Nov 242014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x325I think I’m not going to insult your intelligence today with less than thoughtful things to think about.

For various sundry reasons, it’s tough sledding for me from now until the end of the year.

I’m not going to see how tough I can make it on my readers because of that.

Some days, it’s going to have to be about what you think…and today’s one of those days.

Tell us what’s on your mind today…thoughts of Ferguson, the holiday season, Thanksgiving…whatever you’re thinking about that you want others to think through with you.

Don’t try to do ten though…that’s for professionals only. πŸ™‚

  103 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Being in complete agreement with someone who later apologizes for being off their meds during that period is discouraging in a very special way.

  2. Had to think through #1 comment. Read it again and again to see if I could get it.

    Is it that you agreed with some one
    and they no longer agree and are now saying they only agreed because of not being medicated at the time of agreement?

    Nonetheless, an apology is diminished when excuses are utilized to let ones self off the hook instead of taking responsibility personally.

    The typical apology goes like this,” I am sorry if anyone was offended by what I did.”

    And not, “I am sorry for what I did.”
    Major difference in taking personal responsibility in my opinion.

  3. Sufer51, to give some context, I was hanging out on a blog last week, and I was definitely in the minority in thinking the way that I was. I came across another poster who was having many of the same questions and criticisms, but had a warm and loving attitude toward all of it that I am less than gifted with. She was a breath of fresh air in what was largely a dead, mechanical community.

    She followed up that burst of posting with an apology for being “grumpy” and an admission that she had been off of some of her normal medication.

    I still really appreciate the interaction, but that post kind of hurt my heart.

  4. Much like we can count on Linus each year to tell the average American family “what Christmas is all about” – we need a Thanksgiving equivalent to explain why we have this national holiday. Not talking about pilgrims and indians, but quoting verbatim President Lincoln’s address during the heart of the Civil War. (Like Linus quotes from Luke verbatim)

    That’s what I think.

  5. The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi, by David A. Dorsey. It is a wonderful analysis of parallelisms and chiasms throughout the OT, including the narrative sections. Leads to some interesting thinking.

  6. thinking … thinking … thinking …

  7. I think I need to be thankful more than just on Thanksgiving Day. I enjoy the holiday, but as a christian, I am to be salt and light to those around me. Being openly thankful daily is one way I can do that instead of complaining, which I tend to do way more. Am I part of the nine or am I the one?

  8. i think i miss my furniture… my sofa, my easy chair, my secretary, my bed, my dining table…. they’ve been in storage (i hope) for a year and a half now… will i ever see them again?

    i think the last days are coming… each cycle ramps up the signs of the times a little more strongly… so i think they really are coming, just don’t know when… if the Beast up out of the sea refers to a beast from among us, the sea of humanity, then what about the Beast up out of the earth? and does it matter? … not a question for some here, who just expect it to resolve in, “SURPRISE” here comes King Jesus – which it will be… thinking… thinking… thinking

    i think (is 3 too many?) that Christmas is designed for intact families with children and their godparents… don’t know, tho, do i

  9. Em, as far as the beast out of the sea, beast out of the earth… a friend of mine and I were just talking about that the other day, and if the sea is the sea of humanity, I would wonder if the earth is similarly man, given the connection of created man to “the dust”.

    Just a thought that came to mind the other day. Throwing it out there.

  10. dunno dswoager, could they be a sailor and a soldier? just being silly…
    i know there are those who think in terms of a literal sea… but is watching – as we’re told to do – the same as speculating? or should we be like Mary and keep what is revealed to us in our hearts and our mouths shut? cunno… but, in any case, the times seem perilous again and i know so many who, like Michael, are trusting God while the devil ramps up his mischief in their lives… that’s the one thing i’d like to see end

  11. 1. I think there is a lot more police over-enforcement & over-zealousness than just in isolated examples like Ferguson. It is a topic that bears closer examination. I have grown to fear that I live in a community like that. Local press doesn’t ever examine anything for its veracity or logic–simply repeats the official (police) press releases.
    2. Thanksgiving is the best holiday on the calendar, but it is endangered by our own vices.
    3. We catered the annual Thanksgiving dinner for a local church yesterday–fed 230+ folks–and haven’t wiped the smile off my face yet for all the joy in the room. Even doing the dishes wasn’t labor.
    4. The “Wailin’ Jennys” put on quite a show–get tickets to see them when they come to your town.
    5. Robert Cray in February…asked Santa for tix.
    6. Parent-Teacher Conferences are under-rated, under-attended, and under-scheduled.
    7. I dread the task of putting up Christmas lights, but few things in the season are more enjoyable.

