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Make It Better?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 0 comments

I hear a lot that the old ways of doing things when it comes to churches is "broken" or "not working". This makes me think, how can we improve the message of the Gospel? The only answer I can find is that the Holy Spirit gives us understanding.

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

This attitude of changing methods and techniques reminds me of those BASF commercials were their slogan was "We don't make the products you buy, We make the products you buy better." In my opinion the only way to make it better is to have a solid foundation of doctrine.

Instead, prominent pastors such as Rick Warren are promoting this program and entertainment centered ministry. I looked at a few of my area local churches web pages and found programs for anything. From cheerleading to fitness centers. I understand the method of reaching out to people and bring them in, but the result is in most cases is not building people up spiritually. Timm wrote on his blog about this exposed weakness.

In addition, everything must be a certain way or a "production" as Layne calls it. For example, ending at the exact time each week or having gruesome tryouts to sing in the choir. I just finished reading a book called "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" by Randall Balmer (I guess it was also a documentary on PBS). In the chapter on Rick Warren it says "What about children? 'We don't allow children in the Worship Center,' came the answer. Saddleback, in fact, siphons all children off to the children's programs and doesn't allow kids under five in any of the venues. 'They'll destroy your service,' the pastor warned."

I will not leave out the arrogance that they have either. "Though the church dropped the word 'Baptist' from its name long ago, and Warren does nothing to advertise his affiliation, both he and the church are technically members of the Southern Baptist Convention. 'We remain in the denomination more for their sakes than for ours,' he told me."

After reading this book, it really opened my eyes to how many different worship styles of Christianity there are and how superficial they look. Switching churches because someone prefers one music style over another or they have sports programs for their children. Is this how we are to evaluate churches? By what is pleasing to our ears and what programs they have to meet our desires. By focusing on these attributes there is a high danger in turning into nothing more than a social institution.

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Animal Cops Detroit


Last weekend I watched multiple episodes of Animal Cops Detroit on the Animal Planet television station. I do own a dog, but I am far from a PETA extremist. I highly recommend this show. The show exposes the cruelty animal owners do to their pets. Most of the time they do have happy endings, but let me forewarn you that they all do not. I was glad to find out that in my home state of Michigan we do have a law for extreme abuse of animals that can result up to a 4 year felony. As I said, I am not a fanatic about animals nor equate them to humans, but this is a good program that reveals things that I was unaware of and I do highly recommend taking a look at it.

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National Council of Churches

Sunday, January 27, 2008 5 comments

I believe this organization is contradicting to God's word. I found this article outlining their election guidelines. Before I list them let me first quote them to give you a better understanding of their mission.

"As they gather in the Council, the member communions grow in understanding of each other's traditions. They work to identify and fully claim those areas of belief they hold in common; they celebrate the diverse and unique gifts that each church brings to ecumenical life; and together they study those issues that divide the churches. And they cooperate in many joint programs of education, advocacy and service that address critically important needs and that witness to our common faith in Jesus Christ."
This may sound good and even similar to what we do on each other's blogs, but I don't anyone would "celebrate" fundamental doctrine. Anyway, without further ado here is their list.

1. War is contrary to the will of God. While the use of violent force may, at times, be a necessity of last resort, Christ pronounces his blessing on the peacemakers. We look for political leaders who will make peace with justice a top priority and who will actively seek nonviolent solutions to conflict.

2. God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation. We reject policies that abandon large segments of our inner city and rural populations to hopelessness. We look for political leaders who will re-build our communities and bring an end to the cycles of violence and killing.

3. God created us for each other, and thus our security depends on the well-being of our global neighbors. We look for political leaders for whom a foreign policy based on cooperation and global justice is an urgent concern.

4. God calls us to be advocates for those who are most vulnerable in our society. We look for political leaders who yearn for economic justice and who will seek to reduce the growing disparity between rich and poor.

5. Each human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth. We look for political leaders who actively promote racial justice and equal opportunity for everyone.

6. The earth belongs to God and is intrinsically good. We look for political leaders who recognize the earth's goodness, champion environmental justice, and uphold our responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation.

7. Christians have a biblical mandate to welcome strangers. We look for political leaders who will pursue fair immigration policies and speak out against xenophobia.

