Sep 242015
 

6As the month ends I think it also ends the shemitas, the blood moons, the harbingers, and all the other faux Hebrew soothsaying of the end times.

Nothing has happened, although faux Hebrew huckster in chief Stephen Strang wants you to believe it has.

 

 

 

It was all for profit and the profits have been immense (as they always are) for the false prophets that sold the ignorant another scheme.

I have a theory…not only do I reject all this soothsaying based on esoteric Hebraisms, I reject the need to know much about Judaism at all.

There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that demands that a Gentile believer be familiar with Jewish feasts, practices, or holy days.

There is nothing in the New Testament that commends us to the extra biblical work of rabbinical writers.

There is nothing in the New Testament that tells us we must understand arcane bits of Judaism to discern the coming of the Lord.

Understanding Jewish thoughts and practices can deepen our comprehension of the scriptures, but it is not necessary or even commended in the New Covenant.

I am both bored and sick of those who peddle Judaism lite to a gullible and lazy Gentile church seeking sensationalism and circumsized Gnostic knowledge.

Jesus is better.

Period.

Whilst I’m carping…

I’m sure Pope Francis is a sweetheart and he says some really sweet things.

He’s also done very little to confront the mass numbers of child abuse cases in Roman Catholicism and he perpetuates and empowers a system that is antithetical to Protestants.

You would think the first thing the “vicar of Christ” would do is protect children.

You would also think that people would know the differences between Roman Catholic dogma and Protestant beliefs…but they don’t.

Finally…

One of the really, really difficult things about following Jesus as a fallen person in a fallen world is remembering that the journey always ends at a cross.

The road to the cross is paved with slander, pain, and rejection, and it ends in death.

It looks like complete failure…terribly painful failure.

By faith we believe it is actually victory, that after death will come resurrection.

You still have to take the hard road to get there.

Jesus didn’t change strategies on the cross… He didn’t do what he could have done and called the armies of heaven to avenge His treatment and smash His enemies.

He died in front of them, instead.

In defeat, He won.

It’s possible that our victories must be won the same way.

Make your own application…

Sep 232015
 

Warren Throckmorton has the story of K.P. Yohannan denying that people kiss his ring as the “bishop” of his own denomination…with this video of people either kissing his ring or nuzzling his hand like my cat when she wants attention.

You make the call…kiss or nuzzle?

In Yohannan’s denial it seems that his main concern is that Calvary Chapel pastors will get wind of this practice and cut off support for Gospel for Asia.

To be blunt, it’s beyond me now how any Calvary Chapel can continue to support Gospel For Asia.

It’s even further beyond me if those who have supported GFA from the pulpit in the past haven’t informed their congregations of all the questions surrounding this group.

You’ve been played boys…and two of the people playing you are your own brethren.

The “no talk” rule needs to be blown to hell…this has to be addressed publicly because the support has been.

It also needs to happen now…

 

 

Sep 232015
 

MC900370324-200x174“The price you pay to understand someone is sharing their feelings.”

Charles Bowden

I had come to the end of a long and unsettling day of doctors appointments and other terrors when someone sent me the link.

It was a page full of recorded interviews with Bowden so the refuge of sleep would have to wait.

I listen to Bowden like some listen to a favorite teachers sermon…with anticipation, expecting to learn something I didn’t know before from someone much wiser than myself.

He was talking about how he interviewed people for his stories , those stories that in the words of another wordsmith “make you feel like the book is about to explode into flames while you’re reading it”.

“The price you pay to understand someone is sharing their feelings.”

The words exploded in my head and I got up and posted the quote to Facebook.

It sounded like something from “Chicken Soup For the Soul”… but unless in your soup the chicken is still alive and screaming as the knife approaches it was much different.

Bowden was talking about sharing the feelings of baby killers, cartel assassins, child molesters, rapists, and others who dwell in great darkness…as well as poor people and migrants, people striving for the light.

To truly understand them well enough to write about them, he had to enter into their feelings with them.

That exacted a heavy price on him, because he discovered that all the evils he chronicled existed in some form within himself…within all of us.

We Reformed types call this the doctrine of total depravity, the doctrine that declares that all of our human faculties are stained with sin and in need of redemption.

That…is what makes the grace of God “amazing”.

Most of us will never need to share the feelings of the kind of people Bowden wrote about.

All of us need to take his words to heart.

We are a divided people… in too many ways it’s “us” against “them”

The only way we can become “we” is by the difficult and painful duty to share the feelings of those we are separated from that we may understand each other.

We “demonize” each other…which is just another way of saying that we make those we differ with less than human.

If they are “less” than we are then we can treat them accordingly.

We betray truth as well as the faith when we do so.

As you look across the canyon separating you from whatever group you have defined as the “enemy”, unless you understand that they are defending deeply felt values and beliefs just as you are then the canyon will remain.

Your only hope is in conquest, but they may conquer you.

We who call upon the name of Christ are called to be carriers of peace and agents of reconciliation.

The first step toward both is understanding the other and that begins with sharing in their feelings.

It will take a toll, but that is the way of the Cross.

Make your own application…

Sep 232015
 

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.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

Sep 222015
 

timthumb.phpA defense of pedophilia?

Finding freedom in prison…

The two shall become one flesh…

The refugee crisis front line:Croatian Christians

4 things to remember when reading the Bible…

The soul devouring state…

Free market medicine…

Eschatology starts in our past…

Mercury in retrograde…

Full frontal frog…

The spiritual consequences of tech addiction…

Americas deepest heresy…

Why do churches have steeples?

Embarrassed by end times?

Be a better hater of evil…

The Anglican communion is already divorced…

The sermon that saved Charles Spurgeon…

Thinking Christianly about immigration…

Writing poetry from prison…

The problem with religion…

Big thanks to EricL for his work…support him at the upper right.

