WELCOME to the June edition of our blog. Grab a cup of java, or your favorite “sipper,” and let’s visit.
“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:11,12).
Think about it
“God didn’t call me to fill this building, but he did call me to fill this pulpit!” – Randy Ensey
Overheard somewhere: Peter warming himself by the fire of the enemies of Christ. What was he going to do now? Jesus was arrested. His mentor was gone. He wanted acceptance and affirmation. So he visited the wrong fire. Suddenly, fear began to replace his faith. These were those who did not really love Jesus, the Truth. When accused of being a disciple of Jesus, he denied it. He wanted their endorsement more than that of Jesus. Then the cock crew.
Moral: We don’t really need the endorsement or affirmation of the world—the Christ rejectors, the celebrities, the politicians, or any others warming at their fire. We need only the smile of God. Fellowshipping false fire will encourage us to deny our allegiance to Christ.
I wonder…will the term “church” be replaced by “community organization” under Obama’s plans? Will members simply be “community organizers”?
Which is faster—the pace at which celebs rise and fall, the warp speed of new technology products arriving and then disappearing from the shelves, or the rapidity of the introduction and subsequent dismissal of new methodologies that Christians must adopt to be relevant in the twenty-first century?
Puffed on Oprah (right), Eckhart Tolle burst onto the spirituality scene like a Roman candle. He immediately became the new darling of the Oprah watchers, mostly women who have nothing better to do that sit in front of the idiot box all day, trying to discover an alternative to godliness in Yoga Secrets or Days of Our Lives. Tolle is the latest guru promoting the perceived advantages of the new spirituality.
Tolle cohabits with his girlfriend, Kim Eng, a yoga teacher in Vancouver, BC. They do TV shows, print books and teach on a 24/7 website. What do they teach? Answer: their “is-ness.” Got that? He defines “is-ness” as “being in the now.” I wonder: as opposed to being where or when? “I am, you are, and nothing more needs to be said,” he spouts. How profound. But then he explains, since writing a book about his philosophies, that many words are needed to map out an earthly path to his “new heaven.” Here are some of his “key points”:
• Take responsibility for your inner state. Emotions and even thoughts become depersonalized through awareness, and no longer form your basic identity.
• See, hear and appreciate. The joy of being is found in the simple, seemingly unremarkable things .
• Say or think ‘I am’ and add nothing to it.
• Notice your breathing. Whenever you are conscious of the breath, you are absolutely present . Conscious breathing stops your mind.
• Don’t react, accept. Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness
• The awakened consciousness rising within you at this moment is the new heaven for a new earth.
Bottom line: you really are [a] god, if only you could realize it. “By submitting yourself to this thought-free state, you can finally recognize ‘The Truth’ within yourself—that you already have all the joy, creativity, energy, love you seek. You possess all the higher power, you reach your own heaven,” he says. “Was Jesus the Son of God?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but so are you. You just haven’t realized it yet.”
We could easily flick him off the scene like an ant on your sandwich, except for the fact that so many Christians, even some Apostolics, are plugged into similar New Spirituality methodologies through books authored by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Brian McLaren, et al. For example, Willard states in Prayer Treasury, “The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons.” (page 254) In The Great Omission, Willard expounds on spiritual formation (the New Spirituality’s favorite term), spiritual disciplines, and modern religious mysticism.
O, discernment. Whence art thou gone? We hardly knew ye.
Source: Cathy Grossman in USA Today; 4/15/10
My, how time can change things. Now politicians are advertising themselves as “bi-sexual” or gay in order to get votes. Trolling for votes in one of the “gayborhoods” in Philadelphia, Gregg Kravitz was accused of feigning bi-sexuality to woo voters. He did admit that he was “openly bi-sexual” but that he is currently “in a relationship” with a woman. Just a few years ago, gays hid their sexual orientation in a closet when they were running for office. Now they will put a guilt trip on you for being a right-wing homophobe if you don’t vote for them after “coming out.”
Where to from here, folks?
Source: Houston Chronicle, 4/24/10
Who is standing with Franklin Graham?
While we may not agree with Franklin Graham’s lifestyle or salvation doctrines, he has recently stood up like a towering redwood in a forest of Japanese bonsai trees.
Graham, Billy’s son, had been asked to speak at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer celebration. The invitation was withdrawn, however, when it was discovered that he had made some disparaging statements about Islam and Hinduism. That is anathema in today’s climate of political correctness.
