Willohroots


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.

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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.



The Church as seen by a Ret. Vol. Fire Chief

 

It has pleased God to provide much of  my training needed to pastor Dayspring Bible Chapel in fire-halls and in fire service.  My leadership skills with volunteers [ still needing much improvement] , my teaching style, my counseling and discipline abilities were all honed in Fire Service at Mt. Zion Bicentennial Fire Dept.  To me this makes biblical sense.  Moses was trained as a shepherd,  Nehemiah in a king’s court, Luke in study to be a physician and many more examples.  God is a master of cross training.  

Moving from Fire Service to His Service I  have noticed a lot of  comparison points where churches fall far behind firefighters.  One area not lacking is technology. Churches use PowerPoint and email and websites, burning DVD’s of services and using audio visual aids with cutting edge science.  This is an area in which I admit Dayspring is far behind.  Other areas in the visible church could learn much from your local fire department, and my suggestion is we emulate or at least learn from America’s Bravest:

  • Mutual Aid,  one company calling and receiving assistance from others
  • Member Retention,  recruiting is fine, but keep what you have
  • Leadership Hierarchy, know who is in charge of what
  • Buddy System,  a pair beats high card every time
  • Personnel Accountability , know who is where and their condition
  • Member Utilization,  everybody works for the common good
  • Pre-Planning,  prepare for the worst, think ahead
  • Bonding in powerful life relationships
  • Community Service,  cat in tree, pool fill, non fire service calls
  • Effective Mobilization, calling out the troops in time of need
  • Fellowship in leisure activities,  work hard, play hard
  • Emergency Reaction,  no committee decisions on an alarm
  • Training,  the only usable personnel are trained personnel

Take a look at the picture above. A college age woman is using a Dry-chem portable extinguisher on an imaginary fire.  She has been able to hold the extinguisher, feel it’s weight, hear the sound it makes when it discharges, see its range and operate it in a safe environment.   She has no doubt been taught the mnemonic,P.A.S.S.   Pull Pin, Aim , Squeeze, and Sweep.   Imagine how her success at reducing property loss and mitigating a hazardous situation has been improved by this training.  Experience has taught that well meaning people without training have failed miserably in using hand held extinguishers.  More than one person has dropped a CO2  extinguisher in panic at hearing the loud roar it made when used.  Many frightened people have not pulled the safety pin, and strong men have broken many handles squeezing with all their might against the safety pin.  The extinguishing agent does no good against fire if not directed at the base of the flame from the proper distance.  
For the cost of a refill, $38.00, this woman has been made into a firefighter who could save millions of dollars.  No doubt she sees now what area the tool covers, and now understands how big a fire may be combated with this device, and has been taught when the battle is worth fighting and when to bail out.  An extinguisher in the hands of a trained person is a firefighting tool. An extinguisher without training is a red can on the wall that pleases insurance companies and  is usable only as a door stop.  

At church and in His service we fight the very flames of Hell.  How much training do we provide?  Pastors have seminaries  [I have deep rebellion issues on this one that I will get to later] , Lay leaders have conferences, but does the guy or gal  in the pew get training?   Training applicable to real world scenarios?  It just does not seem so. Here is a great read by Willohroots commenter Michael Bell, found on the Imonk site where we met.

“As noted earlier, before the age of 24, most of those who will leave have already left, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.”

Mike points out What is happening, here is my take on Why: They are untrained.  Putting a firefighter in a position of danger without proper training and equipment is a recipe for disaster.  Best case scenario, he will quit the service  feeling he is a coward and a failure, or worst case, he will die.  The church is too often presented as an island of comfort, a refuge from a world of sin, a safe society where sin is presented as “their” problem and we claim to have overcome.  When a young adult is loosed into a world of all nature of sin the flames are too much and the options are either to beat  a hasty retreat or be consumed.  There are some time honored training methods available to us, and we need to teach and preach them if we are to succeed. Here are some areas that we need to address:

 

  • Witnessing,  not tracts, not acting plastic, but sharing Jesus in a real and meaningful way.
  • Confronting sin face to face, retreat is not the only tactic.
  • Preparation for condemnation from the world , it is going to come, be ready, your professors [most] think we are crazy.
  • Real world issues are not black and white: divorce, sex, drugs,etc,  must be understood – not simply condemned.
  • History of the Bible and the Church, in truth, warts and all,  knowledge is power and many of our youth are powerless.
  • Evils of the Church,  we are His bride, but we have messed up a lot, from crusades to defense of slavery, the truth is good to know.
  • Denominational Distinctives,  we do things differently, get used to it.  Sure ,’we are right and they are wrong’, but God forgives [whoever we are].
  • Sin.  Sin is fun in the short term. Admit it and do not fear, we face nothing alone, He is there.
  • Forgiving, forgiving , forgiving

