Go To Your Church! Now!

Special Agent “Brother Dennis” sent this link to me. A judge in Kentucky has begun offering attendance at church as an alternative way for alcohol and drug abusers to pay off their sentences. Instead of jail time they can attend worship services.

Of course, you know people are upset about this. It’s a violation of church and state don’t you know. The judge is a Christian and thought this would be a good way to help out violators and their families. Sounds good to me!

Decision Making and the Will of Me

Christians have a hard time making decisions. We freak ourselves out too much. We put extra pressure on ourselves that our decision will let God down or do us eternal peril. In response to this, many Christians wait forever trying to make a decision. They want fireworks, dreams, visions, angels, 47 different Christian witnesses etc.

What’s funny about all that is that we generally decide to do what we were gonna do anyway! We just wait until we get the sign that lets us do what we wanted anyhow. “OK wait, best two out of three.”

Acts 20-22 is interesting in that it shows Paul flaunting the advice of fellow believers and even going against the Holy Spirit by insisting on going to Jerusalem. It worked out fine for him–he was able to promote the message of grace anyway. Acts 21:4 shows him resisting the advice of Spirit led believers. In 21:10,11 he ignores the warning of Agabus, another Spirit led prophet. 21:12 shows all kinds of people trying to convince Paul otherwise.

Paul went. Paul knew he would stand before the Lord one day and he had to get back to Jerusalem. Some look at this as a mistake by Paul and his imprisonment and eventual death was a punishment for his decision. I don’t think so. I think Paul had to do what Paul had to do and he’ll give an account and do just fine!

Make your decisions as one deciding before the Lord. But then decide! Go for it. Act with confidence and the conviction that we can boldly stand before Him in our position of grace.

Pope Mobile Part 2

A Ford Escort previously owned by Pope John Paul, who actually drove it and put 60,000 miles on it, was to be sold at auction for charity. However, the guy who bought it has seen some bad times and has defaulted on millions of dollars worth of loans.

His dad backed his loans and now claims that since he backed the loan for this car, the car belongs to him. The case is now in court to see who gets to sell it.

More evidence of why you should NEVER do a money deal with anyone in your family. Don’t do it. Also more evidence of the charming nature of man even while doing things for “charity.”

Memorial Day Reading

Memorial Day is supposed to be about remembering. It’s hard to remember what you don’t know! Here are some of my favorite “war books” to help us remember.

One of the best one volume histories of the Civil War.

An enjoyable read of first hand accounts of World War II fighting and valor. Even though Ambrose plagiarized half his writing, it’s still pretty good. He plagiarized good stuff!

We were Soldiers Once. . .and Young is a moving first-hand account of a battle in the Vietnam War. It is written by Harold Moore, his brother Bal Moore attends Rhinelander Bible Church. This book was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson.

Memorial Day

The history of Memorial Day is a bit muddled. It seems to have got its start after the Civil War but was not made an official organized holiday until 1971. For a full history go here.

No matter your views on war, soldiering, government or other political issues, one has to appreciate the sacrifice of some that have made our lives better. It’s unfortunate that people are sinners and we have to resort to killing each other and having to use force to ensure freedom, but that’s the world we live in until Christ comes to end all war.

Even so come.

Dope for a Pope

Don’t like the current pope? Did you know you had options? You do!

Down in Delia, Kansas Pope Michael has been reigning for 15 years. He calls his farmhouse in Kansas “Vatican in Exile.” He was elected by six people in 1990, one of whom was his mother and another was his now deceased dad.

Even most other traditionalists – who reject the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and maintain that no legitimate pope has ruled from the Vatican since Pope Pius XII died in 1958 – dismiss his election, which they largely ignored despite what Bawden said were months of preparations and publicity.

His rationale for his position–“They called Jesus a kook, too.” I would just like to say, “chapter and verse where it says that!”

The Pilgrim’s Progress

Back in high school I had to watch a cheap Christian film of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Like most Christian films back then, it was horrid in every way. It totally turned me off to ever dealing with the book.

