Pretty Much A Year Ago


It was a year ago that I did one of my favoritest blog posts of all time. I remember the day of this post very well, I was processing the information that my dad didn’t have long to live. I thought I would post it again.

There is a verse in Scripture that most people know but few apply. It’s a verse that has bugged me for some time but in the past year I have come to terms with it. I think I know what it means. Recent events with hearing that my dad has 12-18 months of life with cancer has brought the verse back to my mind.

Ephesians 4:26 is the verse: “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

We all know it. What has always boggled my mind is that two verses earlier he tells us to put on the new man and then commands us in verse 26 to “be ye angry.” He didn’t say, “when you are angry do not sin” he said “be angry.”

Now that just doesn’t sound like a new nature, reborn thing to do. But look at the life of Christ. Read Matthew 23 and tell me Jesus wasn’t angry. Look at the cleansing of the temple, the cursing of the fig tree, the impatience with his slow disciples who ask about their seats in heaven instead of worrying about whether their seats will make it there to begin with.

Jesus had an underlying anger and frustration with life–yet He never sinned.

Boy do I feel that anger. Sin has messed up our world. God made this place beautiful and lovely, it was all good and stupid bonehead satan comes and ruins the place. He takes life and makes it miserable. He took nature and made it corrupt. He took God’s perfection and stained it.

That makes me angry. It makes me angry that he could take a guy like my dad and is trying to cut him off so soon. It makes me angry that people will refuse to learn the lessons that life and death teach. It makes me angry that I have to be crying right now. It makes me angry that the wonderful gift of life that God gave us has been turned into vanity, vanity, all is vanity. It makes me angry that I’m angry. It makes me angry that my dad gets to go to heaven before me. It makes me angry that people have never appreciated my father as much as they should and it takes something like death to show them. It makes me angry that many times I haven’t appreciated him. I love my dad and it makes me angry he has to leave.

But it’s morning. There’s plenty of time before the sun goes down. The Bible tells me to be angry and if you’re not from time to time, I do believe you are missing something that God wants you to see. He wants you to know what our stupid sin has caused. He wants us to know His love. He wants us to desire a better place and not be content with this dump. I hate this world and the things it does. But I love my Lord and I love that He loves the world.

O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Key To Survival

You may have heard about the three Mexican fishermen who were lost at sea for 10 months and were recently found. What you may not have known is what they were doing for those 10 long months.

“We spent most of the time reading the Bible.” How cool is that eh? Interesting that they would even end up with a Bible while trying to survive.

Unfortunately, this is probably the time when people are most likely to read the Bible, when they are stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do and probably not destined to live much longer.

Gotta take what you can get though.

The World Is His Oyster

Jesus has now shown up on an oyster. And, more importantly, an oyster ha snow shown up on eBay.

“The first thing, she looked at it and she saw Jesus. That’s what she said, ‘It looks like Jesus,'” Frank Titone said.

“I just thought it was really neat. We’re bringing that home,” Pauline Titone said.

At least it’s not another story about how someone’s life got changed by this. It’s just neat, that’s it. I think that’s probably good.

Chauvinist Pig On City Council

The Rev. Timothy LaBouf, who also serves on the Watertown City Council, has gotten himself in trouble. Apparently his church has decided to read the Bible literally, especially in regards to 1 Timothy 2:12–telling women not to have authority over a man in church.

Due to this, he “fired” a female Sunday School teacher who has been teaching for 54 years. This has now raised concern for the city council whether they want this chauvinist on their council anymore.

“If what’s said in that letter reflects the councilman’s views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age,” [Mayor] Graham said. “Maybe they wouldn’t have been disturbing 500 years ago, but they are now.”

Joel Osteen’s Great Aunt

Joel Osteen’s great aunt has reportedly been murdered. She was 84 and lived alone and was found dead in her home last Thursday.

“Aunt Johnnie was a kind and generous woman who lived her life with mercy, compassion and a deep love for the Lord,” Dodie Osteen said in a prepared statement. “She was dearly loved by me and my family and will be missed greatly.”

Madonna, The New Solomon

Madonna has been spending her free time lately contacting the British government to help them clean up nuclear waste. Her idea is to apply magical Kabbalah fluid to clear up the danger. Kabbalah can take water and turn it into powerful stuff through “meditations and the consciousness of sharing”.

Why is Madonna concerned about nuclear waste to the extent that she will pour water on it if given the chance?

“According to science we aren’t going to have a planet in about 50 years at the rate we’re going with nuclear waste. I can write the greatest songs and make the most fabulous films and be a fashion icon and conquer the world, but if there isn’t a world to conquer, what’s the point?”