  12. I don’t know that there is any harm in speculating, as long as we don’t hold too firmly to our speculation. It seems that when we hit the meat of the last days that it is supposed to be fairly obvious what is going on.

    If I have permission to continue speculating… haha, you mention that the times seem perilous, which if you want to get even more symbolic could actually tie into that sea imagery. If I recall correctly, sea imagery often was used to evoke danger, death, and chaos… perhaps it is these very perilous times that are the sea that beast is conjured out of.

  13. Speaking of last days, Fred Clark at Slacktavist reminded us of a birthday:
    “Hal Lindsey turns 85 years old today, something that Lindsey himself has spent decades telling us should never come to pass….”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/11/23/happy-birthday-hal-lindsey-still-defying-prophecy-after-all-these-years/

  14. Another Things I Think….the lyrics to one of my old favorite (and profound) punk songs (and bands) seems pretty relevant right about now: (I fixed the format to shorten the post)
    —————————–
    Rioting-the unbeatable high, Adrenalin shoots your nerves to the sky,,Everyone knows this town is gonna blow, And it’s all gonna blow right now:.

    Now you can smash all the windows that you want, All you really need are some friends and a rock, Throwing a brick never felt so damn good, Smash more glass, Scream with a laugh, And wallow with the crowds, Watch them kicking peoples’ ass

    But you get to the place, Where the real slave-drivers live, It’s walled off by the riot squad
    Aiming guns right at your head, So you turn right around, And play right into their hands, And set your own neighborhood Burning to the ground instead

    [Chorus] Riot-the unbeatable high, Riot-shoots your nerves to the sky, Riot-playing into their hands,Tomorrow you’re homeless, Tonight it’s a blast

    Get your kicks in quick,They’re callin’ the national guard, Now could be your only chance
    To torch a police car

    Climb the roof, kick the siren in, And jump and yelp for joy, Quickly-dive back in the crowd
    Slip away, now don’t get caught

    Let’s loot the spiffy hi-fi store, Grab as much as you can hold, Pray your full arms don’t fall off, Here comes the owner with a gun

    [Chorus]

    The barricades spring up from nowhere, Cops in helmets line the lines, Shotguns prod into your bellies, The trigger fingers want an excuse…Now

    The raging mob has lost its nerve, There’s more of us but who goes first, No one dares to cross the line, The cops know that they’ve won

    It’s all over but not quite, The pigs have just begun to fight, They club your heads, kick your teeth, Police can riot all that they please

    [Chorus]

    Tomorrow you’re homeless
    Tonight it’s a blast

  15. 1- I think Ferguson is not winnable unless an MLK rises… And I think they should release the grand jury information about 8AM not late in the afternoon or evening.

    2- I think the Cosby revelations should chill us all… we thought he was among the best of the best. Turns out he is just like the rest of us with less restraints on himself… or not

    3- I think Peyton will throw 50 touchdowns and lose to Brady in Boston in January

    4- I think Obama is going to help his party by provoking the Republicans to unpopular reactions and they are going to play their part beautifully

    5- I think there is no obvious social vacuum for the next Great Awakening but it will arise …

    I am only half the thinker of our mentor and friend M. Newnham

  16. I’ve been thinking a lot about Ferguson and what might happen when the grand jury decision is released. I fear those who seem to want rioting, destruction of property and bringing physical harm to others.

    And I fear if this happens the ripples could spread elsewhere across the nation.

    People are polarized and nothing will change the conclusions people have made.

    Out here a mentally ill man was beat to death by a group of cops and it drew national news. Thankfully there was no rioting yet the officers involved pretty much got away with it with minimal punishment.

    The fact is there is a race problem in our nation and pretending that isn’t so is to put your head in the sand.

    I was 11 when we had the Watt’s riots and it scared me badly as I thought it would reach us. My heart goes out to those who lose loved ones through police action and for all of those who might be impacted if rioting takes place.

    I don’t see there will ever be an end to this stuff until God sets up His kingdom.

    We as a people don’t have it in us to govern ourselves and do what is right to create a country that we all long for.

  17. filbert, I love the Wailin’ Jennys. Color me green! πŸ™‚

  18. Dread, it appears the decision may be released soon…..

  19. I just learned that Eucharist means “Thanksgiving”. I thought that was pretty cool in just discovering that.

  20. Listening to an N.T. Wright U Tube lecture over the weekend, he said that Paul repeatedly encouraged his congregations to be “thanksgiving” people, so that they would become “thanksliving” people. I thought that was brilliant. Renewing the mind stuff.

