Friday, September 29, 2006

confessions of a teenage mom (married mom)

interesting article about being married then pregnant before 20...

It was only recently that being a teenager became synonymous with being too young to make big decisions about marriage and children. Some of my favorite books are the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. In these beloved books, Anne attains what is the modern day equivalent of a college education, becomes a full-time schoolteacher, and starts to teach herself Latin and Greek — by age 16. Her friends, also teenagers, start marrying and having babies right out of school. Yet none of this is depicted as unusual — Anne is only a slightly-above-average teenage woman 100 years ago. Today, Anne would be hailed as a genius and her friends would be considered mature far beyond their years (or else stupid for "giving up their independence" so early).

But maybe young Christians wouldn’t be so starry-eyed about marriage if they were told that babies are a good and immediate part of the deal. That would sober them, because it would elucidate the reality that marriage is more about sacrifice than sex. And in a culture where sex is all about pleasure it is crucial that we stress its procreative purposes. If you aren’t ready to have a baby, you aren’t ready to get married. Yes, children are a nuisance and an inconvenience — to our selfish natures. If you wait until you are completely financially stable, or emotionally ready, you will never have children. You are never fully prepared for anything life brings, but God promised that his grace will be sufficient for today.

Despite what you may read in the papers or hear on the nightly news, America does not have a "teen pregnancy crisis." In reality, we have a crisis of children born outside of marriage — to parents of all ages and classes, from impoverished teenagers to fifty-year-old movie stars, who want the fun of sex without the responsibilities of marriage. We have a crisis of maturity and morality.

Yes, I am among those contributing to the teen pregnancy rate. I would encourage other responsible young Christians in their late teens and early twenties to do the same. Women, these are the best years of your life to have a baby (ages 18-to-27 are when your body is at its peak for childbearing, and having your first child during these years significantly reduces your risk of breast cancer). Men, why not channel your youth and energy into something with profound eternal value?

another blog of note: Boundless

Boundless is the internet presence of Campus Crusade. The "about us" statement follows...

The time between the home of your youth and the home you'll make for yourself someday is a time of adventure, discovery and excitement; but also loneliness, longing and uncertainty.

From college to career to relationships, we at Boundless want to cast a vibrant vision for the single years, helping you navigate this season while preparing for the challenges and responsibilities of the one to come. That requires living intentionally with purpose by bringing your gifts, talents and Christian worldview to bear on your whole life.

Our contributing authors are renowned journalists, scholars and thinkers from around the globe who are here to help you enjoy the journey.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

case for abortion re-regulation

From Mirror of Justice, a blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory...

Now, Eduardo and I (and Murray and St. Thomas!) agree that not all immoral conduct need be, or should be, illegal. It is immoral, I assume, to relish in one's mind delicious revenge against one's enemies, but only a monstrous legal regime would make such relishing illegal. It is wrong to engage in cruel and hateful speech, but we do not -- and should not -- outlaw such speech. It is wrong to cheat on one's spouse, but no one should go to jail for it. And so on.

Eduardo and I agree that abortion is immoral. So, should it be illegal? Or, to refine the question slightly, "how important is it that abortion be illegal, if its incidence can be reduced substantially by means other than regulation"?

For starters, I have to say that Roe and Casey should be opposed, and overruled -- that is, it should be, again, permissible to regulate abortion -- for reasons independent of abortion's immorality. They are bad constitutional law, and the fact that these mistakes are more likely to be fixed (though, obviously, not certain to be fixed) by judges appointed by Republicans is a strong reason to prefer Republicans. That said . . .

Pro-life Democrat can't vote for his party...

Robert P. George writes:
So, however much one might dislike Republican policies in other areas, it’s clear that the death toll under the Democrats would be so large as to make it unreasonable for Catholic citizens, or citizens of any faith who oppose the taking of innocent human life, to use their votes and influence to help bring the Democratic party into power.

I find no cause for joy in this. I wish that it were possible for pro-life citizens legitimately to support Democratic candidates. I wish that the party of my parents and grandparents had not placed itself on the wrong side of the most profound human rights issue of our contemporary domestic politics. I wish that the killing of embryonic and fetal human beings by abortion and in biomedical research were resolutely opposed by both parties so that we could cast our votes based on our assessments of the candidates’ and parties’ competing positions on taxation, immigration, education, welfare, health-care reform, national security, and foreign policy. It is hardly satisfactory that pro-life citizens—representing a variety of views on the range of issues in economic, social, and foreign policy—find themselves bound to the Republicans because the only viable alternative is a party that has abandoned its commitment to the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family by embracing abortion and embryo-destructive research.

more free theology courses - Gordon Conwell

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has developed the Dimensions of the Faith series for any Christian who desires foundational knowledge in the areas of Old and New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, Church History, Theology, and Missions and Evangelism. The goal of each course is to:

  1. Paint the big picture of what you are learning
  2. Provide you with basic content
  3. Introduce you to keywords that will enlarge your capacity for understanding
  4. Guide you to understanding how greater knowledge of God’s Word can be applied naturally to everyday life and service
  5. Direct you to valuable resources as God’s Word whets your appetite for further study

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chuck Colson's blog

I guess you need to read the point to get the point....

Christian persecution in India

September 26 (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists severely beat two pastors on September 24 in Madhya Pradesh, India, before dragging them to a police station and accusing them of “forcing” conversions. Two days earlier, extremists had attacked and injured two evangelists in the same state, later accusing them of “hurting Hindu sentiments.”

More than 20 members of two extremist groups, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal (the youth wing of the World Hindu Council) barged into a church in Nana Badvani area in Badvani district last Sunday and attacked two pastors, identified only as Sukhlal and Jorsingh.

The mob spit on a Bible and then tore it up, according to a local Christian who witnessed the attack. They also told Sukhlal and Jorsingh to abandon Christianity or they would forfeit their lives.

The extremists forcibly took the two pastors to the Nana Badvani sub-police station, accusing them of eating beef – an offense to Hindus – and carrying out forced conversions.

Both men were held in police custody until Patras Habil, a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission, intervened. Sukhlal and Jorsingh eventually reached a compromise with the extremists, who then withdrew their complaint....

WWJD vs. CTR (Mormons)

the last time the elderly boys in ties on bikes came to visit me, i noticed one wearing a rubber bracelet with the letters CTR on them. it's a Mormon thing, choose the right. it's not a bad thing, but as Roger at the A-Team points out, it keeps the focus on the worker in contrast to WWJD which keeps the focus on JC...

Because "WWJD” is better than “CTR.” What’s the focus of “WWJD”? Jesus. What’s the focus of “CTR”? Whatever I can do. These popular little acronyms symbolize a deeper issue that divides Christians from Mormons. The Christian is drawn back to our great Lord and Savior so that we can model ourselves after Him. The Mormon is drawn to look at his or her good works. On its own, “CTR” is innocent enough. But within the Mormon worldview, it is the summation of salvation by our their works. If they do enough of them, then they pass God’s test for this life and go on to the highest of Mormon glories.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ephesians 4 and spiritual gifts

1- live up to your calling
2- LOVE (1 Cor 13)
3- Unite (1 Cor 12)
4- One Spirit
5- One Lord
6- One God and Father
same Trinity formula as in 1 Cor 12:4-6
7- Different portions of grace (Romans 12:6)
8- Gifts were prophecied
9- Proof that the prophecy refers to Jesus
10- “ “ “ “
11- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
12- to build up in preparation for service
13- until perfection ( 1 Cor 13) when we are fully united in faith and knowledge of Jesus and we mature and become completely filled with Jesus
14- no longer be like children (1 Cor 13)
15- mature into Jesus
16- each part of the body of Christ has a job to do (1 Cor 12)

Wired: Cell Phones? Hell Phones

i am not a cell phone keeper, so i am sympathetic to this rant against hell phones at wired...

Open Letter to the Religious Right

Snippets to chew on from Joe at the Evangelical Outpost.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was purportedly asked if God was on his side.
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side,” said the President, “my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”...
We have ideological enemies (e.g., Islamo-fascists) and ideological opponents (e.g., secular liberals). Our ideological opponents want us to lose elections; our ideological enemies want us to lose our lives. While we have to love them all, we shouldn’t lump them all together.

I can’t make excuses for us on this one anymore: We have to take a firm stand against torture. Yes, there is a debate about what exactly is meant by that term. So let’s define it in a way that consistent with our belief in human dignity. And then let’s hold every politician in the country to that standard. Our silence is embarrassing. [AMEN-jpu]


We must keep in mind that term “religious right” encompasses two spectrums. Because of our commitment to the faith, we will often find ourselves in agreement with the religious left. And because our conservatism is informed by our religion, we will find also find ourselves in disagreement with the secular right.

