Thursday, February 21, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 42

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Everybody Needs Jesus”

          Jesus warned us about false prophets: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

          Succinctly, a true prophet points to Jesus by the book alone for existential peace and eternal salvation.  A false prophet points to anyone or anything other than Jesus to steal peace and salvation.

          The challenge is false prophets, as Luther explained, often come as “angels of light” to trick us into believing there are other paths to personal peace and eternal salvation.  They come, again, in sheep’s clothing.  They come looking like one of the good guys and gals. 

          Jude observed, “They slither into the church and turn the grace of God into religious promiscuities by denying Jesus as the only Lord and Savior of humanity.”

          Paul said something like this: “They tickle, endorse, enflame, and enable our lusts and seduce us to the dark side.”

          Or as Isaiah noted so long ago, “They say bad is good and good is bad and light is darkness and darkness is light.”

          They mirror the damning madness of their master; or as the Rolling Stones sang, “Confusing is my game.  Can you guess my name?”

          Or as Dylan crooned, “But the enemy I see wears a clock of decency.”




          Law degrees.

          Republicans or Democrats.

          Denominational affiliations.

          Uh, sound like any politicians that you’ve heard in DC or Springfield?

          Sound like any pulpiteers and pewsitters that you’ve heard?

          Remember, walking into a church makes a person into a Christian about as much as walking into McDonald’s turns a person into a Big Mac.

          Just because they’ve fooled enough people to get a seat in Congress and swore to uphold the Constitution doesn’t mean they mean it.

          Just because they’ve made it through college and seminary and denominational scrutiny and church votes and said they love Jesus and Holy Scripture doesn’t mean they mean it.

          If you doubt that, look at all of the socialists in DC and Springfield.

          Look at all of the syncretists and universalists in American pulpits and pews.


          Like Islamofascistnutball savages, they sneak in across unsecured borders to ravage, rape the soul, and steal existential peace and eternal salvation.

          Jesus was clear and conclusive in His invitation to everybody: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

          The Church has always echoed its/His most essential invitation/guarantee: “Believe in Jesus and you will be saved…There is salvation in no one else.”

          The Church has always fenced its pulpits and leadership from anyone who does not believe in Jesus by the book.

          That’s because the Church wants to be God’s salvation army.

          I like how Francis Chan put it in Letters to the Church: “The Church was meant to be a beautiful army, sent out to shed light throughout the earth.  Rather than hiding together in a bunker, we were supposed to fearlessly take His message to the most remote places.  People should be in awe when they see His people with a peace that surpasses comprehension and rejoicing with inexpressible joy.”

          Nota bene.

          Before anyone suggests or conspires with darkness to mislead, Jesus and people who follow Him by the book are more inviting, welcoming, and including than any other “religion” in history.

          Jesus said, “Come to Me, everybody and all of you, and I will take care of you.”

          Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek nor slave nor free nor male nor female nor color nor class nor culture distinctives in the Kingdom.  We are all united and equally saved by grace through faith in Jesus.”

          That’s why everybody needs Jesus.

          Because everybody wants to be saved forever and overcome the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the modern world, everybody needs the only One who can make it happen.

          David understood the need for Him; singing the prayer, “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.  I thirst for God, the living God.”

          Speaking for everybody’s need, David asked rhetorically, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?”

          His answer: “Put your hope in God!…Our Savior and our Lord!”

          Jesus expands or fills full the meaning of Psalm 42 in His 4th beatitude in Matthew 5: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

          Peterson’s paraphrase captures the Greek sense of our Lord’s wording that brings a contented cow to mind and recalls David’s panting for God deer that represent everybody: “You are blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.  He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”

          Do you remember the opening scene in The Wizard of Oz?

          A vexed Dorothy Gale tells Uncle Henry and Auntie Em that mean old Miss Gultch is threatening to take Toto to the sheriff and have him destroyed for chasing her cat and biting her.

          Caught up in the midst of the hard farm life of Kansas, Auntie Em tells Dorothy to go someplace where there isn’t any trouble.

          Dorothy asks Toto, “Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?  There must be…It’s far, far, away.”

