Daylight Savings Time has got to go. I’m bored out of my mind with this extra hour! I’ve updated the church web site already with sermon notes, AIM, newsletter and TNBS stuff.

I hate Saturdays. I get so geared up for my message by about 10 am on Saturdays that the rest of the day seems to take forever and I can’t concentrate on anything and I just hate it. I think every week we should move our clocks ahead on Saturdays and then move them back on Sundays so Sunday is an hour longer. That would be nice. Then I could do stuff and be able to think.

Daylight savings time has always seemed to me to be another tool of Satan. Of all the days of the week, why does it have to impact what we do on Sunday mornings? We’re up against it in all ways.

Make it idiot proof and someone will invent a better idiot.

I’m working through a new concept, or rather, it’s an old concept I’m working through anew. It has to do with our flesh and our compensation for it. Soon our flesh has developed patterns and behaviors which become who we are and less of what God intended us to be. It touches on our old and new nature and the conflict they have and an understanding of what Christianity looks like with this conflict arising.

Not sure where I’m going with it but I’m going to start writing it down. Writing is how I process my thoughts, so look forward to hearing bits and pieces and perhaps, if I finish and it makes sense, I’ll present it in it’s entirety on Thursday nights. Just preparing you!

While anxiously waiting to go to bed, I decided I’d spend the remaining minutes of the day surfing the internet. I came across this link. I have no idea how I managed to get there. It’s a German auction site which is auctioning off the left leg of the Saddam Hussein statue the Americans tore down in Baghdad, with plenty of pictures. Good bidding! Let me know if you win it.

The meltdown with the Cubs continues. All their coaches have been fired, except the manager, their main tv broadcaster resigned, now Steve Stone, their color commentator on the tv broadcasts has resigned.

I’ve been listening to Steve Stone for about 20 years now and there is no broadcaster alive who knows the game like he does. He was able to call things before they happened like no other broadcaster I’ve ever heard. The fact that he’s leaving is a real bummer. The entire organization is falling apart right when it looked like they were going to put together a seriously good team for several years in a row.

Boy oh boy. Perhaps the ex-Cub factor is going to become just the Cub factor. Perhaps it’s time to admit that there is no next year.

Lakewood Church in Houston is moving out of their old 7,000 seat facility and moving into the Compaq Center, which used to be home to the Houston Rockets. They will now be able to seat 16,000 per service. They are also in the process of making dressing rooms into classrooms.

Their pastor, John Olsteen, is nationally known and has some books published. His message is more or less a self-help, pop-Christianity kind of deal. The church also leans charismatic.

I refrain from any comments. Just thought you’d like to know!

Billy Graham is back on the gospel preaching path after a year off due to a broken hip. This is going to be his farewell tour. He kicked it off with some meetings in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

I read his biography and something seemed off in it to me but you can’t fault the man for his work. While most other “televangelists” and popular ministers have taken falls that the world uses to rub in our faces, Graham has stood firm and not lapsed. It’s about time one of them comes through. That alone speaks volumes for what Graham’s faith is made of.

Cindy and I went and saw Graham when we lived in St. Paul. He was speaking at the Metrodome and it was packed. Thousands of people went forward for the altar call, which I didn’t completely understand! The message wasn’t that great! Only the Lord knows how legitimate the conversions are but he’s quite the guy. Here’s an article about him which appears, interestingly enough, in The Deseret News, which is a Mormon Newspaper.

Well, the Red Sox are up 3-0 and could win their first World Series since 1918 tonight. I was a bit confused as to how this could be happening since the ex-Cub factor said the Red Sox should lose. However, I did a bit more checking and wouldn’t you know it, the Cardinals also have 3 ex-Cubs! Tony Womack played 21 games for the Cubs in 2003! Therefore, the ex-Cub factor is a non-factor and indeed, Boston could win the World Series!

Oh and another thing, three times so far, I still have 30 pages to go or so, three times he has brought up Romans 8:26, “We know not how to pray as we ought” and never once has his conclusion been, “We know not how to pray as we ought.” In fact, after bringing up that very verse he goes on to explain exactly how we are to pray. Yet if you followed all his things that you have to “DO” in order for God to hear you, there’s not a chance any of us are going to get an audience before the Ruler of the Universe.

He forgets Christ’s intercession and the Holy Spirit’s intercession throughout. He limits prayer to what we’re capable of. I don’t know, am I missing something? Didn’t Christ take care of what we weren’t capable of?

One of the hindrances to prayer that Torrey brings up, and I have heard others bring it up as well, that always bugs me, is if you have unconfessed sin God won’t hear you. Torrey gives a story about how he really needed money and he prayed and prayed and he didn’t get it. One night he was up all night praying, like a good holy person, and he knew it was about a particular sin but he wouldn’t confess it. But finally he did and the very next day money came in.

