Friday, December 29, 2006

Sacrifice

This week I have had a little higher awareness of stories in life and their relation to scripture. This is a simple story of sacrifice ... it just hit the spot.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

There is a story told of a young boy whose older brother was in a car crash. The father approached the younger son shortly after the crash and said, "Son, if you will, you older brother needs a blood transfusion in order to live. The doctors have determined that only you can provide this blood . Will you provide blood for your brother so that he may live?" The younger son did not hesitate in aswering he would indeed help his older brother. Unknown to the little boy was the relative simplicity and safety of the procedure.

The car ride to the hospital was unusually quiet for this normally very talkative little boy. The father, at the same time in the most awkward and difficult position of his entire life, thought best to leave the young boy to his own thoughts. The father and young boy entered the now familiar doors of the town hospital. As the father and son sat in the hospital room, the nurse entered with the needle in hand. She commented how courageous the young boy was, prepared the boys right arm as she had done to hundreds of other patients over the years, and slowly inserted the needle into his arm ; the vial began to quickly fill with the young boys blood. After the vial filled, the young boy, with tears in his eyes, turned to his father and asked, "Daddy, how long do I now have before I die?"

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Attraction

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Who Are You, Little Boy?

Who Are You, Little Boy?
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Who are you, little boy,
Who fills my womb with promise,
That an angel announced your coming?
Who are you whom the Spirit conceived in me?

Who are you, little boy,
Who grows within my betrothed
That in a dream God should call me?
Who are you for whom I am taking Mary as wife?

Who are you, little boy,
That angels chant your praise to mere shepherds?
Who are you for whom I rush down hills to town?
Who are you whom I seek in a manger?

Who are you, little boy?
Are you the promised one
For whom we've hoped and prayed and longed?
Have you come at last?

Who are you, little boy
Who fills my stable with groans of birth,
Then cries of joy and fresh-filled lungs?
Who are you that shepherds should kneel in my barn?

Who are you, little boy
That a star illuminates your birth?
Who are you to beckon old men with eastern lore
To travel far and fall at your feet?

Who are you, little boy,
Whom wise men seek in court as king?
Who are you to usurp my claim to rule my world?
Who are you, fearsome, fragile Messiah-boy?

Who are you, little boy,
Whose glory I have seen,
Who uncurls woodshavings near my bench?
Who sweeps and sands, and loves a stand-in father?

Who are you, little boy,
Who challenges scribes beyond our knowing?
Who weighs our answers, probes our doubts?
Who are you to call these golden halls, "My Father's House"?

Who are you, little boy,
Who heals and teaches and loves?
Who breaks time-honored rules without shame?
Who generates such wonder within?

Who are you, little boy,
Who wounds your mother's heart?
For whom do you suffer, if innocent?
What do you mean, "It is finished!" when you die?

Who are you, little boy,
Who comes into my world?
Do I know? Perhaps, but let me ask again:
Who you are, little boy?

Imagine the cloud

Monday, December 25, 2006

Before ...

The Lord says, "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear."

-Isaiah 65:24


Tonight, if you need hope... ask, He has already taken care of it.

The Last Christmas Tree

The Last Christmas Tree

I saw a truck of Christmas trees
And each one had a tale,
The driver stood them in a row
And put them up for sale.



He strung some twinkly lights
And hung a sign up with a nail;
"FRESH CHRISTMAS TREES"
It said in red
"FRESH CHRISTMAS TREES FOR SALE."


He poured himself hot cocoa
In a steaming thermos cup,
And snowflakes started falling
As a family car pulled up.


A mom, a dad, and one small boy
Who looked no more than three
Jumped out and started searching
For the perfect Christmas tree.


The boy marched up and down the rows,
His nose high in the air;
"It smells like Christmas, mom!
"It smells like Christmas everywhere!"


"Let's get the biggest tree we can!
"A tree that's ten miles high!
"A tree to go right through our roof!
"A tree to touch the sky!"


"A tree SO big
"That Santa Claus
"Will stop and stare and say,
"'Now, THAT'S the finest Christmas tree
"'I've seen this Christmas Day!'"


It seemed they looked at every tree
At least three million times;
Dad shook them, pinched them, turned them 'round
To find the perfect pine.


"I've found it, mom!
"The Christmas tree I like the best of all!
"It's got a little bare spot,
"But we'll turn that to the wall!"


"We'll put great-grandma's angel
"On top the highest bough!
"Oh, can we buy it?
"Please, mom, PLEASE?!
"Oh, can we buy it NOW?"


"How 'bout some nice hot cocoa?"
Asked the man who owned the lot.
He twisted off the thermos top,
"Now, THIS will hit the spot!"


He poured the steaming chocolate
In three tiny paper cups.
They toasted,
"Here's to Christmas!"
And they drank the cocoa up.


"Is this your choice?"
The tree man asked,
"This pine's the best one here!"
The boy seemed sad---
"My daddy says
"The price is just too dear."


"Then, Merry Christmas!"
Said the man, who wrapped the tree in twine,
"It's yours for just one promise
"You must keep at Christmas time!"


"On Christmas Eve at bedtime
"As you fold your hands to pray,
"Promise in your heart
"To keep the joy of Christmas Day!"


"Now hurry home!
This freezy wind
"Is turning your cheeks pink!
"And ask your dad
"To trim that trunk and give that tree a drink!"


And so it went on
All that blustery eve
As the tree man gave
Tree upon tree upon tree


To every last person
Who came to the lot---
Who toasted with cocoa
In small paper cups,


Who promised the promise
Of joy in their hearts---
And singing out carols,
Drove off in the dark.


And when it was over
One tree stood alone;
But no one was left there
To give it a home.


The tree man put on his
Red parka and hood
And dragged the last Christmas tree
Out to the woods.


He left the pine right by a stream
In the cold,
So the wood's homeless creatures
Could make it their home.


He smiled as he brushed off
Some snow from his beard,
When out of the thicket
A reindeer appeared.


He scratched that huge reindeer
On top his huge head---
"It looks like we've
"Started up Christmas again!"


"There are miles more to travel,
"And much more to do!
"Let's go home, my friend,
"And get started anew!"


He looked to the sky
And heard jingle bells sound---
And then,
In a twinkling,
That tree man was gone!

©1992 Howard D. Fencl

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Family Christmas



Oh man....

Christmas Poem #6 - Once in David's City...


Once in Royal Davids city



Once in royal Davids city,

Stood a lowly cattle shed,

Where a mother laid her Baby,

In a manger for His bed:

Mary was that mother mild,

Jesus Christ, her little Child.



He came down to earth from heaven,

Who is God and Lord of all,

And His shelter was a stable,

And His cradle was a stall:

With the poor, and mean, and lowly,

Lived on earth our Saviour holy.



For He is our childhood's pattern;

Day by day, like us, He grew;

He was little, weak, and helpless,

Tears and smiles, like us He knew;

And He cares when we are sad,

And he shares when we are glad.



