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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: Father

PATER is the first Greek word in the prayer, Father. the pronoun, "our/hEMWN" comes after the noun. Father is given prominence in the prayer. the prayer is addressed to Him, not to a cosmic force. Neither is the prayer addressed to "GOD" or "Lord" but to "Father." For Jesus, this was normal, but for his Jewish audience, this was a departure from the scriptures. In the Old Testament, GOD does not really convey his relationship to the Jews as paternal, but rather a master or a king or a husband or as a judge. Jesus adds the dimension he has eternally had with God his Father. And he invites us to address God as he does.
This is unbounded intimacy. I'm invited to call the Creator of the Universe, my maker, my judge, the Holiest One, the first Mover, the one who made me for His Pleasure, the Potter who can crush this pot at any time, i can call Him Father.
If He is my Father then i escape from his wrath but enter under his discipline. If He is my Father then i've been adopted because i have a deadbeat father who is known for his lies and deception and destruction. his end is destruction, my new Father's end is life eternal and abundant. i also have an imperfect earthly father whose example does not measure to the Heavenly Father's. but i can take all the positive things he modeled and understand my Heavenly Father improving on them immeasurably and know that the things my earthly father lacked He fills.
we are "loved by God the Father." Jude 1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1
Finally here is a great reflection on our Father's love for us... the Father's Love Letter

Child

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
. Almighty God

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

India: Pastor murdered

NEW DELHI, February 27 (Compass Direct News) – The body of a 29-year-old pastor was found with stab wounds on February 20 in a canal in Krishna district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Pastor Goda Israel was found dead last Tuesday in a canal near his house in Pedapallparru village in the Gudivada area of the district. The slain pastor, who is survived by his wife and small children, was overseeing 15 churches that he established in the region. “Pastor Israel had earlier been threatened by Hindu extremists due to his involvement in the preaching of the gospel in the area, and he had no enmity with anyone,” a leader with Emmanuel Mission International who requested anonymity told Compass.

the Lord's Prayer: another March series

last March i did a series on prayer. just click this link and you'll find them. one of the things i wrote about was prayer while walking the dog and prayer on the bike commute. it's that time of year, again, when i'm walking the dog in the dark, in the cold, and embracing those moments of solitude while telling the dog to stop pulling on the leash. but in that wealth of time i freeze up mentally. where do i start? its not like i can carry a book of Celtic prayers with me or the daily office. however, i do have Jesus' pattern. one thing i appreciate my NT Greek professor for was getting us to memorize the prayer in Greek. Here it is, i don't know if your browser will support these fonts though.

9. πατερ ημων ο εν τοις ουρανοις αγιασθητω το ονομα σου
10. ελθετω η βασιλεια σου γενηθητω το θελημα σου ως εν ουρανω και επι γης
11. τον αρτον ημων τον επιουσιον δος ημιν σημερον
12. και αφες ημιν τα οφειληματα ημων ως και ημεις αφηκαμεν τοις οφειλεταις ημων
13. και μη εισενεγκης ημας εις πειρασμον αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου

here is Young's literal translation
9. Our Father who [art] in the heavens! hallowed be Thy name.
10. Thy reign come: Thy will come to pass, as in heaven also on the earth.
11. Our appointed bread give us to-day.
12. And forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors.
13. And mayest Thou not lead us to temptation, but deliver us from the evil, because Thine is the reign, and the power, and the glory -- to the ages. Amen.

my Greek NT notes there are late manuscripts from the Eastern church with the emendation after "and the glory" which says "to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit." i like that too.

anyway, during my two years of Greek, this prayer became my mainstay before bed. i would journal it over and over again and found it turned enough stones in my life to cover the basics yet provided the focus i needed.

i can linger over each word for quite awhile and worship. this prayer is so tight, no word wasted, nothing superfluous. light but heavy. short but deep.
a prayer iceberg.
impressive at first glance, awesome upon each further investigation. maybe 50 words. maybe a month of posts. perhaps no links to anyone else's blogs except in the shared feeds section. i don't expect something technical, rather something personal. where the Holy Spirit hits me when those words scroll through my mind. perhaps assertions without footnotes. corrections of false assertions welcome in the comments.

winter biking

this website shamed me today for not riding. so did this article. i knew the snow today wasn't sticking but i wimped out. i think i was more dissuaded by the thought of riding in the rain this afternoon. i've also started reading the blog, Sans Auto, of a grad student who lives without a bike in the in one of those states near Canada. he hasn't a car either. then there is this winter biking page. i've tried to commute at least once a week through the winter. and gas prices are rising. i bought myself a new bike but its not ready. i bought a new bike last January too. a Trek hybrid 7300. unfortunately, i have tendonitis in my wrists from lab work and they don't appreciate the ride. so i bought a recumbent on ebay. and the local bike shop is putting it together for me because i'm not a bike mechanic wanna-be.

sigh...the jesus tomb

i haven't been interested in contributing to the publicity of this yawner but the Extreme Theology blog has a in depth post addressing the wild claims called

Archeological Identity Theft : The Lost Tomb of Jesus Fails to Make the Grade

Monday, February 26, 2007

in an abusive church?

a FAQ from Battered Sheep with observations such as:
Abusive fellowships are often the most exciting Christian gatherings around -- filled with dedicated, committed, enthusiastic leaders and members. Do not let enthusiasm and sincerity be the basis for approval. More often than not, abusive fellowships cannot be recognized by mere outward appearance. By discrediting facts, the leaders of such gatherings control information. Leaders may deny these practices -- or marginalize them in some way. It is important to investigate any fellowship thoroughly.

Abusive fellowships often change the meaning of words. In these fellowships, "unity" commonly means agreement with the leaders opinions. Members are often told that they are "out of unity" when they disagree with the leaders' opinions. Healthy fellowships understand that true unity means that

There is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to one hope when you were called -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4)

Every healthy fellowship will have disagreements, and yet be in unity in the Biblical sense as brothers and sisters in Christ.

there is so much more to this article. i hope you check it out.

HT: EAaYF

M Blog: 10 commandments of Jesus

fortunately "do not steal" isn't in this list but it is so good that i need to put it all here, but do visit Guy's blog for notes from the mission field.

LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH
ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH...YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS
YOURSELF. The Great Commandment: Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-31.2)

Go therefore
and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded
you. The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20.3)

...love one another. The New
Commandment: John 13:34-35, 15:12.4)

...seek first His kingdom and His
righteousness... The Priority commandment for every believer: Matthew 6:33.5)

...do this in remembrance of Me... The Lord's Supper: Luke 20:14-20, 1
Corinthians 12:23-26.6)

...wash one another's feet...you also should do as I did
to you... The Great Example Commandment: John 13:14-15.7)

Abide in Me... The
Commandment that is the secret to a fruitful life: John 15:4-8.8)

...beseech the
Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest... The only specific
request Christ commanded his disciples to pray besides the Lord's Prayer: Luke
10:2, Matthew 9:38.9)

...do not pass judgment...do not
condemn...pardon...give... General Commandments of Jesus for victorious living:
Luke 6:37-38.10)

...love your enemies...do good to those who hate you...bless
those who curse you...pray for those who mistreat you... Commandments for loving
our enemies: Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 5:43-48.

