Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Mercy Papers 8

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Reclaim the Bow

Discovering Original Mercy

Copyright Reserved, 2017

The Mercy Papers (8)

Coupled with worship which is the only indispensable activity of people who honor God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior, discovering and extending original grace and mercy is the best way to love like God to love Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Blessing Him thusly yields personal and corporate benefits.

Jesus: “The mercy you give to others will be the mercy you get from God…If you forgive others, you will be forgiven by God.”

The corollary is damning.

Existential heavenliness and hellishness have eternal consequences.

While predestination yields to the ultimate sovereignty of God judging eternal destiny, volition is emphasized with greater frequency by Jesus and throughout Holy Scripture.

The paradox is comforting.

No one can defer, deter, or detour God’s saving sovereignty.

God wins sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.

It’s predestined.

Choice or the decision to receive Jesus into the head, heart, and gut as Lord and Savior or not  is the responsibility of all who have heard His inclusive call to existential confidence in the assurance of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus.

Succinctly, we are predestined by God yet must choose between God and idolatries.

Rather than deepening intellectual befuddlement, knowledge of God’s predestination and our volitional responsibility generates strong calm sanity in knowing, again, no one can defer, deter, or detour God’s saving sovereignty regardless of confirmed or contradicted choice.

Because predestination is God’s prerogative, we concentrate on personal volitional responsibility as we praise God for His unalterably predestined ultimate victory shared by grace through faith in Jesus.

Candidly, that paradox is embraced in enthusiastic esteem for God while acknowledging God as divine is more than we as human can comprehend.

Simply, God is God and we are not.

Part of honoring God for sharing ultimate heavenly victory and existential confidence in the meantime is loving Him by loving like Him with agape through grace and mercy.

A mentor once explained: “If you are holding back from God in any part of your life, you will not experience His full pleasure until you yield to God in every part of your life that you are holding back from Him.”

Then he would say, “I want you to take a moment and identify every part of your life that you are holding back from God.”

Finally, he challenged, “Until you yield/surrender those parts of your life to God, you will not experience His full pleasure.  Now you know why you are not filled completely with joy, peace, and calm.  You can never be completely whole and happy until you are completely His.  Now you know the antidote for what is ailing you.  As long as you are holding back any part of your life from God, you will not experience His full pleasure.”

Yes, we are saved for eternal paradise by grace through faith in Jesus; and we can experience more and more and more of His goodness/pleasure in time by yielding/surrendering more and more and more of our affections, aspirations, and actions to His prescribed will for our lives in Jesus by the book.

Among the hardest parts of our lives to yield/surrender to God is our stubborn resistance even disinterest in forgiveness.

Unlike God, we hold so tenaciously, furiously, and self-destructively to our angers, resentments, and retaliatory lusts.

Getting even, getting over, and getting away rebel against His call to get along, overcome, and reconcile through Him.

Hence, our lives are dominated by dysfunction, distance, divorce, and relational death in time with the warning of eternal consequences from God for our irregular, irascible and irreconcilable instincts enabled by emotional and intellectual rationalizations.

Again, we can be healed by discovering agape and expressing it/Him through grace and mercy: “The mercy you give to others will be the mercy you get from God…If you forgive others, you will be forgiven by God.”

Amending the aforementioned mentor’s counsel, “If you are holding back forgiveness from anyone, you will not experience God’s forgiveness.  I want you to take a moment and think of anyone that you have not forgiven.  Now you know why you are not experiencing the joy, peace, calm, and eternal security of God’s forgiveness.  Now you know the antidote for what’s ailing you.”

Sage in Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin: “God’s wisdom teaches me…when I help others, I’m really helping myself.”

It/He happens when we reclaim the bow by discovering original mercy.

Evolutionary Updates

TMP (8) contributors are B&B.

Tax-deductible donations to support the movement’s initiatives to attract inquiry can be made by sending checks to The Grove (4210 Countryside Estates, Poplar Grove, Illinois 61065) or First Presbyterian Church (221 N. Main Street, Belvidere, Illinois 61008) and writing “Reclaim the Bow” in the memo.  

We encourage you to forward, duplicate, and disseminate TMPs.


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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reference for Pastor

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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    We've got some really good pastors in Belvidere and Boone County, Illinois.

    Of course, I said some.

