who was known to the high priest

Saw this tonight. Then read this thereafter. Not going to review a review, which is a waste of time being once-removed. But the surprising part of the review is the revelation that Cash was some famous Christian.

At no time in my pre-life did I hear he was a believer, and at no time during the walk have I heard he was one, even during the hurrah surrounding his passing in 2003. This little piece mentions the type of faith he held. I'm sure there are others that more completely explain his faith.

I guess it reminds me of the story I heard Miss Massachusetts tell:
There was this man who worked in an office. And he had a coworker who was a notorious lout. One day, the lout became a changed man, and the officeworker heard someone congratulating him on becoming a Christian. This officeworker goes over to the former lout and says to him, "Welcome, brother! I heard you joined us in the kingdom."

"You're a Christian?" the lout asked.

"Yes. Why?"

"You're the reason I didn't become a Christian earlier," the lout replied.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Well, you have a great job, a great family, a great life. I didn't know you were a Christian, so I thought I could have all that happiness without becoming one."

I'm not commenting on the strength of Cash's faith, me being a black-calling pot and all. I guess what I'm saying is that at the end of my life, I hope there isn't ever a doubt.


told you that I am

You might think it's just from this, but actually been in me for far longer. But in reading Matt21 and seeing the frenzied crowd surrounding His entry into Jerusalem, how could you not wish to be among them? To experience that excited energy, nervous energy, expectant energy. To be pressed by the surge to touch His hem, to lay your fronds, to see His face. To scream with the masses your praise, your worship. And to feel His gaze upon you.

But getting back to the intro, what is interesting about Matt21 are v10-11. As other onlookers rush to get a glimpse, and ask the throng who the energy is for, the answer to that question is all important.

Who is He?

He is all that you need and want. He is the One. He is. He is all this and more. And just like then, in the midst of the energy of Jerusalem, the answer to that question today in the midst of the energy of your world, the answer that proceeds from your very mouth makes or breaks your life.

Who is He?


the Baptist came, preaching

"Words from the Wilderness" {Matt3:1-12}
* Intro: What defines greatness?
- World defines it differently than God
- JtheB called the greatest -- greater than Moses, Abe, et al
* Man
- Matt gives no background -- written for Jews already familiar with him (Billy of his day)
- Job not actually baptizing but preaching repentance; Luke1:15-16: bring people back to God
* Message
- Repent: More than regret; actually change of direction
* Motive
- King was coming
- 400 yrs of silence twixt OT/NT over
* Mission
- Prepare hearts for Christ
- Help people see need for God
* Manner
- Unlike other religious leaders of day (rough around edges)
- Like Elij
- Renunciation of pleasures that distract from God
* Ministry
- Confession
- Baptism
* Application:
- Honesty b4 King (confession)
- Submission to King (baptism)
- Fruitfulness for King (works)


Him before, being one

On the first, denied it, crowing cock and all. Possibly a reaction to potential Hallmark sentiments wrapped in ivory. Or possibly a whispering to keep away the trembles. Doesn't matter. Overcome to the listening point. More can be seen here:

I am the maker of the Heavens
I am the bright and morning star
I am the breath of all Creation
Who always was
And is to come

I am the One who walked on water
I am the One who calmed the seas
I am the miracles and wonders
So come and see
And follow me
You will know

I am the fount of living water
The risen Son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am

I am the spirit deep inside you
I am the word upon your heart
I am the One who even knew you
Before your birth
Before you were

Before the Earth I am
The universe I am
In every heart I am
Oh, where you are I am
The Lord of love I am
The King of Kings I am
The Holy lamb I am
Above all things

Yes, I am almighty God your father
The risen son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am


in newness of life

An idea for a larger sermon -- the casting off of burial clothes. Here's the excerpt from an up-and-coming:

"First, if you are a believer, but find yourself distant from him, because of sin or because of apathy, remind yourself of the story of Lazarus. After Jesus raised Him from the dead, do you think Lazarus went around in his burial clothes? Do you think he returned to the tomb at night to sleep? No, what Lazarus did was actively follow Jesus. When Jesus returned for dinner a few days later, all that Lazarus could do was stay by His side. He has given us life the same way He gave Lazarus life. Our old life, that death is no longer ours. Continuing in sinful ways, living our life exactly the same as if we had never met Jesus is like walking around in our burial clothes. Point your feet back to the path, confess to Him that you’ve been away, and join Him for an intimate dinner."

