Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pentecost at 25, 100 and 2000

I am so glad to be part of Pentecost’s Peculiar People. I have been since 1980. I had met a man who worked as a custodian in a school. He told me there was more to experiencing God than I was experiencing. I wanted more. He made me hungry. I went to a friend who had heard a little about it. He laid hands on me in a auto showroom floor for the Infilling and overflowing of the Spirit. Finally there was an early Saturday Morning, weeks after having asked for the infilling of the Holy Ghost (Baptism of the Spirit), when kneeling in prayer all by myself I got it like a rushing wind. I began to come alive in a way I didn’t think was possible. The fire came. PENTECOST!

I am so thankful for that day. I am described as a fanatic by some.
fa·nat·ic n. A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm

Guilty as charged. I will not reason away my faith by worldly means, I am extreme in my Love for Jesus and I am wildly enthusiastic. I love it. I love HIM!

Here are some of the wonderful things that have happened as a result of that overflow and immersion from which I never emerged:

  • I can read and understand the Bible supernaturally in a way I never could before. The whole thing just opened up like a flower to me.
  • I hear from God in my spirit and I have heard his voice so often that I recognize it at once.
  • I am able to pray in a way (Language) that even when I don’t know how or what to pray I can still pray with effect.
  • I am empowered to be bold in faith, speak to mountains, and face persecution with joy. Jesus promised that.
  • My future is certain even when events surrounding me are not.
  • I have unwavering confidence in God and his mercy.
  • I live in the full provision of God’s grace for everything in my life.
  • Even though I have days like everyone, I live in Joy unspeakable and full of Glory. Those days are temporary and abnormal. I'll never forget Rodney Howard Browne saying to me, “You can live like this”.

This last week represented the week 100 years ago during which the Pentecostal outbreak took place on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. William Seymour was the African American Pastor who brought the Spirit of revival and fire to LA. I won’t bore you with all the story of how that all happened. Others will. Sufficient to say that today around the world Pentecostalism is the fasted growing and largest body of believers globally in the Christian community. Presently one in 10 people on the earth are Pentecostal (650 million). In 10 years it will be 1 in 6. I'm believing for one in one. That's how it is in heaven. Everyone is filled with the fullness of God in heaven. 1-1. Why not get it on this side of the veil?

I’m not nearly the scholar on that issue and scholarship that Julie Niedlinger is. Her post on the subject is comprehensive and impressive. What really struck me about this post was not the scholarship but the relevance of real body ministry. Julie Says:

Some believe prayer for healing and deliverance ought not take place in public. In our church, people come up to the front where the pastor is between worship and the rest of the service to be prayed for. What I value about this time the most is the fact that I see everyone come at some point, from elders to mothers to young and old. I see people praying for each other. I see that we all have needs. I see the church family's faith in action. Real people, really praying.

It's about real people going up front in the little church God gave them to be prayed for by their pastor and the other people. It's about transparency, perhaps. People need to see churches in other countries to see that we are too often trapped in man-made devices and definitions. Nice orderly pews and properly reverent worshippers work great here. I recently read a blog post ruing the architecture of modern churches as unholy in their warehouse-ness. Inartistic, I agree; the art historian in me cringes. But unholy? So, God can't meet in a General Steel building but He can make a trip to some thatched hut in Africa? Or a humid cement church in Nicaragua? I fear Bayly might find much to list and debate after an average service where, in order to get churches planted and preachers in them in extremely poor and rural areas around the world where everyone can't go to seminary, training for all pastors isn't much above being called to preach and being willing to heed that call.

I am personally really tired of the “Professionalism” that comes with much of the church world. I believe that many professional ministers are no more called than a cocker spaniel and many effective called of God "Lay-Ministers" are sidelined because they aren’t credentialed.

Incidentally I hate the term Lay. Lay what? It’s separation terminology that puts a wall between the professionals and the body of Christ. I think Jesus would have a very hard time with all that. But that’s for another post I have cooking called Authority -Given or Taken.

