Sep 262016

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:16–21 ESV)

If I believed that people could lose their salvation, I’d say that social media is filling hell at the fastest rate in recorded history. It’s as if all biblical standards of conduct have been suspended until after the election. No matter who wins in November,the church has sustained massive loss in relationships and holiness that will cripple us for years. It doesn’t seem to matter…

2. While we’ve split into camps accusing each other of being devils, the real Devil laughs at how easily he has swayed us all…

3. My family is always the clearest reflection of the state of my soul…

4. What fools we are if we are counting on someone or something outside of the church to bring about the ways and will of God…

5. I always rooted for Arnold Palmer…he was the quintessential American sports icon…and he wore iconic very well.

6. Whenever I post numbers that show the decline of the church in this country,the church declares themselves blameless or the numbers inaccurate. This is called whistling in the graveyard. We seem to have the institutional blindness that refuses to see until the institution has fallen. The gates of hell will not prevail,but the institutions will fall.

7.T organized his class to write a letter thanking the local police for their service. He was concerned that all the negative press has eroded their morale. Evidently, I did something right,sometime…

8. There is no such thing as “the media” anymore. Just another straw man to burn in the face of someone who disagrees with us…

9. In the providence of God, Teddy Bridgewater blew out his knee, requiring the Vikings to trade for Sam Bradford and the Eagles to promote Carson Wentz. God works all things together for good…for everyone except Teddy Bridgewater,evidently…

10. Hope in Christ is the hardest sell in the church right now…and by far the most needed. Hoping in the capture of the White House and Congress is not the same thing…and if it happens will not change a single heart. It is the heart we are supposed to be concerned with. I’m very concerned about my own…



  88 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. #10, last sentence – where we all need to start.

  2. Amen to #10. Amen to #10. Amen to #10.

  3. numbers one thru ten … yes and amen

    thank God for His promise – for all of them, but today … 1 John 1:7-10

  4. Teddy Bridgewater must have tried to touch one of God’s anointed…. or else he doesn’t support Israel. 🙂

  5. I’m trying not to think right now. But I agree with all you points except the one about the Vikings. I couldn’t care less about sports-my attitude has gotten worse as I have aged.

  6. Michael – “No matter who wins in November,the church has sustained massive loss in relationships and holiness that will cripple us for years. It doesn’t seem to matter…”

    Here is your problem – all information you get about what happens in the church is off social media. You need to spend some time out in the real world. I would challenge you for the next several Sundays until the election is to go visit churches and see if anyone is talking politics – especially if you go to more liturgical churches who need to stay on schedule.

    But I think if you went to your local baptist type churches, of any kind, you would be pleasantly surprised.

  7. Actually Kevin, Teddy is a free will kind of guy, that’s why this happened to him.

  8. Randy,

    Sports is my diversion.
    As if the title makes it holy… 🙂

  9. MLD,

    I’m, probably more in the community then most.
    I spend two or three hours a day in the busiest public park in town.
    I’m also involved in the schools and other things I don’t talk about here.

  10. Wow! Family is the reflection of my own soul. How I love that and have never reflected on it in that way. I think it’s true. As of today, if it is then I’m in great shape. And/or my kids simply have an incredible mother. 🙂

    Literally, politics is never even mentioned in my church. Either in sermon or in conversation. Only when I joke around about it.

    The last time I was “all in” concerning politics was the year 2000. I was all in for W. Yeah, how well did that turn out? LOL

    Great picture of W and Mrs. Obama, though. 🙂

  11. Michael -out in the community is great – but your claim is always how much the church has put it’s trust in politics – and how ‘church’ people are always blowing up social media about politics and blasting one another.

    Both are would probably total just fractions of less than 1 % of “church” people.

    We had a lady forward one of these political emails (I think it was against Hillary) to the Elder’s email list. – Every elder replied and asked to be removed from her list, that the email had no place in our church. I think this would be the reaction in most churches today.

    I don’t think your view on this is even close to what takes place in the American church.