  21. I think to myself… what a wonderful world…

  22. dswoager, the sea (mighty oceans) offer so many life lessons and parallels to our birth to death journey… you’ve got me pondering

  23. Jim, that was funny!

    Dread, you are a wise man.

  24. My thanksgiving thought: I think therefore I yam

  25. I wonder how men survive menopause?
    I think menopause has killed many marriages.
    what say ye fellow travelers?

  26. I know when I went through menopause my wife almost left me.

  27. Regarding menopause, I just learned to sleep with one eye open πŸ™‚

  28. I am late to the thinking party πŸ˜‰

    I think I need to shut off Facebook for Advent…and then I come across posts that inspire me so I stick around a little longer. I realize I have very little discipline.

    I think I am really happy to live in Nashville…scored tickets to a house concert, only 30 tickets available, to see Michael Card, Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor (he plays in Time Jumpers here in town with Vince Gill). Taking Steve after a hugely stressful few months.

    I think I miss being around this blog.

    I think homeschool has been the most rewarding thing I’ve done, and the absolutely most exhausting. I am so proud of my kids, and yet feel every day I am in danger of failing the enterprise. Humbling. Still love it, though.

    I think hockey and soccer have become my favorite sports, after most of my life never paying attention to them. Something about seeing my boys love something rubs off.

    I think seeing my non-sports boy get a “speaking” part in the annual youth video for Christmas is almost more fun than the sports thing. πŸ˜‰

    I think I am done thinking and will make pancakes for dinner.

  29. pam-yam @24 πŸ˜‰

    e-runz @17…green it is.

    dread @15.3 Brady will have an entire nation of sports writers eating crow while voting him MVP of the league and Super Bowl.

  30. Steve,
    Artist??

  31. If it is the same “Steve, artist” that I met once with pastor Tilson.

  32. I’m really late to this thinking group…… I admit I am concerned (aka ‘worried’) about Ferguson…. feel like I’m waiting for a war to begin. it’s a tinder keg.

    I’ve wondered this week, who or what do people ‘thank’ on Thanksgiving, if they don’t believe in God.

    I’m reading Ezekiel, feeling pretty sci fi about it….. and feeling all the more like; 1. I’m not a Jew and 2. God seems far away,angry and pretty dif than those Sunday School Jesus pics.

    At our house we joke about “Menu Pause”…That’s when I stopped cooking.

    …including turkeys. As a backyard “farmer” and poultry keeper, my mind envisions millions upon millions of turkeys being slaughtered this month. Most folks only envision the beautifully prepared beast on the Thanksgiving table. I see jugular veins and feathers.

    Which leads me to think about the Old Testament. Killing animals at ‘church’. Priests who know how to slaughter animals…. pretty dif picture than entertainment ‘church’ of our day.

    Blessings, all.

  33. I like what #13 said.

    I think that the Hal Lindsey crowd and the CC crowd got a lot of shocks recently.

    Between pastor Chuck Smith being taken from the chess board and Hal turning 85.

    Their foundational talking points are being readjusted it would seem.

    I can recall,when I was 17 years old, Chuck at the front right hand side of the platform, holding up an LA Times news paper with the “Six day war” headlines about Israel on it.

    It was a Monday night service and he was beaming as he said to all of us, “Any day now kids, any day!”

    And many a time there after he did pretty much the same on most of the major events that could be a prophetic time clock kind of thingy.

    So when he was taken a lot of people were left wondering what had happened. After all he was supposed to go with all of us in the rapture, wasn’t he?

    Here is a differing angle point message from around the same decade that Chuck and Hal were in their prime and at the height of their “Jesus is coming soon” messages.

    This fellow was more focused on America and kind of nailed it for our time now, way back in 1976…

    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2014/11/we-are-not-dead-fish.html

  34. The early church believed the 2nd Coming was going to happen any minute. When it didn’t happen like they expected, the Church had to do a bit of mental readjustment as they realized they needed to begin making plans for living on the earth for the long haul. They began constructing substantial church buildings and formalizing the church government, etc. They also re-interpreted some Scriptures that they had previously been using to teach the Lord’s very soon return. Maybe they mean something else…

    I wonder if, now that some of the proponents of Rapture are passing on, the Evangelical world will make changes. I wonder if “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” will be reinterpreted to mean something other than the generation that lived right after the founding of the nation of Israel in 1948.

  35. No indictment.

  36. Ya Xenia.

    I remember hearing the statement, “The generation that see Israel become a nation shall not pass away before the return of Jesus Christ.”

