Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Another inspiration/indigestion while Kopper took me for a walk.
He seems to want to walk with me forever.
I keep looking forward to when it's over.
That's gotta mean something.
Be that as it may be, the parable of the runaway follows...
I never really liked him...until now.
It was a forced relationship.
He was a rich member of the church, inheriting all of his wealth from his entrepreneurial daddy and feeling entitled to more than others in every way so reminiscent of Jesus' verdict, and I was a boy wonder ably gifted for pulpiteering wizardry without the necessary emotional or spiritual prerequisites.
We were the same age.
Adulteries come in all emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical forms and I felt entitled to them more than others in every way because I was ably gifted for pulpiteering wizardry without the necessary emotional or spiritual prerequisites.
Proving Balaam's wasn't the only one who God could use to tell the truth, he confronted me, "You will never come close to what He has for you until you face your demons."
Or as a street preacher once explained, "You can't fix what you won't face."
When problems or tight spots or annoyances or miscues or irregulars or irascibles or irreconcilables or sins closed in, I ran away to the next church that always called because I was ably gifted for pulpiteering wizardry without the necessary emotional or spiritual prerequisites.
Not as familiar with the Psalmist or garden story or anything Biblical as I pretended to be, spending most of my "educational" time reading books about the book, I thought I could run away from whomever or whatever or wherever or whyever whenever that feeling of closing in began to incarnate.
Strange how the past is reincarnated unless the counsel of the rich contemporary and street preacher is absorbed into the deepest recesses of mind and spirit.
It's impossible to outrun what's deeply embedded.
It must be faced before what He has for you can be experienced/expressed.
Repetition or restoration is a choice no matter what hyper-predestinarians pretend.
Yes, we are predestined in every way according to the Bible.
Yes, we have volition in every way according to the Bible.
It's better to spend time in what/whom is within your reach.
That happens over time for many.
That happens on Damascus Road for others.
That happens...in different ways for different people who truly want it/Him to happen to them...or not.
It's a choice.
There's not a word that's strong enough to...
I never really liked him...until now.
He seems to want to walk with me forever.
When I stopped wanting it to be over, the relationship began to...
It doesn't start until you stop running away.
Blessings and Love!
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Only 30 days until I can provide
some bonuses for...help for...
Solomon tipped me off: "Do not
withhold good when it is in your
Hence, the sale.
Read the reasons (below).
These are resources that I can
liquidate to provide...help...
But I need your help!
I really don't want some folks to
suffer because of the sins of...
So buy what you don't need or
want, give 'em away to those who
may need or want, and help fill
someone else's stockings...
I, uh, forgot some important information.
Methods of Ordering:
1. Call Karen at 815-544-6402;
2. e-mail email@example.com or hit "reply"
and I will forward order to Karen;
3. Provide preferred mailing address; and
4. Mail orders and send $:
First Presbyterian Church
221 N. Main Street
Belvidere, Illinois 61008
Karen will dividing receipts as noted in #3 below; uh, noting,
staff bonuses will be in equal amounts to five staff members
excluding pastor and one other staff member by choice.
Really, get into this. Bikers, good stocking stuffer!
Golfers, good stocking stuffer! 15 Secrets is really
cool for discussion groups and to annoy posers!
Really cheap way of...
BTW, it would be nice to receive orders a few
weeks before 12/24; as our staff has always
counted on these bonuses to...
Blessings and Love!
P.S. I'm so desperate to help 'em and the poor
that I'll just about take whatever you wanna...
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry
Boxes of 40 for $75 (plus $10 shipping)
10 for $50 (includes shipping)
Golf in the Real Kingdom
10 for $75 (plus $10 shipping)
1 for $10 (includes shipping)
Only thirty copies left
I Just Wanna Ride (FTW)
5 for $50 (includes shipping)
1 for $14 (includes shipping)
Only 20 copies of first edition left
Praying Like Jesus
Could be a collector's...
Only five copies left on earth at $20 each
Since our renovation/expansion, can't locate the boxes of God's Top Ten List and Don't Forget This! So, uh, maybe later...