  12. MLD,

    I’m not the only one writing about this,so if I’m wrong I have a lot of company.
    I suggest you listen to our local Christian radio/tv station online…it’s politics all morning,every morning.
    It’s not the only one by any stretch of the imagination…

  13. As a matter of fact that station (which actually pulls good ratings) has spent years informing pastors and pews alike that if they weren’t involved in promoting Republican policies in the church that their faith was deficient.
    They have been very effective…

  14. Tune into the Bridge Radio 94.3 from Rogue River

    Get a different perspective – it’s Lutheran – see if they tell you who to vote for.

  15. “But I say, walk by the Spirit,”

    I would like to hear from folks here…what does “walk by the Spirit” mean?

    How, specifically, do we do that?

  16. MLD,

    Evidently, the signal only serves Rogue River…delivering the Gospel to preppers and conspiracy theorists…that’s not a bad thing…

  17. Jean,

    What a great question…and so very difficult to answer.

  18. #7 Great that T appreciates law enforcement and bringing it up to his classmates. I too thank them for their service when I can. It’s a tough job & not getting easier

  19. Michael,
    “delivering the Gospel to preppers and conspiracy theorists…that’s not a bad thing…”

    As I speak only Californian, I must ask – in Oregon what the heck is a prepper?

  20. MLD,

    A prepper is one who is preparing for apocalyptic events that will necessitate “living off the grid”.
    Rogue River and the surrounding woods are full of them…also called “survivalists”.

  21. I never hear any politics during any of our church services. There’s no room for it. I suppose Father could slip in some politics during his very short homily but he never has. During the potluck meal after Liturgy, people will talk among themselves. Nothing boisterous or intimidating, just civil conversations. From what I can glean through eavesdropping, most people are “None of the Above.” I don’t listen to evangelical radio and I have temporarily unfollowed some FB people. I have a few stock answers I give to people who want to guilt me into supporting their candidate which have been effective in some (but not all) cases.

  22. What fools we are if we are counting on someone or something outside of the church to bring about the ways and will of God…
    Is not the Church used of God to overthrow injustice, and advocate and promote justice here on this earth? That is argued a lot on this blog.

    Has anyone ever read the SCOTUS decision in the infamous Dred Scott case?

    In a nation such as America, our greatest injustices are often stamped with the approval of our Supreme Court of the land. A political body (one of the 3 branches along with legislative and executive).

    How about the ungodly injustice of Plessy v Ferguson? which, years later was effectively countered by Brown v Board of Education.

    If there is ever an overthrow to the ungodly, injustice decision of Roe v Wade, it will not happen outside of a SCOTUS decision.

    I think the Scripture is pretty clear that the Church is a big entity made up of individual members who each have their specific role and calling and service and the other members are not to point at each other and say “We have no need of you” or to “judge another’s servant”

    There are many ways to “fight for justice” in a free country with democratic elections.

  23. Go Vikes. Go permanency of salvation!

  24. Steve #23,

    We may be in substantial agreement, but let me say back to you what I think you mean and let me know if we are agreeing:

    “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

    Governing authorities have been instituted by God and should reflect His will. In a country such as ours where the citizens elect indirectly their governing authorities, those who are Christians should, in the exercise of their vote, support candidates who if elected will reflect the will of God in the exercise of their governing authority.

  25. “There are many ways to “fight for justice” in a free country with democratic elections.”

    As long as the fight for justice is the actual goal – this can be done in a non partisan manner. You can fight for the same justice being a Democrat or a Republican. You can fight for the same justice voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

  26. Galatians 5 … makes pretty clear, IMV, what it means to walk by the spirit… the 2 kingdoms thing probably helps to conceptualize such a walk… it isn’t understanding what it means to do so, as much as it is understanding how to carry it out… as i see it

    the world is our here and now and it is very pressing on us making it hard to see it as a secondary concern… the devil loves it when we chase him around under the delusion that we are doing God’s business, i think… dunno, tho, do i?