And our eyes at last shall see Him,

Through His own redeeming love;

For that Child so dear and gentle,

Is our Lord in heaven above:

And He leads His children on,

To the place where He is gone.




Once in Royal Davids city!
The words to the carol Once in Royal Davids city were written by Mrs. C.F. Alexander ( 1818 - 1895 ) and makes wonderful use of the English language to paint a picture of the events of the nativity. Mrs. Alexander wrote many poems for children, chiefly on religious subjects and was the wife of the Bishop of Derry. The music to Once in Royal Davids city was composed by H.J. Gauntlett. This carol is believed to have first been published in the early nineteenth century

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Poem #5 - Christians Awake Salute the Happy Morn


Christians awake salute the happy morn : Lyrics




Christians, awake, salute the happy morn

Whereon the Saviour of the world was born

Rise to adore the mystery of love

Which hosts of angels chanted from above

With them the joyful tidings first begun

Of God incarnate and the Virgin's Son




Then to the watchful shepherds it was told

Who heard the angelic herald's voice: "Behold,

I bring good tidings of a Saviour's birth

To you and all the nations upon earth

This day hath God fulfilled His promised word;

This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord."




He spake, and straightaway the celestial choir

In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire

The praises of redeeming love they sang

And heaven's whole orb with alleluias rang

God's highest glory was their anthem still

Peace upon earth and unto men goodwill




To Bethlehem straight the shepherds ran

To see the wonder God had wrought for man

And found, with Joseph and the blessed Maid

Her Son, the Saviour, in a manger laid

Amazed, the wondrous story they proclaim

The earliest heralds of the Saviour's name




Let us, like these good shepherds, them employ

Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy

Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss

From His poor manger to His bitter cross

Treading His steps, assisted by His grace

Till man's first heavenly state again takes place




Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among

To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song

He that was born upon this joyful day

Around us all His glory shall display

Saved by His love, incessant we shall sing

Of angels and of angel-men the King




Christians awake salute the happy morn!


Christians awake salute the happy morn was written by John Byron who was born in Broughton, England in 1692 and died in Manchester in 1763. His lyrics of Christians awake salute the happy morn are famous for the comprehensive quotation of the Archangel Gabriel “Behold, I bring good tidings…” John Byron wrote this poem in 1745 for his little daughter Dorothy. On Christmas morning she found the manuscript amongst her presents , the title was originally called 'Christmas Day for Dolly' but was renamed as Christians awake salute the happy morn when music was added. The music to Christians awake salute the happy morn was composed by J.Wainwright

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Poem #4 - On the Morning ...

On the Morning Of Christ's Nativity

A Christmas poem by John Milton



Make it Snow !


I

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity

This is the month, and this the happy morn

Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,

Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,

Our great redemption from above did bring;

For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,

And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.



II

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,

And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,

Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table,

To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,

He laid aside, and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,

And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.



III

Say Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein

Afford a present to the Infant God?

Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,

To welcome him to this his new abode,

Now while the heav'n, by the Sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light,

And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?



IV

See how from far upon the eastern road

The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:

O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,

And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the angel quire,

From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.





Thursday, December 21, 2006

Listening for God

Elijah, Samuel, John the Baptist, Adam and Eve...

Ever just sit and listen for God?

The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
- Genesis 3:8 (NIV)

I sat the other day in the back yard in the freshly fallen snow, listening. Listening to the sounds of the world still spinning around my ears. The snow reflected sounds that the ground normally absorbed and I could hear even the tinny chatter of a squirrel high in the trees above.

Today, this week I am in awe of how God speaks to us. Something different than any other "voice." But still a clear direction, clear mind, clear thought.

Oh to be like Samuel and be able to respond to the voice of God in child like faith. Oh to be like Peter and hear the voice of the Saviour calling out to you as your feet are wet in the crashing waves. Like Moses, listening to the voice of God being told exactly what to pound in the stone. To be like John, led through a preview of heaven, by the master tour guide...

Something to think about.

Christmas Poem #3 - Christmas Long Ago

A Christmas Poem by Jo Geis

Frosty days and ice-still nights,
Fir trees trimmed with tiny lights,
Sound of sleigh bells in the snow,
That was Christmas long ago.

Tykes on sleds and shouts of glee,
Icy-window filigree,
Sugarplums and candle glow,
Part of Christmas long ago.

Footsteps stealthy on the stair,
Sweet-voiced carols in the air,
Stocking hanging in a row,
Tell of Christmas long ago.

Starry nights so still and blue,
Good friends calling out to you,
Life, so fact, will always slow...
For dreams of Christmas long ago.

Quotes

You gotta love a good quote. With my wife in high spirits for the Christmas season she is always cleaning the house, no matter what happens, the kids seem to mess everything up by the next day. I stumbled on to this quote today and had to laugh.

"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender
that you don't have the top for."
-- Jerry Sienfield

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pushing the button

"Iran's president said Saturday his country was ready to transfer nuclear technology to neighboring countries"

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/16/D8M1VQTO0.html

It is critical that the US elect a new president that is friendly to Israel. The need to support Israel over the next 8 years is critical, or the region is lost.

For me ... this is all I need. Lets start with a sustained air war.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Fun

Even if you don't appreciate the Family Guy's attack on humor this is a crazy Christmas song

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Poem #2 - Christ's Nativity

Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
It is the birth-day of thy King.
Awake! awake!
The Sun doth shake Light from his locks,
and all the way Breathing perfumes,
doth spice the day.

Awake, awake! hark how th' wood rings;
Winds whisper, and the busy springs A concert make;
Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt'ring in woods, or lifted far
Above this inn And road of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart
Were so clean as Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene;
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
This leper haunt and soil thy door!
Cure him, ease him, O release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth..

Christ's Nativity a Christmas poem by Henry Vaughan

When a Sparrow Falls

I came accross this way of helping those that have suffered a loss this year at Christmas time.

= = = = = =
Remembering Another's LossBefore and during a funeral, people surround those who are grieving. The support given at this time and the busyness of the moment help the hurting to cope. But in the months following, life for the grieving person becomes quiet and the magnitude of the loss may feel overwhelming.

Consider the following suggestions for recognizing a person’s loss and bringing comfort this holiday season.
  • Purchase a tree or flowering bush for the family to plant in the person’s memory.
  • Give an album for writing memories, keeping special cards, and posting pictures. Consider having family and friends write memories of the loved one in the album. Give an album to parents who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth. At first, it may not seem as beneficial, but it allows them to process their grief by compiling a keepsake of the pregnancy and the hopes they held for their child.
  • Give the hurting person a small token with his loved one’s name or initials. You can give an engraved charm, pendant, or bookmark. This Christmas you also can give a hand-painted glass ornament with the deceased person’s name. Some hospitals and hospice organizations have Christmas trees where an ornament will be placed in the loved one’s memory in exchange for a donation.
  • Write a letter of condolence, including memories of the loved one. Even beyond the holiday, remember those who are grieving by sending your thoughts on the anniversary of the loss and on other holidays. For example, for a mother who has lost a child, send a special card on Mother’s Day
= = = = = =

"As you walk through grief, the sharpness of pain will subside. If you let God, He will supply comfort and healing along your journey. "

Parent Life: When a Sparrow Falls

http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0%2C1703%2CA%25253D164435%252526M%25253D200744%2C00.html

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Poem #1

Behold a silly tender Babe, in freezing winter night;
In homely manger trembling lies, alas a piteous sight:
The inns are full, no man will yield this little Pilgrim bed,
But forced He is with silly beasts, in crib to shroud His head.
Despise Him not for lying there, first what He is enquire:
An orient pearl is often found, in depth of dirty mire;
Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish, nor beasts that by Him feed:
Weigh not His mother's poor attire, nor Joseph's simple weed.
This stable is a Prince's court, the crib His chair of state:
The beasts are parcel of His pomp, the wooden dish His plate.
The persons in that poor attire, His royal liveries wear,
The Prince Himself is come from heaven, this pomp is prized there.
With joy approach, O Christian wight, do homage to thy King,
And highly prize this humble pomp, which He from heaven doth bring.


