Jan 292018

1. Sometimes the only way to assure the building of a new bridge is to burn the one you just crossed…

2. The lack of the authentically supernatural in my Christian walk is a stumbling block to me…


3. I think this is my new “life verse”…So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:67–68 ESV)

4. When evangelicalism tossed out private confession, absolution, and penance it tossed out one of the best ways to receive the assurance that our sins are forgiven…so often we walk about hoping our sins are forgiven without the assurance that they truly are. Calvin agrees with me…”I will speak briefly of the rite of the early Church, … By the order observed in public repentance, those who had performed the satisfactions imposed upon them were reconciled by the formal laying on of hands. This was the symbol of absolution by which the sinner himself regained his confidence of pardon before God, … I consider that ancient observance … to have been holy and salutary to the Church, and I could wish it restored in the present day.” (“Institutes,” IV, 19:14)

5. Always use a little Luther or Calvin if you say something too “Romish”…

6. We may use the Bible, the early fathers, the creeds, etc., but most of our theological conclusions are based on “that seems right to me”…

7. I would love to do a series where people can discuss what orthodox doctrines they struggle with the most…but I’m not sure this is a safe enough place and we’d all have to post under pseudonyms…

8. The study of eschatology is now the study of when Jesus shall appear to kill my political enemies…

9. Amazon is an anti-Christ tool of the enemy used to destroy one historical aspect of communal living…the marketplace. I love Amazon. I prefer the term “paradoxical” to the term “hypocrite”…

10. “Grace” is one of the most important concepts in Christendom…and I’m not sure most Christians even have a working definition of it…

  43 Responses to “Things I Think…”

  1. #1
    Wow. That’s quite despondent. Where did that come from?

  2. A superb list

    Pseudonym Dread

  3. Thank you, BD…

  4. Loved each number, but #10 defines my life.

  5. The lack of the supernatural–especially in response to cries for help — is what makes my kids doubt the existence of God. I myself don’t understand why He doesn’t seem to answer them or make Himself known as they are asking Him to do…

  6. Thank you, Bob…

  7. #2
    Remember Daniel. He had a very long latency period waiting on God’s supernatural.

    #3 To my chagrin some, including myself, actually have applied that to pastors. God has shown us that he is working everywhere.

    #4 insofar as we do not become men-pleasers. It seems to me that public repentance lens to that. I certainly wasn’t healed of the mental ravages of my addiction by public repentance. It was the most hidden confession and supplication I have ever strove for. My previous failures at repentance we’re always predicated upon accountability to someone else.

    #5 I would agree, but I’d think you’re making fun of me 😀

    #6 lol. My wife and I just said the same thing yesterday discussing our new church adventure.

    #7 The intimate nature of Father God. Praying sometimes feels like I’m trying to load my prayers on Space X.

    #8 I once told someone that their line of thought (in this vein) and more in common with Islam and Christianity. They just about lost their mind.

    #9 Kierkegaard becomes more prophetic everyday

    #10 considering the way a certain Calvary Chapel Pastor and I treated each other when we split, I now have a better working antonym of it.

    Good thoughts today Michael. As Chuck would say, God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.

  8. I meant to post under my real name, but I thought better of it. 🙁

    He’s right. Crap, he’s right.

  9. disillusioned,

    There comes a point where prayer feels like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football…liturgical prayers will help when those other ones just hang there…

  10. Thanks, descended…I totally understand the use of pseudonyms most of the time…

  11. ? for anyone with knowledge
    Did the did Jesus or the Apostles use or teach liturgy borrowed from Judaism?

  12. descended,

    The early church services were modeled after the synagog.
    Everyone has a liturgy…

  13. Michael


    I’ll see your Calvin and raise you a Luther:

    “So notice then, that Confession, as I have often said, consists of two parts. The first is my own work and action, when I lament my sins and desire comfort and refreshment for my soul. The other part is a work that God does when He declares me free of my sin through His Word placed in the mouth of a man. It is this splendid, noble, thing that makes Confession so lovely, so comforting.”

  14. Good thoughts today.

    Number 8: Man, there are a few prominent “Christian Leaders” out there who fit the bill, but I better check myself to see if I am in that group before naming names.

