Willohroots


There is a Hole in the Web, Imonk, R.I.P.
April 9, 2010, 07:08
Filed under: Uncategorized

Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, 1956-2010

Earlier this week the web became a dimmer place as the light of Imonk, Michael Spencer was removed from this world.  Imonk’s blog was the first blog I ever read on a regular basis.  I read his essays first, the blog was an afterthought.  I was googleing depression and found an essay on an overturned boat.   It was about Mike’s Dad, who suffered from profound depression, before medication and acceptance for such an illness was acceptable or available.  I was still mourning the passing of my Dad,  and can still recall the imagery of this powerful writing to mind.

I ended up a faithful reader, and sometimes commenter on his blog.  Many of the blogs I read today, and many of the commenters on this site I met there at the Imonk’s busy web-page.  Some of you have become wonderful friends of mine,  and I owe it to Michael, and thank him for it.   I would like to share some other things I owe to this great word smith.

The “Evangelical Circus”  was a term Mike coined to describe the churches of the bible belt that he was so familiar with, and that caused him so much conflict and distress.  He loved Jesus and all who do the same,  but so much had occurred to muddy the spring of Living Water that he needed to express his frustration.  I had a really hard time grasping a lot of this.  Only after months and months of reading the strange, other worldly experiences of so many believers did I come to realize the damage being done to the Word and the Gospel by many who professed to love it.  The comments shared by so many gave testimony to the hurt inflicted on Seeker, Sinner, and Saint alike by a Bride who overshadowed her Husband,  a church of the name of Christ, but not of His personality.  I really needed this understanding in my ministry.  Thanks,  Michael.

Being a northerner, I had assumed that the Fundamentalist churches I had been exposed to were out of the ordinary, freak aberrations,   inevitable but rare,  unfortunate but ignorable.  The thousands of comments I read over the years convinced me that this myopic legalism was almost the norm for Evangelical churches who embraced a form of legalism that fell far short of the Way of Yeshua the Messiah.   Imonk’s blog helped me  to minister to those escapees of such churches and bring healing to wounds that were very slow to heal.  Thanks,  Imonk.

My acceptance for liturgy also is owed to the Imonk.  Our service at Dayspring is still very informal, but I  check the liturgical calander and have even thought of having an earlier more liturgical service in what I would call, “High Baptist”.  More hymns, doxology, corporate prayer, responsive reading.  We will see how God leads.  Not long ago  I would have never entertained such a thought, as I had be influenced by the “as the Spirit leads”  movement to such a degree that I sold short those expressions of worship that were more formal,  even though I found them beautiful and meaningful personally.  I am richer for the understanding.  Thanks Michael.

Once I emailed Michael apologizing for arguing a bit too forcefully on his site after being drawn out by Surfnetter, and Michael was kind enough to email me in return,  starting a correspondence that showed him to be very kind and understanding.  I was wrong to get so wound up in his house,  but he did not condemn,  but rather understood and helped me deal with difficult debaters by giving me a new perspective.  Thanks , Imonk.

Seeing a chubby preacher who was born in 1956, plays guitar, blogs, and who loves Little Debbie, die of cancer really hits home with me.  It is like looking in a mirror.  Why did I survive my cancer and God chose to take Imonk home?  I learned a while back not to hurt my head trying to figure out the ways of the Lord.   I have smoked, drank, drugged, caroused, and generally sinned far more than the humble Monk,  yet here I am writing about him.  As so many things in life, it just does not seem fair.  I told my kids for years, if you want fair, it comes in once a year on the fair grounds on Rt. 118,  other than that you just need to wait for Jesus. As for me,  I remember that I am mortal.Thanks Michael.

Speaking of not fair,  how do you explain that this man worked for peanuts all his life serving the Savior, and had just “made it” with a book, and magazine interviews after 10 years of faithful blogging and 3 decades of teaching the Word.  You don’t.   How do you explain to the world that  passing from this life to the next can be gain?  You don’t.  He worked for the kingdom, not for the world.  Thanks, Michael.

I did not agree with everything this man said.  I still say he was raised in a cult, [ boy, did that get him going!] but I learned to type IMHO near the comment.  [Not that I am humble in all my opinions, especially that one]  One big point of disagreement was the Roman Catholic church.  The evangelical circus has so damaged his wife Denise that she has become a Catholic.  Perhaps because of this Michael though the RC church was growing with discontented Evangelicals.   In my area they are selling and raising Catholic churches by the dozens, and few who call themselves Catholic know much if anything about their faith, the bible or take the whole thing very seriously.   In my neck of the woods there are Uber Catholics in the minority, and the majority of practitioners who in truth are social members.  His comments did make me very aware of a group of people so injured by the Circus, that they sought refuge in another group of believers.  Thanks Michael.

I learned a lot at Internetmonk.com   My kids are buying me Michaels book for father’s day.  The site will stay up, the articles will be re-read, the podcasts will be re-heard, but there will be no fresh Imonk until we meet at the Throne.  If you told me a few  years ago that I would cry for a man I never met, whose work I simply read on a blog,  you would have been met with disbelief, but every day is a learning experience.  Thanks Michael.



Patience to wait for Change
March 12, 2010, 14:53
Filed under: Bible study, Christ, culture, faith | Tags: , , ,

There are all Kinds of people who come to Dayspring Bible Chapel where I preach and pastor.  The guy above is quite typical.  He might not be welcome at a lot of churches. It is true that I end up cleaning up a lot of butts,  and I have been told that “good people’  will not stop at our church if they see this type out in the parking lot,  I feel even apes with bad habits need to know the Word of the Lord.  We are working on civilizing these guys, but smoking, as bad as it is, is better than what a lot of them have left behind.   May God help us all to see our bad habits and leave them at the foot of the cross.

The above pictured type church attendee is my personal weak point.  Dealing with bratty females has never been easy for me.
This type comes in all ages,  and usually does not last in the Dayspring fellowship.  The ones who say they are Christian are the hardest to deal with. Those are the ones who feel the Holy Spirit has done His Sanctifying work on their bodies and souls, and are eager to guide others in the process that will make the rest of the church h as perfect as they are themselves.   Give me the apes, please, they know they are not much, and see the need for god in their lives.  the Bratties always feel God’s work in their lives is complete, and love to praise Him for His wonderful creations, themselves.

We now have a couple of these guys,  the Cool Bean Rockers!  They are too young to have messed up too much, but old enough to mess up if they do not focus on God.  They are talented , intelligent, and just the sort Satan would love to Enlist.  Can’t have them ole Slew Foot,  we got them first, and we are filling them with the Word so that they will never be of use to you.   If we work with these guys now perhaps they will never devolve into Apes!

We have had a few of these pass through.  I don’t get them.   They seem to live in a different world,  speak a different language and are genuinely alien to us.  They like the music, or the sermons, or the fellowship,  but usually only 1 or 2 out of 3.  never the whole package.  As they leave we hear.” Beam us up, no intelligent life here.”  Whatever, as long as they leave.  We think they are going to the mother-ship, but we know they don’t want fellowship with the Father and us.

While most people are accepted here, this is one group that is not.  We have many races at Dayspring,  and quite a few guys who are bald-headed, but what really counts is what is under the scalp.  Our Jesus was a Mediterranean  Jew, who would not be allowed in this group.  You just can not worship God if you worship your race.  Pick one.

This is just not allowed!  The holy Spirit is to empower you to do Kingdom work, not to foam at the mouth, or roll around on the floor.  I do not know what spirit makes men bark like dogs or laugh uncontrollably.   What ever spirit it is that makes people act drunken is the spirit that most at Dayspring seek deliverance from.  Sit up nice in church, or go lay on one of the couches, but we praise God that we no longer roll around on the floor, we sobered up.

These guys are rough to get in shape to join the flock.  Quite often they have a sickness on Sunday morning that prevents church attendance.  They call this sickness a “hang-over” but in reality it is residual poisoning.  On Saturday night they have not a problem in the world, and are ready to plunder, fight, mate with women who look attractive through their beer goggles, and ‘ eat drink and be merry for tomorrow they might die’.  We have found that alternative fellowship, true friendship, the type that continues when the wallet is empty, combined with the Wisdom of the Word, can affect even these  denizens of the alcoholic depths.   Real men stay sober in order to serve the Lord.  “Take a seat, Think, and be Holy, for someday you shall surely die”.

A few of the guys at Dayspring have worn this fashionable attire.  The matching bracelets have secured many of our writs.  Quite a few of us have an allergy to alcohol,  when we drink we break out…in handcuffs.    I love working with people like this.  They understand guilt.  They know of a Judge.   They can admit their sin.  These are the people who worship a God who had new mercy every morning.   Humility goes well with an orange jump suit.

Well it is time to prepare to meet the church on Sunday.  Hopefully I will have smiling faces of repentant people before me, eager to hear the Word of the Lord, and eager to humbly serve the Kingdom.  Or maybe this guy…

Whosoever will may come.



In His “Carbon Free” footsteps
February 18, 2010, 11:03
Filed under: Church wrongs, culture | Tags: , , ,

British bishops urge ‘carbon fast’ for Lent

Change global climate, in the name of Jesus!

LONDON — Several prominent Anglican British bishops are urging Christians to keep their carbon consumption in check this Lent.

The 40-day period of penitence before Easter typically sees observant Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians give up meat, alcohol or chocolates.

But this year’s initiative aims to convince those observing Lent to try a day without an iPod or mobile phone in a bid to reduce the use of electricity — and thus trim the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere.

Bishop of London Rev. Richard Chartres said that the poorest people in developing countries were the hardest hit by man-made climate change.

He said Tuesday that the “Carbon Fast” was “an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God in a practical way.”

There are times that try my good will, and some things that drive me not up, but through the wall of polite concern.  This press release has upped my blood pressure and caused me to think bad thoughts.

First of all,  even the UN is getting off the “Climate Change” bus.  Even Al Gore has been quiet lately.[  Thank you, God].  With all that is going on in the U.K., as far as the influx of Islam, alcoholism,  their economy, church closings, and a host of other really scary, absolutely negative social trends, this group of clerics has decided that their best effort could best be directed toward a problem that does not even exist.  Help me Lord to not say, “Rocha!”.

Now to the measurable science of it all.  A charger for an Ipod or cell phone consumes less than 500 mA.   Five hundred Milliamperes.  The impact of shutting off all the cell phone and Ipod chargers in the UK would be nill!  Most people charge these devices at night, past peak power usage times.  Perhaps these Anglicans think there is someone at the generation station reading a dial that will say, “Smith-Jones turned off his Ipod,  crank her down, mate.”Preposterous!  Of all the energy reduction consumption programs in the world, this is the least effective.

This is not a ‘practical way to show God’s love’ , this is a politically correct way to jump on a band wagon that has been proven to have no wheels.  God’s love an be shown best by sharing the Gospel in a country where Christians are an endangered specie.  Studies show that in Canada the Anglicans will be extinct in one more generation, cell phones and Ipods or not.

I applaud the idea of going without electronic companionship for a day, even a week, or for all of Lent.  Everyone is so plugged in, turned on, and tuned in, that the voice of God, the still, small, voice, is often lost in the air waves.  What a fine and noble Lenten message it would be to say,

“Listen to those around you this Lent!”

“Unplug your devices and pray quietly this Lent!”

“Turn your radio on, and listen to the music in the air, turn your radio on, get in touch with God”   [anybody remember that one?]

“Power down, to be empowered from on High!”

This Lenten message makes the Church look petty and ineffective, filled with politics and false beliefs.  Well, if it quacks like a duck….   God forgive me for my anger.



Gnastic influence not Gnew, Gnow Sourced
February 6, 2010, 11:42
Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: , , , ,

I have had a few conversations with Gnostics.  In order to converse with them I have read some of the Gnostic “gospels”in the same way that I have read the Koran and the Book of Mormon and the L. Ron Hubbard books.  It is an advantage to be able to relate to a differing belief system with some level of understanding,  and having a common platform from which to begin communication.  It would not be possible  to communicate with people unless you have some common frame  of reference.

It has been much more difficult to communicate with the Gnastic  Christians.  These are the people who just seem gnasty.  They have gnasty comments,  gnasty  actions and while they claim to use the Bible as a study guide, I have long suspected that another volume of “wisdom” of some kind takes precedence over the Blessed Scripture.

Certain modern bible scholars have used an inductive method to come to a conclusion that there was a pre-gospel book called “Q”,  the “source” for Matthew, Mark and Luke.  The claim is that there is so much commonality that a written form MUST have been in existence that the writers used as a template for their letters.  As an uneducated man, I always supposed the commonality to Christ.

Using this accepted scholarly technique, I propose that there is a source book for the Gnastics.   It is obvious from their large number and  homogenous nature, the uniformity and ubiquity of this branch of Christians , that there is some guiding text book on which their behavior is based. I will call it “The Gospel of Gnast, Guide book for the Gnasty Christian.”

I know this book is existent!  It must be.  There is such an amazing base of evidence . Based on quotes so often heard from people who follow this philosophy I believe it is possible to reconstruct segments of the Gnast, even to find verses, based upon the behavior and speech of the Gnastic Christians. While my scholarship is poor, my experience with the Gnastics predates my conversion to Christ my Lord, and in fact may have delayed it.  Were it not for the supremacy of God and the relentless power of the Holy Spirit,  I believe the doctrine of the Gnatics would have kept me from the  Grace in which I live.  Based on these years of  [horrible] experience I will interpolate what their Gospel must contain.

