May 282014
 

rbaxThere are no virtues wherein your example will do more, at least to abate men’s prejudice, than humility and meekness and self-denial. Forgive injuries; and ‘be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Do as our Lord, ‘who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.’ If sinners be stubborn and stout and contemptuous, flesh and blood will persuade you to take up their weapons, and to master them by their carnal means: but that is not the way, (further than necessary self-preservation or public good may require,) but overcome them with kindness and patience and gentleness. The former may show that you have more worldly power than they (wherein yet they are ordinarily too hard for the faithful); but it is the latter only that will tell them that you excel them in spiritual excellency. If you believe that Christ is more worthy of imitation than Caesar or Alexander, and that it is more glory to be a Christian than to be a conqueror, yea to be a man than a beast – which often exceed us in strength – contend with charity, and not with violence; set meekness and love and patience against force, and not force against force. Remember, you are obliged to be the servants of all. ‘Condescend to men of low estate.’ Be not strange to the poor of your flock; they are apt to take your strangeness for contempt. Familiarity, improved to holy ends, may do abundance of good. Speak not stoutly or disrespectfully to any one; but be courteous to the meanest, as to your equal in Christ.”

Richard Baxter

images“I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill Bus…(chuckle).. and by God’s grace it will be a mountain by the time we’re done.”

Mark Driscoll

When I was called into the ministry one of the few resources I had was Richard Baxters “The Reformed Pastor”.

It was a gift from my pastor who had modeled it’s contents without my knowing.

It is basically a long job description of what it means to be a pastor…and I believed it.

I was called to be a servant of God and men, a hard working, devoted servant with no aspiration to be anything but faithful.

There was little concern in my mind over denominations or affiliations, no thought at all about attending conferences, writing books, social media, politics, or networking.

It was all about Jesus and the people He gave me to care for.

If you wanted to be “somebody” you needed to find another line of work.

According to this model of ministry, you watched your life far more closely than anyone else’s.

You preached the sermon to yourself first…and you repented before your people heard you speak.

Your life was now their life and Gods…and you were called to pour yourself out to both.

You weren’t going to be well known or well paid…you only pursued this path if you were called and you checked to make sure the call had the right number.

You were never going to be “cool” or “hip” or fashionable again…you were going to be sanctified.

Those days and that model are leaving or gone and I’m having a very hard time getting used to that fact.

Now we strive to be like our corporate counterparts…sitting on top of the hierarchy, delegating “duties’, seeking cultural “relevance”, and endlessly self promoting.

We stay above the pews, untouchable and unaccountable because of our ‘position”.

The parishioners now judge us on the quality of our presentation and take their real spiritual cues from celebrity strangers.

The sheep are without a shepherd, but there is wi-fi available in the pasture.

We are becoming the church in exile, but we have a strong online presence.

“Can any reasonable man imagine that God should save men for offering salvation to others, while they refuse it themselves; and for telling others those truths which they themselves neglect and abuse? Many a tailor goes in rags, that maketh costly clothes for others; and many a cook scarcely licks his fingers, when he hath dressed for others the most costly dishes. Believe it, brethren, God never saved any man for being a preacher, nor because he was an able preacher; but because he was a justified, sanctified man, and consequently faithful in his Master’s work. Take heed, therefore, to ourselves first, that you he that which you persuade your hearers to be, and believe that which you persuade them to believe, and heartily entertain that Savior whom you offer to them. He that bade you love your neighbors as yourselves, did imply that you should love yourselves, and not hate and destroy yourselves and them.”

Baxter is dead.

  110 Responses to “The Pastor and The Poser”

  1. ““I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill Bus…(chuckle).. and by God’s grace it will be a mountain by the time we’re done.”

    Mark Driscoll”

    In the polite parlance of this everyman, “What a d*ck.”