New Prince, New Pomp a Christmas poem by Robert Southwell

Would you die for your country?

The more I see online and the TV about the war in Iraq and the other conflicts that are going on they are not just about their nationalism, they are about their gods. This was reinforced by a video article sponsored by The Jerusalem Post Online

The wandering Arabs in Palestine are calling for a holy war, not a national war. The Muslims in Iraq are fighting each other and the US/UN in a holy war.

Looking at the past and trying to learn from our mistakes is great, but we must also learn to look to our success. Looking back to World War 2 the Japanese people were vilified, not as another nation against America, but as a group of people that were religious to the extreme and would gladly die for their God, their Emperor.

Would you die for your country? Would you die for your god?

As a Christian, what does God want you to do?

Monday, December 04, 2006

A future of hope.

Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
- Jeremiah 29:11 (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Strength to face anything

10The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn't have any chance to show it. 11I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with [a] whatever I have. 12I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Philippians 4:10-13

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perception and Reality

This has been long in coming. I have guarded this in my heart, but today I feel compelled to type.

In my life and my young family we have recently had a seriese of trials one after another. Many hopes and dreams crushed or buried as the weight of reality comes lumbering through, leaving broken bits and debries in it's wake. Still My wife and I plow on through, picking up the pieces and little bits and putting them back in to order. Our life is always like this. From one event to another.

This pattern continues to repeat and although we are getting better at adjusting our family and life, it still leaves a wide trail through our lives. The first few times it happened I questioned God. From a brain surgury to a fire we are left with many reminders that we are not in control, we do not have the answers. Yet through all these clamities we are left better, stronger, more prepared. Just when I think my world is crashing down and despair begins to raise it's head, God allows an opportunity for ministry.

This week it was a person hurting at the loss of their unborn child. A child that they hadn't even realized was on the way. My wife and I went through those emotions and we were better prepared to listen and to minister because of it.

This leads me to the story of Job. No my barns are not all destroyed and my children's lives have been spared. Still a spiritual reminder from an old story. Job was sitting on the ruins of his life. His three friends gathered around him and sought to fix whatever Job had done to wrong God.

In my time of despair, in my time of forced reflection, I am sitting on my heap, looking at my friends trying to understand their minds what is coming from their mouths. For days Jobs friends sat and said nothing then when Job broke down and vented to his friends, the people he should have been able to trust and let down his guard .... his friends responded.

Jobs friends and I am finding many other "friends" have a flawed human logic when it comes to God. Humanism. Secular thought applied to the scriptures and to God. Job's friends and it seems many of my "friends" think that man must do things to earn God's favor and therefore suffering is a sign of His displeasure.

I ran into this quote in my hurting this last few weeks
I learned from this encounter not to ever again ask my friends for their
opinions, but to join me in asking God for His. Only God's opinion is free
of human distortion and therefore void of any gap between perception and
reality.

Perhapse the lesson is not for my friends but for me when I am in same situation. How do you react to a friend in a crisis? Are you quick to judge and start gathering stones?

If you figure it out let me know.

The revealed things...

1 Corinthians 2:1-15 (NRSV)

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those
who love him"

-- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Verse :: Acts 8:30-31

Philip asked the Ethiopian, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?"
- Acts 8:30-31 (NRSV)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quote - Spurgeon

"The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works..." -- C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prayer (Part 1)

I have been doing a lot of study about Evangelism lately and my wife even asked me to tone it down a bit. I have one last rabbit trail to go down and then -barring finding something else to chase- I am off to study another area.

What brought me to this point is a friend that was asking questions about Salvation and the working of God verses the Free Will of Man ... a great topic. :-) Still I was impressed when my friend returned with a response that we are still to wittiness and evangelize no matter how we understand God's workings of salvation for the elect. Further more very personal examples were presented about family and the way we pray for our children's salvation etc.

Prayer ... some times we take it for granted, sometimes we use it just for emergencies, sometimes it is a simple "grace" at meal times, sometimes it is a shopping list, sometimes it is the good night to our children.

This left me with an interesting side look at prayer in my life. When I was most active in my spiritual life and less distracted with the things of earth... prayer was a large part of my daily life. Now I am not saying I don't pray ... I am saying I don't pray enough and I don't pray the right way all the time.


Prayer:
1. the act of communicating with a deity;
2. reverent petition to a deity;
3. entreaty: earnest or urgent request;



My favorite definition of prayer that I found was "A privilege and an obligation of the Christian where we communicate with God"

Calvin states that prayer is "the chief exercise of faith," and by means of this principal activity of faith believers "receive God's benefits."

What is prayer to you?

A Race

"One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Christ Follower vs. Christian

I had the discussion with a good friend about a pastor that used the term "Follower of Christ" rather than "Christian" and avoided the words like "saved" and other "christian terms." The church we were attending was unlike any other church that we had looked at. The music was hopping, the sermon included video and other illustrations all with contemporary or modern feel to worship. It was different.

I looked around me. Kids in Pantera T-shirts. Young and older adults dressed in casual clothes, jewelry and other normal appareal. All around a group of people that could have been going to the mall or a concert rather than a traditional "church." It was Saturday night to boot.

The message was light weight, good points and obeservations but no doctrine at all. The songs were mostly praise and worship (some really good stuff even a Kutless song ripped from my MP3 Player sung by the congregation!). The people were friendly. It was an enjoyable time of worship. Except for the argument going on next to me... Christ followers eh?

In looking at the differences between churches in the New Testament. The difference in ministry between the greeks and the hebrews, the differences in the approach, the differences in the people, the differences in the ministry. Overall they both had the same message.

Are you a Christian or a Christ follower? Are they just the modern definitions between two styles of people? Are they just terms that can be overlooked in the broader perspective of the church?

My brother posted this video on his blog ... I thought it worthy of posting, there are four of them that I have found and I will post the first inline and links to all four. It is a parody of a commercial MAC vs. PC but it has a point.