Verily, The Lord seeith the heart through rose-colored glasses.                               The appearance of religion is what is desired of you by your God.                           Cruelty is to be honored if it is ye who are cruel,  honesty directed at thee is      cruel and mean Spirited.                                                                                                             Your salvation is a badge of honor to you, and is to be used to make the  unsaved feel like the miserable wretches they are.                                                         Those preachers whose message is an ointment to your ears are truly blessed,   those with whom you do not agree are hell-bound sinners.                                     The way you were when you first became a believer is the way thou shalt stay, and those doctrines you first embraced are never to be questioned.                     Suffer the little children to be scolded and criticized, whereby ye can feel good about thyself and thy mighty status as “true believer”.                                                 Those who would criticize thee by holding scripture to thy face as a mirror  are of Satan.                                                                                                                                       Blessed art the sour,  for they shall ensure the pews have much open space.      For God so loved some of the world,  That He sent His only Son, that ye and thy little clique might feel superior to all.                                                                           Thou shalt support the church and thy Pastor as long as ye are having thy needs met.

There is a great body of Gnastic teachings that I have yet to compile. These teachings run deep in the    Body of Christ.  Have you experienced them?  Do you  have some Gnastic Verse to share?  How have Gnastics affected your life, your ministry?

Or is it just me.



Lost Sinners, to Believers, to Ministers
February 5, 2010, 11:08
Filed under: faith | Tags: ,

Growing in Christ, for service.

What a joy it is to see those you have ministered to begin to minister to others!  I count it a privilege to minister to people.  It is a job I do not deserve,  a duty that is a gift.  I am starting to experience an even deeper joy.  The people I have ministered to in the name of the Risen Savior are ministering to others in the name of Christ.

Our little church has a lot of ministers.  There are people reaching out and loving others, sharing the love of Jesus, and having a faith that is alive with works.

I visited Marie in the hospital during her dark times.  She now visits the hospital, loving the infirm with a depth impossible before her own trials.

Jeff came to Dayspring seeking what Dan had, and now brings others to share what he found.

Bob had a grudge against preachers, [ understandable] and now is every Pastor’s dream, an elder who can teach, preach and pray.

Melinda was a youth in Praise team, now leads a praise team and ministers to youth.

Mike was an agnostic alcoholic, and now shares the Truth with the struggling as only someone who has been there could do.

Young Michael, who at one time had no communion with the Lord, now prepares His Table in true worshipful service.

Little Jessica, [2 years old] , the one for whose life we prayed, now hands out bulletins .  [You should see this, she takes her job seriously!]

G and P ,who once received economic help from the church, now bless the church with what God has given.

The Holy Spirit is working on us all to make us usable for the Kingdom. can anyone ask more?



Sunday’s Sermon at Dayspring
February 4, 2010, 21:52
Filed under: Bible study | Tags: , , , ,

If this works, it will get posted on Dayspring.trials



Deliver us from our daily bread?
February 3, 2010, 23:58
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Slices of...poison?

The new year started of with a new challenge at stately Willohroots manor.  My beautiful wife began 2010 with hives, and an itchy rash.   Using a food journal, we found out that bread was causing a reaction.  Doing research we learned that not only bread but all wheat products contain a protein called Gluten.  Gluten is the lovely Dawn’s kryptonite!

This has been a learning process.  Early into our adventure I poisoned her with soy sauce,  since then every ingredient is checked out for this vile substance!  We found “bread” she can eat, “bread made out of…..rice.  Same with noodles.  All wheat products are forbidden.

Live and learn.  Now we are praying, “Give us this day protection from bread”.

The good news is we figured it out and Dawn is doing much better, in fact many “mystery ailments are fading or gone completely.  Who would have thought pasta would be intolerable to my Italian woman!

Thank God for His guidance,and finding the source of misery quickly!   Perhaps we will both lose some weight, as eating out at a restaurant is out,  and I am learning a new way to cook for her.

Anybody have an Idea for communion?  Matzo bread is out!



Dayspring praise band
February 3, 2010, 23:41
Filed under: Uncategorized

002_B_001_people get ready_2009_01_01 (4)

Last year’s Praise band, is this a good thing, or something like it, to put on the Dayspring web site?

Honesty is more valued than politeness.   Thank you.



A little Mountain Gospel Music
February 3, 2010, 20:09
Filed under: Uncategorized

My family spent some time when the girls were little singing in churches.  We still try to make a joyful noise. Here is Melinda and I. Track05



Merry Christmas
December 25, 2009, 11:37
Filed under: Uncategorized

Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us  TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

May the Gift from on high be opened in your heart, and may you have the peace with God that he came to give.

Thanks for being part of the Willohroots family.



Atheist Display At State Capitol
December 24, 2009, 11:48
Filed under: Uncategorized

This cheery little poster was placed right next to a nativity scene at a County Courthouse.

In America everybody gets freedom of expression.

With rights, come responsibilities.  I would not place a Christian symbol right next to a faith group that might find it offensive.

If this thing were any closer to the manger it would have been leaning on the crib.

Don’t you think the Atheists should put out something that really shows what they believe in?  I think they should.  They should put out… nothing.



Our President preaches the Popular Gospel
December 23, 2009, 09:25
Filed under: Uncategorized

THE PRESIDENT: The birth of baby Jesus, and what he symbolizes for people all around the world is the possibility of peace and people treating each other with respect.  And so I just hope that spirit of giving that’s so important at Christmas, I hope all of you guys remember that as well.  You know, it’s not just about getting gifts but it’s also doing something for other people.  So being nice to your mom and dad and grandma and aunties and showing respect to people — that’s really important too, that’s part of the Christmas spirit, don’t you think?  Do you agree with me?

No, Mr. president I do not.



Luzerne Co. Courthouse Christmas Crisis!
December 21, 2009, 16:04
Filed under: culture | Tags: , , , ,

There has been a battle of late for the display of the Nativity scene and the Menorah at our courthouse.  A student at Kings College,  the college with a big statue of Christ on the top, called the ACLU to report the display as a violation of the separation of church and state.  The county decided that to avoid a lawsuit they would take the display down.

I can understand the county not wanting to be sued.  So far 23 public officials in Luzerne county have been indicted by an FBI investigation.  Just last week commissioner  Skrep [ our version of Shrek in size ] resigned, after  being caught taking a $5000 bribe.  i do wonder where the ACLU was when the corrupt judges here in the county were denying the rights of children in court, to get money to buy yachts and condos in Florida.

The outcry was immense!

Here is the story , at the same source for the pictures, http://www.citizensvoice.com/news/courthouse-pulls-nativity-menorah-displays-to-avoid-lawsuit-1.495916

Well , the display is going up, a law firm will defend pro-bono, and secular seasonal stuff will be added.  This seems odd to me, as there would be no snowmen, candycanes, Christmas tress, etc.  without the birth of Christ to celebrate.  Let us not even put into the mix that without the freedom that comes from living in a society based on Judeo- Christian values these people could not protest.  You will not find the ACLU, the Arab Civil Liberties Union, dissenters are not allowed in non-Judeo Christian cultures.

The plot thickened when getting on the radio to defend the ACLU’s position was one of Dayspring’s own, the Hippie.  Hippie has a problem with statues in general.  As a veteran of the Arab -Israeli conflict, a born again Christian, and a member of the ACLU, he expressed his view clearly and articulately. he loves jesus, i know this is true, but feels separation of church and state is important not just to civil rights, but to the survival of Christianity.  he spent time in Europe and in the Arab countries. He has seen that where Christianity was enforced by the state, it died.

Where did I go wrong!  How can a conservative Baptist preacher have such a radical in the flock!  I got emails and phone calls, some with suggestions that can not be repeated.  Can someone like this worship with us?  Has  he not been affected by the Word?  Did I fail him?  Or is it actually possible for us to have opposing views on things that are not essential to the faith?

What say you?



Soul Saving lessons for Christmas
December 12, 2009, 14:58
Filed under: Uncategorized

There are lessons we can learn in life from many sources.  Here are a few things I learned about sharing the Gospel with the lost from Water Rescue class.  first let us look at what we are taught from the Red Cross and the Boy Scouts about rescuing someone who is drowning.

Reach: Hold on to the dock or your boat and reach your hand, a boat oar, a fishing pole, or whatever you have nearby to the person in the water
Throw:  If you can’t reach far enough, toss things that will float for the person to grab.
Row:  If you’re in a boat, use to oars to move the boat closer to the person in the water or call out to a nearby boat for help.  Don’t use the boat’s motor close to a person in the water, they could be injured by the propeller.
Don’t Go:  Don’t go into the water unless you are trained the way life guards are trained to rescue frightened or injured people.  Yell for help.
If you call 911, stay calm and give your exact location.
Learn first aid:  CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) for drowning and how to help someone who has been in cold water and may need treatment for hypothermia.

Now let us change it slightly for the Christian in the world.

4 rules of Soul Saving

Reach: Hold on to Christ and your church and reach out your hand, your heart, your wallet, or whatever you have been given by God to the person in danger

Throw: If you can’t reach out enough, toss things that may help for the person to grab on to. Godly music, Books, stories.

Grow: If you’re in a church, use it to pray for the person in peril. Call out to nearby brothers and sisters for help. Don’t judge the lost, they could be injured

Go:. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

When you call on God, stay calm and give your cares to Him.

Learn to evangelize: CPR (Christ’s People Reach-Out), for our Gift is to be shared.

May you be used to save a soul this season!  May many Blessings from The Most High rain on you and yours!!!!



Prayer Request
December 8, 2009, 09:29
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am off to Scranton to interview with the Salvation Army for a Drug and Alcohol counselor position.  I would be a chance to get paid for what i am doing already, and an opportunity to work where I do not need to hide my Bible.

Please pray that this works out on His plan,  it would be a blessing if this is His will.  It is entry level,  and that is fine with me, as I am entering a field I left 30 years ago.    This is a job that would fit into my Dayspring schedule very well. May His will be done.



Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Lord.
December 4, 2009, 12:30
Filed under: Christ, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Luk 2:14      Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.   So we have read it, so we have sung it,  so it must be, right?  Then how do we explain to those not of the family of Christ, and they always want and need explained to,  why there are wars, and why so few truly have peace with God?  You can not be at peace with an unknown entity,  not be at true peace with One you feel hostility toward.  Since the Word is true, why did the Advent of the Christ not bring a new era of peace to the earth, and make the last two thousand years a paradise?  Where is this peace of which the angels sang?  Something is wrong here.

My journey through faith and reading of the Word has taught me that if there is a fault with the Word, it is on man’s side not God’s.  Let us take a look at other translations.
New King James “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Footnote:
* NU-Text reads toward men of goodwill.

NLT   “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.*”

Footnote:

  • Or and peace on earth for all those pleasing God. Some manuscripts read and peace on earth, goodwill among people.

NIV  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

NASB and RSV “Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”*

ESV “Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”*

Footnote:

* Some manuscripts peace, good will among men


I see here a huge difference.  God did not come at Advent to make nice with the world.  God came to give an avenue by which we may please Him,  the avenue of Faith in the Messiah.  How did the King James translators deal with this verse later in the same book?

Luk 12:51    Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

Does that not propose a conflict?  The fault is never God’s, it is ours.  Would Christmas attitudes be different if the carols sung said, “Peace on earth to all who please Him by Faith?”  The unbelievers might feel a bit more left out, and seek to get on board.

Do you have the peace He brought?  Are you pleasing to the Lord, not by your inherent goodness or your works, but by your faith that brings the inevitability of good works?  May we all praise God for the Gift this season!



odd man out
December 1, 2009, 13:03
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever felt like a square peg in the village of round holes?  You would think I would feel at home in a group of Baptisty  preachers and pastors, but I really do not.  There was a dinner at the mission, and i ended up sitting with the recovery people, I just felt more at home.

Then there is the music.  i really don’t enjoy listening to much country music.  I like Bebo Norman a lot,  but the live stuff quite often tosses me into rebellion.  There was a very talented man playing trumpet, guitar and singing to a recorded track, but he had that spikey short hair and one of those mustaches that slipped off the upper lip and landed just below his lower lip.  If i didn’t look, I could admit he was very talented.  I am that jaded.   The whole CCM scene has left me being judgmental to all CCM artists  and i am sure that is wrong.

They guys in the program told me they liked when I preached.  They said the last fellow gave a rousing dissertation on baptismal regeneration.  He stated that all “so-called Christians” that believe in baptismal regeneration are going to Hell.  He knew that because he had the Holy Spirit and that if you had the Holy Spirit and attended a church that believed in baptismal regeneration  you would immediately quit and join his denomination.   So much for Steve “theoldadam” and the lovely Church of Christ people who first befriended me.  Personally, I put a lot more faith in my Savior than in my denomination or my doctrine.

A lot of pastor meetings really depress me.  I was with a friend who was really struggling with a crisis in his ministry and life.  We were going to a pray in. On the way there he was rejoicing that he was going to confess and get support for a huge problem, it was so big that he needed the group to help.  We circled up and began to pray in order.  After one preacher prayed for God to guide the deacons to give him a raise, one prayed for  his flock to accept modern music, and another fervently, tearfully, prayed to God for his board to give him permission to rip up the pews, as we all know that souls are best saved by preaching in the round.  When it was my friends turn to pray, he said,”pass”.  Two months later he left his wife and his two churches and ran off with the gym teacher.  I don’t go to those meetings anymore.

I served on a regional board for about two years, we spent most of the time writing and adjusting the bylaws.  When i was an organizer I was taught that to take a group out of a coalition, get them working on their bylaws, it renders them useless.   I shared this, to no avail.  We finished the bylaws, and within a year the structure of the whole thing changed. Throw those bylaws out, start over. I don’t go there anymore.

I fit in at Dayspring!  Thank God he gave me a place to hang out and glorify The Lord!  I feel at home there.  We aren’t much, but we are real.



