Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We are heading for Ellendale North Dakota for the 125th anniversary of the town hoopla this coming weekend.. What is disheartening is I was there for the 75th, for the 100th and now the 125th. I'm planning on skipping the 150th. Or maybe not. I'll still only be 87. Ok, I'll sign up.

But the 175th is out. That's that.

You could play weekend at Bernie's with me I guess.

In any case, I'll be back on Tuesday. Kevin is flying in Tues Night for a month and a week. I'm looking forward to it. We have much technical work to do. He's going to help me get hooked up to high speed. New computers and all that other technical stuff this old Luddite doesn't have.

Tune in on Tuesday. I'll have a full report. And, a controversial opinion.

And, one other thing. I planted some Caragana recently and thought of you. Up till here this was not one of the 97% and now it is.

Justification by Faith may be a False Gospel or Not

I really appreciate Steve Scott. His blog is always interesting. I followed him home (my terminology) from John Armstrong's blog one day and he stuck. If he lived near me we would hang out.

His comment below on the Walking on Water post is great. He said that when the NFL looks more like the scene in heaven described in the book of Revelation than Church does men will stay home from church. He also says Church is for Girls. Provocative? Maybe, but absolutely truthful and honest.

Does the NFL look more like heaven than the Church does? Maybe:
  • It's loud in heaven. Very loud. Ditto NFL
  • People are up and down and cheer (cry Holy) every time Jesus reveals a little more of his Glory. Ditto NFL
  • There is dancing and singing. Ditto NFL
  • There is unity in purpose, seeing what will happen next. Ditto NFL
  • Heaven is a very colorful place. Ditto NFL
  • The focus in Heaven is what is happening and not one another. Ditto NFL
  • There is drama and unpredictability in Heaven. Ditto NFL
  • AND, the Key player is clothed in very intimidating clothes. John even fell like he was dead when he saw Him. Ditto NFL

Steve might just be right. I won't give you chapter and verse, but if you can find your Bible, you just might look at the book of Revelation and see how much like the NFL heaven really is.

I have attended and do attend a Church which is in fact much like the NFL. Unpredictable, raucous, intense, loud and focused on what was about to happen. We even high five each other. There were times in Fargo when I was certain as the shouts got louder (Oh YES, the worship leader would have us SHOUT and SHOUT to the Lord) that I thought Jesus himself would walk in. In a service in Rockford during a particularly Loud and Raucous time some 15 different men ran to the platform and prayed and shouted to tear down altars of Baal. That was like the NFL.

So, sometimes the Church looks like the NFL. When it does MEN respond. At least this man does. I feel like running a couple laps.

One of the reasons I love what Steve does is his willingness to call a spade a spade. He's fearless. And he asks good questions. He responded to the question of Justification by Faith alone with some clarity. You should read it and ask the question. Even the most Lutheran person I know (that's not always in a good way) Barry Kolb questions if we don't miss it when we quote Ephesians 2:8-9 and don't include 10. We were created for good works. Somehow we just don't do them.

If you really want the truth, Steve and Barry, here it is.

You will get to heaven without doing any works. Justification by faith. The hell or heaven choice is made. Heaven just might seem nearly hell like when you get there if you end up with NO REWARD. Proof text?

2 John 8
If there is a full reward could there be a partial or no reward?

2 Corinth 5:8-10
This was written to people who were bound for heaven. Saved folks. What's that all about.

Heb 6:4
What Judgement is that? Heaven or hell, or is this another.

Phil 3:14
If this is written about Heaven was Paul questioning his salvation? I don't think so. This must be about something more. Something that happens in heaven.

Where the Justification by faith alone theology falls apart is it's emphasis on heaven without the Bema Seat judgement of Christ. We will all stand before the throne of Christ alone and give an account of what we did or didn't do. Wood hay and stubble will make up most of what we did.

Believers will be judged in only two areas:
  1. What did you do to build the Kingdom of God on earth while you were alive? Yes this has to do with souls, it also has to do with what it takes to reach souls. I hope that includes the Church but Steve and I are less confident of that all along. Looks like Jesus is going to have to go to another plan.
  2. What we did to build and develop our individual lives to serve God. This is not Bible Study although it may include Bible Study. This is finding your gifting and finding a place to exercise your gift. If you aren't using what God gave you he will hold you accountable. If the Pastor of the Church won't allow you to exercise your gift find a different church. Jesus will hold him accountable separately for quenching the Spirit. You are alone accountable for using and developing everything and every opprotunity God gives you. Staying inert and comfortable in your nominal Christianity is wood, hay and stubble. Some people would say that if you don't move on in God you will be judged the most severely and lose all reward.

This is a tough issue and I will write on this more. It's really simple. We are saved by grace and judged by our works. Two different things. Don't miss out. Build the kingdom and build yourself up in your most Holy Faith praying always in the Holy Ghost. Jude 20.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Isn't That Interesting?

I got emails and a couple comments on the post "Walking on Water" below.  It made me think.
The content of the post was about what we could do as the church to reach the men in our community.  I expected some vigorous discussions.  Instead, except for an email and comment from John Armstrong, all the comments regarded a throw away PS comment I made at the bottom about something I did long ago when I was very young in the faith.  My first love was great.  I had passion.  I want that passion back.
My question is this;  Isn't this exactly the problem we as a church have.  We are arguing about whether or not it's proper or good idea to try or not to walk on water and the main thing that should be the main thing, how do we reach the absent men in our communities goes unanswered.
Or maybe in the responses the answer lies.   Could it be that we are so busy discussing theology we no longer meet felt needs or attract men to be Christ Followers.   So they stay in the canoe.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Get Out of the Canoe and Walk on Water

Ross Werland said Sunday in the "Q" section of the Chicago Tribune that most men would rather sit in a canoe than in a pew. It was one of those "Why Real Men Don't go to Church" columns.

