March 29, 2008

Too Many Books Is Tiresome

I'm reading a book currently--well actually several books; nothing unusual there but the one I am referring to is a very popular book written by a Christian and an atheist about "the church."

They traveled around the country checking out all kinds of churches assessing how they do things from the perspective of the atheist. Now, admittedly I am only part way through the book and there are a couple of tid-bits here and there that could be helpful for a church to be in tune with. But overall, the book is becoming a mite annoying.

What the atheist dislikes at one church for one reason, he dislikes at the next church for the opposite reason. At still another church, he still dislikes whatever the thing is in focus, for still another reason. In other words, one church might be "too friendly" and the next church not friendly enough. At still another, the friendliness seemed "too orchestrated" but at the next it seemed too casual and no matter what angle of any aspect of the church the atheist was critiquing, there was almost certainly a "problem" with it.

To make it all even more annoying, this lone atheist's assessment is somehow supposed to be representative of all the unchurched in the land.

It's not that I am sensitive to criticism of the way churches do things either; believe me I am our own worst critic but reading this "Christian" book and another "Christian" book I read a couple weeks back, I was reminded why I don't read very many Christian books at all.

I find they are either repackaged ideas for which there are already 50 different titles on the shelf, they are drivel, or they are someone else's idea of why and how "the church" is supposedly doing it all wrong. If you're big--you should be smaller; if you're small, you should be bigger; if you're into social action, you should be more focused on the Gospel and if you're focused on the Gospel you should be more involved in social action and on and on.

Solomon--WISE old Solomon wrote, "…be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body." Eccles. 12:12

I'll say, but before you get depressed, picking up the latest, "what's wrong with the church" book on the shelf remember "The Church" was God's idea; He calls it His Bride and we need to be careful about insinuating that "God's girl" is a real dog!

Oh What Tangled Webs We Weave...

"Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight." Proverbs 12:22

If there is a legacy left to all Americans from the Clinton Presidency it is that the word "lying" and "Clinton" are synonymous.

Chelsea Clinton--stumping for her mother--was asked recently about Hillary's accusation that Bill's obscene conduct with Ms. Lewinsky was untrue and the product of a "vast right wing conspiracy."

Chelsea responded, "Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business."

Chelsea's response would have been defensible if it was asked her of private-citizen Hillary Clinton but it wasn't. It was asked concerning Presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton who made the statement--publicly--in defense of her sleazy husband.

That puts the question in an entirely different light and makes it everyone's business. The Hillary that gave the ludicrous answer about a vast right wing conspiracy is the same Hillary desiring to be the chief communicator/answer-giver for every American.

Her public comments as first lady are fair game and appropriate to dissect. After all it is by Hillary's own insistence, that it was as "first lady" where she obtained all her wonderful "experience" to be President. If Chelsea is big enough to be on the campaign trail for her mother, she needs to be big enough to answer relevant questions even if they are uncomfortable.

But Hillary's veracity has always been a problem. Currently she was caught lying--no other words for it--even though her words have been "I misspoke" "I was mistaken," "I was sleep deprived" when relating details about a trip to Bosnia as first lady where she supposedly had come under fire from snipers and had to run to waiting vehicles instead of having a reception on the airfield. Furthermore she insisted her plane had to fly evasive maneuvers to land safely.

Thanks to video tapes, Hillary was caught red handed--or should I say, red-faced. Not only were there no snipers, she had a lolly-gagging reception on the tarmac where she landed and Colonel William Changose, the pilot who flew her plane, said, "Not only were there no bullets flying around, there was no bumblebee flying around."

What you see and what you hear--is what you get. Nuff said.

March 26, 2008

Belief In Sin Is A Concept, Not An Actuality

We know that "we the people" of these United States are hypocrites declaring to believe in any number of concepts, ideas, even theologies and yet our actions betray what we really believe.

It's no surprise then that Ellison Research tells us 87% of the populace believes in the concept of sin. (Sin was defined as “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective.”)