Sep 212015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. After this weekend, I don’t know what to think…

I’m used to getting beat on by the political right, but this weekend the political left matched any whipping I’ve ever received form across the aisle.

 

For those of you that missed it, I made a comment on Facebook where I said that the now famous clock that a Muslim student made looked like a bomb to me and that precautions should have been taken to assure that it wasn’t.

I didn’t defend the actions taken beyond that…I think we all agree that those are open to scrutiny.

For this statement I was accused of racism by multiple people, none of which have ever met me or know much about me beyond the fact that I supported putting the safety of children in a school above all else.

My character and intelligence were trashed and a demonic caricature was created and named after me.

There was no discussion, no middle ground, no nuance of thought allowed.

You were either a wonderful progressive opposed to oppression or you were a damned racist trying to crush an innocent child out of pure mendacity.

It was both incredibly painful and terribly frustrating.

A wise person will avoid such arguments and simply retreat to whatever thought ghetto will allow them in.

That will save you much grief, but it also gives the platform over to those who believe the only solution to our many ills is to crush those on the other side of the divide… who want to do the same to them.

Those who would hope to bring civil discourse between those divided to reach real solutions to real problems will be torn asunder in the middle by both sides.

We no longer seek the exchange of ideas for the purpose of finding solutions…we only seek to win and utterly ruin our “opponents”.

We are on dangerous ground and the destruction of our society is at hand.

We no longer divide while holding much in common…we divide wanting the silencing of all voices except our own.

I’ve watched this for sometime now…and frankly, I’m scared of what we’re becoming and what we will be.

To be more honest…I’m afraid if what I will become if the choice is between picking a side or staying in the middle where destruction is certain.

Both sides are right about some things and wrong about some others, so either side is a compromise of personal values and ethics.

My answer will be centered around the recognition that I belong to another kingdom where the lines are drawn differently…and praying for the soon coming of my king.

That’s all I’ve got today.

 

Sep 192015
 

Word of GodHebrews 3:14 – 4:-5

Hebrews 3:14-19

14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

  • Big IF – what does
  • To the end = perseverance?
  • “original confidence” go back to verse 6 from last week – “And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
  • What is that original confidence? That God, in Christ Jesus, forgives sin.
  • This phrase may be our call to holiness and the hope of future glory given to us in our baptism.

15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?

  • Tell the story. (at this point in my class we would read and discuss each passage I have listed in v.16-19. They are must reads for understanding)
  • Exodus 15:22 – 16:3
  • Numbers 11 Quail
  • Numbers 14 – complaining about what was seen / said Numbers 13 (exploring Canaan)

17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?

  • Read all of Psalm 95
  • A call to worship and then a warning.

19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Much will be said in chapter 4 about entering God’s rest. Where do we see that? Luke 16 – The Rich Man and Lazarus.

Chapter 4:1-5

1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

  • The access to God’s rest is faith – belief
  • Faith is a noun form
  • Believe is the verb form
  • In NT Greek, they are the same thought.
  • The writer seems to be very concerned that some will not enter God’s rest or that some have not attained it.
  • There also seems to be a concern that this is not an open offer – the clock is ticking .. which it is.
  • Do you think that the average Christian gives this much thought? Or is it just a settled matter?

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

  • Good News = Gospel
  • Those going to church each week are hearing the Good News
  • But is that enough, or does it have to be embraced by faith?
  • Example – 2 people sitting next to each other hearing the same message at the same time.
  • Do people make wrong choices? What makes people walk away?
  • Heard it but blew it off. Heard it but too busy.
  • It wasn’t united by faith. Not that they did not have enough faith, and not that they had not mustered up enough of their faith.

For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

  • Is this future or present?
  • We who have believed it is present tense.

For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”

  • I still love the way that the writer does scripture references – “For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way”
  • This is Genesis 2:2
  • We must remember that there were no chapters and verses in the Bible at this time.
  • Think about references – today with a handheld devise you can type in key words, and it will pop up.
  • Back then, he would have to go get the right scroll and start unrolling to find the passage.
  • What is that rest? Was God tired?
  • No, it was a rest from his creative work. Creating out of nothing was now done and not to be done again.
  • Today – everything now reproduces itself.
  • Does this mean that God no longer does anything?
  • See John 5:16-17 – “And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
  • Who here is familiar with Deism?
  • Deism is really a practical Atheism
  • You don’t find Deists around any longer – they now just openly call themselves atheists.

And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.”

  • Another passage Psalm 95:11
  • This is kind of a transition passage here
  • The Genesis passage speaks of his rest and by connection rest for those who will enter.
  • But this passage now talks of those who, by God’s judgment won’t enter. The Israelites.

Not the best place to end but I am over my word count for this week.

Sep 192015
 

thumbnail.aspxA Prayer For Hard Times

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Merciful Father, You know how difficult these days are for me.

In Your holy Word You have promised to hear those who cry unto You in the day of trouble.

Listen to my cries for mercy and send me help from the sanctuary of Your grace.

Preserve me from bitterness of spirit and rescue me from every temptation to despair.

Calm my frustration with the knowledge that my life is secure in Your redeeming love, for I am baptized into the death and resurrection of Your Son.

Draw me out of self-centered worry, which stifles faith, and cause me to take comfort in the great and precious promises that You have made to me and all believers in the Gospel.

Sustain and strengthen me under every cross and affliction, that Your grace might be made perfect in my weakness.

Give me confidence to pray without losing heart and to trust in Your mighty deliverance according to Your good and gracious will.

Father, into Your hands I commend myself. Hear me, for the sake of Your Son, who alone is my Brother and Savior.

Amen

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