Christ Follower (Part 01)
Christ Follower (Part 02)
Christ Follower (Part 03)
Christ Follower (Part 04)

BTW: if you can't laugh at yourself ... you probably shouldn't click play.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Differences

Paul and Peter had a difference of a doctrinal matter (Galatians 2:11). The confrontation is recorder two times in scripture and both men go their separate ways.

Both men were trying to reach a target group in the community and both had adapted their approach for futher outreach. Still there was a confrontation that swept up even their staff and close followers, driving a wedge between their relationships.

I guess the bottom line is that they parted ways and their ministries were seperated at that point. Paul, reaching the Gentile-Christians and Peter reaching to the Jewish-Christians. Still they kept on serving God, just not with each other.

Perhaps the solution is just that simple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Disturbing Testimony

A couple weeks ago, I heard a young lady give testimony of the account of her salvation. I found it hard to cover my gut response.

"When I got saved, I became a Baptist."


What does this say about the salvation "experience" she has had. Does this statement bother any one else? Could it be that to some "Christians," getting saved is like being part of the club? I have a hard time with christians that are so fast to try and get someone saved when it is not their job.

This is an interesting quote from some online resources that I am reading.

People all across our land are believing, but they do not know what they are believing! The seed has not been sown properly, the doctrinal watering has not taken place, and God has not given the increase. Shallow decisions to "repeat the sinner’s prayer" are being substituted for heart felt belief in the regenerating power of God. Listen: a slick smile, a hearty handshake, a manufactured speech, and a quick command for someone to bow their head and ask Jesus to come into their heart is not New Testament evangelism! People in the New Testament were never pressured into salvation. I challenge anyone to show me where they were! In all instances, the heart of the individual was prepared by the Holy Spirit through the teaching of God’s Word, and a soul winner was then led to that person.


The responsibility is God's not ours. Once we get that through our thick heads we can focus on the wittness and evengelism that God wants us to do. I am not going to judge this young lady's testimony of salvation and becoming a "Baptist" , I would love to caution the person that lead her to the Lord to do more than broadcast easy believism.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

War time Politics

"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown, We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.'
John Kerry, 1972


http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061102/D8L4QH580.html

Kerry has been saying things for years but no one wants to draw light on it. This is more than a habit, this is the norm for our "media" should we just sit and let them? I think not. Read this "Interesting Story"

Spare the Rod, Spoil the child ...

I was in a local store last night making a quick purchase w/o bringing my tired family into the store. I knew my little girls were not feeling well (so much candy I am sure) so I just ran in, in the course of the conversation with the man at the checkout I noticed that they had a homeschooler discount for an additional 5% off my purchase. We talked for what I thought was a short time (although my wife deems it a long time to be in the car with the kids) about the fact that most homeschool kids today are well adjusted and just are behaved better than other children.

I thought it a great observation (being partially homeschooled myself) but I would assume there are other kids out there that go to traditional and private school that behave quite well. I mentioned to him that my children were in the car because I was realistic about my expectations of them in public and they were just to tired to place that demand on them. The main reason my children behave is because of the ramification(s) of their actions. They know when they are going to be punished.

Not all of our children respond to the "rod of correction" the same and it is an observation for another time ... these verses were first to jump to my mind when the conversation was drawing to a close.

= = = = = = =
Proverbs 13:24
He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

Proverbs 22:15
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14
Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol.

Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

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Do you have some other verses? Share!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Separation

For those who claim that God should have nothing to do with Politics, all one has to do is look back at the speeches and writings of America's past presidents and statesmen to see that that claim is wrong.

Vote. Vote your belief not a party.

= = = = = = = = = = =

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere in the theatre of the military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at seas and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also , with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, comment to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Playing the fool.

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
- Galatians 3:3 (NIV)


Do you notice this in our every day life? I am looking for my keys, I saw my little girl with them on Sunday and I am sure that she has hidden them. I am trying not to be angry but I need my keys. I walked around the house for an hour storming around trying to find them. Finally I stopped, prayed, and borrowed my wife's keys. :-) Nope still no sign of them.

Giving up the little things to God is easy; it is when life gets tough that we have issues that we just need to "take care of." We storm about our problem or our situation making decisions making everything based on our own effort.

Salvation is the same way. As humans we have a battle of our free will but it is still difficult to wrap our mind around the fact that we can do nothing good, nothing holy, nothing worthy of heaven. Finding the understanding that for all the good we do are as "filthy rags." We can not be regenerated unless we are chosen, elected, foreknown by God from the beginning of time.

Still ... we have laws and rules that we add, not "conditions" for salvation, but things that a "properly saved Christian does." The battle with legalisms is all around us in every church. Next time you judge someone because their worship is different or you would judge their salvation. Just how foolish are we? I admit, it is hard for me too.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Downfall of America

Disclaimer: The following post is a viewpoint that is not totally realistic, but perhaps makes a point.


The weekend's conduct by two collegiate football teams further strengthened my "argument." Organized Sports is the Downfall of America.

You can read the article along with a blow by blow description here you can actually watch the horrific footage on YouTube here

Organized sports is destroying the American family. Three year olds are out playing organized sports. Parents stand screaming and shouting from the sidelines at the ref, the coach, the other team. The organized sports themselves justified. Justified by exercise and socialization, both being good for the children, yet tainted with organized sports. This craving for kids in sports takes away from traditional "playtime" and other family activities.

Follow as the child gets a little older. Swim meets, baseball, basketball and other organized sports distract further from the family as mom and dad both begin to ferry the kids around to the different practices and games. Less and less time for what matters. The children's sports schedules begin to dictate family vacations, family devotions and even church time as respect for Sunday being the Lord's day shifts further from America's mind ...

Enter High school, now the kids are starting to drive themselves to practice but still mom and dad are active in the booster department taking more and more time away from the family. IT escalates as some of the children are placed in multiple sports at a time. Running into conflicts between many of the coaches of the different sports. Kids taught to hold the value of winning higher than the value of their family, their education, their future.

Now enter College, scholarships based on performance levels in sports, colleges with kids and players trained by the organized sports mentality. All wrapped up into the value of sports. Now with a prime example of two sports teams, with players driven to play, beating the stuffing out of each other. They are responsible. Their parents are responsible, their school is responsible.

Organized sports has changed from a benefit to our children to a liability to America's future. The downfall of society has many culprits but this is something you can take action about. Perhaps as your children dictate the way you live, you will consider redirecting the value of sports. Perhaps you will not allow organized sports to distract from your family or their education.



If you don't think that organized sports is in every aspect of life. As you sit in church the next couple of months, count the number of times that sports are mentioned. Count the number of times your pastor talks about his golf score, his football team, or perhaps even his children/grand children's sports.

Are sports good for kids? Yes. But they must be put in proper perspective or the family and American will suffer.

Tags:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

But, it does matter!

Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!
- Psa 133:1

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
- Eph 4:13

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Eph 4:3


The call for unity of Christians to "just get along" is a great idea and for most issues (clothing choice, movie convictions and other "standards" issues) unity is a great thing. I can get over the fact that you don't like mixed swimming but getting over a doctrinal error is another matter all together.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
- Gal. 1:6,7.