          Then the screen lights up and our hearts pound with the thirst and hunger of everybody else panting for a better place somewhere over the rainbow:

                    Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
                    There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

                    Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
                    And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

          Everybody thirsts and hungers and pants for that.

          Staying with that movie classic that just turned 80, that’s what compelled Dorothy’s new friends to head down the yellow brick road with her to Oz’s wizard.

          The Scarecrow wanted a brain.

          The Tin Woodsman wanted a heart.

          The Cowardly Lion wanted courage.

          Dorothy wanted to go home.

          Pero the wizard turned out to be a poser yet still could see there was a greater Spirit that had already come through for them; for the Cowardly Lion always ended up leading the charge, the Scarecrow always ended up figuring things out, and the Tin Woodsman was always rusting up about something pulling on his heart strings.

          The same was true for Dorothy.

          The good witch Glinda said Dorothy could always go home to Kansas because she had learned a great truth: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.  There’s no place like home.”

          That’s the message of Psalm 42.

          That’s message of the 4th beatitude of Jesus.

          That’s the gospel.

          Wholeness, happiness, joy, and eternal salvation aren’t somewhere over the rainbow.

          It’s as close as Jesus is to you and me and everybody else.


Blessings and Love!


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

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





Monday, February 18, 2019

Note to Blackhawk Presbytery Council About Modeling Someone Better

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


    I've got a lot of friends who've left our denomination.

    While I share many theological sympathies with them, I have not joined them for many reasons that they reject.

    My sentiments have been expressed ad nauseum in a lot of rags as well as KD; so I'm not about to repeat 'em.

    Let's just say I'm not leaving one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination.

    Your greener pasture is someone else's brown field.

    I didn't miss the course on original sin.

    As long as our denomination doesn't force me to participate in anything that insults the holiness of God as esteemed in over 2K years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity, I'm not going anywhere.

    Don't get me wrong.

    I still think our denomination is irretrievably apostate under current management and think of myself as a missionary to the mainline, especially because of its increasing syncretism and universalism and ethics only coincidental to Jesus by the book, pero if Jesus keeps loving the hell out me...

    Really, I don't expect my friends who've split or denominational jingoists and idolaters to buy any of that.

    That's O.K.

    I need Savior Jesus too.

    Moretheless, I like to be fair when I experience something/someone in our franchise that really models Someone better.

    That's what this KD celebrates!

    Uh, BTW, I've been around a while and I've heard all of your arguments about exiting and extolling your favorite denominations; so I won't be moved by your criticisms one way or the other.


    I'll just light a fuma, ride my pony, and admit I'm still just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by the book.

    I'm not moved to argue much anymore.

    I'm moved by...


I am copying some other people.

In a country, world, and even church of increasing partisanship and irreconcilable behaviors, I experienced fresh hope on Friday (1/15).

Modeling Someone better is a big part of our call to leadership.

We are to be so close to Jesus that we can say with Paul that He is increasingly living in/through us with agape exclamation points of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Well, as I was driving home on Friday afternoon after some time with a friend at Bad Ash Cigars in Oregon, I was feeling so sad and impotent while listening to the news reports emanating from the horrors in Aurora.

In the midst of my lamentations, I received a call from our bishop who asked if I knew of anyone from Aurora's First Presbyterian Church or Westminster Presbyterian Church that was involved directly

You may recall those churches have left our franchise; and you may also recall John and I were involved quite heavily in many of those deliberations along with the same at Kish and Bethany.

Anyway, John said he wanted First and Westminster to know we stand ready to help in any way that we can and he is ready to solicit the help of our PDA program.

I was touched deeply.

I felt our Lord's pleasure.

I was warmed.

I experienced fresh hope.

Again, in a country, world, and even church bent on division and damning, it was so refreshing.

That's what happens when we model Someone better.

Thanks, John!

Blessings and Love!


Blessings and Love!


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

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





Thursday, February 14, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms #41

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“True and False Expectations”

Psalm 41 is about David’s expectations.

David expects people to betray him: “My enemies speak maliciously about me…They store up evil in their hearts against me…They plan to harm me...They wish the worst for me…They form committees to plan misery for me…Even my friend in whom I trusted has betrayed me.”