Our political alliances, therefore, will often be tenuous and shift based on particular issues. For example, at the Washington Briefing, Richard Land said that he’d vote for a Jewish pro-life politician who promised to raise his taxes before he’d vote a Christian pro-choice candidate who promised to cut them. The rousing applause he received would be as disturbing to most Republicans as it would to most Democrats.


America is not a “Christian nation”, though we should aspire to be a nation of Christians. America is not a “shining city on a hill”, though we should let our light of freedom be a shining example for the entire world. America is not the “greatest blessing God gave mankind”, though it is a great nation worthy of our conditional adoration. Patriotic sentiment has its place but we mustn’t let it expand beyond its acceptable borders. We are citizens of both a country and a Kingdom and must always be careful not to confuse the one for the other.

Monday, September 25, 2006

WWJD: got 50 cents for my crack habit?

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells this story,

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (NIV)

For me, this is one of the biggies as far as Jesus' ethical teachings go. Part of what i hoped to accomplish by living in the city and among the poor was to seize the opportunity to live this way. Physically though, most people i meet aren't hungry or thirsty, looking for an invitation or clothes or assistance. And if they are on my street they aren't in jail. We do donate clothes and food to the local Salvation Army and participate in a free Thanksgiving banquet every year. And i have corresponded with prisoners, although those experiences for me were never good ones. I did serve in an AIDS testing clinic in theneighborhood back in the 90's. But there are categories that Jesus didn't cover in this parable. And so i still ponder, what would Jesus have me do in these situations...

The stories are all variations on a theme, so tonight's isn't unique. Tonight, as i walked into the convenience store to buy milk a woman with tears in her eyes asked me for 50 cents to make a phone call, but not to tell the man inside that she was begging me for money. The woman was not poorly dressed, or emaciated, or anything. I had no change on me, so i told her i give her some after i bought the milk. I bought the milk and told the guy about the lady. He didn't care too much. I didn't get 50 cents change, so i gave her a quarter while she chatted amicably with another woman outside. She was "eternally grateful" for the quarter. I am not sure what i helped her with. I've given my milk change to others outside that convenience store. I'm positive she wasn't going to make a call. I don't know if she was trying to collect cigarette money or alcohol money or heroin money. In this area, people self-medicate.

So I'm wondering, having given those quarters that they spent on crack, in heaven, will Jesus say to me, "Well done, you did it for me?"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Romans 12 and spiritual gifts

notes from my class last week. i actually forgot them, so i didn't actually teach this stuff, but i muddled through the chapter.

1-“therefore” – since God has chosen to save us despite our unworthiness, worship bodily, in deed, not just in music or prayer, but in action, by doing the “one another” stuff

2-“don’t conform, be transformed, be renewed” which results in the ability to “test and approve God’s will.”

3- be humble

4-5- we form Christ’s body (is there some play on offering our bodies and being described as members of His body?)

6-7- we have different gifts
prophecy-use it
contributing-give generously
leading-govern diligently
mercying-mercy with a smile

9-21 – LOVE

just like the letter to the Corinthians, the gifts are placed in the context of love and worship. We have a vertical relationship with God, and using our gifts for each other’s benefit is an act of adoration of Him and his body. We have many horizontal relationships that we need to exude love into. We share our gifts from God with each other without restraint. If we refrain from using our gifts we short circuit the love that the Father wants to express to our siblings through us. And our love doesn’t stop with our friends. vv. 17-21 are about loving our enemies and those who are evil to us, which is what God did to us before he wooed us into the kingdom.

Anyway its telling to me that 2 verses mention gifts and 12 discuss love. Gifts need to be exercised with love. Without love, we are annoying, see 1 Corinthians 13:1

Rich Mullins: Barefoot in a teepee

my kind of guy...

Rich and the Ragamuffins seemed tired and road weary during the concert that night. I have performed enough to know that after a couple of weeks of back to back shows, you aren’t sure if you’ve said this or sung that to this group of people or not. Regardless, I was warmed by the experience and felt God touch my heart during Rich’s show. But, to my surprise, it was not his lyrics, his instrumental expertise or personal stories that touched me; in fact, I don’t think he said much at all between songs that night. Rather, I was stricken by an awareness of Rich’s frailty, his honesty and humility. Before us stood a guy with no pretences and no agenda. He did not try to sell us the gospel, his latest cd or convince us of anything that he believed, he only sang of how he had experienced the person and path of Christ in the midst of his struggle to find a place for his humanity. As was usual, Rich was not concerned about his appearances, for his hair was still wet from a pre-concert shower, his jeans were dirty and torn and, as usual, he wore no shoes. I did not see a man who aspired to live up to ideals and expectations put upon him by others or manufactured by his ego. Rather, I saw a man content to play his role in life, willing to do his part in the kingdom of heaven even if he preferred that it not be on the stage and in the spotlight.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

understanding Islam

looks like a comprehensive web-site...

In order to pray effectively for the Muslim world it is good to have some understanding of Islam from the Christian perspective. We have a number of editorials About Islam to help you:

Facts About Islam
Islam - A concise overview of the religion
Ramadan - What it is and when
The Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith including Ramadan
The Hajj - Journey of a life time
The Night of Power - Day 27 of Ramadan
The Islamic Calendar
Prayer in Islam

Culture ...
newShame-based Cultures - Cartoons, Prophets and Faith by Roland Müller
Christians married to Muslims - cross-cultural marriage resources
Arabic Names and there importance
Veiled Women - Head-Scarfs & Clothing
Customs and Behavior
Muslim's, Money and "Zakat"

Mind Sets About Islam ...
Islam : a Peace-Loving or a Militant Religion?
Community and direction - Ummah and Qibla
Muslim Fatalism
Reconciliation: Sulha

How Muslims ...
understand God
understand Man and Sin
understand Jesus
newunderstand the Bible and whether Mohammed is mentioned

How To ...
Be a Witness to Muslims (4 pages) 1) General, 2) Avoid..., 3) Opposition, 4) On Campus
Understand Arabs
Pray for Muslims
Pray Creatively
Pray the 27th - creative ideas for praying "The Night of Power"
newInterest Muslims in the Bible

A Short History of Islam
About Islam and the Prophet Muhammad
Islam Begins
Muhammad's Successors (the four Caliphs)
Muslim Empires
Islam Today

Issues in Islam
HIV / AIDS in Muslim Countries
Exploited Muslim children
The Poor and Needy among the Muslims
Refugees and Refugee Women in the Muslim world

Statistics Section (8 pages)
Statistics on Religion, Muslim Countries and Muslims in America

Things Christian
What is a Christian
Christian Fasting

Glossaries / Tools
Glossary of Islamic Terms
Glossary of Christian Terms

Friday, September 22, 2006

CPM-church planting movements

Guy Muse writes, after a logn quote, "In the above I was struck by the repetition of key phrases, "give away...lose control...losing...letting go...give for the kingdom more than your tribe..." Is it any wonder we do not see more CPMs in our midst? We want control, we try to control, we are control-type people. But CPM is about surrendering over to the Lord these aspects of who gets the credit, who is in control. It is an understanding that it is about HIS kingdom, not our kingdoms."

a commenter points to this article at the Glocal Trekker Blog
Often when I speak at conferences or at gatherings of church planters, I’ll hear someone say they wanted to start a church because they wanted to reach seekers--that’s good. I’ll hear them say they wanted to be a part of something fresh and new and more culturally relevant--that’s good. Those that are theologically adept (like me!) will say they want to start churches to glorify God. The big thing now is we wanted to start something missional. Obviously, to me, that’s very good. But I’ve NEVER heard that in Vietnam or other countries where the Gospel is exploding--sometimes under difficult situations.

being real: even if you are a homeschooling parent

"Wilson’s advice applies not just to homeschoolers but to everyone, Christians especially. What place is there for deceit and prideful posturing, regardless of how subtle, in the life of the person whose sole vindication is Jesus Christ? We must be honest with God, ourselves, and others, in wisdom and discernment, in order to receive help for our very real problems."

Keller on Being the Church in Our Culture

"We need more Christians (1) living long-term in the cities, (2) with a deeper grasp of the gospel, (3) who are creating dynamic counter-cultures inside the city, (4) integrating faith with work, (5) pouring themselves out sacrificially for the common good of the whole city, and (6) contextualizing."