  2. Good timing. At the risk of a self-promotion criticism, here is my message from just last Sunday, from Romans 15:1-13

    If interested, the relevant section is 17:48-23:35 concerning verse 7 (and this post)

    http://www.calvaryle.org/Romans%2015_1-13.MP3

  3. This comparison is Brutal, in a good way. Home run!

  4. Thank you, Larry…I was hopeful it would be as striking to others as it was to me.

  5. The first time I heard the phrase “blessed subtraction” was over a decade ago while volunteering with women on projects at CCCM. Later, as an employee at the same institution, I heard it discussed by assistant pastors and elaborated on by pastors teaching classes both at CCBC-CM and SOM. When I inquired more about the principle, the “scriptural” supports for the sentiment initiated much cognitive dissonance for me. Especially among the women, I found it rather sad that those who gave the lord credit for blessed subtractions had often gone out of their way to make sure they helped the ones who didn’t quite fit in find the door, in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways. So glad those days are in my rear view mirror!
    Peace to all!

  6. Anne,
    So good to see you here. I recall that era vividly, CCCM was awash with its power and flushing individuals like swirling turds, never caring that the pain and destruction they wielded was in the name of Jesus.

    Michael,
    Here is a striking contrast to the brutal way of doing religion…

    http://www.crucialskills.com/2014/05/kerrying-on-the-power-of-praise/

  7. Why would anyone knowing put themselves in a church with a man like Driscoll?
    He outright admits he’s nothing but a bully right there.
    If you see a comment like that, and still go to his church, then you get what you deserve when you’re the next one flatted under his “bus”

  8. G…Good link.
    I like that.

  9. London,

    I tend to agree…my angst is over the fact that he’s modeled this sort of “ministry” attitude to thousands of potential pastors.
    He was actually lecturing pastors in that comment.

  10. Absolutely brilliant Michael!. It is an unfortunate illustration that much of the church no longer wants to be the church, but have opted to become a highly functioning machine that is an expression of modern leadership and organizational development where “worship” is entertainment driven yet void of substance that brings a staying power of godliness expressed in holiness and justice. It is a place where ministry to the poor and downtrodden are paraded as evidence of kingdom living yet in many cases they are further marginalized by keeping them on the sidelines. They have done well in creating a cool culture that is highly desired which gives them the luxury of treating people as expendable resources…… and so they do, because everyone wants to hang with the cool kids.

    @1 LOL!!!!

  11. Ixtlan…thank you…and well said in your addition as well.

  12. Driscoll is such a Richard.

    He should run a Pawn and Gun store…he’s well suited. Pastor…err…not so much.

  13. People align themselves with men like Driscoll because they believe he speaks for them. If Mark doesn’t like something, they don’t like it either. They see themselves on his side, the side of righteousness and strength. They may be cowards but they have Mark being the bully they lack the gumption to be themselves. It’s bullying by proxy.

  14. Xenia,

    You may be on to something there…I need to think about that.

  15. I’ve got no problem with a-holes like Driscoll…the world is full of them…athletics, business, politics. I just don’t think it translates well to “church” and pastor. But, the bible does present many narratives where the OT prophets, Jesus in Matt. 23 and in Revelation and Paul to the Judaizers…are a-holes.

  16. They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.

  17. Did you just call Jesus an a-hole??

  18. Brilliant post!!!!

    “Blessed subtraction” The phrase makes me want to puke!

  19. The funny thing about a guy like Driscoll is that his church grows by word of mouth – not by his own self promotion.

    Every single person at his church is proud to call him pastor.

  20. Thank you, Bob!

  21. Blessed subtraction has been around for awhile. I was taught it in CCCM and SOM as well.

    Also linked to blessed subtraction is the idea that if there is someone who is somehow impeding the work the Lord is doing and they leave. That is a classic example of if blessed subtraction – especially if the Lord blesses the church afterwards. If that happens, then its almost like the “Jonah” scene from Master and Commander.

    And usually that impeding work is questioning the pastor on just not getting on board with everyone else.

    But Michael couldn’t be more right – Call what MD(and others like minded) what you will, but pastors or ministers of the gospel he(they) ain’t.

