Marriage Flow Chart

Any thoughts?

This is just a great poem that is only about 1000 years old. I thank Bob Blincoe from Frontiers for making this available to us!

Bob Blincoe

The Flightiness of Thought

Shame to my thoughts, how they stray from me.

I fear great danger from it on the day of eternal doom.

During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right.

They fash, they fret, they misbehave before the eyes of the great God.

Through eager crowds, through companies of wanton women,

Through woods, through cities–swifter they are than the wind.

Now through paths of loveliness, anon of riotous shame,

Without ferry or ever missing a step, they go across every sea;

Swiftly they leap in one bound from earth to heaven.

They run a race with folly anear and afar:

After a course of giddiness they return to their home.

Though one should try to bind them or put shackles on their feet,

They are neither constant nor mindful to take a spell of rest.

Neither sword-edge nor crack of whip will keep…

View original post 27 more words

Bad Teacher

First of all, do not forget to get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Today’s post is not about a movie starring Cameron Diaz. Rather, true to this blog, today’s post is about theology.

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience(and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:5-7

To tell you the truth, this passage scares me.

I am a big believer in God speaking through dreams (but not all dreams). I am big believer in God speaking through visions. I believe prophecy still happens.

I have had dreams and visions in which I speak to a large audience (perhaps blogging will be that realization?). I have had others (both Christians and non-Christians) say or speak over me (either specifically as prophetic or “in passing”) that they see me one day leading ministries and/or a congregation (or congregations) or speaking to large groups.

This scares me simply because I know my past and how I have treated theology and teaching. What if God eventually calls me to be a pastor/priest over First Church of Hometown, USA?

I hate to break it to you (tongue-in-cheek), but there are many teachers and preachers today who simply should not be. These are men and women who replace love of God and/or people with a love of money, power, influence, or popularity. These are men and women who either do not have or have lost a pure heart and good conscience. These are men and women may or may not have a sincere faith, but the question becomes where that sincerity or where that faith truly lies.

I may step on some toes and perhaps offend here, but here are some examples of things people teach and confidently affirm without really knowing what they are talking about:

  • God wants you happy and financially rich in this life. There is never a biblical guarantee that all godly people will have both or either of these in this life. In fact, there are promises of the opposite for the believer in Christ.
  • There is no Trinity. Quite frankly, Christianity falls apart without the Trinity. My Catholic brother Richard has begun covering this over at CatholicBoyRichard.
  • Women have no place in ministry. Let me just say that people who believe this are complete idiots. They may be very intelligent, but they really stupid.
  • Jesus sinned. The faith falls apart if this is true. I cannot express enough how important this is and how false and straight from the pits of Hell this is.
  • God hates ... This one is taken specifically from Westboro Baptist Church, the people who say “God hates fags” along with many other people. It is this kind of “christian” (not just those who blatantly call for the destruction of others, but also those who promote hatred through favoritism, indifference, and bigotry [misunderstanding mixed with fear]) who gives the Church the bad name we seem to see and hear about today.

There is a long, long list, and I know I have been guilty of at least all of these at one time or another. Paul listed a few others to Timothy:

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:3-11

How can we – how can I – know we are staying true to good teaching? How can we know our teachers and preachers are staying true to good teaching?

The simple answer:

We must continue studying together. We must not give up on the traditions from Church history (and before some complain, where do you think our Bible and even most of our liturgy, keeping in mind I currently attend and serve in a non-denominational church, came from? Why do we know many of the facts we know about the early Church? From what did Christianity arise?). We must always strive to express the love of God to all people.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 06/03/2012

Here is a friendly reminder to head over to check out Proverbial Thought and Pastor Baker’s amazing post today!

Have you ever been confronted with strange circumstances, you might even say they were attacks? Not necessarily from people so much as circumstances that seem too coordinated to be random.

I remember when my parents had started attending church, and, in 2001, less than a year later, things just seemed to be going a little crazy. They climbed into the minivan in the middle of all of this, and my dad sat on his cell phone making a long “beeeeeeeeep” sound. He pulled it out of its case, and he read on the display “666”. My parents decided to rebuke Satan in that moment: “Satan, just leave us alone!”

Things actually got better!

It was not because they told Satan to go away. It was their faith in Jesus Christ. That is the clincher.

I tell you all of that as the introduction to today’s poem. It was written after I read about Jesus’ rebuke of Peter in Matthew 16 and Mark 8 to “Get behind me, Satan!”

I bind you, Satan!
Get away from me!
I am no longer yours,
But belong to God.
Your power over me
Is gone from you.
I submit to God
And flee away from you.
I trample over you!
I cast you aside!
Attack me if you will,
But my God protects!
You were defeated!
The cross set me free!
Through Jesus’ blood
You lost control!
So, back off!
Get behind me!