1. Matthew 6:19-21
2. Lawrence, Francis, Mother...
3. While our church is recovering from a little recklessness during our expansion/renovation with increased sacrificial giving and we are paying our bills and expanding our missions again as His Holy Spirit is working so many miracles of increased intimacy with Him and adoptions into the family, we are not providing Christmas bonuses to staff this year and there's not a lotta discretionary funds for folks who need some extra help right now and...so I'm going to use 75% of what comes in for those bonuses to our staff members, 15% for discretionary use for the poor, and 10% to modify my pony now that the Lord has cured that covetousness.
4. Besides, I'm deep into my last book - about a year from completion - and need shelf space.
Blessings and Love!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Scratching the Surface of 1 & 2 kings
These two books continue a dominant theme throughout Holy Scripture.
God is the King of kings.
Prosperity is the experience and inheritance of people who esteem Him as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; conversely, poverty is the experience and inheritance of those who do not: "If you follow this path, you will be successful in everything you do no matter where you are."
Among David's last words was this consistently conclusive promise from God: "For as long as your sons are devoted to Me and live by My truth and embrace it with all their being, your offspring will always sit upon Israel's throne."
We might say, "As long as we remain one nation under God, we will continue in His favor."
Or as we'll read in the next two books chronicling the axiom of our relationship with God: "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Solomon epitomized this deference when God asked what he wanted most as the crown passed from his father David to him: "You have allowed me to serve as my father David served, but I am still young and inexperienced. I don't know much about anything, yet I am supposed to lead...Please give Your servant a listening heart for judging Your people and for knowing the difference between what is good and what is evil."
God "delighted" in Solomon's request: "Since you have asked for wisdom and not for an extended lifetime or for personal wealth or for the annihilation of your enemies, since you have instead asked for the ability to understand justice, I will honor your request."
Solomon taught us how to pray effectively; begging God's enabling for service above self.
Like David before him, Solomon had a heart for God.
He wanted to honor God through his kingship under His Kingship: or as he's quoted in the book containing all of his wise proverbial counsel: "People go about making their plans, but God has the final word...He knows your heart...your real motives...Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success."
Paul put it this way: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!"
Again, believers behave like they believe in God; and that includes service above self.
Solomon's prayer was effective because he wanted to help people to honor God - selflessly not selfishly.
That's a main ingredient in effective prayer.
Truly, as Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened."
Yet the motive in asking, seeking, and knocking must be to honor God; or as Jesus explained, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too."
James understood effective prayer: "When you ask, you do not get because your motives are wrong. You focus on self-indulgence...Come close to God and He will come close to You...Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life."
That's why people who truly love God cannot separate devotion to the Kingdom of God from lesser kingdoms.
Indeed, the big ten like all of Holy Scripture insists there are no gods before God; meaning no one nor no thing deserves the allegiance and affection due Him alone.
So if a choice must be made, God must always prevail in our deeds as well as creeds.
When tested to forsake His Kingdom for a lesser kingdom, the apostles got it/Him right: "We must obey God not man."
And whenever the lesser kingdom is chosen over the greater Kingdom, prayer becomes ineffective along with the experience and inheritance of prosperity being forfeited.
Aside from personal empathies, these two books contain a story highlighting the consequences of choosing the lesser over the greater: "Elisha traveled to Bethel...On his way there, a large group of young boys came out of the city and began making fun of him: 'Keep going, baldy! Keep going, baldy!' When Elisha looked back at them, he spoke against them with the authority of God. Almost immediately, two female bears walked out of the forest and ripped up forty-two of the young boys."
God never looks kindly upon anyone or any nation assaulting those anointed to call everyone to honor Him: "From your first breath to the last one, God will keep you safe from evil...All who have faith in God will stand as Mount Zion: unmoved, enduring, eternal...God will send all the wicked away along with those who pervert what's good and twist it in their own crooked way."
I'm reminded of how Martin Luther King, Jr. warned America of the consequences of becoming less than one nation under God: "God has a way of...putting nations in their place. The God that I worship has a way of saying,...'Don't play with Me, Israel. Don't play with Me, Babylon. Be still and know that I'm God...And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
Anointed and wise kings like David and Solomon understood and heeded that/Him.