Christians should not measure their
spiritual maturity based upon their knowledge of the Gospel, but upon their
obedience of what they know of the Gospel. We should never confuse our knowing
the commands of Christ with obeying them in our personal lives. The Christian
walk is not about what we know, but about how much we OBEY what it is we know.

Friday, February 23, 2007

free hugs

i'm always late to these things, but i've finally found this video and am now sharing it with all of you.

my shared links

for my feed readers, you might have interest in articles i "shared" through google reader but did not blog on, here.

"what's wrong with my bride?"

nothing. she is beautiful and radiant. how could someone say they like me but really don't like her? that's the question Rick Warren asks in this report from a conference at Saddleback happening right now...
"When people say I love Jesus but I don't like the church, it is like they are saying to a married guy 'I really like you but I don't like your wife'. This is offensive."
in case no one noticed the church is full of sinners who recognized their need for grace. it's also occupied with actors. but we let Jesus handle them.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

internet intermediary for autistic adult

an amazing story about how this adult woman with severe autism is able to blog and interact with the world through the 2nd life game. for all the complaints about internet communication, the simplicity of it enables her to interact with our autistic-hostile world and keeps her from a label of retardation.

Megachurches Desegregate Worship

Christian Post article

Sundays at the evangelical Grace Chapel megachurch look like the American ideal of race relations: African-American, Haitian, white, Chinese and Korean families sing along with a white, guitar-playing pastor...
A study by Thumma and the Leadership Network, a Dallas group that works with pioneering churches, found that minorities make up 20 percent or more of worshippers in nearly one-third of the nation's 1,200 megachurches. More than half of the megachurches say they are intentionally working to attract different ethnic groups, according to the 2005 study, part of a book that Thumma and network executive Dave Travis will publish in July....
Researchers have found that whites and nonwhites join megachurches for the same reasons: great guitar-and-drum worship bands, strong programs for kids and a message of Bible-based self-betterment. For anyone who feels isolated in a sea of white faces, the small communal groups that megachurches form for their members provide support....

Location matters. The Rev. David Anderson, founding pastor of Bridgeview Community Church in Columbia, Md., which has about 2,000 members, conducts what he calls the "Wal-Mart test" by driving to malls or Wal-Marts within a 20-mile radius of his church to see who's shopping.

"If the Wal-Mart is diverse," he says, "then your church can be diverse."

Anderson's megachurch is unique in that he started it specifically to be multicultural. He estimates that Bridgeview, more than a decade old, is now 55 percent African-American and about one-quarter white, with Asians, Hispanics and others making up the rest.

He also stands out because he is African-American. Most integrating megachurches are led by whites, and white Christians generally don't stay at black-led congregations, Emerson says....

perhaps we are seeing the desegregation of the most segregated hour in America every week. cool article. reminds me of one of my earliest blog posts about two churches named Mosaic

a blogroll

i'm a technological Lilliputian when it comes to certain facets of blogs. i still haven't figured out how to add those long blogroll things here. i belong to the Pro-life bloggers and i tried to join the Persecuted church bloggers and now i'm listed on Rick Warren's God-bloggers list but i am clueless as to how to put them on the side bar. so here are my links, and if you want to find some other blogs to read, because you just don't have enough to read...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

a follow up on kind words

from the Logos blog a link to the Gospel Driven Life on respectful dialog in-house...

One does not have to hang out in the blogosphere for very long to find heated debates and critiques of this and that -- emergent, charismania, reformed, truly reformed, seeker, etc. This is nothing new in church history and I, for one, do not think the church today is any worse or better condition than it ever has been. Redeemed sinners have always been redeemed sinners. And redeemed sinners often treat enemies as friends and friends as enemies.

But there is something unusual afoot. One of the amazing works of God in our day is that leaders are uniting across barriers formerly uncrossable. They are uniting around the Gospel. And I think here is the place to define and to determine who is for Christ and who is against him. It was called the "rule of faith" by Tertullian.

So I wanted to offer a post that gave some questions that are definitive of the Gospel -- whether the Gospel preached by an Arminian like Wesley or a Calvinist like Edwards. As we debate the various trends and movements in the church -- I find these questions helpful to determine when I am contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints and when I am having an intramural dispute with fellow believers.

  1. Do you believe that God is the Creator of all things and that mankind was formed by him in his image, to live for his glory?
  2. Do you believe that Adam sinned and by his sin brought the corruption of all his descendents so that we are born in sin? That our sin is so great that we can do nothing to save ourselves from God?s judgment.
  3. Do you believe that man's sin offends his Creator -- that God abhors sin and will bring his wrath against sin to consummation in final judgments?
  4. Do you believe that God sent Jesus as Savior -- that Jesus who is fully God and fully man, without sin, died in our place as our substitute on the cross -- bore in himself the full measure of God's wrath?
  5. Do you believe that salvation is entirely through the Person and Work of Jesus -- that we contribute nothing to it and can take nothing away from it. If any sinner stands acquited before God in the last day it will be through Christ alone?
  6. Do you believe that the human part of salvation is faith -- and that faith is the heart looking completely away from itself to Jesus as Savior?
  7. Do you believe Jesus will return at the end of the age to bring to completion this present age, to judge the living and the dead, and to consummate the kingdom of God forever?

I believe all of these are points to which all Christians have adhered throughout the history of the church. Call it "mere Christianity" if you will -- it is the Gospel, and on that Gospel we stand or fall.

I would not have us end discussion over doctrinal differences -- the way of love for each other and love for truth is not to act as though we are all agreed on every point. Avoidance of discussion is the love of truth. But it is urgent that we know the nature of our debate.

I close with the following quotes and references from the life of Charles Simeon.

Simeon, a Calvinist, wrote:

Many there are who cannot see these truths [the doctrines of God's sovereignty], who yet are in a state truly pleasing to God; yea many, at whose feet the best of us may be glad to be found in heaven. It is a great evil, when these doctrines are made a ground of separation one from another, and when the advocates of different systems anathematize each other. . . . In reference to truths which are involved in so much obscurity as those which relate to the sovereignty of God mutual kindness and concession are far better than vehement argumentation and uncharitable discussion.


Simeon recounts how he conversed with John Wesley (Wesley's answer is in italics):

Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But befor I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

Yes, I do indeed.

And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

Yes, solely through Christ.

But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?

No.

What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms?

Yes, altogether.

And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?

Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree.

polite discourse and 1 Peter 3:15-16

3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.

i didn't really touch on this issue in my sermon last week. i fail at this. i know i'm not alone at this either, especially among Christian apologists, defenders, etc. one apologist with a radio show and books under his belt introduces his show by quoting this verse. except most of his opponents never seem to feel the courtesy and respect and malign him back. so how does one give an answer, especially when one is convinced it is "the"answer, with courtesy and respect? no matter what, the cross is offensive. Jesus divides. he told us he comes with a sword that will divide families. there is no need to add insult to the injury of the good news....
i need to give others the benefit of the doubt.
i need to be polite enough that we wouldn't avoid each other in public
i need to be polite enough that we could break bread together
i need to be as innocent as a dove while not forsaking the cunning of the snake. (Matt.10:6)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

monkey boy history


if i'm monkey boy, then is this my real father? Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes? my dear friend, Geoff , thought so.

court ordered abortion

from WMB:
Pro-life groups are outraged after learning that an Italian judge ordered a 13-year-old girl to have an abortion. Life Site News is reporting that the girl's parents demanded she have an abortion, ignoring their daughter's pleas to keep her baby. According to Italian law, minors can't decide whether to keep or abort a child and may be forced by guardians or parents to undergo an abortion. The girl was so distraught after the abortion that she threatened to commit suicide and was sent to a psychiatric unit.

Christians in India face growing persecution

Christians in India face growing persecution as they are attacked, beaten and killed for believing in Jesus Christ. The Voice of Martyrs recently received information Christian attacks were escalating. On February 10, a 58-year-old Christian, S. Stanley was stabbed and killed by rioting youth in front of his house in Pavaloor, Kerala State, India. VOM contacts report youths assembled in front of Stanley’s house shouting blasphemous abuses against Christians. The attackers later climbed over the locked gate, entered the house and stabbed Stanley several times on his back, neck and stomach. His wife was also assaulted.

“Where Stanley was martyred has traditionally been an area of India that has less persecution. The fact that something like this is happening is further evidence of the worsening climate for Christians in India,” VOM contacts working in India said.

“The persecution in India has risen at an alarming rate, to the point that it seems we get multiple stories of persecution each week in India. I encourage American Christians to pray for India and for our brothers and sisters who are witnessing for Christ there,” added Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs.

I also want to ask you to pray for the wife of Stanley who is now a widow and was also assaulted. Join me in asking the Lord for her comfort and restoration.

Monday, February 19, 2007

emerging...another Xian subculture?

Holly Nelson writes at the Ooze
When I originally encountered the Emerging church movement a while back, my first reactions toward it were positive since other christians shared similar frustrations that I was experiencing in my spiritual journey. I am grateful for having the opportunity to learn from it. At the same time, it has become just another christian subculture. It rejects the old status quo, only to establish a new one: new rules, new preferences, and new jargon.What is the problem? Subcultures exclude. The people within them create expectations based on personal preferences of how people within the group should act and appear. Yet, not everyone will have what it takes to belong. It is sort of like a club. The subculture (human religious system) is then mistaken for the Body of Christ (God's system). Obviously, they are not the same. Does the world really need another christian subculture? That question deserves an entire article of its own. For now, I would rather address how this new subculture lacks unity and love for the Body of Christ.
Over the last five years, God has been convicting me more and more about the need for unity within the Body of Christ. In order for unity to be authentic, we have to get into alignment with God and His will -- both individually and corporately. When we are aligned, we will function together as we were meant. If we want to see Christ's miraculous regeneration in a dying world, then the Body of Christ must be unified. This is the real reformation (as opposed to different fragments acting independently). This is God's system and how He meant for us to operate....

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Monkey Boy found!

i'm back from vacation to Simmons Homestead Inn. If you like 30 cats running around and a collection of 50 sports cars with a preference to the Lotus and want to visit Hyannis Port on Cape Cod with your dog and 2 nauseous kids and one recovered child, this is your place. And i neededto get groceries today since the larder was bare. i walked to the same convenience store/gas station that I always get my milk at because it is cheap there and they don't sell pornography. and the guys i normally see weren't working. instead an older Indian or Pakistani gentleman was tending the register. I presume he thought striking up conversation with me would be good business so he asked why i didn't have a mustache. i defended myself and he asked why i even have a beard, he didn't have one. i told him it keeps my face warm. its useful for winter cycling. he told, as a brother, i should shave it off, because, he said, i look like a monkey.

my wife assures me that is not true. here is a picture of Monkey Boy at the Simmons Homestead Inn...



BHM: Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was America's leading radical. He led a civil rights revolution in the 20th century that forever changed the landscape of American society. But he is the least well known of the three leading black figures of this century. Martin Luther King Jr., with his preachings of love and non-violent resistance, and Malcolm X, the fiery street preacher who advocated a bloody overthrow of the system, are both more closely associate in the popular mind and myth with the civil rights struggle. But it was Thurgood Marshall, working through the courts to eradicate the legacy of slavery and destroying the racist segregation system of Jim Crow, who had an even more profound and lasting effect on race relations than either of King or X. [blogger's highlight]

Tm15icoIt was Marshall who ended legal segregation in the United States. He won Supreme Court victories breaking the color line in housing, transportation and voting, all of which overturned the 'Separate-but-Equal' apartheid of American life in the first half of the century. It was Marshall who won the most important legal case of the century, Brown v. Board of Education, ending the legal separation of black and white children in public schools. The success of the Brown case sparked the 1960s civil rights movement, led to the increased number of black high school and college graduates and the incredible rise of the black middle-class in both numbers and political power in the second half of the century.

And it was Marshall, as the nation's first African-American Supreme Court justice, who promoted affirmative action -- preferences, set-asides and other race conscious policies -- as the remedy for the damage remaining from the nation's history of slavery and racial bias. Justice Marshall gave a clear signal that while legal discrimination had ended, there was more to be done to advance educational opportunity for people who had been locked out and to bridge the wide canyon of economic inequity between blacks and whites.

He worked on behalf of black Americans, but built a structure of individual rights that became the cornerstone of protections for all Americans. He succeeded in creating new protections under law for women, children, prisoners, and the homeless. Their greater claim to full citizenship in the republic over the last century can be directly traced to Marshall. Even the American press had Marshall to thank for an expansion of its liberties during the century.

Marshall's lifework, then, literally defined the movement of race relations through the century. He rejected King's peaceful protest as rhetorical fluff that accomplished no permanent change in society. And he rejected Malcolm X's talk of violent revolution and a separate black nation as racist craziness in a multi-racial society.

The key to Marshall's work was his conviction that integration -- and only integration -- would allow equal rights under the law to take hold. Once individual rights were accepted, in Marshall's mind, then blacks and whites could rise or fall based on their own ability.

Marshall's deep faith in the power of racial integration came out of a middle class black perspective in turn of the century Baltimore. He was the child of an activist black community that had established its own schools and fought for equal rights from the time of the Civil War. His own family, of an interracial background, had been at the forefront of demands by Baltimore blacks for equal treatment. Out of that unique family and city was born Thurgood Marshall, the architect of American race relations in the twentieth century.

Friday, February 16, 2007

vacation

we took a little two night excursion out of town with the kids and the dog and almost every trip we end up cleaning up after the kids in the middle of the night from some sort of digestion/stomach issue. the fat cyclist sums up our story with his own parallel world with his 3 kids...
speaking of vacation, i'm trying to read through this biography on Napoleon, and it is interesting, but the author's agenda is a little distracting. he hates Napoleon...