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 79.

Traveling Mercies

For most of the month of June (already started!), my wife and I are traveling around Illinois and Wisconsin to visit family and friends.

This has reminded me of a few things.

  • Youth trips in high school, when we would pray before setting out on each trip.
  • Driving around with the youth leader and praying as we got in the car.
  • Big family trips which would start out with a prayer.
  • Going to Morocco and praying with the church before we set out.
  • A particular message the pastor shared about seven years ago.

A new church was going to be launched out of our church. He led up to the announcement by sharing about Ezra taking Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. I am sure you can see the connection: Ezra went out to rebuild the Temple; some of us were going out to build a new congregation.

Something he said really stuck with me, however. It came from Ezra 8:21-23:

There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 The first part that stuck with me was the call to a fast.

We need to remember that God is the one in control, but He wants to hear from us. He desires to hear us ask Him for things.

The second part that stuck with me was that even in our shame and pride, God listens.

Ezra pointedly says “I was ashamed to ask the king . . . because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him.” This pride was not one of a personal nature. Oh, no! This was pride in the promises of God, of which Ezra knew to be true.

Therefore, Ezra prayed, and “he answered our prayer.”

The final part that stuck with me was that this was a “biblical institution of praying for traveling mercies!”

This one may not be the most holy, per se, but that is a direct quote from Pastor Scott. “And here we see the biblical institution of praying for traveling mercies!”

This reminds me that God wants us to ask Him for anything and everything. To be fair, though, we need to remember that His answer is yes when we pray according to His will (see John 14:12-14, and really all of John 14-16). (He may say yes to things “outside of His will,” but that is a matter for another day!)

So, on this fine day, I remind you to take prayer seriously, believe that God will answer, and do not be afraid to ask for His protection on your journeys.

Also, please pray for us as we travel!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 05/27/2012

The Bible is full of events in which angels fight, celebrate, mourn, and proclaim (perhaps even sing). Today’s poem is about one of those moments when … not much happened … while the greatest miracle in history was happening.

When Heaven Was Silent

Throughout time

God has spoken

Angels celebrated

Or they mourned

New believers

Brought them joy

Satan winning

Made them cry

There was a time

They were silent

All forgiven

One Man spent

This one Man

Was the reason

He is the one

To silence Heaven

For this Man

Gave His life

And in the moment

That He died

There was no noise

To be made

During the time

Our debts were paid

This was respect

Shown for Him

The only time it was

Silent in Heaven

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 68.

The Bittersweetness of the Living Water

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
John 7:38

There are many songs today that declare the greatness of life in the Spirit, who is often called the Living Water. Many teachings discuss the great life Christians have through the Holy Spirit.

One teaching was lacking in many churches, especially those which reached and some still reaching very large audiences, has been what life in the Spirit was promised to truly be like.

Life is indeed amazing when the Holy Spirit is free to move through us, but a better understanding of “great” should be made clear.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Jesus said we would experience trouble. With or without Christ, life in this world will be hard. In fact, it can be even harsher on Christians due to persecution in many different ways.

In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit might be exactly what causes much of our grief:

Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
John 16:7-11

People do not like feeling convicted. Especially in our Western culture in which we are told we are to love ourselves as we are, that we are born the way we are supposed to be and cannot really help some or all of the things we do, being told we need to change can be dangerous. If the Holy Spirit moves through us to touch the lives of others, we should expect to be on the receiving end of at least some backlash of a frightened and wounded soul confronted with its sin.

When our internet connection slows down, in most cases we blame our computers first, when it is something with the internet itself (such as high traffic).

When the hot water in the shower turns cold, we get upset with the shower head or the knob(s) which control the water, when it is the water heater being unable to keep up with our consumption of hot water.

When we feel convicted, we blame the person delivering the words that reveal our shame and guilt, when God is the One who convicts of our mistakes and sins.

Notice, however, that at the root of all of these is human activity. This, though, is another topic for discussion later!

In all of this bitterness, our Lord has promised sweetness, as well:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

We can have hope and peace in the middle of trouble and persecution through the Holy Spirit. Also:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him
James 1:2-12

Trials help to prepare us. They prepare us for eternity, but, in the more immediate, to help others.

As stated, the Holy Spirit moves through us to convict others and bring glory to God. More often than not, we are used to help people who experience something through which we have been.

There is a definite bittersweetness to life as a Christian, but as the Living Water flows through us we are strengthened and are used to strengthen others. Ultimately this is all to bring glory to God.

Endure. Persevere. Be a part of bringing glory to God.