Actually, not sure if there's anything left to be said. Cast off that wormy garb. That death is no longer yours.


hidden these things from the wise

The question was never whether or not this would eventually happen: the question was always how soon? My related question is how on earth did an entire network not know that this would happen? How was this ever greenlit?

Any show that deals with Christian themes but isn't overtly positively Christian or evangelical would only draw criticism from believers. That's a third of the country right there who won't watch it. But you also have a third of the country -- hostile unbelievers -- who won't watch it because they hate all religion. The only possible audience in this divided nation is probably too apethetic to actively seek out such a show.

To me, the lack of overtly Christian shows on major networks proves to me the liberal media bias. Major channels look for popular trends or wide audiences and try to appeal to their tastes. It's why shows have scantily-clad women (appeals to men) and romances (appeals to women) -- the broadest pools possible. So if there are 75 million evangelicals in the country, why on earth aren't there more religious shows? If not for the sake of the faith, for the sake of your ratings? The only answer is because they actively choose to exclude such programming. And they shall answer for that stance in their ratings and on JDay.


how I have been hurt by their

Planned for this past Sunday, I really did. Had a lot to say. Or rather, He had a lot to say through me. Hopefully, will get the chance to actually say that sometime. In the meantime, here's a quick excerpt from a choice section:

"God has a heart that breaks when the hearts of others break. God has a spirit that is moved and is troubled by suffering. John 11:35 paints for us the picture of what a sensitive God we have. He is a God that weeps over us. Yes, this is a God that thunders from above, a God so powerful He can flood the world with a word. But this great and mighty God has a heart for others. God has a soft spot for all of us, and it’s the size of all eternity. I’ve always thought that John 11:35 alone presents the gospel message very simply – a great and powerful God who loves us to the point of tears."


and hide us from the presence

This review has me concerned. The flock will naturally desire to view it, as an automatic attraction to affirming beliefs. But in this case, this apparently isn't affirming anything.

How is it possible to make a missionary movie sans the Lord?!

That's like making a documentary on the history of automobiles without mentioning Henry Ford. Or a flick about Saddleback Church without Rick. Or a film about the life of Goliath without a climax with David.

It is unthinkable how you could remove the heart of their calling and call it a whole. It is not complete without Christ, and the missionaries who died and the missionaries who served would tell you the same thing. You are not telling a story when you ignore the story. Sad, really.


a craftsman made it

"The Intelligent Design Issue"
* 1Pet3:15 indicates need to be ready to answer
* Same evidence available to all
* All have biases; all explanations begin w/biases
* Two kinds of scientists: theists and naturalists
* According to Biblical bias: science a method for investigating created world
* To naturalist bias: science an attempt to explain world without a Creator
* Explanations for origins can be checked against reality
* Law of biogenesis: life canNOT come from non-life
* Consequence of naturalist position: man junk
* Reality agrees with Biblical record
- Newton, Boyle, Pascal, Farraday: all theists
- Information req ID
- DNA record shows 1 woman/man; mitochondrial clock shows 6000 yrs, not millions
* Consequence of theist worldview: man special to God


by this time there will be

At breakfast this morning, and as I repeatedly looked at my watch, it occurred to me that one of the great failings of believers is their concept of time as it relates to God. We are, all of us, quite often punch-clock Christians. We bind God into increments of our schedule.

The worst offenders limit Him only to times of need and high holidays -- the nominals. A step above this are the one-morning Christians, the ones who attend church every Sunday, but don't speak to Him outside of that hour-and-a-half timeslot. Above that are the palm pilot Christians. They're the ones who have Sunday morning carved out; thirty seconds before each meal carved out; perhaps even ten minutes a morning to either pray or read the Word. But when the time is short or the reading is long, aren't they also cutting it short, keeping God in His scheduled slot?

