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…

  166 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Chuck Smith Jr. was my first pastor and he told enough stories on his dad (we were all in our 20’s at the time) to keep me from ever idolising Chuck Smith. (the elder)
    Do I love and appreciate him and his ministry? Yes.
    Do I think he was sinless and perfect? No.

    I feel the same way about my own father.

    I agree, the glory should go to God, not the man.

    Chuck himself warned of turning the ministry into a monument to the man God used.

  2. This wasn’t the tough article, was it?

    I thought this was great.

    I have to keep asking myself “Is God using Steven Furtick…Mark Driscoll…etc.?”

  3. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 35:6

    Praise God!

  4. “…what a great God such a scoundrel had…”
    true, helpful, and quote-worthy.

  5. Thank you, Josh.
    It wasn’t written to insult or hurt anyone…but it’s what was on my heart this morning.
    As Nonnie says, we can love and respect people knowing their faults…and God is even more glorified when we do.

  6. Bob,

    Amen…that’s the whole point of the Book.

  7. the accompanying artwork looks like a rocket launch… 😉

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

    I’ll be glad to have been changed into one who is found in the faith at all.

  9. We know the story in the Bible, but I wonder – what was said at Lot’s funeral? Did they stand by the hole in the ground or the cave and beat him up for his sinful life, or did they say nice things about him and leave it at that.

    Michael, have you ever presided over a funeral and verbally berate the deceased over his sin? Why would you expect differently at Chuck’s funeral?

    I am sure that some of the speakers will mention that Chuck like all people had struggles in their life.

  10. MLD,

    I’m not suggesting that anyone speak ill of him at the memorial service.
    What I am suggesting is that when we present somebody as being great in the kingdom without acknowledging the other side of the coin we diminish the truth about the radical grace of God.
    When we do that we set an unreal standard that says that greatness in the kingdom comes from within ourselves, not from outside ourselves and from Christ.

  11. Fil,

    It was either that or a woodcut… 🙂

  12. CK,

    That’s a done deal…

  13. Funerals are to comfort the living. There’s no reason- absolutely NO REASON- to say anything negative about Pastor Chuck at his memorial service.

    Good grief.

  14. The Lord will have said to Pastor Chuck, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That’s all that needs to be said at his memorial service.

    I suppose one could bring up all the scandals, maybe read a list of them with a Power Point slide show running in the background to illustrate the low points of Pastor Chuck’s life. However, since God had forgiven him (thrown his sins behind His back where even He chooses not to look at them anymore) and keeps no record of wrongs, we should do the same.

  15. The best thing is to have a traditional liturgical funeral service where very little (if anything) is said about the deceased but is all about what Christ has done for the deceased to forgive his sins and bring him to heaven.

  16. You know, Michael, memory is a subjective and peculiar function. Pastor Chuck’s death has caused me to ponder a lot of my own history, the Jesus Movement, Keith Green….and even my ex Andy Green….. good times, terrible times. As you wrote, it’s the sin nature. We’re sinners. I’m a sinner…. chronic, compulsive, hopeless apart from Jesus Christ.
    I plan to watch the memorial service.

  17. Xenia, I think that is what Michael is saying. Give the glory to God. Actually, that is what I am sure I heard Chuck Smith himself say….something like: ” Don’t turn the movement into a monument to the man God used.” All glory to God, whilst remembering the man we loved and how God used him to touch our lives.

  18. Maybe I misunderstood this:

    “when we present somebody as being great in the kingdom without acknowledging the other side of the coin …”

    His memorial service is not the time to be talking about “the other side of the coin.”

  19. Once again, I’m not advocating they read from my blog at the service.
    When I die, my guess is that there will be a sense of loss and sadness from those who loved me.
    I hope they will also remember my mistakes and my sins so that they will learn from them and be convinced that God loves the sinner…and them.

  20. Scroll down this link to see how many places around the world are having organized gatherings to participate in the memorial viewing. http://pastorchucksmith.com/

    Ponder that for a moment. That one man was that influential in the lives of other Christians for the Kingdom that there is that sort of desire for people to be a part of the event honoring his memory. And that link does not include obviously the many who will watch the livestream from their own homes. Our church won’t host a livestream viewing because a larger venue is available just up the street – otherwise we too would likely have our names on that list.

    The problem with the Lot reference in an article like this is that we read the Bible and wonder “How on earth is Lot considered righteous??” When did he ever show faith or righteous living?

    That is not the case with Chuck. A better comparison would be to the lives of Abraham or David, whose relatively few sins yes are mentioned, but clearly are offset by a lifetime of faith, worship, and service to the True and Living God.

    Of course, then a few people would shout “How can you compare Chuck Smith to Abraham or David!!” – which is a colossal effort of missing the point.

    Which is likely why the Bible says comparing ourselves to others is unwise. Judging another’s servant is wrong.

  21. I hope they will also remember my mistakes and my sins<<<

    I am sure that as long as there are blogs, all of Pastor Chuck's sins and mistakes will be remembered.

  22. Steve, therein lies the rub. We tend to grade on the curve and slide up ‘the scale’ to Abe or Dave, when in reality, we are Lots. It is like discounting some sins and exaggerating others. The longer the Apostle Paul ministered, the less he thought of himself. Toward the end of his life he viewed himself as the ‘chief of sinners’ not because he, in reality, was, but because he continually recognized how short he fell of the standard.

    Lot-likefil

  23. filbertz, that is an entirely different point. This isn’t about self-reflection and what we (or Chuck) realize to be the depths of our sins and need for the Savior.

    Read again the opening sentences of this blog entry. It is about what the Bible says about it’s people – for good or bad. Not about what we think of ourselves for even Michael knows better than to write that Chuck didn’t think he was a sinner too.

    My point stands. Lot is a horrible comparison, because the record in the Bible says nothing positive about the man – other than he simply was a believer, thus leaving us readers scratching our heads.

