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Showing posts from November, 2010

leaving church, part 2

See the previous post.  And now the search for a new church has begun for my friend, and he's having a difficult time of it. My insight for today is that people don't go to church because those in charge of church make it too unpleasant. This is a distressing discovery as I loved going to [a previous church] every Sunday for about 5 years.  Here, after 1-1/2 years I've come to dread much of the experience. In our immediate area (10-mile radius) we are surrounded by Baptists, with a smattering of liberal Methodists and Presbyterians. There are some Roman Catholic churches, but they keep pretty quiet, which is probably a good thing considering the kinds of things the bishops have been up to with the homosexual priests over the past several decades. The local Presbyterian church is in a state of collapse following the pastor's affair with a member of the congregation. One of the Baptist churches publishes on its web site a demographic survey showing the education levels

from a friend leaving a church (not ours)

I followed with some interest a longtime friend who is leaving his church.  Here's one installment of what he wrote me, with a few things changes or omitted to protect the innocent (and the guilty)... I'd appreciate prayers for our family as we search for a new church.  We are quitting our church this week. Our misgivings about this church have been growing for the past several weeks. Things came to a head this past Sunday. The worship service was a preview of what will be a new service starting soon. It was basically a rock concert with smoke filling the auditorium, chanting of mindless phrases, and the prancing around of our new worship leader who came from a mega-Church several weeks ago. He seems to think he is a performer rather than a leader. As it turned out the whole experience adversely affected all of our family, both spiritually and physically. After the service I learned from the pastor that the sound level was adjusted to 92 decibels, which turns out to be no


Lately I have been thinking about grace and coming across good quotes (so random it might seem) on the topic... First, this from Fred Smith, former Dallas businessman: Grace was genuine, real, personal, and palpable to the great saints.  Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach, Francois Fenelon…these Christian mystics never doubted they were the constant recipients of God’s amazing grace.  Grace was a practical part of their every day lives. For example, Brother Lawrence said when he made a mistake, he didn’t spend time agonizing about it - he just confessed it and moved on.  Before I read this, I spent a lot of time trapped by guilt.  Immediate grace was too good to be true.  Brother Lawrence released me. Nevertheless, legalism appeals to our common sense and reasoning.  I find it necessary to remind myself that the very Scripture that makes me know my guilt lets me know His grace.  By refusing grace, we play God striving to discipline ourselves.  We view events as punishment.  We see

the embarkation of the pilgrims

he himself

Just noticed that the opening and closing teaching sessions by our Lord Jesus, according to Luke's Gospel, have a striking similarity: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me , because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him . And he began to say to them, " Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing ."  (Luke 4:16-21 ESV) And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and s

the dry rot of boredom

I like Fred Smith's advice on how to live life .   Here he writes on dealing with boredom. Boredom is the dry rot of our souls. It is a sure sign of poor self-management.   It comes when we feel what we’re doing isn’t worth the time, isn’t interesting, or isn’t challenging enough.  Boredom can be the result of living too efficiently and less effectively.  When our life becomes a series of habits and routines, our creative juices dry up. Oftentimes I hear my grandchildren say, “I’m bored.”  My response is always the question, “So, what are you going to do about it?”  We must learn early on that the cure for boredom is our responsibility, not the job for others . We live in an entertainment culture.  We too quickly cry “foul” if the TV screen goes blank for a few seconds. A prolonged stay in boredom allows us to fall into pseudo-sophistication, grow melancholy, or adapt a lifestyle of ennui.  If we stay there too long, we lose the ability to pull ourselves out of the quagmire

Some quotes old and new

On the topic of seeing Christ -- that faith is a miraculous work of God, and that we should be seeking to see more of Christ's glory:    Simon Peter replied, " You are the Christ , the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you , but my Father who is in heaven."   (Matthew 16:16-17 ESV)   "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world."  (John 17:24 ESV) Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art. (Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century) “

postmodern power plays

“Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”  So said G. K. Chesterton, who is one of the most quotable writers in history, though I think C. S. Lewis still holds first place in that category. I finished reading an excellent quote on education by Chesterton here . This struck me as so relevant that it could have been written this week on our own campus.   Many liberal arts professors today would tell me that my own view of truth is absolute, dogmatic, and ultimately leads to domination.  Instead, any "truth" should be seen as subjective and relative. Absolute truth claims only serve to subjugate others -- all truth claims, then, are power plays. Except their own, they think. I hear often from Christian students how their views are frequently belittled and berated by teachers who would otherwise say truth is relative.  So even the postmodern professor ends up being exclusive, domineering, and power-playing.  They sim

"move it, brotha"

Fred Smith on motivation. This applies to work, marriage, ministry or child-rearing... Many people think of motivation as a quick, easy blast ---- a shot to the solar plexus to spur action.  Not in my book.  I hear a lot about the time Knute Rockne stayed out of the Notre Dame locker room at half time until the very last second.  He then poked his head in the door and yelled, “Let’s go, girls!”  Of course this story is famous because the Fighting Irish went on to victory.  Somehow, I think this bleeds over into manipulation rather than motivation . What is the difference? 1. Motivation is the process whereby a mutual interest is developed between two people.  This is usually recognized by both as they work together for success.  Motivation involves a long-term healthy drive in a psychologically friendly atmosphere where people are developed, not used.  There are common goals and positive outcomes. 2. Manipulation is the process used by one who gets others to do what he wants

Sheaffer Imperial desk pen

This desk set I received from my father-in-law.  It's a Sheaffer Imperial fountain pen with white onyx (or marble) base and monogrammed brass plate.  Steel inlaid nib, a very smooth fine.  1960s.  


Here's the last portion of my review on Dr. John Hannah's notes on spiritual growth: 10. Mortification : How is the believer to put to death the deeds of the flesh?       “To be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace”(Rom. 8:6).       “Watch and Pray that You Enter not into Temptation” (Matt. 26:41) . We began our study of the spiritual life stating that there are three important ingredients with numerous ramifications: Know your God, Know yourself, and know your situation. Vivification is about the first of these; Mortification is about the latter of these. a)    Some General Reflections on Sin in our lives. 1) Most people are bothered by the symptoms and consequences of sin, not its causes. 2) Sin is not resolved by avoidance and neglect , nor inadequate, unfruitful remedies. 3) Sin is most often revealed in its fruitful state (i.e., “death” as personal wastefulness), not in its inceptive or casual stage. 4) Sin is rooted in our fallen natures (i.e., disrupti