Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy New year -- First Advent!

First Sunday in Advent 27 November 2011
What’s next? Mark 11:2-3.
“Go into the village just ahead of you and as soon as you enter it you will find a tethered colt on which no one has yet ridden. Untie it, and bring it here. If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it, and will send it back immediately.’”

1. What’s next in general…
a. Physical trials and persecutions. Mark 13:5-10. Jesus answered: Watch out and don't let anyone fool you! 6Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.
7When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don't be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn't the end. 8Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.
9Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. 10But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.

b. Spiritual trials and suffering. Mark 13:19-22 19It will be a time of misery that has not happened from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and will certainly never happen again. 20If the Lord does not reduce that time, no one will be saved. But those days will be reduced because of those whom God has chosen.
21“At that time don’t believe anyone who tells you, ‘Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ 22False Christs and false prophets will appear. They will work miraculous signs and do wonderful things to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen.

2. What’s next – specifically…
a. God cares about details and seemingly small matters – donkeys!
b. God calls us to walk by a childlike trust and confidence

3. What’s next – Jesus with us always
a. …according to His assumed human nature and with the same, He can be, and also is, present where He will, and especially that in His Church and congregation on earth He is present as Mediator, Head, King, and High Priest, not in part, or one-half of Him only, but the entire person of Christ is present, to which both natures belong, the divine and the human; not only according to His divinity, but also according to, and with, His assumed human nature, according to which He is our Brother, and we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Even as He has instituted His Holy Supper for the certain assurance and confirmation of this, that also according to that nature according to which He has flesh and blood He will be with us, and dwell, work, and be efficacious in us. (Solid Declaration)
b. Jesus’ “earthly ministry” will continue in our witness, mercy and life-together throughout this new church year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The not-so-great commission

(thanks to Rev. Todd Wilken for this)
How does the Great Commission read in many churches today?
I'm in charge. Therefore, go and make fully devoted Christ-followers by a process that moves people along a spiritual growth continuum. After they have started on the continuum, but only when they are old enough, baptize them as a symbol of their commitment and obedience. Teach them, matching your message to their interests. But after they reach the level of fully-devoted Christ-follower, they should be "self-feeders." And behold, I'll be with you in spirit, but I am leaving. The rest is up to you.
Any disagreemtns that this indeed is what passes for evangelical Chrisianity in America today?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

good advice to OWS

Townhall Columnists Marybeth Hicks

Some Belated Parental Advice to Protesters
Marybeth Hicks

Oct 20, 2011 Sign-Up Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”

As a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political ramifications of the “movement” - now known as “OWS” - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.”

Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on “transformational” change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it’s not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:

• Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.

• Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

• Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.

• A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

• There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eats with Sinners

(From "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks) 'You may distrub and vex the devil, but you'll make no Christians there' - that's what Giles Alden said to me, when I first set out to preach at the wetus. And how wrong he is proven! For several years I drank the dust of those huts, helping in whatever practical thing I could do for them, happy to win the ears of even one or two for a few words about Christ. And now, at last, I begin to distill in their minds the pure liquor of the gospel. To take a people who were traveling apace the broadway to hell, and to be able to turn them, and set their face to what we must strive for.