will receive the consequences of the wrong

You can read this fawning post and make your own opinion. You can even continue with this if you want further musings by liar's son on the blueness of Christ.

I agree with him that politics has hurt religion more than religion has hurt politics. But to state that Christ should be non-partisan is further proof that liar delights in Campolo as much as he delights in Osteen.

Any party that supports gay marriage, infanticide, and extreme separation of church and state is no party of Christ's, whether or not they help the poor. Republicans give to charity as individuals and not as legal mandates, and that's enough to push Christ away from them in Campolo's eyes? Because red staters don't believe in federal charity, Christ is a blue-stater?

Trust me, liar's son. He wouldn't get involved in politics, yes. But compassion for the poor doesn't outweigh the multitude of other sins tolerated and encouraged by the left. You can party with them yourself all you want. In fact, throw yourselves a big old party by the lake. Bring lots of sunscreen.


things they will do because

Self-discipline is not what you think it is. You might think it a virtue, but I assure you it is not. It is tied to will and intimacy with God. Self-disciplined people can wake up early and exercise and study hard and push away dessert and put their careers before their home lives. I contend that this is not a matter of self-discipline, but rather liar letting a person be ambitious and focused on self. The ability to improve onself is not dicispline but competent selfishness.

Is it any coincidence that trying to do daily Bible reading or prayer or Word memorization or even spiritual journaling is a mighty task often defeated? A self-disciplined believer might find marathon-training a breeze, but daily prayer a mountainous task. Has nothing to do with internal structure, and everything to do with liar saying yes or no.

Self-discipline to improve one's position in relation to God is not self-discipline at all, but a mustering of faith and spiritual strength to walk the walk of faith. Not self-discipline, but faith.


you shall be called

"Follow Me" {Matt4:18-25}
* Intro:
- Imposs to keep sched if have to stop and pick up passesngers
- When priorities switched, "we don't do that which we were created to do"
- Created for good works {Eph2:10}
* Jesus calls His disciples
- Peter & Andrew: Not random choice; studied choice after several mtgs.
- Looks for availability, not ability
- Used existing skills, but turned for KoH
- Allornothing call
- Follow me: curious, convinced, or committed
* Jesus heals sick
- "God is in the healing business"
- After teaching and preaching: healing
* Application
- Move from believer to follower (disciple)
- Take first step of faith in Jesus


we will all be changed

Out of nowhere, pondering the responses to miracles. Had a friend receive one and the response was not a born-again, but (in her words) a "live-life-to-the-fullest again". You also have the backturning of Lance, who'd rather make the most of this world as liar's son rather than attribute the second life to the eternal life Giver. I suppose you have the blind man of John9 as the contrast. He's put out for standing firm on the credit-giving where credit-giving is due. But stand firm, he does.

Point: all believers have their own miracle to attribute to Him and then respond. The credit-giving is so easy, as even Oscar-winners do that. But the responding? Not a lot of former fishermen, in my view. And that includes me.


where then is that sense

Love how this seems to make sense to scientists. Finding fossils that dispute previously-held beliefs don't overturn the old beliefs. They don't overturn notions of faulty age estimates. They don't overturn faulty notions of species interaction. They don't overturn clearly faulty notions on the development of modern environments.

What happens? Merely an overlapping of theories, or adjustments. If this were to happen in Middle Eastern digs into the historical record of Christ, if small disputes were found, whole religions would be completely decimated and explained away. Articles would appear chastising all who believe in apparently faulty systems. But in science? Free pass.

Your faulty reasoning skills used in torturously ridiculous ways to save your jobs also blind you to the truth of your eventual outcomes before the throne. You might not see the connection twixt your ignorance and willful backturning on the faith and the lake awaiting you, but that is not proof of the lack of existence of the outcome, but rather proof of your inability to see truth.


washed before the meal

Trying to wear the mantle well-fitting; He will judge the outcome. Felt many rushes from the role-assuming: pride (for the flock), wanting (for the flock's growth), love (for the flock), direction (for the flock's meanderings). Expected something in the opportunity to shepherd before the holy table, and found something. But not the wanting exactly, or the love exactly, but some combination. Wanting to extend the hurting love to the sheep, get them to see the straining limbs and desperate lungs in the way they need to be seen -- not merely out of endurance of the cup wrath, but also out of bursting love; get them to really see that laid out on the holy table. There is a desire there borne from the need to convey the truth of God with full clarity, this of all things, the one to get right.