Anointed and wise prophets like Elijah and Elisha understood and heeded that/Him.
Prosperity was their experience and inheritance.
History - His story - has a way of repeating itself/Himself.
Each chapter begins with a choice.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Steve Corbett is the host of his own daily talk show on WILK Radio (980 AM) in NE Pennsylvania from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. (EST).
Listeners around the globe listen/link to him via www.wilknewsradio.com.
I like him.
I don't always agree with him; but that's never been a prerequisite for me liking someone.
I like/love Jesus; but don't always agree with Him in my depraved human kinda way if you know what I mean.
Steve makes me think; and as you may know, that's a big part of what KD is all about.
While it's still legal, it's important to think about what's going on and then decide how/if we're gonna...
For folks who dare to refer to themselves as Christians, it's imperative to think how to honor Him in an increasingly hostile-to-Him/His culture.
Anyway, Steve is always saying, "You better listen!"
It's his way of encouraging us to listen and think and then decide how/if we're gonna...
He's got that prophetic edge: "You better listen...or..."
I've written about her before.
She's the lady-in-Carolina-blue-crushed-velvet who hated my beard because she had a bad relationship with her son who had a beard and transferred...
Well, you may recall I shaved it off to satiate her pathology, expected kudos, and got this as she greeted me after worship the very next Sunday: "Now about your moustache..."
It's been about 25 years since that happened; but I've never told anybody the other side of that story with metaphors/meanings that...
I'm not sure why I'm telling it now - it probably has something to do with the confession in the next section - but I am scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus and lots of stuff's coming up as...
You may think it's/I'm silly; but I, uh, think it means something as part of my scratching and desire/prayer/passion to encourage others to...
I had an associate pastor back then - one of the best three to ever try to serve avec moi - who wept when seeing my clean-shaven face and then blasted me for betraying God.
The verdict was accurate.
While studying in Europe in the mid-70s, I took a truncated Nazirite vow to experience/express my devotion to Him.
It included facial hair.
My associate knew that; so when I...
Truth is I broke that vow - symptomatic of me breaking many...
That was about 25 years ago.
Just to let you know (Psst. Go to the right column and click on...).
Now that I'm scratching the surface of my relationship with Him and listening/thinking a tad more than before, I've renewed that vow; and whenever I even trim..., I think about how I too often trim my relationship with...
You better listen!
Election 2012 comes to mind.
Despite the corporate optimism included in "Election 2012 Reality Check" (go to the right column and click it on if you need a refresher), I was inspired/indigested about my need to confess personal sin in how I voted - trimmed - on November 6 while Kopper took me for a walk on November 9.
Parenthetically, while I hope you'll think a tad yourself, I'm just talking about my vote and my relationship with Him and not suggesting I know more than anyone about anything related to Election 2012 and not implying anything about your vote or... Catch the drift? I may be wrong about what follows; but this is how I feel about my vote after being inspired/indigested on November 9. It's hard enough for me to work out my own salvation; so I'm not about to tell you how to work out yours apart from urging all of us to listen, think, and then...
While I've always said I kinda like both of 'em in a personal way and would like to have lunch or a Yuengling with 'em, I only voted for one of 'em even though I live near Chicago and could have voted for both of 'em if you know what I mean.
I could not vote for the guy who's an accomplice to mass murder. I know partial birth murder is only one issue; but, for me, and I may be wrong, it's a really, really, really big issue and... I've been to Yad Vashem many times. I've read Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller who read Jesus and...
Instead, I voted for someone whose personal religion includes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That was the inspiration/indigestion on November 9. I voted for someone whose personal religion includes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! I have begged forgiveness ever since that early morning walk with Kopper.
Voting for the lesser of two evils means still voting for...
I haven't read anything in His book about embracing or voting for the lesser of...
Then He reminded me of Gideon...and I thought again about trimming...
I don't know about you; but I've trimmed so much over the years.
Philip Schaff: "Jesus' whole life was one unbroken act of self-consecration to the glory of God and the eternal welfare of His fellow-men...The better and holier a man is, the more he feels his need of pardon, and how far he falls short of his own imperfect standard of excellence" (Apostolic Christianity, 1910).