 

The church has a choice, to be a a life raft floating on the sea of society, tossed by the waves and adrift, or a surf rescue society, trained people with a mission deliberately putting ourselves in harms way , with purpose and mission , to head out into danger for the purpose of rescuing the lost and drowning.  We can be strictly a social hall, offering a nice place to have fellowship, or with training and the weapons provided by God,  rolling out with a higher purpose, saving the lost from the flames that never die while keeping each other as safe as possible in a hostile environment. 

We were saved to serve, not sit.  Our service cannot be done without preparation.  Next post,  Training.  What say you? Are you trained?  Have you been to some good classes?  Share, we all need to keep sharp.



No Christian left behind! [Educationally, not rapture related]
January 10, 2009, 17:09
Filed under: Uncategorized, What would you do?

This is not about the Rapture, or Rapture Ready Christians.  That would be a completely different post.  I am not a fan of the “Left Behind” series for my own reasons.  This is about the amazing lack of educational substance in most Christians I have met.  For the purpose of this post I will not be defining Christian, I will let anybody who claims the title have it.  All denominations or lack thereof, may apply.  Here comes the thesis statement.

Most Christians are ignorant of their own beliefs.  It might be more accurate to say they are ignorant of what they should believe in if they are Christians.  This is not to say a PhD is needed, but how can you be saved from sin if you do not know what sin is?  Would it not be good to know we are saved by Faith through Grace?  What is grace?   What is faith?  Atonement?  Sanctification, Justification?  I do not mean a theological treatise,  just a working definition.

I make this scathing comment as I live in the world.  Few people I meet go to any church and many people who do go to church have little knowledge of the Faith.  I read a book about the guards at Gitmo.  The Islamists often said, “You Christians do not know what you believe!”.  I fear in most cases they were right.   The level of ignorance makes the job of false doctrine teachers quite easy.   Most people I meet have no right idea of Jesus!  My cousin once sent me a forward that broke my heart.  I guess it was meant to be humorous.  The gist was this,  ” I went to a young man’s funeral.  I didn’t know what to do.  I asked myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’m  so I condemned him to hell and left.”  I missed the joke.  Everyone, everywhere, should know that Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save.  

There are thousands of such examples.  Many people seem to have mixed in some of their own ideas, or used the Chinese menu approach, one from column A,  two from column B and the hot tea please.  I meet people who are Christians,  but will tell you Christ certainly was not God,  or was  a nice guy but must have sinned a little bit somewhere.

SOLUTION:  We need to start Preaching to the Test.  My public school teacher friends have complained about teaching to the test for a while now,  but I see no other solution.  Teach and Preach to the Test, as none of us will get out of this world with out some severe testing.  Preach to it!

So of what should the test consist ?  This is a theoretical exercise of course,  but what do you think someone should know before they get their Learner ‘s permit.  We test people to drive, to hunt, to work in the trades,  so what, I ask, is the minimum requirements of knowledge to get a card in the Christian union? Feel free to opine.



WWYD, What would you do ,#1.
November 24, 2008, 18:45
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: , , ,

This is an invite!  Open armed, no right answers. It is a way for me to get advice or check myself.  I propse a situation and ask you,”What would you do?” .  You know WWYD? [and I do not mean Yeshua!]  You can ask yourself  ‘what would Jesus do?’, but then tell me based on that if that is how you do it,  What would you do?    Here we go, and this happened to me.

Some one hands you the keys to a church.  It comes with piano, organ , nice enough building with great parking, moveable pews, total seating for 100, and about 8 new Christians, one couple from a fundementalist/legalist background and a couple seekers. All the officers quit and leave with costs of$750.00 per month and a balance of $7000.00 available to you.   The downside, the basement has been flooded twice in 3 years and there is no leadership, none.  The church was started by the SBC in the 70’s and went down hill ever since.  There is no lock to stay with SBC, if you do you are one of 20 SBC churches in a 17 county area of 1.7 million people, fully half of those people are RC.  There are no rules, no existing culture, no one will get mad at your ideas, do what you want.

So here are the keys, you’re up! What do you do? What worship style, what bible, what meetings,  what vision?  I can’t wait to read the comments!