  22. Michael,
    So glad you like it!

    The link was one my wife passed along to me after a long phone call last night with a lifelong friend who had an epiphany that he was being a “scary grandpa” instead of being a “fun grandpa”. He’s found a church with a nurturing pastor who is helping my friend with his “righteous-anger” issues.

    Methinks “find the good and praise it” applies to all of life…
    “Dale Carnegie, in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, suggested that in order to be a decent human being, I ought to look feverishly for things done well and then offer up hearty approbation and lavish praise—not just once in a while, but all the time.”

  23. OMG!! He really said that???

    ““I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill Bus…(chuckle).. and by God’s grace it will be a mountain by the time we’re done.”
    Mark Driscoll”

    and bragging about it???!!!??

    …..your insults of him have been too mild….in my humble opinion. 🙁

  24. “Also linked to blessed subtraction is the idea that if there is someone who is somehow impeding the work the Lord is doing and they leave. That is a classic example of if blessed subtraction – especially if the Lord blesses the church afterwards.”

    Sounds like classic religious miscalculation of “cause and effect”, sort of like “If we dunk her in the river and she drowns it proves she’s not a witch!”

  25. Bob Sweat said, ““Blessed subtraction” The phrase makes me want to puke!”

    me too!!

  26. Holding the Godly next to the ungodly shows the ugly and sinfulness of the fraud…..Good job Michael. Well done Again!!

  27. “Sounds like classic religious miscalculation of “cause and effect”, sort of like “If we dunk her in the river and she drowns it proves she’s not a witch!”

    That was classic…

  28. Thank you, Dusty!

  29. I think that Xenia hit the nail on the head at her #13

  30. We were taught in SOM that if someone wants to leave your church(assuming that you were the pastor), you should let them go. Any attempt to get them to stay would inevitably backfire as they would leave anyway at some point in the future.

    And if you get them to stay, they may over time begin to complain about your leadership, there would be a good chance that when they do leave, they would take others with them.

    But what MD is talking about is with completely the wrong attitude – if I heard him correctly.

  31. London, depends on which Jesus of the bible narratives. The loving, forgiving, Gahndi Jesus…no, not an a-hole.

    The Jesus whipping and beating the money-changers, the Jesus cursing and yelling at the Pharisees…the Jesus of the Old Testament (everyone on here has stated it’s the same God/Jesus in the OT as the NT) that told Saul to kill all the women, children and infants of the Amalekites…the Jesus of Revelation who smites the “enemies” with his sword until the blood is bridle high…the Jesus who gave the Levitical Law to Moses…(same God/Jesus I’m told)…and commanded it was okey dokey to own slaves and beat them as long as you didn’t kill them…that Jesus? A-hole by most standards.

  32. Covered, though I agree, Xenia’s thoughts are quite scarey for a church full of ‘Christians’. and quite sad. So it becomes a building full of bullies with a black belt teacher. 🙁

  33. Papias,

    I heard all the same in the field…part of that culture.

  34. On a good note….20 years ago when we first moved into our neighborhood there was 2 palm reading store fronts and an old church turned into a night club….I decided to pray for all three every time I drove past for God to take them back…..I am happy to say that God had reclaimed all locations and the Church is now a church again!!!

  35. RB,

    I have to draw the line here.
    What you stated was blasphemy and I cannot in good conscience before God allow it.
    Please refrain from further comments of that nature.

  36. I can’t pass judgment of RB’s eternal fate, but I can say that I sure wouldn’t want to be handcuffed to him when he dies.

  37. RB,
    Stick to the actual “Jesus in the 4Gospels”, He’s enough of a challenge without all the other stuff 😉

  38. There is no such thing as “Gandhi Jesus”.
    There is Jesus. Period.

  39. Papias, do you remember who taught you (us) that in Som? I don’t deny the reality of that attitude within the CC circle (which is why I was as direct as I was in my message above) – but I can’t put any particular name(s) with the teaching.