  24. Chuck Smith presided over Lonnie Frisbees funeral and made reference to Lonnie that he was like Samson being both a super hero in the faith and also having fallen into great temptation and sin by Delilah. So I think its perfectly ok, to put some balance with Chuck Smith at his funeral with the huge mistakes Chuck made.

  25. What is the purpose of this discussion? To remind us that we are all sinners, saved by grace? Who among us has forgotten this? Is it to be sour because all around the globe people are going to be reminiscing about a truly beloved man of God? “Yeah, he did some good things but let’s not forget the sins he committed.” No thank you, I shall. like our Lord, forget the sins (whatever they are, I don’t personally know of any*) that he has committed.

    *Other than the sin of embracing a heterodox theology.

  26. I am Facebook friends with a history professor who has written a couple books, the most recent one being on the topic of the importance of studying the past. Just the other day he put out a quote on Facebook either from the book or in relation to the book. He said, “People in the past are defenseless. They’re at the mercy of the historian. We must be careful about how we use such power.”

    Seems to have some application here. We don’t need to cover all the warts. But while still acknowledging the warts (in a fair manner), I would think some sense of mercy would be shown by instead placing the focus on the grace of God.

    And just to give due credit, here is a link to his book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801039657/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801039657&linkCode=as2&tag=thewayofimple-20%22%3E%3Cimg+border%3D%220%22+src%3D

  27. Xenia,

    Here is the point as I already wrote.

    “:What I am suggesting is that when we present somebody as being great in the kingdom without acknowledging the other side of the coin we diminish the truth about the radical grace of God.
    When we do that we set an unreal standard that says that greatness in the kingdom comes from within ourselves, not from outside ourselves and from Christ.”

    We exalt people instead of or as much as God…and that creates a host of other issues.

  28. Just read the Sodom story this morning.

    Sooooo, Lot and/or his daughters brought wine along with them as they fled reluctantly for their lives?!?!

    There’s a sermon in there somewhere….

  29. Michael, yes God uses flawed vessels for His word, and yes, it is the grace of God that He uses any of us. Nobody would disagree with that obvious statement.

    Consider though we are talking though about a man who taught about grace repeatedly, and modeled it too, (many of his critics are because he erred on the side of grace, restoration and forgiveness – not law and judgment).

    Why Grace Changes Everything
    The Gospel According to Grace

    We also should look though at reasons why God’s grace is poured out on one’s ministry over another. God is not just picking names out of a hat, right?

    There are issues of faith, love, service, prayer, the Scriptures, that mark the men (and women) God uses for great things. Plus the lack of other things like guilt, manipulation, money-grubbing the people.

    Yet it is those lessons that never seem to come up when Chuck is discussed – the sorts of principles I was expressing on my facebook that I learned and seek to apply personally as a pastor today.

    Personally, I don’t recall a time when I was somewhere that Chuck got personal applause when he did not point up to heaven in response.

  30. Well Michael, you have your blog here where you have not been shy about highlighting the faults of Pastor Chuck. As I said, as long as there are blogs, Chuck’s sins will never be forgotten. I just don’t think his memorial service is the time or place for it.

    If the speakers say, “Chuck was a sinner, just like all the rest of us and he was trusting in the Lord to forgive his sins and save his soul,” sure, that should be said at EVERY funeral, that’s the point of the Gospel. It’s what a liturgical funeral is all about.

    If you think people should start mentioning particular sins at his service…. you are way off base.

  31. Steve,

    Those qualities are brought up.
    That’s why I write with an open comments section…so that if folks think I’m wrong, in error, or just downright sinful they can respond.
    You and others can make your case and the community gets the benefit of all the different perspectives.
    That’s why it irritates me so much when it’s claimed that the only people allowed to post here are those that agree with me…that only happens in my dreams. 🙂

  32. Xenia,

    This is at least the third time I’m saying this…I’m not advocating recriminations at the service.
    I am advocating that instead of canonizing people we should look at them as the Scripture does.

  33. The truth is, thousands upon thousands of people all around the world consider Pastor Chuck to be (what I would call) their spiritual father. They are mourning his death but rejoicing in his life and his life in heaven now with the Lord. I know this is galling to those who disliked him but there you have it.

  34. Michael you brought this up in connection with his memorial service, did you not?

  35. A funeral is a time for family and friends to say a final goodbye to the deceased. For the Christian who has passed we know they are safe forever in the presence of our God.

    I feel a portion of the service should be a time to reflect on the life of the deceased and share fond memories and to allow friends and family to do the same. I think this is important to the healing process.

    I also believe there is a time during the service to share the hope the deceased had and use that as a springboard to share in whatever way the one speaking desires based on personal convictions and above all the wishes of the family.

    A pastor I knew enjoyed doing funerals as he saw it as an evangelistic event. He showed up once to do a funeral wearing a Disneyland tie with Disney characters all over it. He wanted to show that the funeral was a celebration concentrating on the gospel message he would share more than on the life of the deceased.

    At times I think portions of the Christian culture doesn’t allow for the human element to enter into the picture. There are people who are devastated and need to grieve properly and I think part of that can be achieved by spending time on how the deceased touched and influenced lives and what they overcame in life.

    I have huge problems with a funeral being reduced to reaching the unsaved as I believe God can and will do that in His time.

  36. That’s why it irritates me so much when it’s claimed that the only people allowed to post here are those that agree with me
    ————————————————–
    Wait…you mean you have critics that don’t have a clue what they are talking about? Or that conveniently misinterpret the facts because of their own personal axe to grind?

    Imagine if you were someone actually famous.. 😉

    I appreciate the opportunity to both affirm or challenge what you write – and that you do not seek an echo chamber.

  37. Here I am, defending Pastor Chuck, a man whose theology I have utterly rejected, for the most part.

    Weird.

  38. Xenia,

    That was only to demonstrate the difference between how the Bible reports on saints and how we do.
    If I was advocating a recital of grievances I would have clearly said so.

