Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Stages of Grief Regarding the Economy

We have gone thru a great deal with the collapse of the economy. This seems to be a time when people have lived in denial of how rough it will get.

I was reminded of the stages of Grief and how most people who are struggling in these times are somewhere in one of these stages.

I have walked this long enough to tell you I am now in acceptance and new joy. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be OK.

Think about the cycle and where you might be. If you are in ministry, where some of your people might be. This loss we have experienced in the last year is as real and as painful as anything we have endured for decades.

Five Stages Of Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation.
    At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
  2. Anger.
    The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
  3. Bargaining.
    Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
  4. Depression.
    The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
  5. Acceptance.
    This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Christianity UNPLUGGED

A Christian believer needs a church, just as a candle needs a candlestick, a tree needs soil, and an electric light bulb needs a socket. Without a candlestick, a candle cannot stand; without soil, a tree cannot grow; without a socket, an electric bul...b cannot shine. Neither can you. Without fellowship, a Christian can neither stand, nor grow, nor shine. There is no such thing as "solo-Christian" Reinhard Bonnke

Thursday, August 27, 2009

John Paul Jackson Prophesys the Perfect Storm

Very difficult days are ahead. If you want to have a glimpse, you will want to read this disturbing word from John Paul Jackson. I have seen him and heard him often. I won't endorse this, but I will make it available. The world is on the brink of something. Maybe it's this:

FIVE ELEMENTS OF THE BREWING PERFECT STORM As in the movie The Perfect Storm, the storm I see coming to the United States is a combination of more than one element, and when the elements unite, the storm becomes exponentially more dangerous. However, unlike the movie, this storm is not just a storm of merging weather patterns. This storm is worse; it involves five different elements: religion, politics, economics, war and geo-physical events.
The whole prophecy is too long to copy here. I'll let you go to the link. You have been warned.

Here is an interview where he talks about this prophecy.
It's worth watching.

There is REAL Terror in the Country

I don't think it is hyperbole to say that in certain segments of society there is a fear, anger and even terror of our government, the government of Barack Obama.

This is no longer about right left. This is not about Republican Democrat. This is REAL TERROR.

The problem I have with all this is part of me wants to reject it. Ignore it. Hope it's not real. Not hear it. Another part of me thinks it just may be.

If this total collapse of our government and our country takes place as Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh are talking about, there will be armed rebellion. This can't be good. The ones who are most terrified are the ones who are armed, dangerous and believe this stuff.

I honestly don't know where I come down on this. Most of me does NOT want to believe that we have a fascist dictator in the White House and in Congress. Some of me does.

You can read a far out but rational exposition of all this at WND. Part of that is Rush Limbaugh saying:
It is terribly upsetting and disconcerting, and I wish I didn't think it and I wish I didn't have to say it. But there's no way to sugarcoat it. This is not politics as usual. This is not left versus right. This is not Republican versus Democrat. This is statism, totalitarianism versus freedom. And if these people are allowed to go where they want to go unchecked, then some people, a lot of people – I don't think half the country, but close – will wake up one day and find, "My God, what the hell happened?" Because this is not what they voted for. They had no intention of this. They thought they were getting something entirely different and it is a responsibility that we all have being honest and earnest to inform people of what these possibilities are because they are very real.

This is in response to Glen Beck's concerns:
If you watch what could only be called the administration's organ – anything involved with GE or NBC – you've got [GE CEO] Jeffrey Immelt on the board of the Federal Reserve, you have him in the Oval Office consulting not only on health care , but the financial situation, and they are an organ.

If you watch MSNBC, I contend that you will see the future because they are laying the ground for a horrible event ... anything from the right, there's some awful event and I fear this government, this administration has so much framework already prepared, that they will seize power overnight before anybody even gives it a second thought.

Now when you have Rush Limbaugh trying to ameliorate Glen Beck's fears about the government, that is quite a show. You can watch it here:

Steve Scott is looking for a Church

Steve is a blog friend of mine. I enjoy his posts. We have even talked on the phone.

He recently left the church he had been attending. He is now in a church shopping mode.

Here are some of his desireds and absolutes. They are interesting. I have a church for him except for the membership and the contributions from the congregation thing.

It needs to be a Christian church. It should hold to the Apostle's Creed. It should hold to the true gospel, and yeah, general conformity to those "three marks of a true church" I have heard a lot about over time. One, preaching of the true gospel, administration of the sacraments (baptism and Lord's Supper) and church discipline. Love for one another in the church, although not a mark of a true church in Reformed theology (huh?), should be there. Do these people actually love one another on a regular basis? These are absolute essentials.