The walk of faith is the struggle to allow Him to extend His concept of time -- eternity -- to our schedules. It is Him taking up the time in our schedules that He has paid for with His blood -- which is all of it -- and inhabiting every second. It is Him removing the watch from our wrist and saying He'll keep track of time for us, just sit back, relax, it's all relative anyway.


his friends and receive care

Mentioned a while back that the personal touch of each miracle is as demonstrative as the miracle itself. Been thinking about John9 as it cements itself into me, and I find it extremely touching the care with which Christ heals the blind man. In prior chapters, He has healed people long distance (John4), and He has healed with a command (John5). He could very easily do either in John9.

But He doesn't do that.

Rather, He takes the time to make clay and touch the blind man on his eyes. The greater healing was the emotional and spiritual one, not the physical. This is a man who has spent his life begging. This is a man who is hungry and dirty. This is a man who has probably not been spoken to in a while. This is a man who probably hasn't even been touched by another in a while due to cleanliness laws.

But Christ touches him, touches his very eyes. This is the kind of miracle worker we have in Jesus. Not the kind that merely waves a hand and mumbles a word, no. This is the kind that says "I love you" with a look in the eyes and a touch of the hand. This is the kind who understands that a physical miracle is a parlor trick, but a spiritual miracle is a great work of faith.


is of value if you

Is this how you want to go out? To only be remembered by a stash of cards valued only by people who appreciate a sport? Before the throne of eternity, how far will a Ted Williams rookie card take you? That treasure you have stored up will not follow you, will it?

Cousin or intimate family member, it matters not. Is that all your inheritance will be? A box of cards whose value in the afterlife will be less than the cardboard on which it is written?

There is a treasure open for all to see, and not just under the eyes of those who found you deceased. There is a greater treasure, printed in the Book of Life rather than on a Topps or Fleer. It is the treasure of knowing God. It is the inheritance of eternal life in the kingdom of your Father. One day, your life will be appraised before the throne.

That shall read eternal separation or adopted child. Which shall it be?


what they were thinking in their heart

This article is lengthy, but well-worth reading if for nothing less than to expose one of the great lies (and most successful lies) of Satan: the belief that faith and intellect are at odds. This great lie comes to head most often with the Creationism-Evolution debate. But it wins in so many more subtle ways.

Relationship "experts" talk about how men use their heads and women use their hearts, pitting what you feel/believe against what you think. Lost characterizes one main character as a man of science and another as a man of faith, explicitly stating the contrast. Churches teach us to save souls via love and service rather than through officiated public debates -- because one route is more successful, or one route is far more difficult?

Sure, He wants belief without sight, wants you to trust Him. But He certainly doesn't ask you to check your mind at the door. Do not believe that lie.


as a model for you

So much to say about this:

* If Jakes and Osteen are your top two, something is radically wrong with Christianity in America. It's no wonder foreign nations are sending missionaries here. It's no wonder churches are filled with Lukes. It's no wonder that people can claim to be followers at the same time they believe contradictory ideologies. The flock takes the shepherd's lead, and when the shepherds stray from The Shepherd, well blind ones, just follow them by listening for the tap tap tapping of their canes.

* I guarantee you Christ has a far different list of top 50 influential Christians. The world defines influential as market share and projection range, as ad revenue and limelight hogging. Christ would define influential as changing lives for Him. Who does that more, Osteen or Mother Teresa? Billy Graham or TD Jakes?

* You want a Big, Hairy Audacious Goal? Wait until I make the Top Ten.


to gird yourself and walk

You hear about the meek and the peacemakers and the poor. But you don't often hear about the one Matt11:6 names:

"And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over me."

Right off the bat, it's a great visual. Because God is always trying to do something, and here you are not watching where you're walking and tripping all over the Lord. Because that's the metaphor, isn't it? You not watching where you're walking? This is the walk of faith, isn't it? Prudent, then, to keep your eye on the Way.

But then you also understand what He's getting at. He's not of this world, He reminds us. Of course He will antagonize the world. Antagonize you in this world. Learning not to panic when that tension occurs, learning how to deal with that tension, learning how to overcome that tension -- the man who can do that knows what he's doing, doesn't he? Or related to yesterday, knows he can't do anything and lets the only One who can do something do it. That's the ticket.


my trust in Him

Tried something this time around, different. Didn't wait for the ticking end out of sloth. Not even out of liar's hand. Knew there was a push to waiting. Knew it wasn't from the howlers. Couldn't figure out the point of waiting until the end.