B&C Gaudalcanal history

Books and Culture has a short historical summary of the WW2 battle for Guadalcanal. I'm not as well read on the Pacific Theater of the war but this is pretty good with a couple recommendations for further reading.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

abortion and out of wedlock

John Armstrong writes
For some time I have believed that there had to be a clear link between marriage and abortion. Yesterday I heard a commentary on Relevant Radio (Catholic) that showed there was an obvious connection. Unmarried couples are four times more likely to have an abortion than married couples. And single mothers are also four times more likely to have an abortion than married mothers. Further, children growing up in homes without married parents are far more likely to have an abortion as well. We recently heard that the number of unmarried adults in America now exceeds the number of married adults, with almost 51% of adults not married. This stastic is a bit misleading in several ways, including how the data was gathered. Yet I would have to guess that things do not bode well for either marriage or the pro-life movement over the long term unless we see a new generation arise that is deeply committed to a culture of life. Except for a religious awakening of major proportions this seems quite unlikely. One things is certain. The church should defend the helpless and encourage marriage without adopting a posture that is always us versus them. The gospel is our message, and it is good news for all. By this powerful message we can form a culture of life. This does not mean that pro-family and pro-life causes are not extremely valuable but they are still a secondary means for the real changes that we need as a society. We are in a moral freefall and few seem to ponder the consequences, especially in most of our churches. My concern is not that the world is failing but that the world is in the church and the church is failing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Baptize immediately

Guy Muse shares empathetically Neil Cole's thoughts and now i share them, do you?
SIXTH, I would create immediate obedience in baptism. Baptize quickly and publicly and let the one doing the evangelizing do the baptizing. The Bible doesn't command us to be baptized, but to be baptizers. It is absolutely foolish the way we hold the Great Commission over our people and then exclude them from obeying it at the same time. 

this Sunday i will be baptizing 8 people, half of them are under 10 but want to obey Jesus.

NT Scholar Bruce Metzger goes home

93 years old, natural causes. His book A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament is a very important read for students of the New Testament. Thank you Lord for Bruce Metzger.

Verses for Valentine's day

update 2008:
Thanks for coming to the Umblog. Before you proceed, may I suggest you try out the series on Song of Solomon and erotic poetry in the Bible for your marital health?

from the Accordance blog...

For anyone in a relationship: "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." (Song of Solomon 8:6-7, NIV).

For married couples: Song of Solomon 5 and 7. (Sorry, no quotes. This blog is G-Rated!)

For couples facing a major decision: "Do what is in your heart. You choose. I'm right here with you whatever you decide." (1 Samuel 14:7, HCSB). (Sounds a lot better than "Yes, dear" doesn't it?)

For the person who is lonely this Valentine's Day: "Wait for the LORD; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14, HCSB).

When you suspect they've "lost that lovin' feelin'": "Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 3:3, HCSB).

For long-distance relationships: "May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other" (Genesis 31:49, NIV).

For the guy who forgot that today is Valentine's Day: "I am a worm and not a man!" (Psalm 22:6, HCSB).

Happy Valentine's Day, whatever your situation! ;-)

How Jesus trains leaders

some challenging observations...

When Jesus invited four fisherman to go for a walk with him, little did they know their lives would never be the same (Mt. 4:18-22). He promised that he would have a creative and transforming impact on their occupational skills and the way they looked at life: "Come and follow me and I will show you how to fish for people".These early disciples were called to learn under the tutelage of a skilled practitioner. They were called to be apprentices who would learn by practical experience the way of their teacher. Jesus' educational objective is clearly set forth: "It is enough for students to be like their teacher and servants like their Master" (Mt. 10:25). To transform character and to create the heart of a servant demands a space and time not neatly conducive to our Sunday school model or the environment of a collegiate setting. But the components of Jesus' educational model challenges conventional practice and objectives:1. Jesus as teacher is a co-traveler on a shared journey, not an ivory-towered academician,2. Education is relational not merely informational. The disciples are called "that they might be with him" (Mk. 3:14).3. The educational process is experiential not merely theoretical. "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they have done and taught" (Mk. 6:30).4. Jesus' model in empowering not controlling. Jesus turns them loose with "authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness" (Mt. 10:1).5. Jesus' educational model is holistic not dualistic. Discipleship involves the whole of life not just slices of life: "What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?" (Mt. 16:26)6. Jesus' educational model moves beyond the letter of the Law and mere conformity to rules to the heart of the Lawgiver. The complex rhythms of life cannot adequately be engaged by mere legalities: "I desire mercy not sacrifice" (Mt. 9:13; 12:7) 7. Jesus is more an organic gardner than an architect. Jesus trains his disciples to be good environmentalists who understand the symbiotic components of a healthy spiritual life. "The kingdom of God is like a man who sowed good seed in his field . . . " (Mt. 13 24f.)8. Jesus is our spiritual guide who opens our eyes to see the spiritual in the stuff of life. He is not a CEO manager driven by a pragmatic concern to maintain the institution: "Do you have eyes but fail to see and ears but fail to hear?" (Mk. 8:17)9. Jesus trains his disciples to ask good questions rather than to take pride in having all the answers. "Every scribe trained in the Kingdom of heaven is like the owner of the house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Mt. 13:52)10. Jesus is about building community rather than an audience. "Everyone is looking for you . . . let us go somewhere else" (Mk. 1:17-18).11. Jesus trains his disciples to be explorers who look for the possibilities rather than mere guardians of the status quo: "Leave them, they are blind guides. If the blind shal lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch" (Mt. 15:14).12. Jesus defines success not in corporate terms (buildings, budgets, and butts), but rather how their transforming power as "salt" made a difference, and the "light" they mediate exposes human futility and illuminates the divine presence. (Mt. 5:13-16)13. Jesus leads his disciples into learning environments where the question is not "what do you think?" but "what do you see and hear?": "Though seeing, they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear or understand . . . But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." (Mt. 13:13, 16)14. Jesus creates an atmosphere for change and reorientation. His patience and forgiveness is restorative not retributive: "Simon, Simon, Satan aske to sift all of you as wheat. But I prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Lk. 22:31; cf. John 21:15-19)15. Jesus redirects self-absorption with a vision of a new reality where greatness is found in service and the true human potential is set free from the tyranny of fear and the limitations of cultural expectations (Mk. 10:35-45).

HT: EO

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Christian Martyred for Christ in India

 INDIA – On Saturday, February 10, a 58-year-old Christian, S. Stanley, was stabbed and killed by rioting youth in front of his house in Pavaloor, Kerala State, India.

According to contacts working with The Voice of The Martyrs, youths assembled in front of Stanley’s house shouting blasphemous abuses against Christians. “Stanley and his wife came out of their home and asked the youths to leave. This angered them further and they began stoning the house and tried violently to force themselves through Stanley’s gate,” VOM contacts said.

The contacts added that while Stanley was inside the house calling the police, the attackers climbed over the locked gate, entered the house and stabbed him several times on his back, neck and stomach. His wife was also assaulted.

“Where Stanley was martyred has traditionally been an area of India that has seen less persecution. The fact that something like this is happening is further evidence of the worsening climate for Christians in India,” VOM contacts said. Pray for Christians in India to be bold witnesses for Christ in spite of threats and attacks against them.

