Saturday, September 30, 2006

Random Brain Blast

Collected Thoughts about nothing in particular:

It’s first of Oct tomorrow. Today feels like August. We are going to have some 80s next week. Fall is such a gift. We have yet to turn our heat on, although I fire up the fireplace. I know it’s a net loss but it makes me think I’m doing something. We will have these spectacular days from time to time from now till Thanksgiving. Then cold. For 3 months, then nice. I can take it.

New Christian song that’s going to be a monster hit. Group 1 Crew, Everybody’s got a Song to Sing. This group came out of Chicago, company that produces them is from Nashville and the main office contact is Florida. But they are fabulous. Hip Hop (Rap sorta) Christian Music. I love Macy Gray and her music, this is better. Look for it. On the other hand you won’t have to, it will run you down till you are sick of it.

We have our BIG block party tonight. I have to get up early to play on the worship team at Church. These two things don’t go together. Saturday night hoot and Sunday morning Scoot. I’ll do my best. I’ll need a nap tomorrow afternoon.

I discovered a really neat gadget. On google there is somehow a way to get update feeds from several news feeds and create a page. I have most of the blogsites I follow on a special bookmark deal from Firefox. Some blogsites don’t work. But I discovered this by trying to figure out how to do this with Julies blogsite.

I use dialup. So for me to troll across the blogosphere and read everyone who is there means I have to commit some time to it. I was visiting her site every time I “trolled” because I had no other way of checking if she had written anything brilliant lately. So, because I sort of “make the rounds” and most everyone is on a “feed” I had to actually hit her site to check. I think I made her nervous.

Then, in trying to find some way to avoid it I came upon this google thingy on her site. Wow, what a gadget. So now, the only time I have to check in is if there is something there fresh. I’ll bet she will miss my 10+ hits per day on the blog counter. Or not.

I spent a wonderful Thursday morning with Ben Peters and Barry Kolb. We sat and shared “ghost stories” and then Ben began to prophesy. I flow in this pretty well but Ben knows nothing of what has been ever said by the Spirit that had been delivered thru me or what the situation at LOL is. It was wonderful. I dearly love the prophetic gift because of how it wipes the mud from our eyes and allows us to see clearly. Remember that song by (I don’t remember) “I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my Way" It might be Pain but the concept is the same. Well that’s what the prophetic is like when you take it to heart. It clears away the spiritual cobwebs, puts you on a course for the future, and gives you confidence. I don’t know when or if Ben and Barry and I will ever get together again. Ben is going to wait on God to tell him when or if we should. But, I believe God is about to reveal his purposes in all this. I’m patient and never disappointed.

I have been preparing for the men’s ministry meeting next weekend. I honestly get more out of this than anyone else. If only I showed up and only I shared with me what God has given me it would be enough. I think that’s what it is supposed to be like. Sometimes the gift God gives is just for me (or you). Teaching is a wonderful way to learn.

A random political note. If the divide in this country were geographical rather than philosophical we would be engaged in civil war. That’s how wide the gulf really is. Each side (and there are sides) is convinced the other is living on another planet with alternate realities and completely blind and warped in their thinking. For clarity, both sides think this of the other. That’s what brought on the long discussion with Ron MacKenzie below. He would normally fit into the camp of which I am a part and doesn’t really. But, we (both sides) really think the other is off their nut. In fact, to be honest, we don’t think so, we are confident in our position. (Both Sides) know SO. That’s why I say, if we were geographically divided as we are philosophically and politically, we would be at war.

I bring this up because of the thought of the future, let’s project, if the liberals win, the conservatives will harden their position and try even harder to discredit the other side and take back power, ditto the other way around. If the Conservatives win the liberals will do what happened in Mexico and for a third time claim we nasty conservatives stole the election. They will become even more radicalized. There is no compromise.

The problem is as we drift apart we are never going to arrive at the same place, there is no middle ground, the middle ground is gone. There can only be victory by one side and grudging submission and subversion of the government as we have had the last two years from one another.