For the details, you can listen to his lecture from the Resurgence Conference on Being the Church in Our Culture.

if only it was so simple...i was motivated to live in the city by John Perkins, from Mississippi as part of his plan for racial reconciliation. i've lived in the inner city for 10 years. most neighbors that i'm friendly with are home owners and not transient, poor renters. and most home owners are white and speak english. so i haven't been able to build relationships with minorities or influence them for the kingdom much, unless calling the cops alot counts. had to do so last night because a large crowd of spanish women were screaming at each other and fighting.

i don't disagree that Christians should live in the city, just understand that most of the job is presence, more than harvesting.

Muslim tantrums

JAMES LILEKS writes.......

If you mock Islam with a drawing or a novel, you get riots and dead people. News of mishandled holy books yields riots and dead people. Insufficiently reverent short films by a Dutchman yields a dead person, specifically the Dutchman.

Now we add this detail: Quoting medieval religious colloquies is a reasonable justification for burning churches, shooting a nun and holding up signs demanding that the pope convert to Islam or saw off his own head. (There have been reports of carpal tunnel syndrome among radical Islam's enforcers, and they have requested we all help out.)

This is a new twist: Now history itself cannot be discussed. Since it's difficult to predict what else will enflame the devout, Islam has to be treated with unusual deference, like a 3-year-old child with anger management problems.....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spiritual Gifts at Jesus Creed

Scot McKnight has started a series on spiritual gifts at Jesus Creed. He starts with Romans 12, what i taught from last night.

sermon plagiarism

first, read this article advocating it, then read this response to it.

i guess its the low-tech version of one church many campuses. if you don't have the video link tech or money, just have someone read the sermon you are cribbing.

i've talked about this before, why not just read Chrysostom's sermons today. I've reviewed elsewhere another's view that there is nothing new to say, so stop saying...

is this the slacker generation of preachers coming home to roost?

Controlling Personalities in the Church series

if you haven't experienced cultic religious groups, God is good to you, so be prepared and read. if you have, read and be vindicated in your escape at the Wittenberg Gate.

the next level of multi-site churching-Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile writes,
The writer, picking up on the typical multi-site church slogan, "One church, multiple locations," asks a critical question: "But what does it mean to be "one church," spread across hundreds or thousands of miles?" Good question.

This model of doing church calls into question all of our assumptions about pastoral ministry. It calls into question whether the relationship between pastor and congregation is at all essential. It begs the question of whether preaching really is central to our gatherings (at least live preaching from a flesh-and-blood preacher). And I'm curious about the approach to governance or polity used by such churches. How is a group in Bangkod involved in the decisions of groups in Southern California?

Rev. Geoff Surratt, co-author of The Multi-Site Church Revolution and a pastor at Seacoast Church, a church with six sites in Georgia and one in South Carolina, makes this case for multi-sites over and against traditional church planting: "Multisite locations grow faster, reach a place of health and are self-sustaining much faster than traditional church plants."

As far as I can tell, the jury is still out on that contention and there is nowhere near a significant enough number of such churches to actually assess the benefit or harm. Moreover, fast growth and self-sustaining wouldn't be at the top of my list for reasons to adopt this strategy. "Healthy congregation" might, but then the critical issue is what's meant by "healthy." Franchising a personality, selling his favorite oatmeal cookies along with his most recent book, and fostering absentee pastors doesn't readily strike me as healthy for the local church.

I guess central for me is this question: Why franchise an individual pastor in this way? I can understand how one might have satellite campuses in the same metropolitan city/area, and how a pastor and elders may be able to serve that church faithfully. I can't quite fathom why a local church pastor should be "godcast" each Sunday to a location 1,400 miles away.

Two things seem troublesome about that at its core. First, it would seem to promote a celebrity culture and idolization in the people of God as they gather to hear each Sunday--not a local pastor pouring out his life for a people that he lives with--but a "superstar preacher" being beamed in from some remote location. Second, it would suggest (and I want to be careful not to assign motive where I can't see a person's heart) that the person's approach to ministry makes spread of "our" message, appeal, method, and personality far too central to the work of the kingdom. It hints at the kind of pride that says "we're the ones who have it right and our guy is king, so let's export our guy to the ends of the world." It runs the risk of confusing the messenger with the message and building a business empire upon them both.

Thabiti Anyabwile on racism

if race can explain everything, does it explain anything?

Though it poses as an efficient explanatory variable in the popular and scientific mind, "race" as a construct does not in fact deliver on its promises to explain very much. So, here's a short list of things that are not explained (or perhaps a better word is "caused") by race, in no particular order, with brief suggestions as to why the construct fails. It's a partial list, perhaps a debatable list, but one that I hope triggers us to be less anchored in a way of viewing people that falls short of how God views people.
  • Individual educational achievement. You're proficient at what you practice.
  • Prevalence of certain diseases. Usually has more to do with an individual's or family's diet and lifestyle.
  • Election of God. Obviously.... Eph. 1.
  • Crime rates. Perhaps James 4 is a better explanation.
  • Musical preferences. Cases in point: the success of Hip Hop in Japan... and Mark Dever bobbing his head to Shai Linne and Timothy Brindle... or my strange enjoyment of country music.
  • Illegitimacy. Rates are high across the board, but the biggest decreases in recent years have been among African Americans (teens in particular).
  • Church preference. Allowing there may be many positive reasons for making a choice, on the negative side spiritual immaturity can play a prominent role here as the superficial trumps the fundamental. And, a certain idolatry of the group self plays a part.
  • "Receptivity" to spiritual things. Romans 3:9-18.
  • Athletic ability. Again, you're generally proficient at what you practice.
  • Sexual habits or ability. Everybody does it... with varying frequencies and enjoyment levels.
  • Reading levels, eloquence or writing ability. Did I mention you're generally proficient at what you practice?
  • Racism and racist attitudes. Idolatry is a better explanatory factor and cause.
  • Quality of preaching. Good and bad to go around.
  • Political orientation or party affiliation. Self-interest, even incorrectly calculated, is probably the bigger factor.
The sharpest way of putting it is that "race" as we've grown accustomed to thinking of it... social and cultural practices rooted in biological differences and categories... does not exist. And since a thing doesn't exist it can not explain very much... much less cause anything. It's like saying the universe came into being "by chance." "Chance," strictly speaking, doesn't exist. It's a mathematical device for explaining probability (i.e., "the chances of something happening is..."). Chance is not a power, has no substance in reality. Likewise, we may use "race" to discuss probabilities of a sort... but strictly speaking, "race" does not exist as a power or causal agent in the many areas of life we care about.

John Piper on Benedict and irate Muslims

nice analysis, including tidbits such as,

5. Point out that, in response to this constant defamation of Jesus Christ, there are no public threats or demands for apologies. This is not because we do not love Jesus above all things, or because we have no zeal for the glory of his name. It is because he told us to expect this (Matthew 10:25; John 15:20) and then modeled for us how to react: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spiritual Gifts list 1 Corinthians 12-14

notes for my spiritual gifts class...[updated and color-coded]
stuff from 12
from 13
from 14

Message of wisdom
Message of knowledge
Move mountains
Gifts of healing
Possessors of gifts of healing
Miraculous powers
Miracle workers
Fathom mysteries and knowledge
Speaks strength, encouragement, and comfort
Builds the church
For believers
Can be controlled
Be eager for
Expose secrets of the heart
Prophecies need to be weighed
Instructs and encourages
Distinguish between spirits
Speak in different tongues
Speakers in tongues
Tongues of men and angels
Speaks to God not men
Utters mysteries
Builds himself
Needs to ask for interpretation
Prays in spirit but not in mind
May be giving thanks
A sign for unbelievers
Should be kept private if no interpretation available
Don’t forbid it
Interpretation of tongues

Can bring revelation, knowledge, prophecy, word of instruction
Able to help
Gifts of administration
Give all to poor

CT: Embrace you inner Pentecostal

awesome article by Chris Armstrong in CT. here are some choice excerpts:

A typical Pentecostal service follows no printed order; bulletins, if present, contain only announcements. After all, why should an order be needed? "All the members expect anyone of the local assembly to follow the Spirit's leading," Pentecostal scholar Russell Spittler has written, "and to do so at once."