    Calvary Chapel had a bookstore building with a back wall that faced the Shell gas station on the corner of their property.

    They had painted in large letters there, for all to see when pumping gas, “Jesus is coming soon.”

    It was there through the seventies and the eighty’s but some time there after it was removed.

    By the way, the Shell oil company came to Chuck and asked for that little corner parcel to install a gas station.

    Chuck hammered out a deal that gave Calvary Chapel enough money to pay for all of the land they had purchased and all of the building projects on it, so that when Chuck stepped into his new pulpit in 1973 everything was paid off completely.

    All because of the great deal with Shell oil…

    Isaiah 61:6

  37. #34,

    That generation did not pass away until all those things took place. Jesus was correct. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

  38. Yes, I agree w/ Jean and MLD.

  39. #36 Jesus came and gave Calvary Chapel the money… and it was “soon”

    i must cut our clergy of the 20th century some slack, they saw things unfold and they were looking for His return and it all seemed to be coming together as foretold and, maybe still is… i think the Bride will go to meet the Bridegroom and the wedding feast will take place off planet earth and then the second coming and there will no speculation, ‘is this really Him?”

    the Grand Jury did their job in Mo. now the task is to put together some community that works, making the locals feel part of the solution and that may not be possible – pray that it works

    God keep

  40. People who destroy their own city deserve an eviction notice. People who destroy someone else’s city deserve jail.

  41. The anarchists are out in full force tonight.

  42. Does anyone know the criterion that makes them release an announcement that is bound to create a firestorm when the darkness is falling?

  43. Yep Rasta, poor time choice on releasing the news.
    For those interested, St. Louis PD Scanner live.
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/st-louis-county-police-scanner

  44. Some points:

    A) Artist = Dead Kennedys. Looks like the song is fitting Ferguson quite well…unfortunately. Except, as Dread pointed out, lots of those folks won’t be homeless tomorrow since they showed up from out of town to riot and can go home to the safety of their houses and possessions which are being guarded by police officers in their community as I write.

    B) Not sure that Shell Oil story is exactly correct. I recall “only” half the property being paid for with the selling of the corner lot. We have a dirt corner lot we own and if a gas station wanted to give us lots of money for it, they could have it.

    C) I do know the “Jesus is coming soon” mural was there through the 90s as well. I would add it was a large rainbow which included the line “God keeps His promises” – I know the rapture theology did not change, but what a rainbow represents to the driving-by world certainly did.

    D) I do not see how the totality of Jesus’ prophecy can be seen solely in the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (especially given the prophetic principle we so often see of both a near and far fullfillment). However, that does not necessitate the whole 1948, generation rebirth Israel, fig tree idea as the only alternative…just that there will be a final generation once the final signs come together. He comes “quickly” – same idea.

  45. Listening to the PD Scanner live feed that SJ posted the link to, cops are reporting that firefighters trying to douse fires are taking gunfire.

  46. I just heard, from Fox News, in Ferguson, shots were fired, windows were broken, buildings were set on fire, a police car was set on fire, “even a Fox News camera was knocked over”.

  47. Does anyone know the criterion that makes them release an announcement that is bound to create a firestorm when the darkness is falling?
    —————————————————————————-
    Less risk for loss of life. Stores closed. Innocent folks working, going to school etc all home.

    Reginald Denny is a name that should not be forgotten…

  48. These news channels are hard to watch, CNN, has really stupid things to say also.

  49. The “camera” is okay, it got unplugged.

  50. I’ve been thinking how much joy the people who try to guilt others into making every act of kindness about evangelizing, steal.

  51. delurking London your 51 hits home. I no longer get any joy at all out of doing acts of kindness, I still do them at the same or even higher rate but I make sure I am miserable in doing so to avoid some type of thought crime God will punish me for.

  52. I don’t feel guilt until after the thing is done. Instead if getting to be happy in the thing itself, I have a “tape” of people in my head that would (or do) think it wasn’t in because it wasn’t some big act if evangelism.
    If couse it’s usually those whose gift is evangelism that think those if us without that particular gift are somehow not “doing” Christianity “right” because we are operating within our own gifting and not theirs.
    Been low level thinking about this all day today.

  53. “wasn’t in because it wasn’t some big act if evangelism.”

    Should have said “wasn’t goid in itself because it wasn’t some big act if evangelism.”

  54. Its the thought crime that gets to me, if I feel joy or even a sense of accomplishment it is stealing God’s glory and He will not share His Holy Glory with such as us. That is clear in scripture, even a hint of some fleeting thought is most likely some type of sin. It just got so tiring I figured if I feel like crap all the time about everything I cant mess up.