Graham’s offense was to suggest that Muslims and Hindus do not pray to the same God as Christians do. “No elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me,” Graham said in a USA Today interview. He was referring to one of the millions of Hindu gods. Of course, we know that Allah, the Muslim god, is not the God of the Bible but the former moon god, one chosen by Mohammad from among many gods to be the single deity worshipped by the Arabs and desert dwellers of the Mideast.
Graham is twisting in the wind because most of the prominent, name brand “Christians” are too cowardly to come out and stand with him. The cave of political correctness seems too safe and comfortable to risk the negative arrows that exposure might invite. Truth hiding in a cave?? Truth is designed for the light, not the darkness.
The guru of the “seeker sensitive” movement, Bill Hybels, has been telling us for decades to throw out everything we had been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry. The size of the crowd rather than the depth of the heart determines success. If the crowd was large, then surely God was blessing the ministry. The church is built by demographic studies, marketing research and strategies, meeting felt needs, and other methodologies consistent with these techniques. We were told that preaching was out, relevance was in. Doctrine didn’t matter nearly as much as innovation. If it wasn’t cutting edge and consumer friendly, it was doomed. The mention of sin, salvation and sanctification was taboo and replaced by Starbucks, marketing strategy and sensitivity.
A statement from Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church, the group that spawned the “seeker sensitive” church movement, “We made a mistake. What we should have done when people became Christians is to teach them that they have to become ‘self-feeders’ [i.e., Bible readers]. We should have taught people how to read their Bibles between services and how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.” (Willow Creek published a book last year admitting, “We were wrong.”) Now, on Wednesday night, they are teaching the Bible. (It would be nice if they started doing that on Sundays too!)
Did Moses write the Pentateuch?
It seems that the skeptics and unbelievers get most of the press as they spew their criticisms of the Bible. They keep harping on the theory that Moses was not the author of this important section of the Old Testament. If the preponderance of external and internal evidence is still unconvincing, why not let Jesus settle the question: “Have ye not read in the Book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke to him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” (Mark 12:26). See also Matthew 19:7,8; Mark 7:10; 12:24; Luke 24:44; et al.
Just for you stat lovers
A stat clock like you’ve never seen.
Well-known professing atheist, Christopher Hitchens, was interviewed in Portland, Oregon by “liberal Christian” Marilyn Sewell. Here is an exchange that reportedly took place between them:
Sewell: “The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the Scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make a distinction between the fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?”
Hitchens: “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah as the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”
Sewell wanted no part of that discussion, so her next words were, “Let me go someplace else.” This little snippet demonstrates an important point about religious “God-talk.” You can call yourself anything you like, but if you don’t believe that Jesus is the “Lord from heaven” (I Corinthians 15:47), and that He died and rose again to atone for our sins, you are not a Christian. Seems that an outspoken atheist can grasp the central tenets of Christianity better than many professing Christians.
Adapted from a report in The Berean Call, 5/10
Teenager Daniel Petric had an obsession with a violent video game that warped his sense of reality. When his parents realized its harmful effects and took the game away, he murdered them. The AP news story quotes the judge as saying, “I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents they would be dead forever.” His defense attorney pled not guilt by reason of insanity.
How could there have been a Hitler in the 20th century?
Answer: He was voted in by the people of Germany. It had been one crisis after another for decades, and he rose to power by convincing the people that he was the “savior” of Germany, the “messiah” for that war-torn and economically devastated nation. He refused to let a crisis go to waste. Use it as a political ladder—that was his philosophy.