Take that step of faith.

Remember that without own effort, all glory is His. It's the reason for the humble beginnings and the faithless first believers. He doesn't need anyone telling Him that it isn't all Him. Might as well illustrate that out in real life.

Didn't seek glory this time or a first impression. Sought His words in my mouth. Lesson learned. The moment that heel touches coolness, don't look down. He's still reaching out for you.

who then makes me glad

"Pleasing God"
* To please Him, church must begin with Him
- Must begin where it is {Acts 18-20}: Think about area around itself, know its culture, can't wish for different situation
- Must begin with a message: The good news of God
* To please Him, church must follow Him
- Follow Him in doctrine {Eph 1-3}: Know Him
- Follow Him in dedication {Eph 4-6}: Walk w/ Him
- Follow Him in devotion: Love Him
* To please Him, church must overcome complacency about Him
- Outward: so that others see
- Inward: so that He can see
- Rev2:4 -- Christ didn't move (front seat analogy)


has done nothing wrong

Let's be clear that the conflict between Prots and Caths is completely the fault of Prots. Caths have long since accepted the Prot faith and no longer considers them bound for eternities of darkness. Yet, the Prot mentality continues to go against Caths every chance it gets. If it's not a policy against regular communion, it's a book series of hate.

Maybe I should remind you that your beloved movie that's saved many the world over was made by a Cath. Or that there are more Cath missionaries around the world than your small efforts to save.

You set a real good example to everyone watching, Wheaton. Society must love conflict between the brethren. I hope your students, however, turn a deaf ear to your ridiculousness.


he is of age, he will speak for himself

Every believer needs to sign this petition as soon as possible, for two reasons. One, he's an idiot and the media hates God. That combination means that no matter what asinine comment he makes, it will be blown up into an even greater controversy and passed off as the collective inanity of all believers. This only serves liar's purpose, not God's.

Secondly, I'm for this petition not only for Pat, but also for Rick, Franklin, and all the other named ones representing the body. (Except maybe Billy.) I don't need anyone to speak for me. I don't walk the walk of faith to get press or to start a movement. I don't need anyone to explain my actions or state my beliefs. If you want press, say nothing except the good message. Any and every believer should take the time to state that publicly.

But everything else? You are neither me nor we.


keeping his children under control

A facetious blog entry from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert:

According to MSNBC, about 50 people died in Saudi Arabia during the annual ritual of throwing stones at the devil. Apparently a stampede broke out when somebody tripped on luggage. That sounds like a poorly conceived punch line, but it actually happened. And it isn’t the first time. In 1990, 1,426 people died in a stampede while throwing stones at the very same devil. (No word as to whether luggage was involved.) And in 2004, the devil killed another 244 stone-throwers the same way. By my count, the score is Devil 1,720 and Believers 0.

This is on the same day that the guy who shot John Paul II was freed. Clearly, the devil is having a good day.

I think it’s interesting that when you pray to God for a new bike, it hardly ever materializes in your bedroom within seconds. But when you throw stones at the devil, quite often you get an immediate response.
A few remarks:

(1) Obviously Adams posted early as the death toll rose to 350, making it devil 2,020 and believers 0.

(2) This resonates with what I wrote about yesterday as far as immediate satisfaction versus long-term satisfaction.

(3) The devil always has a good day in this world -- because it's his. We are not of this place, so the scorecard will always seem overmatched.

(4) The devil always seems like he's responding quicker, because he is waiting to trap you, sin crouched by the door. Don't forget this.


wrestled with him until

I'll be asking the following question in an upcoming study:

"If someone were to offer you 40 years of extraordinary wealth in return for your soul, would you take it? Does that sound like a good deal? Why or why not? What are God’s riches and promises in Christ?"

Anyone who answers right away, "No, of course not" is either lying and pretending to be more righteous than he is, or is not really listening to the question. And yes, I am doubting the faith of all people. Because it is not human to be otherwise. Liar wouldn't let you answer that automatically. The struggle in the walk of faith is balancing what we know tangibly -- the everyday -- with what we know temporally -- the eternal.

