Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blogging Techniques Offer from Simpleology

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas - my irreverent thoughts

My bottom line on Christmas is simply this: it's a secular/pagan holiday that does NOT honor Christ, does NOT advance the gospel, and basically leaves people with warm and fuzzy sentimentality while (hopefully) emptying their pockets. The biggest smiles and the merriest Christmas belong to the retailers. January is doubly bleak, because the weather is usually disagreeable, and the bills come in.

Jehovah's Witnesses have hit this one right (and they are also right on the Pledge of Allegiance). Christmas is not for Christians. When you celebrate your birthday (if you do), do you break out your baby pictures? Do you relate a historically incorrect rendition of your birth? If not, then why is this done for Jesus Christ?

It's just Saturnalia, folks: A Pagan Holiday in drag. No "Christmas" before about the 4th Century, when the political powers that then existed apparently realized that the only way to control the Christians was to infiltrate them, something very difficult when the church was underground. So they made Christianity the 'official religion' of the Roman Empire, something to which the church never aspired.

And guess what? Same deal today: "Christianity" is the "official religion" of America, and the government (our pagan masters) controls the whole show through its network of 501(c) 3 franchises that dot the landscape.

Have you ever seen an "American Flag" in a church building? Why is that? Just who do they serve? Do they collect taxes from the folks who work there? Are they under submission to Federal, state, and local civil governments? If so, why? Perhaps because the "Jesus" they serve is also under submission - a FALSE CHRIST (that's what "antichrist" means, by the way) that has been manufactured for people who don't really want the real One.


"We Are The Borg"

Star Trek - The Next Generation had, as one of the nemeses of the Enterprise crew, a foe called The Borg. This was a community of people who submerged their identities into the collective and, by technological means, became completely interactive with each other. The goal of The Borg was to assimilate everyone and, of course, this meant overcoming the resistance of any who did not wish to become part of the Borg collective.

I leave it to you, reader, to determine if that's the direction we're going and, if so, whether we really want to go there. I fear that when a lot of people decide they don't want to go there, it will already be too late.

Unless, of course, we experience one of those 'singularities' that takes out our technology and puts us back where we were in the 19th century.

For myself, I'm 'tech'd out' so to speak -- I've had too much of what our technological world offers and I'm tired of it. That's why I haven't blogged in the past three months and why I'm not renewing my web sites. I fear that it can only get worse, and that possibility does not excite me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We Are Not Professionals

I just finished reading John Piper's plea to pastors, entitled Brothers, We Are NOT Professionals in which he outlines what he calls an appeal for "radical ministry." The word 'radical' comes from the Latin word 'radix' meaning 'root.' Ironically, radical ministry today just means getting back to the roots -- the basics -- of what ministry was when the apostles lived.

My thanks to Jim Hatfield for recommending it.

The book was published in 2002 and I don't know how long it takes for something like this to gain traction in the 'marketplace of ideas' but I sincerely hope, in this case, that it's quickly. It targets pastors, but since a pastor is a spiritual shepherd, the lessons apply to anyone in the Body who has a leadership role relating to anyone else. Fathers are 'pastors' of their families and church staff members similarly are in leadership positions.

Read it and then return to this blog and post your thoughts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taking Hell Seriously

Bill Weise ( claims that in 1998 he had an out-of-body experience in which he visited hell.

This is, to me, a very sobering thought. Today, it's theologically fashionable to postulate that either everyone will be eventually saved, or that hell is not really that serious; that is, either it's not permanent or the flames aren't really that hot.

Or that it's all parables and figures of speech ... I won't catalog all the theories; just ask any ten church-goers and you'll hear plenty.

Weise and those who interview him tend to think that this experience, and Weise's relating of it, are intended to energize the believers in their efforts at 'soul-winning.' I'm too Reformed to accept that, and think the problem the Lord is addressing lies elsewhere.

Of course, it's also evangelically fashionable to believe that the Lord is basically very satisfied with us: our attitudes, our lifestyles, our effervescent worship services, etc. So we're lagging a bit in the area of personal evangelism and He sends us a wake-up call in the person of Bill Weise, and the message is "Get out there and witness! Your neighbors will go to hell if you don't warn them!"

As I said, some Reformed thinkers may find this problematic. I certainly don't believe the Lord will allow someone to perish because I am disobedient. We can pursue this later (or write me). I think the real problem is ingratitude in the Body. We Christians don't really believe that being saved from hell was all that big a deal, so we lack gratitude for what Christ has done for us.

