Friday, July 30, 2010
Making experience trump the Bible is a sure way to get yourself off the strait and narrow. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. He is more than willing to use signs and wonders, dreams, experiences or lack thereof to get you to trust your life events over Scripture.Amen.
If Scripture is indeed our sole authority for life and practice, let’s make it that. I’m not against experiences; I’m against making experiences the final authority when experiences can be deceiving when God’s Word never is.
Friday, July 23, 2010
My father, H.G. Stanley, was a veteran of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he helped build the first atomic bomb and win the war against Japan. Today it's probably not politically correct to mention such things, but I give thanks for him and all those (including my late mother), who served our native land with distinction during World War 2.
I look forward with hope and anticipation to that time when we may join him and all the saints of God in the great day of resurrection. In the mean time, we mourn. I hope to be back with you again here soon.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
But praise God for the good news. And Royce's whole post is a pretty good explanation of that news.
That God is not counting sins against those with their faith in Jesus is not good news for the self-righteous. They are not unlike their first century counterparts were the most religious folks of their time, the sect of the Pharisees. Oh yes, we have plenty of them today.
They love the praise of men. “Listen to me”, “see what I have done”, “notice what I avoid”, “honor me because I am such a good person”. These church members never miss a service, they do all the right things so far as can be humanly observed, but inside they are corrupt to the core.
They want part of the credit for their salvation. The message of the grace of God offends them deeply, it makes them angry. It is not unlike the anger the church folks had against Jesus. “Eating with sinners!”, “Doing things we don’t approve on the Sabbath, the nerve…!” He deserves to die!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This is not something that only guys from a long time ago do. Oh no, it lives on in all of us. One of the most prevalent ways modern Christian do this is by using Scripture to prove they don’t have to listen to Scripture.Good point.
Yes, this is as dumb as it sounds. It is also highly ironic. But I see it all the time. People use one Scripture to trump another Scripture. The Scripture that is interpreted as leading to the least amount of responsibility always wins.
If you are not going to listen to Scripture, don’t use Scripture to prove why you don’t have to. Just come right out and deny the whole Book. Scripture does not deny itself, so stop trying to make it do so.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tired of tightly turning tracks (and a plea)
Increasingly, however, I'm becoming aware that some of these new circles, while fresh and freeing to me in years past, are in reality just as tight, cramped, and deafening as the ones I'd been trying to avoid. I'm always looking for new web sites for good ideas, but I keep finding writers entrenched in one or another of these alternative echo chambers (If those descriptions sound vague, it's by design; I want ideas, not a fight).
So here's my plea: can you recommend any Christian writers I ought to be linking to but am not? I really do want your suggestions. And for what it's worth, I prefer reading works by Christians not on the Superstar Preacher Circuit (those guys usually have their own private circles, and let me tell you: they're all pretty tight).
I’m not just simply straining gnats here. Apparently Eli has the entire Bible memorized. That’s awesome. But he misses the message. In his opinion the message of the Bible is, “Do good to others above yourself.”Pretty much all I know about the movie I've read in Mike's post, but based on the information he gives, Mike's assessment sounds right.
There is absolutely no mention of Jesus. No mention of redemption in Christ. The Bible is seen as a great book. But in the end it is placed alongside other great books of faith like the Torah, Koran, etc. The view of Christ and the Scriptures is the typical secular view of what it means to be a Christian.
Don’t get me wrong; we can learn a ton from Eli. His passion for the Scriptures is wonderful. His single-minded devotion to doing what “the voice” told him is compelling. We can learn much from this man. But he does not proclaim a risen Christ. So, I’m shocked and a little disturbed that respected Christian reviewers can say this movie is Christian.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
What do they tell us about ourselves?Good points, along with others in the whole post.
They say that most of us are nobodies from the world’s point of view. We live and die in a long chain of humanity but there is not much that anyone will remember of us as individuals. At the same time, without us, future generations will not be born and the legacy of the past will not be preserved. We are part of a great cloud of witnesses, a long chain of faithful people who have lived for God in the place where he put them. Even if we know little about them we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their loyalty and perseverance when they had little or nothing to gain from it or to show for it.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
I wish Jeff had mentioned baptism too, but his basic point stands.
It is sad to see many kids “accept Christ” and then live horrible lives and constantly be assured that they are saved because they “said the prayer” as a kid.
People are not saved because they said a ten second prayer as a child. You do not know you are saved because you remember the day you said your prayer.
You know you are saved because you continue in the faith. This is so frequently said in Scripture it boggles the mind how we’ve seemingly missed it completely.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
"As the ancient Israelites meditate upon TORAH, they soak and read and speak and sing and act the WORD of the LORD. They dwell in the Life-giving Breath of God. This prophetic faith was never meant to simply be carved into stone. The stone is but a memorial of the real carving, shaping, forming that the WORD of the LORD does as He breathes into the hearts of His people. It is prophetic is the truest sense of the word. “Prophecy” is the wind, breath, word of God that creates, brings light, brings life, and fulfills God’s Will. Ours is a prophetic faith because it is rooted in the creative breath (Word) of God."
