Jesus Tree

Jesus is back in Florida, this time in a knot on a tree. Apparently, the image can only be seen when the street lights are on.

If you go past the house where the tree is after dark, you’ll see the owner out front smoking a cigar and staring at his Jesus tree. “It feels like you are hanging out with Jesus.”

Marines And Christian Coins

Several marines are busted after people complained that they were handing out coins with a Bible verse on them. The coins sparked a protest in Afghanistan where several people died.

President Bush has apologized, for what I don’t know. It’s all worth it if it saves one soul from hell, aint it?

Prophet School

Elijah was cool. Lots of guys wanted to hang around with him, as I would have. His successor, Elisha, was also cool and guys wanted to hang around him too.

In 1 and 2 Kings this group of guys were constantly around. Apparently Elijah and Elisha set up some sort of a prophet school in Bethel, where they would train young prophets.

This is weird to me. Didn’t God make prophets? Saul began to prophesy when God’s Spirit came on him, he didn’t have to go to school.

I saw this paragraph in the KJV Commentary about 2 Kings 2:3,

Sons of the prophets were men associated together in a guild or school to be trained as prophets. Beth-el, the site of cultic calf-worship (I Kgs 12:28–29), was a strange location for a theological school. The prophets obviously were not too effective.

To me, this makes perfect sense! Instead of being prophets, these guys just learned how to be prophets. It’s the best of both worlds. People think you are a prophet, “Wow, you know Elijah?” And yet you never actually do any prophet work.

Sort of reminds me of seminary (somewhat ironical that I actually attended Bethel Seminary).

Let’s be sure we’re not stuck learning all the time to the point that we become totally ineffective. Learning to serve is no substitute for serving.

The Tyre Shekel

Want to buy money used to pay Judas? The Tyre Shekel is more than likely the type of money given to Judas and you can now buy your own from First Fidelity Reserve.

(Disclaimer: the actual coins for sale more than likely are not the actual ones used to pay off Judas so they have no healing or cursing powers inherently. It is not required in the buyer to betray his Lord and Savior. Past results are no indication of future returns.)

John Wesley

John Wesley (June 28, 1703-March 2, 1791)

Seven things you may not know about John Wesley.

*He was 15th of 19 siblings
*Wrote a journal for 55 years
*Published several medical books, including one on using static electricity to treat illnesses.
*Separated from his wife who he was married to for 20 years
*Walked 12 miles one day when he was 81
*Fought with his brother, Charles (who founded Methodism), over a woman named Grace. Charles won.
*Flirted and lead on many women, causing one young lady’s magistrate uncle to threaten to arrest him, forcing John to flee across the ocean.

Crazy Methodists.

New Seven Deadly Sins

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory wrote up the seven deadly sins to manipulate people to come to confession during a time when no one was.

It’s been a long time since then, sin has changed. So the Vatican, under the auspices of Bishop Gianfranco Girotti of the Apostolic Penitentiary has drawn up a more modern seven deadly sins.

Out are: Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Sloth, and Greed

In are: Drug Abuse, Morally debatable experimentation, Environmental pollution, Causing Poverty, Social inequality and injustice, Genetic Manipulation, and Accumulating excessive wealth

This is not an easily memorizable list as the old one was. They also seem a tad ambiguous, but I guess that’s what sin is these days.

Forgive me Father for I have experimented in a morally debatable way.

The Meaning Of Dreams

It’s funny to me how often contemporary Christians have visions and dreams. It was a rather rare phenomenon even in the days when God seemed to do it “regularly.” There are only a handful of guys who had dreams and visions.

The funny part about contemporary dreams and visions is that they are usually self-serving and rather nice for those who receive them. This is a sure sign they are false (Joseph being a possible exception).

When God asks people to do things it’s usually quite painful, self-denying kind of stuff. Ask Jesus.

Jeremiah warns the supposed followers of God to stop paying attention to their prophets, there are only about two at the time they should be listening to, which, of course, they are not.

Jeremiah 29:8 says, “Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.” They have caused the dreams, not God.

You know it’s God’s revelation if it happens. God’s revelations generally revolve around the theme of “Better listen up or you’re dead.” Man’s dreams generally revolve around the theme of “I am the man.”