Of all the rushes from the mantle-wearing, this one buckles the legs the most.


out of death into life

Topic at bat: prayer for the destruction of the enemies of God.

Pro: The OT is filled with men of God praying for the destruction of mockers and scoffers. Their call is not for vengeance so much as justice. Their call is for the enemies of righteousness to receive their due. Their call is for those that hunt and harm believers to return to their eternal home at the feet of liar. Such calls are bred from anger borne of righteous indignation. No foul.

Con: The NT is filled with references and commands for mercy. As we have been given mercy, so mercy shall we show. Vengeance is His, and will be borne out in His time. Prayer for expedient extermination are bred from impatience if not from hatred and spite and gloating. Hearts seeking retribution lack the light of love and forgiveness.

Verdict: Not in conflict. Examine the intent and motive. Righteousness or vengeance? If you don't know, He certainly does.


I know that he will rise

growing pains originate from the too-rapid expansion of bones stretching muscles I understand that but acting as if those are the only pains or that the pains only are those inside forget that the too-rapid expansion can stretch muscles not connected inside you can lift that too-rapid expansion and pray for painless expansion in fact that's all you do and hope that that painless expansion from that internal stretching somehow doesn't forget that unconnected but connected parallel stretching that somehow still silently weeps tears watering roots forever connected


do the works of my Father

"Jesus Begins His Ministry" {Matt4:12-17}
* Intro: Matt sets up His ministry via first 4 chap. Birth/lineage then baptism then temptation. Then?
* Timing
- Probably up to yr twixt wilderness and ministry
- Interim events: Cana wedding, Jesus & Nic, Sam chick, Luke4 Naz synagogue teaching
* Place
- Why Galilee?
- Small (manageable travel), densely populated (efficient impact), openness to new ideas (willing audience), full of Gents
* Message
- Matt points out proph-filling more often than other G's
- Light to darkness: "KoH is near"


His eyes and seeing

Expansion to the topic raised yesterday regarding "loveliness" before God. A few thoughts for a potential message before the brethren:

(1) Unlike world's definitions of loveliness (cars, landscapes, people)

(2) Cleanness from sin; sin is ugly to God

(3) Concord references for "lovely" or "loveliness" limited -- most famous being Ps84 (dwelling places)

(4) Surprising (at least to me), even references for "beauty" are limited (37)

(5) 1Sam16:7: ". . . for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."


will shine forth as the

My mind wandered a bit through Stephen's Congressional Committee-like answer to the Council, the description of all of history pointing to Christ. But one v did stick out -- Acts7:20: "and he was lovely in the sight of God."

To me, this sentence is the one I want spoken about me at the end of my being. Most would choose "good and faithful servant, with whom I am well-pleased", but for my money, Acts7:20 is far more personal. Moses was never described as handsome like Saul was, so the loveliness being spoken about here can't be merely the cuteness inherent in infants. This loveliness would have been God looking down at the floating child and -- in His eternal and nontemporal power -- seeing the faithfulness of Moses' life overlaid on his little features.

This is the loveliness that the Lord sees: the beauty of faith. And in my eulogy, in the grand statement to capture all things about my life, the grandest would have to be that when God peeked down to see my form and overlaid it with my faithsteps, with the entirety of my walk with Him, I was lovely, lovely in His sight.


a few who are being

Acts6:15 has a remarkable description of Stephen the martyr. Standing before the Council, his face was "like the face of an angel." In our limited scope, we relate it to bad pickup lines and maybe think of a handsome face. In our limited scope, we relate it to Hallmark drawings and maybe think of cherubs and a peaceful, innocent face.

But when you consider that the images of angels described in Ezek and Rev are, in fact, frightening and confusing and surreal, then what do you make of it? Did he look like a spinning wheel? Did he have multiple faces? Was his face, in fact, glowing?