Thanksgiving indeed
November 26, 2009, 08:04
Filed under: Christ | Tags: , , ,

There is so much to be thankful for, health, wealth, freedom,friendship.  One thing that outshines them all is that Jesus has risen.

Luk 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon

This is the foundation of the Christian faith,  That Christ was born, lead a sin free life, and has, indeed, risen, to eternal life, and not just He, but we too shall rise!

1Cr 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.

The first fruits of a harvest called to fruition by God himself!

How do I know that He is risen?  The bible tells me so, firstly.

Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

It was no secret!

Mat 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
1Cr 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

These words were written when living witnesses could collaborate the story!

Secondly I know He as risen for His promise to me has been fulfilled!

Jhn 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jhn 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Lastly, I know He is risen because I see Him at work!  The lives that change in ways only He can accomplish , cleansed from filth and sin.  This is His labor still in the world, and to be a servant to Him is great!

Phl 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun agood work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

I have several times heard a story of a soviet party speaker on Easter.  He called together a crowd in the town t lecture them on the folly of religion, how superstitious it was compared to the truth of the State.  He spoke for two hours.  when he had finished the Orthodox Priest stood amongst the crowd and said, “He is risen!”  The crowd replied, “He is risen indeed!”

The truth can not be suppressed. He is risen! He is risen indeed!  Give thanks.



Finding Joy thru dark clouds
November 25, 2009, 13:55
Filed under: Bible study | Tags: , , , ,

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving has a great theme, wonderful history, and none of the stress and less of the emotional baggage that Christmas brings for me.  No. 1 daughter will make a great meal, [I can put up with fruit in the stuffing, I guess],  we will have guests, all will be well. All except me.  I am dealing with a wave of depression. The best way to describe it is having the feeling of Satan standing on my chest.  Seriously, if you have been blessed to avoid depression ,  I will share,  it feels like waves, literal waves, and affects even the breathing.  To me it is the virus of the spirit, a head cold of the heart.

So I turn where I have learned to turn for solace and strength,  not my wonderful wife, I learned that is really not her job, although she helps, but to my God through His Word.  I seek His joy.

Proverbs 15:13

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

I do not want to be the wet rag thrown on the party tomorrow.  My fake smile is horrible.  I would starve as an actor, or a poker player.  You can read me like a billboard.  The spirit that I need to have to serve the Lord and my family is wounded if sadness reigns.  I am broken, and need mending.

Acts 13:52
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

So what is wrong with me?  Am I not a disciple? I am sorely lacking in the continually part.  There are times I am joyful, and I praise God for the times the Holy Spirit fills me to the brim,  but it is not continual.  I wonder just how long those early followers were continually filled. Didn’t they have a bad day?  A bad week?  I admit, I have a weak week once in a while. So I turn to the Psalms.

Psalm 51:8
Make me to hear joy and gladness,Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

Make me hear it!  My flesh does not want to be filled with joy, it seems to like this cozy cave of gloom and self pity, so God, please, make me hear Joy and gladness!

3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

How can i not be joyous?  My children are not perfect but they are a blessing.  My #1 daughter is an RN, and a great one!  I have been told she lights up a floor with her presence!  She is good hearted, though rough talking, lives with us, she and her husband paying utility bills i could not afford since my lay off. And her husband is a good hearted man, who plays too much playstation, but has been as a son to me.  #2 daughter last night was sharing about the Lord with a recovering addict who is living with us.  She is a musician, whose songs have moved many people,  She dropped out of colege to pursue her dream of writting and performing music.  She leads our praise band and loves God.  Children like this and I am depressed?  Forgive me lord.

Romans 14:17
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The thanksgiving meal is not to bring joy, but to celebrate it!

Psalm 100:2

Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

I forget that I, little old me, gets to serve Yahweh God!!!

Psalm 87:7
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say,”All my springs of joy are in you.”

While I can not toot a flute, i strum a guitar. I look forward to an eternity of singing praises to God!  I like life, but death offers so much to me, a promise that I look forward to with joy.

Psalm 84:2
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

I take refuge in my God, it is more an act of His strength than of my weakness, for His strength far surpasses my weakness.

Psalm 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment,His favor is for a lifetime;Weeping may last for the night,But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

I know the morning is coming.  The night may be long and dark, but the morning always comes.

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

That is how I want to spend Thanksgiving,  giving to those who have not, having a holy day unto Him. I should not be grieved for the strength of the Lord does bring me joy.

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of Your salvationAnd sustain me with a willing spirit

The joy when He first touched me!  When i first realized, by the Holy Spirit, that He was my Father, I was a sinner, and that He forgave me through the blood of Jesus!  Indescribable joy!    Yes restore that joy to me Lord!  Sustain me.

Matthew 25:23

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

That’s what I live for, to hear those words from the mouth of God.  If I can be faithful  with His strength, not fail on my own, what a joyous reward awaits!

Hebrews 12:11

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

James 1:2
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

So for now a trial, a dark moment.  morning will come showing me molded more in the image of my Savior,  brought a tad closer to His perfection, yet still miles away from it.

John 16:24

” Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.

So now I pray,  Lord God, in the name of Jesus I ask you to lift my heart from the pool of darkness.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation, let me sing Your praise, serve You, share You, and be faithful to you.  Lift the foot of my enemy from my chest and let me embrace my trials, as if i am in Your will, that is joy enough. Let me be joyously thankful in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Whew!  That is definitely better. Thank you God.  I hope this helps some of you too.



TV, 300 channels,
November 24, 2009, 12:34
Filed under: culture | Tags: ,

The last week I was useless.  While it wasn’t swine flu, something had a hold on me and would not let go.  My energy was drained.  Coincidentally,  the family moved the dish receiver downstairs.  Here at stately Willohroots Manor that is a big change.

My wife and i were never big fans of TV.  We moved here twenty-five years ago and did not have a TV.  This so upset some of our friends that there were occasions we would return home and find a TV left on the porch by family or friends.  We finally hooked one up to watch videos when the kids came along, but still had no connection to prime time.  My girls have told me that this made them outcast at their school.  The other children would discuss shows that my kids were ignorant of, and my oldest daughter was scarred by no seeing Travolta in “Grease”  until a late age.  at least that is what she said.

We had  a satellite dish   for a while, but it offended me.  We were painting No.1 daughter’s room, working late one night.  It was around 8 o’clock .  The wee bairn was watching Nickelodeon.  Seemed safe.  As we picked up our paint supplies and cleaned up, she appeared at the door. “Mom,  Dad,  I need to speak with you.  If you are going to have sex, please use a condom, as i do not want you to get sick.”   Drop the paint.

I should not have had to explain to my daughter that mommy and daddy were in an exclusive relationship for over a decade, and we would not get sick from making love, as  we were doing things by God’s design,  and His way is good.  I could not bring myself to pay $88 per month to have these little chats.

When the Son in law  and No.1 moved into the east wing, they brought TV back to the manor.  It was not in my area of the house and I could care less. Somehow it migrated downstairs, but I ignored it, as I am kind of   a busy guy. My wife Dawn, wanted to watch a couple football games.  yeah I know, we have a lot of role reversal issues, and so put her blessing on the box.   Being in no shape or mood to do much else this last week, I did the weak thing, and turned the thing on. I  sat down with my Gatorade and crackers and a handful of remotes to be entertained.

I grew up on TV.  As an only child TV was my friend.  My friend has changed.  I thought I would watch a show with Courtney Cox.  That nice girl from Friends.  I had to google  Cougar to find out what the show was about.  Not entertaining.  There were reality shows that made me very depressed with the shallowness of my culture.  About a third of the channels seemed to be infomercials.  There are about three TV preachers  can watch, but watching them is depressing, it just reminds me I should be doing sermon prep. The History channel had a couple good things, but most was old hat, and they only seem to have a few shows a day, and recycle them, so you can’t watch them all day.  The shows on bible related stories are way off the mark.

I like the cooking shows, but being a fat guy, that probably is not good for me.  Food porn.  And speaking of porn.  I am not a prude by any means.  I live in a rough world and grew up in a rougher one,  but in the 10 years of my absence from the viewers seat, things have really slid.

Thank God for healing!  I am up and able to do again.  My thought of this experience is this,  I get people’s attention 1 hour a week.  That thing is 24/7.  The battle is quite lop sided.  We had a child in Sunday school last week that was very upsetting.  He was about 5 or 6, and told the teacher that his heroes were Jason and Freddie, and that he loved to kill, and would like to kill himself one day.  This was very upsetting to the teacher, who shared with me.  I went to the adult who brought the child to inquire about this travesty.  I was told the boy’s dad watches slasher films almost exclusively, and when the child is in his custody that is what they do together.  How is that for quality time?

Back back depression!  I guess it is good I know what is out there, but I do not have to be pleased about it.  If we were judged by our broadcasts, what sinners we would be.  Praise God he looks at the heart not our watching history,  or does He?



World Council of Churches, or World Climate Committee?
November 13, 2009, 09:58
Filed under: Church wrongs, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

oikoumene

It is so easy for a group to get side tracked,  to forget the reason it exists and drive the train of its time and energy down a good-looking dirt road.  Trains belong on tracks,  no matter what the power of opinion and well-meaning ulterior goals may be set up, a train on a dirt road is still a train wreck.

Keeping a group on mission the purpose of leadership.  When a town council declares the President a war criminal, the real criminal act is that the town council is not taking care of the town.  When the local PTA group getting involved in fundraising, they are not concentrating on v being a liaison between parent and teacher.  Fire Companies that become purely a social hall lose their focus on fire fighting.  Here is an example of this phenomena that I could never have thought up.

World Council of Churches to ring bells for global warming.

The leading council of Christian and Orthodox churches also invited places of worship for other faiths to join a symbolic “chain of chimes and prayers” stretching around the world from the international date line in the South Pacific.

“On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit, the WCC invites churches around the world to use their bells, drums, gongs or whatever their tradition offers to call people to prayer and action in the face of climate change,” the council said in a statement.

“By sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times, participating churches will symbolise the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere according to many scientists,” it added.

The chimes are meant to start at 3.00 pm local time in each location.

The WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries.

The Council of European Bishops Conferences, which gathers Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops, is also supporting the campaign, according to a letter released by the WCC.

If this were a group united to fight global warming,  I would have no problem with this decision.  Personally I find it a waste of time and energy by deluded people who have been convinced of a falsehood by a global climate change industry, but if that was what they were formed to do, more power to them.  However according to the WCC website these are the purposes of the organization:

  • are called to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship;
  • promote their common witness in work for mission and evangelism;
  • engage in Christian service by serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation; and
  • foster renewal in unity, worship, mission and service

Here is their self description.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ. It seeks to advance towards this unity, as Jesus prayed for his followers, “so that the world may believe.” (John 17:21)

These are commendable goals!  It would appear to me to be about as possible as bailing out the Titanic with a tea-cup at around midnight April 14, 1912, but I can appreciate impossible missions,  it is the effort that counts, but how does raising global awareness of a crisis that many do not buy into further the Cause of Christ?  How did a group who has avowed a purpose of Christian unity  become an environmental activist coalition?  Do you see this in their mission statements?  Here are some other issues the WCC addresses.

“A world without poverty is not only possible but is in keeping with the grace of God for the world” affirms a call that will play a central role at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Porto Alegre, 14-23 February.

What did Jesus say? John 12:8
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Christians should aid the poor, but a global redistribution of wealth seems out of line with the teachings of The Master.

Here is another project the WCC is working on.

Resettlement of people displaced by the consequences of climate change was highlighted as a major concern for churches at a gathering of ecumenical representatives from Asia and the Pacific region.

Now i am sure that if global warming were a truth, many regions of the world, Siberia, the Step’s,  would become hospitable for settlement and food production, but that really does not fit in the purpose of the WCC.  Seriously these people honestly think that global sea levels will rise dozens of feet,  submerging islands and leaving people in a “Water World”  environment.  I thought they might be followers of Kevin Kostner, until this picture surfaced.

Leader of the Warmer Climate Coalition This could explain a lot. Well meaning people get into a group and some sort of mob mentality takes place that drives them from the goals originally set up as their very purpose in life.  Global warming and poverty are not the only issues derailing the WCC.

agenda_02Peoples and the Earth?  I thought they were out to unite Christians?  Somehow the concerns of people and the earth have taken over.  The stated agenda now is Alternative Globalization.  I really don’t like the sounds of that, and I admit I do not know what it is.  None of this makes me want to dive in and join the WCC in its campaign to unite churches,  if they still try to do that.

Every group needs a purpose, and leaders exist to make sure that the group does not deviate from that purpose.  If the WCC  is now more interested in political, sociological, and environmental issues, that is fine, disband, or at least reorganize.  To continue to take money from churches who want to see increased fellowship and a move toward uniting the fractured Bride while existing to make social change is at the least hypocritical, at the most robbery.

Here is another WCC project.

SayNoToGunsThe terrible truth of this fallen world, is that guns often stop the killing. At Fort Hood it was an armed officer who ended the rampage.  History has shown us that it is the unarmed population that is subject to slaughter.  Opinions aside, do you think this fits into the WCC’s stated purpose?



Hamfluenza virus strikes!
November 11, 2009, 14:51
Filed under: Uncategorized

hamI feel like swine.   I am going to pop myself in the oven until this is done!



Scranton Catholic Woes, continued…..
November 6, 2009, 23:43
Filed under: Church wrongs, Reaction | Tags: ,

I post these problems not to gloat, i have learned that that does not work out for me.  I serve a God who humbles His servants!  I post this because the Catholic  church around my area has one problem after another.