  39. If I was advocating a recital of grievances I would have clearly said so.
    —————————————–
    It’s not Festivus yet. 😉

    (Michael may not get that joke)

  40. At my father’s funeral, most people there knew how volatile my parent’s marriage had been for many years. The last 20 years of their 60+ years marriage, my dad worked hard to make up for it. We brought it up and made it clear that the man, the husband the father and grandfather that we were remembering with wonderful, joyful memories, was not perfect and we mentioned their marriage problems, but only in the context of “LOOK what God did!! Look, and always remember how Jesus healed the marriage and lives of 2 broken people and gave them a new beginning! Yes, this generous and giving man who loved and celebrated his children and grandchildren and was so treasured by us, was a flawed man who loved deeply and was deeply loved. And our hope was that the flawed and broken people attending his funeral would know that God had not given up on them either, and they too, were loved.
    To God be the glory.

    I pray that the Smith family and the church family of Chuck Smith will be blessed and encouraged by the service on Sunday.

  41. This is why your article is so confusing, Michael. The NT says nothing bad at all about Lot, it’s ALL hagiography.

  42. I’m grateful the Bible presents our heroes warts and all. My gosh can you imagine what trips folks might lay on us to live perfect lives if God left out the negative?

    In a funeral it would be criminal if someone shared something along the lines of “even though Uncle Joe had an affair with his brother’s wife God turned it around for good.” “God’s grace extends even to Uncle Joe.” “And I want you to know today that same grace is being extended to you….”

    Is there an example in scripture of a funeral/memorial where the sin(s) of the deceased were recounted?

    As far as Pastor Chuck it’s none of my business how this memorial will be done. He had a huge impact on my life and through this blog I have come to learn he had feet of clay. I shudder to think of my failings being known to the public.

  43. Steve,

    Here’s a little more insight.
    When you or Xenia or Erunner or any of the other regulars rebuke me it stings.
    It matters…I look at you all as family and though I’ve never met most of you I truly love the whole bunch.
    I respect this place and the people that read here… and when I write something like this I know I’m going to have a bad day. 🙂
    I’m thankful that people care enough to read and think and write back…and what’s in our comments is usually better than what I wrote.

  44. I’m off to pick up Trey…who I hope will not blog about me when I’m gone. 🙂

  45. Does anybody remember the story that PC told on his thru-the-Bible series where a little boy had his finger cut off and Chuck prayed and the next time he looked, the finger had grown back?

    St. Charles the Wonderworker, he’d be called if he were Orthodox.

    🙂

  46. Xenia, I am almost positive that story is in Chuck’s little ‘Effective Prayer Life’ book. And he is very open in describing his lack of faith in praying for that particular miracle – giving all the glory to the Lord.

  47. Steve, I remember him telling about his reluctance to even pray for the boy, thinking “Sure, like God is going to grow him a new finger.” But God did, apparently!

  48. I always loved the story of him praying for the man with a bad cold. The man was in a wheel chair and after Chuck prayed for the man, he stood and walked. The family was stunned and so thankful. Chuck said he was just praying for the guy’s cold! (I think I told the story correctly. Please feel free to correct it, if I have the details wrong)

  49. Chuck did a couple of interviews before he died. I distinctly remember Greg Laurie asking if he had any regrets. Any at all. Chuck had absolutely none at all. It just seemed strange to me to know you are at the end of your life and not have any regrets. None at all. It was almost as if he was at perfect peace. I hope I can say the same before I die but don’t think I will make it to sinless perfection while still in this mortal body. I believe I will always have some regret until Christ brings me home. And to respond to erunner,

    “I shudder to think of my failings being known to the public.”

    I could care less what people say about me when I am gone. I will be in the presence of the Lord and won’t give a hoot what anyone says.

  50. Josh the Baptist wrote @ # 2,

    I have to keep asking myself “Is God using Steven Furtick…Mark Driscoll…etc.?”

    If the Almighty can use apostles to accomplish his ends he can surely use buffoons.
    No? Yes?

  51. Andrew, Having seen PC and others torn to shreds by others while still alive is the context I shared about all of my sins being publicly known. Not only would it hurt me but those close to me and I wouldn’t want that in either life or death. Sometimes some forget there are other people who feel the sting when a loved one is raked over the coals.

  52. I always wonder about righteous Lot being vexed and wonder where his vexation went later on, because I’ve seen my vexation wane and wonder where my righteousness went.

  53. Since none if us really knew Chuck all that well only God knows that truth about him. As far as him touching millions of lives, only God gets the glory for that not Chuck

  54. Michael @ your 32: I am advocating that instead of canonizing people we should look at them as the Scripture does.

    Great idea! Was there anyone more hell bent on David’s destruction than King Saul? Was there anyone who caused him more pain, heartache, and sleepless nights? David could have filleted Saul upon his death, but instead, we have the Song of the Bow in 2 Sam. 1.

    2 Samuel 1:17-25
    Then David chanted with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar. “Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! “Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. “O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. “From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. “How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places.

    No, I am not comparing Chuck to King Saul (God forbid!), I am comparing David’s eulogy to how we should remember Chuck.

    If anyone knew the depth of Saul’s depravity it was David – but not a whisper is told.
    If anyone could have criticized and found fault it was David – but a not syllable is uttered.
    If anyone felt the fevered flesh of Saul it was David – but not a word is written of it.

    No, we don’t canonize and we don’t cannibalize, either. David looked back upon the life of Saul and made a decision to see beauty and instead of biting and devouring him, he lauded the work of God that was done in and seen through him. If Saul is afforded this courtesy and gracious treatment, how much more so Pastor Chuck. Yes, let’s remember our dead in Christ as the Scriptures direct.

    Blessings
    Tim Brown, Pastor
    Calvary Chapel Fremont

  55. “The grace of God changes a sinner into a hero of the faith.” Could not of said it better myself.

  56. Charles Spurgeon recalled a time when a person said something terrible and untrue about him. “Yet,” he said, “If they knew the truth, they would have a lot more to talk about.”