This sort of congregational freedom has marked Pentecostalism from its beginning, along with a unique emphasis on the "priesthood of all believers." Azusa Street pastor William J. Seymour, the driving force behind the earliest Pentecostal revival, typified a new breed of church leader. He allowed and encouraged worshipers to exercise their gifts during services, providing what Fuller professor Cecil M. Robeck has called "a forum for various members of his congregation to make their case or to demonstrate their charism in the context of the worshiping community, without fear of recrimination." When someone moved beyond the bounds of accepted order, Seymour corrected him or her in a manner that, while firm, was also "gracious and soft-spoken."

Seymour also worked with a diverse team of volunteers and gave them a great deal of autonomy within certain boundaries. His leadership model was decentralized and open to genuine moving of the Spirit in his co-workers and in the entire congregation. Lay ministers were encouraged and empowered, because the Holy Spirit blew wherever he wanted to—and God forbid anyone stand in the way.

This style of ministry is seen today in many churches. A professor of religion at the University of Southern California, Donald E. Miller, noted in Reinventing American Protestantism (University of California, 1999) that Pentecostalism's transparent personal style and non-hierarchical corporate structure had migrated to three prominent California churches: Calvary Chapel, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and Hope Chapel....

Until that moment, I had been dutifully following scholarly debates about whether baptism in the Holy Spirit was primarily about holiness or power. But these testifying scholars described Spirit baptism in terms of something deeper than either one. Indeed, they all put their finger on one main effect: a new, joyous sense of communion with a loving God who counted every hair on their heads and watched over them every minute. The central moment of their Pentecostal experience had opened them to a deep well of living water from which everything else flowed; it had opened them to the personal, relational presence of the Living God.

A quick check of history books confirms the centrality of divine encounter for Pentecostals. William Seymour and his co-leaders repeatedly told the Azusa Street faithful that their experience with the Spirit was not about speaking in tongues. It was about God's presence through the crucified and risen Christ. Early 20th-century leader Robert Brown, echoing the testimonies of thousands of other Pentecostals, said: "To abide in him means one continual round of revelation, blessing, and power. Oh, the grandeur of it, not a passing pleasure, nor a transitory joy, but an abiding presence; not it, but him. Glory to his name!"

Though it may discomfit the religiously buttoned-down, the rationalists, and the nominal, the Pentecostal God deigns to meet with us and care for us in immediate, experiential ways. We speak to him in a language of love, saying "Abba, Father," and he responds in kind.

This encounter has always been the open secret of Pentecostal spirituality. The belief in God's real, experienced care and the passion for union with Christ—often likened to the thirst of the psalmist's deer for the stream—may turn out to be Pentecostalism's chief contributions to Christianity.

To some critics, such "divine love" seems mawkish or even self-indulgent. Though there is room for self-indulgence in Pentecostalism, its emphasis on encounter puts God, not humanity, at the center. In an encounter with God, the believer cannot help but bow and worship. Duke historian Grant Wacker calls this trait "submissiveness … a deep-seated awareness that humans do not create themselves and therefore owe their lives to another source."

A seminary colleague gave me one of the best one-word definitions of charismatic church culture I have ever heard: expectation. Charismatics believe and expect that God will do great things among them, just as he did in the Acts of the Apostles. "Do it again, Lord," they say. "As it was in the apostolic age, let it be now."...

What distinguishes Pentecostal healing? Wacker identifies two marks: the expectation that not just physical ailments but also addictions will be healed, and the insistence that Christians should pray for healing not as a last resort but immediately, as a first step in every case of illness.

Author Donald Miller says Pentecostalism's embodiedness makes it postmodern and cutting-edge. Pentecostals, he says, embrace "a worldview that does not dichotomize between mind and body in the way that a modernist, Enlightenment-based worldview does." Another way of putting this is to say that by their engagement with a powerful, healing, and prayer-answering God, church cultures influenced by Pentecostalism gain a sense of living in another world—a primitive world unlike our modern, secularized one, a world charged with the power and grandeur of God....

Pentecostals preach a religion that is "anti-modern," that is, it recognizes that the most important powers impinging on our lives rest not in our hands, but in God's. Pentecostals stand against the modern project rooted in Newtonian science, which has told us for centuries that by learning the laws of the universe, we can control all that is important in our lives: physical, social, moral, and even religious. I call this "Star Trek theology": the faith that through natural and social sciences, we can all live longer, solve world hunger, and make war obsolete.

From the beginning, Pentecostals reveled in a God who runs the show. Actor Robert Duvall captured this confidence perfectly in The Apostle, when the evangelist stands at a dusty crossroads, eyes toward heaven, and whispers, "Which way, Lord? Which way?"...

Along with the praise choruses and freedoms that have spilled over from Pentecostalism to many other churches has come a rising acceptance of Christian desire and fulfillment. In the glow of worship, in tender moments of prayer within the warm community of saints, those of us who have been influenced by Pentecostal eudaemonism can experience the bliss of intimacy with Christ as a valid and nourishing part of our relationship with God. We can rejoice, along with Augustine, the Westminster signatories, and John Wesley, that the human desire for transcendence and love is God-given—a blessing to be enjoyed both in heaven and here on earth.

Couple kidnaps adult daughter to force her to abort

from the WorldMag Blog.

"Her parents chased her out into the yard, grabbed and tied her hands and feet together," Salem Police Officer Sean Marino wrote in a court affidavit. "Katelyn states that her father then carried her to their car and they headed toward New Hampshire." Why the grab-and-go? Katelyn's parents were upset that she was pregnant by a man who had been jailed; they planned to force her to abort the baby. Katelyn, 19, escaped Friday at a shopping center and called police, who arrested her parents, Nicholas Kampf, 54, and Lola, 53, of North Yarmouth, Maine. Investigators said rope, duct tape, scissors and a .22-caliber rifle were found in the Kampfs' Lexus and Nicholas Kampf had a loaded .22- caliber magazine clip in his pants pocket. The elder Kampfs were jailed on a kidnapping charge and were being held on $100,000 bail each. In light of today's abortion laws, it is ironic that if the Kampfs had successfully forced Katelyn, an adult who apparently wanted her child, to abort, a second charge might have been something on the order of murder.

Update: It's worse: The Kampfs, who are white, allegedly wanted to force their daughter to abort because the father is black.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Challie's reviews Yancey's book on prayer

I saw this book in a catalog and was interested, but after reading Challie's review, i've lost interest...consider this from the review,
Yancey has, in the past, hinted that he adheres to the doctrine of Open Theism and believes in a somewhat less than omnipotent or omniscient God. His clearest affirmations of this were in his book Disappointment with God, a title that is often referred to and quoted in Prayer. While this new book does not contain an explicit affirmation of that doctrine, Yancey again drops hints that he does believe it. Only a few pages into the book he says, "A hundred times a second lightning strikes somewhere on earth, and I for one do not believe that God personally programs each course." Much later, in the closing chapters, he writes, "I know a missionary whose wife and seven-month-old daughter were killed by a single bullet when the air force in a South American country mistook their plane for that of a drug runner and opened fire. 'God guided the bullet,' the surviving husband and father said to the press. We have held long discussions about that quote, because I do not believe the 'Father of compassion' guides bullets into the bodies of babies. Jesus himself refuted those who blamed human tragedies on God."
Open Theism makes God in our inmage and puts on God the limitations he puts on us. If God has lost interest in lightning strikes might not our spiritual enemy then put them to use to bring as many to hell as possible? Repeatedly, God reveals himself as one intimately involved in nature, even when humans aren't looking. How is this god that Yancy prefers any different from the Deistic watchmaker who would it up then watches to see what happens? But then Yancey does seem to relieve God of any culpability in death. Who appoints a time for every human to die? Does Satan? Or does God permit Satan? He certainly permitted Satan to kill Job's children. God didn't use Satan in his destructive and deadly judgement on many Old Testament cities from Sodom and Gomorra to Jerusalem. God had his prophets foretell the cannabilism of children by parents in the siege of Jerusalem. Are deaths at old age while asleep the only ones that his compassionate god gets credit for? What if those types of deaths come to the wicked? See the Psalms or Ecclesiastes. God gives life and he takes it away, blessed be His name. Why the rejection of his soveriegnty? How can the exchange of powerless empathy with powerful sovereignty be worthwhile?

Benedict and rioutous Muslims round up

a few posts that caught my attention
WorldMag blog asks, in regard to Benedict's apology, "But what if that quotation did express his own thoughts? Would there be anything wrong with that? Muslim leaders regularly criticize Christianity; should criticism go only one way?"