    Number 10: Grace is also one of the least-practiced attitudes out there when it comes to believer to believer relations when there is disagreement.

  15. Duane,

    Personally and pastorally, the teaching you gave me last week was revelatory.

    If we established this practice again we could cut the number of people on depression medication in half…

  16. Agreed with #2. I find myself confused as to why we don’t see more of the supernatural. Not fake floating gold dust.

  17. Seraphim,

    I find it very difficult as well and like you, have no use for the gold dust and feathers…

  18. #16 Michael

    People carry so many burdens that could be lightened…

  19. On a bit of a different note from number 2: I’ve always wondered why tongues have to sound like Arabic being spoken on an extremely bumpy road

  20. Duane,

    What’s a person to do when their personal confessions to pastors and elders have been used against that person?

    A lot of us have been burned and not willing to try that again

  21. “What’s a person to do when their personal confessions to pastors and elders have been used against that person?”

    That’s a really good question…

    I know many of us carry secrets of others that we will die with…I can’t imagine doing something that despicable and not expecting a lightning strike…

  22. supernatural… the new birth is supernatural, everything about God is supernatural – if i may…
    “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
    For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
    Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
    And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
    “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Cor. 2:10-16

    i think, FWIW, that God reserves most visible miracles for times and places where there is no understanding of the Word among those who are seeking God… kind of like the shock collar that my daughter uses on her wild and crazy puppy who, if outside, will follow its nose anywhere …. dunno

  23. i don’t take lightly the burdens so many folk here carry… life in this fallen world does press in on some of us to a degree that i pray God explains in Eternity… but He may not, He may just say that it’s over now, forget the evil and enjoy what’s yours from here on out… dunno

  24. #21 descended

    For me, the seal of the confessional is sacrosanct. The only exceptions to that rule, for me, is a capital crime or child abuse (or endangerment). Even then, I would approach my bishop first for advice and then a trusted person in law enforcement.

    A person who violates or makes use of a personal confession as a weapon or bargaining point has no place in ministry. None. Zero. If a person who has done this is under some other authority, it should be reported immediately before others are harmed…

    Sorry, I feel very strongly about this.

  25. I find this passage baffling and a good reason to doubt the modern version of inerrancy…

    “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
    (James 5:13–18 ESV)

  26. Duane

    It happened under Moses in a Matthew 18 scenario, something I was bringing to the board after confronting the Moses personally and noticing no change.

    We’re moving on but the other aspects of Christianity such as James 5 causes some trepidation now.

  27. As for prayer, I often say these days that God answers all my prayers. I seriously feel exactly that way. In no way does it mean the mystery is gone or that I have no struggles or that I have everything I ask for the day I ask.

    45 years ago I called upon the Lord. He answered that prayer, which was a cry that had begun several years before but was answered one night dramatically and immediately, Since then all other prayer is in that particular vein and tense. He owes me nothing. He need never answer another cry. On that night all the accounts were settled. Since then most of my fervent prayers have come in the form of long held desires that live between heaven and earth carried in my soul and oft rendered again and again.

    Looking back over the years here a little and there a little they were and are answered. Answered generously. It is exactly as we read in scripture. Most promises are years in the keeping. Instant prayers come after years of formative walking, waiting, and yielding. Even our Lord had 3 years of seemingly instant response from heaven to his ministry but thirty years are hidden from us and most of the years of his ministry are as well.

    Answered prayer does not fit into a cyber world. And anyone who is saying they cannot believe in God because of their unanswered prayers will likely never believe. One thing is sure, one open heaven moment will give us endurance for all the others in this race.

    These thoughts are not systematic, inerrant or irrefutable. They are the ramblings of a disciple who knows he has more than he ever knew he could find.

    Having said these things I still applaud all ventures into the realm of our doubts and fears. This is no attempt to ambush that idea.

  28. BD

    Ramblings worth mulling over for sure

  29. BD,

    Thank you for that.
    While your experience is foreign to me, I believe anyway.
    That’s probably an answer to someone’s prayer…

  30. #21
    For me, the seal of the confessional is sacrosanct.

    Yes. My understanding is that in the RCC and LCMS Lutherans, that the confessional is indeed sacrosanct. I know pastors in the LCMS are basically under oath not to reveal anything confessed to anyone, even the authorities. Don’t know how it works in Anglican and EO churches.

