Bible, Hate speech

An Alarming Trend…that may bring opportunity.

News from across the Big Eastern Pond is no longer as startling and surprising as it may have been a few years ago. Still it’s alarming, since lately the USofA seems to take all her marching orders for social structure from Europe. In an article (see link below), from The HeraldScotland, a visiting youth choir from Texas is denounced for being a mouth-piece of a mega-church with intentions for “pushing their extremely fundamentalist agenda.”

While the intolerant and hateful characterization offered by one of the folks interviewed in this article is the alarming part, there is some truth found here. The church is different. It must be different, because much of the world loves many things God calls evil. Running from this truth in an attempt to be relevant only causes the church to become irrelevant regarding the love, mercy, and justuce of the Lord. Of course many, like the individual quoted in this article, believe the evangelical church by nature looks like Westboro Baptist Church, but they are wrong. They may not know they are wrong, still that is their perception. In reality, the real church looks nothing like Westboro. Instead, like the Savior, the real church will offer both truth and love. It will remain high on both relationship and conversation. It will recognize that much that passes for compassion these days is hateful and harmful. However, it will not say so through clenched fists and angry lips. Rather, it will imitate the Lord’s question and advice on behalf of a lady being tormented by haughty men. After pointing out the wayward and selfish intentions of the men, Jesus stood up and asked, “Lady, where are your accusers? Is there now none?’ She replied, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more.'” Of course, the last five words will always cause an uproar these days. For those swept up in that uproar, I offer a challenge: do some old fashioned homework…find out what that word “sin” meant in the original language and context. To those in the pro-Jesus movement I also offer a challenge: remember the true wonder and beauty of the Lord’s ways travel with our hands and feet and lips as we engage others with both light and love…our worldview is neither left nor right, but biblical.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14612475.US_youth_choir_linked_to_anti_gay_church__says_Scottish_Secular_Society/

 

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Bible

Thoughts About Dallas Et. Al.

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A week tucked away in the country at Camp Morrow on the eastern side of Mt Hood sharing God’s message of love ended spectacularly. God moved! Lives changed! Love wins! Then, early this morning, I asked if anyone had news from the “outside world.” Nothing. There was no TV, no internet, etc.

Now, sitting at a road side rest stop on my drive home, I feel the sting of the fall once again. Deciding to check the news I was slammed with the horror of more death. So here I sit between the Mountain of the Light of Life and the Valley of the shadow of death. On one hand I witnessed the miracle of God’s love…on the other hand I witness the terror of evil…and this one thing I know…I will pray and preach and scratch and claw til my dying breath to proclaim “There is no salvation to the left, there is no salvation to the right, there is only salvation on the narrow way that leads straight to the everlasting arms.” Well do I know the sting of evil that brings brutal, premature death and wrecked lives. Yet better still do I know the balm of love that brings eternal, mature life and hopeful hearts. Please please come out from the false hopes of the right and left and walk upon the Way.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

Jesus: I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6

 

 

 

 

 

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Bible

Locked Out

Locked OutOne evening. One drive. One Chore. One need. One mistake. Many blessings.

The other night I drove to my father’s old house to complete one final repair in the back and forth negotiation for its sale. While on my way I noticed my tank was low on fuel…really low. The nearest gas station rested anxiously in a community known for…well, umm…let’s say my Spidey-senses were on full alert.

Pulling in, I covered my angles. I surveyed a full 360…took note of vehicles, individuals, groups, and escape routes. I checked my pockets for what could be left in the car…and locked. With debit card in hand, I proceeded to pump the gas. As I figured, smooth sailing. Feeling good about being prepared even though I really did not anticipate trouble, I replaced the gas nozzle and proceeded to get back in the car.

“Argh! (Deep guttural groan)! Are you kidding me!?” I stood their berating myself. The door was locked! My self-proclaimed ninja skills placed my wallet and phone under the seat. However, my lack of attention to every detail left the keys in the ignition!

My eyes went back to their search. “Now what? Options? Maybe I should just get a good sized rock and put it through a window…yeah, that’ll do it…and maybe next time I won’t be so stupid.” Well, perhaps not. So into the “seedy” little store I walked.

There I met a line of people 20 strong. Most presented themselves as the cigarette-dangling-from-the-corner-of-the-mouth crowd members. About half were dressed in pajama bottoms and sweatshirts. There were a few of the “pants on the ground, pants on the ground, acting like a fool with your pants on the ground” crowd members. No doubt my profile meter instantly engaged.

My turn at the cash register finally arrived. Sheepishly I asked, “What are the chances you might have an old fashioned wire coat hanger I could use to get into my locked car?’ The lady smiled…broadly and knowingly. She answered, “Sorry.” I nodded my head affirmatively and began to walk out.