My imagination is disturbed enough to think that I could have been sitting in a service watching a Power Point on the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, and have the Chippendales or worse put on the screen.  It is almost humorous, except  that my imagination is also fertile enough to imagine myself putting on the presentation.  Ouch.  It must make this guy feel a bit better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IymxMidkyI4

The one that really concerns me is  Bob Timchak.  I was a regular reader of his faith column.  He wrote some great stuff on several congregations that I like.  He seemed to me to be a really good guy.   I am hoping that this is some sort of rig.  Seriously, I am that jaded.  The tip to the authorities came from the diocese.  We have had all sorts of molestation cases, a case where a priest was charged with perjury to a grand jury looking into a mobster friend of his,  stories of mis managed money and DUI payoffs by a bishop, but the diocese drops a dime on Timchak.   If they are going to rat people out, they could start on some more pressing examples!  Well, I will follow the trial with interest.   I pray God will allow our legal system to bring justice.     Here is an article on Bob, I found.  I will keep you posted.

Timchak has served in the diocese since 1992, starting in Wilkes-Barre at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

After stints directing religious formation at Seton Catholic High School in Pittston and Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, Timchak was assigned to Hazleton, where he became a controversial figure in 2006.

As pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, and Transfiguration Parish in West Hazleton, Timchak was outspoken about his disillusionment with the diocese’s closure of Transfiguration School.

“Jesus said you cannot serve both God and money, and when the church puts money before everything else, it really is going against the message of Jesus,” Timchak in 2006 told the Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, for which he wrote a regular faith column.

“Father Bob,” as known in his newspaper column, subsequently took a yearlong leave of absence before being assigned to Pike County. During his leave, the diocese said, he worked for the Luzerne County Probation Office.

timchak

Robert Timchak



Scranton Catholic Woes
November 6, 2009, 14:35
Filed under: Church wrongs, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

elec city
774px-Scranton_welcome_sign_from_The_Office_creditsSome of you have seen this sign on a TV show called ‘The Office’.   My daughter watches the show, I do not.  I tried, but I just do not get the humor,  if there is any. There is far more drama, and even comedy in the reality that is Scranton.  The City broke away from Wilkes-Barre a century ago at the hight of industrial Pennsylvania,  and is a fascinating place.  It is the home of two really quality, really Catholic, Universities,  Scranton U.  a Jesuit institution, and  Marywood,  founded by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   I am no expert, but that sounds about as Catholic as it gets.

Scranton is amazingly culturally diverse.  King coal brought in labor from Europe in stages.  The dates on the many churches give a guide to the waves of immigration.  First the Irish, then the Italians, and when the coal companies had enough of those, they went to Western Europe to recruit.  If there were one group they might unite, and that just would not do.  Fortunately for the mine bosses , all these ethnic groups pretty much  hated each other.  We have Slovak, Polish, Czech, Italian , Irish, Russian , Greek , Hungarian, and plain old Catholic churches in this area.  These groups never worshiped together, often fought in gangs, avoided intermarriage like the plague,   and had their own language, customs, foods holidays and Saints.  These were people who took their Catholicism seriously.  The church was a major part of their lives, providing all social contact, education in the English language and trades, and giving political direction.   Even today in Jessup, right outside Scranton,  St. Ubaldo races the other Saints for honor, it is close on occasion, but Ubaldo always wins!  Even when he fell of his perch one year and had to be hastily reassembled, he won!

Times are changing.  Now there is intermarriage,   a more homogenous culture, and a lot of empty churches.  Bishop Martino became very unpopular  by closing Catholic schools and churches.  The diocese was broke, he said, do to a lessening of contributions and the payouts made to all the child abuse victims.  As bad as things are, they get worse.  Like this.

Continue reading



Nerf Swords don’t cut
November 4, 2009, 09:40
Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: , , , ,

 National Publishing and Jones Brothers, 187[?]                      Willohroots family bible from  my ‘s dad’s  side.New Illustrated Devotional and Practical Polyglot Bible [Cincinnati]: National Publishing and Jones Brothers, 187[?]   The Willohroots family bible on my father's side.

New Illustrated Devotional and Practical Polyglot Bible [Cincinnati

Monday started off with rank disappointment, so instead of getting all down and blue, I thought I would listen to  Jeofurry sermon.  I like to hear Jeff preach, and thought that would be uplifting.  Just to continue the downward spiral of the day, I could not get any of his sermons to load.  At least the day was consistent.

 

I popped over to the church site of a friend of mine,  someone I had not checked in on in a long time.  I found an eight part series on The Beatitudes, at least that was the title, but they really weren’t.  A little googling and I found out that they were Rick Warren sermons, from one of Rick Warren’s sermon series.  I listened to most of them.  Now I was really depressed.

I heard a good man, a man with a loving servant’s heart become a shadow.  His sermon illustrations were not from his own life, they were from Rick Warrens life, and so the message I was getting was like a fax of a fax, a bit blurry, lacking the crisp detail needed to bring a message.  Seeing some one attempting to imitate anyone but Christ,  well it just isn’t Christian.

Armed with a cynical attitude and already filled with negatives, by the power granted to me by Google,  I set out to check out other web sermons.  I found way too many cheap imitations of the same thing.   Now I imitated Warren at a fancy dress party,  but never in the pulpit.  There are so many people going to Hell, so many of the saved that need the guidance of Holy Writ, and the exhorting that comes only from the Word,  that I take my post very seriously.  I can imitate no one.  I do not need to.  My God has worked in my life, He continues to do so, He does this so that I may share His Glory and point to Him.

To fight the Great War we are given the words of Moses and the Prophets, the Apostles, and even the words of the Messiah Yeshua!  These words have Power!

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edgedsword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Ephesians 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I am afraid some of my brothers are using imperfect swords.  The power is not there,  because instead of reaching up to God for power in preaching, they are reaching out laterally to other preachers who have had success in their area.  They must forget that the success they are viewing  came from God,  not from the preacher whose church they are observing.  Instead of getting the message from the source, they are sitting in the shadow of a man, not the light of the Son.  If  you attempt to copy Warren, or Piper, or Keller, or MacArthur you will be such a shadow, wielding a shadow sword.  Reach High!  Attempt the unattainable, and seek to copy Christ, as did James, and Peter, and Paul, and all the rest.  You will fail, as I am sure they did, but it is a glorious failure, as the attempt is a victory, and fail to reach that hight the highest worship that we have.   The sword from this armory will have little effect in real war.

 

nerfswords0

Blades of sponge do not pierce to the heart.

I am not condemning Rich Warren, there are plenty of blogs for that,  but I am pleading for us all to use the great weapon we were given, the Sword of the Word.   Jeff , get First    Baptist  Langdon,  North Dakota site fixed,  and encourage your pastors to be themselves, as God has molded  them.  My wife has taught me much, but most of all to be me in the pulpit, just me.  If God put me there, [and He did] , why try to be someone else?  It is best to be a real little guy, standing in the Light of Jesus , wielding the true Sword,  than the shadow of a giant, holding a Nerf blade against the  Devil.  The bible has many stories of God using men and women, but I can only think of one where He used a Shadow.



Holy costume party Batman!
October 31, 2009, 17:46
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just got something sprung on me, the AA meeting I wish to go to to support and celebrate at is a costume gig.  I found a Hawaiian shirt,  a bible, and a cup from Starbucks,   any ideas?

 

I know, I am going as,,           Rick Warren!



I miss fitting in, am I a misfit?
October 30, 2009, 19:05
Filed under: blessings, Christ | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thomas Grunfeldmisfit_4Thomas Grunfeld is my favorite taxidermist.  He has taken the Jackalope to new heights.  I really relate to these images.  Quite often I have felt that I too am an assemblage of cast off parts.

In my search for a new career,  OK,   job,  I  get the weirdest comments about my resume from interviewers.  ” So you were an Electrician for over twenty years, went from being  Pa.’s youngest licensed Journeyman electrician,  to an Electrical Inspector, then a teacher of robotics at a  junior college , yet you have a Psychology degree , spent more time as a volunteer Fire Chief  than in any kind of job,  worked as a banker for 12 years managing branches,  and you say you have been a Pastor since 2004, and now you want a career in with us?”  I can’t imagine why they are confused.  From this side of the desk it all seems so logical.

At least there is this degree of consistency,  my ministry resume is just as odd.  For years I did not go to any church planting meetings, as I did not think I was a church planter,  as I was in a pulpit of a church that was built 25 years ago.  Now I am in a church that is a new plant that started four years ago. It is the same  Church building, but a new church was born there.   I was just along for the ride.  There were no meetings or trainings offered for people serving in a church that was being reinvented.  Church Strengthening,  yes,  church Planting,  yes,  Church Reinventing or Church Rebirth, not so much.

I have been preaching the Gospel  as pulpit supply on and off for 32 years.  I never went to seminary, and that was by choice.  There is a  conservative Baptist dispensational  seminary almost in my back yard, and even though we preach from the same book and share so many values, I find an attitude there that repulses me.  I have looked back in the history of a few local churches and found that they were doing great, until a preacher from that Seminary was called to serve there.  After that church growth would cease and families would be torn apart, all in the name of Jesus.  As I looked into other sources of education I found two schools.  One so loosey goosey that scripture was a suggestion,  the other so sure of their doctrine that they would choose it over Jesus, and in fact I think some of them did. I then judged all seminaries by this one.  I am also nonjudgmental.

In most areas of doctrine people say I am quite conservative,  but I am comfortable with gays and addicts and criminals, and atheists,  many of whom really are nicer than I  by any standard.   I do not like liberal theology,  nor do I like the cocky conservative who is so sure of himself that he would advise the Apostles.  I am comfortable with reading conservatives, but would rather associate with liberals.  The conservatives think I am aberrant, the liberals think I am conservative.Neither side will buy me lunch.

I have never been ordained,  as the only groups whose ordination I would accept would reject me for some of my beliefs.  My head does not fit in the jar. I have sat on ordination councils, but it is not likely I will ever be ordained.  There does not seem to be too much of a problem with this in practice,  no one really seems to care.  When I was an Atheist I was ordained in the Universal Church Of   Life, as a professor of mine thought that if a bunch of ministers of this group met at his home , it would be tax exempt.   Ordained as an atheist,  but not as a believer.
What a misfit!

The people I baptize become Baptists, yet I was baptized Church of Christ.  I was dedicated as a Methodist, but was never a dedicated Methodist.   I play guitar in a praise band with drums and all, but I personally prefer the old hymns of the faith.  I serve communion with Matzo and Welches, and yet think that if there is  no Real Presence, something is awfully wrong.  I do  not believe in divorce, but the best elders I have worked with were divorced men. Divorce ends a marriage, not necessarily a ministry.

I preach out of the Holman, but only because I bought them for $3.00 a piece.  I love the King James, but lean on the NASB, study out of the ESV and put up with the NIV.  In the 70′s, after King James study and them discovering the NASB I really enjoyed the Good News bible.  I taught with a guy who claimed he was saved with the Good News,   and soon after his conversion the Holy Ghost told him the only translation was KJV.  Go figure .

To me the Catholic church has let down thousands of people,  so poorly taught them that the vast majority know very little of the Gospel, and fall into unbelief.  A couple weeks ago I sat in Mass  at a funeral and had a wonderful time of prayer and worship.  I disagreed with a couple points of the homily,  but the priest has such a loving attitude it did not bother me. It was all about Jesus and that suits me fine. I’m not turning, but I’m not all that turned off either.

I tell my  wife who is of Italian heritage that my Welsh heritage of song is superior to all, yet I listen to this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2SZ-nCBmsU Nice as it is, it can’t compare to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_XJFp5JXpk

So none of the pieces fit together.   Well I have been given a great gift of faith,  I know that my loving, Father will not allow a sparrow to fall, but that He knows.  Even if it is a funny looking sparrow.

Thomas Grunfeld misfit_8

Thomas Grunfeld, artist for today's images.



Kingdom Math
October 27, 2009, 09:32
Filed under: Uncategorized
Carry the two, add the ought , divide by short span of attention

Carry the two, add the ought , divide by short span of attention

If you are one of the Dayspring people who recently were baptized please stop reading now.  Seriously, if your initials are Mike K. [ yes, you] , or any of the new people,  don’t let this bring you down, it is just how it is.    Anyway, for the rest of the Willohroots readers  there is a mathematical problem in new church plants that is manifesting itself at Dayspring,  and is all too common in the Christian world.  I have heard church planters talk about it, and I have read some blogs about this phenomenon,  but it sure gets real when your face gets rubbed in it.

A new church start with a Christian core group of a few established, experienced  disciples, and a larger group of  newbies,  seekers and the walking wounded has a wonderful balance.  There are experienced, stable people who can provide the voice of godly wisdom, and who are financially secure enough to be a back bone of support for the outreach ministries of the church.

In our capitalistic  society, a hug is wonderful,  a shared meal is a delight,  but to impact a life often takes money.  We have had no success with our rich young ruler [Mark 10:17] ministry.   Most of us had to be shown we were lost before we saw we needed a savior. While many unsaved people are quite wealthy, some lost people often need a bit of help.   We don’t want to see someone who is cold and needs a coat, and say “We will pray for you!”.  Dayspring has paid a couple rent, tax, light, and phone  bills, bought some clothes, and generally showed some love to the people God has put in our path.  These small expenditures have proved very effective in getting the attention of un-churched people and illustrating to them the Love of Jesus.

Most of the people to whom  we have reached out have responded very positively to the Gospel message,  our small gifts were enough to get their attention and open their hearts to a life changing method.  Many of these people are stabilizing, and with God’s help overcoming addiction, arrogance  and biblical ignorance,  improving their own lot in life and moving toward a position from which to help others.  This movement may take some time.  Often there are fines to be paid off, amends to be made, new jobs to be found.  The adventure of a Christian life is just beginning for these folk, and it is a joy to observe and share God’s involvement in their lives.

