Saturday, March 23, 2013


Comic Art

 Dan Jurgens
 Jerry Ordway
Just about everbody
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Friday, March 22, 2013


Belief is an "Action" Verb

Mark Roberts:
n common English, if someone asks you, "Do you believe in God?" you would rightly assume that they're asking "Do you believe that God exists?" Similarly, if someone were to ask, "Do you have faith in Jesus?" you might answer by saying, "Yes, I believe that Jesus is the Christ" or something like that. In both examples, the language of belief is used to indicate that which we think to be true. Belief has to do with our ideas.


When Paul refers to the recipients of his letter as "faithful in Christ Jesus," he is not saying merely that they are "believers in Christ Jesus," though it is surely true that they acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, the phrase "in Christ Jesus" has profound significance far beyond the object of belief. We'll explore the meaning of "in Christ" throughout our devotional study of Ephesians. By referring to the letter's recipients as "faithful," Paul could be affirming their steadfastness and reliability, much as he uses the same word to describe his co-worker Tychicus in Ephesians 6:21 (the only other use of pistos in Ephesians). Yet, given Paul's use of this language elsewhere in his correspondence and its role in the address of verse 1, it seems likely that Paul is emphasizing the fact that the people to whom he is writing are people of faith.
I wonder if this is what Jesus meant when He was talking about "Many are called, few are chosen?" It really is fairly easy to believe in Jesus, but life with Christ can be anything but easy. It is, nonetheless good, and therefore we should be "steadfast and reliable."

Lord, I seek not merely to believe, but to be faithful - please help me.
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Friday Humor

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Thursday, March 21, 2013


"In All Things..."

Many years ago, when I was far younger than today, I was interviewing a person for an important leadership position at a ministry. He was about my age and I asked him to describe his prayer life. He answered, “My life is a prayer.”

 The idea of a life that is prayer sounds great but seems impossible. A part of the mosaic within my brain understands that there is no definitive methodology, but my linear side is completely frustrated by that.

Shaw also writes:

The purpose of living is not to learn to make prayer,
but to become prayer; to live in and for God
according to the divine call, wholly surrendered to
the Spirit’s activity in the soul for the glory of God.


Over time I have come to understand that this struggle to understand is exactly what God wants. My life is prayer only when it is a life of longing for God. The mental sweat that comes from striving to grow spiritually is part of connecting with God’s heart. And God considers it pure joy to meet us in that place.

Or said another way, what we find to be work may well be what God finds to be praise.

God will not be contained in a box in our lives. He is here to consume our lives and He is voracious in His appetites. But that does not mean He is here to turn us into seraphim and cherubim floating around singing His praises. That is why He made them as they are - He made us for something different.

DO you think Adam and Eve, absent the fall, would have stayed in the garden and just pranced about? I don't. They would have labored. They may have labored at something a bit different, but they would have created and been productive for both creativity and productivity are attributes of God. We are in His image.

It's not always WHAT we do that makes us sinners - it is HOW we do what we do.
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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Confession Needs More Protection Than That

Matthew Cantirino @ First Thoughts discusses the legal protect of the sacrament of confession:
But there’s a murkier, unresolved legal issue in the U.S.: Who qualifies as a “minister”? The umbrella of exemption was definitively expanded in the recent Hosanna-Tabor case, but remains, at least for now, fairly open-ended, encompassing the ‘actually ordained’ (priests, reverends, rabbis) then running through religious education teachers, parish employees, part-time volunteers, and ending somewhere around the local chapter of a twelve-step group. And for faiths and Christian communities without as clearly-established an ordination process as the Catholic Church (and there are many such denominations in our democratic land), articulating the boundary becomes messy business for a court.
Two quick thoughts here. The first is that we have gotten increasingly entrepenurial in our development of churches, and thus done away with denomination and their hierarchies, we have asked ofr many of the erosions of religious protection that have come to pass in the last few decades. When the denominations ruled the land, the line between the religious and the a religious was clear. Not so much anymore. Maybe those denominations were worth more than we thought.

Second thought follows on - confession needs the protect not just of law, but of sacrament. Have we have sought to make church more "accessible" we have done away with highfalutin' concepts like sacraments, much to our detriment. Not only does such further fuzzy the line between the religious and the a Religious, but it erodes the value of the practice as well.

One must be careful when one changes. Sometimes good stuff gets gone too.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


You Can Be A Fan Without Being A Fanatic

Mike Spencer in an iMonk classic posts wondered about fanaticism:
It occurred to me this week, while observing a group of religious fanatics putting on a public demonstration of embarrassing, excessive religious behavior, that I would be considered way out of line if I told the fanatics to cut it out and calm down. Such is the equation of fanaticism with the genuine work of God, that I would be proving to my peers that I was totally insensitive to the Holy Spirit if I questioned the behavior of fanatics in any way.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a fanatic as a person motivated by an extreme, unreasoning, enthusiasm for a cause. The original latin root had religious connotations referring to orgiastic temple rites and ceremonies. Today, the word “fanatic” is used generously in everything from sports to hobbies to religion. Americans are, generally, quite tolerant of fanatics, whether they be grown men dressed as Jedi Knights or football fans colored and tatooed like some kind of visitor from the islands of New Guinea. Unvarnished, undiluted enthusiasm is considered a good thing, even if it borders on the excessive.


On the other hand- and of more interest to me in this article- is the inability of the Christian community to come to terms with fanaticism in its own ranks, and to agree that it is 1) probably not the work of the Holy Spirit and 2) ought to be discouraged- firmly and frequently.

Mike goes on to explore the history of the pentecostal movement and the cases where Americans have tolerated such fanaticism. I think the answer Mike seeks lies in the definition of fanaticism, "motivated by an extreme, unreasoning, enthusiasm." {emphasis added]

We are prone to fanaticism because we are absent reason. Evangelicalism has largely abandoned its intellectual roots. Fanaticism is going to flow into the void.

Christianity in America has largely come to be about "feeling good" about one's self, about God, and about the culture. If feelings are the thing, then people are going to explore their feelings to the ultimate degree, hence fanaticism. Tat is s not to say that feeling are bad, but there is a balance.
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, March 18, 2013


Can This Be Taught?

Chaplain Mike @ iMonk shows a video promoting a "signs and wonders" camp. He does not know what to say. Frankly, neither do I, save to say that genuine action by the Holy Spirit is not subject to our teaching or control, and if we think it is we miss the whole point.

There are two important things to remember about the actions of the Holy Spirit. For one we cannot control such forces. We simply can't. The other is that they are generally for the benefit of others, not ourselves. I don't think that is somethig you can do at camp.
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Sunday, March 17, 2013


Happy St Patrick's Day!

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