Yesterday, while going to one of many garage sales, I saw a copy of the book for 25 cents and decided a quarter was worth it even if it was a bad movie. So I got it and have begun to read it. I’m only about 50 pages in and it is quite good. He quotes scripture frequently and has interesting analogies of the Christian life–such as noting that there is no armor for our backs in the armor of God!

I’m looking forward to the rest of it. There’s a long way to go yet and I’m wondering exactly what will take up the rest of the pages. So far he’s kept me hooked. Give it a try if you have never tried it before.

Drive-thru Church

A church in the quad cities is offering drive-thru church services this Sunday. The service will take five minutes and will be offered from 10 until noon. You don’t even have to get out of the car, they come to you.

No doubt there will be tremendous amounts of edification going on in those five minutes. Maybe a neat idea. Wonder if it will work. People are probably given a tape of the sermon. The link to the article isn’t working so I just got a snippet of the deal from this site.

How much convenience is too much convenience when it comes to church?

Methodist Moonshine

Westminster Central Hall is the headquarters of Methodism in England. In the past they have rented out the building to make a little money to help upkeep the building. Now the higher-ups of Methodism have decided to apply for a liquor license to add a little more money to the coffers.

Needless to say, there are some Methodists who are upset about their headquarters, which is a church, selling alcohol. “The provision of alcohol is a slippery slope. What next? Lap dancing? Where do you stop?” said one objector.

“I object because there is plenty of provision for alcohol in the area. Westminster Hall has stood down the years as a place where people who have had difficulties with alcohol can go and get help. This license application would seem inconsistent with that.” said another objector.

Minding earthly things leads to decision making like this. Keeping the focus is vital in ministry. Being focused and alcohol have rarely ever been joined together and even more rarely in a church!

Road Riders for Jesus

A married couple who used to be heavy into Harleys and drugs, has come to the Lord and started a Christian biker gang. Their lifestyle finally got to them and they knew a change was needed. Some friends kept persisting that the wife attend church with them. She finally did and the rest is history.

The husband came around soon after. “I always believed in God in my own way. But I didn’t trust churches and pastors,” he said. “Today, we are both serving God with all our hearts, souls and minds.”

I don’t trust churches or pastors either. It’s nice to see that the Gospel could overcome that! Pretty neat story.

Boycott Boycotts

The American Family Association has called off its nine year boycott of Disney after accomplishing none of its stated goals. But, of course, they can make up some things and take credit for those–CEO Eisner leaving and a new production of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

They also cite the fact that there are now many more battles to fight in the cultural wars. You can only lose so many at once.

I don’t like boycotts. It’s better to be for something than against something. Jesus didn’t boycott, he went and ate with the sinners in the places where the sinners ate. Jesus could do that because he was for something. He didn’t come to condemn it but to save it. Seems like we could have a similar attitude and perhaps get crucified too. But that’s how the gospel works, seems to me.

Loveless Lovelace

Pastor Lovelace, the pastor who put “The Koran needs to be flushed” on his church’s sign, has issued a statement of apology. It reads in part,

“When I posted the sign in front of the church, it was my intent only to affirm and exalt the Bible and its teaching. It was certainly not my intent to insult any people of faith, but instead to remind the people in this community of the preeminence of God’s word. Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it I have chosen to remove the sign early, and I apologize and deeply regret that it offended so many in the Muslim community.”

Well good, glad that’s done with. I was quite worried about the whole thing.

I saw this picture of a 230 carat diamond and it reminded me of my wife’s wedding ring. Which reminded me of marriage. Which reminded me that today is our 9th anniversary. I love my wife. Anyone who can stay married to me for 9 years is an exceptional human being.  Posted by Hello

Anything You Could Do To Help Would Be Helpful

A new study shows that people in Britain are laughing less now then ever before. In the 1950’s people were laughing an average of 18 minutes a day. Today laughter takes up about 6 minutes.

Money, relationships, weather, age, and politics are all causes of gloom. Also the absence of any good Monty Python flics is not helping. If only we had more shrubbers or people who could cut down trees with herrings or perhaps we all need to look on the bright side of life.

But seriously folks, if you look to things of this earth for your well-being expect gloominess. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and comes because we have a better home in a better place. Perhaps the decline of laughter has coincided with the decline of Christianity in Britain.