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "God has a way of saying, 'Don't play with Me, Babylon. Be still and know that I'm God. And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power.' And that can happen to America. Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And when I come and look at America, I say to myself, the parallels are frightening" (The Drum Major Instinct, 1968).
Isaiah: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (inspired long enough ago that we should know better).
We better listen!
Blessings and Love!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
As I've been scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus since October 2011, my cowardly infidelities as well as disobedient thoughts, words, and actions have driven me to confession and, inchingly, repentance in gratitude for His graces sealed in Jesus.
While I am determined to be chastened by the Godly as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture, I can no longer be "lukewarm" for Jesus and just sit/stand by as His name is insulted and His people are injured. When I am wrong as noted, I will confess and repent publicly. Otherwise, I will look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus until He calls me home.
I will no longer play footsies with the enemy and its accomplices for personal securities, perks, political/ecclesiastical correctness, or to placate/pacify the posers plaguing/polluting pews, pulpits, presbytery, and...
Always open to Godly chastening, I will no longer shut up or look away when sisters/brothers are being brutalized by process over professed and practical intimacy with Jesus.
I pray to speak/act the truth according to Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture with gentleness, respect for Him/His above all, and in the recognition that there is no fellowship between darkness and Light.
I will salt.
I will pray to reflect His light.
I expect criticism, demonizing, condemnation, poverty, and more...as He promised.
While all of Holy Scripture will be my guide more than before, John 3:19-21 and John 17 have seized my soul in the professed/practical applications of discipleship.
As Kopper took me for a walk on 11/9/12, I recalled a few sentences from Tozer's The Price of Neglect and was driven to my knees in shame, then confession, then repentance, and now calm restored resolve: "The way to escape this double snare is simple. Make a complete surrender to God; love Him with all your heart and love every person for His sake. Determine to obey your own convictions as they crystallize within you as a result of prayer and constant study of the Scriptures. After that you may safely ignore the expectations of your friends as well as the criticisms of your enemies. You will experience first the shocked surprise of the regimented army of lock-step believers, then their grudging admiration, and if you continue to walk the way of love and courage they will take heart from your example, throw off the bondage of fear, and go forth as ransomed men and women to walk in the sweet liberty wherewith Christ has made them free."
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while knowing my sins before, now, and to come, I devote myself to You from this moment like never before. With Your help, I will cleanse my thoughts, tongue, travels, and wholeness to be holy for You alone. This is my pledge, desire, and passion for all that You have done for me through Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.
Blessings and Love!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The world is ablaze.
The Middle East, Asia, Africa, and...are about to blow; drawing the rest of us into...
Our country is deeply divided.
Democrats and Republicans are more partisan than ever and neither of 'em provided a Moses, Joshua, or even FDR or RR for November 6, 2012.
Churches are disgraces of irregularity, irascibility, and irreconcilable behaviors; insulting Jesus who came for peace, unity, and purity not separation, segregation, and schism.
With everyone needing the buoyancy of knowing there is paradise after the last breath while depending upon people who really get it/Him to provide for the poor's welfare in time as Jesus expected/commanded of those who really, really, really get it/Him - redundantly reinforced because of posers polluting pews and pulpits rationalizing their defiance of servant/sacrificial leadership/discipleship - too many of today's churches are selfishly/pathetically pre-occupied with their worthless, inefficacious, and bordering on blasphemous idolatries of ideology masquerading as theology, vestments, furniture, carpet color, liturgy, music, denominationalism, pettiness, hyper-sensitivities, and so on.
The cry increases, "The sky is falling!...All is lost!...Woe is me!"
Dr. Dean Harvey, the faithful President of Rockford, Illinois' Evangelical Ministers Fellowship for many years, once chastened me for being so pessimistic about America's future.
Patiently listening to my complaints that would have made the prophets blush, he asked, "Aren't you familiar with the Biblical truth of remnant - that there is a remnant still devoted to honoring God? Doesn't America still have a very large remnant of faithful people? Don't you remember how God promised to use the remnant to rebuild the nation?"
There is a large remnant in America; increasingly looking up, standing up, speaking up, and acting up for Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.
In other words, there's still hope for America.