    It’s just the opposite of Descended’s experience. Once trust is broken, what’s left? Nothing, really. Time to put on your running shoes — or, another option is to never confess anything to a leader at that church. You know, it’s just between you and
    God. 🙂

  31. In the LCMS a pastor cannot even discuss if a person came to confession let alone reveal the content.

  32. Even tho I have been a confessed Christian for 66+ years now I never appreciated prayer until far along in my journey… I think most have heard the term pillow talk and in my view that can be applied to our relationship with our triune God… He is always there waiting for us to show Him the respect due by telling Him all that is on our minds (He knows our hearts better than we do). And I don’t think there is condemnation coming for saying to Him, “I am so d*mned discouraged. It doesn’t even seem like You’re paying me any attention at all.” …. I’m preaching, I know – sorry
    I suspect the James reference was specifically intended for the folk he was writing to .. dunno
    I do know that for years now my prayer time spins off of the Lord’s prayer … I can’t get past “…who art in heaven..” without confessing, ” Lord, I don’t know where heaven is and I don’t know where You are” – it is difficult for me to pray when i don’t know where, what direction, the plea is going… Now I try to remind myself that God the Holy Spirit is here cleaning up and organizing my spirit and all is routed through Jesus – thank God! 😊
    And I know that “goodness and mercy HAVE followed me all the days of my life,” too . .. But it would have been nice if they could have been placed out in front of me…. Maybe they were …?….
    A question does come to mind here… I firmly believe that God intended 2 complimentary genders, so does He deal slightly differently with the two? I suspect that He may….
    My ramble has unraveled … I’m done
    God keep

  33. FWIW… #3… That has been my life verse all alkng, Faith has never come easy to me … Jesus HAS the words of life, nobody else does period!… IMNDHO
    I don’t care how cute you are, how charismatic or slick, Pastor, show me The Christ!

  34. #10 – I cheated and looked up the definition. I experience grace when I receive forgiveness for my sins. The fact that the Creator even listens to and pays attention the common sinner is grace. Coming to the Lords Table is grace. Shoot…The fact that I’m alive and aware of myself is grace.

    These are all miracles that might even speak to #2. The supernatural is found in the natural, the ordinary. I truly believe that.

  35. #4 – General confession and absolution in the Lutheran Church has been a great comfort to me. I have an anxious heart and I need to hear those words from one who has been given authority every week. I know “certainty” has been discussed here is generally frowned upon. For me, whose feelings ebb and flow up and down, knowing I can go find Christ outside of myself where he’s promised to be has made all the difference lately: In His Word and Sacraments.

  36. If the seal of confession can’t be broken even to report child abuse, then it’s a prime example of Matthew 23:23, IMO.

  37. #37 New Victor

    See my #25…

  38. From what I can glean, it’s still inviolable in the RCC. Sorry to shoot from the hip… based upon my own experience with little D, it gets me riled up.

  39. #1–I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

  40. Early in my visits and posts to Phoenix preacher, I spoke
    FREELY about FAITH and was Taken Down In comments As A Joke.
    I talked About Miraculous Answers To Prayer And Faith. That Started In 2009.

    I Am Now Reluctant To Post About Things Supernatural. Sadly!

    I Wish I Could Testify To What God has Done, But I Am Tired Of Hearing The Rebukes.

    Apparently We Now live In An Age where if you believe in the power of God or the power of the resurrection, you stand alone. Especially among God’s peopke.

    I have decided i can live with that. Those wanting supernatural answers can storm heaven. I am tired of fighting unbelief. I am no one, I Am Not sanctioned By Anyone And No One Cares.

    Storm Heaven For Answers. God Still Hears.

  41. @ # 7:

    You’re probably right Michael.
    The safety factor would be compromised.
    There are very few people secular or religious who can truly live with their own convictions and let others live with their own.
    You know, the old live and let live thing?
    It’s a very human thing to want to convince others of our own point of view.
    Failing that, the convo usually devolves into rancor, and to use a rueful metaphor, winds up with Shiites and Sunnis trying to blow up each other’s Mosques.

  42. #4 – Calvin clearly states “public” confession.

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