Valentine's martyrdom

February 14, 270: According to tradition, Valentine, a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius II, is beheaded along the Flaminian Way. One explanation for Valentine's subsequent relationship to the romantic holiday is this: Claudius, seeking to more easily recruit soldiers, removed family ties by forbidding marriage. Valentine ignored the order and performed secret marriages—an act that led to his arrest and execution.

India: no persecution of Xians here

NEW DELHI, February 13 (Compass Direct News) – The Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission claims that reports of Hindu extremists persecuting Christians in the state are “baseless,” angering the small Christian community. The state commission’s claim contradicts a report by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in June 2006. The NCM fact-finding team found that Hindu extremists had frequently invoked the state’s anti-conversion law as a means to incite mobs against Christians and have Christians arrested without evidence. “The life of Christians has become miserable at the hands of miscreants in connivance with the police,” the NCM noted in its report. But Anwar Mohammed Khan, chairman of the state minorities commission, told Compass, “We don’t think any special mention should be made about attacks against Christians.”

Monday, February 12, 2007

what are Jim Crow laws?

from answers.com

After 1877, the Redeemers reversed many of the civil rights gains that black Americans had made during Reconstruction, passing laws that mandated discrimination by both local governments and by private citizens. Since "Jim Crow law" is a blanket term for any of this type of legislation, the exact date of inception for the laws varies by state. The most important laws came in the 1890s and the adoption of legislation segregating railroad cars in New Orleans as the first genuine Jim Crow law. By 1915, every Southern state had effectively destroyed the gains in civil rights and liberties that blacks had enjoyed due to the Reconstructionist efforts.

It is thought that the term 'Jim Crow laws' originated from the 1828 popular song Jump Jim Crow, a blackface song which made derogatory references to the character of colored people. As a result of this song, the term 'Jim Crow' became a pejorative or mocking term for colored people, used in the Deep South.

Between 1890 and 1920, many state governments prevented most blacks from voting by various techniques, such as poll taxes and literacy tests. (These could be waived for whites due to grandfather clauses.) It is estimated that of 181,000 African-American males of voting age in Alabama in 1900, only 3,000 were registered to vote.

Many of the discriminatory Jim Crow laws were enacted to support racial segregation in everyday life. They required black and white people to use separate water fountains, public schools, public bath houses, restaurants, public libraries, buses and rail cars -- although, even without legal segregation, the desire of the white majority to use the frequently inferior facilities set aside for black use was admittedly limited.

child soldiers


such a sad story of children around the world who are forced to fight and kill. This is a map from CNN.

The journey from boy or girl to killing machine follows a horrifying route of indoctrination, including being forced to execute friends and family, international organizations report.

One girl, Angela, 12, told Human Rights Watch she was told to shoot a friend when she joined Colombia's FARC guerrillas.

"I closed my eyes and fired the gun, but I didn't hit her. So I shot again," she said. "I had to bury her and put dirt on top of her. The commander said, 'You'll have to do this many more times, and you'll have to learn not to cry.' "...

In Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- a boy who was 11 when he was recruited to the national army, had to watch as older soldiers gunned down mothers and then killed their babies. "They swung them by their legs and smashed them against a rock. I saw it," Kim Muang Than told Human Rights Watch.

RNB: Klan Buster still active at 90

Using evidence salvaged from the grand dragon’s waste basket, he enabled the Internal Revenue Service to press for collection of an outstanding $685,000 tax lien from the Klan in 1944 and he helped draft the brief used by the state of Georgia to revoke the Klan’s national corporate charter in 1947.
Kennedy infiltrated the Klan by using the name of his deceased uncle as a way to gain trust and membership. But the Klan did not know that Kennedy was giving its secrets to the outside world, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Anti-Defamation League and Drew Pearson, a columnist for The Washington Post.
When he learned of a plan by the Klan to take action, he would make sure it was broadcast, thwarting them.
“They were afraid to do anything. They knew somebody was on the inside. They had first-class detectives looking, and I was trying hard not to be caught,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he always feared exposure and remains scared — “Nonstop, to date” — mentioning threats, the shooting of his dog and frequent attempts to burn down his home.

BHM: movie review: Boycott

HBO has produced some fantastic movies retelling stories from the Civil Rights era. Boycott is another one. It's the story of Rosa Parks and MLK Jr. and the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Montgomery bus Boycott of 1955-1956, 13 months. Not only is the story compelling but more than those two characters are developed. It's complex, it has depth, it is extremely well acted. Be warned that this is filmed in a less conventional style, almost like a play, almost like a cameraman in their home as the events unfold. sometimes characters look straight to the camera and talk to you. sometimes characters shove the camera out of their space. One wonderful tidbit i appreciated was a scene, before Ms. Parks' introduction, of a teenaged girl (presumably Claudette Colvin) refusing to give up her seat and being arrested. No explanation is given but the NAACP decided not to support her case as she was not as upstanding a citizen and, hence, less likely to result in a trial focused on rights instead of character. However, her injustice was resurrected in the federal case.
I appreciated the development of the characters (and their contribution to the cause) Ralph David Abernathy, E. D. Nixon, Fred Gray, and Bayard Rustin.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

History of Religion map



HT: Bradley Wright

Worship as a way of life

1 Peter 2:20 - 3:15 Worship as a way of life preached Sunday February 11, 2007

After Phil Robart's amazing survey of the Bible and God's intent for marriage, only one kind of person would follow him, a dumb kind. So here I am. Phil went to Yale, just like Jonathan Edwards, hence his erudition and $10 words, and quotes from Rembrandt and Da Vinci. On the other hand, I graduated from UConn, so you may only hear 10 cent words and quotes from basketball players. I don't have much on my preaching resume but I have a text from the Holy Spirit to share.

First the text, from the NIV
2:21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22"He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth."
23
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

We need to begin with Jesus. We need to continue with Jesus. We then need to end with Jesus. Our lifestyle of worship is motivated by what Jesus has done for us. Worship is our service to God in response to his grace toward us. We just finished singing in worship. We worship in prayer. We worship in the reading of the Word of God. We also worship in our actions. Talk is cheap. Jesus did more than talk. He washed his disciples feet and told them to do likewise as the servant is not greater than the master (John 13:16). We are called to a life of suffering. It's not the normal altar call, "Come forward with a lifetime of suffering to look forward to..." but it is what Jesus calls us to. And he left us his example of how to suffer. We need to walk in his steps.

My wife and I have a new date night scheme involving ballroom dancing lessons. Our instructor is a patient older woman who has danced and taught dance all her life. She makes anyone in the room look good as her partner. She shows us new steps every week. And every week all the guys on the Man side of the room look at her feet and grimace, and our wives smirk at us. But eventually, we men start to get it. She constantly reminds the men that they have the easy part. Every week my wife's toes are a little less damaged and we smile more together. That's how I identify with following Jesus' steps. (If you are a man sensitive to that concept, imagine instead rebuilding a motor with Jesus.) Every week, I get a little better with the thing he is showing me, then showing me new steps for the next thing. I'm constantly humbled and at the same time getting better. He is so patient with and kind to me.