I am hopeful that anyone who reads this and does not experience all the joy and pleasure (yes I am a Christian Hedonist) found in the fullness of the Holy Ghost will give it consideration. I’ve been wild and crazy for Jesus for a quarter century and if given another century will still be wild and crazy.

I am attending a good church that is not (yet) overtly Pentecostal. It is in fact (sit down for this) Mo Synod Lutheran. But there is a hope and a future Just as God promised in Jeremiah. They seem to like what I teach, they like my wild side, they like the fanatic enthusiasm and even once we had people come up for healing ministry. Slow but steady progress. I am called to be part of this transformation, to offer my ministry giftings to those who will access them.

I still have to go get my Pentecostal Fix in other places. I can't live without the anointed spontaneous prophetic word, the Fire of God as manifested in powerful worship and the power of God accessed in Holy Ghost body ministry. I hope I won’t have to forever. I’m believing for a mighty move of God in our area. God has spoken it. I believe it could be in this Lutheran Church. But like Nazareth or Nineveh God can only do mighty works if he is received by faith. These are good folks who want more of God but are just a little frightened of the step of faith it takes to jump all the way in the water. I keep saying, “Its ok, you’ll either get wet or walk on the water, both are going to be fun and exciting”.

I’m thankful I didn’t know it wasn’t OK to be Pentecostal when I jumped in. I might not have. I might have let tradition or fear hold me back. I just walked by faith and stepped into the water.

I have never looked back. Once when in a meeting with Andrew Womack that had 3000 people in attendance he asked this question, “How many of you are filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues?” Perhaps 2500 hands went up.

Then he asked, “How many of you are sorry your were filled with the Holy Ghost?” Laughter broke out. Not one hand went up. It was so preposterous to think you would ever ever ever want to go back again once you experienced and enjoyed this wonderful blessing.

It’s like the note I made to Jack at the bottom of the post below. If you experience the joy of a good marriage and you see someone who isn’t getting all they could out in a bad marriage, you want to say, “There’s more”. Step in. Try it you’ll like it. Believe for Good things. You hurt for their timidity that keeps them from seeking for more in their marriage.

One Last Thing, in the mid 90’s I joined a house prayer meeting with Todd Beery. They were very much like the meetings that began in LA before they moved to Azusa street. The place would be packed. We worried the floor would collapse from all the people. The Holy Ghost would move so strongly I worried that the fire department would see fire coming out of the house’s roof. It was wild and wonderful. I was later warned about not getting involved with such a foolish bunch. Too late Devil, I'm already in the water but you're all wet.

In that early 90s I became acquainted with Rodney Howard Brown at the AG Bible Camp in Devils Lake. I have never ever been the same since. Later I would be warned not to get involved with such a fanatic bunch. Too Late Slewfoot.

I’m so glad I’m too dense to hear these voices of warning from the professional Christians. Look at what I would have missed if I had listened to them. Peter warned Jesus, Agabus warned Paul. They went Anyhow. Sometimes you just GO. Keith Green said, "You gotta be called to stay".

Thank God for Pentecost. More Lord More.

Let your FIRE fall.

Friday, April 28, 2006

To Jack - Try Marriage

I like weddings. I don’t know about all the bride magazines the size of an encyclopedia. There must be a lot of money in weddings and all the fru fru that surrounds them. Sometimes it seems like the more elaborate a wedding is the less likely the marriage will succeed. And many marriages don’t. Some end in divorce. Some continue but are a mess.

This most anticipated day is often disappointing for the people involved because they had such high expectations. And then it didn’t come off just as they had planned. That is the problem.

I think a lot of wedding stuff is foolish. Weddings should be meaningful and worthwhile.

I love some of the ancient wedding rituals from the Semitic people. They can be deep and rich. The man proposes marriage. The woman accepts. The betrothed husband then waits some period of time and develops relationship. Then he goes and prepares the home they will share for her. This involves cleaning and fix up. It’s ready.