    Was it one of the instructors, or the guest speakers?

  40. The “blessed subtraction” thing was an off handed throw-away, by the late Chuck Smith Sr, parroted by his admirers

  41. the “blessed subtraction” address wasn’t even possible for even former rank and file members to hear until Chris Rosebrough broadcast it in 2012. When it was given in 2007 it was pretty much concealed not only from the regular members but apparently even from a decent-sized chunk of the MH leadership, too. None of us probably heard it at the time it was given. And MHC has spent the last couple of months purging everything prior to 2008.

  42. Dusty, re; Xenia’s #13, while none of us like it, it doesn’t make it less true. The idea that Mark D allows men to follow his example for all the wrong reasons is pathetic.

    It will be the same way at the CCSP’s Conference this year. The flavor of the month will be the most popular guy there. I remember a few years ago when Fusco gave a devotion to the guys because he was cutting edge to many. Now he’s irrelevant. Most men including many pastors want to be like somebody else. The problem is when that somebody is leading young men away from Jesus to be more like them.

  43. I had to step away, Trey’s home sick.
    RB, you can stop the flood of insults on the backend.
    If you want to speak with me privately, you know how.
    I am a believer in the orthodox Christian faith and tradition as are most of those who read here.
    This is my blog and it’s going to reflect my beliefs and my faith…I am under no moral or ethical order to allow someone to insult and scorn them.
    If you want to blaspheme Christ and rail against the Scriptures you have a blog and your own social media to do so.
    I don’t have the time anymore to deal with contentiousness…I have far more important things to worry about.

  44. Michael said, “I don’t have the time anymore to deal with contentiousness…I have far more important things to worry about.”

    Yes, “blessed subtraction”

  45. RB,

    No.

    You want to argue against and insult the faith I hold true enough to die for.
    I’m not going to provide a platform for you to do so.
    Nor would I do so in church.
    Whether you find it convenient or like it, my life has changed radically over the last few weeks and I have more stress in real life than I can handle.
    I’m not going to have any here that’s avoidable..
    You have made yourself clear…now we move on.

  46. If you had someone come into your church building every Sunday.
    This person would wait until a different time into the message ever Sunday.
    He would then proceed to shout blasphemous messages until escorted out.

    Now, I ask, to take measures to ensure this person does not continue to do this, is that analogous to “blessed subtraction”, as most people understand it from above, or is that something else?

  47. And that is all I have to say on that.

  48. Derek,

    I’ve asked people to either leave the church or to quit being contentious every Sunday.
    I only have had to do so once in all my life, but they were set on tearing the place apart.

  49. The reality is that they weren’t going to be happy, we weren’t going to be happy and the rest of the group was leaving if they stayed.
    They did leave, but bombarded us with heresy continually by email. 🙂
    Nice folks who got caught up in weird stuff…still was painful.

  50. MIchael,
    Sometimes you just have to show someone the door.
    The MD situation is not the same as this at all.
    No one shown the door at Mars Hill is being shown the door for blasphemy.
    But, seeing the things he says, well like you said, he has his own forum if he wants to say them.

  51. And I was just posing the question to the group as a whole to show that RB’s complaint of “blessed subtraction” does not hold up.

  52. Derek,

    I’m still on good terms when I see those folks…they just think I’m a heretic. 🙂

  53. Derek, I think everyone can relate to the relief when a very difficult person who is a co-worker or neighbor moves on….and I suppose there is a similar connection that could be made in a church.

    Likewise, if someone is unrealistic in their demands and threatens to leave all the time if they don’t get their way….there is no need to cater to such a person, but at the same time, the choice to leave is theirs – while the pastor can say “no”, there is no need to be the one who shows the person the door.

    The quote in the article above is outrageous to come from any pastor.

    As far as the idea that God will bless a church more after someone leaves, that goes against all my beliefs about the Lord being the Shepherd of His sheep Who guides them as He wills. No troublesome Christian is going to somehow thwart the power and will of God for His church.