Now for strong preferences. All members of all families are in the Sunday meeting regardless of age. Extreme cases of screaming infants or toddlers can make use of a crying room, etc., but families should feel free and unhindered - and actually encouraged! - in training their children in the church meeting. When everybody's kids are there, the background noise is easily ignored and preaching and praying can be heard. When no other kids are there, one child that makes even a peep is the target of wrath of others. I would also like a church of 50-75 people, maybe growing up to 100 before splitting into smaller groups. Pastors/elders should be leaders who lead by example, not by making rules or overlording the sheep. Every baptized Christian who assembles there is counted as a formal member just because they assemble there. Children should also be welcome.

Other preferences. Real bread and real wine in communion. A fellowship meal should be included every week, with the Lord's Supper being part of that meal. I also would prefer a participatory meeting, where everybody uses their gifts (or at least has the opportunity) for the edification of others, and not just a spectator church where the professional types do all the work. I would prefer the church not be a non-profit corporation nor registered with the state as a 501(c)(3). At least some hymns should be sung a capella. Allowing or serving of alcoholic beverages at church meetings or meals should not be shunned or discouraged.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doctrine Devaluation

John Armstrong is a Friend who I find can cut to the core of Issues. What is posted below is from His Blog. Pastor Phil Ressler has been teaching a series called "The Core". We need to figure out what we really believe. I'm tired of the constant devaluation of the core doctrines of the faith. John's post is a call to STOP. I say amen.

The Present Devaluation of Christian Doctrine

Christian doctrine has been devalued for the last one hundred plus years. Liberal teachers continue to devalue it by inverting the relationship between Scripture and secular thought. They allow secular insights to interpret the Scripture. Evangelicals devalue doctrine by treating it as something that has little or nothing to do with living faithfully. ("It is not practical and only divides us anyway!") I have heard evangelicals say, most of my life, "Doctrine divides us but love unites us!"

A good example of this devaluing process, at least on the liberal side, is what we presently see happening regarding sexual ethics. The seventh commandment is quite clear. If you read what Christians teachers have said about this commandment since the first century the response would have been very, very consistent. But now, less than one decade into the twenty-first century, there is a huge debate about same-sex marriage. There really shouldn’t even be a debate. This debate can only thrive in a context where the role of Scripture has been inverted.

The real problem in this modern debate is that we have lost our way with regard to the clarity of Holy Scripture and the Christian tradition. The authentic Christian belief—still sustained by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and confessional Protestants—is that Holy Scripture is in essence God testifying to himself via human witnesses and God-breathed writers. (There is wide room here for differing views of how to define inspiration.) This belief that Scripture is God-breathed is basic, fundamental. Without it we can make no sense of Christianity. If the words of Scripture are not written revelation then we can know nothing of God’s truth revealed to us in Jesus Christ. We are cast adrift to interpret the Bible as we see fit in each age. (This is not to deny that we can rethink how we understand certain things in Scripture. It does mean that we cannot remake the commandments of God to fit into our modern ethical practice.)
The sum and substance of the church’s doctrine is found in the gospel itself. Our creator has become our redeemer through the incarnate Christ. But evangelicals have reduced this gospel to a few propositions; e.g., all have sinned, Jesus died and rose for sinners, believe on Jesus and you will be saved. This makes a valid point but the gospel includes much, much more. I would say, with many Christians down through the ages, that the Apostles’ Creed is a basic summary of the gospel. “The gospel,” says J. I. Packer, “is the full declaration of this gracious saving plan that God is fulfilling in and for his spoiled world, plus the full demonstration of the proper response—faith in Christ and repentance, good works, and love both Godward and manward, with gratitude and joyful hope.”

Intimately bound up with the gospel of Christ is the doctrine of the Trinity. The gospel saves us because, as J. I. Packer rightly notes: “the one tripersonal God, our God, operates as a team, all three persons within the divine unity working together in full conjunction with each other to carry through a single, huge, mind-blowing plan: namely, to establish a multi-billion strong community of redeemed human beings, each one an enormously complex entity in creational terms, within a fully reconstructed cosmos, with Jesus Christ the mediator at its center for all eternity.” I love those words: "a single, huge, mind-blowing plan."

The Anglican Prayer Book leads the worshiper to ask that God deliver us “from all false doctrine, heresy and schism.” Note all three: False doctrine, heresy and schism. They are uniquely related and we separate them to our own peril. Some Christians are concerned about false doctrine and heresy and care not at all about schism. The doctrine that establishes us in unity is the gospel and this gospel is intimately related to the Trinity. Without this framework Jesus is reduced to a cool plan of personal salvation. We cannot afford such reductionism since it will lead us further and further away from the doctrine of grace. Both liberals and evangelicals need this gospel and it will cost them something to make sure they regain it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Wonder of the Dance

Is it just me, or is dance becoming bigger and bigger. Think of the recent wedding dancers.

This dance performance in Antwerp Belgium with dancers that were rehearsed only twice.