    All of us have sins, some more visible than others. The Scripture is clear: “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.” (1 Timothy 5:24-25, NKJV).

  57. I always appreciate when Pastor Tim pops in. Well said, sir!

  58. Well, yes, I think if God is real and he is love and good etc, then we literally are all Lot…every human. God will redeem the whole of his creation…despite the fact we’re all sinners…despite the fact none measure up to the Standard…despite the fact no one really knows what “correct doctrine” is or what the correct magic formula for salvation is (though each Sect thinks they do and that everyone else will be tortured in hell by a good loving God forever.

    Yup, every human throughout history is “righteous Lot”

  59. I just re-read the Hebrews 11 Hall of Fame 3 times and cannot find Lot. Maybe I am stupid and need correction? I know he is mentioned in 2Peter2 . The mention is gracious and reserved in that Lot is not vilified but, it is not an honorable mention.It is an example of how Lot tortured his conscience unnecessarily and obligated God to take up a rescue mission, that Lot still disrespected. The example of honorable mention is that of The Lord at work in the midst of Lot’s dishonor even though he was relationally righteous.

    I might be stupid but I am a lot of others are not Lot .Yes, without the grace of God we might end up in a similar lot, but by the grace of God we have received and honored we have become someone other than Lot .

  60. Tbro quoted, “behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar”

    Can’t find that book in my bible for some reason…hmmm.

  61. vic,

    You’re the only one that caught this egregious error.
    Good job!

  62. If we are all Lot then Abraham must be a myth and we really do not have a father in the faith who was blessed of God. But then Lot would be a myth too because Abraham delivered him from captivity before God delivered him from judgment,

  63. Michael. It is old age and I am capable of the same. 🙂

  64. Tim, I’ll have someone hold you guys to that when I’m gone.
    My guess is that beer and cigars will be ordered by the SMP upon delivery of the blessed news.

  65. I am like Lot that I am beloved of God not by my own merit, but in spite of it.

  66. Vic,

    That was a bad one…and I appreciate the grace, my friend.

  67. I just hope someone shows up at my funeral. What they remember or say about me is up to them

  68. “If we are all Lot then Abraham must be a myth and we really do not have a father in the faith who was blessed of God. But then Lot would be a myth too because Abraham delivered him from captivity before God delivered him from judgment,”

    Not necessarily. That logic doesn’t hold. Lot may or may not be literal, same goes for Abraham. They could very well be archetypes…they could very well be literal. They could even be a composite of both literal and archetype.

    Also, if Lot was literal and Abraham was literal…your conclusion in not necessarily correct. Lot could be myth and Abraham literal, Abraham could be myth and Lot literal, both could be literal, both could be myth. Some of their story could be factual and some mythological, etc. We don’t know for sure.

  69. RB,
    I like the way you always throw around ‘was it literal or a myth.

    I guess you have no argument against those who say the Holocaust was a myth. Perhaps it was – perhaps the Holocaust was a story made up by the Jews to teach a point.

  70. Are we all like Lot? What are we supposed to learn from Lot?

  71. I think the point is there is a bit of Lot in each and every one of us. You guys are so analytical and defensive; some of you are both. We are such complex beings, like Lot.

    I wrestle with watching the memorial. I am a spiritual abuse survivor who suffered from someone who claims he learned everything from Chuck. I wonder whether he gave Chuck too much credit? My early years were spent at Costa Mesa when it was nothing short of heaven on earth. But it wasn’t heaven, and so it wasn’t to last. I moved far away from Southern California and landing in another Calvary; it was there that I experienced spiritual abuse that oddly enough was concurrent with a deepening work that God did in my life.

    To some, Chuck was more of an image than he was a person. There will be a recognition of both the man and image on Sunday. We are such complex beings, kinda like Lot.

  72. Well, truth be known there is more likely to be a bit of Judas in each of us, than there is Lot – but saying that doesn’t sound as spiritual…and in some quarters probably gets you punched in the mouth.

  73. http://theresurgence.com/2013/10/25/see-you-in-seattle-pastor-john-macarthur

    Im not running off but I just actually like you people a great deal. So Im back again. I am sort of like this guy in some ways. I read this and I came away with a critique, It will be long and drawn out like most of my rantings. So here is my opinion about the link.

    GAG.

    Thanks I do hope all of you have a nice evening.

  74. brian,
    I read Driscoll’s letter to MacArthur. Which of these is Lot and which is Abraham?

  75. @65 – You’d be wrong.

  76. Well, truth be known there is more likely to be a bit of Judas in each of us, than there is Lot – but saying that doesn’t sound as spiritual…and in some quarters probably gets you punched in the mouth.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Judas was the son of perdition. He wasn’t saved and Satan entered into him. If you want to compare a Christian to someone who denied Jesus it would be better to compare them to Peter. Peter denied Jesus three times but Jesus restored. A Christian has nothing in common with Judas and it is frighting for a pastor to make such a comparison.

  77. @65 What!? Everybody loves you.

  78. it is frighting for a pastor to make such a comparison.
    ——————————————–
    You don’t get it, Andrew.

    I’m more French than I am Vietnamese…but I’m 0% of either.

    Maybe that helps you.out as to what I was saying…

  79. Steve, this whole time I thought you were Vietnamese! What a let down.

  80. I’m assuming from reading the comments between Vic and Michael that he (Michael) identified Lot as being in the Hall of Faith section in Hebrews 11 in his original TGIF article?

    Thank God for the editing option, eh? 😉

  81. Andrew… What exactly is frighting?? 🙂

  82. MLD said, “I guess you have no argument against those who say the Holocaust was a myth. Perhaps it was – perhaps the Holocaust was a story made up by the Jews to teach a point.”

    Well, I believe in the Holocaust. There is Empirically verifiable evidence of such. Can you show me a picture of Lot or Abraham? Can you show me the altar with DNA samples of where Isaac laid? Can you find me the pillar of salt that was Lot’s wife?