  55. Does anyone think if someone is 6’4 292 lbs and is trying to hurt you, it would probably be best to consider them armed?

    Some of Michael Browns supporters look like bad people.

    I don’t know the facts but was thinking, McCulloch waited until evening to make the announcement so it would not build up all day and be worse.

  56. Yeah, that’s kind of the key thing. That whole thing of not giving God the glory if you’re not mentioning Jesus’ name blatantly or preaching to everyone.
    Not really sure why just helping people isn’t considered something that brings Glory to God…seems in Christian circles it’s only the expression of words that is valued or is valued above loving through action.
    Not sure if that made sense…

  57. It is my response, I know God is not out to get me or trip me up, even though that is basically what I have been told from almost day one after I joined the club. This stuff just does not go away some 33+ years later. I have come to the conclusion to have utterly no expectations from God outside of being punished, so if I am not punished it is a plus. It does not leave much room for joy but I can function. Have a nice thanks giving back to my lurking.

  58. You too. Yak at ya later

  59. London, I was thinking of these verses about your food outreach: Matthew 25:34-35

  60. I think that a man who moans about menopause should probably be expressing a bit more consideration, tenderness, love and patience toward his wife.. Those will go a long way.
    Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
    Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

  61. One thing my local church does well is collect food. We collect massive amounts. We keep a small portion for our food pantry for locals who come seeking assistance, but 90%we give to a local SoCal food bank that has no church affiliation.
    People don’t know if their food is coming from the church or the government… and we like it that way.

  62. London, don’t be weary in doing well. God sees your love in action.

  63. Thanks Nonnie.
    I don’t feel weary, I feel guilty. Like somehow, what our little band of misfits does, is not as good or valued by God because we aren’t preaching or flying a
    Flag with the name if Jesus or some verse on it.
    I have been told by a few churchy people that they don’t want to do backpacks with us because we don’t include bibles, someone I respect told me that because we don’t include them, we may be taking away the only chance some kid has if getting to hear the gospel. Someone else told me they “only do stuff in the name of Jesus”
    Since when us “doing unto to others” not doing something in The name of Jesus?
    I think people who are comfortable telling everyone about Jesus and who can “witness” to everyone they meet, look down on those of us who can’t and that tends to steal the joy (for a moment) of what is going on.
    Probably didnt make sense

  64. I think I want to be more like my wife. Our TV crapped out several days ago so to see what was happening last night in Ferguson I went on line and I listened to the police scanner.

    This morning I was telling my wife and she said “what is Ferguson?”

    You know, that’s what life has always been from the beginning until the past 50 yrs. – you know your stuff and you mind your own business

  65. In my life experience, thankfulness is the key to happiness.

  66. Muff, is your comment related to what I was saying? If so, I don’t see the connection. Can you elaborate?

  67. London,

    In our church the folks are always taking meals to folks or helping out in some way that we know is needed.
    We never slip in a tract or hand them a Bible with a fork.
    If they ask for a Bible we’ll give them one…but most people just want help, not a theology lesson.
    If they ask, we’ll tell them all they want to know about Jesus, but we don’t obligate them to ask with our service in love to them.

    What you do is awesome and God is as well pleased as He can be with it.

  68. Michael,
    What do you say then to people who would tell you that you are denying these people a chance at eternal life and their going to hell is then partially your fault?

  69. I can’t repeat what I would say to them on the blog…
    God is in charge of eternal life, not me.
    We live in a culture that increasingly identifies us by what we oppose…instead of identifying us as people who carry the love of Christ and sometimes do so in a very practical manner.
    I might be wrong…but I truly believe that simple acts of kindness and generosity speak more loudly of the love of God than a tract…and I believe that simple acts of kindness done with regularity create a true curiosity about the Gospel that often bears fruit down the road.
    We all will answer to our own Master…and I believe that the best thing we can answer for is getting caught loving someone who needs it.
    The critics don’t know how God can use what you’ve done…but they are free to call me if they have a problem with it. πŸ™‚

  70. if we do an act of kindness “in the name of Jesus,” does that mean that we wouldn’t do that kindness otherwise? probably does
    my heart ached for London as i read her #51 last nite…
    yet… how do we identify with our Lord publicly? … those Muslims etc. are out there doing similar kindnesses among us… i guess it is good to identify religion in general with goodness, but …?…

  71. Em,

    I believe that evangelism is best accomplished through relationship.
    These acts of grace are the first steps toward building that.
    The other issue I have with people who want everything labeled with a fish or a cross is that they tend to discount the fact that kindness and generosity are virtues and valuable in and of themselves…

  72. I agree with everything Michael has said. However, my experience in the UMC is that there’s a lot of good charitable ministry going on, but no evangelism at all. Our people aren’t equipped to share their faith, their not confident sharing their faith, and thus, I do think a lot of opportunities for sharing Christ are missed. So, we’re trying to recover a balance.

