The Art Of Pastoring

I read this book once before many years ago. Something about it stuck in my head, I remember enjoying reading it but wasn’t sure why. I decided to break it open again.

I enjoyed reading it this time too. Hansen gives a first-hand account of what being a pastor is about through his own experience. He shows what he did in various circumstances but refrains from telling all pastors to do it his way.

If you are a pastor you will find this book very encouraging. If you want to know the life of a pastor this is also a good, honest window into that sad, sad world.

He also talks about the theology of pastoring, what the Bible says it is, a good idea for all people to know what that is as few pastors do it and even fewer “laymen” have any idea what their pastor should do (other than whatever they want them to do at the moment).

I would recommend this book to all believers. I would part with Mr. Hansen on some theological issues, but his little book here is quite good.

Are Mormons Christians?

I’ll give it to you straight: nope. Here’s why I say that.

–Christians believe that Christ did not have a sin nature because He was born of a virgin, conceived by God.
–Mormons believe that God is a physical being who had sexual relations with Mary (one of his many wives, including Eve) to create the child Jesus.

–Christians believe that God is three persons in one, the Trinity.
–Mormons believe that God and Jesus are two gods. They also believe that all people can attain godhood.

–Christians believe that the shedding of Christ’s blood is what takes care of our sin problem and makes us acceptable before God.
–Mormons believe that your works–your ability to follow God’s commands and the LDS Church’s commands can cleanse your stain of sin. Brigham Young even said you can shed your own blood to take care of your own sin.

–Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
–Mormons believe that the Bible has been distorted over the years and have added three other books in addition to the Bible, most of which conflict with Scripture on many points.

–Christians believe in heaven and hell and your decision to believe in Christ’s sacrifice for your sins determines where you will spend eternity.
–Mormons believe all people go to heaven. Heaven is divided into three spheres, the top sphere of heaven contains three spheres as well. Only those people who have worked their way into godhood make it to the top of the top tier.

–Christians believe that Christ will return to this earth and reign in righteousness.
–Mormons believe Christ will return to establish the Jews in Palestine and the Mormons in Missouri. Then, the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel will leave their warm country beyond the North Pole to bring their wealth and produce a wonderful place of blessing for people to live in.

Perhaps many Mormons don’t know they believe these things and few would ever say it as I have. They are desperately trying to sound Christian and yet reading their texts clearly shows they are not.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. –Galatians 1:8

The Dip

Quitting is not just for losers. Green Bay Packers are frequently wrong, you know. Winners quit too, they just happen to quit the right things.

The Dip is all about quitting. Everything in life hits a down time, a dip, where things are tough. Is the dip worth quitting over or should you push through it? Professionals push through the dip; amateurs quit and go try something else.

In order to have the required energy and resources to push through a worthwhile dip, you must quit other things that are not worth it. Seth Godin is a master at stating the obvious. I love his stuff, it’s so simple and yet thought provoking.

It also strikes me that this book copies Jesus Christ’s method. Jesus Christ built a dip into Christianity as well–whenever a crowd was getting excited about Him He’d drop something impossible on their heads to weed out the pretenders.

I couldn’t help but read this book and think of the Gospel. Today’s church makes the Gospel all easy, no sweat, every one’s in practically. The church has specialized in removing the dip. The thing is, though, is that Christ left the dip in, even made it dippier.

Paul calls the life of faith a race to be endured, a fight to be fought, only he who endures to the end showed he was in it. The reward for finishing is eternal and marvelous. Living it now is tough, is the dip of faith worth it to you?

It’s All Latin To Me

The pope is prepared to authorize the use of the Latin Mass again. Interestingly it is speculated that this authorization will officially be given on the Feast Day of the Blessed Pope Benedict XI.

What’s so interesting about that? Ben XI’s feast day just so happens to be 7/7/07! Coincidence or supernatural? I think we know the answer to that.

The Latin Mass, by the way, is antisemitic, a little bit anyway. Just so you know.