I love Him completely, and long for infinity. But even then there is a half-second pause before the no. I don't pretend to be more righteous than any. In fact, I am on record as stating the opposite is true. But my struggle is all's struggle. Satisfaction now, or satisfaction later. If people are having a hard time with that question as it relates to candy bars, multiply that by eternity, and you think that struggle somehow disappears?


unfathomable, and wondrous

How great is our God sing with me
How great is our God and all will see
How great how great is our God

Then sings my soul My Saviour God to Thee
How great Thou art How great Thou art

Then sings my soul My Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art How great Thou art

How great is our God sing with me
How great is our God and all will see
How great how great is our God


will become in him a well of water

Heard a beautiful quote:

"Thirsty hearts are those whose longing have been wakened by the touch of God within them." -- AW Tozer

I imagine that if you grew up in the Sahara, you'd eventually not see sand, not see the desert around you. That level of blindness to the desert is what affects all people. They do not see that all of them, all of us, begin our lives as desertwanderers. The start of the journey to the Promised Land begins with the desertwandering. But imagine being part of that journey and not realizing you are amidst that sand?

Spiritual blindness.

But imagine that one day you taste cool, refreshing drops of water upon your parched tongue. You don't forget that feeling and want more, as much as you can handle. You would give all your sandy belongings for a cup of that pure refreshment. Or like Riley has said, it's wanting something like you want that first breath of air after a near drowning.

That desire is your search for God. But that desire is also the heart of worship -- a longing for the presence of God. An aching of good hurt, that you are so close and so far. It's an awareness of your stifling surroundings and having that first taste of true refreshment brought to life. And once you go there, you never want to go back to the dryness before.

Maybe you want to remain in your ignorance for that bliss, but I tell you, friend, you don't. You want your thirsty heart wakened.


that you be made complete

Skipping the usual from this morn for a reason -- didn't listen. Rather than post an empty message, I'd rather report on an other more real. In this case, a reaction to a quick clip discussing the whole story. Here's the rephrase for those with eyes not trained to the big screen:

The story, your story, does not begin with the fall. Yours is a complete story that doesn't start in darkness -- not in Gen3 but Gen1. And in Gen1, you are a creation, a creation as wondrous as the creation with the capital. You are, in fact, even more wondrous, as you are in the image of God.

That is the start of the story, that you were made in wonder with wonder set before you. The darkness and then eventual light is part of the story that is you. The light is the best part of the story, don't get me wrong. But it is not the whole story. Being fed by the liar to think that the darkness and the nondeserving light is all you are grossly robs you of your full value.


was at the point of

I was surprised here to find reference to the trinity. Even more surprised that in an even earlier spot, there is another reference. In Ps2, there are two references to the Son, v7 and v12. I won't be surprised this year to find references even earlier.

Those who see the Word as inconsistent, haven't gone through it. Heck, even those of us who see the Word as complete miss the signs. The OT isn't simply a buildup to the NT, that's what you have to understand. All of it, all of it, is a singular portrait of the living God in all His forms.

Blink, and you'll miss it.


so when they had finished

I don't know what to make of the popularity of this or even the existence of something like this. It's ridiculous to think that Revelations is one of the most popular books of the Bible. I understand the mentality, that because so many things in this world are terrible, that because it is clear that society is devolving in its morality, that you hope the Lord steps in. That you hope He takes the vengeance that is His, and rights the wrongs. That is your inner holiness speaking, desirous of righteousness and justice.

But it is foolishness to become enraptured with the Rapture, to become obsessed with End Times literature. If you think the world is ending, you'd be acting differently, at least I hope so. You wouldn't be sending out emails with knowing smiles. You'd be doing your darnedest to preach the good news; you'd be donating all of your possessions; you'd be trying to store up the jewels.

But you wouldn't be joining clubs informing you of when to look up into the sky, that's for sure.


I say to you, lift up your

Great post on beliefnet about prayer. Here's an excerpt:

CNN and ABC were among the many media outlets who reported that many were praying for the trapped miners and their families.