The study asked 1000 Americans to decide whether 30 behaviors were sinful. Now before I go on with some of the results of this research I want you to first picture, ever so quickly in your mind's eye, about the vast majority of movies, shows, music, entertainment and reading materials we spend our time and money on in the course of any given day.

Okay the research shows that the "big" sins--meaning those activities or behaviors which are viewed by a strong majority as being sinful include the following: Adultery was most often described as sinful behavior, followed by racism, and drug use. Abortion, homosexual activity; pornography; gossip; swearing; and sex before marriage followed with strong support being considered sinful.

Okay, if this is true then wouldn't you expect to see a somewhat prevalent application of these beliefs to every day life? But that isn't anywhere close to reality. Remember, this research was not merely for churched individuals but for the unchurched as well.

So why do we see the Governor of New York resign in disgrace due to sexual immorality having been involved with hired sex for several years only to have his successor admit only days into his new position that he and his wife had both been sexually involved with others?

I'm not just picking on these isolated events but the whole fiber of our society which is swamped in sexual dysfunction, sexually caused disease, pornography is a mutli-billion dollar industry, swearing is as commonplace among professional women as it is blue collar beasts. We all know about the millions dead from abortion, and you can't go a day without some assault by another homosexual attempt to desensitize your sensibilities. Drug abuse, even with prescription drugs, is a way of life and premarital sex is a recreational adolescent right.

It seems obvious that calling something sin, and living as if it truly were are vastly different realities in the hearts and minds Americans--both churched and unchurched. But the consequences are not mitigated by what we say; only by what we do!

Obama's Pastor Is More Than A Loose Cannon

You have I assume heard some of the many pieces of Barak Obama's pastor, aired incessantly it seems, over the television and radio waves of the nation. That much is being made of this is legitimate and as much as Obama tries to distance himself from his pastor's inflammatory, hateful and genuinely racist rhetoric, his explanations are thin.

This is not a case of a pastor making an isolated statement in the heat of a moment; we are all human; we all say things that we regret later once having time to think about them or having collected our sensibilities. How well I know…

But Pastor Wright has not simply made a gaff here and there or a rash statement in a moment of passion.

I have listened to several, rather lengthy, aspects of his sermons and have heard him defending his positions on Fox News. The problem boils down to this.

Obama's church is dedicated to liberation theology rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While religionists make them one and the same, the fact is, they are two distinct theologies--one being a human reaction (usually an angry human reaction) to social injustice; the other being the inspired words of God incarnate.

One sees the ultimate in human deliverance as equality in all things in this life here and now. The Gospel sees the ultimate in human deliverance as liberation from personal sin and its attendant consequences. One sees heaven as life on earth without unfairness, unkindness and hatred. The Gospel sees heaven as existence with God after life on this Earth. One sees the work of the Kingdom as working against injustice toward a just paradise on Earth; the Gospel sees the work of the Kingdom as telling others of the hope of Christ with a view to another life where absolute justice will be the norm.

I understand the Rev. Wright's anger at a certain level and even sympathize with it to a certain extent; but his priorities, reactions, and solutions are anything but Christ-like and anything but Biblical. Obama needs to do a lot more than just shrug them off with a casual--I don't agree with everything he says. He needs to reject them as being bigoted, racist and above all, unbiblical.

March 21, 2008

Good Friday For Us; Bad Friday For Jesus

Okay--so today is what traditionally is called "Good Friday." This evening at 7:00 our church will be hosting a Good Friday service of music and meditation but of course if you're listening to this in the evening time slot, you're obviously not planning to attend--at least not at Faith Evangelical Free Church.

"Good Friday" has always been an intriguing way to remember what was really a bad day in the life of Jesus. It was on that day that the Roman Leader Pontius Pilate wimped out washing his hands of Jesus' blood turning Him over to the rabble who wanted Him crucified. That too, is quite the interesting point on which to meditate.