It's all so wonderful. Enjoy the whole thing.

I hope this scares the HELL out of you... it did me

What is Church Unity anyway?? Where do you draw the line?

Since all this recent mess in the ELCA I have been thinking a lot about the line. I think there is a line somewhere. Who do you keep unity and fellowship with and who do you not?

Make that line too close and you become closed off from the whole of the Christian community. Jesus talked about that in John 15.

Make that line too far away and you begin ordaining homosexuals.

My brothers and sisters with whom I can have full fellowship are those who can confess the apostles creed, and believe it, who hold Jesus up as the Christ, true God.

That would leave out Jehovah's witness and Mormons I think. Certainly Satan worshipers and Unitarians. Maybe my litmus test isn't complete. But, there IS a litmus test.

So, the question is this.... HOW do we apply it? Do we just accept everyone who puts a cross on their building as a brother? One of our local taverns has a cross on it. Lit up. And I'm not sure they are filled with my brothers. Some..maybe.

I would have to hold to the admonition of scripture that a person in open rebellion of SIN to the truths of the Word of God (yes I will have to say as I see them) would have to be considered a "So Called Brother" and must be treated as such.

This is personal for me.

I just know there is a line, and where we decide to draw it matters.

An interview with the Devil... really pretty funny and insightful

When our ability outruns our God

From Os Hillman:

"If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Exodus 33:15).

One of the great dangers in Christian service is to move from a presence-based work to operate purely on our natural skill. Once we become established in something, the daily maintenance can lead us into complacency until a crisis arises that forces us back to our knees to appeal to the Lord for His presence to return.

Things were going well for Moses as he led the people out of Egypt. God was calling him to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, to receive the Ten Commandments. While he was there, the people fell away from the Lord by returning to the ways of Egypt by building and worshipping a golden calf under Aaron's watch.

This revealed that the spiritual foundation of the people and the leadership of Aaron had not been grounded enough for the leader to have an extended absence. God's presence had left the people. If you are in management, you must know the condition of your team to know how long you can be away from hands-on leadership.

When Moses came back and saw what had happened, he recognized the solution as well. Having God's presence return was the only way they could proceed and have success. "How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Ex 33:16).

Moses also realized a weakness in his own ability to lead. He pleaded God to mentor him: "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you."

Is the presence of God in your current activities? Are the people you lead mature in their faith that allows you to be off site? Ask for God's help on both counts.

Faith is God's Gift to us at Birth...

Faith is from God, His gift to us at birth, like sight or hearing. It is a faculty or a hand, by which we reach out, and take what God has for us. If we destroy the faculty, or let that hand wither, then we can take nothing. We are guilty losers. The world conditions us. We go out in the morning, work all day, and come in at night, read the newspaper, watch television, and in all that time, how much have we been exposed to what will encourage faith in God? Usually nothing whatsoever – not a single word. On the contrary, we have been almost immersed in a sea of doubt and sin. The world is a vast brainwashing establishment to destroy faith in God. It maims us spiritually; it amputates our hand of faith. We are ‘civilized’ out of the simple nature God gave us.

A word of warning here: Faith is not a subject, like gardening or photography, just for those interested. We either believe or perish. Faith is a universal human obligation and responsibility. This is set out in the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:12. All guests were provided with a wedding garment, meaning faith. One man came, apparently thinking that he could dress better than anybody else, wearing his own, possibly self-made, clothes. He was thrown out.

The standard dress in the Kingdom of God is faith.
‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ This one individual had come to the feast proud and superior, not wearing the garments of God-given faith. The Kingdom of God is not a meritocracy. Entry permits, visas and passports are issued to the believing alone. Academic qualifications are irrelevant. Heaven will not be monopolized by theological graduates, nor by people who have ‘never robbed a bank’, but only by people displaying the simple badge of faith. Do you go along with that? Please let me know. REINHARD BONNKE.

Why does this seem heavy handed, ominous and unreported by a sheep media?

Obama appoints a guy to some post. That's not important. This guy is a radical from Obama's community organizing mould. This guy decides to go after and defame a radio and TV talk show host. He intimidates commerce. Like the mafia would.

Now, he is outed for what he really is, a thug.

Why isn't anyone in the media even talking about this kind of gangsterism? How does Obama get away with this? What is really going on here. How come it seems so much like early Nazi Germany? Do we even have an independent media anymore?

You can read this story and decide for yourself:

Here's Part.

Glenn Beck goes after Color of Change co-founder Van Jones

August 24, 2009 | 3:41 pm


Glenn Beck used his popular Fox News show this afternoon to attack the background of Van Jones, a White House environmental advisor who co-founded an African American political advocacy group that organized an advertising boycott of his program.

During his 2 p.m. PDT show, Beck did not address the boycott spearheaded by Color of Change to protest the talk show host’s remark last month that he believes President Obama is “a racist.”