    Of course, if the pastor and leadership refuse to deal with problems, where others are actually getting hurt, then the problem lies in the mirror, not the guy causing the problems.

    Going through these last couple of chapters in Romans has been quite an adventure when the word’s demands are placed alongside our 21st century church environment in America, versus the 1st century

  54. It’s appropriate to worship with like minded believers.
    I couldn’t attend an old school CC because the doctrinal differences are too great.
    By the same token, I’m not going to stay and demand that I get equal time in the pulpit.
    I’m going down the road to an Anglican or Reformed church and bless them as I leave.

  55. It’s appropriate to worship with like minded believers.
    ————————————————————
    There is a great value and blessing in America with the many denominations. As a result every Christian should be able to find a church home where they can be in unity on 80% or more of not just doctrine but ALL matters, even in the most rural of areas with fewer churches. In a place like where I live, that number could go up to 95% easily.

    And every Christian should also be willing to humble themselves over the 5-20% difference of opinion for the benefit of the entire church and its leadership.

    And if one is unwilling or unable to do that, then America allows him/her to start their own church and run it anyway they want.

  56. “Blessed subtraction”? Is that the actual term for it? Years ago, when I and a number of good people whose crime was being in the way of the pastor’s inflated ego finally left that spiritually abusive church, the pastor bragged in a newspaper article about how God “pruned” folks out in order to give him the great church he has now. :-p

  57. Sarah,

    “Pruning” is a new one to me…but must be the same concept.

  58. The “blessed subtraction” thing, at least from CCCM days, was often about the ones who wanted to have afterglow services, dimming the lights, where there could be more time for contemplative worship, singing, raising of hands, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, seeking interpretation of the same, prophesy… all them pesky “gifts” that spawned The Vineyard but those who didn’t want to leave their friends and fellowship at CCCM.

    “Blessed subtraction”, when having to do with vocalizing doctrinal differences like here in a blog would never happen because the culture at CCCM didn’t create an environment for open dialog or Q&A. The gatherings weren’t structured to welcome such a dynamic, and in a place of that size, I think there was great wisdom in not risking such.

  59. “And every Christian should also be willing to humble themselves over the 5-20% difference of opinion for the benefit of the entire church and its leadership.”

    This is especially wise and true.

    I’me finding it’s better for me to “stuff it” on the non-essentials, ask more questions than make statements, and hear others out. Anyone else enjoying that dynamic?

  60. G,

    I think it’s a very effective dynamic, especially when among those you greatly differ with.
    It is appreciated here for sure.
    I’m out for a while…

  61. Pastor Driscoll is just being taken out of context, he would never just throw someone under the bus out of convienc …. um nevermind.

    /sarcasm

    Actually Mr. Driscoll should take a long look in the mirror and um or is it stop looking in the mirror.

    Nevermind. I will work on it.

  62. brian, you are funny

  63. Michael said, ‘I couldn’t attend an old school CC because the doctrinal differences are too great.’

    I couldn’t attend an old school CC because, just because. 😉

  64. I don’t agree with all Michael’s doctrinal views, but I would have NO problem sitting under his teaching…I kind of am already by reading his blog, but I would definitely go to his church.

  65. could be I agree but don’t understand enough to know I agree. 😉

  66. I myself could only attend/ be a member of a canonical Orthodox parish but I can certainly try to be pleasant to everyone else!

  67. Tomorrow is Ascension, which is kind of a sad feast day. I think how sad the disciples must have felt to see him disappear from view as they wondered who this “Comforter” was going to be all about. I think of His mother, who thought she lost him for good, then He comes back, then He goes away again. Joyful sorrow, I guess.

  68. you are always pleasant to me Xenia and I’m a wild child. 😉

  69. I can pretty much go to any service that people aren’t acting crazy or being blatantly cult like.
    Declaring myself a “member” of a church is a much different thing that I don’t see myself doing in the very near future. Not that I’m opposed to it (any more) I just haven’t found one that’s a good “fit” for me and them.
    If it happens, it happens.
    I do regularly attend a service in town, but I don’t identify as a “member” if that church.