  73. London, Michael beat me to it. ^^^^^^^^ πŸ™‚

  74. Part of the problem with thinking that every act has to be “evangelistic” is that once some people are saved by GRACE, they’re taught or mistakenly come to the conclusion that everything we should do is like the LAW. Keep those commandments, ya know.

  75. If your house is on fire and a Muslim neighbor rescues you from the flames, what do you say? Hopefully, it’s “Thank you.”

  76. This is a good conversation. It brings out my inner Calvinist. I do my best to encourage people at church that some stranger’s eternal destiny is not in THEIR control nor responsibility.

    To me this brings up the issue of the word “witness” – we are to witness with our words and witness with our lives. I assume we all agree on that.

    So my only contribution would be that my life can only be a witness if somehow, at some time, I have made it known that I belong to Christ. Even though the word, Christian, has lost a lot of its meaning in this country, I will still drop into a quick exchange “I’m a Christian” if I do something kind with a stranger. And of course, with people one has an ongoing relationship with, all it takes is making it known once – and it really need not be repeated.

    Some examples: When given too much change, and then bringing back the extra and told by the cashier “That is so kind of you, most people don’t do that” – “Well, I’m a Christian (said with a big smile of course πŸ™‚ )

    At the store at which I am a regular, and they all know me by sight (but nobody really knows me personally), they are asking people to buy $20 bags of food for some campaign – so my reply is not simply, no. And have them think I could care less (which of course is not true), but rather to say that at our church we have large effort towards the same goal and that is where I contribute.

    And yeah, I am one of those guys who if he gives someone on the street a few bucks does say “This is given in Jesus name and He loves you”

    But at the same time, I do not feel any guilt if I neglect to do so on a given occasion, nor do I feel I have to leave a tract with the cash.

    Praying before the meal at the restaurant and leaving a generous tip afterwards is more a witness in my opinion than leaving some tract on the table.

  77. Jean brings up a good point. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, someone will ask us about “the hope that lies within us,” and we’ll be “ready to give an answer” as the Bible says. That doesn’t take eloquence or special gifts of evangelism or teaching. But what if they don’t ever ask? That’s not our problem, it’s the Holy Spirit’s.

  78. Steve has an “inner Calvinist.” πŸ™‚ Pretty sure I have one of those too, especially the more I study about grace.

  79. “Praying before the meal at the restaurant and leaving a generous tip afterwards is more a witness in my opinion than leaving some tract on the table.”

    But at least the tracts may tell the gospel – whereas your prayer an your large tip say nothing. How do they know that you are not a Mormon — or better yet, does a Mormon do any less at the restaurant?

    I am not a believer in the so called ‘lifestyle’ evangelism… it’s a cop out.

    I don’t pray over my meals out, but I do leave a 25% tip (my now nurse daughter has been a waitress for 20 yrs.) πŸ™‚

  80. MLD – you’re the one who proudly tells us of how you order guys to shut-up when they preach the gospel at improper times.

    I don’t know what you mean by “lifestyle evangelism” but I doubt it has anything to do with what I wrote above. (If you read carefully)

  81. Steve,
    First I tell people to shut up who disturb those nearby, as they can preach judgment on folks trying to eat a nice morning breakfast at a patio restaurant … that my friend is not the gospel. Second, we are told to speak when asked – not just blurt something out.

    Lifestyle evangelism is when you think you are evangelizing “witnessing” by how you live – that others see your good life and want to be a Christian like you. (as your restaurant story showed). No one learned anything about Jesus by your pre meal prayer or your tip.

    “Praying before the meal at the restaurant and leaving a generous tip afterwards is more a witness…” is what you wrote. What did your prayer witness to? unless you said it really loud and disturbed others.;-)

  82. Did you read the whole post, MLD? Or do you just not understand the purpose of a comparison? The point is not evangelism, the point is glorifying Christ. And yeah, there’s some Scripture on that point. Now if you want everyone to think you’re just a great guy inherently, or that your church is no different than the government…more power to you.

    (Second, we are told to speak when asked – not just blurt something out.)

    Agreed. So is the gospel, when written, just litter to be strewn around for others to pick up who have not asked for it? Does that value the message? How is that any different than the JWs one might ask you. Did you waitress daughter appreciate the stuff people left behind for her to clean up?