One of the primary paths to absolute power was his management of the Christian churches. He pretended to be a “believer” in order win their favor. Actually, he held a convoluted hodgepodge of beliefs, including occultism, paganism, Islam and Christianity. He knew the religious vernacular, having been raised by a devout Catholic mother. He fooled both the Protestants and the Catholics, luring them into his National Socialism (NAZI) party as though it was a new gospel. He moved them toward a political ideology and they became pawns of the Reich. Christian terminology was redefined in terms that complemented the Reich’s agenda. Before the Reich fell in the Spring in 1945, Hitler had executed or imprisoned over 6,000 clergymen during his reign. (http://schikelgruber.net/religion.net)
Two months after President Barack Obama took office, before any of the right-wing press picked up on it, I told my wife that he was doing exactly what Hitler did in his rise to power in Europe. Being a student of WWII, it was plain to see that we were headed to where Hitler took Germany. The ensuing months have only confirmed that conviction. He is now seeking to ally himself with the churches, get them obligated to the state through special considerations (loans, funding), take away their tax-exempt status, create a line of pawns and religious stooges, and then leave a trail of martyrs. I am constantly amazed at how the press and most of our national leaders bow to his every whim. He is running roughshod over the constitution, ignoring American traditions, apologizing to the world for our successes and exceptionalism, while gagging most of our career politicians. He praises Islam, even while their extremists try to car-bomb our cities and blow up our planes. He criticizes the traditions of Christianity while claiming to be a “believer.” The emperor has no clothes.
I am going to ask my readers to please visit the sites below to do your own research about Hitler and his relationship with the German churches.
Google: The Visualisation Of National Socialist Ideology
According to the latest reports, Obama and his insidious minions (yes, I still pray for him/them regularly!) are robing themselves in priestly garments, trying to subvert America through the churches.
Here is what Obama has said: “Now, make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership [faith-based charities, EPA, community organizations, churches] will endanger that idea—so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them—or against the people you hire—on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.”
The president’s council of faith-based organizations can take “a prominent leadership role in influencing policy, education, and action in those areas.”
Note these four words and phrases: “partnership…federal grant…can’t discriminate…mosques.” Now 16 months into Obama’s presidency, he is starting to put these campaign promises into action. The German Nazis had their plans ready when they came to absolute power in 1933 and immediately began implementing moves against traditional Christians and setting up a Reich Church for all Christians. Hundreds of thousands of Christians sold out to Hitler for his favor. That couldn’t happen here, could it?
For more info on this issue, go to http://www.conservativeblogwatch.com/tag/meghan-clyne/
So, Obama wants to use federal subsidies offered through the EPA and his faith-based organizations to get churches to promulgate the green faith.
If you take $1, you’re hung! Don’t do it. It is more smoke and mirrors to accomplish his agenda to increase his power and “redistribute the wealth.” Study the churches from the communist countries and see how the faith-based part of socialism works for them.
Again, my interest is not in politics, per se, but in how they are affecting the churches of America and our ability to expand the kingdom of God.
Get your sermons from Nancy
Nancy Pelosi has told the “Bishops and Cardinals” to preach from their pulpits the green agenda, the social justice gospel. Speaking at the Catholic Community Conference in Washington, Pelosi said: “Cardinals, the Archbishops, the Bishops come to me and say we want you to pass immigration reform. But I say I want you to speak about it from the pulpit. … I want you to instruct … the people (who) oppose immigration reform and are sitting in those pews …that this is a manifestation of our living the Gospels.”
If we took money from the government, they would be able to tell us exactly what “gospel” to preach. Pastors, we had better wake up and speak out. If we don’t, Obama and Nancy will be writing your sermons.
If Obama wants to be king, perhaps Nancy would like to be the first female pope so she could speak ex cathedra from the papal chair. Pelosi further said the church “has an important role to play” in teaching about dignity and respect, and “as a practical matter” it’s not possible to tell 12 million illegal immigrants to “go back to wherever you came from or go to jail.”
(Source: Brietbart.com and http://www.tldm.org/News14/TheGospelAccordingToPelosi.htm)
We elected a king?
Why does the political climate feel strangely like the days following the inauguration of Saul as king of Israel? A king was not the perfect will of God, but it was permitted. Soon bad things began to happen to the kingdom. Government by decree has never worked well. Kings are not known for developing corruption-free societies. Before long, it became obvious that what was needed was a new captain on the ship of state. David, a forerunner of Christ, rose up to displace him.
The political climate in America feels like we have elected a king rather than a president. We are beginning to see governing by fiat—“the king says do this, do that, go here, go there, buy this, buy that, don’t drill here….” Congress is in the far background. America is run from the White House. They are bypassing the norms we have known in the past. Everything is in their hands. Corruption swiftly follows the installation of such a government.
See any signs?
Someone sent me their plans (slightly enhanced) about their move to Mexico:
My family and extended family will simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico. We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. Doubtless, they handle those things the same way we do here.