Make sure you are listening to the clearly revealed words of God rather than the words you are causing yourself to hear.

Amish Busted

Members of an Amish community are in trouble for violating state regulations on outhouses. The Amish are refusing to comply saying they would rather go to jail than violate their religious beliefs.

It pretty much begs the question or perhaps the question is begging me, “What Would Jesus Doo?”

The Jerusalem Syndrome

A 38-year old American touring Israel jumped off a 13 foot wall and is in intensive care. He is suffering from what is termed “Jerusalem Syndrome.”

JS is something that overcomes Jerusalem tourists and they begin to act strange, some thinking they have become the Messiah. Perhaps the man was jumping off the temple in his mind. How odd.

OK To Convert Others?

Wow, I’m stunned this morning. A few days ago I found out it was OK for pastors to talk about doctrine and today I find out, from the pope no less, that it’s OK for believers to share Christ with others.

Man, I’m just stunned. I had no idea. My whole conception of Christianity has shifted. Where do these guys come up with this stuff?

Van Halen Quotes God

Van Halen did a concert last night that was supposed to happen in March. David Lee Roth, the lead “singer,” said to the crowd in relation to the rescheduled concert, and I quote, “Like it says in the Bible, better late than never.”

Um, what? The funny thing is that the guy writing the article goes along with it, totally taking Roth’s word for what the Bible contains. In fact, he even fawns over Roth further by saying he also quoted Shakespeare.

I thought there was a fact-checker with news people. By the way, Roth quoted Shakespeare as saying, “Great googly moogly.”

Psalm 23

In doing my Saturday further research on my sermon topic for Sunday, I came across quite a few commentaries on Psalm 23. Some interesting and varied perspectives.

* From a Methodist pastor

* From Rabbi Harold Kushner

* From John Wesley

* From a Dallas Seminary trained ThM

I guess it’s good that the divergent backgrounds of the commentators all get the same point out of it!

2 Evangelists Arrested In Norway

Two street preachers were arrested during a parade in Norway for sharing their faith. You Tube has a video showing their work and also a video showing their arrest, which apparently also has a stealing crime going on in the background while the evangelists are being arrested!

One of the guys arrested said that the arrests support the argument that the “last days” have come upon the Christian church. “If people really understand what it costs to preach the Gospel, you’ll understand the times we are in,” he said.

Rechabites And Culture

In my earlier post on the Rechabites I said that not listening is not the fault of the talker but the listener. It has to be this way or else you are saying that the father of the Rechabites was a better communicator than God.

I doubt it.

This is important because of the recent “dialogue” about how the church is to “engage” the “culture” to make them listen. I have always maintained that it’s really not up to me to make people listen. It’s up to people to listen.

Jeremiah 35 pretty much backs that up. God didn’t change His message to get the remaining non-captive Israelites to listen. He didn’t hip up His message. He didn’t cuss at them or tell sort of dirty jokes to show them He was one of them.

Instead He just kept hammering His message and He let the non-listeners get smashed.

I’m all for that strategy. It’s God approved.

Rechabites And You

Reading in Jeremiah this morning and noticed the Rechabites of chapter 35. These guys were told by their dad not to build houses, plant veggies or drink wine. God heard about that and had Jeremiah go set bowls and cups full of wine before them!

I think that’s funny.

Anyway, they refused to drink the wine explaining they had to listen to their dad. Jeremiah then asks the remaining folks of Jerusalem why they can’t listen to their Father who happens to be God when these guys listen to their earthly father even in the face of temptation. A fine question.

This illustrates a key lesson in life: There’s always someone out there making you look bad.

It’s a good question though, why do Christians have such a hard time listening and yet Mr. Dahl can captivate a class of 25 four-year-olds every day? It’s not the fault of the talker; it’s the fault of the listener.

Perhaps Christians should work harder at being more Rechabitic.

Prophetic Quotation Records

While reading the prophets, a guy’s mind tends to wander. A guy’s wandering mind needs something to pay attention to so he can persevere. Here’s a little something this guy’s wandering mind pays attention to.

The prophets often contain the words of the Lord in a direct quote to the prophet, who then goes and directly quotes what God told him and if God happened to be telling the prophet some stuff that some other guys said who were quoting other guys, the quotation marks get marathonic.