I thought Jesus was the consummate "Nice Guy." I mean that is how He is ALWAYS portrayed in our contemporary culture of "Judge not lest ye be judged." How often do you hear the protests from people when the well studied Christian explains various teachings of the Bible and pronounces certain behaviors, activities, or lifestyles as perverse or immoral?

The classic protest is something along the lines of, "Jesus never judged anyone! Jesus loved everybody! God loves you just the way you are (which they then imply means that He loves everything about you.)

An honest reading of the life of Jesus sees Jesus getting infuriated and not only that one time in the Temple. For someone who loves everyone "just the way they are"--meaning everything about them--Jesus sure ripped on a lot of people.

"You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7

"For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27

"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father."

John 8:44

"You hypocrites, you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." Matthew 23:15

Sheesh, sounds pretty judgmental to me. No wonder He was crucified; pretty intolerant I'd say. So what gives? Well, you can find out this Sunday at 8:30 or 10:30. We're easy enough to find right on the main drag in Waterville across from Shaw's Plaza, but only if you're not already involved with a Bible believing faith community.

March 14, 2008

Another Palm Sunday; Ho-humm...

This Sunday is traditionally known as "Palm Sunday." The name comes from the episode in the life of Jesus when the thronging crowds showered Him with accolades throwing palm fronds on the road in front of him as he entered Jerusalem. The historical occurrence is traditionally celebrated as "The Triumphal Entry."

This is ironic since the occasion would mark the beginning of the end of Jesus' life on Earth. The same crowd that cheered His arrival demanded His execution at Calvary only days later. What changed?

The crowds were not really interested in Jesus--the Promised Savior--who came into the world to die for their sins. They wanted the Jesus who miraculously put food on their plates as they hungered on a hill side. They were ready to embrace the miracle working Healer who had already healed a deaf man, raised a dead man, and tossed demons out of numerous people like so much used Kleenex in a coat pocket.

They had experienced the magic-genie-Jesus; the one they thought they could domesticate and manipulate at whim; the one they thought came to make them comfortable, healthy and happy. The Jesus they clamored for looked like the one you hear portrayed so often today as the one who exists to make us prosperous and pretty.

What they weren't interested in was a God coming in the likeness of a man yet who was fully God; a God who came, not to give us what we wanted, but what we needed. And what we needed was the cure of for our pernicious self-centeredness that placed our wills above God's.

He came to cure us not of poverty, not of poor health, not of failing marriages, not even of injustice. Those are all promises for another epoch; the day when He returns for the second time. But right now, with His first visit, all He did was cure those who believe in Him and on Him, of their sinfulness that separated them from God--for all eternity and then entered those lives with His Holy Spirit to be a constant companion and comforter as we endure a sin-filled world. That's all He did. That's all. Ho hum…Ho hum…

What Happened To Every Person Gets a Vote?

I am sure you can remember back to the controversial election of 2000 when hanging chads became the focus with great animus and hostility on the part of democrats believing Al Gore should have been president. Do you remember one of the salient war cries of that time? "Every person deserves their vote to be counted!" There has never been a greater uproar over the possibility of someone's vote going untallied.

Do you remember the other war cry of the day once the courts determined George Bush the winner? It was, "The election has been stolen" or some form of that protest.

One thing about history is that it tends to reveal the glaring hypocrisies of those who might wish to ignore it.

Enter Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and the party of short--and very selective-- memories. When Michigan and Florida decided to back out on their agreement concerning the party's rules regarding when and how their primaries would be conducted, the national party decided to punish the two states by nullifying their primary election. This made their delegates ineligible to count in the selection of their party's candidate for the highest office in the land.

How interesting this is since--putting it in other words--the democrats were outraged that some people's votes didn't count when they wanted to manipulate the system in order to make their candidate president. According to them at that time, the most heinous, egregious, and reprehensible offense committed against any human being is the crime of discounting anyone's vote. How un-American!

And yet, the same party--so offended that some improperly cast votes might not have counted--by their own doing, eliminated every single vote by every eligible voting citizen of Michigan and Florida!