The attendants to the wedding know about when the husband to be is to come back. They wait, when the husband to be is near they have a procession. Often it is a lighted procession in the evening. That leads to a wedding feast. No one has to put on a fancy suit, none of the women have to run out to TJ Max and buy a fancy dress and some strappy shoes. When you arrive at the wedding, the father of the bride furnishes you a fancy white robe to wear. Everyone gets one. It’s free. You get to keep it. Only the bride and the bridegroom are dressed extravagantly.

Then the ceremony starts. During it the bridegroom places a glass of wine on the table before the bride after he has taken a drink from it. She then has a choice, she can get up and walk away, no harm no foul, or she can drink from the cup and say, I choose you. If she drinks it is an “I DO”.

Then they take this wineglass, wrap it in a towel, and crush it. That is the last time I will drink of this as a single person. I will not drink anything again until we are married.

Then after a brief time the marriage is complete the wedding feast, dance, banquet, begins. Not fancy, but elegant and profound.

Well, that’s exactly what has happened to the religion of Christianity. Lots of fru fru and big books with lots of you shoulds in them. Expectations. Disappointments. Anticipations. Let downs. It’s become about the ceremonies and the window dressings and not about the functional results. Too much human planning and design.

The value of the life is lost in the noise and bustle of Religion.

Real worthwhile Christianity is like the ancient weddings. Jesus comes and proposes. We can accept or reject. We can remain single. It will mean we stay where we are in our stuckness. There is more to life than what you are living, he offers. He says come away with me. Get to know me better and you will know I will never harm or hurt you and only do you good.

There was a time he was with us so we could get to know him better as a bride. There are 4 gospels that give us pictures of what he is like. Then he says he must go prepare a place for us. We prepare ourselves. Here’s where it gets interesting. We are not only the Bride, but we are the attendants to everyone else that is a bride (fellow Christians). So we are at the same time a Bride and a friend of the Bridegroom. We watch and wait for the Bridegroom to appear. When we became the bride we drank and drink from the same cup he drank from. We crushed it under our feet. He will not drink from it again until he does so at the wedding feast.

What’s really amazing is we don’t have to try to be better or worse. We can be the worst kind of people or having been the best and we will all get that same white robe. With that white robe we look like everyone else. No one is better or worse. The only way we can get into trouble is if we refuse to wear the white robe and show up expecting to be served. The white robe is your ticket in. Of course knowing this, there is an impetus to wash your face and comb your hair. You don’t have to but you want to.

On Sundays (for many people) and on several other days for some, there is a precursor wedding dance, party, feast. IF they are the right spirit they should be fun, exciting, and meaningful. Maybe one of the guests will stand up and make a toast (sermon) to the Bride and Bridegroom. But the party is the big thing. Celebrate.

I know this is kind of cryptic but it’s all in the Bible. Matthew 22 and Mathew 25 and Revelation 19.

I you like weddings and if you particularly like the wedding dances, if you find the right ones you can have a blast. You will look forward to the next one. That’s how Church and vibrant Christianity is for many people. I’m in that number. I’m sorry you have had some bad wedding experiences, I know not every marriage works out. That doesn’t mean you should give up on marriage. There is more, and it’s an exciting life.

I feel very sorry for whoever wrote that in Utah.

It’s like someone in a bad marriage and is down on marriage, or someone who is single and can't see why anyone would want to be married. You feel sorry for them. And you have Loretta. And you know how wonderful it can be. And you wish you could convince everyone on the great benefits of married life. And that, my friend would make you an evangelist.

That’s really how simple it is.

Try it again, find a better wedding dance.