Are you suggesting that coconuts are migratory?

More Insensitive Baptists

More Baptists in North Carolina are getting some heat. This time, a Baptist church had a sign out front saying “The Koran needs to be flushed” advertising a new Bible study. There is about one Muslim in the county and she is the one who complained about the intolerant message.

The pastor summed up his “thoughts” like this:

“Well, I thought about it and I said there may be people who are offended by it but the way I look at it, Jesus told his followers that if the world hates you, don’t feel bad because they hated me first,” said Lovelace. “If we stand for what is right and for God’s word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said ‘well somebody’s mad, somebody’s offended, so we must be doing something right.'”

Next week there will be a new message on the sign for his next message, equally as controversial. “About Friday or Saturday we will have a new sign,” he said. “It should state to some effect ‘Where are your treasures? Are they at the flea market or are they in heaven?'” Lovelace said that he does not have anything against the flea market that recently opened up down the street from the church. “I enjoy a good flea market, but if people can be down there at eight o’clock why can’t they be at church at 11,” he said.

You can just hear the offended flea market operators calling now.

Hare Krishna

The Hare Krishna’s are reorganizing after filing for bankruptcy after being sued by many members who claim they were abused at their schools back in the 1960’s and 70’s. While trying to achieve a higher consciousness, their teachers took advantage of them.

Nice to know Christianity is not alone in this problem. The Krishna’s are missing The Beatles right about now. If only there was another supergroup that would come along and revitalize their once successful religion.

Peer Pressure

In 1 Samuel 8, Israel wants a king. One of the main reasons why is so they can “be like other nations” and they can go to war and have a king lead them to victory. Israel was called out from the rest of the nations yet wanted to get rid of the called out aspect and be like their neighbors.

So God let them. He even said this would happen back in Deuteronomy 17:14,15. Trying to be like everyone else has always been a problem for God’s people. He calls them to be different and follow different rules, and they just want to be “normal.”

Peer pressure has impacted the church and our lives more than we even realize. I’ll prove it–do you have a lawn? Lawns were an invention that crept into the US around the 1950’s. It was a status symbol, showing that you could waste land and be rich enough to have time to care for grass instead of growing crops. If your neighbor had a big yard and you had a garden, well boy do you look dumb!

How has peer pressure influenced your life in ways you never realized before?

Eastern Wood Pewee’s and You

The Eastern Wood Pewee is a cool bird. It has a two part song, the first seems to ask a question and the second part seems to answer it. You can hear the pewee, as well as many other birds, at this handy site.

The pewee reminds me of many Christians, including myself. We keep asking God the same question and He keeps giving us the same answer and we just go ahead and ask again. Why do we have such a hard time listening to the wisdom of God?

Smart Scientists

It’s always amusing to me that people are so much smarter when they listen to scientists and mindless and needing of crutches if they listen to God. What is particularly amusing is that scientists change their opinions on scientific findings almost daily.

I’m sure you’ve all heard that being in the sun is bad and can cause cancer. In order to prevent cancer we should wear sunscreen every time we go into the sun. Well, four new studies have all concluded that sunshine, which produces vitamin D for our bodies, actually prevents cancer. Furthermore, those who wear sunscreen can be more vulnerable for cancer because sunscreen prevents the production of vitamin D.

But, another study will come out next week refuting this so don’t get too excited. But why is it that evolution must obviously be true? Why is scientific reason the pinnacle of intelligence? It’s all foolishness in comparison to God’s wisdom.

ABC’s of the Resurrection

ABC’s 20/20 had a special last night on the resurrection. I didn’t see it, but ignorance of a subject has never stopped me from talking about it in the past so it won’t now.

The basic idea is to look at the history of the resurrection, see if there is any historical proof and then talk to professors about it as they clear their throats and wax eloquent. As if it really matters what some guy from Notre Dame thinks.

The resurrection is a matter of faith. If you’re waiting for Notre Dame to verify the reality of the resurrection in unmistakable terms, don’t hold your breath. Remember the words of Paul–if there is no resurrection then we are of all men most miserable.