Kester finds a moderate English Muslim voice,

The response to this apparent contradiction was tackled by a representative from the Muslim Council of Britain who called on us to once and for all 'separate the idea of Islam from being Muslim.'

I fear this is an impossible task. He - quite rightly, and eloquently - denounced the violence done in Islam's name, and expounded a view of it as a religion of peace. But he seems to be a minority voice; his call to effectively deny Islamic status to those who promote violence would mean huge numbers of Islamists in the East and West being told they are not following Islam properly, something I think they would ferociously resist.

This confusion between the small voices of scholars who expound Islam as a peaceful religion, and the huge dynamite voices of those who explode that view is creating a massive problem - both within the world as a whole, and within Islam itself.

and the Riddleblog comes right out and posts

The Unbelievable Hypocrisy of Muslim Outrage . . .

in which he asks
Where was this Muslim "outrage" when nineteen of their own flew two jumbo jets into the Twin-Towers and one more into the Pentagon?

Where was this Muslim outrage when Richard Reid tried to blow up a jet-liner with a shoe bomb?

Where was the Muslim outrage when suicide bombers killed scores of Aussies in Bali?

Where was the Muslim outrage when a Muslim shot-up the El-Al counter at LAX, killing a heroic young security guard?

Where was the Muslim outrage when two men rode through the DC area sniping at unaware innocents, killing in the name of Allah?

Where was the Muslim outrage for the bombings of trains in Madrid and the subways in London? Dozens of men and women were killed while going about their daily business.

Where is the Muslim outrage at news of the attempted bombings of more than a half-dozen jet-liners over the Atlantic?

This is a religion of peace, right? Where is CAIR? Where is the condemnation of acts of terror by Islamic scholars and noted Imams? Their collective silence speaks volumes.

how to close abortion cliniics-buy them

from Fox news

They've discovered that one of the best ways to shut down an abortion clinic is to buy the building in which it's located.

"With civil disobedience we might be successful at closing an abortion clinic for of couple hours a day, but the tactics we're using now permanently close the abortion clinics," said Cheryl Sullenger, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. "It's much more effective, and we don't have to go to jail and wear handcuffs, so we're liking this much better."


Even other anti-abortion groups expressed skepticism about how practical Operation Rescue's move could be on a larger scale.

"It's a great strategy if you can come up with the money to do it, but that would probably be a great stumbling block, because most pro-life groups are pretty close to the line and don't have much money left over, and property's expensive," Scheidler said. "I don't think you could buy them all and put them out of business that way. If there are women who still want abortions, they'll go elsewhere. The pro-life movement has to continue to sidewalk counsel, picket abortion clinics and raise public awareness about what abortion really is."

Sullenger stuck to her guns, however, and said that buying out the property abortion clinics stand on would be the weapon of choice for future anti-abortion activists.

"Well, it keeps us out of jail, for one thing," she said, laughing.

Postmodern negro on cynicism and Luke 4:18-21

"In reflecting on this passage I realized where my postmodern sensibilities stop. I believe one of the most dangerous temptations of living in a postmodern age, believe it or not, is not moral relativism (a danger to be sure…but one that needs qualification…the relativist still believes in something!).

It is cynicism. A quote from African-American poet Maya Angelou is apropos:

“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

There is a fine line between being prophetic and being a cynic....

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” - H L Mencken"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Challies gives advice to Muslims upset over stereotyping

"The point is, if you want to undo stereotypes the best way of doing so is not to blame a person who supposedly reinforces a negative stereotype, but in reacting in a way that different than the stereotype. The stereotype of Muslims tells us that they would react to the pope's words with anger, violence and calls for blood. Sure enough, many Muslims reacted with anger, violence and calls for blood. So who is reinforcing the negative stereotype?"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

pictures of islamic protesters in London

all the pictures are worth looking at, especially the ones from Westminster Tower showing the lack of attention the Islamic protesters are getting despite their inflammatory anti-Christian signs.

Guy Muse: you know you are a missionary if

since the originator is anonymous, i feel no guilt in reposting the list Guy. thanks. some funnier ones can be found in the comments though.

You may be a missionary if ...

1. You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"

2. You read National Geographic and recognize someone.

3. You have a time zone map next to your telephone.

4. You consider a city 500 km away to be "very close".

5. You watch nature documentaries, and think about how good that animal would taste if it were fried.

6. You can cut grass with a machete, but can't start a lawnmower.

7. You speak with authority on the subject of airline travel.

8. You read the international section before the comics.

9. You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

10. You sort your friends by continent.

11. Fitting 15 or more people into a car seems normal to you.

12. You refer to gravel roads as highways.

13. You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.

14. You don't think that two hours is a long sermon.

15. You marvel at the cleanliness of gas station bathrooms.

16. You think you've died and gone to heaven when you go into a
foreign grocery store.

17. You think a "foreign school" conducts classes in English.

18. You attend a church with a roof on it and feel like you are cut
off from Heaven.

19. You think something is missing if you have a meal without brown
beans or brown rice.

20. You've ever chiseled open a barrel from home, not having a clue
what might be inside.

my space for sermons?

"Sermon Cloud is a website for a community to interact with sermons. What are the powerful sermons people are listening to? Who are the up-and-coming preachers of the day? Where are the messages about themes that you need to hear? How can you find a great preacher in your home town? Sermon Cloud was designed to help you with all of these questions. Sermon Cloud users help let each other know which sermons they amen. An 'amen' is a recommendation of the sermon."

i appreciate the effort


smart apologist blog

since you called us violent, we'll burn your churches down

The Christian-Cadre gives a short synopsis in the current Islamic hypocrisy in response to Benedict's comments.
Get Religion, however, focuses on liberal editorial hypocrisy regarding this issue.

1 Corinthians 13 -my sermon on the love chapter

i had the privilege of teaching today at the Springfield Calvary, Mass. Here is what i taught.

1 Corinthians sermon Sept 17, 2006

12:31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
13:10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Most of us who have been around churches for a few years have a couple knee-jerk responses to this chapter.

“Ahhhh, the wedding chapter.” If all you get from this, is a list to hang on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself how to treat your spouse, then you do better than most who do no more than hear this chapter read at half the weddings they attend. If you do these things even out of obligation, not desire or passion, you’ve learned something most couples who divorce haven’t, as this story illustrates.

A woman seeking counsel from Dr. George W. Crane, the psychologist, confided that she hated her husband, and intended to divorce him. “I want to hurt him all I can,” she declared firmly.

“Well, in that case,” said Dr. Crane, “I advise you to start showering him with compliments. When you have become indispensable to him, when he thinks you love him devotedly, then start the divorce action. That is the way to hurt him.”

Some months later the wife returned to report that all was going well. She had followed the suggested course.

“Good,” said Dr. Crane. “Now’s the time to file for divorce.”

“Divorce!” the woman said indignantly. “Never. I love my husband dearly!”

Another response would be, this is the place where we can replace the word “love” with “Jesus” and learn more about God. And again, that is correct and good. Indeed, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“Love for God is a response, closely linked with faith. It is created by an awareness of what God has done for us in Christ. As John says, "We love because he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19).” Expositor’s Commentary. What does the love of God do? It creates community, prompts obedience, provides motivation, transforms character, provides purpose, stabilizes relationships, and compels concern.

Grasping the love of God for us is no small feat. Paul expresses it so beautifully in Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But I desire for you to discover why Paul put this beautiful passage here. Even though it has wonderful application to marriage and sanctification, we sometimes forget its context in our church family. What can love like this expressed to each other do in this church family?

Atmosphere of Creative Love
Some years ago, Dr. Karl Menninger, noted doctor and psychologist, was seeking the cause of many of his patients’ ills. One day he called in his clinical staff and proceeded to unfold a plan for developing, in his clinic, an atmosphere of creative love. All patients were to be given large quantities of love; no unloving attitudes were to be displayed in the presence of the patients, and all nurses and doctors were to go about their work in and out of the various rooms with a loving attitude.
At the end of six months, the time spent by patients in the institution was cut in half.

So you see, people will only last here 6 months… I’m kidding.
Your pastor admits that I’m really over-achieving by his standards to do an entire chapter in one morning. That tells me, he likes to bring you to the microscope to look at the beautiful details of this letter, which means you might have forgotten the view from the telescope. I want to make a brief survey of this letter in order to better grasp this section’s connection to the whole. We want to know, “How does this chapter about love fit into this letter to the Corinthian church?” Some “common taters” have speculated that Paul had this early hymn laying around and thought this was a good place to put it. I think the Holy Spirit was much more intentional.