Lucky Sevens

“As the number of the days of God’s first week, of the levels of heaven…of the numbers of angels and trumpets, etc., the number came in the last few centuries BCE to represent divine perfection,” said David Frankfurter, professor of religious studies and history at the University of New Hampshire. “Something organized seven-fold meant that it corresponded to God’s own arrangement.”

Why are we talking about the number 7? Because we’re getting close to having to make major decisions to have a little more of God’s favor (sometimes referred to as “luck”). In another week we will have 7/7/07.

Make all your big decisions on that day. Pick your new church, get married, buy a car, get a dog, start a new job, start a Pop Tart diet, whatever momentous activity your life needs. Sounds like a good day for the Lord to return. Wonder if Pat Robertson is up on this one.

Preach It!

I don’t know if it is right for a pastor to really like one of his sermons. I think it’s OK, but that’s because I like some of my sermons. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them.

I preached a great one on May 6. I think it might be one of my best, not necessarily for fine craftsmanship or anything, but for teaching and application, I think it came out pretty well.

It’s on grace. Grace means being taken advantage of. Christ gives us grace and we take advantage of it. Now we, who have the mind of Christ, are to show this same grace to others–allowing others to take advantage of us.

Annoying? Yes. Still what is required? Yup.

I’d be honored and grateful if you gave it a listen. Click here to do so.

God’s Man

Yet more proof that the “Christian leaders” of our country are just in it for the power and the money. . . Not sure the world is as thrilled about it as the “Christian leaders” are.

Jesus Saves Church

Parishioners at the Church of The Divine Spirit say from one day to the next a vision of Jesus appeared at the altar and they believe it’s all sign.

“We were talking about closing the church here, because George, who owns the church, was leaving for Mexico,” Andrews said.

“I think it’s a sign not to close down the church,” Andrews said, “an affirmation of what we’re teaching and what we’re preaching.”

Or then again, it might just be a smudge of goo. Either way, it’s probably the first time Jesus has been in this church and I doubt, now that He’s there, He’ll make any effort to come back. Not that I know what goes on in this church, just making a random statement.

Hindu’s Taking Over Senate

For what is believed to be the first time in its history, the U.S. Senate will on July 12 be opened with a Hindu prayer, the Senate Chaplain`s Office confirmed Monday.

Now, you may think that’s horrible and bad and everything, but in comparison to the normal prayer to open the Senate, it’s not that big of a deal.

Usually the Senate is opened in prayer by the Senate Chaplain who happens to be Barry Black, no relation to Barry White. Chap. Black is a 7th Day Adventist so God isn’t hearing His prayers either so having a Hindu pray won’t do anything anyhow. God hasn’t been listening to the US Senate for quite some time.

But, alas, if you’re looking to be outraged, go for it.

He said he plans to start and end the prayers with “`OM,` the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.” While the prayer will draw from Hindu religious texts, Zed said it will be “universal in approach.”

I know some other universal syllables a guy could use.

Paris Hilton And God

In her first interview since being released from jail, Paris Hilton told CNN’s Larry King on Wednesday that she has never used drugs, isn’t a big drinker, and although she feels her incarceration was unwarranted, God had a reason for putting her there.

During her 23 days in jail, she said she meditated, read letters from fans, talked to other inmates through the vents, wrote in her journal and read the Bible, though she couldn’t cite a favorite passage when asked.
The only thing worse than living without God is using Him to pretend you are. Not that I know what ol‘ Paris is up to, I’m just sharing a random thought.

Repent Ye!

I was reading a commentary this morning on a passage I am covering on Sunday and saw a footnote/quote to Harry Ironside’s book, Except Ye Repent.

I went online to see if I could find any info on it and, lo and behold, the whole book is available for free online! Gotta love that Internet. That Al Gore, what a guy.

Except Ye Repent is on repentance and what it is and what it isn’t and what part it plays in our Gospel preaching. I’ve only read the intro and first chapter but am enjoying it so far.

Antichrist Is A Commi-Pinko

A special commission of Poland’s Roman Catholic Church said Wednesday that documents in secret police files showed “about a dozen” living bishops had ties to the communist-era secret services.