8. Those who follow Christ are called to heal the sick. We look for political leaders who will support adequate, affordable and accessible health care for all.

9. Because of the transforming power of God’s grace, all humans are called to be in right relationship with each other. We look for political leaders who seek a restorative, not retributive, approach to the criminal justice system and the individuals within it.

10. Providing enriched learning environments for all of God’s children is a moral imperative. We look for political leaders who will advocate for equal educational opportunity and abundant funding for children’s services.

Finally, our religious tradition admonishes us not to bear false witness against our neighbor and to love our enemies. We ask that the campaigns of political candidates and the coverage of the media in this election season be conducted according to principles of fairness, honesty and integrity.

In case anyone is interested where abortion or homosexual marriage comes in, it doesn't because that is not uniting. "Dr. Kinnamon said. “There are other issues on which some Justice and Advocacy Commission members wanted to speak and that Roman Catholics and conservative evangelical Christians might add, but on which churches aren’t united - among them, abortion and gay marriage."
There are many problems I found with this group. Mainly their opposition to any war and they are borderline communist because they imply redistribution of wealth.

I will end with 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own diesires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers"

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Definition of the Local Church


I think this is an accurate description of the local church's function and purpose.

"The church is a body of baptized believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God; organized for the purposes of worship, evangelism, education and fellowship; observing the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts."

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God's Grace and Soverign Plan Portrayed in Paul

Thursday, January 24, 2008 2 comments

The first time the Apostle Paul appears in scripture is the story of Stephen.

Acts 7:58-60 "and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.' And when he had said this, he fell alseep."

Paul was so close to the stoning of Stephen that he held the killer's clothes. This was the beginning of Paul's persecution of Christians. In God's plan we see the conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-9). What I found amazing is what happened instantly after:

Acts 9:20-21 "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said 'Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?" This is a prime example of the change believers are suppose to encounter. In Paul's case it got to the point that they tried to kill him and he had to be lowered down the side of a wall in a basket to hide (Acts 9:23-25).

Another interesting point is when Paul tried to join the disciples, the disciples were skeptical and it was Barnabas who stood up for Paul (Acts 9:26-30). Acts 4:36 tells us that Barnabas means Son of Encouragement. I found this interesting because it seems as though Christians are still skeptical of others.

Paul eventually goes on many missionary journeys and I think his background played a major role in his accomplishment. He was born a Jew and studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), Became a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), and was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-29).

Lastly is Paul's acknowledgement of God's grace and purpose.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a fatihful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."

There is a lot to take from, but I would like to emphasize that he was enabled, counted faithful, put into ministry, acknowledged his sin to the point saying he was chief, and giving glory to God for his abundant grace, love and faithfulness.

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Sick of the Rhetoric yet?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2 comments

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Minister Salaries

Monday, January 21, 2008 11 comments

I know televangelists have a bad reputation along with lawyers and used car salesman, but do they bring it on themselves? They are making millions off of their followers. Living in mansions, driving luxury cars and dressing in the finest clothing. I am not against anyone being wealthy, but I am skeptical when it is the result of sharing the gospel. It seems that things should be the opposite or that the money could be used elsewhere. I will examine three televangelist, not to attack them personally, but because they are the most popular and people will be familiar with them.

First, Joyce Meyer. I don't agree with women pastors, but I will skip that and move on to her salary. Here is an article that states Meyer's salary at $900,000, but don't worry, it has been reduced to $250,000. This does not include her royalties from her books and the use of a corporate jet. Her husband who happens to be vice president of the ministry made $450,000 in 2003-04.

Secondly, Joel Osteen, who portrays to be gracious by giving up his $200,000 salary. This is because of all the books he sells. He also gave up a portion of the book profits to renovate the former Compaq Center where the Houston Rockets use to play. His luxurious lifestyle isn't to shabby for someone who didn't complete college nor attended seminary. Here is an article about Mr. Osteen.

Lastly, Rick Warren. He is not on television so he does not classify as a televangelist, but I included him in this because of his salary and his resulting actions. You might remember him from his best seller "Purpose Driven Life", the one who let Hillary Clinton and Obama speak in the pulput of his Saddleback Church or his praise of Syria. He seems a little more giving by doing what he calls "reverse tithing". He keeps 10% and tithes 90%. I am sure this does not break his pocketbook.