What is the context of this letter?
Chaps 1-4 Division in the church
1:13 is Christ divided?
1:20 where is the wise man?

Chaps 5-7 Sex, Lawyers, and Marriage

Reminds me of a story: A priest, a pastor and a rabbi walk into a bar and the bartender looks up and says, “What is this, a joke?”

6:18 Flee from sexual immorality

Chaps 8-10 Freedom to serve, Freedom to eat or not eat
8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak
8:11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge
9:22 To the weak I become weak
10:23 Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial

Chap 11 Community in Worship
11:11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman
1:18 I hear, when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you…

Chap 12 Gifts in worship
12:4,5,6 Same Spirit, Lord, God
12:7 for the common good
12:13 one Spirit, one body

Chap 14 Order in worship, exercise of gifts

Chap 15 Reason for worship – He has risen indeed!
15:34 Come back to your senses as you ought and stop sinning

Chap 16 Results of worship – take an offering for Jerusalem
16:4 Do everything in love

So what is Chapter 13? Fruit of worship

Chapters 12-14 are about Spiritual Gifts and their use in worship. If they are the bricks of the church, love is the mortar. If they are the parts of the body, love is the blood that keeps the body alive.

Bookends. 12:31 the most excellent way
14:1 Follow the way of love

12:31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
How can something be better than excellent? We say some, more, most, but what comes after that? Mostest?

So what’s better than excellent? Love.
What is love being compared to? Gifts.

Paul moves from gifts to fruit. The fruit is the important thing. Possession means nothing without expression.

According to 12:7 Gifts are given for the common good, but without love…

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1- tongues are only noise
2- prophecy, knowledge and faith leave you a nobody
3- personal sacrifice gains you nothing
Not that the Holy Spirit won’t give gifts to the immature, and he might even give powerful gifts to the unloving, but it’s His decision. If you think, He chooses poorly, Paul anticipated that at the beginning of the letter, Chap 1:25-31

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

As far as I’m concerned, that settles that.

So what is love?

Are You In Love?
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, “Dad, I’m going to get married.” “How do you know you’re ready to get married?” asked the father. “Are you in love?” “I sure am,” said the son. “How do you know you’re in love?” asked the father. “Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn’t feel the pain until I got home.”
Source unknown

13:4 Love is patient, love is kind.
It is passive and active. The King James translates the word for patience as “long-suffering.”

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
The Christian community that loves does not envy the gifts of others. It doesn’t boast in its gifts. And it takes no credit for its gifts. 12:7 points out that the Spirit gave the gifts for the common good. So who gets the credit? The Holy Spirit. And who’s decision should we trust? The Holy Spirit’s. We only possess them.

13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Some days you're the hydrant
and some days you're the dog
Al Buse, East Granby, Connecticut

Once again, these are all good wedding exhortations, but these are originally placed in the context of church community exhortations.
Rude: In chap 11 Paul has to reprimand some for rudeness in their celebration of communion. Some came and scarfed down all the food and left none for the poor and hungry. Some came and drank all the wine and got drunk.
In 14:30 Paul instructs them that if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.
Self-seeking: a result of someone who forgets the gift is for the common good (12:7)
Easily angered: the Bible acknowledges that there is a place for anger. Paul tells us to not sin when angry nor to let the sun set on our anger. (Eph 4:26) Even Jesus got angry. He cleansed the temple violently because the money-changers had turned the temple into a den of robbers. Now how could someone get angry during church? Most people are trying not to fall asleep. Many, many, many years ago I would get irritated with mothers who let their kids make too much noise in the service, or with the teenagers who are flirting the entire service, or with the person who prays out loud at every opportunity and takes too long, but now I’m redeemed since studying this text…
But the church in Corinth was proud that they fellowshipped with a guy who was sleeping with his mother-in-law; on the other hand, they were suing each other, and they were picking camps of affiliation, “of Paul,” “of Apollos,” “of Peter.” It seems there was plenty they could pick fights about and they did. In contrast, Paul points out, the community with a heart of worship does not anger easily. Perhaps, if you have children, as I do, you’ve learned not to get angry so easily, because they often need repeated correction, but correction does not have to be done in anger. It can be done as Paul does here….

13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Paul contrasts evil and truth. What is evil in contrast to truth? Lies. Satan is referred to as the father of lies. (John 8:44) Who is the truth? Jesus, who says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) It is really hard for us to give our siblings in Christ the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes we can’t even give it to our spouse. But in the kingdom of God, if our brother comes to you and asks for forgiveness 7 times 70 times, we are too forgive again. We will reject rumors and libel against our family. Those aren’t from the truth. Those are lies from the evil one. That’s why in Matthew 18 Jesus instructs us to go directly to the person who offends us, instead of starting a whisper campaign or gathering an audience. It’s rare when someone in the church needs to be put in their place because it needs to happen after a long process. If the church had really loved the guy who was shacking up with his mother-in-law in Chap 5 they would have spoken the truth to him. First, brother to brother, second, brothers to brother, and finally church to brother. But they didn’t and now Paul was ordering his expulsion. Why this process? Because of love. Look how love behaves in the next verse.

13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
What is the repeated word here? Always, along the lines of 70x7. Perhaps you’ve come from a dysfunctional family. Anyone here not from a dysfunctional family? What does a functional family look like? It’s a family that understands this description of God’s family. In God’s family and community we should feel safe, secure, encouraged, and never forsaken. In verse 23 of the previous chapter Paul reminds them and us that we treat the less honorable parts of our bodies with special honor. We know those sensitive parts will really make us miserable if they are exposed to the harsh world. In the same way, let us protect those who are sensitive. We trust that the Holy Spirit will lead the weak as he leads us and will likewise bring their salvation to completion. We don’t lose hope that one day they will mature. And we will persevere on their behalf. “Persevere” is also translated as “enduring all things.” Jesus persevered for us. My kids memorize verses for their Friday night kids club and we just learned Hebrews 13:5 where God is quoted from Deuteronomy, “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.” God never stops loving us. This entire letter is a demonstration of this verse. Despite their massive issues that prompted the need for this letter, Paul protects them, trusts them, hopes for them, and endures being associated with them. In his 2nd letter to them, he calls them his living letter of recommendation, proof of his apostleship (2 Cor 3:2).

What Is Love?
It is silence—when your words would hurt.
It is patience—when your neighbor’s curt.
It is deafness—when a scandal flows.
It is thoughtfulness—for other’s woes.
It is promptness—when stern duty calls.
It is courage—when misfortune falls.
Source unknown

13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Love is eternal. It was practiced in the Godhead among the trinity before creation. It endures forever into the future, as he points out at the end of the chapter.

What is Love? By Wayne Hudson
When someone says, "I don't love you anymore," it shakes you to your very core. It caused me to ponder the true meaning of love as never before. After many years, I arrived at the only definition that makes any sense. Since God is love and we must compare our love to him, we come up short if we define it any other way. For you see, in the final analysis, "Love is a commitment with a beginning and no end." Christ chose to love us and he has never stopped. He never will.
Wayne Hudson author of Many A Tear Has To Fall Padon Press

What about the gifts? Are they eternal? Apparently not. They will cease or be stilled or pass away, which makes sense. Once we are in heaven, what prophecies will be left? What tongue would be secret? What knowledge wouldn’t be common in heaven?

13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
Contrary to Bible Coders, not everything that happens in the world is prophesied, just the stuff that God wants us to look for. And if our knowledge was perfect there be no point in the gift of teaching. The students would know as much as the teachers. The facts wouldn’t be hidden and in need of being revealed. I’d be out of a job as a scientist trying to unravel God’s creation.

13:10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
This verse reveals one aspect of our incomplete knowledge. There are several lines of interpretation of this verse.
Some people say the “perfection” arrived at the completion of the New Testament canon, i.e. the bible itself. Therefore, the imperfect charismatic gifts mentioned in the New Testament have disappeared. I was raised in this environment, and even as a child who watched Jimmy Swaggart on TV, I reasoned the only options left for him by the cessationists were that he was insane or demon possessed. Come to find out he didn’t have it all together but neither did these Corinthians who exhibited many gifts of the Spirit but had troubles staying chaste and sober and considerate.
Another possibility is the maturity into a life motivated totally by love. As your love matures, increases and eventually dominates, you won’t need those imperfect gifts. But the apostle Paul goes on to say in Chap 14 how he speaks in tongues more than all of them and exhorts them to desire the gift of prophecy. His gift of apostleship seemed to remain with him up to his death. Did Paul want them to stop desiring these as soon as John finished writing the book of Revelation? How were they to know when the canon was finished? Were the gifts to be considered imperfect once Athanasius made his list of canonical books? Was there supposed to be a final prophecy declaring that the era of imperfect gifts are over?
The interpretation that makes sense to me is the arrival of the perfect is the return of Jesus to set up his kingdom. When he arrives, it will then be all clear. There won’t be anything left to say, except “Hallelujah!”