Instead, he spent a large share of his program suggesting that Jones, who co-founded Color of Change in 2005, is a radical. Jones now serves as a special advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

During a six-minute biographical profile, set to ominous music, Beck said Jones was twice arrested for political protests and has described himself as a "rowdy black nationalist." The talk show host cast the piece as part of a broader examination of Obama's "czars," special advisers to the president who "don't answer to anybody."

"Why is it that such a committed revolutionary has made it so high into the Obama administration as one of his chief advisers?" Beck asked.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Has Medical Science Shoved the will of God Aside?

I have given this a great deal of thought. I'm more pro life then you can imagine. I won't even kill a spider without reason... BUT-

Medical care has advanced a great deal in the last twenty years. People can be kept functional at least in bodily function in ways that were never considered thirty years ago. The Terry Schivo case demonstrates that.

I have friends who have a child who was born without a functional brain. The mother has made a career of taking care of this boy who is now close to 15 years old. Medicaid pays her about sixty thousand a year to keep him alive. He is functionally totally incapable of taking care of himself.

In Chicago there is a hospital in Hinsdale dedicated to keeping alive people on ventilators and electronic stimulation of the heart. They will never emerge alive. They would have been long since dead thirty years ago.

Every day children are born with profound physical problems. Only extraordinary measures saves them. I was at a restaurant recently and a boy about 20 was wheeled in. He was apparently profoundly disabled. His head tilted back, his mouth open. He was not there to eat, it was just an outing. They wheeled him in, ate, and wheeled him out. It was obvious he had no idea where he was or why.

I have two uncles in nursing homes right now. Both in their 90s. I know that for one, he doesn’t even know where he is. Alzheimer’s. Yet, when there was a medical crisis recently he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital and spent several days there at Medicare expense.

He would not have made it thirty years ago. I also have several people I know with downs syndrome children. They are wonderful loving people. So are their adult Downs children.

I don’t know the solution to this. I don’t want to let Obama and his death panels deal with this. BUT, there must be some way we can be humane but not insane. Some of what we call mercy, isn’t.

When my own brother was no longer doing well with severe complications from diabetes, the Doctor told him, you won’t leave here alive, but you might live for a year or two, he made the decision to from that moment on to forgo food, medicine and water. It still took a couple weeks. He died bravely and on his own volition.

I have no solutions. I just wanted to ask the question. Even if we CAN extend life, or at least a life form, should we?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I think this is a good thing, looking at the comments, not everyone does

Joyner Launches Initiative to Bring 'Profound Change'

MorningStar Ministries founder Rick Joyner has convened some 300 ministry leaders to help launch an organization aimed at mobilizing Christians to bring "profound changes to the political, financial and spiritual landscapes of the world."

The new initiative is being formed this week during the Summit, a leaders-only conference that began today at Joyner's Heritage International Ministries in Fort Mill, S.C., and runs through Saturday.

The burgeoning organization is designed to unite Christians and is not intended to be another conservative political movement, Joyner wrote in a July prophetic bulletin announcing the Summit.

"Our devotion is to wake up the sleeping church in America to seek the kingdom first, and God's righteousness, believing that when this happens we will become the salt and light we are called to be," Joyner wrote. "By this we will have the impact that we should in government and every one of the seven realms of power and influence over man."

The Summit will be broadcast on God TV beginning tonight at 11 p.m., Eastern. Speakers include former Brownsville Revival leader John Kilpatrick, now pastor of Church of His Presence in Daphne, Ala.

The conference comes on the heels of a series of invitation-only meetings Joyner has hosted with church leaders seeking to address political, spiritual and economic "crises."

In recent months, Joyner has been outspoken in his opposition to President Obama's health reform bill, saying the plan would lead to euthanasia and government rationing of health care.

In late June, MorningStar Ministries was one of more than two dozen conservative Christian groups that helped launch the Freedom Federation, which today issued a statement opposing health care that funds abortion and "treats life as a cost-benefit commodity."

But Joyner said the two organizations are distinctly separate. Details about the new initiative are being developed this week, but Joyner said the organization is intended to "mobilize and support" ministries seeking to "face and overcome the major crises and strongholds of our times."

In addition to forming the new organization, Joyner said Summit participants will address "some of the critical issues of our times as well as the incredible opportunities that face the church to be salt and light."

"With unity there is a multiplication of authority," he said, "and I believe this is going to be our most important church mobilization conference ever."

Paul might have written this to ELCA churches in North Dakota

If Paul was writing to the Church Today, particularly those who in communion with the ELCA. He would say this:

1 Corinthians 5:8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.

9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.

12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”


2 Corinthians 6:14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Those who are members of the ELCA or are in communion with them need to hear what Paul the Apostle says and hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying. Unity, at what price?