Now it is time for my disclaimer, for I am sure some will take this as judgmental and /or divisive. I know these people have done good and may even have good intentions. However, getting rich of the gospel of Jesus doesn't seem right and while they my donate large sums of money they are making much more. They write book after book and they all seem to be the same. Psychologically centered and less Biblically structured.

Again this is not an attack on Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, large churches or rich people.

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Pearls and Swine

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 5 comments

For all you Biblical scholars out there, I would like to know your position on Matthew 7:6 and contrast it to Matthew 5:44.

Matthew 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you"

I believe the difference is our actions between enemies compared to the gospel and unbelievers. I think of this verse because I was reading about a creation vs evolution debate. I also remember watching part of a debate that Timm told me about and was shocked at the pure hatred of the word of God. Should Christians be more careful about this? How do you interpret this verse about casting your pearls?

I will also mention Matthew 13:58 "Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief."

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Work Ethic

Monday, January 14, 2008 8 comments

This is my version of Max Weber's book "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". I know many people say and I think it is even on a bumper sticker that Jesus in not a Republican or Democrat. This may be true, but I feel the democrats have forced me to the Republican Party based on issues when compared to the Bible.

We all know the social issues of abortion and the sanctity of marriage, but I would like to look at the issue of social programs. The Bible is very clear that we should have a strong work ethic and not be lazy. I believe that the Bible says that laziness equals poverty. However, poverty does not always equal laziness.

Proverbs 10:4 "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich."

Proverbs 13:4 "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."

Proverbs 14:31 "He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy."

Proverbs 17:5 "He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished."

I would also be inclined to say the Bible supports capitalism:
Proverbs 12:24 "The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor."

This is not to disrespect some professions, but rather rewards hard work. It all comes down to the work ethic.
Proverbs 14:23 "In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty."

Do not be mistaken, I am not promoting prosperity gospel. Hard work may not make you rich but Proverbs 27:23-27 says it will give you the necessities of life. It is not the governments responsibility to be a charity, but individuals and organizations.

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Michigan Primary


As many of you know, Michigan Primary is Tuesday January 15th. This was moved up in hope presidential candidates would focus on the problems that plague our state since we have an incompetent governor. This plan worked for the Republicans, but backfired for the Democrats. Obama and Edwards withdrew their names from the ballot and the DNC took all of their delegates.

The State Republican Party is really pushing for Mitt Romney because of his (so called) Michigan heritage. However, the problem stated above makes for an unpredictable outcome. Many Democrats will be voting probably for Ron Paul and John McCain. Some will even throw their vote to Mike Huckabee. I think this hurts the chance for Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson who do have a lot of support here in Michigan.

My predictions will be 1st) Mike Huckabee, 2nd) John McCain 3rd) Mitt Romney 4th)Ron Paul. The results will be very close.

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Why I Can't Support Ron Paul

Thursday, January 10, 2008 11 comments

I have gave each candidate serious thought and seen most of them in person. I actually looked deep into Ron Paul because his emphasis on the constitution. Unfortunately Congressman Paul does not score high marks when it comes to the primary job given to the President by the constitution, which is Commander in Chief.

His foreign policy is ridiculous in that we isolate ourselves. We abandon our Israeli ally and let them fend for themselves against neighboring countries that want to "wipe them off the map". Ron Paul is the Karl Marx of the Republican party. By this I mean that everything revolves around economics. In my opinion, a President has much more control over the safety of its citizens rather than the economic climate. The only major thing a President can do is cut taxes and limit spending, which each candidate says they will do.

The biggest problem I have is his total disregard of radical Islamic ideals trying to destroy the western culture (i.e. America, Great Britain and Israel). I have also posted a video that proves Ron Paul does not pay attention to current events, but rather listens to his own ideas about blaming America. It comes as no surprise that he has the support of "truthers". As someone who has served on a United States Naval ship, I would like to remind Ron Paul of the USS Cole, which lost American lives due to a small boat attack. It frightens me to think of Ron Paul as Commander and Chief.

This post is directed at Ron Paul's ridiculous statements at the debate in South Carolina and not directed at anyone's personal endorsement of Ron Paul.