Check out the video. More importantly, check out what the Bible has to say about hell. Read Jonathan Edwards' classic Sinners In The Hands of an Angry God. Meditate on what God says you were like, and what condition you were in, before you were saved. Then thank God for His grace toward you, and for the mighty deliverance that was wrought for you in Christ. A flat tire, a layoff, a serious disease, a tax levy -- none of these should be even considered as evidence against God's passionate love for you in light of your deliverance from hell. So don't insult Him (as I confess I have) by questioning His love and compassion because of the temporary inconveniences of this brief experience we call life. I don't know what you may be going through right now, but no matter what it is, it sure beats hell.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ron Paul - President or Savior?

Let me state at the outset that I really like Ron Paul. Of all the announced Republican candidates for President, he is far and away the best. But my comments concern his supporters, and it's just a caveat: Ron is running for President, not Savior. I have no doubt that he would set nothing but good precendents, that his appointments would be stellar, and that, if given the necessary support, he would do more to enhance and restore this country than anybody since maybe Andrew Jackson.

Having said that, I still think it needs to be repeated often that we didn't wind up in this mess because we voted for the wrong guys. This country is suffering from severe moral lapses. The blood of over 50 million dead babies still cries out to the Lord for vengeance, as does the blood of countless tens of thousands of others whose untimely demise is directly attributable to overt or covert actions of American political regimes. And we remained complicit as long as the market was bullish. We continued to look the other way, default on our moral and civic responsibilities, and go along with the status quo when we thought it was too hard or too unpopular to do otherwise.

If there are not tears in the streets, I still fear there will be blood, even if Ron Paul is elected. He may be the leader God gives us to shepherd this country through its repentance. But repentance there must be before national restoration and renewal can occur.

We can't just elect one 'good guy' and expect that everything will be fine.

So, to my fellow Ron Paul supporters I say: let's bear in mind that this is a spiritual mess we're in, and let's become the kind of people who deserve a Ron Paul presidency.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Take Your Conscience To Work - National Campaign

We really don't need pastors to be out in the street or in the face of all those unbelievers out there. All we really need is pastors who aren't afraid of their congregations and who will challenge their people to "Take Their Conscience To Work" - and hold them strictly accountable if they don't.

What most of us don't understand -- or refuse to believe -- is that WE ARE DOING THIS TO OURSELVES. The IRS doesn't send an agent from Utah or WashDC to harass us and steal our stuff. They have a local office, and a sheriff, and a judge, etc. etc. These local people are members of our churches, or neighbors, maybe even members of our families. The places where they work run because WE staff the offices and 'turn the wheels.' If all the 'behind-the-scenes' people, the clerks and so forth, simply REFUSE to participate in illegal activities, the whole process stops. True, it will tend to stop quicker if the judges and our elected officials stop their state-sponsored terrorism against us (is there any rational person who thinks the IRS is not a terrorist organization?), but if every Christian finally decides to just do what's right, the system will grind to a halt.

But we don't. We Christians continue to function and give our little daily pushes to the wheels of tyranny because we say, "I'm not really doing anything wrong. I just _______ (open the mail, answer the phone, administer the network, take out the trash, etc.) If our duties, as menial as they might be, were not essential to the functioning of the business or office, our jobs would be eliminated. If immorality, societal decay, socialism and tyranny are being promoted in any way by the business you are in, you are contributing to it.

So I think "Take Your Conscience To Work" should become a rallying cry of the patriots. Let's truly integrate our Christian principles in our life's work and refuse to do anything that contributes to the further decay of our culture. The problem isn't Mexicans coming over the border, or megalomaniacs in DC. The problem is that we each, in our own little ways, contribute to tyranny every day. Why? Because 'we need the money,' and if we don't perform, we don't get paid. And if we are willing to be slaves to mammon, we will get just what we deserve.

Perhaps this is why neither Jesus, nor John the Baptist, nor Paul railed against the oppressive Roman government. They each realized that the empire's engine of oppression could only operate with local support. So instead of decrying 'the government,' John specifically addressed the agents through whom tyranny was exercised: "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:13-14) No railing against "the system" and no attempt to change policy or politics. Just do what's right.