David expects he will betray God: “Lord, I know I’m a sinner.  Please be kind and generous to me because I have sinned against You…Please put me back together again because my bad behaviors are tearing me apart.”

David expects God to save him from himself: “But You, God, be gracious and lift me up…Yes, I know You do…You always come through for those who trust You…You save me from them and myself…You keep me…You preserve me…You don’t give me over to my enemies and You sustain me in time and forever.”

Summarily, David expects a lot from God and next to nothing from everyone else including himself.

True expectations count on God in time and forever.

False expectations count on people for anything.

While I may be wrong, I think too many people have missed the course on original sin.

The original or first sin was Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the garden that went something like this.

God: “Don’t do that!”

Adam and Eve: “But we wanna do that no matter what You say.”

Et that instinct, that bent on sinning or rejecting and going against God’s will for our lives, is why we need Savior Jesus to save us from ourselves.

It’s in our genes to sin.
We have an instinct or inherited inclination to insult God’s holiness and injure God’s people.

While becoming born anothen (again and from above) by grace through faith in Jesus as part of the Christian family, the apple never falls too far from the tree as we’ll always also be the Adamsons or daughters and sons of Adam and Eve with that undeniable and awfully repeated and irresistible desire to paddle our own canoes against the flow of His living waters.

That’s why there’s nothing original about sin.

It’s one of the things that we’re sooooooo repetitively bad at…like sentences ending in prepositions.

Too many people ignore that reality about others and themselves and spend so much time feeling miserable about it/them and the mirror’s reflection.

I’m reminded of an opening scene in The Wizard of Oz.

Parenthetically, I just saw the re-mastered 80th anniversary big screen edition of it with my mom, sister, and nephew on January 27, 2019 at a movie theater along Route 81 between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, here’s the scene.

Scarecrow: “I haven’t got a brain…only straw.”

Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”

Scarecrow: “I don’t know…but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking…don’t they?”

Dorothy: “Yes, I guess you’re right.”

Yeah, they’re right.

It brings to mind…

Sooooooo  many choices.

You pick.

Moretheless, it doesn’t take much brains to look at the world, America, churches, them, and the mirror’s reflection to admit, again, there’s nothing original about sin.

Psalm 41 reminds us to be honest in our expectations.

Honestly, we can expect to be betrayed.

Especially, if we love Jesus, we will be betrayed by people; even friends and family.  Jesus said that will happen and we pray for the persecuted in worship every Sunday on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

Honestly, we can expect to betray.

Everyone, honestly, can relate to the apostle: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…I want to do the right thing but I too often do the wrong thing…I really need a Savior!…Thank You, God, for giving me a Savior in Jesus by grace through faith!”

Honestly, we can count on God to save us.

Now go read John 3:16-17 again!

Pero though no one is pure and perfect in every way and we can’t get that DNA from the garden out of our or anyone else’s systems completely, maybe it’s not thaaaaaat unreasonable to have higher expectations for those who say they love Jesus.

Calvin said Christians show signs of being saved.

Luther said, “Good works don’t make a person good; but a good person does good works.”

What we say and do is an expression of what we believe.

Deeds confirm creeds.

The apostle wrote about fruit/proof/evidence of being a Christian like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, humility, and self-control.

A Scout aka Christian is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

A mentor put it this way: “My biggest struggle is not with people who don’t believe in Jesus.  I don’t expect anything from them.  My biggest struggle is with people who say they believe in Jesus but don’t act like they believe in Jesus.”


I wonder how Jesus feels about that?

I wonder if Jesus ever feels like saying, “Don’t tell anybody that I’m your Lord and Savior because I don’t want them to think you got what you got from Me.”

Just a thought.

Here’s a better one.

We can expect Him to be our Father even if He doesn’t expect us to act like it.

How do we know that?


Knowing we’d never be able to save ourselves, which means He doesn’t expect us to do it, He did it.

That’s why He’s called the Gospel.


Blessings and Love!


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

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





Monday, February 11, 2019

RRK Weight Loss Program with Thanks to Mark Roden

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


    My famous friend Tony that I used to hang with when I was an important pastor/presbyter often chastened clergy that lived lavish lifestyles while he wore a plastic watch that he got in a Happy Meal from McDs.