13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
If my kids understood this kind of love, I wouldn’t be constantly breaking up arguments and reminding them to treat each other the way they want to be treated. This is about the nicest way to tell someone to “grow up, quit acting like kids, quit being so immature, act your age not your shoe size.” I’ve justified so much of my selfish behavior by appealing to my identity. “Watching every UConn basketball game is part of who I am.” Then Jesus reminds me that in order to be His disciple I need to take up my cross and deny myself (Matt. 16:24). Paul earlier in the letter advised those with the freedom to eat idol-dedicated foods to refrain around those who lack that freedom (Ch. 8).

13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Paul reached for a metaphor that resonates with the Corinthians who were renowned for their high quality polished brass mirrors. But even that high quality is still not perfect. Even today, this makes sense to us. A mirror is 2 dimensional. It indicates but is not the same as 3D. We may find it hard to love the different kinds of people that the Lord adds to the family, but we know such a small part of their story. We so easily forget that God loved them so much that he died for them as he died for us. But Paul wants us to remember that in heaven we will so easily love each other. Paul acknowledges its hard to love now, but that doesn’t mean we can give up. We don’t want to be embarrassed in heaven by the prejudice and ignorance we exhibited here by withholding love from people in the family. One time my pastor was praying for a child with Down Syndrome in our church and he was telling God how sorry he felt for the “retarded” boy. God pointed out to him, that compared to Himself we are all “retarded.” Paul acknowledges his ignorance. If Paul can do that, and continue to love on this messed up church, who are we to think we know more than Paul and can shirk our obligation to love each other?

13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Does the church need tongues or prophecy? Plenty of them don’t operate in those gifts, but if those churches have faith, hope and love, then they have the essentials. A church can’t stick together without love. A church can’t persevere without hope. A church can’t please God without faith. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). The ancients were commended for their faith (Heb 11:2). We can only continue to hang on if we are expecting the “blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). But, of these three, only love is God-like. John tells us, God is love (1 John 4:8). We have faith in God. We put our hope in God. But we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19) because he is love. In eternity our faith changes to vision and our hope changes into possession but our love will continue.

14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
Keep the priority straight, first love then gifts, fruit greater than gifts, maturity over infancy, expression before impression.

i learned alot from Ray Stedman's sermon and the Zondervan software package for the PC called the NIV study bible library with the Expositor's Commentary series (hard to find anymore). I found useful illustrations at

Friday, September 15, 2006

Challies thoughts on another's counseling thoughts

Like Challies, i found this perspective on counseling helpful. If your history can explain anything then it explains nothing. Our history can provide context for our sin but not excuses...

One aspect of David Powlison's ministry that has often challenged me is that he gives no quarter to sin. He never allows sin to be shown to be anything other than what it is: an offense to God that arises from a person's sinful nature. For instance, when speaking of the counselor's method of helping Amelia understand the source of her sin, he writes, "Knowledge of a person's history may be important for many reasons: compassion on sufferers, sympathetic understanding, locating the present within an unfolding story, knowledge of characteristic temptations, and so forth. But it never determines the heart's proclivities and inclinations." We know this because many people experience similar events in their histories and react differently. One woman may indulge in lesbian fantasies, another may drift from man to man, and another may seem to go through life unscathed....

Did you catch that? "Sin is its own final reason." We can only do so much to explain sin, for ultimately, there is a mystery to sin that we just cannot understand. We can attempt to find reasons for our sin, or look into the past to find its source, but in the end, sin is the deepest explanation and the final reason.

But this is not the purpose of Powlison's article. The article shows something that has been discussed a fair bit in the Christian blogosphere: so often truth and folly are bound up together. "Things would be nice and tidy if you could always keep the good guys straight from the bad guys. But often it's not possible. The same person who is a primary means of grace to another may also be a secondary means of confusion--or a primary means of confusion and a secondary means of grace. We consciously aim to disciple others in the truths we know and seek to live - but others easily catch our errors, blind spots, and failings in the bargain!" Where there is sin, and sin exists in all of us, there will be confusion. Where there is truth there is so often error. This ambiguity is constant. There are not always good guys and bad guys. Rather, often the good guys are the bad guys.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Emergent Buddhism USA

long article with a few paragraphs that stand out to me....

Though the religion born in India has been in the US since the 19th century, the number of adherents rose by 170 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the American Religious Identity Survey. An ARIS estimate puts the total in 2004 at 1.5 million, while others have estimated twice that. "The 1.5 million is a low reasonable number," says Richard Seager, author of "Buddhism in America."

That makes Buddhism the country's fourth-largest religion, after Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Immigrants from Asia probably account for two-thirds of the total, and converts about one-third, says Dr. Seager, a professor of religious studies at Hamilton College, in Clinton, N.Y.

What is drawing people (after that fascination with Zen Buddhism in the '50s and '60s)? The Dalai Lama himself has played a role, some say, and Buddhism's nonmissionizing approach fits well with Americans' search for meaningful spiritual paths.

"People feel that Buddhist figures like the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh of Vietnam are contributing something, not trying to convert people," says Lama Surya Das, a highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition. "They are not building big temples, but offering wisdom and ways of reconciliation and peacemaking, which are so much needed."

Even a larger factor, he suggests, is that Buddhism offers spiritual practices that Western religions haven't emphasized.

"People are looking for experiential practices, not just a new belief system or a new set of ethical rules which we already have, and are much the same in all religions," Surya Das says. "It's the transformative practices like meditation which people are really attracted to."
There are many schools of Buddhism, but "everyone agrees that the purpose is the individual and collective realization of Enlightenment," Surya Das continues. "That is defined as nirvanic peace, wisdom, and selfless love. It involves a practice path that depends on meditation, ethical behavior, and developing insight and active love."

Buddha means "awakened" in Sanskrit, a language of ancient India, where Siddhartha Gautama founded the faith and an Eightfold Path some 2,500 years ago. Buddhists believe that through that path one awakens to what already is - "the natural great perfection." They do not speak of God, but of the human or ego mind with a small "m," and the Buddha (awakened) Mind with a big "m."

"Healing energy takes place through an agency far greater than, yet immanent in each of us," Surya Das has written. "We are all Buddhas."

One doesn't have to subscribe to a catechism or creed, or be a vegetarian. Nor do people have to give up their religion. That's why some Americans speak of being Jewish Buddhists, for instance.

The Dalai Lama, in fact, often encourages people to stay with the faith of their cultural upbringing, to avoid the confusion that can sometimes result from a mixing of Eastern and Western perspectives.
The Dalai Lama has warned, too, of some teachers who seek leadership for financial rather than spiritual reasons. The issue of students and teachers is today one of the most controversial in transmission of teaching from East to West, says Surya Das.

Still, a healthy American Buddhism with its own characteristics is emerging. It is less doctrinal and ritualistic than in the East and more meditation oriented, less hierarchical and more democratic and egalitarian. It is more lay-oriented than monastic, and more socially and ecologically engaged.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

the mission field called Connecticut

i live in Connecticut...Bill LaMorey moved here to start a he crazy?

"Why is it that there is a lack of pastors? (in the Northeast)"

Here was my reply:

"I am actually going to post on this soon. An obvious answer could be if you aren’t going to have a lot of support, why go to a foreign land without a lot of help? It’s easier to stay in your general area, and maintain local support networks. It’s of course, more than that. The baptist pastor (I mentioned in my last post) told me he stood up and begged seminary graduates of his denomination to come, even with the sweet package they were offering, they all wanted to wait for spots to open in CA, FL or AZ. Nobody wanted to come -it’s cold here and us New Englanders are odd birds; a little too much spirit maybe…
But check out this stat for my state from Barna:

“Taking into account each state’s aggregate adult population, the area with the greatest number of evangelicals is California, which is home to nearly two million of them. Connecticut retains the bragging rights to having the fewest adults who are evangelical, with just 26,000 of them in a state of more than two and a half million adults.” (From the August 23rd, 2005 Barna Update,

When God called me here, it was clear to me that He wanted to start a new revolution in this post-modern and post-Christian place (He showed me He already had a revolution in the works, and I didn’t have to come, but if I did, I could join an army of pastors and ministers who got to see God work in a BIG way). It really is a mission field here, and it has been one that’s tough to crack. I heard a figure that roughly 220 CC church plants were attempted in NE and really only 1 out of 7 took. There are so many reasons for failures, but one has to be to come here there needs to be a mission’s based approach (we need to think and act like missionaries). The pastor can’t show up in a Hawaiian t-shirt and clogs and expect to be taken seriously. Also, we cannot hang the dove or the cross and expect to be a megachurch in 2 years; expectations have to be more realistic. Also, we need senders who are willing to get behind those of us that are stepping out (prayerfully AND financially). Because there is no CC or hardly any other significant “marketable church brands” established, so we need support from back home."