  27. I don’t think we can end abortion at this stage of our societal evolution.
    We can make it illegal and that will open a a host of issues on it’s own.
    Ending abortion, (or any other true injustice) comes only with changes of heart.

    My best use of my resources is to speak into my immediate circle the virtues and ethics I believe are biblical and to live them out in front of them.

    In a democratic republic the very definitions of righteousness and justice are open to debate…I have to stand on biblical principles that neither political party represents to any consistent degree.

  28. I still contend that if we were really concerned about these issues the Wednesday night prayer meeting would be alive and well…

  29. Love it, thanks Michael.

    Good reminders. Kind of the Good Angel on the shoulder.

  30. Politics is rarely mentioned in our church, either from pulpit or leadership, but there is a degree of political chatter in the lobby.

  31. Thanks, Alex…I’m always in a better mood after a Vikings win. 🙂

  32. PH,

    @32…I further submit that the reason we’ve abandoned the prayer meeting is our faith in other processes…

  33. Amen-ing #28.

    Do want to comment on media. Charlotte’s WSOC-9 is a complete abomination. They reported more false stories during this last week than you could keep up with. I caught them redhanded on one. They didn’t even respond, just moved on to the next story. There is blood on their hands for the rage they fueled here in our city.

  34. Josh,

    I think most media outlets have succumbed to inciting rage rather than reporting facts.
    The reason they have done so is that we have demanded it by our choices in what we watch, read, and listen to.

  35. I am sure that is true. It was very close to home for me this week, and it was actually life or death news that they were playing games with, with no conscious. I’m 41 years old, and have lived a pretty eventful life, but seeing that happen and knowing the real suffering that it would cause, killed the last bit of innocent naivete that I had left.

  36. Josh,

    I think it will only get worse.
    I believe the current anger and angst have been created and then fed to an undiscerning public over and over again until lies have become truths worth dying for…or killing for.

    We have no public touchstones for truth…all things are slanted to accommodate an audience and to keep them angry with someone.

  37. Its true. And sad.

  38. “Thanks, Alex…I’m always in a better mood after a Vikings win.”

    If my mood depended on NFL football and the Chargers, I would be the Grinch 🙂

  39. Alex,

    I’m already the Grinch…my family has learned to pray for Viking victories as a respite… 🙂

  40. Hope is perhaps the most significant indicator of the health/well-being of the individual believer and Church as a whole. If your #10 is correct, we are ill indeed and ill in deed.

  41. fil,

    The question then, is how do we remedy this?

  42. Michael, LOL!

    You’re a good man, hardly a grinch in person. Sorry to blow your cover 🙂

  43. Michael and MLD

    Look at Salem Media Groups holding in radio, publishing, etc. There is little differentiation between the “faith based” and “right-leaning politics based” programming. That would be in addition to publishing “moderate” people such as Anne Coulter. The convergence of interests is very real.

  44. Duane,

    Indeed it is…and I don’t think it’s been edifying to the church.

  45. Salem Media Group is a business – they are not the church.
    And they play to ratings and market share. I can guarantee that if they figured they could make more money pushing liberal theology and liberal issues they would.

    But I will put out the challenge – in the past 2 months, who here has sat through a politically oriented sermon at their church (not their favorite radio station) ala the good old days when Jerry Falwell and James Kennedy were around?

  46. Michael

    As to No. 6 – the numbers probably are inaccurate… in actuality they are worse than what is being reported. In the Episcopal Church, for example, the statistics for NY have been thrown into disarray, because St. Bartholomew’s purged over 2000 members from their rolls that they have been carrying for decades. Remember as well, most pastors report every living soul on the church property in their Average Sunday Attendance. In the Episcopal Church the average is 58, but that includes the priest himself, the organist, the nursery care givers, children, janitor, etc.. The actual average number is likely much lower. The same holds true for the UMC.