This also applies to the issue of the Islamic fundamentalists and the battle being waged by them against western culture. They are never going to give in to our way of life. There is no compromise. They want women in submission, they don’t want their daughters to dress like little whores, they don’t want homosexuality pushed on their little boys in school, they don’t want drugs and alcohol, they don’t want dirty movies shown in their cities, and they don’t want the open perversion, ponography and putrification they see in American society. There is no compromise. They will do all they can to destroy the great Satan. We have shown his face to them on TV and in Movies. They want none of it. They don’t want the society they have created polluted by us. They would rather kill us then let us infect them.

So there is no compromise. There is no moderation. There is no middle ground on which we will agree to get along. There is only conquest by one side and defeat of the other.

We are engaged in civil war, in the USA, the middle east, and around the world. It’s a war of ideas.

I don’t like it but I see it clearly. Who will win in the end?

I read the Book.

He does.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Think

I am a pretty definite person. Overfull of certitude my critics say. I'’m OK with that. I know in whom I have believed and I am convinced.

There is a man from Christchurch New Zealand, Ron McKenzie, who I have never met. I wish I could. I have been reading his blog, Blessed Economist, for over 2 years. I have often wanted to post a comment on one of his posts. But his blog hates me. Not really, but it doesn't for some reason allow me to comment.

He's an economist and a very excellent theologian. I read everything he writes and nearly 100% of the time I agree with him. I have printed off some of what he has written from time to time and handed it off to pastor friends of mine. He'’s that good. I commend him to you. I love his view of government, civil and eccesiastical. In fact the denomination under which I licensed as a minister is using some of his material in developing the proper approach to the apostolic model in church leadership.

So, it was with some chagrin that a couple weeks ago he wrote a piece that was not supportive of the War in Iraq, President Bush and his role fighting the war on terror.

He Wrote:
George Bush sees the War on Terror as part of a Struggle for Civilization. I suggest that he does not understand war or civilization.
War on Terror is a strange name for a war. Terror is a weapon, not a war. So who is America actually fighting against: Al Qa'ida, an Axis of Evil, all Muslims, the Middle East nations?
Now, in principle I understand. He claims we do NOT understand what the War on Terror is; we have declared war on a weapon or a symptom, in a way it'’s like having a war on Atom Bombs, or our "War on Drugs" or the war on poverty.

If that is all there is, the war on terror is hopeless. If people'’s hearts aren'’t changed then nothing changes.

I had to think about it. Since his blog doesn'’t take comments from ME, I wrote Ron directly. I asked him this question, "“What would you do, say or encourage our President to do or say since he has the responsibility of leading and protecting this nation and it'’s constitution”. They really want to kill us. Kill us all. Nuclear annihilation. I recognize that the Gospel is the weapon that will get us further than any bomb or force. I understand your idea of interchange and communication. I do think this is a war for the ideals, for good and bad of western civilization. Capitulation defeats us all".

He responded:
Gene, a few of them want to kill you, but if you ignore the posturing, the truth is that they are mostly powerless or incompetent. Most of them just want to survive. They fear that the United States wants to kill them and there is a fair bit of evidence to justify their fears.
I'’m not sure I buy that, (Incompetent??) but then Ron said:
The people of the United States have very little to fear. You live on a large island that is almost impossible to invade. Even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it has no way to get them to the United States. Terrorists have found it very difficult to strike against the United States, with only one success in a couple of decades.
Make that two, world trade centers 1 & 2. And there have been several near misses. Shoe Bomber. Gel Bombs. Others we may never know about. There'’s a problem, if they want to kill us, they are patient, they will strike, and they will use nukes next time, they will try to wipe out NYC and Washington DC. There are enough "“nutters" prepared to die in the cause of Islamofacism to propagate this. It would be worse if the weak Liberal politicians in the USA ran things. They have no fortitude to stand and fight. Only to cut and run. They are weak in the face of a real threat and believe that hiding and surrender is the right approach. In a soft way they represent the viewpoint Ron propounded.

Then Ron said:
I suspect that American culture has far more to fear from the corrosive growth of state power and the false gospel flowing out of Hollywood.
AMEN. But Johnny Depp isn't threatening us with a nuke. His threat while dangerous is being neutralized in that that we are winning the battle against what comes out of Hollywood.