Jesus also dealt with the tax system when He called Matthew: "Follow Me." (Mark 2:14) That was it; one less tax collector for the people to deal with. What will happen if every Christian in the government decides to truly follow Christ, instead of just paying Him lip-service on Sunday? And what would happen if, as I suggested previously, the pastors would hold their members accountable for seven-days-a-week discipleship? Jesus saw two clear and exclusive loyalties: God and Mammon. It's gotta be one or the other; can't be neither and can't be both.

Paul said, "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hand the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need." (Ephesians 4:28) We all know (or sure should by now!) that the mis-applied 'income' tax is simply theft. Those who promote it and those who benefit from it are stealing property. Again, Paul does not rail against 'the system' but rather simply tells Christian participants to drop out of it.

Most Christians I've met are too immature to understand the power of this sort of obedience, even though Jesus Himself explained it in clear terms in Matthew 16:19. Your un-Christian neighbor wants to be 'just as good as a Christian' (is supposed to be) but doesn't want to get involved with church, religion, or (God forbid!) obnoxious Christian people. Still, the standard is set by the people of God. When we quit trying to tell the world how they should live (self-righteousness or holier-than-thou, both nauseating to Christ) and start living as we ought, we will raise the bar and set the standard to which the culture must rise if they want to be 'just as good as a Christian.'

It's really no more complicated than that. As long as we're content to gather in our little buildings and sing our little songs and have our little Bible studies, the world and the culture will remain unchanged. As long as we continue to ROT as we pretend to be disciples and are really just compliant cowards, our culture will continue to deteriorate. Chuck Missler has pointed out that "faith is not belief in spite of the evidence. It is obedience in spite of the consequences."

When we start taking Christ seriously and we take our Biblically-informed consciences to work: when we refuse as a matter of faith and obedience to participate in any way to the further destruction of our culture, THEN we will start having an impact.

The longer we wait, the bloodier and messier it will be.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cowardice and Hypocrisy Leading to Tyranny

I want to clarify something that I think most Patriots and Christians still don't get. Chuck Baldwin has identified it as cowardice in the pulpit. I think he's accurate as far as he goes, but the picture he has presented is incomplete.

There are hundreds of thousands of us who toddle off to work every day. These are the people who keep things running. The clerk, the mechanic, the radio announcer, the Congressional aide, the insurance salesman. Many of these people also go to church on Sunday.

But these people, by and large, have not integrated what they profess on Sunday with what they do on the job. They are like the politician who says "I will not let my personal opinions influence the way I will conduct my office if I am elected." Most people think this is just the politician promising 'fairness.' I see it as a politician promising an office that lacks integrity. Fact is, we WANT officials whose conduct is consistent with their character, and we want to vote for people whose character matches ours or, even better, matches that of Christ.

For Christians, the 'salt' and 'light' in the world, the issue is deeper. As disciples of Christ, we are REQUIRED to integrate our faith with our life. Christianity isn't a religion; it's a dynamic day-by-day relationship with our Creator through Christ. We are to reflect and live out the presence of God in our lives all day, every day.

We little cogs in the wheel, however, are 'just doing our jobs.' That pathetic and unGodly Nuremberg defense is still with us.

What would happen if Christians would simply REFUSE to violate their consciences at work? The sheriff who refuses to enforce what he knows is an unlawful order, the insurance salesman who refuses to promote an immoral insurance contract, the banker who refuses to go along with an unconscionable deal? OR -- the Christian bureaucrats who are salted through the current regime who are just following orders, or who feel that because their role in some odious program is so minor that whether or not they comply, they can't stop the machine but they CAN get fired. "And, after all, God DOES want me to support my family, doesn't He?"

It is the pastors and, to a lesser extent, the elders, who must confront this rank hypocrisy in the flocks. If a Christian, for instance, is 'just the receptionist' in a clinic that just does an occasional abortion every once in a while, that Christian needs to be told that there is a MAJOR ISSUE here and that he/she had better take a stand or else his/her sorry butt will be thrown out of the church and into the gutter where it belongs. Harsh? That's what Jesus Himself said! Savorless salt belongs in the gutter, to be trodden underfoot by men.

I am not complaining about pastors who refuse to confront the culture. I don't think that's their job. They (along with evangelists, apostles, prophets and teachers) were given to the church to equip the people of God. My complaint is with pastors who refuse to confront the hypocrites in their own congregations. Who offer warm and fuzzy and entertaining sermons Sunday after Sunday; whose congregations never weep ... or see a reason to.