Why it it that reactive prayers in time of crisis seem acceptable in our culture, but proactive prayers seem to offend, divide and bring controversy? Why--in seasons like these--do the news networks suddely omit any talk of the need for separation between faith and government, religion and leadership, church and state? If we accept that prayer is a significant part of our nation's health and heritage, then we could expose our kids to the practice openly and practice it in every area of culture and society.

I pray for the day when prayers for our kids, for education, for our legal system, for our leaders and for every detail of life are as culturally acceptable as those offered in times of national mourning and tragedy such as this--when prayer is a regular part of our mass media and pop-culture, not relegated to just those moments when the worst happens.

Me together with yourself

It must've been lonely.

40 on your own in the woods. 40 on your own without nourishment. 40 on your own without direction. And anyone who has ever faced a crisis alone, on his own, knows that that loneliness attracts the howlers faster than anything else.

But Jesus isn't alone, isn't ever alone, and He knows that. And liar offers that companionship and Christ says God alone. And liar offers that nourishment and Christ says God alone. And liar offers some direction and Christ says God alone. And liar offers the world, offers it all, offers all and Jesus puts aside the 40 and puts aside the hunger and puts aside the seeking and puts aside the shadows and looks at him and says No No God alone.

Lesson learned. Would be easy today to give in to being on own. But never, never on own. And take that hand, and take it, and walk, and walk with eyes to God alone.


and water came out

Baptism is always going to be controversial -- not because He has planned it that way, but because there are vested interests that pull perspectives into various entrenched positions. I'm not going to argue about infant baptism, or sprinkling vs immersion, or whether baptism is necessary for salvation. The words used at the end of Matt3 caught my eye, but in the end, rather than argue about what they imply, I'm going to assert that He doesn't care about the mode or the meaning. He cares about the obedience.

Matt3 makes it clear to me that it is all about obedience. JtheB has a meaning behind the baptizing, and he is surprised that Jesus wants to be baptized. But the Lord cares not for John's meaning or mode or views on baptism. What the Lord cares about when He comes to the Jordan is that the Father commanded baptism, and He was going to obey.

A grand lesson for all.


now and to change my tone

Spent the evening with unbelievers, one a scoffer destined to be scoffed at. What was striking was that throughout an evening of entertainment, issues of faith were appearing. Did they or did they not have faith in victory? Did they or did they not have faith in a particular athlete?

The lesson here wasn't of misplaced faith (although there is that), but of the wavering nature of belief, the fluctuation of faith. Faith in this instance wasn't on firm foundation, the clearest hidden parable of sandy bases I have ever seen.

What was emphasized to me, however, was that this is not some aberration of faith, but likely the truth. The walk of faith is a walk that attempts to minimize these fluctuations. The truly faithful are the ones with the ripples and not the tides. Question for the brethren, then: where are you in this walk? How large the ripples in you?


He has explained Him

You wade through Ezek and Isa and Jer, and by the time you get to the NT and the conversations and parables of Jesus, and it's like breathing for the first time. I'd guess that more is preached on the meat from the NT, especially the parables, than any other.

All this to say this: you think His parables are valuable, look into the parable parallels that He places in your life. You think He's done with the explication? Far from it. We're just not trained to look.

Example: Tonight, racing through the rain, running on already punished and compromised lungs, and for what? A lost blackberry nestled in the folds of a cabseat? Later, in the irritated confines of my room remembering the incident, I recall the very same parable used last Friday -- the lost coin and lost sheep.

This is how He looks for His lost ones.

Such reminders while seemingly rare, are probably all around. We're just not looking. Note to self for the new year: look. For the love of God (literally), look.


you will aim with you

"How to Have a Happy New Year"
* Three basics of Goal-setting
- Write goals down
- Read goals often and ask Him for power to accomplish them
- Make first 3 goals most important ones: Word {Ps1:1-3}, prayer {Col4:2}, marriage
* Three blessings of Goal-setting
- Self-control {1Cor9:24-27}
- Authority {Luke19:17}
- Joy {Prov13:19}
* Three things to consider
- Something never done
- Something never learned
- Somewhere never gone
* Accountable to someone

Confession: Not a great start to year to miss time with Him, time before Him with her, time in Word. Not discouraged. Not going to let howlers discourage. Years begun in lowness can only arise.