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Cross vs. Crucifix

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 1 comments

I have noticed that Catholics choose to display crucifixes and Protestants choose just a cross. This post is not an attack on Catholics, but just an observation between the two. My take is that the cross is used because died and rose again. As Jesus said “it is finished”. I am not an expert on Catholicism, so I am unsure why they prefer the image of Jesus’ body on the cross. Is it merely one paying more attention to His resurrection and the other emphasizing His death? Does anyone know? Would like to share what they prefer? Or does it matter at all?

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Hillary and McCain take N.H.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 2 comments

I am not surprised that John McCain won for the Republicans, but I am shocked by the Clinton win (was it the tears?). The next primary is in my home state of Michigan. I hope to see some of the candidates as they make their appeals.

Two states down, Romney (aka moneybags)is hurting bad, we still have a Clinton vs Obama race, and the others are staying in why? Is it just to mess up the votes? Who knows. Who do you think should drop out? Does Romney still have a chance? Is Edwards hurting Obama by staying in? What are your opinions thus far?

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New Hampshire Primary

Sunday, January 6, 2008 2 comments

Iowa is over and now we look forward to New Hampshire on Tuesday. My predictions are that John McCain will win for the republicans and Obama for the democrats.

If Mitt Romney loses New Hampshire he will be done. He will not quite because he has a lot of money, but he won't be able to win. It will come down between Huckabee and McCain. I would hope that some will drop out. I know Fred Thompson is trying to last until South Carolina, but I think even if he stays, Huckabee will win SC.

For the democrats, another Obama win and Hillary is in serious trouble. Obama has a strong momentum going and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Well, there is my political expertise. Whats yours?

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A Christian Attitude


Should Christians act a certain way in general? Certainly there are characteristics that we share, but what about in difficult times? I would like start by examining two verses.

First, 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Secondly 1 Peter 4:11 "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever, Amen."

I would like to point out that the verses say "in all things" not "for all things". I don't think this necessarily means that if something bad happens that we don't rejoice and thank God for something if it is bad. But rather we should still give Him glory in difficult times.

James 1:13 says "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.". However, we know God allows temptation from the book of Job.

The response of a Christian should result in trusting the Lord. Proverbs 16:20 "He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.". Though we may not understand God's plan, we know that He is our Shepard and will keep us safe: Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.".

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Huckabee and Obama Win

Friday, January 4, 2008 4 comments

Well Mike Huckabee did it. He won the Iowa caucus. I don't think he can win New Hampshire, but should have a strong showing in Michigan. Hopefully John McCain can win New Hampshire and then Romney will be hurting bad, but he will still have his checkbook.

Obama looks like he has a strong crowd behind him and I think the democrats are hungry after 8 years of their nemesis George W. Bush. The shock was Hillary Clinton coming in third place. I think she is definitely on the ropes.

What are your thought as we get ready for New Hampshire?

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Iowa Caucus

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 10 comments

The Iowa Caucus is January 3rd. A long awaited start for many who have seen candidates campaign for over a year now. As many know Iowa is the first state to vote in the primaries for the presidential election. Much focus is given to Iowa for that reason because it can carry momentum. Others will argue that Iowa is not a big deal because it is too rural and does not have the same demographics as the larger states that choose the president.

This year I think the Iowa caucus will make or break candidates. First, If Mike Huckabee (who I support) loses Iowa he is done. He needs the momentum because he cannot win New Hampshire. Mitt Romney will be hurting if he loses that puts more pressure on him winning New Hampshire. John McCain has made it pretty even with him in New Hampshire. I think it will be too late for McCain and Rudy Giuliani because the states they will do well in come to late. Fred Thompson doesn't look promising because he is not leading in any polls. As for Ron Paul, as much as the Paulnuts love his crazy self there is no way he is going to win the nomination and if he runs as third party he is just helping the democrats.

Speaking of the democrats, I believe this is a two person race between Clinton and Obama. Obviously a win in Iowa will give either of them a boost. But, I really don't care about the democrats.

Here is a list of the order of states holding their primaries. There is a whole bunch in a row then comes Super Tuesday February 5th where most states hold their primary.

Let the excitement begin.

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