What are his steps? No sin and no deceit. He didn't sin in his trial. I know in my trials, I'm tempted to stop living a life of worship and give into the easier thing, the life of sin. I want to retaliate. I want to threaten. I forget that my Father can and does make things right. When I remember that, I am encouraged to pursue worship in the trial. As Paul says we are to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12: 19-21). And that is what I'm saved for. Because of Jesus' sacrifice I can die to sin and live for righteousness. But what a sacrifice. Peter himself probably observed those wounds in the making. Perhaps he saw the lashes of the whips and the spray of blood after he denied Jesus. Theodoret said, "a new and strange method of healing. The doctor suffered the cost, and the sick received the healing." How generous is our Savior. We had gone astray, we were deceived, we were misled until we were found by our Shepherd and Overseer. Peter nods to the diversity of the church whose Jewish members would have appreciated the Shepherd metaphor and whose Greek members the Overseer metaphor. Both metaphors are benevolent. With minimal comment though, I think it important to read Isaiah 53 that Peter is quoting so frequently.

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. [see 1 Peter 3:4 women]

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied ;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.


Before I talk about husbands and wives I think it helpful to skip to vv. 8-15.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
Literally, we are asked to be of the same mind. Harmony isn't a bad translation because it conveys the unity despite diversity. A bass might sing a different note than a tenor, but together with the other voices a beautiful harmony is made that is more beautiful than one voice. We need to avoid gift projection and gift comparing and spiritual talent matches. We perform for one person as an act of worship and have no need to get caught up in what others do or how they do it.
Sympathy is English for the Greek word sumpathes, which is pronounced like the English word. Don't you like it when a foreign language doesn't have a different word for the English. What is sympathy? It's sharing in someone else's feelings. It's Jesus crying at Lazarus' tomb. It's rejoicing with those who are rejoicing and mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). It is an act of worship. It is not an easily detectable trait here in New England. We have a tendency to measure our affection by the degree of ribbing we give each other. We practice loving sarcasm. You know what I'm talking about. But we are called to a new culture, to new kingdom values.
Philadelphia is the Greek name for a city that is supposed to be known for its brotherly love. I have a younger brother and our brotherly love was not adequately expressed as children. He was the unfortunate recipient of many brotherly treatments from me that i would get very upset about when anyone else tried that on him. If someone wants to make trouble with my brother, than he better expect trouble back from me. Brotherly love is the kind that takes care of others because they're family. There are no further qualifications. Jesus told us we will be known as his disciples if we love one another (John 13:35). Caring for each other as well as we take care of our blood is an act of worship. Blood indeed is thicker than water, but the bond of Spirit can be even thicker for worshippers.
Compassion and humility are partners because compassion increases our concern for others and humility decreases our concerns for ourselves. Peter's word for compassion is the feelings deep in our guts, a feeling that can only be subdued with action. In our case the action is an act of worship. Jesus described himself once as gentle and humble giving rest to all who come to him. People can trust a humble person. Humble people aren't frightening.
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Why not? Remember we were called (2:21) to suffering as an act of worship. But this suffering is so minimal compared to the eternal inheritance we will inherit so soon. And although the attacks can wear us down, we aren't blessing out of our present abilities but drawing from this heavenly inheritance. It's like using our Father's credit card. It's no hardship out of our abilities to bless our oppressors because we don't need to draw on our own abilities but his abundance. Jesus was the one who made the crazy suggestions to turn the other cheek to those who hit us, and carry someone else's burden for an extra mile, and give our cloak as a bonus to the one who sues for our tunic. What did Jesus do for those who were hanging him on the cross? Pleading with Father to forgive them. We are called to worship by stopping the world's cycle of vengeance. In America, we had two families famous for their generational feuding, the Hatfields and McCoys. For Americans this story is humorous, for most of the world vengeance that spans generations is normal, sad, and tragic. Our act of worship is not only to break the cycle but bless those who are perpetuating it, hopefully arresting their consciences. One example of this is Watchman Nee's...
the Chinese church leader, had only six hours. He must lead the guard in front of his prison cell to Christ so that his letter of encouragement to Christians outside the prison could be delivered.

Chairman Mao’s government was infuriated by the spread of Christianity in China. In order to stop the spread of this “foreign cult,” they had forced out or killed all foreign missionaries and had sent thousands of Chinese church leaders to prison or to “re-education through labor” camps. But the church still grew.

When the police discovered that Nee’s beautiful, powerful letters of encouragement were making their way out of the prison and into the hands of Christians, they doubled the number of guards and never allowed a guard to stand outside Nee’s cell more than once. They shortened shifts to six hours, hoping Nee would not have time to convert the guard.

Nee told the guard about the Father’s love and willingness to give up his own flesh and blood so the guard could live forever in heaven. “Communism cannot get you to heaven,” he said. “Only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that.”

Five hours into the sermon, with tears streaming from his eyes, the guard accepted Christ. Yet another soul was won for the kingdom, and yet another of Watchman Nee’s letters would be safely delivered.


Nee didn't regale his captors with his rights. Instead he blessed them with the good news. He worshipped before his guards and then with them.


10 For, "Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
11 He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

There is a good life here and a better life hereafter. It begins with worship by imitating Jesus who didn't speak lies, who not only did good but sought peace. Jesus blesses peacemakers in Matthew 5:9. Jesus is a good Shepherd and Overseer by being the one who sees us and hears us. But if we withhold these acts of worship and turn from him and pursue evil, he is against us, a position that seems a little like hell. This also explains the warning Peter gives to husbands in v. 7.

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
Logically, no one. Realistically, many people. No one did more good than Jesus and he was tortured to death. Some self-serving people view such eager do gooders as doormats rolled out for their exploitation. Indeed we are. But we have a Dad who judges justly and ultimately. Everything always works out well for his children. we live in a culture with the sad expression, "No good deed goes unpunished." But that shouldn't keep us from worship. We worship God for who he is, not for what bad things might happen to us.

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."
Sounds like a beatitude to me (Matt 5:10). J Vernon Magee points out that Jesus invites us to a banquet, not a picnic. But don't be afraid. Those of us forgiven by Jesus have no fear of God's judgment which is the thing the rest of the world needs to fear. They don't have a Dad who can set everything right. Bad things may happen to us, but we have a good Dad who will work things out. Not fearing is an act of worship.

15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Hopefully our life of worship motivated by gratitude and hope and longing to our celestial city will be evident to those around us. It's a worship that testifies and witnesses.

So now I will return to marriages.

1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
"Soul-winning" is a concept originally found in the context of marriage. It's a life of evangelism in deeds. The submission Jesus commends to wives is no more than his submission to all of us. He submitted to us in order that we might be won to him. All believers are called to submit. The lifestyle of worship of believing wives is pure and reverent.
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
Let's review Isaiah 53:2. Jesus wasn't attractive in form, and we have no contemporary descriptions of him, but we are still attracted to him. But there is a beauty worth attaining that God, who doesn't look on outward appearances but rather the heart, approves. The believing wife will get more mileage from a beautiful spirit than as a place to hang jewelry and wigs and fine apparel. She can worship God in a way that he esteems.