  70. Papias is correct @ 21. Chuck preach blessed subtraction during east coast pastors conference here.

    calvary-chapel-streaming.s3.amazonaws.com/teaching/guestspeakers/chucksmith/ECPC120564.mp3

  71. You are very easy to be pleasant to, Dusty
    🙂

  72. blessed subtraction is taught in the CC core leadership books as well- can’t site book or page cuz we threw them all away….could not stand to have them in the house any longer.

  73. why thank you Xenia, you are as well.

  74. As usual CC goes back to the Old testament (in this case Gideon) to establish their NT doctrine of blessed subtraction.

  75. I’m a good “member” and don’t make waves…of course we found a church that has child protections, financial transparency, shared power, elected board/elders, membership etc.

    I pick my battles and could care little about the “doctrine” etc as there is so much broad disagreement out there about what is “correct” etc.

    I don’t get why folks would want to argue at church, that’s what blogs and facebook is for.

  76. Why is it, I can’t believe mark Driscoll said that, yet I can believe he said that! Terrible, absolutely hit wrenching….
    And hearing the audio clip was worse!
    Listening to his teaching on the Song of Solomon years ago was thouroughly disgusting…
    What a shame…

    Blessed subtraction was used in the former cc’s I attended like a badge of honor… Anyone who had any inspiration or novel ways to minister to the poor, needy, prisoners, elderly, shut- ins, missionaries etc,, That weren’t visions which originated from the pastor or his wife were discouraged and dissuaded.

    But on the flip side, in hind sight
    The blessing of the subtraction is being freed from the bondage and teaching o that mentality… Being freed from that egotistical style of leadership that does not resemble Our Lord, the good shepherd …

  77. Xenia –
    Wanted to mention that I really appreciated you sharing your thoughts regarding the sheep / goats passage on the other thread… And your resulting actions … I take that passage much in the same light as you do… However ashamed to say., not currently putting into practice to the extent I would like

  78. I am jealous that Mark Driscoll has a bus. No telling who I would kick off my bus if I had a bus.

  79. Thanks, Sister C!

  80. Michael

    The reformed pastor is one of the richest treasures !
    (you recommended to me way back, years ago- seems like a lifetime)
    Have read though it several times., marked., highlighted and underlined in many places…

    Taking from the excerpts above :

    …It is more glory to be Christian than to be a conqueror…

    …set meekness love and patience against force…

    … Speak not stoutly or disrespectfully to anyone- but be courteous to the meanest…

    Flesh and blood has surely had tendency to persuade me to take up the weapons of the stubborn, stout and contemptuous persons… But through prayer and the grace of God
    And practice, practice, practice… I’m learning that patience, kindness and a soft answer is far more effectual…
    And I’m thankful for the teachings of Richard Baxter which reinforces the teachings of scripture…

    I’m also beginning to read again J C Ryle … Christian leaders of the 18th century …
    Whitefield … Rowland’s… Berridge.. Wesley…Venn… Toplady and others … Another of your recommended reads

    It’s refreshing and heartening to read of men with integrity
    Authenticity authority bathed in humility and deep reverence for God and His word…. concern for humanity and the souls of men.
    Not enterprises, book deals, franchises/ multi – campuses
    And no big egotistical bus….

  81. Xenia
    Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement!
    🙂

  82. MLD “I am jealous that Mark Driscoll has a bus. No telling who I would kick off my bus if I had a bus.” If I was rich MLD I would buy you a bus and consider it an honor for you to kick me off so I could come over here and give you a hard time. 🙂

  83. Blessed subtraction?
    I’d like to see that supported from the bible.

    So, just to be clear and maybe a bit too direct, what happens here when someone contradicts or fervently disagrees with The Phoenix Preacher?

    Having been on the receiving end of Blog Banning in the past, might that qualify equally as ‘blessed subtraction’?