Which is nice, but please.

Who of us at any one time does not have unconfessed sin? We sin and we don’t even know it. Has the guy never heard of the old and new nature? Very disappointing. Christ died for our sins, we’re either forgiven or we’re not. To say we’re not really forgiven unless we “DO” something is to place forgiveness on works. Thus, salvation is by works, what Jesus died to take care of is thrown away.

Because of what Christ did for us and who we are in him, the fact we have a new nature which is holy, perfect and righteous, we always have access WITH BOLDNESS to talk to God. How could we have boldness to talk to God if there’s a chance He might not hear us? Boy it just bugs me how hard people make prayer; it’s really quite easy. Beware of those who confuse the simplicity of Christ.

Hindrances to Prayer was a chapter title I read last night. I knew by the title I would have a problem with the chapter and he didn’t let me down. The following books of the Bible were referenced for hindrances to prayer, see if you notice anything about them–Ezekiel, Proverbs, Isaiah, Mark, 1 Peter and 1 John.

I don’t know if Torrey is a Jew or not, I doubt it, I know I’m not, I’m a Gentile. Let me see if I can remember who it was who said he was the “apostle to the Gentiles.” Hmm, if only I listened in church.

Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles and he doesn’t say there is any hindrance to prayer. To say there is a hindrance to prayer is to say that the intercession of the Holy Spirit has ceased. To say that is to say you’ve lost the Holy Spirit. To say that means you’ve lost your salvation. THERE IS NO HINDRANCE TO PRAYER IN THE AGE OF GRACE! JESUS DIDN’T DIE SO IT WOULD BE HARD TO PRAY!

I am reading a short book on prayer, entitled “How to Pray” originally enough. It is yet another definitive answer to the problem of prayer which scripture clearly tells us we don’t know how to do. The book is written by R. A. Torrey, who I believe is the Torrey which was big at Moody Bible Institute. I was hoping for something pretty good, not sure I’m getting that. Like most books on prayer, it is very confusing and contradictory. Here’s an example.

He brings up a lady who gave up on Christianity because she couldn’t trust the promises of the Bible. He asked her which one gave her difficulty. Her answer was the promise that if we ask anything we shall receive it. So he turned her to the verse 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

So he asked her if she had kept His commandments, she admitted that she had not. Well, clearly then, that’s why your prayers aren’t being answered.

Here’s my problem–the solution then is that our works impress God to the point that He will listen to us, which puts the emphasis of answered prayer on us. Yet, I am a sinner, the only way I can do anything good is through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. How then, pray tell, can I allow the Holy Spirit to produce something good in me? By asking Him, duh. OK, so then I have to pray to be allowed to do something good through the Holy Spirit but then my prayer won’t be answered unless I do something good, but I can’t do something good unless the Holy Spirit does it in me and He won’t work for me if I don’t impress Him by doing something good. Hmm, oh well, guess we don’t know how to pray as we ought.

Dave Burchett, author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, one of the best books on church I’ve read, has a new book out Bring Em Back Alive which I am anxiously looking forward to reading. If it’s as good and funny as the first book, it’ll be a hit. When Bad Christians. . . is actually in the Rhinelander District Library for some odd reason!

The quote from Martin Luther about salvation I addressed this morning goes like this:

“Many are lost because they cannot use possessive pronouns.”

Here’s another quote I came across this week:

It was a solemn saying which fell from the lips of an eminent minister of Christ on his death-bed “We are none of us more than half awake.” If believers were more thurough, and real, and whole-hearted in their belief, there would be far less unbelief in the world.

Often, the sins that trip us up are the small issues of life–like decorative shrubbery. We assume we can handle it on our own, it’s just shrubbery. But a comment on shrubbery soon turns into major issues. The people of Israel thought they could handle Ai by themselves but they were wrong.

When we walk in the flesh we will get fleshly results. Often the flesh sneaks up on us and nails us on the dumbest issues. The big issues of life–illness, no money, etc–are often easier to handle because we’re ready for them. But then shrubbery comes home and BOOM! It’s all over. We are to start in the spirit and continue in it.

The battle is constant and we must be ever vigilant to watch its ways.

John 8:31-59 is a somewhat familiar passage where Jesus is talking to the Jews and discussing their father. The Jews say their father is Abraham or God. Jesus says that Abraham is impressed with Him and He also knows the Father well enough to know who His kids are! Jesus then concludes that their father is the devil. After saying all this the crowd picks up stones to stone Him but Jesus gets away.