So often, however,  that portion of the church that was the financial backbone , the tithers who have walked with God and who have been blessed with health and jobs and a stable financial base begin to move away.  These new people do not act, or speak,  or dress like the church people of former fellowships.  some have coarse language, no idea of how “church people” act,  and as they are reinvented by God  often have unstable employment, and contribute spottily to the church.   They did not grow up in a pot luck covered dish society.  They bring a bag of chips and joke about the lack of a six-pack.  Many step outside for a smoke, as we must sometimes  pick an addiction to fight.  There are times that the slogan T-shirt is way wrong!  If these people invite family to a church function, there will often  be trouble, as their families are often a wreck,  and  not supportive of one of their own who has gone ‘religious”.

The positive side however outweighs all of the above.  These new Christians have hearts, so recently installed by God as He replaced the Flint hard, cold, sin drenched , damaged , evil hearts that these folk came with,  new hearts that love the Gospel, love a bird song, love the sun up, love the scripture, and love the little church that God used to bring them to Him.   There is an energy, a sense of victory surrounding them that is truly a blessing to behold.  All Christiandom should rejoice, as did the angels in heaven for the salvation of these precious souls!  Now for the problem, it is the Law of Diminishing Financial Return.

Due to poor life style choices of the past, this new group owes Caesar money for fines, and have had a share of employment issues.  There is no way, at the moment, that they can contribute much cash to the cause.  They contribute time, sweat, labor and prayer, but the economics are going to need to wait a while.  This should not be a problem, as you have the established brothers and sisters to back them up , right?   Here in lies the problem.  People who have been “churched”  for years have expectations.  They grow to miss the fellowship of body of like believers.  It is not easy being an elder in every social setting.  Sometimes they want to just be one of the group.  There is a comfort in a body of like-minded believers. It is nice to go to a pot luck knowing there will actually be other cooked products there.  It is refreshing to talk about Charles Stanley, and Billy Graham without someone piping up, “Who is that?  I listened to Joel Olsteen once, He seems like a nice guy!”  Stories of abuse and addiction can be hard to hear.   I didn’t say it was easy.

I have heard the frustration.  A wonderful woman,  a former Christian teacher and a bible student once said to me, “All these changed lives are great, but we need to get back to basics!”  She was quite serious.   Another saint left fellowship saying, “I feel like the oldest person here,  like a dinosaur, I need to be around older people.”  Other stable families visit, say they love the music, like the preaching, but they don’t return.  We do have some scary looking dudes.  I think these people are forgetting a lot.  We are not to be a club.  we are to reach out into the community and make disciples.  Church is not about what you can get out of it, it is what can you put into it!  Bringing in the harvest!  That is why we exist, and all else is but window dressing.   I would rather show the Light to one lost man, than be in the light with one hundred who can see.  We are called to be a life boat, not a community swimming pool!   Here are a couple verses that have given me strength lately, enjoy!

Galatians 2:10

They only asked us to remember the poor– the very thing I also was eager to do.

2 Corinthians 9:8-10 (New American Standard Bible)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

as it is written,
HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR,
HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness



Forgiveness Plea
October 20, 2009, 08:11
Filed under: Uncategorized

repentI repent!  In trying to make a point about division , I caused it!  Please forgive my lack of tact,  it is no secret that I have the subtle charm of a buffalo in a bakery.  No more allusion and tongue in cheek, it hurts when I bite down!

I must remember that we speak of serious matters and these are serious times.  I have learned that Justin has taken 20 lbs. of candi- corn and gone off to the desert.  I hope he will not harm himself or others.

Seriously, I might kid you, but I would never hurt you!  Sorry if some of you all got offended.  I might be stupid, but I am trainable!



Having Christ’s mind, Treasure in a clay jar.
October 17, 2009, 09:14
Filed under: Uncategorized

Having Christ’s mind?

Human skulls containing the mind of Christ?

Human skulls containing the mind of Christ?

People can argue about so many things.  The condition of ingested prophets,[please see last post]  that old question of philosophers ” How many pins can you stick in the head of an angel”, the color to paint the lobby,  Scripture vs. Tradition,  all these have caused rifts from church splits to shooting wars.  How in the world can any group of people be centered on a common mission?  How can peace reign with free thinkers?

From Philippians 2   Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but  made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The Savior could humble Himself to the point of death, most of us won’t give an inch on a committee if we think were are right.  We would rather be right than relational.  Our grasp on our rightness far exceeds or grasp on righteousness.

Philipians 1 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent,  I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction,  but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,  engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Will we suffer to put up with others even if we disagree?  Well if Christ could let go of being equal with God, i guess i can let go of some of my precious ideas.

If the salvation message of the Good News,  “Repent and Believe!” is foremost in our lives we need to put all other thoughts in second place.  So i repent in sack-cloth and ashes.  There will be no  “1st Baptist Church of Jonah Died in the Fish, Church of the Resurrected Slimy  Prophet” .  I can’t break fellowship with Justin and Joe over this issue.  Justin I am sorry I called you a candi-corn eating heretic. [ I didn't type it, just said it, sorry],  Joe I will stop digging for dirt to besmirch you, If you are convinced Jonah lived in the whale, well my love for you in Christ Jesus means more to me than my opinion on a small issue.  I wish to be forgiven and continue our fellowship.  I would rather be humbled than alone.

But,  just asking,  would it be all right if we examined and spoke of my belief when this issue came up, and could we have discussion without division?

By the way, this was one of my opinions that was brought up to me as a reason I should leave a particular church where I was active in a few ministries.



Jonah, the Myth, the Story, the Sign.
Get real.

Get real.

The stories of the Bible are a gift from God to mankind.  The inspired prophets penned tales that illustrate the condition of man, his relationship to God, and God’s great Love for us all.  It is annoying and horribly upsetting when well meaning people take these wonderful tales and present them in a way that renders belief in them almost impossible, and actually misrepresents what I would consider the main points and message.  The story that most offends me today is the story of Will,  pardon me, Jonah.  I relate to this story as it seems to be the story of my life.  To have it reduced to the story of Pinocchio is really upsetting.

The case in point that chafes my chaps today is the tale of Jonah.  I love this story!  I relate to this story! I think every word in this story is true.  I do not believe that the picture above is indicative in any way of what occurred.  The flannelgram pictures I was shown as a child that threw me into rebellion [ ok, I was already in rebellion, but this stuff helped],  are still out there.  The testimony of Christ himself should confirm my point.

I was in a study group one time and the leader told me,  “It is OK if you do not have the faith to believe that Jonah lived in the whale three days.”  I do not think it is ok to believe that Jonah lived in the whale, as I do not believe that to be an example of faith, I believe it to be an example of poor hermeneutics. Look at what happened in the tale as Jonah was pitched overboard.

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights

Fish.  Not whale. The Willohroots concordance defines the word used there, Keetos, as ‘giant swimming thing you would be scared of if it swam by you.

Here is a picture of Keetos from the willohroots concordance.

large-Whale-shark-feedingIt looks very capable of swallowing Jonah, or anybody it wants to, or is ordered to by God.

So this is probably a better representation,

August Jonah and the whale sm

Than is this,

GeppettoWhaleThe verbiage involved in the story seems to agree with me.  The King James’ says:

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Now I am not really sure about what that  means,  but I doubt I will be doing very much blogging after my soul faints.  The ESV makes it a bit clearer:

When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.

Seems like Jonah died.   I am not making a point to be argumentative, I feel this is very important.  When we teach the New Testament , the Old Testament stories are often critical to a complete understanding.  When Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of God and Messiah said,  “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one[i] greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.”

So when we teach the sign of Jonah, does this make sense?

Sunday school illustration used when I was  a kid.

Sunday school illustration used when I was a kid.

Or should we be teaching this?

sidebar_tomb_sealedHow could the Savior have said to people,” I will live inside a fish, or more believable[ or no more believable than that] a giant whale, for three days, this is the sign I give to you.”  Is that what He said?  Or did He say, ” As Jonah was dead for  three days in a fish, so I will be dead three days in the tomb.  That is the sign. ”   What do you think was the lesson our Lord brought there?  Is there any way to use Jonah living in a whale to illustrate Jesus?

The bible , my Savior, my God, taught that,

jonahwas a foreshadowing of

tomb

So tell me, am I being one of those weird preachers that goes through the nursery and gets rid of the stuff that reminds me of Pinocchio and fails to teach a Gospel message?  I fear that putting falsehoods into the minds of children, even small ones give the Devil a foothold.   I am not saying i am right all the time, or smarter than the average bear, I am saying I care and will do all I can to rightly interpret the word from the nursery onward.

What say you?

The Sign of Jonah

29As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

May God richly bless the reading of His Word, and may the Holy Spirit who inspired it lead us to a useful and correct understanding of it.



Prayer Request!
October 14, 2009, 11:28
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the Dayspring flock is in need of urgent prayer. Our sister is being rushed to the hospital.  She is about 7 months pregnant, and is experiencing a  hemorrhage.

Please pray for the mercy of God on this situation.  The very fact that she is in the flock is a miracle.  She is carrying a little girl, and we wish the opportunity to love this child and raise her in the Lord.

Update,  Just got a call,  our sister is home, still pregnant with a healthy baby!  Thank you, Thank you Jesus!



Baby Jessica Update! Praise God, keep praying!
October 13, 2009, 08:49
Filed under: blessings, faith, Jesus | Tags: , , , ,
By the Grace of God, still with us!

By the Grace of God, still with us!

Patti sends us an update on our miracle girl!  This is Jessica, who was so ignored by her birth parents, that she needed to be Life flighted to Hershey Medical Neonatal Center, on the brink of death.  They neglected to give her food or water.  She is a survivor! Thank you Jesus

From Patti:

First of all I would like to thank all for your prayers to our awesome God for our sweet Jessica and Bob{[Patti's husband, Jessica's uncle]and myself. Don’t ever doubt that your prayers aren’t heard and answered,  and so gratefully and humbly appreciated by Bob and I.

Jessica will be 18 months old on October 21st. She is now almost 20 lbs and a healthy, bright, energetic little girl.  She is running, and talking.  She loves reading and can recognize all of the alphabet and some numbers. She knows pretty much every animal and the sound they make.

We took Jessica to an animal park/zoo.  She loved it so much.  She just laughed and pointed at all the animals and called them to come to her.  She fell in love with Twigga, the giraffe, who she got to feed carrots to. She had no fear as this huge animal bending down to her and wrapping his tongue around her little hand to take the carrot.  She laughed and wanted to keep feeding him, which she did many times.  Many people there took great joy at watching Jessica enjoying the animals.  They followed us around, some took pictures of her, one man took a video.   All had such smiles on their faces watching this little angel enjoying God’s creatures.

She is the biggest little helper.   She loves to help me cook and bake.   She is very stubborn and determined and just understands so much.   She truly is a miracle and a wonderful blessing and an amazing little girl.

October proves to be an eventful month.   Her birth father is awaiting a bench trial.   He has pleaded not guilty although the DA thinks he may end up pleading guilty at the trial.   This trial is to be within the next two weeks.   Her birth mother has her plea hearing on October 27th and is expected to plead guilty.   They both have been testing positive for drug and alcohol throughout the entire judicial process.     They had a meeting with Children and Youth and the mother showed up drunk.   Children and Youth have tried to get them to give up their parental rights, but the birth father said “it’s my kid” and they think the birth mother would have given up her rights,   but she was drunk,  and the birth father wouldn’t let her alone with them.

God has been proving to me over and over again who is in charge. In my most anxious moments He wraps His arms around me and says,” be calm, I am here”.  We had the nightmare case worker, and then she went on maternity leave and we were assigned a new case worker who was a dream. In September the old case worker was back.  She called me on the phone to set up a visit and not two minutes into the conversation she was already telling me not to get my hopes up about keeping Jessica.   Well, needless to say, my asthma kicked in because of my anxiousness.   I dropped to my knees and prayed God to let me just not listen to her.   I prepared myself for this meeting by having people pray,  and I spent all morning going from room to room just praying the blood of Christ and glorifying God for all He has done and will do.   By the time the knock on the door came the Lord had me in a peaceful state,  knowing he was in control.  When Miss Nightmare  came in and sat down,  I took a deep breath and smiled.    I  asked her how she was,  and told her how Jessica was doing.   She then told me (brace yourself)  Children and Youth were going to give total custody of Jessica to us and they would be out of the picture.   What an awesome God!!!   So on October 21st (Jessica’s 18 month birthday) we have a hearing to appoint Bob and I as Jessica’s sole legal guardians.   Thank you Jesus again and again!

We will now pursue adopting her. We have no idea what it will involve. Our prayer is that both parents will give up their parental rights. Maybe once they are convicted and jailed they will realize what they have done and if they care anything at all about Jessica they will realize that she is happy and thriving and in the best place she could be.

Please keep us in continued prayer. We look forward to adopting our little Jessica. Pray that we have wisdom in what to do and who to go to.

I thank Pastor Will and Dawn for their constant prayers and help. I thank my family at Dayspring Bible and also all of you who I wish I could meet and just give you a big hug.

Thank you so much! God bless you all!

Patty



Back on the wheel.
October 12, 2009, 22:52
Filed under: Christ | Tags: ,
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

I feel myself being put back on the potter’s wheel.   My career,  my health,  my ministry.  It is scary, exciting, and rejuvenating. I do not know where I will end up,  I do not know what I will end up,  but I know whose Hands will shape me.  I pray I do not jump or slide from  the wheel before He finishes me.  Then there will be the fire to harden the new construction.  Always the fire,  to skim off the dross and to cure the vessel to a usable hardness. Seems to be the finishing stage to a new beginning.