Made in China Won't Fit

I needed a new pair of workboots.  Size 13.  I thought I could get by wearing tennies but I get so much dirt in them when digging it becomes uncomfortable.  So hightops with laces, yea that's the ticket.
Off to Farm and Fleet I go.  I mean, workboots, Farm and Fleet, hand in hand. 
I use inserts, arch supports.  So in addition to width and length I need a little headroom.  I found a dandy pair of boots, price was right.  But they were uncomfortable with the inserts.  Made in Thailand.  $69.  Another pair, made in China, same price, same fit of discomfort. 
So I shopped.  Then I came upon a pair of Wolverine boots.  Love at first fit.  Inserts no problem, lots of "headroom". 
I looked at the tag, Assembled in America.  I don't know what that exactly means.  I have a feeling that might be weasel speak for made somewhere else and the laces were installed here.  I'm not sure.
But, the "assembled in America" boots fit well, work good, and I'm a happy camper. 
I feel so darn patriotic.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Comings and Goings

You know the old joke on the bar wall; you read it when you were young and foolish.  I qualify.
"Everyone brightens this place, some by their coming and some by their going"
Good for a chuckle but not a guffaw.  I guess what makes it less funny for me is there is more going than coming these days.  People who matter to me - Going.  People who have been part of my life - Going.  People who I wanted to know better - Gone.  Looking at and talking to a gravestone is too one way for me.
That's why I value relationships at 61 like I should have when I was 31. The friend pool shrinks at 61.  Oh I'm still hard to get along with.  Curmudgeonly as ever.  Full of opinions (I can't help that I'm right so much).  Willing to share them.  But that's not the problem.  They just keep changing worlds.  Goodbyes.
On the other hand, people who I like and consider day brighteners  in my life seem to feel the same about me. I guess that's a good thing.  Even when I'm mean (they used to call me Mean Gene as a kid) I try very hard to give positive reinforcement and encouragement to people around me.  I never ever do it insincerely.  I can always find a good word to say or say nothing at all.  That's not true of groups.  I've been pretty hard on liberals lately.  But if you believe that's about you, you put you there.  I didn't.  I don't suffer fools well.  I won't call someone a fool.  But I don't deal with people well who just don't want to participate in honest discourse.  That's even me sometimes.  Sometimes I'm not sure even I would like me. Sigh.
So, I plow on.  Saying hello's to goodbyes at the rate of 2-1.  I hope I don't run out soon. 
Getting old is heck.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Save Fuel and Money – Fly Standing, Naked or Containerized

Airbus is pitching this. Fly standing up. For real.

To get more people on the plane and so the tickets are much less money if you fly certain airlines in the future you will be offered a cheaper ticket if you fly standing.

I like to take things to logical extremes. Already I have to remove my belt and take off my shoes. I’m no nudist and if you saw me you’d understand why. But think about it, TSA could get you right thru if everyone flew nude. And think of the money you’d save. How elegantly efficient.

Maybe even better is you could fly as baggage. They put you in a box (looks like a coffin), give you a knockout drug to last about as long as your flight plus ons and offs. Then they could stack you on a pallet and you fly parcel post to your destination. This would be particularly effective on very long overseas flights. You’d have to wear adult pampers of course. But think how cost effective it would be. If they made the container large enough you could have your luggage fly with you. You would be run thru the scanner for bombs right at the check in. No TSA groping (non you would be aware of anyhow).

Or, maybe you could fly racked up. I figure if everyone lay down on a rack separated by perhaps 2 feet like in a submarine bunk area you could triple or quadruple stack folks right to the ceiling of the airliner. Really getting efficient aren’t we. Why think of the possibilities. Think of the money you’d save. Think of it.

Or don’t. This isn’t going anywhere. At least not me.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Safe and Trusting in Whom

I live in the western suburbs of Chicago. The other night we went to dinner honoring a friends birthday at an upstairs venue with a very nice shop with lots of expensive things downstairs. The dinner party went late into the evening.

There was no one downstairs. Door open. No one watching the store. Anyone off the street could have come in and stolen hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise and gotten away.

But no one did. I have lived in Illinois 20 years and have not been assaulted, robbed, or shot at while living here. When I lived in North Dakota I was subjected to all 3.
In North Dakota we had to keep things locked up because there were thieves about.

