Monday, October 31, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Deutschland Ueber Alles! (Or Me as a Country)
You have a really ugly past, one that defies description.
This gives you tremendous guilt, but you've coped with it and flourished
into an awfully good person, considering. You've finally made peace with
yourself, in so many ways, and you've been able to build on that for a bright
and capable future. You've become so enlightened that you're probably
a member of the Green Party, or at least listen to their demands.
Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid
The Ant & The Grasshopper
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green"
Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome."
Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."
Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.
The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Vote Republican
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
- I told the High School girls in my small group that I had read their "My Spaces" blogs - you should've seen the look on their faces. Priceless.
- Still reading Ann Coulter's book "Treason", finished her book "Slander", still to go "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Really Must)". Bought them all on the cheap at Costco.
- Went to the Sea Empress Restaurant for Dim Sum today. Yummmm!
- Contributed to the Member Forum on the ABE website for the first time, I'm getting braver in the blogosphere.
- Time to go to bed, I have an early meeting (8:30 am is early for me, don't laugh).
Saturday, October 22, 2005
The Face We Have
Recently, I shared an elevator with a woman I worked with about 18 years ago. I don't rightly know this woman's exact age, although I can estimate it as close to my own (+/- 3 years) based on conversation during the time we worked in the same building. She was then, pretty and petite, but with a mouth on her like a longshoreman (sorry longshoremen). You could hear her halfway down the hall, swearing at some guy that had crossed her. Because she had such an outspoken manner, everyone was aware that she liked to party. She was hard-drinking and hard-smoking; she often stood in the pouring rain to get that one last drag on her cigarette before she'd have to come back into the building. Someone had mentioned to me a few years ago that she had gone through a number of marriages/relationships since I first knew her.
Anyway, when she got on the elevator last week, I almost thought that she had been crying -her eyes seemed red and puffy, her face crinkled with lines (what they call the tracks of the tears). On further observation, I realized she hadn't been crying at all, but that her face bore instead the imprint of a very hard life. It was very sad that this once pretty woman had been disfigured by stress. Furthermore, she had tried to cover up the lines and such with make-up techniques that seemed to have been learned at the Tammy Faye School of Cosmetology.
I say all this, not to mock the poor woman, she is afterall, a person made in the image of God whom He loves dearly ( as is true for Ms. Waters), but it reminded me of an important lesson found in Proverbs 31: "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. ... Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised." (NLT)
When we adorn ourselves with strength and dignity, with "inner beauty" as Paul writes about, we will have an ageless quality that will not need to be hidden by make-up or re-arranged by the plastic surgeon.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
While the people of God in the Old Testament did bring tithes totaling 23% in some cases, a model for New Testament churches was found in 2 Corinthians 9:7-9, "You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, 'Godly people give generously to the poor.Their good deeds will never be forgotten.'" (NLT) . The focus here was first deciding how much and then doing it cheerfully, from the heart. Unfortunately, this pastor seemed to be encouraging people to go into debt or neglect family responsibilities so that they would have the $3M needed for his plans. If that is not a recipe to drive folks out, I don't know what is. Instead, God calls us to be good stewards of the time, talent and treasure He loans us. In reality, everything we have belongs to Him and we should not hoard it. When, one day, we stand before Him, we want to be able to give a good accounting of how we invested all of that for His kingdom.
How sad that the pastor of that church would have to resort to such tactics to bring in the bacon.
TFB has it faults, but one thing I can truly say, we do not have to go to those lengths to have our needs met. Our pastoral staff and church leadership have no clue as to who gives what. When we have needs, we say so and God directs His people to meet those needs. Churches that try strong-arm fundraising techniques are what cause non-believers to think that we are all about the money. This is so not Jesus.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Blogging for God?
While I need to ponder this further, I will make one observation: whether or not they intend to, their blogs that identify the bloggers as "Christians" while simultaneously embracing the hedonistic culture, are in a sense "blogging for God." It's just a very bad testimony for Him.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
What Kind Of American English Do I Speak?
Your Linguistic Profile:
55% General American English
20% Upper Midwestern
It was interesting to note how much the students and the trappings of the Homecoming celebration have changed since we were there. The band was much smaller and the cheer squad (or whatever they call themselves now) much larger than what we experienced in our day. At the game, there were no differentiation among Varsity, JV and Songleaders, the Mascots were cartoon-like and there were no drill teamers, majorettes or small flags.The crowd was somewhat small for what was once considered the most important football game of the year. Despite the "differences", there was a moment when I felt like I was seventeen again -thinking about classes,teachers and students, wondering what the future would hold for us.
Twenty seven years from now, I will be 72, Lord willing, old by anyone's estimation. Perhaps then I will attend the homecoming game and marvel how things have changed again. But then there will be a whole new generation comparing that day to the homecoming game of 2005 -the band will be different and so will the cheersquad. They will say, "Remember how they drove the HC queen in her fluffy white dress and all her court in those classic 'Stangs." It will be fun and amusing.
Monday, October 10, 2005
|Your Brain's Pattern|
Structured and organized, you have a knack for thinking clearly.
You are very logical - and you don't let your thoughts get polluted with emotions.
And while your thoughts are pretty serious, they're anything from boring.
It's minds like yours that have built the great cities of the world!
Friday, October 07, 2005
ABCPSW Withdrawing from the ABCUSA
The deeper issue is not the pro-gay side versus anti-gay, but rather a sharp difference on biblical authority. The folks in the PSW see the national board as rejecting the ultimate authority of God's Word and replacing it with (substituting) "soul competency" and local autonomy.
For some in-depth analysis of the issues involved, I direct you to my former pastor, Dr. Dennis McFadden's blog.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
What is Supernatural?