The alternative to being clay on the wheel is to either mud on the ground, or a broken useless vessel.   Lord, I would rather be a vase than an ashtray,  but you are the Artist, the Divine Potter,  I am just the clay.  To be molded for Your use by Your hands is more than I could hope for or deserve.

Whee!  I feel the spin starting!



Men’s Bible Study, Where do we come from?
October 12, 2009, 21:41
Filed under: Uncategorized

We are starting a new men’s study based on the life of David.  it will take a while to get through it,  and the first stages will be to speak of the early life of David.  Part of the study will be each man sharing how his boyhood was spent.  I thought I might start by sharing mine with you, the Willohroots reader.

redneck_pics_babyI fell to temptation at an early age.

baby smokeOne sin attracts another, and it got worse with age.

redneck_pics_camper5

I was fortunate that my parents had a second home in the country. It was equipped with all the modern conveniences, so it did not seem like camping.

redneck_pics_luxurybathroom

My dad spent a lot of time teaching me the manly arts.

redneck_pics_antiterrorist

I did, however spend a lot of time at my school desk.

redneck_pics_skeetlauncher

My childhood companion and only friend was my faithful dog Brutus.

redneck_pics_dog

Other than that I was just a normal kid.

NintendoNerdLord

I got into firefighting for years, but that was very strenuous, I hurt my back and had to learn to take it easy.
lazy-firefighter

Some time in the late 70′s i saw a sign from God and went into His service.

redneck_church_sign2

I am glad to be involved in kingdom growth,  but there is much i need to learn.  For instance, we believe in total immersion, i am just not sure for how long.  Don’t worry, Tyron was revived after only a few minutes of CPR.

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Seriously, you may be surprised at how much of this is true.  Somebody really did steal our lawn mower!  In the meantime, I need to get to Neal Bortz and find out how so many photos from my family album ended up on his site with the word redneck written on them!



Light at the end of the Tunnel
Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

I have been going through some tunnel times.  I seem to be much better at getting a second interview than I am at getting a job.  I am sick of being broke, church giving is down, it rains a lot, my aches have aches, and I am generally miserable.  Worst of all i spent a lot of time this week with Johnny.  Johnny was my assistant Fire Chief for about 5 years back when i was Chief.  he saved my rear  in a figurative way a couple times, and I think God used him to save my life once.

The reason spending time with Johnny put the icing on my depression cake is that he has become a practicing alcoholic.  johnny is 7 years younger than I, but now he looks 10 years older.  his hands shake, his face is lined deeply, his legs can hardly hold him up.  His dad died of alcohol in 73, his pretty younger sister dies about six years ago, same thing.  I love this man, and just know he is on the way out.  I have tried praying, preaching, and invites to AA.  Without a Damascus  road experience he will go the way of his family.  I don’t see John often, but every once in a while, in the dead of night he will stop by, drunk as a skunk and smelling worse, to reminisce and wake me up.  It only happens two or three times a year.

I was with Johnny because he called me Wednesday,  his mom had passed away.   He needed his Chief.  I was with him as much as I could be.  We went to the funeral Mass at The Holy Redeemer.  His mom was a  strong Catholic, but it didn’t take for John.  They have a new priest, and I enjoyed[90%] of his homily. Their beautiful building with its vaulted ceilings is a lot different from, Dayspring’s drop ceiling plainness.  I hear they are going to sell it, and as much as I would love to preach there, i just don’t see that happening. Very Christ centered.  I stayed with him for the burial and the little dinner after. We sent over a ham and some buns, it is about all I can do.  I can’t reassure him, or promise reunion, he is not a believer.  he told me that this existence is Hell.  His theology is really wrong, but he is strong in his disbelief.

Anyway,  the Godlessness of the situation brought me to a dark spot.  I have to watch my self.  I have been really depressed in the past, and if I let my Gospel armor loosen, and if I do not take care of me and walk closer to God i can get so down i can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I took a hike with son in law Mark,  [Eutychus to us] , and took some pictures and walked the blues away.  It lifted me, may you enjoy.  These are from the Seven tubs Recreational area in my home County of Lucerne.

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The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

One of the Seven tubs

One of the Seven tubs

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

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So how can you stay depressed with such natural glory around?  How can i be down when God has taken me through the tunnels of cancer, and pain, and paralysis?   Do I think God retired?  Am I silly or simple enough to think that He who started a good work in me will nor complete it?  Being around people who have shut out God really runs me down, being around God and His works is my prescription.  Hope you like the photos!



Confessions of a Halloween Hater
October 5, 2009, 14:05
Filed under: Uncategorized

pumpkin pukeMy absolute least favorite holiday of the year approaches.  I don’t think my rebellion to this particular celebration of the American Way is purely religious.  I do not think it is Satan’s birthday.  I am not sure it is a night of special demonic activity.  I just don’t like it for a lot of earthly reasons.

  • We had more nuisance calls for rubbish fires and set trash fires on that date than on  any other during the year.
  • Ask the cops about vandalism,  if your house wasn’t hit…
  • Just what we need, an excuse to extort neighbors for empty calories
  • I have never seen “Halloween” the movie, or “Friday the thirteenth” and I am all for personal freedom, but anybody seeing “Saw” more than once should be monitored by a government agency.  Tis the season…
  • Gore is not entertainment, not the former V.P. nor the display of blood and guts one sees all over on Halloween.
  • Christians look really foolish with their “Hell houses” and most Halloween alternatives are unfortunately lame.
  • Candy corn is just wrong
  • Little kids with “Scream”  masks are not funny.  They should not even know such movies exist.
  • Being “attacked”  by a chain- less chainsaw in a fun house or while on a hayride holds no entertainment value for me.
  • Pre-pubescent girls dressed like hookers is sad, just sad.
  • Pubescent girls using the holiday to dress like prostitutes just makes me wonder how many  kids are orphans , what are the parents thinking?
  • Soaping windows is bad, waxing windows is just evil.
  • Toilet paper looks bad on trees.

Putting the worst on display seems to me to be what Halloween is all about.  the occasional “fancy dress party”  or costume ball is a lot of fun, but the night has come to mean a different thing.  Our worst nightmares on display, the dark side magnified,  the nasty made normal , that is what it is today.

I have a mixture of Halloween memories, good and bad.  Panting for breath behind a Superman mask and wearing those “really cute” homemade costumes my mom made, not too good.  Bobbing for apples,  going on scavenger hunts and playing hide and seek  at the MYF  in rural America are good memories.  This blog is not the place to tell the tail of  the MYF Halloween Hayride where the minister’s daughter taught me a thing or two,[  it was innocent by today's standards] , but that was a good memory.

So am I  just a Fundamental Evangelical grouch?  Am I missing the hidden goodness of a young child with an ax stained with fake blood?  Should I  not be upset by dozens of witches walking the streets?  If you think I am overreacting, tell me.  In the meantime , I say,  “Down with Gore, Yeah Hayrides!”   Take it any way you wish.

By the way, any un-lame Halloween alternatives?  I would like to do something beside leave the lights off and hide behind the couch.



Searching for what is not hidden
October 3, 2009, 11:21
Filed under: apostacy, Bible study, Christ, faith, Jesus | Tags: , , , , ,

hiddeninplainviewIt is human nature to explore, to search and to delve into depth and hight never visited before.  This personality trait  of mankind has motivated us to cover the globe with  civilization,  exploiting as many of the God given resources as we can find and put to use.  Were we not made this way there would be no advancement, no exploration,  no progress.In  academic and philosophic  circles there is a great desire to plow the virgin field, and to stake claim to new grounds as the inventor or discoverer or progenitor of a new theory or school of thought.

It may be this portion of our nature that cause so many people to search for a “deeper” or “hidden meaning”  in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am personally convinced that the Holy Bible holds all the    information needed to know and please  God, though the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Messiah.  The Bible has proven itself to me to be authoritative,  complete, and truly Holy.  There are many translations available to compare and contrast what is said to come to a personal  understanding of the meaning presented.  It is enjoyable and educational when people bring different translations to a small group study.  comments like,   “My Bible says,”  or “It is said a little differently here”  bring open discussion allow varying perspectives to be examined,  giving participants the opportunity to voice the sentence in their own words, so as to bring the meaning home.

Finding “hidden” meaning in Scripture is quite another matter.  There is a thriving industry, and has been as long as there has been scripture, in having some “enlightened soul”  teach the secret meanings, and “unlock” they mysteries of Holy Writ.  The new rash of Cabalists  tell people that they are skilled at finding the meaning in the white spaces on the page, not in the inked portion.  This obvious nonsense satisfies Madonna.  Books and websites and cults that brag on finding treasures hidden for centuries in the most read of all books abound.  There have been claims for everything from higher levels of awareness, to the location of Atlantis,  all placed in the bible, usually  KJ 1611,  or the original Hebrew, or even in a painting of The Last Supper.

Re-reading some Gnostic literature has fanned the flames of my irritation.  I take the words of Paul seriously, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” , and I honestly do not believe that one can be a steward of the mysteries of god, without being a servant of Christ.  The conjunctive is binding.  Those who claim to have “mysteries” but are not serving Jesus, are quite possibly serving someone else all together.   Those who use the very words of the Savior to weave a web of confusion deserve a special place on my list of irritants.  Let me share this portion of poison.

Jesus’ Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV

Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus' logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. “For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold.” [Mark 4:13-20]

The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea.

This discussion  of   “levels of knowledge or awareness”  is quite common among those who seek to find the secret in the open.  Perhaps a better  “unwrapping”  of this parable was given by the author,” 10. And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, [began] asking Him [about] the parables. 11. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12. in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.” 13. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14. “The sower sows the word. 15. “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16. “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky [places], who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17. and they have no [firm] root in themselves, but are [only] temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Nothing of levels, but of different reactions differing people have to the gospel, a reaction we have all seen take place.  The 8th chapter of Romans is also given a treatment of being divided into levels.  It seems anything is used to promote the idea that some people know some facts that others have missed.

Could it be the truth is plainly laid out for us? Hebrews 1

1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2. in these last days has spoken to us in [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Joh 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, neither is it far off.

Col. 2: 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Before delving in to supposed mysteries and hidden revelation, we should encourage seekers to contemplate the ultimate Mystery. 1Jo 4:19

We love Him, because He first loved us.



Just how wide is the Christian Bell Curve?
September 26, 2009, 09:53
Filed under: Uncategorized
Does x mark the spot?

Does x mark the spot?

Most of us are familiar with  the bell curve. [ I believe it is named after our friend and willohroots blog poster The Eclectic Christian,  but I am not serious about that.]  The curve is a way of showing graphically that the largest number of a given group is in the middle but out on the ends there are extremes, but in lesser number.  With my Psych background, I am most familiar with IQ plotted in this manner.  Intelligence Quota,  or as measured, how successful one is at taking an IQ test,  can be shown in a population as most in the middle being an average, and some with genius on the right side, and a roughly corresponding number of the  less intelligent on the left.

Let us say a bell shaped curve was drawn not to show intelligence in the population, but to show Christian beliefs.  Say we got some data from the Barna group.   Barna is the Christian Gallop.   Here is an example of a recent poll.

/www.barna.org

  • One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.
  • Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.
  • Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.
  • Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.
  • A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.
  • Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.

I am not about to address the findings of that survey,  that is a different post,  today I am asking, because I wish I knew, How far out from center can you get and still be a Christian?

Are the 7% of born again Christians who believe in a God who is not all powerful, all knowing , are they really Christian?                                                      Are the 38% who believed Jesus was a sinner really ‘saved’?                                   The 53 % who work to earn salvation?

Let us look at this behaviorally.  How far out can you get not only in your beliefs but in your practices. This one is chewing me up today.  Are the men crawling around on all fours barking, claiming the Holy Spirit is involved in this asinine behavior Christians?  Are the people who pantomime drinking and then fall around as drunk Christians?  Are people who ‘Toke on the Ghost   and then act stoned Christians?  I really don’t know, but it sure makes me wonder.  A perfectly nice fellow here in town, invited me to his church, where , he explained, you can plunge your head into a basin of holy water and come up speaking in the tongues of angels.  I missed that in my bible, and have no desire to do such a thing.  Where do each of us fall on the graph?

Lets look at people who hold up signs that say “God hates America”  are they too far out on one side or the other to be called Christian?  What about women preachers who marry Gay ,Lesbian, Transsexual, Trans gender Couples? Are they on opposite sides of the bell?  How far out are they?

What would be measured?  Adherence to  doctrine?   Toleration for others? number of baptisms?  Love?

They way the bell curve is viewed by many in the Christian blogosphere, is the X marks the spot.  X of course, is where they are at.  They define themselves as the pivot of the Faith. To the left,  not saved, to the right, in danger of Hellfire.  It is obvious to them that they are right, Saved, justified, logical, and to be emulated.  Maybe they are right.  They can’t all be right as they are certain that the other guys are all wrong, so who is in the center of the curve? Does being in the center of the curve make you correct, or just popular?

I have no metrics to plot my faith, no measuring stick other than Scripture, which is the same gauge that the others, some of whom I consider real wackos,  say they use.  I am no longer sure the group called Christian would plot out in a bell shape.  There are times I feel far out numbered by the kooks, hard-hearts, blasphemers, apostates and swindlers.  If  I am the x on the graph, these guys are so far out in left and right extremes that I can’t see them.

I do not think X marks the spot, I think the spot is marked with a cross.

cross



There’s a sermon in it: Displaced fish
September 24, 2009, 10:19
Filed under: Christ, faith, Uncategorized | Tags:
Pond dwellers swimming in a cold mountain stream, for a time.

Pond dwellers swimming in a cold mountain stream, for a time.