5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
When your hope is in God, there is nothing to fear.

A young man called his mother and announced excitedly that he had just met the woman of his dreams. Now what should he do?

His mother had an idea: "Why don't you send her flowers,and on the card invite her to your place for a home-cooked meal?"

He thought this was a great strategy and arranged a date for a week later. His mother called the day after the big date to see how things had gone.

"The evening was a disaster," he moaned.

"Why, didn't she come over?" asked his mother.

"Oh, she came over, but she refused to cook..."

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Considerate is a translation of "according to knowledge." A husband can acquire a new way to worship in deed by asking his wife how he could treat her more considerately. In Jesus' kingdom the strong serve the weak. So husbands might need to tie on an apron. Didn't Jesus feed several thousand people at a time? The word the NIV translates as "partner" is actually "vessel." We are earthen vessels carrying heavenly treasure. God has entrusted these precious vessels of his to husbands. These vessels are the husbands' co-heirs. They are God's daughters. They need to be treated like highly valued princesses of the King. No one who courts the King's daughters would wisely treat them in a way that might upset their Father. Unfortunately, not all those husbands are wise and will find God unresponsive to them until they repent. No Christian husband should ever resort to violence or abuse in their marriages. That isn't how to worship. Worshipers act in love toward others out of love to and from God in response to the great love He showed us.

God is good.

what Mormons don't tell

some brochures to inform potential customers of the boys on their bikes. hey, give them a break, they might not know this stuff either.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

India: latest Hindu persecution events of Christians

Chhattisgarh, February 9 (Compass Direct News) – A small group of people allegedly belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on February 8 beat an evangelist of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band and forced him to the police station in Devasari village in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja district. Anil Khakkar had gone to Devasari to conduct a meeting in a house church when a jeep full of Hindu extremists arrived; they beat him and took him away. The extremists took him to the Kusmi police station and filed a complaint against him for forcibly converting Hindus. Police said Khakkar had been remanded in custody. No complaint was filed against the extremists for attacking the evangelist. The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum today held a rally along with the local Communist Party of India-Marxist in Raipur, the state capital, to protest the increasing number of anti-Christian attacks in the state. They also submitted a memorandum to the state governor, requesting him to ensure protection of the Christian community.

Maharashtra – Unidentified people attacked three Christian workers of the Church of Nazarene and damaged their film projector and sound equipment the night of February 8 in Maharashtra state’s Nagpur city. The victims – the Rev. Ravi Shambhakar, Ramprakash Sahu and one identified only as Satpute – were attacked as they showed the “Jesus Film” in the Gulmohar area, under the Kalamna police station. Satpute was immediately rushed to the hospital, where four of his teeth were extracted due to mouth injuries. The others received minor injuries. A church leader told Compass that Hindu extremists in another area in the city had threatened the three Christians. The leader said the incident had been reported to the police, but that he was not sure if they had registered the complaint. On the contrary, he said, the extremists were threatening to lodge a counter complaint against the victims.

Assam – Hindu villagers beat and vandalized the thatched house of a Christian convert, Rahbindra Narzaree, for refusing to “reconvert” to Hinduism on February 6 in Bashbari village, under the Beshmuri police sub-station in Kokrajhar district in Assam state. The Christian Legal Association of India quoted police as saying that Narzaree had converted to Christianity after marrying a Christian woman from the Bodo tribe two years ago. The family has since faced social ostracism, and Narzaree reconverted to Hinduism under pressure from the villagers – but later declared that he remained a Christian. As a result the villagers called him to a village council meeting on February 6 and pressured him to return to Hinduism. When he refused, they denounced him and attacked the couple with sticks. To save their lives, Narzaree and his wife took refuge in the police sub-station and then moved to Narzaree’s brother’s house. The culprits have thus far evaded police.

Karnataka – RSS and Bajrang Dal Hindu extremists stopped four Christians as they returned home from a prayer meeting on February 4 and assaulted them with wooden clubs. Pastor T. Surendra and three members of his congregation, identified only as Ananda, Raghwa and Harish, were on an isolated stretch of road after meeting in a house in Uppalli Village, in Chikmangalore district of Karnataka. The Hindu extremists questioned them about their prayer and singing in the house, cursed and beat them, and forced them to a police station where they were arrested for forcible conversion. On February 6 four pastors went to the jail to secure their release, but a large number of extremists attacked them with sticks in plain view of a police officer who did nothing to stop them, sources said. Pastor Santosh George and Pastor Sunder Baby managed to escape, but Pastor V.P. Ranga and P.A. Johnson were detained. At press time, pastors Ranga, Johnson and Surendra were still in jail, as were the other three Christians originally arrested.

Haryana – On February 4, a mob of Hindu extremists and local police inspector Virendra Singh manhandled four woman Christian workers, identified only as Sarita, Geeta, Rosha and Meera, and beat two pastors, identified as Vijaya K.P. and Raj Kumar, in the Thosam area of Bhiwani district, Haryana state. According to the Christian Legal Association of India, all the victims work with Gospel for Asia. Pastor Vijaya sustained a head injury while the others received minor injuries. The extremists, allegedly from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and similar organizations, launched the attack after the Christian women refused to move out of the area. The two pastors were visiting the women to give them prayer and moral support, as they had faced opposition to their work in the area for at least a year. The police had not registered a complaint against the extremists at press time.

Karnataka – A retired sub-inspector and eight other men on February 1 entered the compound of Compassionate Mission, in Belamanahallil-Kolar district of Karnataka state, locked missionary Phillip Abraham in the bathroom and took the manager of the mission, Santosh KJ (he has no surname), 25 kilometers (15 miles) away and beat him. The men tortured the manager as they interrogated him about the mission’s social ministry, leaving him semi-conscious and bleeding on the Old Madras Road in the early hours of February 2. Santosh KJ and the Rev. Alexander Tharakan filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Vemekal police station. The sub-inspector later claimed that he was searching for his young daughter who had not returned home. He and his men barged into every room of the mission residence as women and children were sleeping, Rev. Thakaran told Compass.

Madhya Pradesh – Hindu extremists reportedly belonging to the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, youth wing of the VHP, ransacked the shop of a Christian convert, Mukesh Badehi, on February 5 in the Neelganga area of Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district. The Christian Legal Association of India confirmed the attack, but police told the organization that the Christian was attacked only because he had not closed his shop despite a strike called by the Bajrang Dal to protest the killing of cows, considered holy by Hindus. According to reports, the extremists, including other shopkeepers of the area, accused the Christian of killing the cows and assaulting Hindu shop owners. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians, extremist organizations plan to hold a rally against the killing on cows on February 11, which could lead to tensions.

Karnataka – Hindu extremists in the town of Bhadravathy, in Shimoga district in Karnataka, have erected a temple on a site where Church of South India leaders were planning to run a center for humanitarian work next to their church compound. Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said the extremists on January 6 erected an idol of a Hindu god on land beside the church compound. The land had earlier been used as a garbage dump, but the church cleaned up the area and was about to start work on the social center when extremists erected the idol. The police did not take any action against the intruders, George said, adding that Christians were concerned over growing tensions in the area. Church authorities could not be contacted to ascertain if the land belonged to the government or the church.

battle scarred Marine wedding photo

(2012) all the links are dead now.