Other prominent clergy have also resigned over similar allegations. The church, revered in Poland for its resistance to the communists, has been rocked by the revelations, forcing the church to finally address the issue of what is regarded as a minority of compromised clergy.

So that Catholic Church has ties to communism, what’s that do for your Antichrist theories? This reminds me of my favorite Polish joke.

Why doesn’t Poland have a hockey team?

Give up?

They all drowned in Spring training.

Persecution Among Us

Police have detained eight leaders in the country’s unauthorized Protestant church movement on charges of violating rules on religious activity, a Texas-based monitoring group said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, various other Christians are also undergoing severe persecution.

The Roman Catholic Church in Manila has laid down a dress code after parishioners complained they were being distracted by women wearing skimpy shorts, plunging necklines and men wearing sports jerseys during Mass.

How brutally unfair. Amazingly enough, church persecution is no longer something that just happens over seas. Oh no, persecution is in America as well.

Down in the heartland, peaceful and lovely Ohio has satanic forces trying to stop a Baptist church from expanding to swallow a neighborhood.

Wait, what’s that? I think I hear something roaring.

Chris Benoit

Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his 7-year-old son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself by the pulley of a weightlifting machine, authorities said Tuesday.

Investigators also found prescription anabolic steroids in the house, Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. He would not comment on Benoit’s state of mind or possible motive.

Hard to imagine that a pro-wrestler would be driven to something like this.

What I Do All Week

Over my years of being a pastor several people who think they have a career in comedy will express jealousy for my job since “you only work one day a week.”

Ha ha. Funny stuff. A good time is had by all.

But, seriously, many people wonder what pastors do all week, probably as often as pastors wonder what their people are doing all week.

Twitter is a new Internet fad that is basically blogging on speed. You have one or two lines to tell the world what you are doing. It’s the new thing. Everyone’s doing it.

I doubt I’ll be a Twitter fanatic, but I thought I’d do it for a few weeks and show people what a pastor does all week. I’ll be brutally honest. No lying at all.

You can check it out here and I’ll put a link on the sidebar as well entitled “what I do all week”

Reading Judas

I already sunk low when I read the Jesus Tomb book so I figured, while I was down here, might as well read this one on the newly released Gospel of Judas.

The gist of the Gospel of Judas is that Judas was the only disciple to “get it.” All the other disciples were worshipping another god. Jesus spends a lot of time in the GOJ laughing at the disciples.

Judas did not betray Christ, he was doing Christ a favor by releasing Him from His body that was trapping His spirit. Jesus did not die to save people, He died to save Himself from being trapped.

The gist of Reading Judas is that we should listen to these other gospels more than we do now, and probably more than the hate-filled Gospels that made it into the Bible.

The authors’ esteemed opinion is that the Gospels in the Bible are contradictory in a few places so should not be taken seriously. The Gospel of Judas, which is contradictory to all four Gospels in every way, however, should be taken very seriously.

This book reminds me of a story I heard about a guy who was reading a book in public and a stranger walked up to him, looked at the book by a female author and said, “Oh yeah, I read a book written by a woman once.”

Blame It On The Rain In Spain Mainly On The Plain

A northern Spanish village is furious at a community of nuns whom it accuses of stealing three religious statues, the daily El Mundo reported Monday.

The accused nuns were forced to move from their convent a few months back when termites moved in. They moved away, taking with them three statues and the keys to the church, which no one can enter now.

Villagers have staged protests ranging from sit-ins to banging pots. They have been met with the stony silence typical of cloisters.

Among the statues taken was a veneered statue of Jesus that was paraded through town every year.

King Of Beers

For 17 years the St. Louis Cardinals have had a Christian Family Day at the ballpark, ironically named “Busch Stadium.” Over 9,000 Christian family types came out this past weekend to watch some ball and heed the call.

“St. Louisans worship the Cardinals, which makes Busch Stadium the sanctuary of this city and this culture,” he said. “Christians need to impact that culture, not just watch it go by. What better place to do that than Busch, which is part of the heart and fabric of St. Louis?”