In the MTV generation, the world system is much more nefarious than Satan himself. He sits back and laughs that we focus so much on his works when the world, all the world lovers, and lovers of self do his work for him. Although he is a powerful fallen angel, he is not omnipotent and has already been defeated by the blood of Christ.
Praying against Satan is insufficient if we ignore the other two sources (world and flesh) that work to cripple faith. If we want something to pray about, let's pray that Jesus breaks people's attachment to things that entangle us and keep us from fixing our eyes on Jesus(Hebrews 12:1,2).
Here's my view on the subject:The word "supernatural" refers to "anything relating to a deity", so anything relating to God is by nature, supernatural. A miracle is an "extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs" or "an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment". Miracles are not births of babies or finding good parking places (as wonderful as those things can be) and are instead things like blind men seeing, Jesus walking on water, feeding 5000, parting of Red Sea and are very rare (by definition). To call births of babies and finding great parking places miracles "cheapens actual miracles- it degrades the definition" (this is from a statement made by Laura). I do not deny miracles, I suggest only that they are quite rare.
While miracles are supernatural (something done by God), not everything done by God is a miracle. Exercising one's spiritual gifts is supernatural, but if it happens regularly (normal part of one's Christian experience) it is not necessarily miraculous. The things God is doing in our ministries are often supernatural as well, but, as I was sharing with some co-workers, it is no longer necessary now(as I had prayed for years in the past to see one) for me to see a actual miracle in order to have faith. In fact, seeing a miracle would not create faith because faith is the evidence of things unseen. Jesus (John chapter2) sees people following Him because He performs miracles. The passage says , "But Jesus didn't trust them, because he knew what people were really like. No one needed to tell him about human nature."
Let's be careful not to see demons under every rock or a miracle in every sunset. Instead, let us have faith in the Creator and Sustainer of all things who has crushed Satan's head under His heel, fixing our eyes on Him instead of the world system.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
More On Prayer
On placing an emphasis on prayer as the "number one priority" in the believers' life:
We are to "pray without ceasing" but that is the outflow of our growing
relationship with our loving God. In a marriage relationship, it would
be silly for a husband to say, "My number one Priority in my marriage is
to talk to my wife." If he never listened and only talked, she might soon
leave him. He instead needs to love her by getting to know her better,
listening, spending time, praising her, doing the things that make her happy. This holds true with our relationship with Christ -it is a reciprocal, loving
Sunday, Pastor Charlie played a clip from Bruce Almighty where Bruce goes to heaven and meets God. God asks Bruce to pray and Bruce starts out using "church language" (thees and thous). God stops him and tells Bruce to tell Him what is really on his heart. Bruce tells God from his heart that he wants his girl to truly find happiness and the love of a man who will love her the way she truly deserves to be loved. God's reply? "Now, that's a prayer."
Our public prayer life is not some sort of test of spirituality or fitness to be a worker in His kingdom. The most bizarre prayer I ever heard was from a former Associate Pastor praying on cable TV, "Thy throne, Oh God is so great and powerful that should all the armies of the world should assail against Thee , Oh God, it should have as much effect as the faint mist on the distant Rock of Gilbraltar." While the prayer was true, it did not reflect the way the man normally spoke or lived.
We should not boast about how much we pray in private either -most modern Christians cannot even compete in terms of time spent in prayerwith those giants of the faith that prayed for hours and hours before they began their day (James was called "Old Camel Knees" from praying so much). We also do not often practice the accompaning spiritual discipline of fasting either. When we broadcast to others our private prayer practices (except to encourage the people for whom we are praying), there is far too much temptation to judge, "Ooh she's praying", or "tsk, tsk, she's not" -it's all that "don't do your deeds before men" thing. Jesus tells us not to.
Paul, when he does pray for believers, lists "knowing and comprehending the Lord Jesus Christ and His love" as being the most important thing that he desires for them. (Eph 1 & 3.) Using the words of Jesus Himself in John 15, we are to "abide (or remain) in Him and His love". Only when we are first abiding in Him can we "ask whatever we wish and it will be given you."
Jesus further explains that abiding means obeying His word.
In Acts 2:42 the disciples were" devoted to the Apostles' TEACHING,
FELLOWSHIP, BREAKING OF BREAD, AND PRAYER." (prayer is listed 4th).
On "prayer is powerful, it is our weapon against Satan..." :
In "our battle against spiritual forces" we are told repeatedly to "stand firm" in the power of God. Prayer is not listed as part of the armor of God, but once fully outfitted ,we are to pray in the Spirit with alertness at all times for the saints. The only offensive weapon listed is the Sword, the Word of God. In fact, we are told merely "to resist the devil and he will flee"; Jesus resisted Satan's temptation by THE WORD OF GOD.
There seem to be many people in evangelical circles who appear to me to be taking a somewhat "magical" view of prayer as if somehow the frequency, content or fervency was what made prayer effective. In a recent conversation with a friend. we talked about prayers resembling more of an "incantation" rather than actual pouring out to God of our heart's desires.
The power of prayer rests in Who we are talking with, not in the act itself. (this is what separates Christianity from Shamanism and other false religions; let us certainly not adopt their view of prayer.) We have a conversation with an all-powerful God. We cut off that conversation when we are not "being transformed by the renewing of our minds, not being conformed to image of the Son." It is then we are powerless and no amount of prayer, unless it is confessional, can change that.
Prayer is a conversation, not a monologue that is a reflection of a healthy relationship with our God. Prayer is not powerful words, but words with a powerful God. Abiding with Him and becoming like Him should be the things that gets our priority.