Friday, June 16, 2006

Pirates in the Pews (reprised)

Men don'’t like church according to an author who wrote the book "“Why Men Hate Going to Church"”.
This article reviews the book.

Church today is designed for 50-60 year old women according to the author. Look in your bulletin next Sunday. It'’s all about women. What is there for men? Nothing! Come be part of _____________. Fill in blank here. It's empty. How did this happen? How did being a passionate lover of God become feminized? I'm quite secure in my masculinity and I'm as radically sold out as any woman could be. But for me it's different. This isn't about having nice meetings with one another, this is about facing Nebacanezzer and maybe ending up in firey furnace. This is courage that might mean facing hungry lions in the lions den. This is trusting God for his own sake to conquer the enemies my family, my business, my church and my country have to face. This is war. Instead much of Church is support group Christianity. Not that we don't need that, but we face an enemy who wants to kill us and we are too passive as men to run to the battle. We are like David's brothers cowering in the shadows while the giants in our lives utter threats against us. David ran to the battle. So should we.

We need to have manly men on fire for God. Except most churches don'’t know how. They continue to appeal to their core group, older women because it's easy. They amplify the problem by increasing the effeminzationation of the church. So men hate church. They stay home and watch football. Nothing is happening there for them. And Churches die with a few old ladies locking the door.

What we need are pirates in the pews. A swashbuckling spirit. Jesus arhrrhg. I'm serious. Pirates take over. Time to put that parrot on your shoulder and strap on your rapier. Time for Christian men to take over.

We must start now or lose our men. How? By dealing with the things that only men can relate to. The battle: the passion, the evil one, the dominions that Godly men must begin to occupy in Business, Media, Government, Education and yes, in the Church. Men need to take charge. They need to start in their homes and then tackle the dominions of the world.

We must overtake and board the dominions satan has long occupied. What we need are pirates in the pews looking for satan'’s fat cargo ships to conquer. Remember, it's a promise, "The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the Righteous". Sounds like pirate work to me.

Hoist the Jolly Roger, let'’s take over. Run to the battle -


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mark of the Beast (or not)

My old, or erstwhile college friend A J (Arlie) Skurdal from Fargo days sent me this. He lives in the rainy Northwest now. I was amused. (By the way, AJ was at my wedding 40 years ago). That's a long time. Friends.

So, here are important iterations of the mark of the beast.

666 is the Number of the BEAST

670 - Approximate number of the Beast

DCLXVI - Roman numeral of the Beast

666.0000000 - Number of the High Precision Beast

665.9999954 - Number of the Pentium Beast

0.666 - Number of the Millibeast

/666 - Beast Common Denominator

666 x sq. rt (-1) - Imaginary number of the Beast

1010011010 - Binary of the Beast 6

1-666 - Area code of the Beast

00666 - Zip code of the Beast

1-900-666-0666 - Live Beasts! One-on-one pacts! Call Now! Only $6.66/minute.

$665.95 - Retail price of the Beast

$699.25 - Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax

$769.95 - Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul

$606.66 - Wal-Mart price of the Beast

$566.66 - Costco/Price Club price of the Beast

Phillips 666 - Gasoline of the Beast

Route 666 - Way of the Beast

666 F - Oven temperature for roast Beast

666k - Retirement plan of the Beast

666 mg - Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast

6.66 % - 5 year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank,
$666 -minimum deposit.

Lotus 6-6-6 - Spreadsheet of the Beast

Word 6.66 - Word Processor of the Beast

i66686 - CPU of the Beast

666i - BMW of the Beast

DSM-666 (revised) - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast

668 - Next-door neighbor of the Beast

- Number of the Blonde Beast
uh... what was that number again?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Solution

I have blogged on this before. But I think it is worth revisiting:

Most problems people have result from a lack of Core Values. I learned that a long time ago and have developed some that I believe are worth considering. They are part of the solution to everything.

