to sweep everything under the rug. Their defense team has managed through legal maneuvers to postpone or attempt to completely dismiss these atrocities for almost a year and a half. Their appeals have been exhausted. With a multitude evidence and voluminous sworn statements against them, these alleged pediphiles must now face their victims and the people of the Philippines in court on August 28, 2015. PLEASE READ AND SHARE TO GET THE WORD OUT IN SUPPORT OF THESE BRAVE VICTIMS. Thank you

You can get the full background through all the stories we’ve written on this tragedy

Whistleblower Under Fire in Phillipine Child Abuse case.

Death Threats Alleged for Philippine Whistle Blowers

Randall Freed, Charges Remain Against Associates

Update and Podcast with One of the Whistleblowers and Victims

An update on the scandal.

Pray for justice.

Strange twist in the Philippine child abuse case.

Lie exposed in the Philippine child abuse case.

 

Apr 282015
 

timthumb.phpMatt Redmond reads Calvin…

The problem of irrational Christians…

Atheists outnumber SBC in military…

Wartburg Watch on the weirdness of Peter Wagner…

SBC cancels Ben Carson…

How faith leaders are tweeting Baltimore…

Tornadoes, typhoons, and hope…

Redemption after abuse…

God called her human…

Julie McMahons story…

The end of Preston Sprinkles debate on same sex relations…

This Anglican politely takes out Rachel Held Evans…

9 things to know about same sex marriage…

Natural and supernatural are modern, not biblical, categories…

When doubt hangs on…

Wenatchee the Hatchet on the latest from the Mars Hill debris pile…

Chaplain Mike is blogging through “The Lost World of Adam and Eve”…

How God Met Me In My Deepest Pain…

Orthodox terrorism?

Universal tragedy…

In defense of the ass…is the sermon a relic of the Reformation?

Steve Brown…love is unnatural.

Interesting as always from the Junia Project…

Apr 272015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. When Phil told me we were going to discuss the Bruce Jenner program on the podcast this morning, my first thought was that I really didn’t have much to say about the matter.

 

 

However, when watching a local LBGQ organizer say that her organization had children as young as four and five “transitioning”, I knew I was listening to the voice of Satan.

That may sound a bit hyperbolic, but when we start imposing such confusion upon malleable, innocent, children, then the evil one is reaping another generation.

Children don’t have enough information (or the capacity yet to process the information they have) to even begin to comprehend what these people are doing to them.

Children should be allowed to grow through their childhoods with both the assumption and the modeling before them of normal gender identities.

Anything less is abuse of the sickest and and most vile nature.

2. “Normal” isn’t a dirty word.

3. I have plenty of compassion for adults who are dealing with messed up gender identities and sexual preference issues. The Fall messed us all up badly. However, I don’t have any compassion for that tiny percentage of the population deciding that the entire society now must share in their afflictions and think it right to inflict their problems on children.

4. In other news, hundreds of millions of people aren’t confused in the least about their gender and tens of thousands of them married each other last week in gleeful anticipation of heterosexual marital relations.

5. Whoever picks Todd Gurley on Thursday, wins the draft.

6. Quit expecting unbelievers to accept a truth “because the Bible says so”. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

7. What this culture, (including the church in large part) utterly rejects is the idea of the power of God working in us to allow us to deny ourselves and pick up our own crosses. Self denial and sacrificial love are sins in their eyes…

8. Maybe it’s just me, but if all of your female children can be found posing naked on the internet, I question both your moral fiber and parenting skills…

9. I taught a transformative message on prayer from the Psalms last night…and still haven’t prayed this morning. It was a great message though…

10. Jesus is Lord. Period.

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

Apr 262015
 

Christianity  tourism destinations“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

(Ephesians 3:7–21 ESV)

So much of my ministry has been to people who have been crushed by the church and because the church represents Christ, they believe they were crushed by Him.

They doubt His heart toward them, they doubt whether they are in the love of God.

Sometimes, they believe that God is against them.

I bow my knee to the Father and join in Paul’s prayer for them…for you.

After telling us that God has made one family in Christ Jesus and telling us of all the riches to be found in Him for those who are in that family, Paul wants one more thing for you.

He wants you to believe it.

Sometimes, the only way you have the ability to believe it is if God himself gives you the ability…and that is what Paul is asking the Father to do.

He wants you to believe it with everything you have, just as he does, despite your circumstances.

He wants you be be strengthened in your soul, strengthened by being deeply immersed, “rooted and grounded” in His love.

Once strengthened by that knowledge of His love, he prays that you will be able to comprehend the incomprehensible…the love of God for you and towards you.

More than that, he prays that you be filled with all that God has for you, filled with the “fullness” of the God who loves you.

The foundation of it all is love…it is His love that gives you the power, the strength, the knowledge, and the life that comes from being truly and fully loved.

Paul wants you to believe all this because it’s true.

It’s true about you, for you, and it will always be the truth of God’s heart about you and for you.

It’s true right now and forever.

For you.

Amen.

Apr 262015
 

thumbnail.aspx“TO THE CHOIRMASTER: FOR THE FLUTES. A PSALM OF DAVID.

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

(Psalms 5:0–12 ESV)

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