Cancer Ward Christians

I do not wish to offend for the sake of offending with this post, but I do wish to share an opinion. I speak this with humility and with the firsthand witnessing of several people I have known who have died from horrible things.

I don’t know how else to say it so I’ll just drop it on you.

Suffering does not mean you are a good Christian.

The assumption is made that anyone who suffers will be in God’s saving grace. I wish this were the case, yet everyone suffers and dies and yet not all are saved. Suffering because of cancer, age, any other dreadful disease or accident is no fun, hence the word “suffering.”

Suffering for suffering’s sake, having to put up with bummer reality on a fallen planet, stinks but does not equate to spiritual suffering or suffering for righteousness sake.

Many believers have been built up through their struggles and many have been brought to salvation through it. But being in it does not give you any special pull with God or make you mature just because your life currently stinks.

It’s like the people who died in the Twin Towers on 9-11. They called them heroes because they died when a plane ran into them. That’s not a hero; that’s being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The firemen who rushed into the burning building, now that’s heroism. Dying does not equal heroism, nor does suffering equal salvation.

I mean no disrespect, but I believe there are many people who think they are on God’s side because they are grinning through diseases while Satan is having a field day with their delusions. Salvation is on the basis of faith, not on the basis of grinning and bearing life.

Mike Piazza’s Faith

Mike Piazza used to be one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball. I never liked him because he played for teams I hated and always looked girly to me, but that’s just me and I’m weird.

Apparently Piazza is a man of faith, something I was not aware of. However, he’s also a man of girly faith, which seems to fit the impression I have of him perfectly. Allow him to explain in an interview from Sports Illustrated.

Q: Do you have a favorite prayer?

A: I love the rosary, and I say the Hail Mary a lot. The devotion, especially my devotion to the Holy Mother, is something that’s helped me a lot. And I love praying the rosary, so I say my Hail Marys all the time.

Q: Could you say a little more about what Mary means to you?
A: The fact that she was just so devoted and so special, that God chose her to bear his son. It’s, like, wow. It’s really a special thing. I love reading about her, and reading about some of the apparitions, or reported apparitions, throughout history. I wish I had so much grace that I would be privileged to see it.

I wish I had so much grace that I would refrain from making my next comment, and alas, I do! Praise God.

Brian "Head" Welch

The autobiography of Brian “Head” Welch, former lead guitarist for heavy metal band Korn, has hit the top 20 of the NY Times Bestseller list. The book shows Head’s life in Korn and drop into depression and misery only to be rescued by God.

“So I just want people to know God. I just pray that it imparts a hunger, even Christians, to know God more. You know, deeper,” the ex-Korn member told The Christian Post. “And if tons of drug addicts get set free from their drugs by the book, that’s awesome.”

His conversion must be real, he used the word “just” twice in one sentence and even in a good Christian context. Welcome home Brian!

Sees The Bidet

Update: The church bothered by a bidet billboard near them featuring naked buttocks has made their point and the company has agreed to sanitize their ad.

Washlet-maker Toto put up a sanitized version of its ad with a white band across the barest features. Across the blocked out portion is the message: “Clean is happy. No ifs, ands, or…”

1 Corinthians 9:22 And MTV

Recent church movements like 1 Corinthians 9:22 and particularly the phrase “I am made all things to all men.”

They use this to justify their no-obligation gospel and their seeker sensitive entertainment. “Be all things to all people” is always used to say that the church has to be MTV to attract sinners.

I would offer that this might be taking the verse slightly out of context. First, Paul is talking about himself, He uses the pronoun “I” showing that he is not referring to the church. He tells the church what to do: be the edifier of believers.

Individual believers, such as Paul and you and I, have the liberty to bend in order to help sinners find Christ.

Second, even on an individual level this verse is generally brought up to justify Bob’s propensity to drink beer, smoke weed, swear, watch wrestling, attend Eminem concerts and so forth. You know, not cuz Bob likes it, oh no, but because Bob is reaching out to unbelievers. Riiiight.

But even if that poor, sloppy reasoning is what Paul is referring to, why do we never see this verse applied equally, all around? I have never seen it used to stop Christians from protesting abortion, homosexuality, evolution, etc.

Be careful next time you use this verse because it pretty much means you won’t be offended by anything. Only a very mature believer, such as Paul who said, “I judge not myself,” should be able to bandy it about.

Until then, we’ll rejoice in our liberty until we all reach perfection in Christ.

Disciplining Pornographers

A couple who are busy leading and helping in their church have just been ratted out by another church member after he found their pornographic web site.

Their web site has now been removed and they have also been removed from any councils and leadership roles in the church, however they are still welcome to come.