Sounds like Solomon to me. However, Solomon and her would diverge when it came to the actual answer to the problem of vanity. But hey, it’s nice to know that Madonna wants to save the world so she can conquer it.

Reminds me of an H. L. Mencken quote, “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

Basking In The Unity Of The Body

A missionary couple has been doing work in Spain, setting up new churches and such like. However, the American church that sponsors them has a pastor who decided to cut funds for the missionaries, leaving them high and dry.

For two years people have tried to get missionary and pastor together to resolve the issue, to no avail. The issue is now going to court for breach of contract.

“The row has been the talk of the church because the Lyons and pastor McConnell were very close at one stage. Churchgoers know the matter is now going to court and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. The dispute is all about money and a court case is the last thing the church needs at the minute.”

U.S. Church History

I am done reading the 553 page church history book on the United States. I found it to be very intriguing. The book is well written, perhaps not up to the standards of a Shelby Foote or William Manchester, but still pretty good.

It is a brief overview of the almost 300 year history of the church in North America. Again, this is fascinating stuff. It sheds light on where all those different churches you drive past come from. It demonstrates how American religion has always been politically minded, unlike most other countries.

It does a fine job of showing how the American church is setting the table for the antichrist (although the author doesn’t make that point). I would recommend this book for any church-goers in the United States. Good stuff.

Chocolate Virgin Mary (mmmm chocolatey)

Kitchen worker Cruz Jacinto was the first to spot the lump of melted chocolate when she began her shift Monday cleaning up drippings that had accumulated under a large vat of dark chocolate.

“For me, it was a sign,” she said.

Raising a son on her own, she has struggled with marital problems for months and said she was about to lose her faith. “I have big problems right now, personally, and lately I’ve been saying that God doesn’t exist,” she said, pulling the dog-eared prayer card out of her pocket. “This has given me renewed faith.”

Dilemma

We know a certain person who is getting up there in age and is not very mobile. This person should not really be living alone. We have taken it upon ourselves to help this person out. However, we’ve hit an area where we are stuck.

This person owns a cat. This person doesn’t change the cat box very often. The cat walks around the house throwing up. It has lumps on it. Recently it has been walking around with blood coming out its nose.

We’ve mentioned that said cat needs to be put out of its misery, but to no avail. This person says it would be too hard to put yet another animal to sleep. This person doesn’t even particularly like the cat, but also can’t part with it.

So, asking this person to put the cat down has not worked, when do we step in and do it? The cat often goes outside, I was thinking we could just put it down and tell her it wandered off and something must have happened to it. But it would be hard to lie, too. Hmm, we’re stuck. Any ideas?

Should Read

For the believer, the Bible is the number one book. I have heard many believers tell me that they only read the Bible, all other books are unnecessary. I cringe when I hear that. There are many good books that would benefit any believer.

I wish more believers would read Church History. Unfortunately, combining the word “church” with the word “history” doesn’t exactly inspire people. That’s too bad. Let me give you the top 10 reasons why you should read Church History:

1. Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.
2. You’ll find out where your denomination, or lack thereof, came from.
3. You’ll find out about many colorful preachers and unique approaches.
4. You’ll be forced to think about why you believe what you believe.
5. You come across great names like, Charles Colcock Jones.
6. You’ll find out that Martin Luther enjoyed a good fart.
7. You’ll better understand why your church service does what it does.
8. You’ll improve your arm strength by reading huge books.
9. Helps you understand what other denominations believe and why.
10. You’ll be able to write self-righteous blog posts about how you read Church history unlike the average nominal Christian.

Money: The New Messiah

New commercials are airing trying to get evangelical Christians to help out Israel as they emerge from their recent spat with Lebanon.

The scenes are interspersed with biblical passages that suggest a divine calling to help the cause. “Israel is under attack, her civilians living their lives in bomb shelters,” intones the narrator, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

“As the world chooses sides against Israel, will you stand on the sidelines?”

The advertising campaign, which began airing July 26 on the Fox News Channel and a few religious television networks, is an unusual convergence of faith, politics, money and media that illustrates the rising importance of the bond between many American evangelicals and Israel.

Not sure how me sending them money is going to bring Jesus back to solve their problems, but I guess it’s worth a shot. Must . . . do. . . what. . . Fox News. . . . tells me.

Parting Shot

I finished reading my copy of Church Libraries this morning, so I promise, this will be my last post about them. It’s been a good ride. Oh, one more note.

