May 172015
 

Christianity  tourism destinations“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

(Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV)

Paul has spent three wonderful chapters telling us who we are in Christ and all the benefits and blessings the come from being in Him.

Now, he calls us to act like who we really are if indeed we are in Christ Jesus.

To walk worthy of the calling is to walk in a way that reflects the character of God and the heart of God…and we do so in response to what He’s already done, not in hopes of what He may do in the future.

His saving work on our behalf is finished…we cannot add to it, we simply live our lives in response to it.

We are to live  and act in such a way that we “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

You “maintain” what is already present and working.

Paul tells us that despite all the fractures and differences in the “visible” church, the “invisible” church is one people in Him.

In Him there is;

One body

One spirit

One Lord.

One faith

One baptism

We are one family, with one Father who is absolutely sovereign in all things.

In Christ, our different methods, different theologies, different liturgies and different understandings disappear…until all that can be seen is Him.

We are one family…and we are called to act like it.

Sometimes that means we’re going to have to “bear” with each other, with patience.

We find it difficult to do so at times.

Do it anyway.

That’s how they will know us by our love…

May 172015
 

thumbnail.aspx“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have given me relief when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!  

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

(Psalms 4:1–8 ESV)

May 152015
 

Martyrdom-of-St-Peter“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?””

(John 21:18–23 ESV)

Life isn’t fair.

If you’re older than a toddler this shouldn’t be a revelation to you.

It did seem to catch Peter by surprise, however.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that “fair” isn’t promised in this life.

What’s promised is a journey, what’s given is a command…”follow me”.

Someone from Campus Life told Peter that God loved him and had a wonderful plan for his life.

Jesus then told Peter the plan in the verses above…capture and crucifixion.

The plan didn’t sound wonderful…or fair.

He looked down the beach and saw John following them…”the disciple Jesus loved”.

(One wonders if John called himself that in front of the other disciples…)

Peter reacted as most of us would, “if things are going to be hard for me, what about him?”

Jesus basically told Pete to mind his own business…and follow Him.

This morning, some of us feel like Peter.

We don’t think this is the wonderful plan we signed up for.

Maybe you planned for rest, but new labors have become your lot.

Maybe you planned on being retired like your friends and all you see is working until you die.

Maybe you planned on a new life when the nest emptied, but the nest is full again.

Maybe you planned on health and health has fled.

Maybe you planned on financial security and there are neither finances or security.

Maybe, you don’t understand why you are carrying burdens others aren’t.

There are no simple answers, no sweet platitudes.

There is only a promise and a command.

Your journey isn’t over.

Follow Him…until it is.

Make your own application…

May 132015
 

shut-up-19In yesterdays Linkathon I linked to an article by one Samuel James called “What Not To Do When A Fellow Christian Embarrasses the Rest of Us.”

I did so because one of things that we ought not do according to Mr. James, is blog about it, nor should we read the comments or leave a comment if someone has broken Mr. James commandment.

I obviously disagree.

Actually the first thing I disagree with is the title of Mr. James’s article.

What does he mean by a fellow Christian “embarrassing” us?

If he means that we shouldn’t blog about a brother or sister accidentally breaking wind while laughing, I agree.

Such things do not merit a blog article.

If he’s talking about leaders trying to crush their wives, cheating on their wives, or abusing or facilitating the abuse of a child or church member I disagree very strongly.

That’s not embarrassing, it’s abusive and it should be shouted from the rooftops.

Mr. Jackson is trying to enforce the “no talk” rule…which facilitates the continuation of abuse and corruption.

When some friends of mine tried to engage Mr. Jackson on his view he summarily blocked them and accused them of blogging for profit.

We wish.

He then went on the attack with a blog article that labeled all his opposition trolls…which I thought we weren’t supposed to do according to Mr. James own commandment.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Sam.

He does facilitate the obedience of others by not allowing any comments on the articles he writes… that sound like the articles no one else is supposed to write.

Mr. James is following the well worn path of other abusive leaders and those that enable them by having a separate set of rules for themselves.