    …cuz I can demonstrate tangible evidence of the Holocaust (unfortunately).

  83. Unlike the Hebrews, the German Nazis kept very meticulous records and photographed and video’d much of their Holocaust.

    We have no clue what Jesus looked like physically…but we have a very clear tangible image of what the Holocaust looked like.

  84. I might as well say this and move on.
    If I had used anyone but Chuck Smith as the contrasting character in this little vignette it would have been received very well.
    You all would agree that most certainly I have needed and received great grace and the Lord should be glorified in His mercy toward such a scoundrel.
    You all would agree that anything the Lord accomplished through me was done despite me, not because of me.
    You might even be able to go so far as to acknowledge that such is true for all of us.
    But not Chuck.
    Anything short of a papal reverence for the dispensational vicar of Christ is not allowed.
    Having covered the man for over a decade and being privy to things that torment my soul I know better.
    I’ve tried to be both careful and reverent, but that’s not enough.
    The reality is that he was a sinner saved by grace like the rest of us…and his sins affected a lot of folks, just as his accomplishments touched many.
    The purpose of this article was to exalt the God who uses people despite their sin and failings…and to understand that recognizing that sin and those failings exalts and glorifies the Lord even more.
    Like I said (and as the comments and emails have affirmed) when I die the Lord will be exalted for His mercy and grace…tomorrow he’ll be exalted for making a good choice.

  85. Michael, your CC friends are Chuck Worshippers. Most outside the bubble can see that.

  86. Michael,

    I understood your point perfectly.

    Those closest to Chuck knew his weakness (and major failings) well. It is those who admired Chuck from a distance that rub his belly and bow to his greatness. Most CC pastors only know Chuck as the smiling preacher who was so “faithful” to both the Word and his church. They don’t know what it’s like to work for him…they don’t know what it’s like to be his son…they aren’t privy to the hidden things, they aren’t really aware that Chuck was a flawed man. A flawed man who was a faithful preacher (despite the dispensationalism 🙂 , a brilliant business man, and definitely at the right place at the right time.

  87. RB,

    That’s not fair either.
    This is a complex mix of reality and symbolism that makes seeing the whole picture difficult for many.
    It is interesting to note that after John Stott died (a much bigger figure) there was a book released that spoke of his faults in a very clear manner.
    It was actually received well by most of us who loved Stott’s work…because it was instructional to see the stresses that such fame brings and how to avoid the errors he made.
    Again, it also exalted the greatness of God who uses broken vessels to accomplish great things.
    When we see the sins of the greats and see that God uses them, it brings hope that He may choose to use us too.

  88. RC,

    Thank you.
    I’m sure you’ll also agree that even knowing those things that celebrating what the lord did through him is entirely appropriate…at least I believe so.

  89. tbro,

    “@65 What!? Everybody loves you.”

    Surely, you jest.
    Did that start loving me before or after they threw me out?
    No need to be disingenuous…

  90. “When we see the sins of the greats and see that God uses them, it brings hope that He may choose to use us too.”

    This is a blind spot in Christianity that I don’t like.

    It’s as if it accepted that to be “something” in Christianity*…for God to have truly “used you for his work!” you have to be a preacher/celebrity and your success of how much God “used you” is in Scalps.

    I think God uses parents to love their children in grace and mercy and support. I think God uses neighbors to help their friends and neighbors in need. I think God uses a good businessman like this cat: http://articles.dailyamerican.com/2007-11-23/news/26307872_1_clothes-social-security-richer-life

    I don’t think God really uses celebrity pastors at all. I think if there is such a thing as God and devil…that the devil’s best work is done in the pulpit.

  91. Michael,

    Yes. I do believe Chuck’s life and ministry should be celebrated and at the end of the day we should all be in awe of our God who sovereignly uses such men for his purposes and glory.

    Whether you’re a Chuck hater, who despised his theology and are privy to the secrets, a Chuck worshipper who has him deified, or somewhere in between this is simply a time to memorialize a man, who like all the great preachers gone on before, was deeply flawed but deeply loved by an amazing Savior who choose him for such a time as this.

  92. RB,
    “…cuz I can demonstrate tangible evidence of the Holocaust (unfortunately).”

    But what about 1,000 years from now if all the evidence is gone … does that make the Holocaust any less real?

    Perhaps 3,000 yrs ago their was massive evidence Lot and Abraham and Isaac’s altar.

  93. @79. Not many people know the difficulties Steve Wright faced being so tall in his Vietnamese village growing up. Especially difficult when he went back with the Peace Corps (pronounced “corpse” by our President, but I digress) to teach them baseball. Their strike zone compared to Steve’s? Impossible. It was like the movie ‘Elf’, but with baseball. And no Santa. Or snow. Or toys. So, tropical, and Vietnam. So not at all like the movie ‘Elf’, basically.

    sorry, I distract easily and distract easily.

  94. RC,

    That was really well said…amen.

  95. Rob,

    I unfortunately pictured that in my mind and now I’ll be chortling about it all day… 🙂

  96. MLD said, “Perhaps 3,000 yrs ago their was massive evidence Lot and Abraham and Isaac’s altar.”

    Yes, perhaps…and perhaps not. That was what I stated above.

    With your example of the Holocaust, I can go well beyond “perhaps”…I can state with certainty that is happened.

  97. RB: “I don’t think God really uses celebrity pastors at all.”

    I’m certainly glad that what you think and what God is able to do and does do are not synonymous.

    “Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or imagine, to Him be the glory…” – Paul (a celebrity preacher).

  98. “With your example of the Holocaust, I can go well beyond “perhaps”…I can state with certainty that is happened.”

    Yes, just as the people who were around with Abraham and Lot could testify with certainty that they were around.

    But 1,000 yrs from now, someone will say “RB spoke of a great myth called the Holocaust back in 2013 – those folk sure did like their fables.”

  99. Christianity* is really bizarre. It seems to think that God being coy about his existence is somehow admirable.

    Seems a good and loving God would be a bit more transparent….like he was with Thomas the Apostle who required more evidence to believe Jesus resurrected from the dead.