I only mention this because the idea that one place is safer than another is more based on the character and spirit of the people than the name of the state. It's not safer in a place with people who don't share your values. They believe it's ok to rob you because you deserve it. Or put another way, they deserve to have what you've got. That's not my value system. I'm guessing it's not yours.

I'm constantly astounded by the fact that many who live in our area never lock their doors at night. Cars open. High priced stuff left outside. And no one steals it. People just don't bother to steal. Why? They already have all they need.

In the Bible there is talk of a time in the book of Acts 2:44-47 when people held all things in common and no one had need of anything. We assumed it was because there were a few rich and the rest were needy. That the rich shared with the poor. That's the way it is in lots of Churches today. A few have money, those with less look at them and long for the days of Acts 2. But, I have another take on that scripture.
What if all things are held in common and no one had any need because God prospers his people in goods (Propsperity) and Spirit (Values and Character) so much that no one ever needs or would think of taking anything. Could that be?

I know a pastor who from time to time would conduct a service in his Church, never announced. He would ask people to bring money for the poor and place it on the altar. People would respond. Sometimes $15,000 would be laid on the altar. Then, the pastor would tell those who had needs to come and take what they needed. Some would. Many would be needy but not wanting to be greedy would refrain. Sometimes Sam the pastor would take money and pick it up giving it to a single mother with kids who he knew had serious needs. That's certainly the Acts 2 situation. Let's take that a litttle further. I would like to believe that at some very soon point that mother found ways to enter into God's provision and was able to be a channel of blessing next time Sam called for the offering of help.

Maybe that's the real plan of God. Deut 8:18

Maybe it will happen again. I can believe for that. I will believe for that.

Osama bin Laden is Dead as the Proverbial Doornail

He's not only dead, he has been for a long time.  A few years ago it was rumored and then denied that he was dead.  Why?  There is a universal conspiracy of silence for keeping him alive:
Muslims - Keeping him alive maintains a leader image for Muslims to look up to.
Liberals - Continuing to blame Bush for not catching him serves them well.  Look at what Kerry just said.  So they have this straw man in Bin Laden.
The Administration - Bin Laden is the common enemy we can all hate together.  In fact if they admitted he was dead it would be dangerous because liberals would say, he's dead, that's that, let's get out.
So, everyone agrees to maintain that the man is still alive.
In 2001 at the time of 9-11 Bin Laden was on Dialysis.  Staying alive on Dialysis 5 years for a man on the run even with a lot of money is tough to do. 
There have been suppressed reports of his death.  Recently a congressman, Curt Weldon of PA made an outright statement asserting the truth.  It was crushed.
In 2002 several reports from credible sources stated he was dead.
Wikepedia reports him as quite dead in the section at the bottom called whereabouts. 
India reports he was killed during the earthquake in Kashmir.
It fits no one's agenda to announce or accept Bin Laden as dead.
The final proof and last straw was this impression of his voice with the statement he made.  It is not his voice (in the sense of what he says).  Read his original Fatwa.  Read what he said just after 9-11.   That's what Bin Laden sounds like.  Now read what "He" said a couple days ago.  It was written by an imposter.  Badly at that. Someone hoping to keep his image alive and use his name in vain to promote a cause.  It's not his written "Voice".  Anyone reading these 3 examples will see what I mean.
Bin Laden is dead, he's been dead a long time.  It's just nobody wants to be the first to bury him.  I am offering to toss the first handful of dirt on top of that dead man's grave.