They may speak freely, even authoritatively…but no one dare speak against them.

Mr. James can go pack sand where the sun never shines, yea and verily, amen.

Tony Jones, who is trying to stop free speech online to protect his power and “reputation” can join him in this endeavor.

We will never be silent again.

We will not cede the power of one voice to the abusive and corrupt.

I will not shut up.

Ever.

Period.

 

May 132015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

Senate votes for resolution to free Saeed

May 122015
 

timthumb.phpThe church and women at risk…

Christians decline as a percentage of the population…

Why clergy get kicked out…

On transparency as a Christian…

An article I post because it is utter garbage…

“Faithbox”…Selling the faith with a monthly subscription.

No Adam, no gospel…

Corporate evangelicalism…

The intolerant Left…

Roger Olson on Pentecostal pacifism…

Is God also our mother?

Is Christianity dying?

If you see something, say something…

Sarah on the joys and suffering of motherhood…

The death of prayer meetings…

Wenatchee the Hatchet on lots of stuff…

How to shut down accountability…

Against “red letter” Christianity…

For “red letter” Christianity…

The state of theology…

When “good people” get away with bad things…

An explanation of the Pew data on people leaving the church…

Find the religious make up of your state…

May 112015
 

Calvin's Corner headerPastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens discuss Pastor Rick Warren and Elton John in Congress, Pastor Andy Stanley’s comments about expository preaching as well as New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and his legacy and much more on this week’s Calvin’s Corner.

Download the mp3

May 112015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. I’ve been writing about abuse and abusers in the church for over a decade at no small cost. Imagine my surprise to find out that because I am a Christian who holds to traditional, historical, views on what the Bible says about gender and sexuality, I am an abuser by definition. As in so many other issues today, that kind of labeling destroys dialog and leaves  the conflicting viewpoints with only a scorched earth policy to live by in regard to the other. I’m still willing to listen, but I refuse to wear the name badge…

2. Yesterday was Mothers Day and the online meme was that we shouldn’t celebrate Mothers Day in the church because it is being insensitive to those who haven’t been able to have children, don’t want to have children, or simply don’t like their mother.  I can understand that for some people it’s not a day to celebrate but to mourn. I also understand that the same could be said for every commemorative day on the calendar. Everything we do is potentially insensitive to someone else. I dread the Christmas season, but I don’t demand that everyone dread it with me. This is because, oddly and unfairly enough, it’s not all about me. The horror…

3. I find it grossly hypocritical that “liberal” media such as Facebook, The Huffington Post, and Salon are continually filling my newsfeed with images that are close to pornographic and articles that are nothing but porn without images while claiming to be bastions of women’s rights. The truth is that while they may be for abortion rights, they will find any reason to post naked pictures of women that objectify and demean them and post articles that do the same. The only “right” they are for is the right to make as much money as possible, just as they accuse the other side of the aisle.

4. The idea that we should federalize local police departments is another reason to study what has happened in Mexico over the last decade. They have federal police forces…that basically have become the governments death squads at the local level. I’ll pass, thank you.

5. I’m teaching through the Psalms…and have come to the conclusion that when it comes to prayer, most of us are practical atheists. I’m on a personal mission in this area.

6. The New England Patriots have passed the Oakland Raiders as the team America loves to hate. Thus, they have become my second favorite team…

7. With the new Periscope app you can now broadcast your whole existence live for all to see and comment on. As if we wanted to. We will soon have an epidemic of narcissism in a land where the populace has joyfully and voluntarily placed itself under continual surveillance.

8. The internet has given everyone a voice…and now reminds me of the old song lyric “everybody’s talking at me, I can’t hear a word they’re saying”…

9.  The internet has also democratized opinion…people become “experts” on everything from sports to theology to politics simply by virtue of acting like one. In reality, not all opinions are created equal…

10. In context, all of the commands of Scripture are made on the basis of what God has already done. Obedience is a response to grace and love already given…

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

May 102015
 

thumbnail.aspx“TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO THE GITTITH. A PSALM OF DAVID.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

(Psalms 8:0–9 ESV)

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