    I’m all for it, I accept it as possible, I don’t close that door…but you’re killing me Smalls…how about some supernatural s**t that isn’t Benny Hinn theatrics to demonstrate the reality of bible thumping Christianity* if it’s in fact real.

    My guess is that the truth lies somewhere between Atheism/Agnosticism/Realism and Metaphysical/Religion/Superstition.

    The Universe is quite amazing. There is a “force” and an intelligence to it and some very Deterministic qualities. Both Camps (Religious and Atheist) have gravitated to opposite extremes that are probably both largely untrue.

  100. MLD said, “But 1,000 yrs from now, someone will say “RB spoke of a great myth called the Holocaust back in 2013 – those folk sure did like their fables.””

    Well, if they are somehow able to find the surviving words of mine on a blog…I’m quite sure they’ll have found all the tons of info and evidence of the Holocaust along with it.

  101. I have a new friend who’s been reading my back-and-forths with some of you here and on the CC Abuse blog. He is a renowned scientist, a brilliant man. He “gets” me. It’s like finding out you’re not the only one of your species on the planet. I’m not crazy…I’m just an underachiever who swims with regular intellect folks who think I’m from another planet.

  102. If I had used anyone but Chuck Smith as the contrasting character in this little vignette it would have been received very well.
    ———————————————————-
    Michael @85 – not by me. You need to reread my objection to Lot being used as your Biblical illustration. I would say Lot would be a poor example for just about any Christian. Certainly any that I have ever met – pastor or otherwise.

    It could be said, I make Biblical illustrations for a living 😉 – so I try to differentiate between good ones and bad ones (having heard many examples of each over the years).

    I am not being “analytical” not being “defensive” and not “grading on the curve” – Lot is an amazing example in his own right because we see nothing, NOTHING in his life that speaks to someone of the faith. Certainly you don’t think that of Chuck.

    And yes, we will see people in heaven that are like Lot – we will be surprised – for the same reasons as we are with Lot. That’s the point. Our shock.

    We need the New Testament to even tell us that Lot will be in heaven, because his story is so horrible. Do we really need the New Testament to tell us that about those people in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews? Would you wonder about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, even Rahab? Anyone else listed by name there based on what you read in the Old Testament.

    And no, I have never said in any sermon (all recorded) that we all have a little Judas in us (shout out to Andrew) – but I also have never said we all have a little Lot in us. I can’t dream of saying either.

    You made a great point. God doing great things by His grace through flawed vessels.

    No argument there at all. Often we make great points, citing clear Biblical truth, and then do a poor job of illustrating what we proclaim. Of course, that is a subjective opinion and your mileage may vary. I have been guilty of this many a time. I usually will share with one of the assistant pastors afterwards “Man, I did a poor job of trying to make that point” – sometimes I am told “I thought it made sense”

    As for my Vietnamese days, beware of falling for the Apocryphal versions. The real problem was that we only had melons instead of baseballs, and the size and weight distribution in comparison is such that trying to pitch caused an arm injury from which I never recovered. Good Morning Vietnam’s final scene was loosely based on my story – though I did not get any royalties.

  103. When I read the Sermon on the Mount and see that anger equals murder and the lust of the eyes equals adultery…when I understand the real state of my heart…I know that Lot was a rank amateur.
    Your mileage may vary.

  104. Again..we all have sinned and need a Savior…not the point of YOUR blog post.

    Maybe the question is “When did we ever see Lot doing ANYTHING of faith, anything of service, anything of worship, does he even pray anywhere”

    Other than being used to spawn the forefathers of two of the biggest enemies God’s people would ever know, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

  105. I guess one could offer his willing sacrifice of his own daughters to sexual perverts in order to protect two strangers…but that one might be debatable

  106. Steve, I see your point and understand what you are saying about comparing CS to Lot. When I read Michael’s post I was reading through the lens of the “grace of God in broken and flawed people. That CS was not the perfect man that some are making him out to be, but regardless, God used him mightily to touch many, many lives for eternity.

    However, now I am interested about 2 Peter 2:7. What was Peter referring to that was “righteous” about Lot?

  107. Nope.

    I believe it is time the truth is told about Pope Chuck, so that the idolatry, which is false and biblically incorrect, can be known, and the truth can prevail.

  108. Too much emphasis on the man. It all needs to end. The empire of idolatry, the false philosophy of ministry, it all needs to end. It is all so anti-Christ, it makes me want to chew nails and spit bullets.

  109. At a memorial service, I believe the love for the man or woman trumps any flaws the man or woman may have had..

  110. Reuben,
    Would you support picketing the memorial service tomorrow? Has Westboro been called yet – they know how to picket funerals. 🙂

  111. Nonnie, if that is the case, then why would Pastor Chuck himself had compared Lonnie Frisbee to Samson at his memorial service?

    No one would be so crass as to do that at Smith’s service. Which is sad, since so few see the double standard. :/

  112. Nonnie’s #107
    I think the answer lies in 2 Peter 1:1.

    Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

    Faith is the answer, just like it was in Hebrews 11, even though Lot isn’t in that list.
    We know Lot had faith in the God of Abraham to some extent, because he fled the destruction of Sodom that was foretold. Plus 2:7 shows that the conduct in Sodom distressed and tormented him.

  113. Ryan, see my number 40.

  114. What ever happened to that verse about weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice?
    A person’s memorial service is not time for pointing out their many faults and failures. It’s a time for the living to comfort each other, and start processing the pain.
    It is heartless for anyone to use that as a time to start expounding on a person’s sins.

    MLD’s right. That’s no different than what the creeps at Westboro do.

  115. I keep trying to find the comment where someone advocates saying negative things at the memorial…I didm;’t say that, nor has anyone else that I can find.

  116. Michael, I think what folks are alluding to is your statement:

    “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.”