There’s one part of this passage which probably isn’t as familiar to us as the rest–verse 31 says that the crowd Jesus was talking to was made up of “those Jews which believed on him.” What?! What exactly is this trying to say? Was their faith merely intellectual? Was it faith based on what they saw rather than what they heard?

I think it raises the point that many people have heard God’s Word but few have actually listened to it and accepted it. They’ve heard happy parts but have ignored the rest. The Bible says tough things, things which tick you off at times and make you feel bad. Has your faith heard all that the Bible says and does it still believe or are their parts you’d rather not hear?

When you read through the life of Christ, He sure does enjoy making it hard to be saved! As soon as someone is close to believing, He throws something at them to make them quit. He wants all the truth in the open to test the truth of the faith. If they can stick with Him through all that, He knows He’s got them on His side.

I saw an article today telling us that obesity is one of the main reasons why health care costs have risen so much, which I don’t doubt. According to the study 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. Obesity leads to illnesses like diabetes, heart issues and other stuff. One of the doctors who concluded the study said something like “We need to do whatever we can to limit obesity.”

What that means is to tax fat like they tax alcohol and liquor. Which means that only rich people will be able to get fat. Guys like me, who are perfectly healthy because I move, will not be able to eat Oreos anymore.

Which got me to thinking, maybe they’ll make exceptions for healthy people. Now that the FDA has approved the implantable chip which carries your health information, maybe you have your chip scanned to see if you can buy certain foods or not. Hmm, that would work out nice wouldn’t it? In the end times Timothy tells us that certain foods will be banned. Hmm, yet God has made all things for us to enjoy. Hmm. It’ll all make sense.

One of the major criticisms of Christianity and often religion in general, is that it produces tons of hypocrites. It’s a legitimate argument. I am reading a little bit of J. C. Ryle again and he has a chapter on “hold fast your profession of faith.” In it, he talks about this argument and relates it to the presence of counterfeit money and says the following:

The very existence of bad coins is an indirect proof that there is something which it is worth while to imitate and that there is such a thing as good current money in circulation.

Not bad eh?

Well, the improbable happened, the Boston Red Sox won four in a row and go on to the world series. In the last game, a 10-3 win by the red sox, ex-Cub players had very little impact in the game either way. But for the series it can be clearly shown that ex-cub players made the difference. In fact, Boston had 3 and the Yankees had 4 so it makes perfect sense that Boston prevailed.

Houston and St Louis play tonight in their game seven, Houston has fewer ex-cubs, we’ll see if that helps. However, all signs point to the Red Sox losing the World Series as they have more ex-cubs than either National League team. So it will be fun to see how the Red Sox manage to lose this time!

If you are interested in other Christian blogs or are sick of this one, you can check out blogs4god.com and have hours of fun looking through their list of blogs seeing what other people are thinking out there. Some of it is good, other things are strange, other things are plagiarized but hey, if you’ve got nothing better to do, give it a try.

The Boston Red Sox have done something that has never been done before–after losing the first three games of the playoff series, they have now came back to tie the series at three games a piece, that’s never been done.

For the record, let me just add, the losing pitcher for the Yankees last night, the guy who gave up the four runs that did them in, was Jon Lieber, he used to pitch for the Cubs. Game 7 is tonight and should prove to be pretty good. The only problem is that these American League games take forever. It’ll still be going after 11.

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion flick is encouraging evangelicals to get out and vote. He reminds Christians that George Bush agrees with Christian values but doesn’t actually endorse him. A new concert series, Redeem the Vote, with Christian rock bands is set to rival MTV’s Rock the Vote. Focus on the Family is also pushing big time to get Christians to vote.

In a quote from an article addressing these groups, James Dobson says:

“We have sat here, many of us for 35 years, while the family has been battered and bruised and broken, But I’m telling you, now’s the time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ “

Ok, here’s my problem with that. The answer isn’t in a politician! In order to restore the family seems to me some teaching from God’s word would be the place to start, not voting. I guess it just bothers me that people assume government is the way to go to fix our problems. I don’t like that one bit. The government’s job is to stay out of the way and punish evil, not make people be good. The only way to do good is to live by faith, not voting. I wish our resources and time were used to proclaim Christ rather than march for a politician.

So, if you were paying attention to the 5:49 minute Yankees Red Sox game yesterday you will remember the bottom of the 8th inning when the Red Sox scored 2 runs to tie the game at 4. If you recall, the pitcher for the Yankees who was responsible for the 2 runs was Tom Gordon. I’ll bet you can guess who he used to pitch for. In all the great planning and roster moves of the Yankees and their friendly owner George Steinbrenner, they overlooked the ex-Cub factor quite a bit.

The Anglican Church (Church of England) recently got together to decide how to discipline the US branch of the church who has begun ordaining homosexual bishops. After much discussion it was decided that no further homosexual bishops will be accepted but there will be no further discipline.