It makes me wonder what happened to the guy who found their porn site, has he been disciplined too?

Philosophy Of Church Part 7—Pastors

Pastors are to be chosen based on moral qualities as outlined by Paul in the books of Titus and Timothy. He gives explicit instructions on how to identify a good candidate for pastor.

Churches generally choose pastors based on education, experience, good looks, speaking ability or other such irrelevant details. Churches would be better served to go with the moral guidelines given in Scripture.

But, of course, the church has all but forgotten that God actually wrote a book.

Allow me to illustrate. Pastor’s kids have a reputation of being dork, rebellious, jerk sinners. The Bible says that any man who can’t run his house and have loyal children should not be a pastor. If your pastor has excessive kid problems he should be confronted. If there is no change he should go.

Instead, we continue to have pastors with doctorates who have dork kids who continue to run the church into hell. It quite frankly makes me sick that we don’t even bother to listen to the Bible on who will be our spiritual leader.

It’s one of the most vital choices you’ll make in life. Instead we pick churches over who has the best doughnuts, singing, comfiest chairs, etc. Gag.

God’s Treehouse

It rises 97 feet into the sky, the support provided by a live, 80-foot-tall white oak 12 feet in diameter at its base. Six other trees brace the tower-like fortress, but Burgess says its foundation is in God.
“I built it for everybody. It’s God’s treehouse. He keeps watch over it,” said Burgess, who received his inspiration in a vision that came to him in 1993. “I was praying one day, and the Lord said, ‘If you build me a treehouse, I’ll see you never run out of material.”‘
Stuff like this will also guarantee I will never run out of material.

James Kilgore

A former Bakersfield police officer turned pastor helped nab a man who allegedly stole a car from his church’s parking lot.

Kilgore and Walter Brenton, 72, drove around looking for Brenton’s 1986 Ford Crown Victoria, and spotted the alleged thief driving it a few blocks away. The pastor followed the driver until he crashed, tackled him as he crawled out of the car and then handcuffed him until police arrived on the scene.

The following punchlines have been suggested to me:

He usually uses the sword of the spirit
Thankful he’s been having parishioners practicing the sword drills
Free Will Baptist – Exercising his free will to carry a gun.
He still won’t allow the women the right to “bare” arms.

I think I’ll go with:
Pastors do get more crowns.

Philosophy Of Church Part 6—Government

Church government is weird. Most church government systems have no basis in Scripture. Scripture says there are pastors and there are deacons. Pastors are often called elders, bishops, overseers and pastors. Deacons are pretty much called deacons.

It is biblical to have several elders and several deacons. Churches are to be run by the elder/overseer/pastor. Deacons are to have their part in giving counsel and carrying out operations. Both have authority to teach.

The concept of a membership or membership voting is not in the Bible. I don’t go for the Baptist notion of “casting lots” meaning “to vote.” I doubt that the soldiers under the cross were voting as to who got Christ’s clothes.

That being said I doubt it’s wrong to take the attenders’ opinions in as part of the overall counsel of the church. It should, however, never be the final say. Since when has any majority of people ever consistently wanted what was right?

Any church that is a democracy is not taking their instructions from Scripture. The pastor decides, through the counsel of the church leadership, the Bible, and prayer, what the church will do. The church then does it.

Pastors can be called to account when it is obvious they are abusing their trust, abusing the people or being unbiblical in their life and leadership. This is to be done by several witnesses bringing forth evidence and to be done in the spirit of love.

Christ loving the church is the example for the husband loving the wife. The man is the head of the household and the wife is to submit. That does not mean he’s a dictator or does not take her into account, he is to love her. Some might call it “servant leadership.”

I believe the same concept is in play when it comes to church leadership. Christ never took a vote to see whether He should die on the cross or how they should observe communion. He told them what to do and they did it.

Obviously pastors and deacons are not infallible and that is the importance of choosing pastors and deacons that meet the biblical standards. People who choose to attend a church are choosing to put themselves under the spiritual leadership and training of a person.

Any believer will take this seriously. Pastors will give an account before God as to how they lead and church attenders will give an account for how they submit.

Jesus Film

This month, the JESUS film reaches an astounding milestone with the debut of its 1,000th translation. JESUS, produced by Campus Crusade for Christ, is officially the most-translated film in history.

“Lanka Kol is our 1,000th translation of the JESUS film,” said Jim Green, executive director of The JESUS Film Project. “It’s a language many Americans have probably never even heard of, but there are more than one million people in India who speak Lanka Kol—and now we have the opportunity to begin sharing the gospel story with them in their own language.”

Well, that’s pretty cool.