    Some folks might interpret the way you framed that comment as meaning something negative should be said about him at the memorial which would tarnish the popular hagiography.

    Btw, what the heck is a hagiography? 😉

  117. Funny, I keep trying to find the comment where someone advocates worshiping Chuck as an idol, or that he was sinless and perfect.

  118. I got Michael’s reference to Lot and quite frankly the Hebrew’s Hall of faith fame gives the fame to God and not the individuals. Try taking a moment or two and read the bios of those mentioned and I think, even by today’s moral standards, those mentioned are not examples of bright and shiny behavior.

    Let’ see:

    One man was a continual womanizer who never followed the Torah and died asking that God would revenge him (no mention of saving others).

    One made a sacrifice as if to an idol, boiling meat in its mothers milk, making a statute to himself, having bastard children with his mistress (who eventually came and murdered his children and terrorized a whole city).

    One made a bad vow and probably sacrificed his own daughter.

    I think we could go on.

    I ask my study group when we were going through Judges, “why are these considered “heroes” of faith?

    I believe it is as simple as this, in spite of all their foolishness, immorality and lack of a real life walking with God, they never stopped having faith that God is the God of all.

    Hebrews is a list demonstrating what “faith in God means, Hos mercy, not ours (maybe better known as His righteousness and not our filthy one and for those who don’t understand a Jewish version of righteousness go and read Matthew 5+ whee Jesus describes it).

    Michael, Thanks for posting your thoughts about Lot and the hall of faith fame/shame. It was worth the read.

  119. I was more addressing Reuben’s attitude about how now is the time to start spilling the beans than what you wrote Michael. But I do agree with Scott’s last post that it did look a wee bit like you were saying people should not just say good things about the man at the service.

  120. London,

    Enough good things have been said. Watch the last interview of Chuck that Greg was tossing around as the triumphant exit statement.

    I am not talking about trashing someone at their memorial service. I am talking about putting a stop to the idolatry. That idolatry, unfortunately, wont end now that Chuck is sitting at the right hand of God having left behind the only lasting true movement of God in 2000 years of church history. And that, my friend, is satanic.

  121. “MLD’s right. That’s no different than what the creeps at Westboro do.”

    Ironically, in what you and MLD assert…your comment is equivalent.

    However, there is no similarity in reality…but in London/MLD-Land…maybe so.

  122. Andrew… What exactly is frighting?
    _____________________________________________________________________

    When a pastor says there is bit more Judas than Lot in us. Lot was a righteous man according to the NT but Satan entered Judas the son of perdition. In other words, Judas was Satan possessed. Some even believe Judas was the anti-Christ. Unbelievable somebody let alone a pastor would make a statement like this. It blows my mind.

  123. Hebrews hall of faith doesn’t jive too well with the lordship salvation view.

  124. Ryan said, “Nonnie, if that is the case, then why would Pastor Chuck himself had compared Lonnie Frisbee to Samson at his memorial service?

    No one would be so crass as to do that at Smith’s service. Which is sad, since so few see the double standard. :/”

    Agreed, very good point. Seems when it’s Chuck doing it…hey, grace for Chuck. But if someone else did it at Chuck’s Memorial Fanfest, well you’d probably get stun-gunned by security guards, cuffed up, basically Nick VanderLaan’d.

  125. What’s wrong with having a Christian hero? People admire sports figures, rock stars and actors (even though many of them are despicable people) yet Christians must never ever admire a Christian leader who has been extremely beneficial? If they admire them too much, if they are too grateful for them, this is going to be called idolatry?

    Christians need heroes. St. Paul even told people to imitate him.

    How many of you here have gone into rhapsodies about your favorite musicians? Pink Floyd, anyone? And that guy Michael adores? But no, not Pastor Chuck! Even though God used him to get thousands of people into the Kingdom we must not say too many kind things about him, No, we must keep a list of his faults somewhere (probably on a blog.) We must compare him to LOT, of all people.

    May the Lord have mercy upon us.

  126. Reuben,
    It’s clear you’re ticked off about something that I can not relate to since I was never in the CC sphere except for sitting in a pew at CCABQ

  127. To declare that people’s fondness for Pastor Chuck is Satanic is possibly the most moronic thing I have ever read on this blog.

  128. Xenia,

    That would be Jerry Lee Lewis…and his sins are recorded in more places than almost anyone else in rock music history.
    Funny thing about Jerry Lee…unless you understand his darkness, you really don’t understand the man or the music.

  129. Andrew is a great example of the saying “blinded by anger” – whatever I represent to this man I have never met, it matters not that I have explained myself in a subsequent post. He didn’t even see it.

    He has a narrative now…and no doubt in six months, after this thread is long dead, he will still be banging that drum.

  130. Bob,

    Thank you for getting the point…

  131. I have heroes…and almost all of them are or were twisted in some way.
    I believe we all are.
    If I know that you are as twisted as I am, then we both praise God for His grace and mercy.
    Heroes are most effective in three dimensions…

  132. But no, not Pastor Chuck! Even though God used him to get thousands of people into the Kingdom we must not say too many kind things about him, No, we must keep a list of his faults somewhere (probably on a blog.) We must compare him to LOT, of all people.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Xenia, what are you smoking? Tomorrow there will be thousands of churches and thousands of simulcasts and thousands of people in attendance at a funeral that will be doing nothing but praising their hero.

  133. Tomorrow there will be thousands of churches and thousands of simulcasts and thousands of people in attendance at a funeral that will be doing nothing but praising their hero.<<<

    As well they should. God bless them.

    Remembering someone in a positive way is not the same thing as worshiping them.

  134. Steve, you didn’t explain anything. Comparing anyone to Judas is frankly irresponsible at best.

  135. London said it best: Weep with the weepers and rejoice with the glad.

    You all who want to maintain a list of grievances- knock yourselves out.

  136. Christina Scheller says it so very well here… http://t.co/vTxogiLSYK

  137. Andrew,

    You are free to disagree with Xenia, but not to speak disrespectfully to her.
    We can have discussions without rancor towards people who deserve our respect.