If you remember the Tylenol thing that happened in the early 80s when someone put poison in some tablets and people died. Tylenol company pulled them at once. They lost millions of dollars. When quizzed about it the President of the Company said, "There was no discussion. We had already decided in advance what we would do in this situation. It was a core value to us".

That's the way I try to live my life. Sometimes with greater or lesser capacity. I try hard to take certain things off the table so I don't have to think about it when the time to make a hard decision comes along. I revert to my core values. They help me make right decisions.

Here are a few of them.

1. I strive (not always successfully) for 100% integrity in all things. No lying. No Stealing. No Cheating. If I pick it up, I put it back. I want to always be above reproach (to me) in areas of integrity. The book of Proverbs talks a great deal about this. If you are interested: Proverbs 10:9, 11:3, 20:7 and 19:1

This first issues saves me a great deal of pain. Once I filled gasoline in Tennessee. I had someone else's car. I drove away inadvertently without paying. I know I would have easily gotten away with this. But, I drove a half hour back to the station to pay. They didn't even know it had happened. They would have at the end of the day. Who did that matter to. ME. Make the decision to live a life of integrity and you don't have to think about what to do.

2. The success of my ministry, my work, my happiness in life is directly proportional to the depth of my relationship with Jesus and with my wife. I learned this best from a CBMC leader, Carl Boendner. He has illustrated again and again that without those relationships intact and healthy our ministry and business will stumble. I spend a lot of time nurturing and developing those two relationships. Thanks Carl.

3. I try extra hard to love people in the process. I am not by nature a patient person. I can be pretty hard on people. But people who are growing and working at it get a lot of slack from me. I used to be pretty legalistic about Christians who did things many would consider ungodly. But, I have come to the conclusion that ungodly is in the eye of the beholder. Some people can be pretty hard on someone who smokes. If you had to carry your bondage about in a labeled little box in your pocket it would be pretty sad now wouldn't it. So, I love people in the process. If you're not in the process I'm a little meaner.

4. I strive to keep my priorities in divine order. The reason is, whatever is on top of my pile (order) has sometimes undue influence in my life. I have to consciously try to keep my life in order. That order is:

A. Jesus. This includes everything about Jesus. This includes Church. This includes the gathering of believers together. This includes encouraging each other in fellowship. I have always had a hard time with people who give lip service to loving Jesus but don't have anything to do with things of God, Church, Fellowship, Bible Study, etc. I may be old fashioned but I believe in the Church. I believe it is ordained of God and must be nurtured by Godly Men and Women who are sold out for him. That's how I hold Jesus Number One. He is my all in all. That for me is not just a phrase. I really live that way. I stumble, I do dumb things. But my core value is Jesus is number one. Way above everything else.

B. My Marriage to Peggy. I have a wonderful wife. I tell her so every day. I am so fortunate. To this she would agree. But I know for certain that next to Jesus my relationship to her is most important. More important she knows that too. Nothing comes before her except him. She isn't jealous. She feels the same way. So it all works rather good. She doesn't have to wonder where she fits in. She knows, and she likes it that way.

C. My Children. I try to talk to my boys every week. I want to keep the relationship alive. I am not offended that they don't call me. I'm quite happy to be Dad. But, they know that they come really way down the list of my priorities. That was the case growing up too. When I came to realize that Peggy was more important, then I began treating them as they deserve. Respectful encouraging but they are the Kids. Marriages fail when the children carry too much weight. We ran away from our kids when they turned 18. 18 they were gone. That's God's order. Up and out. Then they are just good friends.

D. Friends and Hobbies. I like to Garden. So many of my friends are Hort types. I like things of God so many of my friends are people who are like minded. I have worked in the past with some wonderful people with creative minds. Ken Lea is one of those. I have many stimulating friends. And when it comes to hobbies, mostly we do hobbies with friends. So that's why I include Friends and Hobbies together. My best friend is my Brother Steven with whom I share lots of these interests. But, now he knows where he stands in the Hierarchy.

E. My Business. I work to pay the bills and buy groceries and pay the mortgage. I love to work. I'm good at what I do. But, in the end everything above is more important to me than my career, my business. I am fortunate enough that my hobby and my business overlap. Life is good.