Even Albert Pujols likes the idea, “I don’t think we’re offending anybody,” he said. “We’re bringing our Christian testimony to people who need to hear it. What better place for that than a ballpark?”

Christian Family Day
The “our” part is interesting. And, to top it all off, the Cardinals are 15-2 on Christian Family day over those 17 years.

So that’s nice. But the idea that Christians are at a Cardinals game is absolutely preposterous to me. Going further to suggest that God blesses them with wins is even more preposterous. If God were in it would they not be 17-0? Something’s not right.

Pathetic Prophetics

I was talking from Matthew 1 and 2 this morning about the birth of Christ and Herod’s response. Herod asked his smart guys, the local guys who knew the Scriptures–more than likely Pharisees, or at least members of the Sanhedrin–where Jesus was to be born.

They immediately knew the answer: Bethlehem, duh. This tells you two things: 1) they knew the precise location the Messiah would be born at and 2) prophecy is to be interpreted literally.

The Wise Men from the East did not know where Jesus was to be born yet they were looking for Him to worship.

I find this intriguing. The Jewish guys who knew where the Messiah was to be born did not look for Him nor did they go worship Him. The Gentile wise men didn’t know where they were going but couldn’t wait to worship the Jewish Messiah.

How peculiar. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. In fact, they pretty much stuck their heads in the sand. A people who were not His people came and worshipped.

Just because you know prophecy and know that the Antichrist is the Pope and that the UN is the beginnings of the one world government doesn’t mean jack if you don’t act on it. Do you really believe prophecy if it does not impact you now?

Pastor Misses Church

Sunday services will continue as usual today at a Lexington Avenue church whose pastor was arrested a week ago after allegedly slashing her husband with a knife.

The church’s regular pastor, the Rev. Maria Fodor, was charged last Sunday night with second-degree assault. She is being held at the York Correctional Center in Niantic on $40,000 bond.

The Jesus Family Tomb

Yes, I’ve sunk this low. I passed the book by in the library New Books shelf until I found nothing else of interest and figured, “OK, whatever.” I read it in one day.

The guys who found and did the documentary on the Jesus Family Tomb are the guys who wrote this book. They detail their findings and their hypothesis that this is legitimately the actual burial place of Jesus Christ and his family, bones and everything.

I’m no scientist so I won’t even bother to debate science with them and others more qualified already have, but I will debate this: they are very self-serving and repetitive and could have written 75 fewer pages about their findings. I think they have something interesting and it seems to be legit.

At the same time, they make some tremendous leaps here and there to make their point. It certainly is nothing definitive. There stuff with the Knights Templar was a tad odd as well. I have many questions that will never be answered.

Their knowledge of Scripture was woeful. He was surprised to learn that Jesus had brothers, for instance. He seems ready to accept passages that back up his theory and ready to chuck all others with seemingly no concept that if one part is a lie, um, you know, who’s to say your part isn’t a lie?

Bottom line: if you like archeology or weird stuff about Jesus, this is worth the read. If not, go read the Gospels.

Tom Shadyac

Tom Shadyac, the producer of Evan Almighty, the new film about a new Noah’s Ark, has an interview in Christianity Today.

I take it you’re a director who happens to be a Christian, and not a “Christian director.”

Shadyac: Yeah, and I even have a hard time with that label—though you’re not going to meet a bigger Jesus freak. Someone asked me the other day, “What’s the biggest influence on your filmmaking career?” And they started naming filmmakers. I went, “Naw, it’s Jesus actually.”

The Great Dot Com-Mission

Remember several years ago when God started advertising on billboards around the country?

“We need to talk. — God.”
“Need directions? — God.”
“Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make rush hour longer. — God.”
A church in Decatur is now using the dark side to spread its message.

A billboard that reads, “I Hate Victory Family Church — Satan”

Associate pastor Chris Bates said the Web site has had more than 1,100 hits since the billboard went up. “That’s huge for a small church like us,” he said.

It is huge and it’s also exactly what Jesus told believers to do, “Go forth and get web hits.” I’m beginning to hate Victory Family Church too.

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