    I don't like most clergy, like me, because they often agree with the last person that they've talked to like bad sentences ending in prepositions.

    Any connection between too many pastors and Jesus by the book is purely coincidental.

    Fortunately, I was asked to write a reference for one of the good ones.

    We'll call him Adam because, uh, that's his name.

    Here goes...

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    I don't like most clergy.

    Though I've been ordained over 40 years and been a pastor for longer than that along with stints as a professor of homiletics and police chaplain, most pastors follow their franchises more than Jesus by the book.

    Most pastors, like me, fall into the mocking lament of Jesus in Matthew 15 and 23.

    Enough.

    I'm just trying to establish some credibility before commending Adam to you as a gem amid the fiberglass.

    God knows along with anyone remotely related to Him that too many of today's clergy enable apostasy in their denominations and congregants because their need to be liked by people exceeds their desire to love the Lord.

    Adam encourages my faith and faith of so many in Belvidere, Boone County, and beyond because he looks up, stands up, speaks up, and acts up for Jesus with consistently contagious enthusiasm without equivocation.

    Knowing denominations are idolatries and insult the One who loved us to death to overcome our idolatrous discriminations, segregations, and degradations, Adam prays and labors with other remnantal pastors to salt, shine, and leavenate.

    His warm pastoral care is matched by Matthew 10:16 acuity; evangelizing, discipling, and protecting people in a Judeish and Matthew 12:43-45 kinda way.

    In short, if I ever retire, which I won't unless forced by assassination or the minority who hate me becoming the majority, I would feel privileged to have Adam as our family pastor.

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    Yes, there are many really faithful pastors in our neck of the woods.

    If you're interested in knowing more about them, just call and I'll tell you how to get in touch with them so you can worship under their undershepherding to the Good Shepherd.

    I was going to provide a list for you; but I'd probably forget a name or four.

    Besides, they're in the book...if you know what He means.

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Monday, October 2, 2017

The Mercy Papers - 7

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Most of us lose our way several times in life's journey; especially when things don't turn out as we think they should. It discourages us; and lest we forget, our default setting is sin, doubt, and defeat (look at David). That's why our faith isn't based on feelings or circumstances. Jesus Himself said, "In this life, YOU WILL face many troubles..." We can know the Word exhaustively but if we don't allow it to be "alive and active" in our lives impacting our beliefs and behaviors (our choice), then, again, we always fall back to our default setting.
Knowing the thing we need to do most is to spend time with God, the enemy guilts us into believing God doesn't want anything to do with us and won't forgive us; so we isolate ourselves from Him. This is the critical point. Are we willing to come as we are and be real with God and ourselves? One thing the Church has done poorly over the centuries is not allowing people to be real. The Bible is all about human failure and our need for a Savior. Authentic Christianity is not about rules over relationships but about relationships in which the rules are there to guide us and keep us from being hopelessly lost. 

Remember, Christianity is not about how good we are or can become but about how great, gracious, and merciful He is! 


We reclaim the bow when we discover His original mercy and love Him by loving each other and others like Him.

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    TMP (7) is from B&B with major contributor Dan Pope who is Senior Pastor of Belvidere, Illinois' Open Bible Church.

    Resting in His providential provision at call, we await the release of resources to attract inquiry.  Your seed money can be sent to The Grove (4210 Countryside Estates, Poplar Grove, Illinois 61065) or First Presbyterian Church (221 N. Main Street, Belvidere, Illinois 61008).  Please write "Reclaim the Bow" in the memo.

    Forward, duplicate, and disseminate TMPs.

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Smoking Turds

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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    My poet-biker buddies like to say, "Life is too short to smoke turds."

    So as long as we have the freedom to be who God designed us to be which never inhibits others from being who God designed them to be because God is not double-minded like us, we're obsessed with driving what we want to drive, eating what we want to eat, wearing what we want to wear, inking if we want to ink, and exercising our Constitutional rights punctuated by its amendments.

    Confessionally more than parenthetically, I'll always be an iron pony and truck guy, never eat stewed tomatoes because they look like blood clots, resist the kinds of church clothes and clergy egotisms mocked by Jesus in Matthew 23, wear tats around my neck than on my skin because I'm a weenie, and die for America's Constitution inspired by Christocentrically Biblical principles.

    Which brings Ken Burns, Colin Kaepernick, the Steelers, and...to mind.