They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
- 1 John 4:4-6

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
- 2 Cor. 11:13-15.


So what is the harm in having people just get along? In this Politically Correct world we have a increased pressure to get along with each other and not point out the doctrinal differences, just trying to witness and be at peace with each other.

So what does it matter? Why does a difference in doctrine matter if we can agree to jsut disagree? What does it matter if we just dont agree on all these issues or we just ignore these issues?

Believe it or not, doctrine is the core of our faith. Doctrine is the strength of our belief. Doctrine is the driving force to witness. Doctrine helps determine the will of God in our life.

Part of the problem and the reason people do not want to deal with doctrine is that they have never learned, never studied, never bothered to give it thought. Sadly, they have never been taught.

Doctrine is important. Consistent Doctrine in the church is what the apostles were fighting for. It is what the many "issues" of the church in the New Testament books were about.

"We as Christians are to love one another genuinely and to seek unity. However, it should be remembered that it is the "unity of the faith" that we are to maintain; and it is the truth that we are to speak in love. If members of the professing Body have erred, then if we love them, we will correct them. ["Open rebuke (is) better than secret love" (Prov. 27:5).] If this brings division, then so be it."

So where you stand on Doctrine is important. Where you stand on the Truth is important. Are you worried about what other church members would "think?" Are you worried about what the world will say about you?

You have a choice, to stand for the Truth or...

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Note: The teaching of election from the very lips of Christ, has caused many to just walk away.
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
- John 6:65-66

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oh the Idiom!

Idioms : A phrase which has a meaning that is commonly understood by speakers of the language, but whose meaning is often different from the normal meaning of the words is called an idiom.
What is your favorite Idiom?

Here are some of mine:

All hat, no cattle
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!
Sleep like a log
Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.
Singing from the same hymn sheet.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Called

Ephesians 1:4-12
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wake Up!

Sitting tonight watching ABC's Home Makeover, my eyes totally filled with tears, my heart breaking for a family that prior to the 45 minutes of the show I had never known. To feel the waves of joy and sorrow at every turn... I am sure that is what the show's creator wanted us to feel.

Then a little bit of further realization that the unbelievable emotions that I have over a TV show is nothing NOTHING compared to the emotions that I should experience every day at the waking realization of my Salvation. But for some reason, I don't wake up that way every day.

I should wake up with the emotional wave that I am chosen, one of the elect, saved. That I should be chosen is such a position that I am humbled in the thought, and I don't really think of it the same way tonight. Nothing I could do makes me worthy, nothing. That is the thought that needs to wake my day.

Tomorrow begins a new day.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fresh Meat

Wow, what a find. I was playing with the idea of downloading some music from MSN for our trip this weekend and I stumbled on to a wealth of sermons available for download or streaming to your PC/MAC (isn't a mak just a PC?)

Check it out Sermon Audio and be sure to listen to the sermon God's Sovereignty vs. Man's Responsibility back up the hay wagon and unload the hay. Lots and lots of good teaching on here ... and some people that just don't quite grasp reality. ?Ah Discernment? :-)

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=12606113627

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Biblical definition of 'foreknow'

What is the Biblical definition of 'foreknow' in Rom 8:29
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.


Foreknow in the greek "proginosko" => to have determined beforehand. To foreknow those whom God elected to salvation. To determine in advance those that God had chosen.

Examine at I Peter 1:2
I Peter 2:1 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.


In I Peter 1:2 the word foreknowledge in Greek is prognosis or to pre-arrange.

Somehow some christians take these verses out of context and use and apply it in their doctrine with devistating results. The consequences of saying that God looked down and saw man's good choice to select God and then God elected them is a works based salvation. Man did something good (chose God) and God rewards him for his actions with Salvation

Christians, preachers and teachers, learned men of God cling to this wrong teaching. Saved by Grace through Faith but you still throw out this definition of foreknowledge you just threw out the Sovereignty of God and put man in Control of Salvation.

An Unlikely Disciple

This morning I read this in my devotions .... "And after five failed marriages and living with a man not her husband, the woman at the well (John 4:5-42) must have seemed to others to be an unlikely disciple. Still, her testimony brought the entire village to hear Jesus, and many believed his message. No one is too young, too old, too "muddied" by sin, or too damaged by life to do God's work. God wants to use all believers to serve in the kingdom; we need only be willing."

I spent years of my christian life believing that some people are unfit to serve God. Recently I was called into account for that past belief and looking back at it I have to admit I was wrong (pick my wife up off the floor). Although I can think of positions of service that perhapse should be guarded I can think of nothing finer than an "experienced sinner" getting the opportunity to minister to other sinners.

What is this oportunity that God has given us to share his word with the entire world. Love that is so strong to pull us from our sinful way and lead us to God's arms. Who are we to say who should and should not serve, who are we to say who should and should not worship.

One verse that I have been going over in the process of "working out" my salvation (Phl 2:12-13) uses the word "ALL."

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


The word "all" is all without exception. All that God has given to Jesus for salvation will be saved. It doesn't matter what we think about the person that God chooses for salvation, even the unlikely disciples that are among them. There is a song by Casting Crowns that has an interesting tag line to the last chorus.

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ.
If We Are The Body by Casting Crowns


What a start to the day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No more calls

The National Do Not Call Registry is up and it will keep a lot of calls from telemarketers away from your phone and messing with your supper time.

Please register your numbers.

https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx

Monday, October 02, 2006

Correcting Error

So the question has becomes, "Can I tolerate people who are willfully ignorant to the Truth?"

Now it isn't "every day people" that I am having a hard time. It is people in leadership that are driving me nuts. The bad part is the "understanding" of the lie is based on an unstudied part of scripture. There isn't even a logical argument; it is just lack of education enhanced by incorrect doctrinal teaching that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

So I got myself here ... do I want to get out? My options seem very limited. It isn't even a "Paradise Lost" experience...

Sadness, mitigated with hope.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stupid People

If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- Matthew 6:14-15 (NRSV)

Why today ... what a verse.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hot Lips & M*A*S*H

Your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.
- Psalm 45:2 (NIV)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Learning to say “No” Salvation Part 2

My daughter was told to sit at the table and eat her lunch. Mother had made a plate full of wonderful kid style delights with carrots and ranch, tater-tots and fish sticks. The other kids ate their lunch and took their dishes to the kitchen, but my daughter sat there playing with her fish sticks.

Normally she likes them, normally she loves them, and normally we have to cook a little extra. Today was not a normal day. Finally after an hour of her just sitting there she promised her mother that she just wasn’t hungry and would eat them later. The plate went to the counter to wait her next hunger pains.

The rest of the afternoon every time she asked for a snack or a treat she was handed a fish stick which she promptly refused. While I was busy working off in the office my wife was fighting a battle. My wife left for a women’s meeting and handed me the reigns. I was aware of the “battle.”

About 30 min after my wife left my little girl came wandering in to my office and asked for a snack. I asked her about the fish sticks and she said “all gone.” I jumped to my feet and took the kids to the kitchen to slice some cheese for a treat. Sure enough the fish stick plate was empty. I was proud t hat my little angel had done the right thing. I cut the cheese *ha ha* and handed a bit to each child who ran off with their treat.