This came as sort of a let down to many in the Anglican Church who really wanted the US church to get hit pretty hard with discipline. Nothing like decisive action. Again, one wishes God’s word was more clear on this issue, if only we really knew what was right this kind of discipline would be easier. Oh well.

One can hear the word of God and still not believe, but everyone who believes it has heard it. What’s the point of believing something if you don’t act on it though? Do they still have faith? Could be, but it’s not doing them any good if they refuse to abide by what the faith has heard.

Even when the Cubs are out of action, they still have an impact on baseball playoffs. The Cubs have the Billy Goat Curse which effects them in the playoffs and effects any player who is in the playoffs who has one time or another been on the Cubs.

Several years ago I heard a guy do some research and came up with what he called “The ex-Cub Factor.” What he did was take all the playoff teams and rank them based on who had the most ex-Cub players. Without fail, the team with three or more Cubs never won the world series! In fact, on a search on the internet I came across the original article! Now, I always thought that was kind of silly and probably just one more piece of anti-Cub propaganda, until I started paying attention to it myself.

Yesterday the Houston Astros beat the Cardinals 6-5 by scoring a run in the 8th which won the game. The pitcher they scored off of was Julian Tavarez–he played for the Cubs for several years not too long ago. Yup. Boston got blown our on Saturday but at a crucial point in the game, when it was not yet out of hand, Boston brought in Curtis Leskanic who gave up three runs, five hits and only got one guy out before he was yanked. He used to pitch for the Cubs. So, as far as my recollection goes here’s how they line up.

Red Sox 3

Yankees 4

Cardinals 2

Astros 1

So the winner of the World Series will come out of the national league this year, write it down. Now, these could be off because I’m doing it by memory but I think that’s pretty close. Just thought you’d like to know. You fans of other teams, you just don’t know what it’s like.

Here’s a news item which shows just how good the Church in America has it. People are upset around the country because many communities are going to have trick-or-treating on Sunday, when Halloween occurs this year. “It’s a day for Christ not for the devil” is how one lady in the Bible belt explains it.

I mean seriously. Are there not bigger issues to make a stand on? Trick-or-treating is usually not that well attended by actual satanists nor are most kids worshipping Satan; they’re getting candy. That’s fine if an individual doesn’t want to do it, I have no problem with that. But still, come on. If the Church is only known for getting upset over issues like 6 year old Johnny asking for candy dressed as Spider Man, we’re all in trouble.

A physics professor at University of Louisiana Lafayette had a bit of an outburst in class yesterday. He and a student got into a shouting match, he then hit the student. He continued to lose it and screamed obscenities at the class and told them to call 911 because he was going to kill them. His rationale for it all was that he was God.

I sure hope not, although if anyone would be a good physics teacher it would be God. Apparently this is not the first time he has been suspended, however, it’s the first time he has been suspended for being God. He is in a mental institution now and his duties at ULL have been suspended. So, don’t bother praying today, God’s got problems of his own right now.

I have been impressed over the years with the Microsoft spell checker on my word processing program. Not necessarily with it’s ability to figure out what I’m saying but with the amount of “Christian” words it has in it. It contains all the books of the Bible, many of the names in the Bible and big words that religious types use. It has always amazed me.

Another thing that has amazed me is how few biblical words are in the spell checker for this blog. When I typed in “transubstantiation” before, it recommended “transvestitism.” Hmm, not exactly what I was going for but, not only does the blog spell check not have transubstantiation, it does have transvestitism. Makes you wonder at the mind behind it! I’m making no point, I’m just saying.

(another stupid thing is that the blog spell checker does not accept the word “blog” which I think is funny too, but then again, I have a very sad life.)

In John 6:47-67 Jesus talks about how He is the bread from heaven and all believers need to eat his flesh and drink his blood. This comment has caused more trouble in the church than probably any other biblical comment, out side of “I am the way. . . no one comes to the father but by me” and “thou shalt not covet.”

This comment led many critics to say that early believers were cannibals. It also has led to the “doctrine” of transubstantiation–communion elements are the literal body and blood of Christ. Also, in the very same passage, many of Christ’s disciples left him right then when they heard what he said!

Why would Christ say something so hard to understand? Why would he say something so difficult to grasp and so weird sounding. I mean, read it sometime, it just sounds weird. I might have left too.

The Bible contains many hard things and I believe one of the purposes for those hard things is to see who will still hang in there. Who will go on faith, not intellectual ability to figure it all out! Who will trust in the Lord and use His mind to discern the truth. Who will study as a workman to grasp the truth. The truth contains many things hard to be understood. The problem is not with the truth, it’s with us and our willingness to push through it and understand the point of truth.