I point this out only because what we know about angels is fairly limited, even though their presence in popular culture makes us think we know much of their existence and appearance. I take Acts6:15 for what I think it should be: the Council gazes upon Stephen and are shocked at what they see, and know that this man, there's something about him that could only have come by the power of God.


lawful for us to pay

Read this to better understand the subsequent rambling.

All of us, all people, will be confronted with attendance at events from which we wished we could bribe our way out. The biggest of these will occur before a throne, a throne upon which a presence sits whose majesty will buckle your knees. And no amount of money will pull you away from participation. And if you think the idea of sweating and working for a low grade drives you to offer a dollar for respite, my friend, the consequences of failing before the throne are far more dire.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No amount of physical fitness will get you to pass the test of perfection required for eternity. But the thing is, you don't need to try to earn this grade. Because speaking of prices paid, the Lord Almighty paid everything associated with this one test for you at the cross of Calvary.

All it requires is your simple submission, your recognition that your whole net worth is not enough, is never enough to escape from that which you are bound for, and the recognition that Jesus, that Jesus the very Son of God, is the only one who is sufficient.

Will you make that choice today?


were thinking in their heart

Not going to be able to top last year's ponderings on the nature of love, and the ignorance with which we pursue and define it. Just wanted to delve into the concept of love ignorance once more. Because I think that ignorance doesn't originate from yourself, but rather from liar.

It's not that you don't know what love is because of a lack of understanding; it's that you don't know what love is because of a complete and willfully malicious misinformation campaign by liar's minions. Lust is a corruption of love, yes, but I'd also make the point that human love is -- even in forms and states we think of as pure -- still a corruption of love.

Love that doesn't incorporate Him in some form is not love, not true love. You may not see that nuance, but again blinders on you. The biggest root issue is the belief that love of a person, even a spouse, is because of some wondrous quality inborn in that person, and not because of the ability to love given to you by and through God.

Everyone, everyone weighs in on what love is and how to act on love. The key to recognizing which is true is the simple question, "Where does it acknowledge Him if at all?"


you on the earth, having accomplished

This article discusses a connection between religion and environmentalism. More about the group mentioned in the article can be found at their site. My take on this is a comment not just on this group, but on all such interest groups: you fall prey to liar when you use the garb of religion to justify your personal beliefs.

Christian environmentalism is no different than those groups that defend marijuana, drinking, polygamy, et al as being part of the intention of God in creating the world. The recipe is simple: take a personal belief and sprinkle in Christ, and voila! A means of relating to the base and getting the base to relate to your cause.

Only Christ doesn't work that way. His command is to preach the Good News. All of your other personal crusades that get in the way of that? Not His doing but yours. Yours and liar's. Never a good combination.


saying this, testing

"How to Handle Temptation" {Matt4:1-11}
* Intro
- All since garden face a wilderness decision: who to listen to, Lord or liar?
- Liar's basic message: self more important than Lord
- Matt has two purposes for this passage: to demonstrate His moral authority as king; to demonstrate pattern to overcome temptation
* Preparation
- Temptation often follows (precedes) victory (this one followed His baptism)
- God never entices us to evil (though can use liar's trials for good to build character)
- Temptation (testing) is part of His plan
* Temptation
- Serving self (enjoy it now): same as test to Eve -- debate over His promises to man (Lord's response: obedience better than self-service)
- God not against enjoyment but living for enjoyment
- Testing God (prove it now): liar can quote Word
- Worshipping Satan (possess it now): liar says you can have it all if you go by his leading
* Application
- Recognize pattern of temptation
- Recognize enemy's tactics
- Recognize way of victory over temptation {ICor10:13, Ps119:11, Jam4:7}


in the flame of a

I wonder about the upper room at the Pentecost. I can't imagine that any of them (save maybe Peter) were ready for what was coming. I imagine this gathering of ten dozen as sharing a meal and fellowshipping and going about the business -- about the business of this new religion. I imagine some of them were there in full faith, having seen His resurrected form and all. Others were coming in secret because this was the thing to do being new chosen leaders.