Then I turned, I looked down at the Dog’s dish and noticed ketchup under the dog food. My little angel had done a desperate act. You guessed it, all four left over fish sticks were sticking out from under the dog food. The puppy came in to see what the fuss was about and promptly ate everything in his bowl. I stuck my head into the family room and asked my daughter about the fish sticks. She said mom had taken care of them and she was happily eating her cheese. I decided to wait.

Mom got home and long story short I ended up punishing my very tearful daughter. Suddenly she became repentant for all that she had done. Her confession lasted longer than the punishment but it still bothers a daddy to have to do it.

Then I started to think back about this, who taught my kids to say “no?” Who taught them to be so deviant? Who gave them this ability to do the wrong thing and seek out the forbidden areas? I admit I do my part by example, but not like this. The fact is they are pleanty evil on their own.

John 3:19-21 "This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is."


The first step in looking at Salvation for me, is to recognize that man may do good deeds, man may have good works, but man is still sinful above all else. Without getting deeper into the holiness of God, there is no way man in any part of goodness or good deeds can gain salvation. This includes even the knowledge of God. I know it seems harsh, but it is a fact.

Nothing man can do can lead to Salvation.

What disturbs me the most is the way “Modern Christianity” has strayed from this point. Most of the pastors that I have spoken to or listened to, have it backward. The teaching that man comes to God for salvation out of his own goodness to receive grace is a heretical teaching and is being propagated in churches and bible colleges across the US.

If salvation in any part relies on sinful man, that salvation can not be secure. God doesn’t look down and see this “good person” just longing to be saved and say well sure. God has elected those to show His Grace to those who are saved long before the foundations of our world.

Are you in the Light?

I promise, I will not be so long in posting my next to this blog.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

VotD

And for this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love.

2 Peter 1:5-11

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Van Shopping

OK so we are not quite to the buy point on the van shopping but since one is paid off and the other is very close we are looking for a new mini van. (and yes we are a two mini-van family)

Thanks to this article we will not be shopping at our Ford Dealership.

Boycott Ford Motor Vehicles!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Just because

For The Halibut

Can you imagine reeling in the line on this one? 300 lb Halibut I love fishing but I would think you would need a new arm after this one!

Dont forget to cook it though!

In the mean time

I am still crafting the begining of my posts on salvation ... so give this a shot in the mean time. I have won 10/10 so far.



Hangman




Sunday, August 27, 2006

Salvation at any cost.


I had a friend that asked me to blog about salvation. Initially I rejected that idea. I chose to answer her in email, but then life got busy and I had to put that aside to do other things in my day and I chose not to get back to that email. (Sorry to let you down friend).

So today I begin my blog about salvation and my objection to those who choose not to believe the truth and my recent learning and listening experiences of grace.

The premise; Salvation is 100% God and 0% man.

Nothing man can do is worthy of heaven. As a matter of default, man rejects God’s salvation. It is because of the inability of man to chose God, that god chooses to reach down and elect a saint. God’s offer of salvation it to all kinds of people but only to those whom He has specifically chosen. Once God chooses to provide grace to an individual, that individual can not turn away from grace and their salvation is permanent.


Over the next few days/weeks however long it takes I will blog about salvation and why I stand where I stand. I will also include a defense against those who choose to believe that it is in some part Man has the ability to choose God.

This is the part that bothers me so much in the Independent Fundamental Baptists belief. The lack of education, on the doctrine of Grace, is appalling. Probably one of the frustrating experiences is to sit under the direction of someone that has not figured out what they believe about salvation, preachers and teachers, Christian workers, professors etc.

Rather than cause waves, I blog. OR perhaps I blog, to cause waves

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Verse of the Day 8-26-06

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

John 15:16

Worship Again

So tonight I went to worship again at the "Alternative Church Service" at a local church. Tonight was different, instead of a total focus on the worship the focus was on the theme of prayer and meditation. something that Christians seem to sluff off until they are older. Then some become "Prayer Warriors."

You know them, the prayer warriors of your church. The people you call when you need someone to really pray about things. Perhaps most of the time they are older women or men that are retired. Perhaps they are people that have fewer distractions and have more time to pray. They probably head up the “prayer chain” in your church. They are the people the pastor goes to when he needs to have someone pray for him. Bottom line they are in every church.

Then the other aspect, meditation. When is the last time you meditated on scripture? When is the last time you lost yourself in prayer and thoughts of the things of God? I admit, it has been a long time. Tonight the scripture from John 15 (The vine and the branches etc) and I was listening to the pastor’s instruction and following his guidance and things were fine, until I turned to the older gentleman sitting next to me to discus what we were meditating on.

I had chosen to focus on one small aspect the difference of the branches that are mentioned. The KJV version says 2X the words “every branch.” One time referring to the branches that do not produce fruit and another time for the branches that do produce fruit. I was focused on a truth that all the branches are/were a part of the vine, until God prunes them.

The old man sat and listened to me and then dropped a deep theological view from the same verses and brought several observations that I won’t go into now but really sat me back in my seat. I knew nothing of the interpretation he was giving me. I had learned a new truth and a reinforcement of God’s grace to me. I have a lot to learn.

It wasn’t that I arrived, it wasn’t’ that I knew everything, or even that I thought of things that way. It just is easy to sit back in the knowledge of scripture and the church and just rely on the past rather then continue to study and provoke and “work out our salvation.” Conviction like this has not hit me that hard in a long time.

So tonight the focus shifted from the awesome worship experience that I was longing for and we prayed. Not the normal corporate prayers of church, not the churchy prayers that we recite but a quiet time before the Lord in a state of worship.

As I start a new week and I continue to change, I will place re-emphasis’s on prayer and meditation. And by God’s grace, back to learning the fundamentals of the faith and look for the hidden mysteries that abound in this age of grace.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Grace

When grace overcomes law...

In Jesus Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.
- Ephesians 1:7-8 (NRSV)


Lavished Grace
Google defines it as
Lavish = expend profusely
Grace = the free and unmerited favor or beneficence of God

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Prayer

This was also in my email box, again, having to learn to laugh at yourself is the key:


Confiding in a co-worker, I told her about a problem in our office and my fear that I would lose my job. She was concerned and said she would pray for me. I know she keeps a list of the ten people she believes need her prayers the most, so I asked if she had room for me on her list. "Oh, yes," she replied. "Three of the people have died."


Reader's Digest

Wednesday VOD

This was waiting in my emial devotions when I woke up wednessday after my emotional evening.

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- Romans 12:18 (NRSV)


ARGH!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Emotion

How can I have so much emotion for a person that was in my life. Every time I start to think about him my blood boils. I have never felt this way to this extreme before. Never. It isn't a good feeling. Prayer, that should take care of it.