End of the World?

My grandfather always said that when the first human was cloned God would end the world. I disagree with that. I think humans will get good at eliminating diseases and creating human life in “creative” ways. All the more reason for people to not need God, in their opinion.

I also think that because the first human embryo has been cloned and I’m still here.

What A Nice Guy

Bill Gates is very successful and for that reason most people hate him, which is too bad. If it weren’t for Bill Gates I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Bill Gates does not seek publicity for his charitable giving but he gets it anyway because it’s so huge.

The World Health Organization has credited Gates with saving over 670,000 lives thru his giving to organizations that provide health treatment for third-world countries.

“Saving lives” is good. Too bad that’s all it does though. But still, he didn’t have to do any of it. Rich folks should not be ripped on just because they are rich. They’re people too. What really makes us mad is when we compare what we’ve given and what this heathen computer guy gave. Yup.

Remaining Calm

I read a book this past week which frosted me, it really got me mad. It was one of the worst books on the Christian Life I’ve ever read. It’s called A Passionate Life and it was awful.

I know, I know, it’s better to be for something than against something but this is just begging for me to be against it. I also received an e-mail from the publisher today telling me to buy the book and be sure to get the one for the Passionate Church and don’t forget the Passionate Life Small Group Study. I’m holding out for the Passionate Life bottle opener.

One of his primary arguments is that we’re human beings, not human doings. Which is a pretty stupid thing to say anyway but especially in this context. After explaining how we don’t have to do anything, he proceeds to tell me at least 37 things I have to DO to live like Jesus. His exegesis of Ephesians 4 is one of the worst pieces of biblical exposition I’ve ever heard.

This book is bad, it’s so bad it’s downright dangerous. I pity the poor soul who takes this book seriously.

A Hinn-t of Trouble

Benny Hinn, the charismatic healing guy, is very upset. His recent crusade in Nigeria didn’t go as planned. He spent $4 million preparing for his healing crusade and not too many people showed up for it. He claims he could have only spent $2 million if he knew that only that many would come.

So now crusade organizers are wondering where the other $2 million went! The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria is looking into the situation to see if there was any impropriety. Currently, pastors involved in the crusade are blaming each other and claiming who took what.

It’s a thing of beauty aint it? The Body of Christ is a well-oiled machine.

You Talkin To Me?

Acts 15 is a chapter of arguing. First there is a dispute between Paul and the believers in Jerusalem. An element of Pharisees were teaching Gentiles that they had to observe the Law to be saved. Paul said nope. There was no small dissension and disputation–King James for–they argued big time.

They work that one out after much disputing (vs. 7). Then we see Paul and Barnabas having sharp contention (vs. 39)between them about whether to take Mark with them.

Two huge arguments and the Lord used both–He got his message across to Jews and Gentiles about the Law and He was able to send out four guys now instead of two.

Arguing aint always bad! The truth has to be pointed out. But we also see that the division between Jews and Gentiles was “solved” with a compromise (vss. 23-29). The decision with Paul and Barnabas is later repaired. Always remember that no matter what the argument, life goes on. Make the most of it and keep the bond of peace.

Never a Dull Moment

A gag order has been lifted in the case of three men arrested in Jerusalem for their plot to blow up the mosque on the Temple Mount. The three were under house arrest for a month and recently released as there was no credible evidence that they were going to carry out the plot. They also hesitated before putting their plot into action, which was something in their favor as well.

The original plan was to fire a missile into the mosque as a protest against Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Never a dull moment over there.

More Stinking Unity

Anglicans and Catholics agree on Mary and now Methodists, Episcopalians and Lutherans have agreed to share the sacrament of Communion with one another.

The three-way agreement allows the three denominations to share Communion and join in ministry together. It also moves the churches a step closer to full communion, in which the three churches can swap clergy and recognize one another’s sacraments.

In another move toward unity, Methodists “agreed to join a new ecumenical body, Christian Churches Together in the USA, as provisional members. The new body will bring Catholics, evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Orthodox and Pentecostal churches together for the first time.”

Get your rapture shoes ready.

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