At the back of the magazine is an index of the reviewers. The guy who wrote the backwards upside down ‘p’ review is an English professor! Totally fits my impression of English professors: knows what an upside down backwards ‘p’ looks like but wouldn’t know common sense if it smacked him in his dangling modifier.

Anyway, my parting shot for the Library magazine is better said by them. Hope you have enjoyed this magazine as much as I have.

Call Me A Liberal I Guess

OK, one last poke at the Church Libraries magazine. They have a section of DVD reviews including one on a cartoon version of the life of David.

The reviewer complains that the cartoon is not Biblically accurate. They list four inaccuracies, that to me, really aren’t that bad. Here’s my favorite inaccuracy listed:

“When David is grown and wants to marry Saul’s daughter, the Bible says that Saul ordered him to kill and castrate 100 Philistines; but in the film, he has to bring the “earrings of 100 Philistines.”

OK, do we really want the cartoon David to bring back 100 foreskins instead? I mean seriously, I can live with that.

Change Shmange

I read a blog post this morning about how in order to live a person must change. “Want a clinical definition of death? No more changes.” He said this in relation to Tiger Woods changing his golf swing and how he has won so much since then.

In order to succeed in a competitive market, you must change and adapt. He then brought this into the church, as his whole blog is about what the church should be doing.

I have also read many books and stuff on how I should be running my church. They all recommend change and adapting to the culture. I don’t know. I’m not sold. I have yet to be convinced from scripture that church is a competitive environment.

Paul, the guy who said, “this one thing I do,” never really seems to tell me to change all the time. He says that God’s truth has been designed to be communicated through preaching, whether the world likes it or not.

Should I change the pattern that Scripture lays out? I guess I’d rather die in that case. Don’t fear the one who has power to kill the body but the one who has control over your eternal destiny.

Starving Jesus

A couple of pastors have decided to take a trip and visit various churches and chain themselves to pews. Here’s the reason why:

“The most outrageous thing we could possibly think of. Because the American church has a big fat problem that’s called laziness. I’m going to use whatever tactic I can to say, as loud as I can, get out of the pew and help your community.”

I’m not quite clear about exactly what they are doing, it doesn’t make sense to me. Especially since the one example of chaining themselves to a pew was when they chained themselves to a park bench outside of Union Station.

What? Perhaps these pastors should heed the opposite advice and go ahead and stay in their church. I could use a little clarification here.

Funny Stuff

Alright folks, I’m really not trying to be rude with this, but I have to tell you, the magazine Church Libraries, is absolutely the funniest thing I’ve read for a long, long time.

The main portion of the magazine contains book reviews. The problem with book reviews is that many of them start with something like “Name of Book is a fine book about. . .” There are only so many ways a person can open a book review.

But this guy was trying a bit too hard with this opening. Get this, on a book about dating for Christians: “When someone goes to a bookstore in search of a book about dating, a viable option is this one.” That has to be the worst opening of any book review ever.

Then, and this one is not a criticism of Church Libraries itself but rather Christian Fiction in general, there was this description of a Christian Fiction book’s plot:

“Normal life as Marine Joe Ryback knows it turns into a nightmare when the killers of his brutally murdered father target him as their next victim. Strong demonic forces that plan to unleash Armageddon and rule the world are held back by a small, statue-like icon in Joe’s possession. The figurine, found by Joe’s father, is the key to a UFO spaceship that is run by fallen angels who live on Mars. It has the power to unlock the gate of hell.”

What?! Funniest magazine ever.

Buying A Stairway To Heaven

CHEZ 106 is a classic rock station in Canada. They are starting a new promotional event for listeners to earn points to purchase stuff. For 5,000 points you can buy an oil change. For 35,000 points you can get tickets to a Gordon Lightfoot concert.

For 100,000 points you can buy an Alice Cooper autographed guitar, 125,000 points for a Neil Young autographed guitar, or you can save for the grand prize: total absolution of sins as granted by St. John’s Anglican church for a mere 1,000,000 points.

“Living the Classic Rock lifestyle, we’ve all done things we’re not proud of” says CHEZ 106 Program Director & Afternoon DJ Jeff Brown. “And as part of our new VIP Club, we want to offer listeners the chance at things they normally can’t gain access. What’s more exclusive than a free ticket into Heaven?”

“Heaven is not a pie in the sky when you die,” says Garth Bulmer, priest at the church. “It’s about unloading the crap which drags you down and picking up a new life. It’s just a click away.”

Hell Is Real

The doctrine of hell is losing out. In the blog post earlier today, a Pentecostal pastor has a word from God that hell is actually life on earth. The denial of hell is also taking place in the Emerging Church with pastor Rob Bell saying:

“Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.’ All things everywhere. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true.”