It's true. The church has abandoned men. Men sit outside and watch. They snicker about what goes on "in there". Men have no interest in being a part of what's going in the over-feminized church of 2007. Here's part of what he said:

Consider that the Barna Group, a Christian research organization, recently issued a report indicating that mothers are better stewards of Christianity than fathers in relation to families.

Further, Barna found, men are more likely to be "unchurched" than women, with males accounting for 55 percent of the category. Unchurched meant "has not attended a Christian church service within the past six months," excluding holidays.

Research also showed that more women pray at least once a week: 89 percent versus 79 percent. I don't know if that includes males praying: "God, please don't let my wife ask me to go to church again this Sunday."

There happen to be a few other religions in this country, so that helps explain why some people are unchurched, but some of it may involve how all this is measured.

The standards for determining that mothers were better Christian energizers involved attending church, praying, reading the Bible, participating in a small group, attending Sunday school and volunteering to help at a church.

I would guess that most of the people who do these things are wonderful Christians, but these acts say nothing about the spiritual reality. In large part, those things simply mean you're a joiner, not more holy.

Later in the article he says:

When my sons were growing up, we held our own brand of religious ceremonies beside a campfire, where spiritual feeling was palpable, and talked in a Christian context about how Native Americans lived so harmoniously with creation and in awe of its architect.

I think my sons now are as unchurched as I am. But they still love to camp. And when one of them called by cell phone the other day and asked me to tell one of the old Indian stories on speaker phone by his campfire, I knew that the great spirit must still be alive.

I may be unchurched, but I think God's voice sounds much clearer in my own back yard.
Ross is being the spiritual leader in his home and his sons are following in their fathers footsteps. There's something wrong here. Those boys may well come to a place in life where the real thing would have far more impact than this aversion to the girlyness of empty religion has brought them. Empty religion may very well cost them the ultimate price.

Contrast that with the meeting I attended Sunday night. About 700 people were there. People from all over the region. To see and hear a relatively famous speaker, John Bevere. He was exciting and effective. Not feminine. A man and his call. A man and his love and family. Hard hitting. Not evangelistic. He focused on the call and mission men carry in their souls and the necessity to find and follow that call. It shook the room. You could feel it. It was more than any canoe ride even in a rapids could produce.

He had an altar call. For salvation. I would not have predicted there would be many men going forward. This was a meeting focused on believers. 40 or 50 people came forward or more accurately rushed the altar. All except 3 were men. Men from teens to men in their 60s.

It was inspiring to see. It was fascinating to think that at the same time men are fleeing the church at large that men are rushing the altar when a suitable challenge involving a courageous act is required. There was nothing namby pamby or feminine about John Bevere's message. In fact it was designed to rattle men's cages.

It did me. It did others. It did Peggy.

Men need to know they are needed to build the kingdom. Not to sit in the pew, pay attention, behave, shut up and tithe (just
like mommies treat their little boys, which is how the feminized church treats them); they must know that the mission and purposes of God are tugging at them. They must find what it is God has called every one of them to do and then with an aggressive warrior spirit get out of the canoe and on track to where God calls them.

If we as the church would do what we are called to do we would teach men to get out of the canoe and walk on the water like Jesus did. We don't challenge our men enough to hold them. They are un and underused. They can't contribute as men so they drift away.

That's why they leave the church in droves and go canoeing. It's something they can do. They don't want to join, they want to contribute. Read what Ross said: In large part, those things simply mean you're a joiner, not more holy.

Ross, give me a few weeks, I'll show you how to find real adventure in Jesus. That other, as good as canoeing is, is no substitute for the real thing.

He wants to show you spectacular scenes you never dreamed possible. He'll shock you with his manifested glory. He'll take you to unbelievable peaceful places. He'll commission you in the Army of God. You'll never be the same.

I sent this to him. You should do the same. Ross is open to receiving a "better than a canoe" message. If you are a minister of the Gospel, what would you offer him? How would you make him that offer he can't refuse? Why not make all the men you minister to the same offer? Show them how to walk on water. Treat them like men and not little boys. We serve Father God who made the waters Ross canoes on, not a Mother Church.

Write him at:

PS: After I was filled with the Holy Ghost I actually tried walking on water. I sank. I believed I could do it if Jesus did it. I still do! I would rather believe in the miracle power of Jesus and fail then doubt even one thing about who he is in me. Any church, any person, any pastor, any man who doesn't believe in the miraculous
isn't being realistic, that means doing everything Jesus did and the Apostles in the book of Acts did. Where is it written we should settle for second best? It's not in your Bible. Everything that happened in the Bible from Genesis to Maps is for today. Anything less is settling. Never settle.

Way Stupid Religion

I'm not against Catholics.

I love the Catholic faith. But they are the harbinger of religion at it's worst.

One such dumb thing is proven by this story.

In short, A man posing as a priest is baptising a baby. The police (Spanish Inquisition) come and arrest him for impersonating a priest.

I understand the whole thing up to a point. But, when I pondering the whole deal, the great commission comes to mind.

"Go ye therefore and make Disciples of all people BAPTISING THEM (but first you must be a priest who went to seminary and who took all the vows) in the name of..........

That's the commission. But we have certainly diluted the whole idea by religion.

I'm glad none of the people I ever baptised before I became a "Minister" ever read this. They would think they weren't saved.

The churches they lead today would be very disappointed.

I guess I made a mistake taking Jesus at his word.