And you know what else I heard just the other day? Because of Michigan and Florida's votes not counting, the candidate's lackeys were spewing the reminiscent language of thievery saying "the primary election is being stolen."

What short memories. What grotesque hypocrisy.

Planned Parenthood Gets Another Pass

Planned Parenthood is a business that exists and flourishes by murdering the tiniest, most helpless of people. So why would it surprise anyone then, that it just might not be the most sensitive and honorable corporation in all other aspects of its operation?

The charges by pro-lifers over the years have been that PP is just in it for the money. When you consider their cash flow and the numbers of devastated lives--both those killed and those permanently scarred with memories of those killed, it is hard to argue that it's not all about money. But one person wanted to have something more tangible than the obvious.

UCLA student, Lila Rose decided to do an undercover piece on PP looking at attitudes concerning racial bias within the operation of the stellar organization.

She hired an actor to contact PP in seven states asking them if they would be willing to accept a donation that was specifically earmarked for the "abortion of black babies."

In the course of contact with PP representatives, not a single PP employee "objected or questioned the request even when the actor insisted that the purpose was 'to lower the number of black people' in America."

Jared Bridges--web editor for the Family Research Council remarks that PP is "Never a group to turn away a buck, Planned Parenthood will take money from wherever and whomever it can get it, be it the government, Hollywood movie stars, and corporations. That welcoming spirit apparently even extends to those who seek racial genocide."

Planned Parenthood has been a scourge on our nation since its inception. It siphons off millions of dollars in tax sponsored aid to accomplish its mission of killing babies and has been caught red handed, too many times to count, in scandals ranging from altered, incomplete or destroyed medical records, failing to report legally required information, failing to report sexual abuse or rape, and truly just about whatever else one can imagine from those who kill babies for a living. Where money is king, all else bows and the leaders of this nation have been kissing the feet of this devil for decades and it does so with impunity.

March 03, 2008

Nothing Baffling About NIU Shootings

This past Valentine's Day a gunman on the Northern Illinois University Campus opened fire on students in Cole Hall hitting 21 people killing five.

The scenario was all too familiar with lockdowns, screaming students, wide spread panic and crowds meandering around hours later in a stupor wondering "what just happened?" At the end of it all the shooter-- Steven Kazmierczak--was also dead; a blessing for the inhabitants of planet earth in general and Dekalb, Illinois in particular. If it seems strange calling the perpetrator's demise a blessing, one must understand that God's very reason for implementing capital punishment was to remove the evil one from the community. Removing such a wicked person would enhance the quality of life of the innocent citizens at large. Under such a rubric, even the extreme consequence of execution is not barbaric but merciful.

Predictably there was the typical hand-wringing concerning the "whats" and "whys" of it all with the "experts" attempting "expert" explanations. The comment that caught my attention though was the person opining about these homicides as well as all the others of recent times, saying-- "Only God knows why this is happening." I don't share the same assessment.

While many occurrences in our daily routines are mystifying, these rampages are the by-product of a wayward culture which trivializes morality, dilutes or redefines right and wrong while rewarding evil and punishing righteousness. What's so hard to figure out?

God spoke it through the prophet Isaiah saying, "Woe to those who call evil, good, and good, evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness…" (Isaiah 5:20)

For decades we have been reinventing truth any way we deem appropriate with every individual being the final authority of what is "right for him or her." Why are we then shocked when we learn of someone gunning down others?

If it is true, as our society demands, that morality is fluid; that truth is relative and that what is right for one is not necessarily right for another, how dare we impose OUR notion of right and wrong, even on a homicidal maniac? In the scheme of things Kazmierczak was just an angry, young man who, in his anger, merely expressed himself different than you or I might. Within his moral framework though, he determined his actions were right for him. Moral pronouncements are irrelevant.

If we are consistent with such absurd, cultural notions about good and evil, right and wrong, we may take exception to the nature of the shooter's moral compass, but we cannot--without great hypocrisy--impugn the direction that person's compass points.