    Just asking. -mike

  84. Mike,

    “what happens here when someone contradicts or fervently disagrees with The Phoenix Preacher?”

    This isn’t a church where we live and interact in a real-time 3D world with the subtleties of physicality, 5 senses, subtle social cues and the richness of the human experience.

    This is a blog which strips the senses, punctuates the presence, converts the conversations and hides the humanity behind screen names and avatars, which requires 70 x 7 more grace for every post to not go south.

    Being that this is a blog owned by a guy named “Michael” which is a discussion forum, speaking personally, when I become strident, disrespectful and dominate a discussion instead of participating with a “give and take” attitude, it’s wholly right and entirely up to Michael to decide what makes him happy, if I’m treating him like crap and if he’s reached a point where I’ve crossed his line(s) and he responds with measured warnings, increasing to the point I’ve becomes a jerk, strident or jackass, he can give me a final warning and actually use technology to ban me.

    Let me personalize. I showed up here many, many years ago when my friend & former pastor mentioned the blog. I jumped in, started posting, dominated discussions, hijacked threads all to the aim of working through some spiritual issues and challenging my Calvary Chapel based theology. There were times where Michael asked nicely, then I pushed and he asked firmly that I dial it back and remember I am among a community of individuals, most who were far more conservative than me, most who had their own theologies, and most who would love to interact with me if I was less prickly.

    …I also came to love Michael and the many of the personalities behind the screen names.

    It has been years since Michael has asked me to dial it back because I learned to pick up on the cyber social cues.

    Try that, Mike, it’ll work better for you, including finding some things Michael does well and letting him know you appreciate that.

    “…in order to be a decent human being, I ought to look feverishly for things done well and then offer up hearty approbation and lavish praise—not just once in a while, but all the time.”

    Read this and it will make a huge difference…
    http://www.crucialskills.com/2014/05/kerrying-on-the-power-of-praise/

    I hope that helps make your experience here more enjoyable

  85. Mike,

    This is not a church.
    This is a privately owned and paid for piece of property.
    I am under no obligation to allow anybody to post and it’s at my sole discretion how I use what belongs to me.
    I am contradicted and disagreed with all day, some days.
    If I didn’t post those opposing comments, that would be perfectly within my rights to do so.
    It boggles my mind that people think this is some sort of public property when (last time I checked) I’m the one who pays for the site and provides the content and oversight of it.

  86. G,

    Thank you…well done.
    Better than I did.

  87. I’M A CHRISTIAN By Carol Wimmer

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.”
    I’m whispering “I was lost,”
    Now I’m found and forgiven.

    When I say…”I am a Christian”
    I don’t speak of this with pride.
    I’m confessing that I stumble
    and need CHRIST to be my guide.

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I’m not trying to be strong.
    I’m professing that I’m weak
    and need HIS strength to carry on.

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I’m not bragging of success.
    I’m admitting I have failed
    and need God to clean my mess.

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I’m not claiming to be perfect,
    My flaws are far too visible
    but, God believes I am worth it.

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I still feel the sting of pain,
    I have my share of heartaches
    So I call upon His name.

    When I say… “I am a Christian”
    I’m not holier than thou,
    I’m just a simple sinner
    who received God’s good grace, somehow.

  88. Jesus practiced blessed subtraction in John 6 … and seemed quite content in doing so – in fact he asked his disciples if they too would like to get off the bus.

  89. was just told the following…

    “Actually this poem was written my Carol Wimmer. Dr. Angelou had disclaimed the poem on her website during her life.”

    Michael,
    change the attribution of the authorship on my post to Carol Wimmer.

    …it’s still golden

  90. MLD, the blessed subtraction in John 6 is when these disciples themselves turned around and left because they couldn’t handle Jesus’ message. This is quite different than what Driscoll and Calvary Chapel do. The blessed subtraction in these groups is basically artificial population control to counteract their blessed multiplication they get from being on their artificial church growth steroids.