Crackhead Jesus

CRACKHEAD JESUS IS COMING! Watch the story unfold on” is raising eyebrows and questions. Multimedia artist and dark horse presidential candidate, Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr. is turning the wisdom of never discussing politics or religion in public, on its head with his controversial modern art graphic novel, Capicua 3-1-3: The Long Arm of the Law.

The author says the character of Crackhead Jesus was inspired by a high ranking marketing firm’s CEO who, high on crack-cocaine, walked into his Fort Lauderdale office, stood on a desk in front of his employees, and announced to everyone that he was the incarnation, Jesus Christ.

All I can think to say is: What now?

Luke 16 And Divorce

A few weeks back I offered a challenge that a few brave souls were willing to take on: tell me what verse 18 of Luke 16 has to do with anything else in the chapter.

Luke 16:18 says “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

The entire chapter of Luke 16 has to do with money and whom you serve. He throws in one verse on divorce that seemingly has nothing to do with anything. But it does, here’s how.

Verse 17 makes a point about God’s Law, it will always be here and always be the guide by which God determines people’s guilt.

Jesus is equating the keeping of the bond of marriage with God keeping His law in force. Very similar to Paul and Romans 7, imagine that, Paul and Jesus agreeing, weird.

Here’s the gist: if you get a divorce and marry another person you are undermining the faithfulness of God and His Law. God wouldn’t do that and neither should you.

The Pharisees thought divorce was a fine option; Jesus said it was a sin except in the case of infidelity, but even then, remarriage was out. Remarriage is a sin as it undermines the picture of Christ and His love for His people pictured by the marriage union (Ephesians 5).

It’s fun in our day to undermine sin and let people do whatever they feel like, but every once in awhile the Bible rears its ugly head and yuck, it really makes people feel uncomfortable. We have no idea the depths of our sin.

As soon as we get a glimpse we get busy justifying ourselves. But one day, when every mouth is stopped, justifications will be burned up and we’ll see our sin for what it is. You can find out now and knock it off or wait and see what happens.

Rejection Sensitivity

A great blog post on an article in Psychology Today about rejection sensitivity, otherwise known as “being a wuss.”

“If we are becoming a people who can’t handle rejection we are also becoming a people who can’t handle being Christians.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Disciples Of Christ Oppose War

A resolution opposing the war in Iraq as contrary to Jesus’ teachings was approved by a majority voice vote of the nearly 4,000 delegates at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly on Wednesday, although some expressed concern about the message the resolution would send to troops.

At the 700,000-member denomination’s 2005 assembly, “we did not speak out because our sons and daughters were on the battlefield and we were told they could not bear to hear anything but the most glowing assent to the nation’s sacrifice of them,” he said. “But they are still there — and the church has allowed itself to be bullied and fear-mongered into silent submission.”

That’s all fine and dandy but why is a church even debating this issue and wasting time on it? So you don’t like the war, how is that going to end it? Some would debate the idea that Jesus is opposed to war seeing as how He will be the commander of the largest military victory in the history of mankind.

Anyway, just another example of the church being pulled into areas that have nothing to do with edifying the saints and instead being entangled with the affairs of the world that choke out fruitfulness, in my opinion.

Frederick K.C. Price

The Rev. Frederick K.C. Price may have two Bentleys, but a spokesman for his 22,000-member church says his Palos Verdes house doesn’t boast 25 rooms and he definitely doesn’t own a helicopter. A lawsuit Price filed Tuesday claims that ABC’s “20/20″ defamed him when it suggested otherwise, portraying him as a “hypocrite and thief” who financed an extravagant lifestyle with church funds.

20/20 later apologized as it turned out the quote they played by Price was out of context.

In the retraction, Stossel said “20/20″ had thought Price was talking about himself in the sermon. “We used his quote out of context, and for that we apologize to Dr. Price and to the Crenshaw Christian Center and to you if we misled you,” Stossel said.

It’s always vital to keep the context. The context still shows that Price is using verses out of context even with his big house and two Bentleys.

Philosophy Of Church Part 5—Money

The New Testament says specifically and repeatedly that false teachers can be detected by their constant begging for money and feeding their own desires. Since churches are following the pattern of the world they need lots and lots of money.

This leads to lots and lots of begging for money. If you need money desperately you will change the message to be palatable so people will come and drop their wallets in your pocket.

The church is supposed to collect money (1 Corinthians 16:2). In order to be in this world you need money, that’s just the way it is. This being the case, we should also expect to see what a church is to spend their money on.

In my search of Scripture I have concluded that a church is supposed to spend money on the following things.

1. Paying their pastor
2. Helping the poor and the widows
3. Supporting ministers of the Gospel in other places
4. That’s pretty much it

Anything else you spend money on is more than likely just an expense of the world tacked on. Some of these you can’t avoid–legal fees, insurance, rent, postage, etc., but many can be avoided by knocking off doing worldly things—powerpoint, organs, decorations, icons, anything having to do with Veggie Tales, etc.