And here was this small business matter, this replacing of the fallen one. I imagine some in the crowd still whispering to each other the gruesome details. Others are discussing their experiences with the Risen Lord. Each of them casting their votes, many coming to Matthias and Barsabbas with silent knowing nods. But all of them going about the business of this new religion.

And then it comes.

A pronounced roaring. A violence upon the room, in the room, a noise causing the small matter of business to be the farthest of thoughts. And then fire?! And what is this fire?!

And then it comes.

And that peace, that Spirit taking over from their startledness, that Spirit taking over from their surprise and wonder, that Spirit empowering them in ways their less-than-mustard faiths could ever have empowered them. And that peace. When the mantle fits you as if it were sewn for you, as it was sewn for you, when that mantle fits -- former thoughts aren't relevant. And that peace.


having asked directions for

Acts1:6-8 caught my eye this am; I think it can be used as His call to believers, explaining to them the whole nature of the walk of faith. v6 begins with the believer's questions to God. Is this what you are doing? Is this what you want me to do? Is this right? Are you who you say you are? It expresses the believer's constant questioning about His plan, His workings.

v7 gives us His answer. He desires faith. It is not for us to know what He's doing. It is not for us to know the full workings. It is not for us to question. He asks us, He tells us to trust. Faith isn't faith if we already know the answers. Faith is about trust that He has the answer and we trust Him with that answer.

v8 goes further. We are not to do anything but take the faithsteps. And when we do, that is when we will be receiving the Spirit and the power. And once we have that, we are to bring that power to full use to the ends of the earth.

His last words, last set of instructions before the return to glory. How come these parting words are never spoken of?


those who have fallen

Well this puts believers in a bit of a pickle, eh? Only getting a little bit of coverage. My guess is Jerry and Rick and Pat are keeping closed lips over the issue because they aren't sure what to say. On one hand, if you encourage the flock to see it, you make a person who goes against your beliefs successful. On the other, you condemn the person and cause a believer's story to fail.

I don't see this as a difficult decision, really. The gay lead is no different than any other lead -- a sinner. Imagine a drunkard as the star. Or a divorcee. Or a liar. Or a selfish person. All of them, sinners, just like me. Me in the lead is no different than who's currently in the lead. Sure, one of us is actively mocking God, so there is a bit of a difference. But not much of one.

If you think the story worth telling, encourage the story. But prioritizing sins? Not what the Lord does, I can tell you that.


in death, but for the glory of God

Sermon ideas coming at me fast and furious. Will find time maybe to flesh some of these out some day. This one's on a minor, though one could argue not-so-minor and I'd give you the credit for the argument. Unless you made the argument just to be contrary. In which case I'd say, "You're just being contrary" and then give you the brush-off.

In any case: JoeofA, the tomb-owner.

The details we know about him are far more than one would think. He is one of the few characters mentioned across all four gospels. Matt says he was a rich man "who himself also had become a disciple of Jesus". Mark says he was a "prominent member of the Council" who "himself was waiting for the kingdom of God". Luke called him a "good and righteous man" who "had not consented to their plan" to presumably kill Jesus. John says he was a secret disciple.

This was a man with everything to lose. Not only did he sacrifice his expensive burial tomb for the Lord, but he risked his reputation and livelihood. Mark says "he gathered up courage" to ask Pilate for the Lord's body. Imagine him with everything to lose, everything to lose, and he didn't even realize the resurrection was coming. All he knew at that moment was that the One he had been following was (seemingly) defeated. And all he knew was that all he could give at that moment was his everything, it was the least he could do, give his everything.

JoeofA goes down like SimonofC, disicples famous at the last, famous for saying I don't know if this is the end of all things, but even if it is all I have He can have. Walks of model faith both of them. Again, for another day.


reaching forward to what lies ahead

"Has anyone here ever heard a really good sermon on hope?"