It must be the preacher in me.  So often things in nature,  in life, in movies or a show, reach out to me with the Truth of  God’s  Word.  At church, before the sermon,  someone may put something in ‘The Mystery Bag” and I am challenged to preach a 4 or 5 minute impromptu  sermonette  to the children about whatever it is I may find there.  The kids seem to love it.  The principle is that since God is the Creator, everything created must tell His story.  I find that is true in all of life.

This spring there was a high water occurrence do to heavy spring rains.  We have been blessed with a small creek in the back yard, running down the middle of the property ,  normally home to striped minnows, crayfish, and the occasional  frog.   This spring the high water brought some unexpected guests.  From the pond at the top of the hill came some Bluegills.  Some of you may know them as blue-gilled Sunfish, or bream.  They had been swept down stream, over a 12 foot waterfall past the rocks and downed trees, and ended up in a small dammed area in the back yard.

Blue gills are not native stream dwellers.  They live naturally in  ponds and lakes, where the water is warmer and still.  They are not streamlined like trout, which are designed by the Creator to cut through currents and live in cold  moving water.  Their color helps them to blend with the weeds and grass of a shoreline, but betrays them in a free stone stream.  If my wife and I did not feed them they would never survive, and if we did not protect them the Great White Herons would have had a wonderful meal.  I’ll not soon forget the image of a 3 to 4 foot high bird in a larch tree giving my wife dirty bird looks,  as she scolded it for trying to get its lunch at stately  Willohroots Manor.   They have grown on their diet of bread and scrambled eggs.  I guess we could eat them,  or ignore them and let the high water or ice  take them to their doom,  but they have given us much pleasure this year,  as we have enjoyed watching them through crystal clear water as they fed and swam around.  Abandoning them now would be very out of character for Dawn and I.   This weekend we are going to scoop them up and give them a car ride back to the pond where they belong, so that they can live with their fellow pond-dwellers in safety and security,  safe from the ravages of winter.

Do you see the sermon in this yet?

This world is not our home.  It is a cold place where we are buffeted with the currents of the stream of things far beyond our control.  We are for a time in a damned place,  damned by our disobedience to to merciful God,  living in a place where the adversary prowls like a roaring lion waiting to devour us, where ravenous birds of the air prey upon the seeds of the Gospel that have no firm root in good soil.

Were it not for the protection and provision of a kind and loving Creator we would perish.  This Creator so loved us that He walked among us, being for a time,  a little fish in a great pond,  not choosing to rule, but to teach and guide us to repentance and love.  We have grown, even in this hostile environment, by his provision,  and he who has started a good work in us would never abandon us to the flood and the chilling cold of a time when His warming love is absent from the stream of history.   We hope we have given him pleasure with the sacrifice of our Worship, and our feeble attempts to imitate Him.  He has promised to gather us up,  all of us, the living and the dead, and take us to a place of warmth and eternal provision, where we can be with others of our kind in a place protected from all assault and deprivation.  He will not do this because of what we have done, but because that is His Nature, and His promises are sure.

Somehow that fish symbol means a bit more to me today.

He will gather us up , the whole school!

He will gather us up , the whole school!



Poor Witness? Here’s your sign.
September 21, 2009, 09:00
Filed under: Uncategorized
It is possible to be very wrong, even when you are right.

It is possible to be very wrong, even when you are right.

Every once in a while, when I feel tough enough, I  peruse  the other side of the blogosphere,  the atheists.  I do not do it to find someone to argue with,  I don’t feel you can argue someone  to the Lord,  I do it to hear their arguments, and see what they think of us.  Mostly it seems,  they think we are idiots  and sometimes I think they are right.  Not because of our faith, but because of the witness some of our little families show to the world.

Look at the young fellow in the picture above.  Is that the Gospel?  Is that the Good News of Jesus Christ?   Do you see hope for redemption on his sign.  I was once many of the things listed on his ‘go to hell’ placard, and at times can slip back towards a few of them, yet I am not in danger of God’s  Judgement.  That is the Good News.

fail-owned-welcoming-bible-lesson-fail

This will pack them in.  Everyone is welcome to everlasting punishment.  Great.

Church Sign

This one ticks me off!  Sure God was the one who said water would not  be compressible, but He never said to build  hotels on the sand.  Actually I remember something about the solid rock.  Anyway,  If I just lost a loved one to AIDS I would not go here for comfort.  Aids  is spread primarily through behaviors God does not approve of.  Look at the spread of heterosexual AIDS in Africa,  adultery kills.   I have not heard of God starting a war  in the last few thousand years.  I thought dictators and politicians start wars.   Don’t blame God for man’s sins.  What sort of ego do you need to put words in God’s mouth?  I have a fear factor that just would not allow me to do that.

churchsign_spell

Now there’s a reason to come to the Lord.

olivet_baptist_signI have nothing to say on these two that does not speak for itself.    It is not just church signs.

1044617-e3protestors_super

streetpreacher1

I don’t know what they are protesting on the top picture, but whatever it is they are really advertising  for it.  The guy on the bottom gets credit for using the word salvation, but salvation is not a right,  AIDS is a plague not a right, and Hell is not mentioned as a right in Romans.   There is a really bad attitude showing here.  This is not   “Come let us reason together.”

wacko-christians

Update… This is a spoof picture,  but they did such a good job, people took it as real!  See Chris’s comment below. Sorry Mark O. First of all, maam,  where in scripture do you see the Lord crying over dance. And you sir, I have been married 30 years, I like to dance with my wife, and I can testify with truth that dancing does not lead to sex.  Not always, and in my humble opinion, not often enough.  Using the technology hidden in the basement of stately Willohroots manner I was able to enlarge the book the man is holding.

macs-for-dummies

This could explain a lot.

kansascitychurchsex

You put this on a billboard?  Really?  I read about the challenge, and my wife and I actually participated in ‘The One Day Challenge’ [ hey we are old and busy]  I hear what you are saying, but people judge you by your signs!   This is ridiculous!  You want to challenge the world, try this, challenge them to go without sex for 30 days to discipline the body and honor God.  Might not bring in as many people, you think?

wonder-of-truth-sign-1

If no one else has noticed, 50% of America is Democrat.  Win an election, lose some souls.  Fair trade?   Somehow I doubt it.

bumper

Ah the bumper sticker crowd!  Don’t you love it when they cut you off, or park in three spaces?    I believe I believe  the way this person believes but I bet I get to talk to more people.

Well for all that , these signs are not all that bad,  I would much rather live in a country where I see these things listed above,,,,,,,,,  not the one below.

muslim protestors (1)



Will the circle be Unbroken?
September 16, 2009, 19:20
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,
Fellow travelers circle the wagons for mutual defence

Fellow travelers circle the wagons for mutual defence

Imagine,  if you will, our travel through this vale of tears,  the path of our walk toward Eternity,  using as an analogy the wagon trains from  the western expansion  of the settlers in America in the mid 1800′s.  Each wagon will represent for us a denomination.  We have Jeofurry steering the Baptist wagon,  TheOldAdam in charge of  a  Lutheran wagon,  Rick Warren in a Purpose Driven wagon,  ShawnW  holding the reins on the Preacher Woman wagon,  Bishop Martino in the RCC wagon,  Rev.AndyLittle in the Rainbow Wagon, and Joel Olstein in the Your Best Wagon Now.  These are just some of over one hundred wagons headed for The Promised Land.  Each wagon is sure that they know the best path, and carry the most pleasing cargo.

While there are some definite differences in opinion and style of the occupants, there are definitely many commonalities.

  • a desire to go in the same direction
  • a  belief there is a right and wrong way to get there,only the right way succeeding
  • an eager anticipation of the journeys end
  • agreement that  there is an Enemy who would stop them if he could
  • a belief   [in theory] in loving their neighbor
  • knowledge that the area off the path is fraught with danger
  • reading of a common book, albeit with differing opinions
  • the same Wagon Master commands them all

In the history of the United States people have put aside differences of national origin, language and even denominations to band together.  Alone,  in single transit they would be easy picking for the elements and enemy to pick off.  Together they made history, and a new nation. This fact gives me some hope for the future.  Are Christians as smart as were the settlers?

Some day, perhaps soon, if we do not band together and circle our wagons, the enemy will find us easy to defeat.  Segmented and divided the flaming arrows of the evil one will surround each lone wagon and attack it from all sides.  If the circle is unbroken we will have a safe middle ground, and present a united front. Some of my fellow travelers may be wrong, but at least they are wrong about the right things.  The enemy will not care about our differences of opinion,  they matter not to him.    Anybody headed for our declared destination is fair game.

Stop on over at the Dayspring wagon,  I make a mean plate of beans,  bring some biscuits and we will sing along to the mouth harp.  [ I hear that theoldadam's wagon has a barrel of beer, but as a Baptist I am sure that is just an evil rumor],  if we stick together  the trip might actually be enjoyable!



My Daughter finds a new Worship Group
September 16, 2009, 09:48
Filed under: faith, Reaction | Tags: , , ,
Humbly seeking a Greater Power

Humbly seeking a Greater Power

My family and I have done some traveling through the Christian wilds of northeastern Pa.  There was a span of time where we visited quite a few different churches bringing the gospel message and singing blue grass and Southern gospel music.   The kids were never overly impressed with any of the church families  .   Now,  I  will grant you ,  my girls are a rough crowd.  They are very critical of “Holier than thou” and have a built in hypocrisy meter that goes off with great sensitivity.  [ I just can't imagine where they get it.]

Often times we would  drive home with me being the apologist for the group we had just left.   Usually the conversation revolved around one or two of the group who exhibited highly judgemental behavior, or in some other way played the ‘competitive Christianity’  game and managed to offend my young daughters in some fashion.  In reality, it is not hard to offend young girls,  they are sensitive to even implied abuse.  I am not really sure the oldest girl ever healed from this duty fully,  as she still thinks 99.9% of all the Christians she meets are worthy of her disdain.  We are working on it.

When  the youngest daughter came in last night and announced she had discovered a group filled with humble hearts, seeking God, changing lives, and showing the way to Christ I was honestly  surprised!  Far more common would be here coming  home saying,  “You will not believe what I just experienced, and they call it a church!”   Last night she was energized in prayer, rejoicing over changed lives,  humbled by broken spirits, and warmed by love of others in this group and their love of a living God who is active in their lives.

Last night my daughter attended on open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.



9/11, the still night sky..
September 11, 2009, 12:29
Filed under: Uncategorized
What was missing from the night sky?

What was missing from the night sky?

The impact of the morning of 9/11/01  was emotional and disturbing.  I was out in the yard on a beautiful day smacking golf  balls for the dog. [ I do not golf ,  I smack balls  for the dog, he brings them back.  I fear for his life if he ever learns that we live next to a golf course,  such behavior is not universally appreciated. ]  It was a great blue sky day. We were going into work a bit late that day as we had evening appointments . there was no big hurry,no rush, life was fine.  My wife,  who was at the time a Fox news junkie,  came out and said,”  Will, you’ve got to see this ,  a plane hit the Twin Towers.”   My first thought was that a Timothy McVeigh  wanna be  in a Piper Cub  made a statement, and that Christians would be demonized.   I came in to watch and saw the second plane hit, ” live and in action”.

It is an amazing age we live in.   I saw The Challenger disaster ‘live,  I  saw the Twin Towers  attack,  live.  I fear what else I see in the future.  I wonder how the ancestors of the Faith interpreted Rev. 11.

9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.”

As a modern Christian, I see a ‘live feed’ of the bodies laying in place broadcast around the world.  Billions will see them arise at the Call of God. ‘Live and in color’.

As horrible as the impact of the hijacked jets was,  the collapse of the towers was the emotional ‘coup de gras’.  I looked at  my wife and said,  “I just lost a couple hundred brothers.”  I was off by a bit,  in mere moments we had lost 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics,  23 NYPD, and 37 PA cops.  I know  the estimated death toll was 6000, a horror for each family,  but I relate to the emergency responders on a different level.  We are family.

We never did go to work that day, we watched Fox and MSNBC , searching for information, prayed for Firefighters and their families, and were generally stunned.  It was a day of sadness and defeat.  Somehow however, it was all two and a half hours away, [that  is how we measure distance around here, in drive time] and was slightly unreal,  as if you could go to bed that night, and wake up to a new reality, finding it all just a nightmare.

It came home, and touched me where I  live,that night.  There is a lovely night sky at stately Willohroots manor, with just a hint of light pollution to cloud the sky in the East from the city of Scranton,  the darkness of the night sky  above Appalachian chain here in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, at an altitude of 1500 ft.  provides a wonderful observation deck for the canopy of stars and planets above us.  some people have a prayer closet, and if that works for them fine, but I have found I need as little material separating me from God as possible.  I have a prayer yard.  Looking up at the wonders of the heaven, knowing it was all created by God, and that He knows the stars by name and put each in the right place and that the light from some of them have been on the way to my eyes for millenia, and yet God is no older now than when He created them, well, it all combines to quell even my giant ego and put me in the proper mood to pray.  I was in need of prayer that night,  fearful of our future as a nation, of reprisals, frustrated that I had nothing to offer to help my fallen brothers, emotionally drained and looking forward to the embrace of my God.

As i looked up into the clear sky, something struck me as very wrong.  It took a few minutes to process,  but there were no aircraft.  I live under a fly zone, a highway in the sky.  Wilkes-Barre Scranton  Airport is used as a radio beacon for fly over traffic, and is relatively busy on it’s own.  That night , and for a few nights after,  for the first time in my life, there was no air traffic.   I looked up at the sky as did Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  I looked at a sky devoid of modern travel, I looked at the sky as Jesus and the Apostles did,  nothing up there of man,  only what God hath wrought.