Ron goes on:
First of all, I need to point out that terror is the weapon. It is a weapon used by some Islamic groups, but the United States military also uses terror as a weapon. A one-ton bomb dropped from a B1 bomber causes just as much terror as bomb let off by a suicide bomber. The difference is that the B1 pilot has better technology than the suicide bomber, so he can cause terror without risking his life. If the latter had the technical ability to hit his target without risking his life, he would probably do so. However, they both cause terror to the people they target. Islam does not have a monopoly on terror.
My response: if you live in those countries or areas of hatred for the USA you live under this threat (for a time), BUT no B1s are dropping bombs anywhere today. When does the next terror attack happen in Chicago or LA? We have ceased bombing them. The terrorists do not call a cease-fire and will not unless they are dead or changed spiritually, both of which must be the goal. They don't look to the sky in Iraq or Afgahnistan and fear the next B-1 is about to fly over today to bomb them. In the USA we do look up, every day. Every time I go to the airport I'm reminded of what is happening. I turn the news on with an eye toward what 9-11 style news flash will come next.

America thru no fault of it's own making has become defacto like Israel. There aren't any jews strapping on bomb vests and boarding palistinian busses or buses in the Hezbollah controlled areas of Lebanon. And there are no Israeli planes flying overhead bombing them today. Ceased fire. BUT, without constant vigiliance, without aggressive response as they did a couple months ago, there would be no peace in whatever form at all. The USA didn't declare this war, but we will fight those who have declared war on us. Israel didn't declare this war, but they fight to defeat those who want to destroy them. I think Ron's view of this struggle is short sighted in many ways. Good in theory, poor in execution.

Then Ron says
Secondly, we need to understand that both Islam and Christianity are expansionist religions. They both claim to have a monopoly on truth. They both want the whole world to accept the truths that they hold. This fact puts them on a collision course.
I am confident that in the end the gospel of Jesus will be successful, not because we have bigger guns, but because we have the Holy Spirit on our side.

With That I agree wholeheartedly. I am confident in our God.
But, George Bush is our President (by the grace of God alone), and if I read the text correctly, he is placed there by God to rule in the best way he is able. I believe in President Bush. I believe he knows and trusts the same Jesus I do. So, last, to the question I asked Ron was, “"If you had the Presidents ear, what would you advise him as a man of God".

Ron says:
How should I know. I do not even live in the United States.

(I knew that Ron, I know there are very few terrorists sneaking in to blow up New Zealand, your family or loved ones. The Perspective you offer is one which seems reasonable until looking up the barrel of a gun pointed at you becomes a reality)


Ron Goes On:
1. George Bush's role is to defend the United States. The biblical rules for this role are outlined in Defence and War. George has not been appointed as the world's policeman. Tramping round the Middle East in big boots will not bring peace.

2. God does not need to United States to complete his purposes. American civilization will not save the world. American democracy will not save the world. The United States is currently in danger of becoming part of the problem. Maybe God has stirred up Islam to bring judgment on the United States Empire.

3. Absolute security cannot be achieved, no matter how much is spent on military power. George Bush may not be able to prevent every attack. If American culture is strong then it will survive. Life will go on. The gospel will advance.

4. A relevant passage is 2 Chron 25:8:
Even if you go and fight courageously in battle,
God will overthrow you before the enemy,
for God has the power to help or to overthrow.
Before going to war, you had better be sure that God is on your side. If he is against you, the strength of your forces will be irrelevant.

To which I must reply, even if stirring up the Middle East was part of the Plan of God to bring judgment, even if "“Tramping Around" brings unease, even if we can'’t bring absolute security, For GWB to do nothing belies his oath of office and the mandate he has as President of the USA to do his constitutional duty. We have a choice, we can face them THERE with boots on the ground, or we will face them in OHIO. We can take casualties THERE with men and women who are equipped and trained to inflict casualties in kind even if they take some themselves, OR we will take casualties in California by innocent non combatant men women and children as we did on 9-11. I would rather take the battle to them. And, according to the Islamic newswires, they have imported 4000 men to die in the cause in Iraq. We used to call that flypaper on the farm. So, yes we are fighting the real enemy in Iraq. They are getting desperate. They will try anything. They will use even chemical weapons. We must stop them, destroy their will, destroy their ability to wage this war. This is growing in determination, on both sides. I can't imagine what would happen if we "Gave Up". Iran invades the middle east and Europe.
Israel ceases to exist. This is not easy but it is essential.