A friend likes to say, "I can't do everything; but I can do something! And by God's grace, I will!"
That's the remnant's refrain.
It's time for an Election 2012 reality check.
There is hope for our world, America, and churches.
No, not him or him!
Him through His!!!
Blessings and Love!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Scratching the Surface of 1 & 2 Samuel
A friend sent a paradoxical parable to me:
A man who was traveling came upon a farmer working
in his field and asked him what the people in the next
village were like.
The farmer asked, "What were the people like in the
last village you visited?"
The man responded, "They were kind, friendly,
generous, great people."
"You'll find the people in the next village are the
same," said the farmer.
Another man who was traveling to the same
village came upon the same farmer somewhat
later and asked him what the people in the next
village were like.
Again, the farmer asked, "What were the people
like in the last village you visited?"
The second man responded, "They were rude,
unfriendly, dishonest people."
"You'll find the people in the next village are
the same," said the farmer.
It's the same with poems, books, movies, sermons, and every other form of verbal and non-verbal communications.
People see, experience, and report what they see and experience differently.
The same things are seen, experienced, and reported through different lenses.
While contradiction doesn't seem consistent with truth, people often confuse truth with auto-suggestion.
I'm reminded of the woman who always complained to me about negativity in the church while being the poster child of negativity in the church, the couple who always complained about not having enough young people in the church but left the church when we changed our order of worship and music to attract more young people, and...
There are countless illustrations of humanity's paradoxical nature.
When it comes to God, there is God as revealed in Jesus and Holy Scripture and God as reflected in the mirror: "So man created God in his image. In the image of man, man created God."
There is truth and what we sometimes pretend, pass on, or pose as truth that often is only coincidental to truth as revealed in Jesus and Holy Scripture.
1 & 2 Samuel illustrate how the paradox can be crippling if not corrected.
Saul had credentials, David had stones, and both were sooooooo human.
In one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for-because-you-may-get-it things, God's people wanted a king so they could be like other people; forgetting, ignoring, and defying the truth that God's people were "created in His image" to be counter-popular-culture or God's people no matter who, what, where, when, or why. Or as Paul explained the distinguishable character of God's people from others, "Do not allow this world to mold you in its image. Instead, be transformed...discern what God wills..."
Though Samuel warned about wanting kings who take from us more than worshipping, obeying, and relying upon God who gives to us, they got what they wished for in a king who became an early example of Paul's understanding of the paradoxical nature of humanity: "I do not do the good that I want to do. I do the bad that I do not want to do. That's why I need a Savior."
Saul looked sooooooo good and had sooooooo many human credentials to lead as a king; but he was still sooooooo human and often confused God with the reflection in the mirror: "I took matters into my own hands." The verdict from God through Samuel was not paradoxical because God is not: "That was a foolish thing."
David had stones - rock solid faith. That's how he became a giant slayer and the greatest king in Israel's history. He wrote songs/psalms about his deference to God in all things. Yet he shared paradoxical humanity with Saul, Paul, you, me, and everybody else who has ever breathed: "I was guilty from the day I was born."
Though he had a heart for God and really, really, really wanted to honor God, he did terribly dishonorable things as a peeping Tom, adulterer, murderer, and...
The good news in the bad news is David knew he had sinned, was sinning, and would sin. He was an early example of the formula for seeing, experiencing, and reporting God's forgiveness: "If we confess our sins, God will forgive us."
That's why anyone who says grace isn't a part of the Hebrew Scriptures has not read the Hebrew Scriptures!
Though flawed, David was faithful within the realities of humanity's paradoxical nature; and he was forgiven and served God as the most distinguished king in His story.
Anyone who has scratched the surface of Holy Scripture to scratch the surface of an authentic relationship with Jesus knows God's formula for faithfulness, forgiveness, and a blessed future with Him in Samuel is consistent throughout the Bible: "Those who honor Me, I will honor; but people who choose to despise Me, I, in turn, will consider contemptible...Devote yourselves to God alone, and He will save you."
The paradoxical nature of humanity brings a few lyrics from Bob Dylan to mind: "You gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna serve..."
King of kings?
It's the most important decision of all in the end.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!