The bottom line is that every church should carefully examine their spending habits and make sure they are in alignment with Scripture. By reducing costs, it reduces your need for money, which leads to reducing the amount of heresy the church will teach.

All financial doings should be above board, checked by several people, spent in the fear of God and given in the fear of God.

Cross Cell Phone Tower

A local church along with the help of Verizon Wireless may take cell phone tower development to a new and technologically divine level.

The church, in a bid to rake in money, is seeking permission to erect a cell phone tower in the shape of a cross. That’s not the least bit tacky whatsoever, plus it will bring in a boatload of money to the church.

As we all know, blasphemy is not blasphemy if a church can make money off it. Jesus must be so proud that His Body is using the symbol of His death to convey pornographic cell phone pictures.

Philosophy Of Church Part 4–Evangelism

Ephesians 4 clearly states that edifying believers is the job of the church. This is such a crucial doctrine and yet so often missed. The church is not here for the world, the church is here for believers.

Let me state it again for emphasis: the church is here for believers.

That being the case, the church should not be changed into a giant witnessing machine. In my opinion seeker sensitive churches are unbiblical. There is no such thing in God’s word.

The church is supposed to build up believers, equip them, doctrinally teach and build them up so they are not swayed by false doctrine. Read the chapter sometime. It’s pure genius.

If the church becomes all evangelism then believers are not edified and will instead be swayed by every wind of doctrine.

Evangelism is the work of individual believers. This is part of the work of the ministry believers are equipped to do. Even pastors are supposed to be sure to use the gift of evangelism.

Evangelism is the job of individual believers. If an individual wants to go preach at a sports bar during halftime of a football game, go for it. Knock yourself out. If you change your church into a halftime show for unbelievers, that is wrong. It’s not the church’s job.

Ephesians 4 is such a clear statement of what the church is for. Read and apply liberally.

Life Of Brian

Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ has been named the best British movie of all time in a new poll.

The 1979 comedy, which stars John Cleese, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam, tells the story of Brian Cohen, played by Graham Chapman, a young man born on the same night and the same street as Jesus Christ.

Ah, them crazy Brits. The movie is rather blasphemous but also a tad funny. I would say “hilarious” but I am a pastor trying to retain some dignity. I guess this doesn’t say much about the British film industry.

Uganda To Arrest Pentecostals

Crafty pastors who use deceit and trickery to extort money from their followers should be arrested, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

Addressing the press at State House, Nakasero on Friday, Museveni said he has been hearing stories of sodomy, extortion and trickery afflicting the Pentecostal churches.

I would assume that Pentecostals cheating at church softball would also qualify.

Philosophy Of Church Part 3—Programs

Most people assume that churches exist for the sole purpose of making their lives miserable and busy. Churches feel they are wasting resources if someone looks like they are relaxing.

“Keep em out of trouble by keepin’ em busy” seems to be the operational mission of most churches.

I have endeavored to let my people go, just like Moses would have them. Ephesians 4 says my job is to equip them, train them and build them up so they can go out into the world to be useful. If they are to go somewhere they must be let go at some point.

Church is not the only place where spiritual things take place. Church is where you are built up, you go out to be drained, you come back to be filled. Church attendance is sporadic for most because 1) they aren’t doing anything that would drain them spiritually and 2) most churches don’t fill them up with anything even if they were drained.

My church does not do Christmas pageants, Sunday School programs, Easter cantatas or any of that. My experience with this kind of thing is that it wastes time, keeps people busy, makes people complain excessively, takes them away from family and leads to division.

But isn’t it worth it if just one person is saved? No, for just as many that are saved by these things there are 74 others who are further turned off to Christianity by hearing all the whining and division that goes along with it.

Teach the people, edify them, build them up and then let em go out and do some work.

Professional Christian’s Dilemma

Christians who get paid to do Christianesque things face a dilemma: in order to survive (make money) you have to do something to attract people with money. Unfortunately, people are already so distracted that you have to become more and more bizarre.

If you want to write a book and make money you have to come up with something new. If you want to be invited to speak places you have to have originality. If you want to “be known” you have to develop a specialty that no one else has cornered.

Unfortunately, this desire to be new, original and specialized has led to a lot of heresy. All false religions were started by people trying to be these things.

Paul says to walk according to the same rule and to mind the same thing. But if we all said, thought and lived the same stuff, who would buy my book? I gotta be weird and outrageous, then I’ll get noticed.

This is the dilemma. How do you self-promote in a faith that says self-promotion is wrong?

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