Is hell reconciled to God too? The problem with hell is that it is rather inconvenient. When you see suffering and think of your poor grandparents being in hell (like our Pentecostal pastor earlier) it makes you wish there was not a hell.

When you are trying to be cool and fit in with the youth generation (like pastor Rob Bell), it’s pretty tough to teach that God despises sin so much that He sends unrepentant sinners to hell. It makes you have to condemn sin, rather than condone it.

The real issue with hell is that it defies our experience. Isn’t there enough suffering here? How can a loving God put people in fire for eternity? Our experience with fire to this point shows us that it is horrible.

Our experience doesn’t like hell, can’t figure it out, and struggles with a God who made it. But faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. God said it, therefore, hell is real whether your experience likes it or not.

Baseball And Jesus

Read any Dave Burchett yet? You should. Here’s a quote from a blog post on Mel Gibson’s anti-semitism he did yesterday.

“A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.” –Nuke LaLoosh from the movie Bull Durham

Baseball can be a very complex game but, in it’s essence, that quote is correct. Christianity is much the same. It is complex enough to take a lifetime to mature and develop. But Christianity is, in some ways, a very simple life. You trust Jesus, you follow Jesus, you abide in Jesus. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes there is a storm.

The guy is great with words (even though he puts an apostrophe in a possessive ‘its’) and makes excellent points. I highly recommend his book, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. It’ll wake you up!

This Guy Probably Watches Boohbah

I attempted to make a point yesterday about how our culture stresses seeing over hearing. People don’t know how to listen anymore. One of the most important verses for your spiritual life is Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing; hearing by the word of God.”

This means that no matter what your experience shows you, always trust the Bible, God’s Word. People would rather have experience and look for Jesus on their shrimp than study to show themselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).

Here is a perfect case in point. Carlton Pearson is a Pentecostal minister who had a “revelation” from God. He heard God speak to him. Faith comes by hearing, but not by hearing God’s audible voice, by hearing His word written down for us. A huge difference.

While watching a news story on his big screen TV about the crisis in Rwanda, he saw images of skeletal people walking around, barely living, suffering to the extreme while he’s shoveling a plate full of food in his mouth. A snippet of the interview he had with Keith Morrison of Dateline, NBC.

Pearson: And I said, ‘God I don’t know how you’re gonna call yourself a loving God and allow those people to suffer so much and then just suck them into hell.’ And I believe it was the Spirit of God in me saying, ‘Is that what you think we’re doing?”

Morrison: You heard this voice.

Pearson: Yes, sir. And I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been taught”

He talked back, he says, at that voice in his head.

Pearson: “God, I can’t I can’t save the whole world.’ And that’s when I heard that voice say, ‘Precisely. That’s what we did. And if you’d tell them that they are redeemed, you wouldn’t create those kinds of problems. Can’t you see they’re already in Hell?”

So, just like that, because some fat guy heard God talk to him, all Scripture is wrong. Everyone goes to heaven. Party like it’s 1999.

Boohbah And Jesus

My son has a new favorite program on TV, Boohbah. It airs on PBS and is geared for kids aged 3-6. It has to be one of the most annoying and stupid shows ever to grace the airwaves. My son, of course, loves it. They are reaching their target audience, I’ll give them that.

However, I think there is something interesting about Boohbah in relation to our approach to learning about God. Here are some snippets from the Boohbah website:

Some concepts are easier to show than to tell. Using only words, imagine trying to explain how to do the arm motions and steps for a dance. Now imagine trying to explain it to a four year old who does not yet have your verbal skills. Obviously, it makes more sense to demonstrate.

Many of the core educational concepts covered in Boohbah, including those involving dimension, number sense and movement are often better presented using images rather than words. So that’s what Boohbah does.

Boohbah seeks to give kids what they want, following the child’s way of learning to teach them. That’s all fine and dandy, but perhaps we should be aware that the way to teach people now is by showing them rather than telling them.

Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. We walk by faith, not by sight. However, most of education is now being done by watching. Even your church more than likely uses a large video screen.

I have no problem with Boohbah, other than the fact that it sounds annoying in the other room, and I’m not railing on your church’s video screen. I’m just saying we need to be aware of the tendency to move away from hearing to seeing and how that will ruin the life of faith.

Don’t Judge A Librarian By This Cover

First off, let me just say that I think church librarians are fine, fine people. And church libraries are indispensable. Where else can you find 14 copies of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness?