  138. X said, “To declare that people’s fondness for Pastor Chuck is Satanic is possibly the most moronic thing I have ever read on this blog.”

    More moronic than talking snakes and the crackers and juice turning to flesh and blood cannibalism as some sort of literal holy ritual? Yikes! Need to redefine the term moronic…

  139. …btw anyone ever tasted blood when they took communion? (biting your own tongue doesn’t count MLD LOL).

  140. If there’s hope for Lot, there’s hope for me cuz I’m Lot. I know cuz I’ve been told as much by my CCCM brother, Abraham.

  141. Xenia,

    I said nothing of “fondness”. The exact word I used multiple times was in fact idolatry. Moronic, hu?

  142. But I +am+ talking about fondness because no one is idolizing Pastor Chuck in the true sense of the word. No one is worshiping him. You may be ticked off that there are people out there who don’t hate him as much as you do but you should just try to come to grips with that inconvenient fact.

  143. The difference is, PC passes on with a legacy that is, officially at least, untarnished.

    This seems unjust to some. They feel he is, in a sense, getting away with something.

  144. “They feel he is, in a sense, getting away with something.”

    Yep, in Jesus we are all getting away with something.

  145. How dare that rascal sneak off to heaven, straight into the arms of Jesus!

  146. LOL!!! Good one, Xenia.

  147. No Xenia, plenty, hundreds, thousands are idolizing Chuck. That includes the miles of pastors who want to stand there and say Chuck is the reason they are saved… etc… and in fact already have

  148. “We’re all Lot.”

    Yep, misfits, screwups, talented, tortured…

    Until God takes us home, we simply need to help each other along, encourage each other.

    Here’s a song my friend wants to do at TheBridge recovery gathering on Tuesday.

    Love Throw A Line
    Capo 5
    E7
    Lets write a story of a tidal wave
    We run out of luck, we run out of days
    We run out of gas a hundred miles away from a station
    There’s a war and a plague, smoke and disaster
    Lions in a coliseum , screams of laughter
    Motherless children, a witness and a Bible
    Nothin but the rain ahead and no chance for our survival
    A
    Just before the flood comes
    E7
    Just before the night falls
    A
    Just before the blood runs
    G E7
    Into the valley
    A
    Just before my eyes go
    G A
    Just before we cant go no further
    G A E7
    Love throws a line to you and me
    E7
    Heard someone talking from very far away
    Sister oh sister, did I hear them say
    Prisoner of this endless story of pain
    You hold the key, try to find a way
    A
    Just before the flood comes
    E7
    Just before the night falls
    A
    Just before the blood runs
    G E7
    Into the valley
    A
    Just before my eyes go
    G A
    Just before it all blows to pieces
    G A E7
    We see love throw a line to you and me
    E7
    Love… throw a line
    Love… throw a line
    Love… you better pick up your pace if we’re gonna win this race
    Love… we’re runnin out of time pull yourself from up behind
    Love… throw a line

  149. Yous guys who have a problem with those who don’t have a problem with Chuck- It’s your problem. I wish I could be at the Pond but I’ll have to settle for a local praisecast. Tomorrow will be the time for fond remembrances. Save the heartache for another time.

  150. Thousands of people idolize Chuck, that is, they worship him as if he were a god.

    I simply do not believe this.

    Let’s not be so jaded and cynical that we don’t even recognize wholesome love and affection for a man of God and must call it idolatry.

  151. Who are these thousands of idolaters who worship Chuck as if he were a god? Certainly none of the pastors who have posted here have demonstrated any idolatry, they have just defended a leader that they love and respect. I believe this is true for most of the people you are slandering (yes, slandering) as idolaters.

  152. Is a person numbered among the idolaters if:

    1. They will watch the memorial service and possibly shed tears?
    2. If they remember that they heard one of Chuck’s teachings and it caused them to turn to Christ?
    3. If they miss him?
    4. If they consider him to have been a great man of God?
    5. If they believe his theology is the best there is?
    6. If they remember nostalgically that he baptized them in the Pacific?
    7. If they are grateful for his thru-the-Bible tape series?
    8. If they are sad that an era has come to an end?
    9. Etc.?

  153. Xenia,
    I believe there are many who idolize Chuck. I know a few. At least it looks like it. What do you call it when people believe their pastor is pure as the wind driven snow with absolutely no faults? How long until his Picture adorns the front of the local CC?

  154. Not every famous person passes with a coterie of people contending that the person has unaccounted for failings. Yes, I appreciate the glib answers (everyone gets away with something, etc.).

    I am simply trying to be fair to Chuck’s detractors, although I am not one myself. I sympathize with their position. I have been in the position in which I felt personally abused and damaged by someone who was held in great regard. So I feel their pain, and I think it should be respected.

  155. I’m right there with you, PP Vet

  156. What I am always struck by in these situations is just how freely the family and friends of the person can grieve. It has been my personal experience that to do such a thing is absolutely vile and selfish and it should be repudiated. It is sort of ok to grieve in private but publicly it is utterly disgusting and a tool of satan. I never quite understood that but it took root and I dont, no actually I cant even when I try. I guess I have become more spiritual.

  157. “1. They will watch the memorial service and possibly shed tears?”

    I think I will watch it, and I hope I can shed tears. I will make sure that I immediately castigate myself in the harshest terms if I do fall.

  158. I’m only thinking of ChuckJr and his family in all this.

    The rest of us here on this blog are mere spectators and it’s time for grace…

  159. yeah, some of the folks ’round here might get a little upset at this, but that’s ok

  160. brian,
    It’s the silver chair for you.

  161. This is funny. Let’s sing! “You can get any god you want at Arlo’s restaurant.
    Excepting Jesus.
    You can get any god you want at Arlo’s restaurant da da da da da da”
    Ain’t it fun to make fun of preachers!
    Arlo is hilarious.

  162. So quick to be thick

  163. Too slow to let it go?

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