    Then there was Dr. Woflgang Lowe who was one of my professors in Germany.

    While I'm not one of those fundy morons in churches that think Jesus used Welch's at Cana, I'd rather have my wife's iced tea than beer though Dr. Lowe and I shared a few unfiltered and full-bodied mugs of it on Heidelberg's Hauptstasse that's made me immune to American colored water versions ever since; pero if you can get me a shot of B&B, Sambuca, or Pisa while savoring a fuma...

    Anyway, he once criticized American clergy because, in his words, "You drive caddyyacks and pretend to believe what you don't really believe anymore."

    I got mad at him because I hadn't been around clergy enough back then to know it's true; so I blurted, "Yeah, well, if you Germans are so great, how come you start world wars that you never win?"

    I still got an A.

    Professors didn't grade by ideology in Germany back then.

    Then there's Paul Roberts.

    He is the proverbial father of the Confessing Church Movement that tried unsuccessfully to save the PCUSA by calling it back to Jesus by the book a few decades ago.

    There have been similar failed movements among Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, UCCers, and...

    Getting back to Paul, he is one of the most confident, courageous, redemptive, assertive to sometimes aggressive while remaining humble in a 1 John 1 kinda way pastors that I've ever met; so I was surpirsed when he seemed so depressed during a lunch in Pittsburgh so long ago.

    He said, "I'm becoming a fat pastor and it's a bad witness."

    Being fat myself at the time in a continuing struggle that started not long after my first church potluck in 1971, you will be surprised to hear I kept my mouth shut.

    I have never forgotten any of those three preceding conversations.

    God always brings them to mind when I need confessional, conduct, or countenance chastening.

    Recently, after a bad doctor's appointment, I realized I was gaining too much weight again and...

    Fortunately, God's providence intervened again and...

While I'm not an expert, people have been asking about my recent weight loss and increased energy.

It's true.

Though those who would like to see me dead because I am unrelenting when it comes to Jesus by the book as the only answer to what's plaguing the planet and especially America in these last days may have been cursing me with a terminal illness - and remember they come in sheep's clothing - my increasingly physical fitness is approaching my emotional, intellectual, and spiritual passion for loving the hell out of people.

Get it?

Anyway, I flunked an iron test to give blood before Thanksgiving 2018 and was taking too many naps.

God's providence took over.

I met Mark Roden.

He is the main man of M&R Custom Millwork - Google it/him - and has become a close friend and we met because Leslie is finally getting a kitchen that she has deserved for too long.

Yeah, you can go on the cheap and get crappy work in such areas pero Mark and his crew are the best quality with enduring excellence of anyone in the area at any cost.

O.K., back to the weight loss program.

Mark told me about his plan for managing diet, weight, and vigor.

Basically, it's a smoothie that includes more vegetables and other stuff than we'd ever eat in a day at the start of the day; and since I've started it, I don't graze as much as I used to and I'm losing weight faster and more permanently than ever before.

Here's my variation of what Mark has taught me.

I blend most of these things into every smoothie every day for breakfast and even love the taste.

It may sound gross to you; but if you haven't tried it and you're still going to Kohl's for expanded waistlines more often than not...

Or as I say to mainline denominational pastors and pewsitters who don't like our passion for Jesus on the corner of Lincoln and Main in the words of Moody, "I prefer how I do it to how you don't do it."

Contents (preferred fresh pero frozen if necessary):

Beets (Power Beets if no fresh ones available but always beets)
Blueberries, blackberries, or any dark fruit
Whey Protein
Green Superfood
Apple Cider Vinegar (not much)
Any kinda juice or tea, especially green, or even water

More than less, that's it.

I never add ice cream or peanut butter (though I may eat that during the day) or chocolate (though a little dark chocolate is good for blood pressure; especially apres a fuma).

Nothing against milk but...

My serving size is a large cup from McDs or Starbucks.

One a day at dawn.

I also walk two miles in the morning - around 3:45 - 4:00 a.m.  If you wait until after work, yeah, right! That'll work!  Not! - and more when away when not pressed by high maintenance ministry or a pick up after 11:30 p.m.

Blessings and Love!


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

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!