Upon saying that, allow me to now enter the realm of disrespect. I received a copy of a fine periodical entitled Church Libraries: A Publication of the Evangelical Church Library Association. Don’t even ask.

Anyway, I was reading it this morning and was perusing their large section of book reviews when I came upon a review of the book, The Super Short, Amazing Story of David and Goliath. I read the following sentence:

“David is drawn as a goofy kid with overblown hair and a silly T-shirt with an upside down and backward letter ‘P’ on it. (No, I don’t know what it stands for, since David is a Jew not a Philistine.)”

Now, it’s early and my brain is a bit fogged from seasonal allergies, but I began thinking, “An upside down ‘P’ turned backwards. Hmm, that would appear to look like a small case letter ‘d.’ Hey wait! That’s hilarious!”

I haven’t stopped laughing since. Gotta love them church librarians. Nothing gets past them. Go ahead and look at the picture by clicking the link below, very clearly a letter d, not sure what it’s doing on David’s shirt, since he was a shepherd not a delivery boy.

Mormon Mafia

Joel Kramer is an evangelical minister who tries to help Mormon folks convert to real Christianity. He puts out books and videos highlighting Mormon error and showing Biblical truth.

In an attempt to get first-hand Mormon information, he videotapes Mormon pageants. If you are not aware, Mormons put on huge plays highlighting Mormon “historical” events. Mormons apparently don’t appreciate his work so much.

Joel “was arrested and booked for investigation of disorderly conduct after he told a Cache County sheriff’s deputy he was not violating any laws by videotaping the pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early disciple of Joseph Smith.”

Joel believes he was arrested because the police are backed by Mormons, not because he actually violated any laws. Stop by and give ol’ Joel some encouragement at his Living Hope Ministry web site.

Mary Shopping

A woman who had a house fire last year found an image of the Virgin Mary on her wall. At the time she said, “I don’t want people to think I’m going to try to make a fortune off it. It’s not my intention to put it on eBay.”

My how things change. One would think that having the Virgin Mary show up on your wall that your life would get better. Apparently not. Things got so bad, the woman decided to sell poor Mary on eBay after all.

The section of wall was sawed out of the house on Jan. 20 to protect against vandals. That vibrated some of the smoke dust off the image, she said. Nonetheless, Dennis listed the starting bid at $2,500 in a posting that described the apparition making “national and international news.”

But never fear, she’s not doing it for greed or for personal gain, oh no, she has promised to “plan on donating some money from it to the Red Cross and the Mexico Fire Department Relief Fund. They were there when I needed them, and I want to give back.” And we know how well she keeps a promise.

Nice Buns

Customers in a bakery for a Bible study saw a different kind of buns Wednesday morning. A drunken teen came into the Atlanta Bread Co. shortly after it opened, used the bathroom in a storage closet, then walked out of the bakery naked.

The teen [Julius Daukus] had apparently been drinking while visiting some friends at a nearby home and wandered off, Creason said.

Daukus was confused when police arrived. “He was calm, just sitting on the curb,” Creason said. “He didn’t know where he was.” Employees at the store said the Bible study regulars just shook their heads at what happened.

That’s what Jesus would do, just shake His head.

Just Say No To No

A recent interview with the Pope will soon be posted on the Vatican website, but snippets of the interview are already floating around the internet. Here is the main highlight of the interview.

“Christianity, Catholicism, isn’t a collection of prohibitions,” the 79-year-old Pope said. “It’s a positive option … We’ve heard so much about what is not allowed that now it’s time to say: we have a positive idea to offer …”
Pope Benedict waves to the faithful during Angelus prayer from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome August 13, 2006. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

“So I think we should correct that image that sees the Church as spreading severe ‘nos’.”

He said all this after being asked about the Catholic Church’s stand on abortion, homosexuality, and birth control and how all these stands are phrased negatively.

It’s a nice try to say this, but seriously, church wouldn’t be church if it didn’t consist of telling people to knock off this sin or that sin.

River Of Life Flowing Out Of Trees

A woman in San Antonio, Texas has a tree that is spouting water. No one can figure out exactly where the water is coming from, but for about three months it has been coming out of a tree in her yard.

She is beginning to think it’s holy water of some kind. That God is doing a miracle through her tree. And, to top it all off, her name is Lucille Pope. No further proof needed that this is a miracle. But then there is also this:

“Her insurance agent dabbed drops of the water on a spider bite and the welt went away, she said. “I just want to know if it is a healing tree or blessed water,” she said. “That’s God’s water. Nobody knows but God.”

If God is healing insurance agents with water from trees, The End can’t be too far off.

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