Like Ron, I am very confident the Gospel will go on. I also think that for the USA to less than activly pursuing a military option to create a terror detente would be irrational and perhaps for our leaders ungodly.

Long time back I wrote a series of articles on why Biblically it is essential that the war in Iraq and the War on terror is waged. That it is a Prophetic war (the stand we take now will determine the stand we take in the future when REAL pressures come) with long term implications. That we must stand against this anti-Christ spirit now or we will have to stand later but weaker.

I wrote a series of articles on this war and why it's the right thing to do, now and ultimately. They are here: pt1, pt 2, pt3, pt4, pt5

I am still convinced that what we are doing in Iraq is right, just and must be won however that looks. I think even Ron McKenzie sees more of this aspect than he lets on. This is more than important, it's supernatural.

I admire Ron a great deal. He is a treasure and a gift to the Body of Christ. I just think he misses it on this ONE issue.

Ron, keep on blogging, keep on writing, your writings on the Prophet and the Apostle are rare and insightful. But on this issue, I think the story is yet to be told.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Junior Senior

A friend of mine just had his birthday.  He turned 62.  (you know who you are).
I face that in a few months.
I hate getting older.  They always say, "it's better than the alternative".  I'm not convinced.  But, I'll stick around. 
In any case, he's now 62.  The title the demographers place on this age bracket is Junior Senior.  I can't speak for him, but speaking for me, I'm just getting used to being middle age and now I'm not anymore.  WHAHAPPEND?
Also, 62 is the breakpoint at which they quit measuring you.  Up to 62 they consider you part of the 54-62 demographic.  After that it's 63-dead. 
Nice thought eh?  Talk about the ultimate pejorative.  He, and soon I no longer count.  Too old to be young, too young to be really old.
Is there any justice?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why Where and How did all this Happen?

I got an interesting question on a blog I write comments on. Say Anything. It was after some discussion of a new film Jesus Camp that the issue of TONGUES came up. Always a tough one to explain to someone who hasn't been there. I had said this earlier in the post:
Seems like people that have never tried Mangos all have an opinion on what they do or don’t taste like and if we should or shouldn’t eat them.

Those who regularly eat and enjoy Mango’s can’t figure out what the fuss is all about. So it is with Tongues.

Then this honest question came forth:

Gene, Thanks for the insight! When, where and how did your first expirence with tongues take place? How does speaking tongues differ from normal prayer and why do think you speaking in tongues is necessary?

I tend to take a very reasoned and logical view of religion and I am having trouble understanding the reason and logic of this practice. I am not trying to talk you and the practice down but I wish to understand it better.
NodakJoe on September 26, 2006 at 03:14 pm

My Response:

I was in my mid 30's. I had heard a teaching on the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. I Thought, Wow, that would be something.

I was alone kneeling in prayer. I had weeks before prayed and asked God to fill me with His Spirit. I was hoping he would. I didn't know if he would but I was believing for it. I really wanted it.

Then soverignly without any promting it happened. Suddenly - like in the book of acts I opened my mouth and words I didn't make up or had ever learned came from me. It filled me with such joy. I felt like I was speaking directly to the heart of God in a way only he could understand. After a time I was overcome with the power of what had happened.

Now, as often as I can, whenever I'm alone, when I shower, when I drive and even in Church I find myself enjoying this marvelous gift. (lots of Spirit Filled Christians love to pray in the Spirit (tounges) in the shower)

It builds my faith. The very same faith that allows me to trust God for miracles in my life is the same faith I exercise while speaking in tounges. In that way I am edified, my faith is strenthed.

I'm baffled why everyone wouldn't want it. After more than a quarter century of walking in Pentecost I can't imagine what life would be like without it.

How does it differ from normal prayer? Well to me, tounges is normal. But, more to the point, sometimes I just run out of words to say, I am incapable of expressing what I have in my heart, I can't verbalize what I know I should or I don't completly grasp the whole situation I know I should or want to pray about. At that point I pray in tounges with the assurance that the Father hears me, understands and even guides my prayer.