A working link with story at Reason

a wedding picture that demonstrates true love.
HT: AiLA
update: the back story

for my feed readers Feb10 2007

a link to my shared items. these are links i didn't blog on, but thought interesting, and perhaps you will think that way also. since you are on a reader you don't see this stuff on the side bar. so here is a link.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

interesting analogy - now i take it too far

Bill Lamorey is a CC pastor in Connecticut who started his church recently. He makes a very astute observation,
I am convinced that most Christians in the U.S. get enough spiritual food and rest and not enough exercise (let's be honest, eating is much more fun than exercise -physically and spiritually). The result is we've become morbidly obese (spiritually speaking) and consumption crazy ("feed me, feed me, feed me"). Much of it is the fault of pastors and church leaders when we create cultures of consumerism and do not encourage our church bodies or provide opportunities for them to get spiritual exercise. Shame on us all! I pray that you, me and people in churches all over America will push back from the table, burp, wipe our mouths and say. "We're full, lets' go get some exercise and bring some new people to the table who are starving!"

in the land of plenty (and the land of the obese), the U.S., the lethargy is hard to overcome. unfortunately, there isn't a diet pill for the spiritually overweight. the only cure is exercise. there isn't an easy solution to the abundant spiritual calories this Christian nation has to offer, simple, not easy. hence, the issue confronts motivation. some motivate by guilt, some by grace, some by incentives. i must confess, i feel lazy and fat when i read Bill's words. i am shamed as Bill pronounces on me. so then the issue is how much do i do to alleviate the guilt? how much is enough? so i end at trying to be like Jesus who only did what Father was doing. and seek His favor from Him and not concern myself with how much more other children are doing. i think...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Moses's press secretary


quote of the day Feb 7th 2007

on my google homepage today i read
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
- Peter Drucker

makes me think of the Pharisees and Jesus...

resources on spousal abuse in church families

The website is updated and there are even better resources.

Troubledwith.com has some resources with this kind of input...

The new one

How should a wife deal with her husband's abusive tendencies?

The principles of Love Must Be Tough offer the best response to an abusive husband. They begin with a recognition that behavior does not change when things are going smoothly. If change is to occur, it usually does so in a crisis situation. Thus, a crisis must be created and managed very carefully.

After moving out and making it clear that the woman has no intention of returning, the ball moves to her husband's court. If he never responds, she never returns. If it takes a year, or five years, then so be it. He has to want her badly enough to face his problem and to reach out to her. When (and if) her husband acknowledges that he has an abusive behavior pattern and promises to deal with it, negotiations can begin. A plan can be agreed upon that involves intensive Christian counseling with a person of the wife's choosing. She should not return home until the counselor concludes that she will be safe and that the husband is on the way to recovery. Gradually, they put their relationship back together.

It's a long shot but one worth working to achieve.
Answered by James C. Dobson, Ph.D.

The old one

Would you recommend that the Christian wife of an abusive husband actually divorce him?

No, I think she should separate in an effort to get him to acknowledge and deal with his abusive behavior. Through prayer and a resolute spirit, she may be able to save the marriage and help her husband overcome his violent tendencies. That is easier said than done, of course, and there are no guarantees that the outcome will be as hoped. But I believe it is best to try.


this is also good

Five Reasons Why the Church Should Get Involved:

  1. Families are being destroyed by violence. Marriages are not being destroyed by women who leave an abusive relationship; it is being destroyed by the repeated acts of violence in the home.
  2. Children are growing up believing that daddy hitting mommy is normal. The next generation of abusive men are now small boys watching their fathers batter their mothers.
  3. For many women, their home is the most dangerous place to be. According to the American Medical Association, domestic violence is the number one threat to women's health.
  4. The church has contributed to abuse in the home by failing to confront abusers, failing to provide safety for victims, and sending them back home to further abuse.
  5. The church has a major role in protecting the victim and reducing violence. Instead of looking the other way and pretending the problem doesn't exist, or deliberately ignoring the problem to keep the family together at all costs, we need to ask ourselves "What would Jesus do?" The church has one thing to offer victims of domestic violence that all other social agencies and legal systems do not have: HOPE!
  6. Hope for victims to find safety and peace, to find other women or support groups to provide encouragement, to receive assistance in meeting financial and daily needs, and to rediscover the person God made them to be
  7. Hope for children to live in a violence-free home, and to learn the principles of scriptures in being a godly husband or wife through mentoring of church family
  8. Hope for abusers to find men who will hold them accountable, and walk with them through the process of treatment and healing
  9. Hope for restoring families whose lives have been broken and destroyed through violence, and breaking the cycle of abuse in future generations
  10. Hope because the power of Jesus Christ can change lives and redeem years of destruction and pain by using those experiences to help others

What the church can do to help victims of domestic violence:

Educate

  1. Include a 4-6 week study on family violence and the prevention of violence in adult Sunday School curriculum. Invite guest speakers from a local shelter or FOCUS Ministries to educate congregation or small groups about domestic violence.
  2. Plan several sermons throughout the year on the subject of violence in the home. (October is National Domestic Violence Month.) Explain the various definitions of domestic violence, including verbal and emotional abuse, and take a strong stand against such behavior. Clarify that being given the responsibility of head of the home does not grant permission to punish or abuse.
  3. Display brochures, newsletters, and information about domestic violence where people can easily access them. Post phone numbers for shelters, support groups, and national domestic violence hotline on bulletin boards and in church bulletins. Add books about the subject to your church library.
  4. Educate your teenage girls and guys about domestic violence, and help them develop biblical ways to express anger.

Provide Safety

  1. Adopt a shelter as a mission project or start your own shelter where women and children can have emergency and short-term housing.
  2. Set up a network of homes as safe places for women and children in a crisis.
  3. Provide wise counsel to the victim which will not put her in more danger, and know what community services are available to help her.
  4. Provide a safety escort for women attending joint counseling sessions with abuser, and to court hearings.

Support

  1. Start a support group for women or offer a meeting place for other organized groups like FOCUS Ministries.
  2. Maintain an emergency fund to help meet the financial needs of women and children who are forced to leave because of violence in the home.
  3. Continue to be caring and supportive, even if a woman refuses to leave an abusive relationship, or goes back into an abusive relationship before the abuser has changed.
  4. Walk through the long process of healing and forgiveness with the victim and abuser as long as it takes. Don't give them "x" number of weeks to get better and then drop them. Be prepared to offer support and guidance for several years, not days or months.
  5. Provide prayer partners for victims to be available day or night, and who will present prayer requests to a network of prayer chains, prayer lists, and prayer meetings. Let women know that they are being prayed for on a consistent basis.
  6. Connect women with people in the church who can provide computer training, financial planning, etc.

Confront

Confront the abuser and encourage him to join a treatment program for abusers. Make available an accountability group for him where concerned men will ask him about his behavior on a consistent basis, and pray for and encourage him to continue his treatment program.

Help break the cycle of abuse to provide hope and healing for the next generation.