What we need is a "Take Your Conscience To Work" campaign where everyone who names the name of Christ is charged with the responsibility of discovering the mission of his employer and the implications of everything he/she does, and say 'NO!' whenever any work activity tends toward the further destruction of our culture and our country.

Michael New had the courage to refuse to obey a manifestly unlawful order. Most of us are too consumed with the pursuit of the rapidly depreciating FRN to do the same. If we don't have the courage to live as free people and say NO! to the oncoming tyranny, we will get the tyranny. We are doing this to ourselves and the battle line is drawn between every pulpit in the country and the people who are charged to be salt and light.

When the worker-bees stop, everything stops.

I recently had my car STOLEN by the "STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA" (a federal corporation). The deputy who came out to actually steal my car KNEW something was wrong. He KNEW he had no moral right, nor did the STATE, to take my car (or my money). But he didn't have the ethics or the guts to tell his higher-ups. It was easier for him to just obey orders. Tyranny wears the uniform of the police and Sheriff, and these are the ones who will enforce our destruction. And MANY of these cops and deputies go to churches; churches where the pastors don't have the guts to tell the truth.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More on Tom Cryer

I never felt so nauseated.

I posted a question regarding Tom's income tax trial on the Answers forum at Yahoo! While I hesitate to make an unwarranted inference from the responses I received, it's hard to be optimistic. Among the pearls of 'wisdom' that were contributed by various respondents:

"PepsiLime" contributed what was voted to be the 'best' answer. He/she offered "I don't think they allow a website to be operated in prison while you're serving time for tax fraud, tax evasion, and whatever other charges he'll get convicted of." This is the 'best' answer? Well, P-Slime, until you and your fellow communistic, socialistic misfits take absolute control, we will still have something called protection from double jeopardy. Did you even read my post? Tom Cryer had a criminal trial and he was found NOT GUILTY. That means the jury decided he DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. So why, pray tell, would he still find himself serving time? And why did the rest of you morons choose this as the "best answer"?

Numbercruncher opines "You do not have the God given right to work or to own property. The declaration of Idependence [sic] is pretty clear on this issue." He adds "In the end we would all love to keep more of our money, but we also like our parks, raods, sewers, water system, police and so on - taxes are what pay for that." Numbercruncher's response is almost as lame as the one offered by Pepsi Slime. Another Nazi, Numb has obviously never even read the source document he references. This state-worshipper seems to think that all good things come, not from God our Creator, but from the federal government. Another lame brain. Clueless.

Judy, designated a 'top contributor,' weighs in with this gem: "I don't think that God gets involved in property rights." I guess she doesn't think God had much to do with Deuteronomy, either. The eighth Commandment says "Thou shalt not steal." If no one has any rights to property, the concept of 'theft' is nonsense. What you really believe, you Nazi, is that the government owns everything.

Ronald E B came in on the shallow end: "The 16th amendment to the constitution was ratified by the states in 1913. It has been the law ever since. It says, in part:"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived..."That is pretty clear. Those who argue that congress doesn't have the right to tax income have never won in the 94 years since it became the law of the land." He remains blissfully ignorant of how the term 'income' is legally defined, and is also unaware of the massive fraud in the so-called 'ratification' of the 16th. In any event, the courts have correctly ruled that the 16th, (whether ratified or not) granted no new powers to the Congress. Another state-worshipper, or coward (or both) who has no knowledge of the issue, or law, or history.

Bostonianinmo thought Cryer got lucky but is a moron anyway for challenging the system. So was Paul Revere, right?

NGC6205 says, "Please don't fall for tax protestor rhetoric. Most tax protestors are delusional." Delusional? I'd say NGC6205 should look into a mirror. Apparently, he thinks he's a license plate.

I'm not surprised at the lack of legal understanding of most who responded, since the legal craft has worked for over 70 years to make the Code as incomprehensible as possible. The puking factor, however, is the amount of socialistic ardor these posters have for the income tax. I would expect that a true American would be appalled by the very thought of either rights coming from government, or of civil government having an inherent legitimate claim on the property or labor of any natural person. But these folks seem to be okay with the American Socialist Empire, with government crushing people and stealing property.

Well, Americans -- most of you are a disgrace to the principles upon which our nation was founded. As Samuel Adams said, "Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." Because you have forgotten God, He will also forget your children. And that noble experiment in liberty under Law will be relegated to the ash-heap of history. You will all be slaves on the federal plantation, and the banquet of prosperity we enjoyed under a rubric of limited civil government will just be a dim memory.