Reason can be a tyrannical master and sometimes can be the enemy of faith. It was unreasonable for Peter to step out on the water when Jesus called. But he did. I want to abandon reason like Peter sometimes.

I take a reasoned view in many areas of my life but I try hard not to let my intellect get in the way of faith.

You might be interested in what this LUTHERAN pastor from our area preached on the Baptism of The Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tounges. They are a good read and should answer all your questions.

I am part of a Good Lutheran Church here although it's probably less like any Lutheran Church you have seen. We don't use hymnals, we're looking for a new drummer and the music is foot-tapable. God is doing a new thing. Get in on it.

And, Thanks for Asking.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How to Meet THE ONE

In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal Personal section there was an exhaustive analysis of all the paid and free internet dating singles websites. I read it. I have since done an informal survey and compiled the following information. Unscientific, yes! accurate, YES!

It turns out the success rate among those signing up for all the different matchmaking dating services on the internet have an abysmal success record according to the article. What’s even worse is the capacity of some people to get out there thru these services are sometimes really weird or bad people.

In discussions I have discovered that far and away the bulk of marriage matches are made in only FOUR major ways. All others including internet dating make a distant 5th.

How to meet the ONE!

  1. In School (College usually) that’s were the bulk of marriages are formed
  2. At Work (Either someone you work with, a customer or a supplier, or working as a volunteer somewhere for free)
  3. Someone introduces you (this could be a blind date or a fix up) I know several which have worked out very well, my cousin Rita and Bill who were fixed up by my Sister Barb. “If you are single and someone says, I know someone you should meet, perhaps you should”
  4. In Church (You never see Young Women or Young Men so excited as when a new “Prospect” begins attending the Church they do)

I know people go to bars to meet folks. It happens sometimes, but is a pretty tough way to make it all work. Those folks are looking for a one-night hookup. Dances ditto. Most social affairs are a difficult way to get it together. Social clubs don’t seem to make much progress.

So, the long and short of it is,

  • IF you aren’t currently taking classes at a college or if you are an older then average student (small pool of prospects) you’re prospects are reduced.
  • IF you aren’t working in an environment where potential folks of marriageable type show up that you might meet you are in some difficulty.
  • IF you are unwilling to respond to a “Fix-Up” or are offended if it happens to you, then you have passed up a great way to meet new people.
  • IF you don’t attend Church or if the Church you DO attend is 100 or less, static in attendance and you have attend the same church for some time you need to reach out to find a place where you might find someone. A few of the big MEGA Churches in the Chicagoland area thrive because people go there to find someone. The join the singles in their 30’s and 40’s group and go prospecting. It works. I have several friends male and female who made just such a program work. What’s interesting is after they meet and marry they almost never stay at that church. Problem is there are stories there that chase them down later in life.

So, dear reader, that is what I know about the dating scene and I can tell you I surveyed a hundred or more people, young and old. There's lots of methods that DON'T work. These 4 are tried and true. Don't waste your time, risk you life and be frustrated by the other options. There’s lots of fish in the sea my mom used to say. Well, that’s true, but you have to put your hook and bobber in where they are to catch any. I’ve just told you where to look.

Failure Makes Cowards of us ALL

I studied psychology with Dr. James T. Nolan during the 70's.  It was part of the development process in teaching Dale Carnegie.  Not everyone went in for the whole Kuhuna, but I'm a glutton for punishment.  I did. 
During that time I learned a great deal about how human beings deal with threat, failure and pressure.  That helped me in two ways.  One is to help me see when people are pushed to far.  Second it has helped me see the fly in my own ointment. 
People under pressure from a potential failure mode pull back, revert to what they knew, the tried and true, old school, tradition, what they were told would work by others and are rendered impotent because of it.  They start punching a clock in life.
They stop being courageous and creative.  The capacity for innovation and the boldness to implement what they believed might work is stifled by fear.
Oh, there are rationalizations why they are doing what they do, but it's all fear based. 
I am going to do a few, a series of essays on this topic.  I see so many people I care about unwilling to take the action necessary to reach into greatness.
They don't realize they were created to impact the world.  That God purposed them to be really great. 
In Princess Diaries the comment is made, "Why am I afraid of Greatness".
Fear of Failure.  It's a curse and it must be broken.
Stay tuned.