We must not judge by what we feel or by what we see before us. The Word must be followed, and we must firmly hold that these truths are to be believed,....
Martin Luther

From my MP3 Player

I have a little cheap Sansa MP3 player that I use when I travel, workout or mow the lawn etc., to listen to Christian music. I was thinking I should just dump my MP3 list online so I could stream it to my website, then I thought beter all those piracy laws etc, so I just am going to keep a list of artist that Iam listening to on my player on this website sidebar.

The following is the current list of artist on my MP3 player.


Sam's Club replaces 'Christmas' with 'Holidays'

First advertising of the season does not mention the Reason for the Season

Even though it is August, the Christmas advertising season has already begun and Sam's Club has come down on the side of "Holidays" instead of "Christmas." In the August/September issue of their in-house magazine Source, Sam's Club has one page dedicated to Christmas. But Sam's Club doesn't refer to Christmas as being Christmas. Sam's Club promotes it as "Holidays." On page 69 of Source, the promotional plug says: "Coming soon. Plan ahead for the holidays." On the page decorated in Christmas fashion are three products. Sam's Club wants you to buy "Holiday Cards," "Holiday Ribbon," and "Holiday Gift Bags." On the "Christmas" page, the word Christmas isn't used!

On June 26, AFA wrote Wal-Mart (which owns Sam's Club) asking that they not ban "Christmas" in advertising and promotions. Included in that letter was a CD with the names of 201,595 individuals who signed the petition asking for no ban. Wal-Mart, ignoring the letter, did not even bother to respond.
Take Action
It is very important that as many as possible send an email to Sam's Club. Since this is the first Christmas ad we have seen, we will notify major retailers of the number of emails sent. Perhaps our efforts will encourage other companies not to ban "Christmas." After you have sent your email, please forward this to your family and friends and invite them to help us "keep Christ in Christmas." Share this information with members of your church and Sunday School.
Click Here to Email Sam's Club Now!

New Music

Ever need a music fix and not no where to get some free tunes? I listened to a lot of crappy ones until I found some I liked but hey for free! Check it out both CCM and Gospel

Music.Download.com

Artist I found on this site:
Young, Rich, and Free
Sunset
Chris Holoway
The Union (good stuff)
C Worship (strange stuff)
Dale Huntington (Praise & Worship)
The Mercy Seat Project

Music.Download.com

Run the Headline: SAVED!

Today, I received an email about a person we have been praying for a long time. Saved. It is amazing to watch God work. Even if it is all in God's time not ours.


Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ready unto the harvest ...

This weekend I spent some time with a retired missionary from New Mexico (aka grandpa-in-law) I guess some things never change, while eating at the “Hollywood” we got caught up talking about the things of God and I was listening more than speaking (something that doesn’t happen often enough) and we noticed the table behind us had stopped talking as was listening to us.

Without hesitation “grandpa” turned and started talking to the gentlemen at the table who were joined by another table and then another of friends wanting to hear what was being spoken about. Two other ladies joined in and pretty soon we had a full audience larger than some of the churches this missionary had been preaching to.

The people came from every background, Catholics, Presbyters, Lutherans and other “beliefs” were represented in this little group gathered to listen to the stories of this old missionary. Without hesitation again the subject changed from just plain old pleasantries to the bare fact of the matter. Salvation.

It was great to watch the light in his eyes as God continued to use “grandpa.” You can take the missionary out of the field but you can’t take the message from his lips.

How do you worship?

While looking for more books and bible studies on worship to expand my understanding of this wonderful part of the Christian walk, I stumbled on to an interesting translation of a common passage about worship.


But the time is coming--it has, in fact, come--when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself--Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
John 4:23-24


In dealing with the “Woman at the Well” Jesus was dealing with more than just her sin in her life. Jesus was addressing the corporate worship of the Samaritans themselves.

The Samaritans chose not to travel to Jerusalem to worship at the temple (under the law). They took an old worship location built to worship false idols and chose to worship there.
Christ was dealing with their very method and mindset of worship and presenting a truth to them and at the same time a revelation of part of the mystery of grace.

So now we live in a new dispensation, an age of grace, where we must worship with everything we do at all times. I love the translation “Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” Our true selves.

This weekend I tried a new church service at the Evangelical Free church here in town, I don’t know anyone there (yet) and I slipped in 5 min late to avoid having to speak to people. I stood there in shorts and a t-shirt, my spirit lifted up with the music (awesome worship sound) and preaching/teaching. I came just like I am in every day life, nothing to hold me back from being me, no one I knew watching to see what I did.

I can raise my hands in worship. I can sing at the top pf my lungs, I can cry, I can dance, I can smile. This is what worship is supposed to be. Me myself, the real me, all out there before my God. I do it in the car, why can’t I do it in “my” church?

Real worship is worship that comes from within. Real worship that permeates your entire life and leaks out on to others: from music, to scripture, to our every day language, it is all in worship that we have been commanded to have.

How do you worship? I want to worship with abandonment.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Steadfast Love


The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end; they are
new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
-- Lamentations 3:22-24 (NRSV)


Just when you think you have had enough, just when you think you are at the end of your rope. That is when you have to sit down and wonder about the "steadfast love of the LORD"

Google defines the term Steardfast wit one word. "Firm"

The firm love of the LORD never stops.
His compassion never ends.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Glass Darkly

For now we see through a glass, darkly;

The other day I took my kids to the movie theater to watch a flick We were in a rush to get there and get our seats and left the house in a big hurry. Quickly fed and out the door we got to the theater to find we were 30 min early. We bought our tickets, some extra popcorn for the extended wait and headed in to what we thought would be an empty theater.

The pre movie slides were going on and there were already 30+ people small families mostly, seated in the gloomy theater lights, so we found our way half way down and on the edge (one is potty training) and took our seats.

Watching people used to be something I would do with my father in the mall, sitting drinking a Slurpy watching the people go by in mass in front of Target in the mall. Now I sat with my three young children talking about the movie that was soon to start, eating popcorn and watching people, families inter-react, I was shocked.

I noticed that people that I engaged in conversation one on one, just to bring up small talk that were so kind. Yet, when their child did some thing a child would do, flew off their handle trying to discipline them.

One lady had commented to me how well behaved my children were and her son spilled his pop. I don’t’ know all the story since they had just sat down a little before and I was busy watching my kids but when she turned around and lit in to the child. After a 2 min tongue lashing, she turned around to talk to me and I was obviously busy with my children… I was embarrassed for her.

My wife has been after me, that I am kind and understanding to strangers and yet ridiculously demanding on my own family’s behavior and actions. With this up close view, I got to see it from the other side of the glass.

I feel like I am patient with my wife and children, by now in our family there are things that just should be understood. Yet after watching this mother react to a situation … I will make it my goal to be more understanding and patient with the ones I love. Much more than the common courtesy I extend to complete strangers.

I realize the scriptural reference could be compared to looking at our reflection in a smoked mirror, we can not see ourselves as God sees us. It is a good thing that the atonement of Christ covers the real me, because … I am not that pretty to look at, spiritually anyhow.

