Sunday, December 21, 2014

God is not dead in Gotham

Cheer up, you’re worse than you think,” Rev. Timothy Keller says with a smile. He’s explaining that humans are more weak, more fallen, more warped than they “ever dare admit or even believe.” Then comes the good news: At the same time people are “more loved in Christ and more accepted than they could ever imagine or hope.” Many Millennial Christians in NYC attend his Presbyterian church--and respond to his message. “Every other religion has a founder that says: ‘I’ll show you the way to God. Only Christianity of all the major world religions has a founder that says: ‘I’m God, come to find you.’

http://www.wsj.com/articles/kate-bachelder-god-isnt-dead-in-gotham-1419032446

My little book group that met at Panera’s a few years ago used his book,

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism   -     By: Timothy Keller

And it is outstanding.  Maybe I’ll reread it.

Part 1: The Leap of Doubt
There Can't Be Just One True Religion
How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?
Christianity is a Straitjacket
The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice
How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Science Has Disproved Christianity
You Can't Take the Bible Literally
Part 2: The Reasons for Faith
The Clues of God
The Knowledge of God
The Problem of Sin
Religion and the Gospel
The (True) Story of the Cross
The Reality of the Resurrection
The Dance of God

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

168 Project has Kidvids

Kidvids are Christian theme videos suitable for your child's phone--we watched this one in Sunday school today. It's about zombies, and what kid wouldn't love that? But we are all the walking dead without Christ. http://www.168film.com/Media/Gift-of-Grace

Monday, December 08, 2014

Unbroken, the movie

Millions of people loved and read the book "Unbroken," and will wonder why his faith in Jesus Christ has been left out of Angelina Jolie's film. Stop wondering--I think we know why. But it does change his story. You can catch his real story of liberation on video. http://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelist-greg-laurie-disappointed-director-angelina-jolie-chose-to-leave-out-world-war-ii-heros-christian-faith-in-unbroken-movie-125839/

louis-zamperini

"But his life was changed, and he was, as he told me personally, 'instantly healed of PTSD' as well as his dependence on alcohol. When I interviewed Louis in front of over 45,000 people at Dodger Stadium, he was far more interested in talking about his conversion at the Billy Graham Crusade than his other amazing exploits. Louis Zamperini used his story as a bridge to tell the 'greatest story ever told,' the story of Jesus Christ."

Sunday, December 07, 2014

They still need prayer

Our church library had a give-away this week. I picked up one I'd reviewed for the newsletter years ago, "Praying for the world's 365 most influential people." Some were Christians, but most were celebrities, athletes, politicians, movers and shakers caught up in their own power and influence, and since the copyright is 1999, many are dead or forgotten or now powerless.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Enjoying and being thankful

“The created world is to be prized for its usefulness, loved for its beauty and esteemed as the gift of God to His children. Love of natural beauty which has been the source of so much pure music, poetry and art is a good and desirable thing. Though the unregenerate soul is likely to enjoy nature for its own sake and ignore the God whose gift it is, there is nothing to prevent an enlightened Christian who loves God supremely from loving all things for God’s dear sake.” ~ A.W. Tozer, The Set of The Sail

This morning I can hear the ice-rain hitting the windows. It's all part of God's creation--but best to be safe and not go out for coffee with my friend, Adrienne.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How the 2nd Century church worshipped, according to Justin, ca. 150 A.D.

According to Justin, on Sunday all those believers in good standing in the city and country side gathered to worship on Sunday because that is the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and the day God began his creation. First, baptism of new believers, prayers, kiss of fellowship, eucharist, praise to the Trinity, prayer, reading the memoirs of the apostles or prophets (the future Bible), exhortation from the president, prayer, collection to support the needy, widows, orphans, prisoners and strangers.
Chapter 65. Administration of the sacraments
But we, after we have thus washed him [believer to be baptized] who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

Chapter 66. Of the Eucharist
And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, This do in remembrance of Me, Luke 22:19 this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, This is My blood; and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

Chapter 67. Weekly worship of the Christians
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

The First Apology Justin, born at Flavia Neapolis, about A.D. 100, converted to Christianity about A.D. 130, taught and defended the Christian religion in Asia Minor and at Rome, where he suffered martyrdom about the year 165. Two "Apologies" bearing his name and his "Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon" have come down to us.




Inclusion delusion

“Inclusion” is today’s shibboleth. It is used as a powerful incantation to cast out evil spirits, which today means any censure of homosexual acts. Expect to hear leaders of Catholic organizations use this incantation early and often: “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Spirit of Inclusion.” R. R. Reno, Editor of First Things

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/11/catholic-capitulation-on-marriage

A Christmas or Epiphany poem

Are you needing a poem for your Christmas letter, or perhaps a reading at church? "The work of Christmas" by Howard Thurman just might fit the bill. I met Dr. Thurman when I was at Manchester College when he came to give a workshop on peace studies. http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/8598/now-the-work-of-christmas-begin




Thursday, August 07, 2014

How to ride a dead horse--the church version

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians—passed on from generation to generation—says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Modern churches, however, have found a whole range of far more advanced strategies to use, such as:

1.     Buying a stronger whip.

2.     Changing riders.

3.     Declaring, “God told us to ride this horse.”

4.     Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5.     Threatening the horse with termination.

6.     Proclaiming, “This is the way we’ve always ridden this horse.”

7.     Develop a training session to improve our riding ability.

8.     Reminding ourselves that other churches ride this same kind of horse.

9.     Determining that riders who don’t stay on dead horses are lazy, lack drive, and have no ambition - then replacing them.

10.  Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

11.  Reclassifying the horse as “living-impaired.”

12.  Hiring an outside consultant to advise on how to better ride the horse.

13.  Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed.

14.  Confessing boldy, “This horse is not dead, but alive!”

15.  Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

16.  Riding the dead horse “outside the box.”

17.  Get the horse a Web site.

18.  Killing all the other horses so the dead one doesn’t stand out.

19.  Taking a positive outlook – pronouncing that the dead horse doesn’t have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the church’s budget than do some other horses.

20.  Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

21.  Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

22.  Name the dead horse, “paradigm shift” and keep riding it.

23.  Riding the dead horse “smarter, not harder.”

24.  Stating that other horses reflect compromise, and are not from God.

25.  Remembering all the good times you had while riding that horse.

Sources for this version