So, in the end, I am a blessed person. And perhaps if you wondered how I stay so blessed, I took a lot of things off the table. Think about what having these core values really means when I make a decision about what I am or am not going to do.

It's very easy. What is my core value?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why God Sometimes Doesn't Answer Prayer

I believe in prayer.  Because prayer works.  Simple right.
But sometimes I have prayed fervently and well, Nothing!
I heard an awfully good teaching the other day.  I want to share it.  I think it says better than I could why Prayer sometime isn't answered.  And, if we Trust God, it's good that it's not.
1.  Sometimes the answer to your prayer would be the wrong time.  Seems like God is always working in the fullness of time.  He doesn't do things when we want him to.  He does things when he wants to according to his purpose.  So, if we pray for snow in July, it could happen but it's probably the wrong time.  Before Jesus was born, people prayed for the Messiah to come.  But only when the time was right did he come.  Now people are praying for him to come back.  He will, but only when the time is right.  Sometimes a person is praying for a mate, time, time and time.
2.  You are not ready to receive the answer to the prayer you pray.  Consider a 20 year old young man praying fervently to win the lottery.  If he did it could ruin him.  Or perhaps it's to get a better Job, that's good, but if he did maybe he wouldn't be ready to execute the work and would fail.  Pray and prepare.  When you are ready he will answer.  Particularly as it comes to money, he is looking for people thru which he can channel great wealth into the kingdom, people who have wisdom and discernment and aren't suckered in by every sob story.  God wants to bless such a person who is generous and Kingdom minded.
3.  The answer will hurt you (or others).  If you are in the habit of throwing rocks thru the windows of cars and you develop bursitis, praying for God to heal your bursitis so you can throw rocks again isn't gonna happen.  There are consequences for the answers to prayers.  They are known by God.  Some prayers if they were answered as you asked could do damage to others. 
4.  Sometimes God says NO because he has something better for you.  A house doesn't sell, he has a better buyer, a job interview falls thru, he has a better Job, A business fails, he has a new and better opportunity.  His plans are perfect and you can trust him even when he says no.  The better is coming.  I have experienced this one lots of times.
5.  Heaven is better.  Sometimes we pray fervently for a loved one not to die, and then they die.  Did God fail?  Nope.  We need to understand, heaven is better.  Better for them, better for you.  Sometime God makes things come to pass that seem painful for the time, loss, hurt, pain.  God isn't making a mistake.  He is doing his perfect will.  If a person is healed, all praise belongs to Jesus.  If he dies all Glory goes to him.
So, trust God.  The bad news is he's all you really have in the end.  The good news is, he's all you really need.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

6 Hours, Seemed like 5

I don’t tell too many people this, I’ll just tell you. I love the works of Wm Shakespeare. Have since Minne Onsrud made us read Julius Cesar in High School back in Ellendale ND.

Since that time I have seen most of his plays, and read a fair number of his sonnets. I have read all the plays. Hard to do.

Friday Peggy and I went downtown. I make her come with me and she is beginning to like the Bard too.

We saw Henry the IV. Running Time 6 hours. Actually it’s more like 4 Hrs 30 minutes. There is a one hour dinner break and two 15 minute intermissions.

But, long enough.

What I appreciate about Shakespeare is his consistency. I saw Richard the Second, Henry the 4th and of course Henry the 5th. Add to that Merry Wives of Windsor. The characters are the same. It’s like watching Star Trek Next Gen. It’s kind of a serial. I have come to know and love these people.

It was moving, beautiful and expensive and it beats watching the World Cup.

If I were a critic and advisor to ol Bill I would have dumped one of the bar scenes with John Falstaff. Too much.

But the drama of the reluctant Prince Harry in the death scene of Henry the 4th helped me understand better Henry the 5th.

I hope and imagine they will be doing Henry the 5th soon. I’m looking forward to it.

We few, we band of Brothers at Agincourt.