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    Until PBS teamed with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on The Vietnam War with great musical backgrounds and undertones choreographed by Nine Inch Nails and others, I'd almost forgotten why I liked JFK so much yet loathed LBJ and RMN. 

    JFK had fresh idealism like President Obama accentuated by Matthew 10:16 common sense and oratory eloquence cradling as well as communicating substance. 

    LBJ and RMN were dirty rotten scoundrels who lied in secret, on tape, and wherever two or three are not gathered in His name.  They sacrificed nearly 60K Americans and millions of VC and their country's citizens at the altar of personal pride and ambition.  I cannot imagine how they will explain Matthew 25 to Jesus.

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    Until Colin Kaepernick and his comrades like the Steelers decided to disrespect what our flag represents - mostly out of ignorance not intellect like sheep not being led to salvation - I'd almost forgotten that professional sports are legal narcotics that mean nothing in the end while providing a temporal escape from life's meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance in the meantime.

    I've always applauded sports as a way for people to come together and overcome their color, class, and cultural discriminations, segregations, and degradations as they cheered and celebrated common identity as fans.

    While there's not much that I can add to the cacophony of comments about their behaviors on the sidelines of America's teams and values, there may be one word to describe responses to these overpaid-for-playing-kids'-games-spoiled-and-entitled-anti-American-heroes who have trashed and maybe destroyed the one place where all Americans found unity amid diversity and increasingly hostile partisanships.

    Idolatry.

    We've always idolized our professional athletes; and we've looked the other way so often at their immature and often criminal behaviors.

    Yes, most professional athletes are not better or worse than vous or moi; but there are too many of 'em who have proven to be money-grubbing-women-groping-dope-smoking miscreants who would be abhorred if not so adored by their idolatrous fans.

    Idolatry is taking away the attention, affection and allegiance due God alone and giving it to someone or something else; which explains people wearing more team jerseys than crosses and spending more time, energy, and cash on their idols than God.

    Idolatry causes us to look the other way even when our idols ignore, defy, or labor to undermine and destroy principles, values, and matters eternally as well as existentially more important than...games.

    Idolatry causes us to rationalize the lies and sins of LBJ, RMN, CK, the Steelers, denominations, Democrats, Republicans, reflections in all mirrors, and...

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    What's next?

    I don't know.

    Frankly, there are many more important things going on around the globe and country than...children's games being played by adults who really think they're some kinda warriors who deserve to be paid more than people who are doing a heaven of a lot more for people than entertaining and anesthetizing from what's real, crucial, needed, and...Christlike.

    So now that the idolatry has been exposed, maybe there will be a shift of attention, affection, and allegiance along with time, energy, and cash from them to...

    We'll see.

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    If you get it/Him, don't hold your breath.

    If you don't, better hope He does.

    As for me, I've got to deal with my first reaction to the events of last Sunday and since: "Well, at least the Yankees and Cubs weren't involved."

    Hmm.

    Idolatry is insidious.

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!


Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Why Jesus Likes SSL

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



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"How wonderful and beautiful when people get along and live together!"

Psalm 133

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"God doesn't show partiality to anyone because God doesn't have favorites...Words
like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider,
uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing.  From now on,
everyone is defined by Christ and everyone is included in Christ."

Paul

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"God loves the world."

Jesus

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    Having developed academic proficiency in Latin, German, and French while picking up some parchments in America and Europe, I said to the seminary's academic dean, "I think Spanish will be a lot more helpful to me in ministry than Hebrew.  I can understand the need to take Greek because it's more complicated than Hebrew and I'll really need it.  So I'd like to take Spanish instead of Hebrew because I think it will be more useful when I'm a pastor."

    The dean smiled and said, "Mr. Kopp, I appreciate your prophecy; and you can take Spanish...in addition to Greek...and Hebrew."

    Over four decades later, I still use Greek, forget most of what I didn't learn in Hebrew, and wish I would have taken some Spanish lessons.

    Aside from feeling more than a little embarrassed when encountering a 2nd grade Hispanic who can speak English as fluently as Spanish and reminding me that I'm not as "educated" as my many worthless degrees presume along with missing many opportunities to bridge relationships, I've come to admit America is a bilingual nation and being pig-headed and refusing to learn the other language - It goes both ways! - inhibits communication enabling cohesion.