A lady who appeared to be about 30 years old said, “I think I might have one in my car. If not, I only live about a block away. I know I have one there. Let me check the car. If I don’t have one, just let me pump my five dollars into my car and I will drive home and bring one back.”

I said thank-you and asked, “What about a screw driver? It will give me a little leverage to create a gap so I can get the wire past the door.”

She replied, “I’ll check. I know I have one at my house.” And away she started to go.

As she was leaving, another lady, about the same age, said, “I know I do not have a screw driver, but I have the coat hanger.” Both the first lady and the second were dressed in the pajama bottom theme. Both appeared down on their luck. Yet both smiled. Both were sincere.

There in a moment we had a team and a plan. The first lady would retrieve a screw driver from her home, the second lady would supply the coat hanger, I would regret some of my initial feelings and attempt to open my car door.

Little did I know the resources would increase, the plan would be renegotiated, and I would be delighted. I went out to the car. From across the parking lot the second lady used hand signals to let me know she would drive her car to mine. She rolled up in a 25 to 30-year-old SUV. She got out. So did her husband/boyfriend. He completely fit the evening’s gas station theme. He was also using a pair of vise-grips to bend the wire coat hanger into a tool.

I expressed my thanks once again. He said, “No problem. Let me have a crack at it.”

He handed me the vise-grips. There was an instant moment of tactical recognition. I used the handle of the vise-grips to leverage the door and he slipped the hanger in.

One attempt. Two. Three. Four. It just wasn’t working. The lady continued to smile, offer encouragement, and help her man and I not fall into that frustration we guys sometimes allow to erupt when our mini-heroism is met with situational failure. He tried again. And again. Still…nothing.

Another fella walked up. Arms covered with tattoos, emaciated with that you-know-what appearance, but smiling, he fell into natural conversation with the others, “Locked out, huh? Toyota, huh? Anyone have a Ford key? Sometimes if you jiggle them in a Toyota it will work.”

The lady said, “Ha, we still have our old Ford key on our key ring, let’s give it a try.”

Jiggle, jiggle…the lock button moved…but didn’t pop up. Another try. No success.

The newcomer said, “Well, almost.” With his smile bigger than ever, he backed up…but stayed engaged, added to the conversation, and joined the lady in offering encouragement.

A moment or two later the first lady drove back up. She got out of her old car, smiled, and said, “Still at it, huh? Well will the screw driver help?”

Then another car drove up. Another lady got out. The first lady (keeping up?) said, “Oh this is my best friend. I called her. She came to help too.”

Again, I offered another round of thanks. The fella with the coat hanger and I attacked with new determination. The screw driver allowed me to open a wide space. In went the coat hanger and boom-shacka-laka the door was unlocked.

The small crowd erupted with a cheer.

The second man said, “Seriously, I just stopped to help, but as long as we’re all here, does anyone have a smoke I can borrow?” The man and wife/girlfriend both reached in their pockets for their cigarette packs. In an instant, cigarettes were presented to the man who asked. With a nod of appreciation, he accepted.

I said thank you once again to everyone. “Hey, we’ve all been there was the common reply.” I then asked, “Can I do anything to repay your kindness? Can I buy anyone gas for their car? Who wants a Coke or something? Anything?”

“No,”

“Nope,”

“Not a chance,”

“No need,”

“Hey everyone has needs from time to time, don’t worry about it,”

softly fell from their lips.

I was blessed.

I was humbled.

I was grateful…for each of them…for God.

So, as everyone started to end the impromptu fellowship group, I offered, “Well thank you again. Seriously, thank you and God bless you.”

One of the ladies said, “He’s why we do it.”

And we the strangers, no longer strangers, went our separate ways.

The Holy Spirit whispered with illumination, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:17).

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The Gospel Across the Globe!

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While those of us who long to reach our USA mission field are not doing very well, our brothers and sisters around the world are seeing millions come to the Savior! PTL!

An article in The Washington Post starts like this…

“While Christianity may be on the decline in the United States, the world is becoming more religious, not less. While rising numbers of “nones” — those who claim no religious affiliation when asked — claim the attention of religious pundits, the world tells a different story. Religious convictions are growing and shifting geographically in several dramatic ways.”

Read the whole article and rejoice…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/20/think-christianity-is-dying-no-christianity-is-shifting-dramatically/

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Bible

The Resurrection: History or Hoax

While there is so much, much more evidence, this short clip gives three of great importance. Evidence is powerful…

 

Jesus loves us this I know for the Bible tells me so

Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves us. Yes, Jesus loves us. Yes, Jesus loves us.

The Bible tells me so.