  47. Duane,

    I’ve seen some UMC accounting for attendance numbers…they include everything except the families pets. 🙂

  48. # 47 I doubt if Stuart Epperson at Salem would push liberal theology or liberal issues if his life depended on it!

    As to sermons, do we include college presidents such as Jerry Falwell, Jr.?

  49. Go T!!!! And dad you did it right! May God continue to use him!

  50. Duane,
    I have no idea who Stuart Epperson is – but I guess I could Google him

    You make my point – if you need to find a college president with the Falwell name to show that politics is taught in church – well, what does that say?

    My point is I think the Church over all is no longer issues oriented – that is scorched earth stuff from the 80s and 90s.

    Now if we are speaking individuals interested in politics who happen to be Christians – I would say that is split pretty much down the middle – Liberal Roman Catholics and black churches would rival the evangelical right for numbers.

  51. “but that includes the priest himself, the organist, the nursery care givers, children, janitor, etc.. ”

    My church counts everyone on campus – the pastor, organist, nursery workers, children and even the janitor are all members doing some form of vocation on Sunday morning.

  52. MLD

    I can only hope you are right, but I’ve heard two sermons in the last two months in which about a third of the sermon was pretty blatantly political (in these two cases – to the Right).

    BTW, I find few liberal Roman Catholics… most priests these days are of the John Paul II types. Just my experience…

  53. MLD,

    Do you honestly believe that the media outreach of liberal Roman Catholics and black churches is equivalent to conservative Christian media?

    I see pastors all day long pitching for Trump…maybe I need to get some black pastors and Catholics in my feed… 🙂

  54. I am confused (not a rare item)
    I just looked up Salem Media Group – they are a political network – I thought someone said they were Christian radio.
    Their line up
    Hugh Hewitt
    Larry Elder
    Eric Metaxas
    Dennis Prager
    Micheal Medved
    Mike Gallagher

    Which I find funny as I think they are all Roman Catholics and Jews.
    Evangelicals really do plug into odd places to find out what they are to think.

  55. Dave,

    T watches the news and gets confused about these issues…he was born with a sense of social justice.
    I’ve made it a point to get him in places to interact with the police and understand what their jobs are like…and I’m very proud of how he’s thinking these things through.

  56. MLD

    They have a full Christian radio network as well, plus publishing CCM magazine along with other Christian magazines…

  57. MLD

    This is from their site:

    Salem Media Group is America’s leading radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values. In addition to its radio properties, Salem owns Salem Radio Network, which syndicates talk, news and music programming to approximately 2700 affiliates; Salem Radio Representatives, a national radio advertising sales force; Salem Web Network, a leading Internet provider of Christian content and online streaming; and Salem Publishing, a leading publisher of Christian themed magazines. Salem owns and operates 118 radio stations, with 73 stations in the nation’s top 25 markets – and 25 in the top 10. Each of our radio properties has a full portfolio of broadcast and digital marketing opportunities.

  58. Duane – are you one of their consumers?
    I will need to look up which stations down here are associated with them.
    I think we have only 2Christian stations in the LA / OC area – KBRT & KKLA – well I guess KWVE also – but I don’t think they do political programing – Oy, I am so out of it.

  59. MLD

    My friend and bandmate, Michael, listens to K-Love on Salem stations as an “anthropological field trip” from time to time. He has a higher pain threshold than myself!

    We’ve appeared doing music and interviews on associated stations and simply “stay on message”… but they are always, and I do mean always, bringing up politics in the interviews…

    Just my experience.

  60. Well, I don’t know if I see Salem as a threat. I just checked the ratings in Los Angeles and of the 42 stations KKLA is 40 – right ahead of the Pasadena City College radio station. They have a rating of 0.2.

    KFiSH Christian radio – Salem is #37 @ 0.6- just behind the Cal State University Fullerton radio station

    KRLA the political Salem station comes in at #32 with a 0.8 rating — right below Santa Monica City College station

    Total, the Salem stations have a combined rating of 1.6 which place them #25 and would put them one notch above the USC campus radio station.