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Online Bible study tools
It all started - or stopped, if you will - because I was tiring of the celebrity pastor phenomenon sweeping the evangelical landscape. For good or ill, it was starting to sicken me. I seemed to hear more people talk about the sermon they downloaded than the one the pastor put over them had delivered for their good. In this I heard the dissatisfaction of past moments in the life of Matt Redmond in their elation. I had so often said and done and thought just as they, it took no degree of imagination to hear my voice say the exact same thing. I had been more than a little guilty of downgrading the importance of the sermon served up by the shepherd appointed to feed my soul and watch it. By God. And I had upgraded the importance of the pastor who would never know me or my family...that is, apart from my desire to follow said pastor around to conference after conference after conference. After conference.One could niggle with Matt's terminology (and spelling), but his main ideas are right on target.
That realization goes right along with the main focus of Matt's decision:
My main reason for no longer listening to sermons by celebrity preachers is...well, I have a preacher. When I am not preaching, he is my preacher/pastor. God has given him to me and my family for my good and his glory. He is the principle human agent I should be looking to for making sure my soul is fed. Are there better preachers out there? Yes. Of course, for there always will be. But they are not my pastor/shepherd. I would prefer for nothing to get in the way of what God has put in front of me to keep me on the way.
Monday, July 05, 2010
The most important aspect to our ministry is the proclaimed word (which is empowered through Word-centered praying). This happens through “people-work” and through sermons. Be certain that you are giving ample time to both.Exactly.
Friday, July 02, 2010
Tony Campolo puts it this way: “America may be the best Babylon the world has, but it is still Babylon nonetheless.”I used to worship with a congregation that sat on our glutes to sing hymns like "Holy, Holy, Holy," "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," and even "Stand Up for Jesus," yet rose to our feet during the singing of "My Country Tis of Thee" or "America." The priorities of that congregation, I think, were clear--and shameful.
We are exiles living in Babylon, folks. Our corner may be called “America,” or “Canada,” or “France,” but it’s still all a part of the same thing: a world system that transcends borders, is dominated by materialistic consumerism and exploitation, and is fundamentally opposed to the Kingdom of God. And while love and affection for the people living in that system is entirely necessary, and while we should certainly pray for the peace and well-being of the place where God has set us, we need to avoid the mistake we see over and over in Scripture: becoming so enamored with our temporary dwelling—whether that’s called Egypt, Babylon, or even America—that we lose sight of what Hebrews calls “a better place.”
I may carry an Oregon driver’s license, but I try hard to remember where my identity is really rooted. It’s rooted in Jesus, the One whose claims of Lordship will always challenge Caesar’s.
And that means that nationalism, in any degree, is misplaced affection. If Jesus really is our Peace who has broken down every dividing barrier between us, to celebrate the arbitrary lines and political distinctions which divide us is, in a sense, anti-gospel. Jesus expressed anger a number of times in the Gospels, but the most famous was when He saw what should have been “a house of prayer for all nations” turned into something else.
My eight years in the U.S. military were a time when I literally offered my life for defense of my country--the land, the people, and the Constitution (though, to clarify, I was never called into combat). But as Jesus reminded us about our very own families, nothing--nation, cause, or kin--has a higher place in the life of a Christian than the Kingdom of God.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
1. What type of reader is The Gospel-Filled Wallet written for?
For any professed Christian.
2. What prompted you to write the book?
My reading of Scripture coupled with seeing several people die and moving many living people from one house to another. These experiences have made an impact on me. Something was off, so I began examining all my stuff as well. I realized that my experience confirmed Scripture and the Scriptures confirmed my experience: we are to live for heaven; not earth.
3. The first chapter of your book is titled, "I Think I Hate God." Do you really hate God?
The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, so you cannot do those things you want to do. The flesh and the Spirit war at each other and they don't do it because they love each other. I do not hate God, but my flesh nature does, and my flesh nature has its moments in my life.
4. This question has to do as much with my work as an editor and publisher as with yours as an author. Some reviewers of TGFW have taken issue with certain points in your book, particularly your treatment of the OT and your interpretation of loving God or money. In preparing your book for publication, I assumed you had anticipated these criticisms and were prepared for them. Was that the case, or were you surprised by readers' reactions?
I did not go into much detail on my views of the Old Testament in regards to money because it would involve detailing my understanding of Israel and the Church. I chose to skip that and stick with the main point. However, you can figure out my view if you look for it! It did not surprise me that it came up.
I anticipated critiques of my interpretation of "you cannot serve God and mammon." I don’t like it either, but I hesitate to dismiss it too quickly. I think the simple, literal meaning works quite well with all that is said in Scripture since Christ said it.
5. How have your views on money changed, if any, since you originally wrote TGFW?
My views changed, or were solidified, while writing this book. I was more affirmed to give to those who need it, more willing to not spend my money on me, more willing to stop accumulating stuff my wife will have to move when I die, etc.
6. Now that your book is out there, what do you hope to accomplish through its publication?
My initial goal in doing this study and writing it up was to find out what the Christian's responsibility is in regard to money. It was originally intended for me. My hope now is that I will be able to help others consider this matter. I also hope to show how the Gospel is practically lived out in how we use our money. He gave up heaven to suffer for a time here, that we who suffer here might go to heaven. This Gospel example should drive our spending.
7. Any final words?
I would like to thank you, Milton, for publishing this book. I would like to thank all the reviewers for their time and their responses. I would also like to encourage people to consider carefully their attachments to the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Lay hold of eternal life.