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Man of Sorrows

The depth of this old hymn by P.P. Bliss knows no limits.

Man of sorrows what a name for the Son of God, who came

ruined sinners to reclaim:Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood,

sealed my pardon with his blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we; blameless Lamb of God was he,

sacrificed to set us free: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die; “It is finished” was his cry;

now in heaven exalted high: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King, all his ransomed home to bring,

then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

My God, my God, how I marvel at thee.

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More Letters from Jail

Merry Christmas small gift

Project Hope is the brainchild of an adopted Romanian girl. She’s a grown up lady now, but she is still child-like in her faith.

About two years ago she took her pastor’s challenge to become unleashed in her walk with our Savior. “Get out there and get to it. Share the life-changing news about Jesus.” She thought, “Yes!”

So she did.

Every month she delivers gifts to our Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center. As well, about three times a year she supplies our Kitsap County Jail with boxes of brand new study Bibles for the chaplain to give out. In December she delivers plain lunch bags filled with a few little treats for Christmas. And currently she is attempting to open the same kind of doors to our Women’s Correctional Facility.  Her thoughts are these: “I know others are doing bigger and more, but I think every now and then, from time to time, people just need to receive reminders…reminders that ‘a person’ or ‘a church’ is thinking of them, caring for them, praying over them.”

Every gift is accompanied with a small note…that little reminder that a person and a church cares. Recently we received some notes in return. Let me share just a few excerpts from a few of the letters…

From one: “My name is __________ __________ and I am currently incarcerated at the Kitsap County Jail. Today, during lunch, I, as well as the other inmates, received a small paper bag with some wonderful items inside. I agree with the card that it is a small effort because when out of jail these items are petty. But in here it is a huge treat, and for that I thank you. Inside this small, white paper bag I found hope. It proved to me that there is still so much good in the world…which lately has been dark and gray…”

From another: “Thank you. I have a box at home with what seems like worthless items. However they are priceless to me. Your greeting card will be in that box.”

And another: “…I’m writing this letter to thank you for the chips, hot cocoa, and Hershey Kisses…  In the info card it reads, ‘While it’s such a small effort, we want you to know we care and you are in our prayers.’ I say this on my behalf and I can and will tell you on behalf of others in here. Yes, it reads ‘a small effort’ but to us and the smiles and joy and the warm feelings it made us feel, it was huge. It was a big and kind gesture that West Sound Community Church did for the sinners that are locked up in Kitsap County Jail. This unexpected gesture of kindness helped me tremendously, and seeing other prisoners smile because of the beauty in such a kind and sweet moment. I’ll never forget the words that came from some of the other prisoners. Here’s what some said, here’s the things I heard and I write this so you all can know that the Lord’s work is mighty in small things or great things…: 1) ‘How cool for a church to send us a gift,’ 2) ‘Thank God that we were even able to receive it,’ 3) ‘God’s touching those in charge of the jail, cause I can’t believe that the gift from the church didn’t get rejected,’ 4) ‘God loves us,’ 5) ‘God’s great,’ 6) ’There’s good people out there, God bless them,’ and 7) ‘I wonder why someone at a church would waste their time and money on us?’ These are just a few of the things within ear shot of myself…to tell you (and I hope I can paint this picture) so that you all can visualize what I saw in Kitsap County Jail on December 9, 2015. In the pod unit I am in there are two tiers, the upper and lower tiers. Both tiers, upper and lower, have about 26 inmates and every inmate had a smile, a smile that stayed on them for a while. Words of joy came from these inmates. I can tell you from my experience, I’ve never seen every inmate in here smile all at the same time. But on December 9th, 2015, starting around 11am, I saw something remarkable in here. All in the same hour, all because the inmates at Kitsap County Jail received some things from people they don’t know and never met. I will never forget the smiles on my fellow inmates. I will never forget the words I heard come from prisoners…all because of a church.”

One of the quotes from this last letter really sticks out for me. An inmate was overheard asking, I wonder why someone at a church would waste their time and money on us? The answers are quite simple.

  • An orphaned child in Romania was adopted by a Mom and Dad in Minnesota. She received two precious gifts from them: the gift of new life with a new family and the gift of the gospel which led to an even better new life and new family from the Savior.
  • A young lady, with childlike faith in her Savior, delighted in the idea that she could be his partner in the giving of his gift. She knew a most profound truth, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
  • A church, the young lady’s church, accepted her challenge…”Will you help me?” The folks of her church also believe that “every now and then, from time to time, people just need to receive reminders…reminders that ‘a person’ or ‘a church’ is thinking of them, caring for them, praying over them.” They need to know God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit want them to have the greatest gift of all…eternal life. Sometimes a small effort leads to massive results.

 

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