That is what I posed to others yesterday am. And truth be told, Spirit-led question. Led to a good few minutes on the subject of hope. Some notable thoughts:

* HOPE = Hanging on to Peace Everlasting (from another)
* Hope is a sense of meaning, not a wish. My hope, my reason for living, is far different than "I hope the Seahawks don't get JOBBED in the Super Bowl." (also from another)
* Hope, to me, is not a determined noun. It is rather, an eternal sense of longing within the soul. All have it. Early on, usually in your pre-walk, that longing is for the things of this world. I hope I make lots of money. Or I hope I have healthy children. But after the walk, that hope is filled by a pronoun. The psalms speak of the Lord is my hope.
* Great sermon topic for another day. How important is hope? In ICor13, it is listed right next to faith and love. You hear sermons on faith and love all the time. But hope? Something to ponder.


rivers of living water

"What Pleases God?" {Matt3:13-17}
* Intro: Why Lord need baptism? JtheB preached baptism of repentance -- nothing to repent. More important q: why Father well-pleased? That q the aim of the walk of faith.
* Baptism of Son
- Arrival of Lord as prepared by JtheB
- JtheB himself doesn't see point of it all
* Lord baptized because:
- To set example of obedience
- To identify w/ sinners
- Symbol of death and resurrection
* Anointing of Holy Spirit
- Visible sign from Father
- Completion of Trinity
* Confirmation by Father
- Audible sign from Father
- Jesus could have stayed in Nazareth. But obedience brought Him to banks of the Jordan and then to Calvary.
* Application:
- We please God when we say yes to His will
- We please God when we say no to world and to sin


lift up your eyes and

This is obviously appropos tomorrow's event that will color pulpits from WA to PA. I agree with much of what is said in there, but want to comment on two things:

* One, He does, He absolutely does want you talking to Him about even the smallest things. Your prayers are filtered through the Advocate. He probably smiles on the prayers that don't seem to matter. The attitude of a life of prayer isn't just about focusing on the prayer, but on the life of one who doesn't stop speaking to Him about anything and everything. There is no shame or ill in that.

* Two, He does care who wins; why wouldn't He? He cares about absolutely every little thing that happens, since they all fall under the occurrence of His will. Remember, to Him, all are specks of dust. To His infinity, there is no difference in size twixt SBXL and sick people -- not to diminish one, but rather to magnify Hissize. It's man's concepts around priorities that shouldn't be placed onto His thinking.


time it has never been heard

Just so ridiculous. It's almost not worth discussing. It reminds me very much of this. This is completely backward. The church never, never needs to accommodate the flock. The church needs to do its job -- preach the Word and worship, and if the flock would rather sing carols or stuff their jerseyed bodies, that's the flock's sin. But to recognize that sin and call it normal?

Ask the Lord when JDay is, nominals. See if He can accommodate you and make sure it doesn't fall on an important day on your schedule.


give up all his own

Question being asked several times this week: what is the cost of faith? Lord tells you that it's everything -- the leaving of material riches, the leaving of faither and mother, the leaving of old lifestyles, of wormy garb. That is the obvious answer. What's relevant to us is the personalized question. What is our cost of faith?

The question and answer can have a twofold benefit. One, a personal reminder that all you have been casting off is not for naught. Two, to pressure test your faith, that you are where He wants you. Because if that settling is all you're seeing, perhaps the question is being asked to challenge you.

Only danger is competition. Trying to out-martyr the martyrs? Trying to merit your faith? He doesn't call for sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, I really believe that. He calls for sacrifice because He needs the sacrifice at that time, wants that faithstep when He reaches out His hand.

What is the cost of faith? Whatever He asks for whenever He does.


that his testimony is true

Matt23:5 interests me, but not going to flesh out my thoughts fully now. Yet another idea for a future sermon. But the imagery used by Jesus in this is striking. He criticizes the Pharisees for broadened phylacteries and lengthened tassels. The obvious point is that appearances of righteousness are as thin as clothes to God; He seeks true hearts.

If so, the questions we should ask ourselves should flow from this knowledge. What are our longtassels? Do we tithe for the sake of tithing, or do we tithe prayerfully that His work be fully funded? Do we attend for the sake of attending and appearance of attending, or do we attend longing to be shepherded into His presence? Do we serve for the sake of serving, or for the sake of not wasting His gifts?

Do we love Him to avoid separation, or do we love love Him for who He is, eternal life being a wondrous side benefit of mutual love?