So if we are brutally forthright and painstakingly committed to intellectual honesty, we must admit that our cultural trend toward murderous hate commenced at the Garden of Eden. God presented his truth--"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.'" (Genesis 2:16-17) But Eve--several millennia ahead of her time--rejected God's truth determining "truth" for herself trampling over the tender mercies of God when he said "…thou shall not…" The world followed suit and continues in escalating fashion.

Why do these horrors keep happening? Because everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Solomon wrote that such people are fools and should be obvious that we are living in a fool's paradise.

Alternative Worship Is Problematic

As the Emergent Church continues to emerge, the age old issue of what constitutes "valid worship" continues to be in the forefront of Christian current events.

Barna Associates just released a new survey result showing that "a majority of adults now believe that there are a variety of biblically legitimate ways to experience God outside of the conventional church."

"At least 50 percent of adults who took part in the survey said they felt that each of these six alternatives were 'a complete and biblically valid way for someone who does NOT participate in the services or activities of a conventional church to experience and express their faith in God…'"

1. Engaging in faith activities at home, with one's family (considered acceptable by 89%).

2. Being active in a house church (75%).

3. Watching a religious television program (69%).

4. Listening to a religious radio broadcast (68%).

5. Attending a special ministry event, such as a concert or community service activity (68%).

6. Participating in a marketplace ministry (54%).

Honestly I could write a book on this subject showing the biblical absurdity of at least 5 out of the six. It must be enough for now to say that this shows how biblically illiterate "Christians" are, and that the damnable independence exemplified by Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1 who lost their lives coming to God any old way they felt appropriate, is still the spirit of the age.

It is certainly true that "The Church" does not consist in the physical edifices in which worship takes place but there is clear structure to the "Ekklesia" or the "Ones who are called out," ie., "The Church."

Five out of the six expressions of "worship," which are deemed appropriate by at least half of Christians, do not contain the elements of--among other things--God ordained leadership; authority; accountability structures and the general idea of the "body gathered" who together bring all the gifts to the table so that the church is complete.

The two rebels of Leviticus 10 discovered with their lives that God is not to be trifled with and He birthed the Church for the care, nurture, and safeguarding of those who comprise it. Five of the six mentioned, divorced from the "local church," are nothing more than sinful self-indulgences for which a great price can be expected.

American Psychological Association Needs A Shrink

Well here's a new intensified twist on how intent the devil is on pushing his anti-God, anti-life devastation on the human race.

In the earlier publications of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders behaviors like Homosexuality and pedophilia for example were listed as mental disorders. Over time however, the professional dogma changed and such aberrant behaviors were deemed to be untouchable by the ethical counselor and such disorders could not be approached unless a person deemed that it was a problem in which case the counselor could help them to overcome these disorders.

But now the American Counseling Association has a new policy stating that even if a client comes to see a counselor for help in overcoming such sexual deviance, the counselor MUST offer only "gay-affirming" arguments.

If the client persists in their view that their struggle is indeed a moral one, the ethical counselor must help them to explore what "religious influences" are underpinning the client's own self-directed homophobia.

Do you see how Satan pushes his homicidal agenda? First he says, you must stop labeling such behaviors as aberrant or sinful. Then he says you must never tell someone their behaviors are "wrong" --unless they believe they are wrong. Then he says you must not offer them "help" to overcome because there is nothing to overcome; then he says, even if they come seeking help, you must convince them there is nothing to seek help for and you must help them to embrace their pathology.

If any counselor dares even refer a client to a counselor who does offer "reparative counseling" the American Counseling Association says that counselor will be breaching their code of ethics.

Fortunately, hundreds of counselors within the APA are protesting but we have a long track record of seeing the frog in the kettle at work! Even if they re successful this time to get something changed, it is only a matter of time until the perverse and dying will obtain what they think they want. This is a satanic scheme; it is not merely human.

Our only hope is that faithful men and women continue to persevere unrelentingly maintaining the truth we know is God's truth. And by Gods grace, as Paul writes to Timothy, perhaps "they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." 2 Tim. 2:26