Another View on George W Bush

I have made ad nauseum comments and statements about my belief in the greatness of GWB.  I get lot of barbs.  I have thick skin.
So it was with some appreciation that I read this editorial in today's Wall Street Journal written by Nathan Sharansky who was a student of Andrei Sakharov.  Sharansky spent nine years as a prisoner in a Soviet Gulag.  He is now a member of the Israeli Knesset.  He knows something of conflict and courage.  He says this about our great President:
President George W. Bush is an exception. He is a man fired by a deep belief in the universal appeal of freedom, its transformative power, and its critical connection to international peace and stability.
Mr. Bush, faced with overwhelming opposition, stands his ideological ground, motivated in large measure by what appears to be a refusal to countenance moral failure.
Today, we are in the midst of a great struggle between the forces of terror and the forces of freedom. The greatest weapon that the free world possesses in this struggle is the awesome power of its ideas.
The Bush Doctrine, based on a recognition of the dangers posed by non-democratic regimes.  The democratic earthquake it has helped unleash, even with all the dangers its tremors entail, offers the promise of a more peaceful world.
Critics rail against every step on the new and difficult road on which the United States has embarked. Yet in pointing out the many pitfalls which have not been avoided and those which still can be, those critics would be wise to remember that the alternative road leads to the continued oppression of hundreds of millions of people and the continued festering of the pathologies that led to 9/11.

Now that President Bush is increasingly alone in pushing for freedom, I can only hope that his dissident spirit will continue to persevere. For should that spirit break, evil will indeed triumph, and the consequences for our world would be disastrous.

I stand with our great President in his quest.  It takes someone with the courage of his convictions to stand strong in the face of the opposition he faces.  Leadership is not a poll or approval driven function.  Fear of man and needing approval is a weakness other Presidents in the past have been hobbled with.  We can't afford to be hobbled at the top with such timidity in a world out to kill us.


I vowed to blog every day. I did. But Blogger doesn't agree. So I am trying this. Who knows what evil LURKS in the heart of Blogger.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Air America is Redundant to NPR

Living in Chicagoland we have lots of radio stations. I listen to a several. WIND is conservative talk, WLS is, well, I'm not sure they know exactly, WGN is old people radio, WCPT 850 is the Air America station.

I listen to Rachel Maddux who is uninformed but entertaining, Al Franken who is actually a pretty good guy for a liberal (he goes to Iraq to entertain the troops and doesn't brag about it) and Fargo's own Ed Schultz. He has a great gig. But it's just a gig. It's like the smart kid who was part of the debating team who has taken the case he must make from the hat and is making it well. The whole Ed Show joke is on the public and liberals. He no more believes what he says than the man in the moon. But, he's very good and will do well. Good on you Ed. Local boy makes good. the rest of the hosts on Air America are just I hate Bush yelling all the time.

Air America is now sadly now redundant in Chicagoland. WBEZ FM NPR is going all liberal talk. It is now most accurately called National Progressive (Liberal) Radio. There is nothing Bush has ever done that they like that and would pronounce as good, and you will never ever hear of anything good Bush ever got as positive results. Not the economy, not employment numbers, not faith based initiatives, not aid to Africa. In liberal public radio land, it never happened. He gets all the blame for anything bad and no credit for anything good. That means that people who listen to liberal public radio assume Bush never has done any good. I will never ever ever again support them financially.

What I don't get is this: I listen to NPR and Air America to see what the liberals think or say (mostly) without thinking. I would just love to have a liberal say to me, you know I listened all week to Rush, Bill Bennet, Hugh Hewitt or Laura Ingram and have this opinion about what they said. That'll never happen. When I have suggested it to a liberal or two they will say, "I don't have to listen to him (or her) to know what a nutcase they are". Then they will trot out some infraction in life he or she has had. Rush, oxycontin, Bennet Gambling. I guess in the liberal's eye if you have ever committed a sin your views from that time forward have no value. On the other hand, just try to impune some Liberal commentator for an infraction of life, they are quick to trot out "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Liberals are very narrow and close minded.

Open-mindedness to a liberal is "You listen to what I say, and I won't listen to what you say". But that's why Liberalism is so lost in the fog. They fall for anything because they are incapable to hear another view and analyse it without someone telling them what to think. They don't know how to question the voices in their head. They just do the liberal bobblehead thing and agree with the rambling of the left and assume it makes sense. Sometimes it does, most of the time it doesn't. How do I know? I listen to both sides. Unlike liberals, I'm actually open-minded.