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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!
Filed under: blessings, Christ | Tags: bible, denominationalism, Evangelism, factions, God, Jesus, legalism, SBC
Thomas 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.
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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!
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
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I 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!
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Having Christ’s mind?
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.
Filed under: Bible study, Church wrongs, Uncategorized, What would you do? | Tags: bible, churches, Pastors, Sunday School
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.
It looks very capable of swallowing Jonah, or anybody it wants to, or is ordered to by God.
So this is probably a better representation,
Than is this,
The 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?
Or should we be teaching this?
How 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,
was a foreshadowing of
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.
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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!