  61. MLD

    I think “niche market” is the correct term!

  62. Speaking of politics —

    Here’s the headline that will run the day after the Pres. election —


  63. Ugh. That “debate” was painful to watch.

    Local folks keep wanting me to run for political office b/c I can speak well to issues and know the issues and can speak to them off-the-cuff no problem and form an intelligent argument….every. single. time. With ease.

    After watching tonight’s debate, I realize our Emperors have no clothes. It’s like the political equivalent of realizing Chuck Smith was an idiot and nothing special.

  64. I can’t believe anyone watches debates
    I watched 2 episodes of Longmire instead.

    Debates of old were useful because you did not see the candidates very often if at all. Today you see all the candidates everyday and twice on Sunday. Did anyone watch to learn new content?

    A waste of time.

  65. Interesting article Surfer. Certainly food for thought.

  66. Longmire 🙂

  67. 2 episodes of….Longmire….is not a waste of time? 🙂

    What’s for tonight….Bonanza?

  68. MLD

    Good choice @longmire!

  69. Come on CC!

    Longmire is a better choice than 8 is Enough. 🙂

  70. Longmire and Bonanza are awesome. I have something in common with the old people 🙂 My kids LOVE Bonanza….and I Love Lucy and Andy Griffith Show etc.

  71. Don’t knock Bonanza, High Chapparral or The Big Valley. 🙂

  72. Sadly, I did watch the debate. I’m know Hillary fan, but she clearly made The Donald look like a fool! He bit on every thing she threw out. Trump was like the pastor who doesn’t prepare for his sermon claiming the Holy Spirit will tell him what to say.

  73. Rawhide, The Virginian

  74. The debates are valuable b/c it demonstrates the ability to persuade the mAsses and demonstrates the ability to present a compelling argument.

    Neither candidate did that last night. Both are big giant Zeroes.

    Though, Trump gained ground b/c he continues to strike a Populist tone which I rightly predicted well over a year ago would be the most passionate angle this Election Cycle.

    Polling today is showing Trump made gains in Swing States amongst Democrats and Independent Voters who are concerned about bad trade deals and losing jobs and factories to China, Mexico etc and who are concerned about Rule of Law which has heavily eroded under two Obama/Democrat terms. People do not feel safe.

  75. I feel safe.

  76. Any man, golfer or otherwise should automatically enter heaven for creating my FAVORITE drink (non-alcoholic) – The Arnold Palmer.
    You know you’re addicted when you’ve tried to figure out who sells this in an IV so I could just walk around with it going into my veins!
    J/K, sort of.
    : )

  77. “no Hillary fan” Do you believe that I teach English? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  78. I’m failing miserably at baiting Donald supporters. 🙂

  79. For those who do not know Longmire is a current show on Netflix – not an old Bonanza type show.

  80. UnCCed,
    I have introduced a couple of my kids to Arnold Palmers and now when they order them, they do like me an tell the waitress that they will evaluate it based on the precise separation of the tea and the lemonade.

    Is it not the most frustrating thing when they bring it an it looks like the stirred it up. To that we say “no tip for you!!”

  81. a couple of my kids — I meant to say grandkids — my kids order shots when we go out.

  82. Longmire is a black and white Western, produced in Los Angeles, and directed by Butch Cassidy.

    Don’t deny it, MLD!!

  83. i learned some things watching last nite’s debate (boring content)… Donald Trump had a wonky microphone and Hillary had a wonky smile… no intelligence breakthroughs, tho

  84. Remember the story about the man who died and his brother told the preacher that he would give him $1000 dollars to tell the people that his deceased brother was a saint? The preacher took the offer. At the funeral he got up and told all the vile and evil things this man had done and how everyone knew what kind of a horrible human he had been. When he finished he added, “but compared to his brother he was a saint.”

    That pretty much sums up this election.

    We will get what we deserve.

  85. Longmire was filmed in Las Vegas, NM. I think all good shows are filmed in NM, but I’m a little partial….

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