So every night, as I take the dogs out and look up,  I  count two to five aircraft, most way to high or distant to hear, and I remember 9/11/01.  Each evening is a reminder that it will take very little to wipe the tracks of man from the world,  very little to change our way of life permanently. Every night I think of the  war radical Islam is bringing against us,  the horrible casualties thereof, and the uncertain future of my children.

I know God is everywhere,  but above the circle of the earth,  above the atmosphere we use for life and air travel,  outward of the globe of strife and conflict where Satan is, for a time,  allowed to act as a rogue Prince,  is a universe, imagined,  designed,  built, and maintained by a God of Mercy and Order.  It is so good to know that He will eventually ,  in His good time,  bring Order and Justice  to reign in peace here, on our little dot spinning round at the edge of the Milky Way.

Every time I look up now at the night sky I say, ” Come quickly Lord!”. Until then, I hope that my children will see planes when they look up at the night sky.  May they fly in peace untill He comes.



Did I hear a Hokie?
September 3, 2009, 08:45
Filed under: Uncategorized
Birds of a feather?

Birds of a feather?

While in the deepest, most rural regions of Virginia, we came across a species of bird new to us.   Some sort of turkey on steroids, it is called a Hokie bird.  Beloved by the natives,  it is cheered on by the local populace, and it’s war cry is imitated by thousands.   I hear there is a place in it’s nest for a trophy.

This is an example of one we found in Blacksburg.  [ the one on the left is a Hokie,  the one on the right I am still figuring out after 21 years]   There must be some sort of infectious nature to it all, as I find myself cheering for a guy named Tyrod,  respecting a fellow named Beamer, and saying “Go Hokies!”  I have yet to gobble,  but as the condition advances it may become irresistible.

Go Hokies!



What do these people have in common?
September 2, 2009, 23:09
Filed under: Uncategorized
Witnessing Baptism at Dayspring

Witnessing Baptism at Dayspring

See this crowd?  They vary in age,  skin color,  gender,  national origin, native language, educational level and economic status.  They  do not vote alike, talk alike,  enjoy the same pastimes, or eat the same kinds of food.  What  in the world that could unite such a diverse collection.?

This is Dayspring Bible Chapel , well some of Dayspring,  at the Baptism last Sunday.  They have a lot in common that you do not notice at first glance.

  • They are all sinners
  • Their Savior is Jesus the Risen Messiah
  • They love Jesus and because of that life changing love they seek to love God ands their neighbor with all the strength of their heart
  • They depend on the Holy Spirit to author and grow that love
  • They are my family, for whom I would give my all

I look at this picture and feel  a  great responsibility.  It is my calling, as I love my Savior,  to feed this flock.  I must feed them good solid Biblical food,  and attempt to shepherd them with love and the Spirit’s guidance.  That responsibility alone should keep me humble and cause me to pray without ceasing.



Six Baptisms at Dayspring!
August 28, 2009, 23:18
Filed under: Uncategorized

There will be, God willing, six baptisms at this Sunday!  Praise God!  These are a varied bunch of people  coming from atheism, addiction, alcoholism, and two young men who  brought their mother to be baptised two years ago.  These two  guys came into our flock about 5 years ago and spontaneously asked us to pray for their mom.  Midway into the service she arrived.  They are now 15 and 13.  Praise God for His Spirit that quickens!

Please pray for Marie.  She would like  to be baptised , but has health problems.  She has lost a big toe and others are in danger.  She has been a single mom to my biggest fan, Althea,  a 27 year old perpetual child due to retardation.  Marie  is frightened,  I would be too.  Praise God for His Mercy.

We will be using the next door neighbors pool.  Years ago there was a blood feud situation between the neighbors and the old church.  Now he cuts our grass and plows our snow,  for free!  Last month he sent his son to Sunday School! Praise God for His Spirit that brings reconciliation!

Pray for good weather,  we would not want to be rained on, we might get wet!



The Unfortunate Victims of Cross-Fire
August 28, 2009, 22:52
Filed under: Uncategorized
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! James 3:5 NASB

I have a love for sound doctrine, I also have a burden for souls.  There should be no conflict here, but in this imperfect world that groans for His coming to make all things right, I perceive a danger to the vast crowd of unreached, hell-bound,  misguided, people we are called to love.  It is easy for them to get caught in the cross-fire.  As we shoot at each other,  to no real  result,  there are casualties occurring on the sidelines about which  we need to be sensitive.

Allow me to make some opening statements to set up my argument.

  • The majority of Americans are biblical ignorant
  • Critical, logical thinking is not taught nor esteemed
  • To unbelievers we are all one big group, Christians.  They do not understand or recognize our sub-groups that we so highly value.  They do not give a fig for Calvinist, Charismatic, fundamental, Liturgical, or any other label with which  we are so familiar
  • Joel Olsteen, The Pope,  John MacArthur are all in the same group to them, “church guys”
  • The general populations ignorance of theology is matched by an ignorance of History.  I was actually heartened to read C.S. Lewis describing the average RAF member’s idea of history as, a time long ago,  when there were knights, and cowboys and Indians, and most likely dragons, but not in any real order
  • 17% of American casualties in Desert Storm were from “Friendly fire”
  • There are some denominations that really creep me out,  I have no doubt they are in error
  • One tool Islam has used since the Qu’ran is to point to the disunity in Christendom
  • We have a whole lot of disunity

Let it be understood that there are some “preachers” out there that I would really like to meet in the deep woods.  I am an egotistical sinner,  enough to think that a lesson in self defence,  [that is what I would call it, I am a great rationalizer],  would do some of the   “Jesus Tokers”,  “Spirit Drunks”,  false Healers, and out right charlatans a world of good.  Let me knot up a scourge and go to town before I get too old to do it.  When I see some of the crazy things called Christian on youtube I get enough indignation , I think it is righteous, to smack the babble out of some of these fellows mouths.   There I confessed.  But I want to do it in the deep woods, not to avoid witnesses, but so that I am not a bad witness myself.

I have been married  thirty years, [ by the way, I am praying this does Not work like a mortgage,  30 and out],  and believe it or not, my lovely wife and I have fought.  I do not mind fighting, but we never wanted to do it in front of the children.  You see that is what we are in large part doing as Christians.  We meat eaters are fighting in front of children who have yet to taste milk!

I am trying to treat some of the Christians whose behavior I just can not stand as the crazy uncle at the family reunion,  he is going to be there, just ignore him.  I  need to do this because there is a world of unsaved people who need me to be loving and explain the Word to them.  This burden must out   desire to criticize the other team no matter who that might be.  It is perfectly allowable to suggest that the way I believe and worship makes more sense to me,  but it does no good to brand another as apostate to make myself look better.  Have you seen any of these evangelistic methods work?

  • Why most people who say they  are  “Christian” are lost
  • There is only one way to Heaven and we meet at 9 am
  • Don’t be fooled by all the crosses on the steeples, it is a decoration
  • Here is a list of famous preachers going to Hell

How hard is it to come up with a blog roll that says just that?  The blogosphere is chock full of Critics for Christ.  Jesus told us to go forth and make disciples, not go forth and criticize.  Let us attempt to correct each other in love and understanding, not in arrogance and hostility.  How many friendy fire casualties are acceptable in this war?  It is entirely acceptable to speak what you perceive to be the truth but do it in love, and with understanding not judgement.  I am strongly of the opinion that many are wrong, but I can not call them unsaved, that is well above  my authority.  I guess Peter said it best in his first letter, 3: 8,9

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Who does this encompass?  The people in your pew, your church, your denomination? I do not have the wherewithal to judge that.  If God is the Father, Christ is His virgin born son, Savior of mankind, and the Holy Spirit is the promised guide and comforter,then we have much in common.

Triage is the skill of putting resources to their best possible use by keeping first things first.   Think of the lost first, then deal with the misguided,  and don’t let the kids see you fight.


Fight nice Christian Children, Your Father is watching!

Fight nice Christian Children, Your Father is watching!



On mission in Virginia
August 19, 2009, 23:00
Filed under: Uncategorized

I will be returning to Willohroots Wednesday,  pray for safe travel and God’s Will.



A Tearful Salute to Marianne Lordi
August 15, 2009, 08:35
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dissenting voices are welcome at Willohroots.  People who have the courage to speak against the writer are to be commended.  People who do so based on an honest biblical faith, doubly so.  Marianne Lordi  left a response to Tearful Salute.  That required a response that is this post,  Marianne, and readers, please take this in the spirit that I wrote it, one of humble love of you and of the Savior that taught me to love my God.

The most popular post on this blog is, “Close the Church of Christian Criticism”.  This is written out of a feeling of repentance festering in me for decades of being a critic myself.  I know we need to stand firm for doctrine, and never has one of my sermons been criticized for lack of a biblical base. [other criticisms abound, but not that one!]  I feel we save Satan a lot of trouble by sniping at ourselves, and in the disunity we show as the bride of Christ.  Christ seems to have a bi-polar bride who fights with herself at every opportunity.

I reply to Marianne as I have replied to many of my own flock, in love, but with the conviction of my spirit brought about by years of dedication to being lead by the Holy Spirit.  If the tone of love does not flow in my words, blame my writing skills, not my heart or my intent.

Joel Olsteen is a motivational speaker , who at the end of his sermon suggests that people go to a bible church.

I personally would never sit under him, there is no meat , there is no milk, there is no meal. To the millions of the unchurched and depressed in America, he may well be the only one in their lives who tells them to go to church. He is even specific in telling people to go to a bible based church. This means that he is advertising for me. Please explain how demonizing him will lead anyone to Christ.  My comment was, “he is not Satan”.  He is not.  Jesus loves Joel Olsteen, and please remember we have a God who can use a donkey to get His word out.  We are called to love even such as Joel, and I welcome people in my church who have been broken,[some by the church]  and turned to Olsteen for a positive word. I suppose none of them to be either saved or educated in scripture.

Suppose an innocent seeker followed Joel’s advice and went to a bible preaching church to find Jesus.  How effective is it to save that soul to

by demonizing  the one who referred him or her to come in the first place?  I can’t have it.  I confess I have done it myself,  God forgive me if I was ever a stumbling block to Salvation.

One of Rick Warren’s big classes, thousands in number,is discribed as the following,  ” ‘Fresh Start with God’  is designed to encourage, equip and assimilate new and recommitted believers as they grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.” Please criticize this title. Have you listened to a few Rick Warren sermon’s before you made your pronouncement of his heresy?   I got up early this morning to listen to a few before I posted my reply to you, as I wish to be fair. It is not my style, it is his style, and I can see his appeal, and he does preach Christ. From 205 people on Easter Sunday 1980 to 22,000 last Sunday, he has grown a church a little.  Do you think none of them saved?  If you are repeating the mantra that Warren does not preach Christ, without listening to him preach, you have become a gossip, not by my judgement, but by the Bible’s.  God forgives us when we forgive others, recognize our sin and turn from it.

Marianne, you are convinced that Rick Warren will pay a price at the Judgement.  We can not do this!  God looks at the secret places of the heart, we can not do that.   Jesus said he did not come to judge, yet you and I wish to do that which the Blessed Savior refused to do.  He will judge when the time is right.  We are the branches, Jesus the true vine, God the Gardener, He will prune or cause to flourish whom He will.   Please, I beg of you, do not put yourself in such a dangerous position as presuming to judge, for with the same measurement we use to judge will we be judged ourselves.  I could not stand to such a judgement, and you can not either, for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Is Christ’s blood not effective for the cleansing of Rick Warren’s sins?

Google Rick Warren, the first  4 or 5 pages are criticisms and denouncements.  Does this serve the Kingdom of Christ?  Why are there more pages criticizing Warren than Todd Bently or Andrew Womack?  I will post some possible reasons.

  • It is easier to be  a Saturday morning quarterback then to get on the field
  • Guys from little churches like mine are jealous,  envy motivates them to find fault
  • He doesn’t do things the way you or I would
  • He is not perfect, therefore there really are points to pick on and be correct about
  • When you stand up for Christ, rocks will be thrown.
  • Most of us on the internet are so desperate for readers that we will join the criticize club to get some hits
  • It is easier to use the bible to see the sins of others than to use the bible as a mirror to see the depths of our own sin.

I salute you Marianne for your desire for the Gospel,  and I love you for your love of the Lord.  We most likely share a doctrinal statement with very little deviation.  I wish you were in my church, and were my friend, but as I said in the post you responded to, will you allow me to stand with you?  Am I ” out of the club” for my opinions?   I have been thrown out of a few churches, so that is not a new experience for me.  Somehow, through Divine Providence he has given me a pulpit and a mission in life, things I was too foolish to seek, so He must have some purpose to drive my life. [ sorry I just had to do that]  By the way, I did not think much of Rick Warren’s book,  “Purpose Driven Life”, not enough bible for me, but he is still my brother.

I wish to comment on one more thing, and it is a personal beef of mine.

“As it says in James,if you desire wisdom on a matter, ask and God will give it to you. Pray about it. God bless you.”

This implies that if I would just pray and seek God’s wisdom,  I would end up agreeing with you.  My dear believer,  the distance from God’s mouth to you ear is no shorter than from His to mine. In this statement is the crux of the matter ,  Christianity is not a competitive sport!  There is no “I am more saved than you are”  we are saved!  The only possible measure of our faith is the fruit of our works. Have you brought 22,00o people to church lately?   Me neither.

I do salute you. Thank you for allowing me to use you to show the source of the tear in my eye.



Spiritual Warfare # 1 Part A
January 4, 2011, 14:51
Filed under: Uncategorized


Spiritual Warfare # 1 Part B
January 4, 2011, 14:50
Filed under: Uncategorized



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