  91. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked…

    I can envision Jesus asking these friends of His with the sadness of abandonment fresh in His consciousness, a tone of voice which reveals heartbreak.

    That is a stunning contrast to Mark Driscoll giggling about a metaphoric buss with a mountain of bodies behind it

  92. Contrast

    Jesus, feeling the grip of human emotion, sadness, at those who by their choice miss the blessings

    ChuckSr & Mark Driscoll, swaggering with power, glad to see the troublemakers go

  93. time to speed off in the guitarmobile to do graphic design and celebrate my teammates’ success in enriching the lives of 10,000 critical care nurses last week in Denver

    …to think I got to be a part of that makes me quite joyous

  94. MLD,

    John 6 is about people choosing to leave on their own, not getting railroaded off the Way.

  95. so the blog, being privately owned and paid for piece of property is like a home, and while Michael has an open house policy, he does not tolerate abuse to him or to his guests. He will put up with more personal abuse to himself than I will and if he is abused past my tolerance, I will ban someone myself!

  96. ick!!! MLD you just compared Jesus to Driscoll and Smith Sr. ick!!!!

  97. none on here would tolerate the abuse Michael has taken (before banning someone-and after) in their own home, why do you think Michael or any of us should tolerate it?!!!

  98. sorry for my rants, but it needed to be said. 🙁

  99. Dusters,

    Thank you…but let’s keep the emphasis on the good stuff and off me. 😉
    We want people to participate but to do so as members of a bigger whole and with as much grace as possible.

  100. Should have a new church history thread up soon…

  101. Michael,
    Their own choosing was after they got the message “my way or the highway” from Jesus – that was the whole “you must eat my flesh” sermon going on. Their was no voter’s meeting for negotiating a compromise “way”.

    And when they left, Jesus didn’t call after them, he shut the door and kept driving down the highway.

    I wonder I someone like Brian Brodersen were to make a declaration for sweeping reforms in CC (all of the stuff brought up here over the years) and he declared, “If people don’t comply with these changes, I will just kick you off the bus and if there is a hill of bodies left behind – so be it.” If that speech would not be met with much applause here?.

  102. I have an orthopedic appointment today…we will see how far along the healing in my foot has come.

  103. But I do think Driscoll is a jerk. 🙂

    However, because of the growing dynamic between him and his congregation I wouldn’t change a thing if I were him.

    Think about it – he sits there thinking that the holy spirit is directing his path as he speaks before thousands who think that the holy spirit has directed them to Mars Hill.

    Who can argue with the holy spirit. 🙂

  104. MLD,
    Honestly…Jesus was God and God in the flesh was teaching His ways and His truths, not overseeing an organized group of believers in a man made structure of authority.
    The comparison is inane, but if you think it’s somehow analogous I’m not going to bother arguing.

  105. Dusty,

    Praying you’re healing up well…

  106. thank you Michael

  107. lets see good things…..the sun is out, the lilacs are in bloom, summer wild flowers are blooming everywhere….

  108. Blessed Subtraction

    Also notice, however, that in this case,
    before God could multiply, He first had to
    subtract. It was absolutely necessary for the
    long-term health of the church that God
    remove Ananias and Sapphira.

    Then Peter said to her, “How is it
    that you have agreed together to
    test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the
    feet of those who have buried your
    husband are at the door, and they
    will carry you out.” Then immedi-
    ately she fell down at his feet and
    breathed her last.
    Acts 5:9–10a

    Then and only then could He bless the church
    with multiplication. God is not interested in
    large numbers; He wants us to be a powerful,
    dynamic church, which is focused solely on
    Him. If there are people in the ministry who
    are trying to divide the church, God wants to
    either bring them to repentance or get them
    out. So do not mourn when God performs a
    subtraction; just look for God’s multiplica-
    tion in the near future.

    Source: http://www.calvarymagazine.org/images/stories/PDFs/Pastor_Chuck/pastor_chuck_47.pdf

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