  83. Well, I have never handed out tracts, so I wouldn’t know their disposition.

    Look, when you tell someone you gave back change because you are a Christian, what does that mean? If Richard Dawkins gave back extra change, does that say something?

    As you said, more and more folks don’t even recognize what a Christian is. My point was if you are not talking about Jesus you are not witnessing. (which we can’t do anyways because we were not around when Jesus walked the earth, was resurrected or anything else.)

  84. My point was if you are not talking about Jesus you are not witnessing.
    ————————————————-
    Fair enough. We disagree. My point is that witness is twofold, as I expressed. But only twofold if the person knows one is a Christian at some point.

    Of course, my point is supported in the Bible and yours is not, but what else is new. πŸ™‚

    Have to run now.

    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  85. On our Meals on Wheels route, we don’t exactly evangelize but we do take every opportunity to get a conversation going about the Lord.

    Some of our clients, especially elderly black ladies, evangelize me. πŸ™‚ I mean by that that they show the love of Christ in everything they say.

    I always look around clients’ apartments or houses to see any Christian stuff so I can say something like “Hey, looks like we are both Christians!” Then we go with that conversation wherever they want to take it. Sometimes they ask me to bring them a Bible, sometimes they change the subject. Most of the Catholics have a pretty limited idea of what is basic Christian doctrine, like the RC lady who believes Christ was a great Yogi. One Catholic lady studies the Bible every Sat. w/ the JW’s and I tried to straighten that up but she wouldn’t hear it, claiming “they have their own path to God so leave them alone” or some such thing.

    Almost all these old people (except my favorite black Baptist lady) are universalists of sorts and don’t believe doctrine matters at all. I am convinced that the current mess we see in American Christianity, the “anything goes” attitude, originated with this generation of people who are now in their 80’s. If you even try to straighten out heretical theology they give you the “Don’t you dare judge” line.

    So, while I don’t exactly pass out the meals “in the Name of Jesus,” in my heart that’s what I’m doing and I do try to engage all of them in some kind of Gospel talk, as much as they are willing.

    And I pray for them all.

  86. Exactly Xenia…Jesus used fishing as an illustration for a reason, and not just because of the disciples’ former occupation.

    You toss out some bait, see if there is a nibble…go from there.

    I’ve met many Christians in my life that I now have regular connections with by simply at one time saying “the other day at church…” and it leads to a conversation. “Oh, where do you go to church?” – My dental hygienist is one such person and now she shares about people she is seeking to minister to in her life, asking me for pastoral advice. I even sent her a teaching once about forgiveness that she told me she has shared with multiple people in her life. The lady that cuts my hair at Fantastic Sam’s is another (and now pretty much the rest of the stylists know too – so my witness now becomes how I act and not what I share)

    And lots of time it leads the person to shut down the conversation too. That’s fine. Sometimes the fish don’t bite.

    I find it funny that people like my wife, who was in a job where she was specifically told not to talk about “religion” with people, somehow found a way to have many meaningful conversations with others, mutually agreed to, that led to relationships outside of work, whereas some under no such restrictions never seem to have a meaningful conversation the whole year with anyone about the Lord.

  87. I go for an hour walk / run every morning but my doctor told me to get out in the afternoon also so I am not sitting 9 / 10 hrs straight. So for the past month I have been going at 1 o’clock across the street to the South Coast Plaza and walk around for another hour.

    Today i smiled and said hello to everyone so they would praise my God. I hope it worked. πŸ˜‰

  88. I’ve often said there are strengths and weaknesses in different Christian traditions, and what Steve points out in #88 is one of the strengths of evangelicalism and one of the reasons why almost all of the growth in the American church over the past how many years has been in evangelicalism.

  89. RE: London @ nos. 51, 57, 64 & 67:

    My comment @ no. 66 was simply an observation on thankfulness that has universal application and not necessarily connected to your comments on human kindness.
    I will say this though now that you’ve mentioned it — Human goodness toward one and other is goodness regardless of where it comes from because it’s the right thing to do.
    It does not have to be officially sanctioned in some kind of ‘Christianese Bubble’.

  90. It’s funny too how Christianity has influenced our nation over the years in so many ways when it comes to helping others, we don’t even recognize it.

    Meanwhile in India, you have a billion combined Muslims and Hindus asking the small minority number of Christians for help. And the Christians there do not seem to hesitate to call them out on it in the name of their false gods.

    “Why isn’t your mosque helping you? Why do you look for help from those you fight as infidels?”