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    Parenthetically, I'm reminded of two conversations.

    John Robertson, pastor of Belvidere, New Jersey's First Presbyterian Church and my field education supervisor while I was the student pastor aka temporary supply of the neighboring Delaware Presbyterian Church, said not long after we met, "I hope ___ doesn't ruin you by separating you from God and His people by degrees."

    Then there was Jim Stobaugh, my assistant when I was pastor of Clark, New Jersey's Osceola Presbyterian Church, who was asked by someone interviewing me for a "big" church in Kansas City, "How do you think Dr. Kopp will do in our Country Club District?"  Not knowing the Country Club District was just a part of the town and not primarily indicative of its attitude, he snapped, "Well, he went to ___; so I guess he can be about as snobby as anybody else!"

    Come to think of it, it's kinda snobby not to humble ourselves before others and not try to do more to "get along and live together."

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    Fast-tracking to September 15, 2017, I had a dream sometime after midnight about the need for me and others like me to start learning Spanish.

    It had to have been prompted by a meeting of the local Salvation Army Advisory Board on September 14.

    I've been on the board for over eleven years; and it's been a privilege to serve with so many authentically Christian women and men.

    Captains Martha and Tomas Valladares have epitomized the best of clergy who get it/Him; especially when it comes to meeting the existential needs of people while taking every opportunity to talk about eternal security by grace through faith in Jesus.

    Anyway, I've always been salted by their ESL classes (English as a second language) for Hispanics; wondering why none of our cracker churches in town offer SSL classes (Spanish as a second language).

    Yes, I know there are those who...you know what.

    I'd rather not talk about that because it shows the worst side of...you know who.

    Besides, Jesus wants people to humble themselves before others as before Him according to the red letters and apostolic confirmations; and I'm tired of debating with bigots.

    As MLK, Jr. often said, especially on the night before going home to Jesus, "I just want to do God's will."

    Getting to the point before I really go off homiletically, it/He hit me!

    We need to offer a SSL class in our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main to prove we're really inviting, welcoming, including, and agapeing.

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    So I sent out an e-mail on September 17 to get it going: "Friends, as our brown population expands and we seek to model Someone better on the corner of Lincoln and Main to invite, welcome, include, and agape, I have a vision for a SSL (Spanish as a second language) opportunity at First."

    I outlined some suggestions for when we could do it and described it as a "conversational-not-grammar-police-oriented" opportunity "to be led by someone who will be patient as well as committed to a long-term-low-key class to increase positive communication in our community and county."

    I said we'd begin as soon as someone is found who can do it so we can do it.

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    As with all of my visions, some are inspired while others are indigested.

    Gamaliel comes to mind; and if I can be shown the error of this vision by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, I'll go back to the bigotry of thinking English only now and forever.

    I guess if some churches can still live in the 16th century and pray in Elizabethan English, why not not?

    Yet, the closer that I get to Jesus, the closer that I want to get to all of His children.

    Forgive me for being so syrupy sentimental on this; but I think Edward Estlin Cummings aka e. e. cummings got it right or, rather, got it from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: "I am blue,  You are yellow.  Together we make green.  And green is my favorite color."

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    God loves unity.

    Anybody who doesn't know that is Biblically illiterate as well as humanly discriminating, segregating, demeaning, and degrading.

    God doesn't favor one people over another people.

    Anybody who doesn't know that is Biblically illiterate as well as humanly discriminating, segregating, demeaning, and degrading.

    God loves the world.

    Anybody who doesn't know that is Biblically illiterate as well as humanly discriminating, segregating, demeaning, and degrading.

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    Jesus wasn't a pride-filled, discriminating, segregating, demeaning, and degrading bigot.

    Again, He said God loves the world -  you, me, and all of the below.

    He came to save it/us/everyone.

    So if Jesus loves 'em and we love Jesus, we know what that means.

    Let's spell it out.

    It means we will do all that we can to nurture that love; including learning how to speak their language as they learn how to speak our language so we can "get along and live together."

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    God knows nobody gets along and lives together without...communicating.

    Think about it.

    Holy communion.

    Get it/Him?

    When we learn how to say that/Him in every language, then it will be on earth as it is in heaven.

    That is how He taught us to pray.

    That's why Jesus likes...

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!


Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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