Here’s my record so far: 4 quotation marks in Jeremiah 27:11

‘But the nations that bring their necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let them remain in their own land,’ says the Lord, ‘and they shall till it and dwell in it.’ ” ’ “

Records are made to be broken. Can you beat it?

Shroud Of Turin

The Shroud of Turin is supposedly the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. This was the theory until the 1980’s when carbon dating said it originated in the 13th or 14th century.

But a professor from Colorado Springs wants to resurrect these findings. He thinks the carbon dating may be off by more than a thousand years.

“Science still has much to tell us about the shroud,” Jackson told the newspaper. “If we are dealing with the burial cloth of Christ, it is the witness to the birth of Christianity. But my faith doesn’t depend on that outcome.”

Jesus Saves

Two guys were forced to make a crash landing when their microlight airplane ran out of fuel. Usually people die when they crash in microlights.

The pilot told his passenger to start praying. They were able to land their plane right next to a large sign that read “Jesus is Lord – The Bible.”

Orthodox Jews Burn New Testaments

A group of Orthodox Jews in Israel burned a bunch of New Testaments that were recently distributed by Christian missionaries.

The leader of the burning movement said something like, “he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a “commandment” to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.”

Not sure why he would regret keeping a commandment and not sure where the commandment came from but that’s what he said. Its’ been a long time since we’ve had a good book burning. This can only mean good things.

Except it probably contributes to global warming, but we’ll take our chances.

Returning To The Church Of Acts

The Bible rarely ever addresses church growth, as in, it never says how to get more people to come to your church.

The book of Acts probably comes the closest in showing how it’s done. Here are the church growth tips from Acts:

*Preach what you know people are against (Acts 4:1-4).
*Kill liars (Acts 5:1-14).
*Argue over who serves who (Acts 6:1-7).
*Be persecuted, if possible, have one of your main guys get killed in a public fashion (Acts 11:19-21).
*Circumcise a grown man fellow minister (Acts 16:1-5).

Next time you call for following the Acts model of church, be sure that’s what you really want.

Playing God?

The argument that medical help is “playing God” is as warn out as the carpet in the ER at Cook County Hospital. At the same time, one wonders how long God will let people tamper with stuff.

Those crazy British people, who believe religion discriminates against women, as if, have gotten permission to create human-animal embryos for research. That seems odd.

At the same time, Thomas Beatie is about to give birth to a baby. Yes, a man is about to give birth. He’s a transsexual. He was a woman until his 20’s when he became a man and is now going to have a baby via cesarean.

I’m wondering if there is any connection between these stories and this one: Americans are no longer donating as much to world disasters because there are so many of them now! Coincidence? Probably, but it’s fun to play Pat Robertson sometimes.

New Jewish Siddur

The Movement for Reform Judaism in Britain is coming out with a new prayer book, also known as a Siddur. Apparently the MRJB is a touchy-feely organization.

They’ve decided to eliminate all gender specific mentions of God and replaced them with gender neutral phrases. They’ve replaced King, Father and Lord with Eternal One and living God.

Something tells me all the KJV Jews aren’t going to like that move. Oh wait.

Anyway, they’ve also included OT women in their prayers for the first time ever. This is all done because they took a poll and found that 56% of British types think all religions discriminate against women.

Help, help, I’m being repressed. Come see the violence inherent in the system! You saw him repressing me didn’t you?

Speaking Pet Peeves

I do not consider myself to be a great speaker. I know my issues I need to work on. But I also know that I’m better than a lot of speakers I’ve heard.

This comes from having to sit through many, many church related events listening to many, many church related speakers. I’ll sum up my conclusions on churchy event speaking with one sentence:

Just because you can talk doesn’t mean you should.

Amen.

I have several speaking pet peeves. One is when speakers say “And with this I”ll conclude” or “One more point before closing.” Just close all ready. Inevitably, the last point is a forty-five minute point. Don’t tease.

The boys at Freakonomics adequately sum up another pet peeve of mine, “People who say that they’re going to be brief often aren’t. Indeed, the very time taken to say that you are going to be brief works to negate the claim.”

Amen.