One day in spite of all my flaws and the nasty “best efforts” I make to fix them, God’s plan of grace will be fully exampled in my life. Something I can not fully understand.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
I Corinthians 13:12

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Great Quote

Tonight we went to a MW Smith concert, had a wonderful time in worship and praise. Learnd some great new songs that are on his new albumn called "Stand." HAd a great quote that I wanted to share.

"Church should be 1% steeple and 99% people"
-- MW Smith
Rockford, IL
8/6/2006


Something I want to say, but couldn't figure out the right way to say it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Songs in the Night (Music Part 2)

Elihu said, "Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?"
- Job 35:10 (NIV)

Music continues to play a large part of my devotional life right now. It is amazing how Music can sooth the soul. Sometimes a simple melody rings clear and true just bringing the right peace or place for your mind and soul.

When is the last time you woke with a song in the night?



My Savior My God
Aaron Shust

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my savior

I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For him to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, my God he is
My God he's always gonna be

Yes, living, dying; let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring
That he who lives to be my king
Once died to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, My God he is
My God he's always gonna be

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pump up the Volume (Music Part 1)

Perhaps it is because we were made to worship; perhaps it is because we are made in God's image, perhaps it is because our creator likes to hear music so much, we are compelled to sing. Regardless, we love music!

Watching the talent shows on TV with American Idol, Rock Star, and all those other shows … American’s are fascinated with music and the effect it has on the soul. Take a ride on a mass transit system and count the Ipods or other MP3 players, the new cell phones with the capability ot stream music to you anywhere at any time....

As a Christian you shouldn’t be surprised at all. You remember the childhood story of David singing to his sheep, then taking these songs to his King and the changes the simple vibrations (light is vibrational as well as sound is vibrational, humm back to that New Age rabbit trail…) of the harp and voice…

Traveling to Chicago the next few days I will get plenty of time to listen to my MP3 player full of great and not so great songs I have loaded up. Some of my favorite songs are modern Christian hymns and worship songs. I have taken a lot of criticism for my choice in music over the years, to say the least I am well rounded in musical style.

Once of my current songs that is on my Favorite list on my MP3 player is a song sung by a Christian group called Casting Crowns. I guess I like their style and I really like the lyrics of their songs.

What If His People Prayed

What if the armies of the Lord
Picked up and dusted off their swords
Vowed to set the captive free
And not let Satan have one more

What if the Church, for heaven's sake
Finally stepped up to the plate
Took a stand upon God's promise
And stormed hell's rusty gates

Chorus I:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face, yeah
And turn from their old ways

And what would happen if we prayed
For those raised up to lead the way
Then maybe kids in school could pray
And unborn children see light of day

What if the life that we pursue
Came from a hunger for the truth
What if the family turned to Jesus
Stopped asking Oprah what to do

Chorus I:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face
And turn from their own way

Chorus II:

He said that He would hear
His promise has been made
He'll answer loud and clear,
If only we would pray

Bridge:
If My people call by My name
If they'll humble themselves and pray
If My people call by My name
If they'll humble themselves and pray

Choruses:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face,
And turn from their old ways
He said that He would hear
His promise has been made
He'll answer loud and clear
If only we would pray

Casting Crowns WebSite and Sample songs

NOTE: I used to worry about the way CCM and Christian Praise/Rock repeated lyrics all the time, then one day I opened my hymnbook again and started looking for “good” songs that had the same traits, there are tons. Food for thought.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

VBS (continued)

IMHO: I can’t find any reference to VBS in my copies of the New Testament so it is going to have to be based on principle alone. The principle of Godly leadership and doctrine apply. As a leader should I allow my child the chance to be taught something that is error with scripture?

But wait I take that risk every Sunday with people I know and trust. Listening to the mixed messages flowing from the pulpit about security of the believer, salvation, and other doctrinal faux pas … I can’t imagine that being a valid excuse. Right now I think that my view will be to find out what they will be teaching on at the VBS, go over that with the kids so they will know if there are any discrepancies with their doctrine.…

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers"
- Acts 2:42


"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple"
- Romans 16:17,18



Humm… but those words “AVOID THEM” just seem to jump off the page … it is still weeks away, guess I have more tie for prayer and study on this issue.

Vacation Bible School

So looking over the remains of this summer my wife and I were discussing allowing our children to go to a church in town’s VBS program. While we would never visit this church or even attempt more than a casual relationship because of their doctrinal error and teaching. However, is it a good idea to send our children their summer program.

I can see two sides to the issue (so far).
1. My children know enough about doctrine and what they believe, this
would allow them to meet new friends and local neighborhood kids that
attend.

2. My children could be lead down the path to end up with some form
of spiritual issues because of the potential unbiblical teaching.

I don’t know what we will decide, But if you know me, I have an opinion
about most everything, and I do about this. But what are your thoughts on
the allowing or disallowing of my children to attend.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Spiritual State of Being


Walking in the Light.

I used to sign my emails, Walking in The Light, and my name. I took flak from Christians that thought I was too New Age with that representation of Christianity. To Walk in The Light. Originally it came from a DC Talk song I listened to in College, the lyrics from the dusty cobwebs of my memory went like this …“I wanna be in the Light, as he is in the Light, I wanna shine like the stars in the heaven. O Lord be my light, and be my salvation, all I want is to be in the Light.”

Today is a muggy dark day, the “hill” that our house is on is surrounded by a dense ground fog that is blocking the sun, just the dull glow of a gloomy day. I dropped my kid off to Cub Scout camp and as we were driving I noticed that as we approached the river the fog lessened and the bright sunshine burned through, enough to turn my headlights off automatic.

As I drove back the sky was lighter but still was dark as I approached our home. Not dark light dead of night dark, but dark like the gloom just surrounded and engulfed the car as I drove and the sun was hidden from my eyes.


This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

We have a God of Light and we ARE created in His image.

= = = = = = = = = =
RABIT TRAIL
Still even though we are created in God’s image a being of light, with the occult and the world of the generic “new age” movement manipulating this. Christians don’t embrace that fact. What a biblical truth that most Christians ignore? Or even shun?!?



Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the
creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Romans 1:25


It just bothers me for some reason that so many “Christians” would rather look the other way at the world rather than deal with this biblically. Where we should be taking the basic principle (found in scripture) and using the opportunity to witness to the folks seeking spirituality in the new age movement around us. But I digress … this is an entirely other post.
= = = = = = = = = =

Back to walking in the light. So many times we stray into the darkness and apparently drift away from God’s light. Yet with the example of the fog, the sun was still there… the fog drifted in and obscured my view, but the sun eventually came through.

In my Christian walk I have found times when I feel the fog streaming in around me. I can still see the sun peaking through at me occasionally. Even in the darkest parts the clouds are not black, there is still some light filtering through. How many times in our Christian walk do we stay in the fog when we should be walking in the light.

Not just our actions, but our spiritual state of being. Walking in the light.


For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as
children of light:
- Ephesians 5:8

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
- Colossians 1:12

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
- I Thess. 5:5

But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
- I Peter 2:9

But if we WALK IN THE LIGHT, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
- I John 1:7



Walk in the Light.