He also has a previous post worth the read called Get Big or die Tryin worth a always, don't miss the comments

My kids think about death

We had an interesting discussion around the dinner table last night. We were talking about the kids' futures. We talk about cars and motorcycles and children... you can't put a babyseat on a motorcycle... and then one of them said, they would prefer to not grow up and just go to heaven so they wouldn't sin against Jesus and do things like smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, deny Christ!!!! Woooo... While my wife and I internally panic over their longing for death, we calmly exhort them that life is good. We acknowledge that sin is bad and takes away from life as God made it, but God made so many good things like families and nature and other cultures and the clincher, more books to read.

Such serious reflection from a child always catches me off guard. Only, half an hour ago they were fighting over blocks. I think i need to encourage the kids in the Kingdom Now part of the gospel. It may not help that we've been reading the historical books of the Old Testament together over dinner. None of those characters can get their act together. I'll need to emphasize grace to them. That way they can look forward to getting their motorcycles befroe having babies and look forward to reading all the books in the library because their Father in Heaven loves them despite their sins, that's why he sent his Son to die for us and enable our adoption into his family.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CT-Theology for an Age of Terror - Rome 410 AD

Timothy George writes at Christianity Today,

That is our calling, too, amidst the brokenness—including the threat of terrorism—all around us. We are to be faithful to God's calling, to bear witness to the beauty, the light, and the divine reality that we shall forever enjoy in heaven. We are to do this in a culture that seems, at times, like Augustine's, a crumbling world beset by dangers we cannot predict.

As Augustine aged, he increasingly thought of the world, its politics, culture, and institutions, as a tottering old man whose days were numbered: "You are surprised that the world is losing its grip? That the world is grown old? Don't hold onto the old man, the world; don't refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you: 'The world is passing away; the world is losing its grip; the world is short of breath. Don't fear, your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.'"

As Augustine lay dying in 430, a new wave of terror swept across the Mediterranean world. The Vandals, led by a ferocious warrior named Genseric, surrounded Hippo—bringing torture, violence, and disarray to its churches and its people. As Augustine chanted the psalms on his deathbed, he might have come across this verse in Psalm 31:21: "Blessed be the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city."

WorldMagBlog: Does new brain study shed light on Schiavo case?

of course it does...."Still, a videotape showed Terri laughing and trying to speak, while the woman in the Science study reportedly cannot respond to her environment at all. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that Terri was at least as aware a human being as the young woman making news today all over the world."

EO: 6 thoughts about Jesus

Joe at the Evangelical Outpost writes: "Over the years people have asked me why, since this is an evangelical blog, I don’t mention Jesus more often. My usual glib answer is that I prefer not to name drop just because I'm on a first name basis with the Creator of the Universe. I also take offense at the implication my sole mission as an evangelical blogger is to end every post with an altar call..."

Monday, September 11, 2006

India: more beatings by Hindus on Christians

Compass Direct reports....

Hindu extremists investigating the activities of Varghese Thomas, an evangelist in Karnakata state, laid a trap for him on Sunday (September 3), before beating him and his wife. Thomas is 60 and his wife, Leelama, is 57...
A few days earlier, on September 1, a group of around 25 extremists attacked Pastor John Prabhu of the Assembly of God church at Belthur, in Bangalore, dragging him out of a prayer service in a private home. They beat Prabhu and then took him to a nearby Hindu temple, where they forced him to bow before statues of Hindu deities – spitting on his face when he initially refused to get down on his knees...
Pastor Shanti Lal was arrested in his home for conducting prayer services and detained at the Gogawan police station in Khargon district. Following pressure from the GCIC, the charge of attempted forced conversion was finally dropped, but other charges under the Indian Penal Code were retained...
comments are open.

9/11 anecdotes

a new series has started at

"There is no denying there is a power in the symbol of a cross and there is definitely something about that cross. As bewildering as it was to be inside of Ground Zero trying to sort the whole situation out, the cross somehow brought a peace to all who saw it standing there.

God has not left us alone or without hope. And sometimes he grants us visible reminders. In a world that sometimes seems to make no sense, God continues to show He is there and that He cares. The cross continues to be a symbol of hope.

Come back each day this week for another story of faith, hope and love coming out of the rubble of Ground Zero. The devil never wins. God still rules."

Ultrasounds saving babies from abortion

Great news analysis here and at World mag blog.

bock doing emergent

Darell Bock is another smart guy who is tackling the emerging church. He writes, "Just an updated note on my use of terminology. I am not working in a way that distinguishes the terms emergent and emerging as some wish to do. I am interested in wrestling with how the church addresses a post-modern culture and the various proposals tied to that goal and associated with the terms that focus on such efforts."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

NY Times: Vegetative Patient Shows Signs of Awareness, Study Says

Published: September 7, 2006

A severely brain-damaged woman in an unresponsive, vegetative state showed clear signs of conscious awareness on brain imaging tests, researchers are reporting today, in a finding that could have far-reaching consequences for how unconscious patients are cared for and diagnosed...

Car Washes for Crisis Pregnancy Centers

"Youth groups often hold car washes to support a cause. It is a way for them to raise money and to make a public statement about what is important to them.

We are organizing thousands of groups across the nation to hold car washes to benefit their local pregnancy care centers - all on the same day!

By participating in the Wash for Life, youth will help women and children in their own community, while at the same time being united in an event that sends a message to the whole nation, that this generation is pro-life.

Our goal is to raise a collective total of $1,000,000. Our goal over the next couple years is for the Wash for Life to grow to over 2000 groups. We are here to help you get connected, hold your car wash, and change the culture."

Chuck Jr. responds to the LA Times article

someone from Chuck Jr.'s reads a letter from him... lays a smackdown on his gadflies, the Alnors, and clarifies his graceful position on homosexuals... confirms his belief in hell...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

commenter etiquette

commenter etiquette on this blog includes restraint on language you wouldn't use in kindergarten. so, some angry comments from an angry and anonymous Indian Hindu have been deleted. they might have stayed if his/her language wasn't so course.

for those Christians who read this, please pray for this angry person who so desperately needs to know the love of Jesus Christ.

frozen humans with potential

Stephen J. Grabill writes in an Acton commentary:

Currently, in the United States alone, nearly 500,000 human embryos are being cryopreserved at some 430 fertility clinics. A staggering 88 percent of these embryos, which are only a few days old and much smaller than the dot on this i, were created by doctors for use in some form of assisted reproduction.

The most common ART technique is in vitro fertilization with embryo transfer (IVF-ET), in which a woman is induced to produce multiple eggs where four to six of the most viable are retrieved and then fertilized in the laboratory, with the resulting embryos transferred to the woman’s uterus. At the best clinics, the success rate for each in vitro attempt is between 25 and 50 percent....

Christians and defenders of human dignity who acknowledge embryos to be preborn persons have a dual responsibility to protect the innocent and also to do no harm. The stakes are high because, as Ron Stoddart founder of Nightlight Christian Adoptions stresses, “An embryo is not a potential human life—it is human life with potential.”....

Routine overproduction of embryos and high mortality rates suggest that IVF-ET degrades and instrumentalizes the very life it seeks to create. The fundamental purpose of every embryo is to realize its own life: to fulfill its divine purpose of achieving life as a rational, social, creative, spiritual, and morally free and responsible person. In assisted reproduction and cryopreservation—unlike in normal conception and gestation—the natural progression of an embryo’s life from potential to actual can be temporarily interrupted, stalled for a time, or worse, permanently thwarted from achieving its purpose....

We are so sadly in a brave new world, under the aegis of enabling an infertile couple to give birth, we have stifled the market for adoption and supported the woman's right to choose to kill her baby. Why do the children never enter into the public's thinking?