    “Why are you not content to rest in your karma until your next reincarnation? Why seek relief from suffering when you know your religion teaches you will just have to suffer in the next life”

    Of course, these questions do not come across well on a blog – in person they are asked in love, legitimately, trying to get a “wake-up” from the people that Christ is the answer for both this life and the life to come. It also helps that there is a clear demarcation between these three beliefs and clear identity, often just in dress or name, as to which belief the person you are with happens to hold to.

  91. #92,

    The contrast is no greater than when you look at attitudes towards orphans and adoption in America vs. most Asian countries. America has been influenced by Christian morality regarding life.

  92. “And the Christians there do not seem to hesitate to call them out on it in the name of their false gods”

    See, I love that direct approach vs the previously discussed, bet around the bush “I go to church” approach. Too many have bought into the “β€œPreach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” that Saint Francis never said.

    I use the direct approach at all times – even in line at the supermarket (when I feel like talking, most of the time I stand and growl) – I don’t want to talk about my church. “Hey, I was talking to some friends about Jesus Christ – what do think?”
    You get great conversations, weird stares – but everybody has to tell you one way or the other what they think.

  93. I very rarely out right talk about the things that matter. I might talk a lot about random stuff, but if its something that REALLY matters to me, I am very careful who I talk to about it.
    It’s just my nature. So I’m not someone they would go around witnessing to everyone that volunteers with us.
    We do pray before we put backpacks and I would never ask a Muslim or Hindu to deliver that prayer. We end that prayer “in Jesus name”…people know we are, for the most part, Christian. For the most part meaning not everyone who is “key players” are Christian.

    Yesterday I was thinking about how pastors, and others with an evangelistic bent, say operate within your spiritual gifts, yet when you do, they say you are doing it wrong because you’re not operating in theirs.

  94. London, you shouldn’t feel bad at all. look, pastors are the ones who are charged to carry out the great commission. The rest of us are just to noodle around and do our best.

  95. Don’t really believe in there being a “should or should not” in how people feel. They feel what they feel.

  96. Not that it would be a bad thing, but that sure would eliminate the whole psychology industry. πŸ™‚

  97. Yesterday I was thinking about how pastors, and others with an evangelistic bent, say operate within your spiritual gifts, yet when you do, they say you are doing it wrong because you’re not operating in theirs.
    —————————————————
    Bingo. London, I spoke on this very thing just on Sunday. Even used evangelism as an example.

    It is a pet peeve of mine. I trust nothing I have said in this thread has added to that error.

    I do know that Christ changed my life. And so when I do something the old Steve would not have done, only seems right to tell anyone involved Who gets the credit. Evangelism really is not the motive.

  98. Right. But at that point, you are operating using your gift….just like I use mine of helps (or whatever)

    I’m just tired of feeling guilty or put down for not doing things “in Jesus name” when I think we are.

    Jesus says do unto others….why isn’t that enough?

    (Not directed at you. Just rambling)

  99. I think that if it was the Tea Party rioting, burning the b***ch down, firing guns and looting…it would be called “domestic terrorism” by the liberals and Eric Holder would be personally arresting the “terrorists”

    But it’s black democrats, so Obama and Holder are making sure the cops let them finish their “protesting”

  100. Tonight, literally as I was pondering whether what we do matters, is good enough, supports the people we mean to support….one of the gals who is a social worker and disttubed boxes called me to tell me stories of where food went this year.
    She told me some great stories about the families we were able to help this year.
    It was like God reaching out and giving me a hug. πŸ™‚
    Every single thing she says was exactly right and she had no idea I was thinking those thoughts before she called.
    So cool…

  101. She said she always prays before she takes stuff out and told me about a kid who saw them putting the last box in their car after delivering one to a family.
    The kid was 1-2 grade and walked up to them and asked for a box if food cause “we have nothing for Thanksgiving”.
    They, of course, said yes. Carried it to her house and talked to the mom.
    My friend said they really did have nothing. Not even much furniture and the kid didnt have a coat on…
    The mom was completely taken my surprise and didnt even know what to say…
    I loved how it all worked out, how’s friend went to a bad area of their town, how brave the little girl was, and how my friends were willing to believe her and let them let God take care of that need.
    My friend and I hadn’t talked about Gid before, and why we do what we do, so it was cool to do that.
    This year, we did put cards in all our boxes wishing people a happy thanksgiving full of Gods abundant gifts (or something like that) and she said those really touched her.
    I think that by talking about this issue on here, I’ve been able to work through some garbage left over from younger days in church where if you weren’t blantantly preaching you were sinning…so thanks to everyone who pitched in your thoughts yesterday.

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