We will be expecting the following:
1. Free medical care for my entire family.
2. English-speaking government bureaucrats explaining all the services I might need, whether we use them or not.
3. All Mexican government forms to be printed in English.
4. Our grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers at tuition-free schools.
5. Their schools should include classes on American culture and history.
6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flagpoles at their school.
7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
8. I will need a local Mexican driver’s license so I can get easy access to government services and voting privileges. If I don’t get a Mexican driver’s license, I will expect my Sam’s Club card to suffice as identification.
9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but I don’t plan to purchase auto insurance, and I probably won’t make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.
10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.
11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my housetop, put U S. flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals. That would be considered to be racist.
12. I would also like to have a job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.
13. We expect all the local folks to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy, or about us throwing trash on their neighborhood lawns and streets.
14. I want to receive free food stamps.
15. Naturally, I’ll expect free rent subsidies.
16. Although I’ll receive money from the Mexican government, I will be sending my earnings back to banks and family in the U.S.
17. Oh yes, I almost forgot, I’ll need to enroll in the Mexican Social Security program so I’ll get a monthly income in retirement.
Since these benefits seem to be available for folks who walk over to the U.S. from Mexico, I am sure there is a reciprocating program in place over there.
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. – Albert Einstein
You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. – Winston Churchill
A reminder to ministers who encourage psych meds
In doing research on Parkinson’s Disease, a diagnosis that my brother just received, I noted that those who take popular psych medications (SSRIs) are at a higher risk for Parkinson’s and dementia. Also, just today a report from Science News (Vol. 175, No. 12, p. 18) came to my attention that osteoporosis is evidently another risk. In fact, the bone density in postmenopausal women declined twice as fast in those taking SSRIs as in other women. These are just two more in a long list of problems that are either caused or exacerbated by psych meds.
Some of our ministers encourage persons to go to psychiatrists for counseling, figuring that it might be a good idea to get on psych meds. As shepherds of God’s sheep, ministers are obligated to warn those in their care of the grave spiritual dangers associated with psychiatric counseling and of psychotropic drugs, such as Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Zanax and Ritalin. First, those warnings need to go out before their members begin to take them. You are not “playing doctor” when you do that. Make that disclaimer, but speak up. There are plenty of people in the psychology industry who are speaking out already, but their voices are drowned out by sound of big pharma dollars falling into the hands of psychiatrists.
Psychiatric involvement can easily become a spiritual matter almost overnight. Reminding them of the published record of psychoactive medications is in their best interest. Second, those that are already taking them need to be careful about how and when to discontinue their use. Their brain becomes accustomed to the changes that are induced by them, and stopping abruptly could trigger severe emotional or physical problems.
Third, even though physicians prescribe them, that does not mean they are harmless, or curative in nature. Take time to do some objective research on psychotropic medications. They are a veritable money tree for doctors. Many doctors are glad to prescribe them because they will bring the patient back time and again to their office, plus they often receive “kickbacks” in some form from the pharmaceutical companies.
By Lori Wagner, et al
This is a book that is long overdue. Women’s attire has crossed the line and reached the point of ridiculous. I applaud the effort put forth by the author(s) to address the topic. They make sense of modesty and provide some credibility to the matter of what is popularly called “outward holiness.”
The Girl dredges more deeply than most tomes on the topic. Candid writing, set in an attractive format, goes directly to the heart of the issue of female modesty. They don’t seem to cull any important areas of the problem. Some very conservative ministers and their wives have perused the book and found it worthy of putting in the hands of every woman in their churches.
Other reviewers have said:
“This is the book I longed for as a young woman with questions about faith and fashion, the book I searched for as a mentoring resource, the book I desperately need as a mother raising a daughter.” – Julie Long, pastor’s wife in Upper Kent, New Brunswick
“Thank you for not being afraid to tackle the ‘hard’ questions. I highly recommend this book to every young lady in pursuit of living a holy, modest lifestyle for Jesus Christ.” – Aaron Batchelor, Bridgeton, MO
This book is available from Advance Ministries now! Order your copy or copies today! Only 9.95.
The way artists see it
Finnish researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that individuals with the greatest risk of Alzheimer’s disease are those who are widowed or divorced at midlife and remained so. Being single at midlife is also a risk factor. The researchers suggest having a [spouse] might provide additional mental and social challenges that somehow stimulate the brain and delay the onset of dementia. (Parade 8/9/09)
Moral: Marriage is good for the brain!