Friday, July 27, 2007

There Is No Law

Tom Cryer took his case to court and he won. Let's re-phrase that: the IRS took Tom Cryer to court and lost. Big time.

There is no law, nor could there be, that gives the federal government a piece of you for simply exercising your God-given right to work and exchange your life and efforts for property.

There is NO LAW.

The "show us the law" petition is now obsolete. It's out there for all of Creation to see. By legal sophistry and brute force, our so-called "representatives" and our so-called "impartial" judges have conspired to rip off working Americans, who create and, by law, own the wealth in this country.

Now there is a website to orchestrate the propagation of this message:

Go there, sign up, join in, TAKE ACTION. We simply cannot afford to do nothing and leave a slavery plantation to our children and grandchildren.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why Does God Permit Evil?

I cranked off quite the essay on this topic about a week ago, then immersed myself totally in a week-long HTML experience, punctuated regularly by one or more of my three grand-daughters who clamored for immediate attention.

Then, four days ago, I rekindled a friendship with a Christian brother currently living in Florida, and a flurry of 28 emails ensued. He's involved in prison ministry and also in League of the South. He also approved of my sentiments regarding our "Woos-ified 'Jesus' " and I hope he passes the link around. I've heard quite a few sermons in my almost-60 years, and NEVER heard one that addressed the rugged masculinity of Jesus and His disciples. I'm confident there are some sermons like that out there, and I would bet that they are all of VERY recent vintage. For myself, I've tuned out almost all of it, except R.C. Sproul and Ravi Zacharias.

My views on evil are posted at and I won't repeat them here. And I'm not sure I'll even agree with them here. A pure Reformed theology postulates that if God is sovereign, he is sovereign over ALL. I can't freely choose what color socks to wear; it's all overruled by God.

I'm not willing to go quite that far. I can allow for 'free will' that doesn't touch moral issues. And when you see the article I just referenced, you'll realize there could be (and I believe there is) a metaphysical aspect to the issue that doesn't even occur to most of us.

The only reason I bring it up is because I'm hoping someone will stumble into either this blog or the article and will offer some refining or clarifying thoughts. The 'average' Christian certainly won't, but I think there are a few thinkers out there who have abandoned our Christianized civil religion and are willing to consider the matter on its merits.

And after I get all this HTML taken care of and my new book is 'officially' published, I should be able, by God's abundant grace, to direct a little more energy in these metaphysical pursuits.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dear Church -- ready for grad school?

Sometimes the lights come on.

I'm convinced that there are a whole lot less true Christians in this country than we've been led to believe. And I really don't expect much from unbelievers, no matter how well disguised they are.

But I've still believed there is a solid core of authentic disciples in this country; people who have earnestly repented, who are submitted to the LORD Jesus Christ, who study their Bibles and live out their faith. These have cried before the Throne of God for national deliverance, for a revival -- anything to stop our accelerating slide into the abyss.

But the beat goes on, the pace increases, and we watch the sign-posts of debauchery whiz past even faster. Things that were unthinkable even ten years ago (need I elaborate) are now happening. Christ is the only one who can stop the insanity, and He doesn't seem willing to do so.

And I wondered, "why not?"

Well, I decided to review my history, and I noticed a pattern: the periods of glory in the history of the church were times of persecution. For the church in America to be refined, we MUST be persecuted.

Christ is sending us to grad school.

We've had "Christianity on the cheap" for as long as I've been around (just shy of 60 years). "Just believe in Jesus" has been a mantra for a while now. The visible church has become a marketplace, and it's easy, even respectable, to be a "Christian." We've had cassettes, Bible book stores, Christian web sites, TV shows and radio programs. Let's face it, the average Christian has been washed with Bible teaching, and has also been exposed to every flaky theology to come down the pike.

And now it's about time for the rinse cycle.

Biblical Christianity is about to be criminalized in this country. Between "hate crimes" legislation and the "war on terror," large numbers of people will be rounded up and jailed. Lots of "Christians" will, of course, decide that the price tag is a little higher than "easy believism" led them to believe, and they will simply recant.

For the rest, the hot refining fires of persecution will do what persecution has always done.

So I think it's probably time we abandon the idea that Christianity, or even common decency, will be returning to America any time soon. God's plan seems to be that His people will be preserved through the rigors of an Americanized Babylonian captivity. Yes, it will be arduous and yes, some of us will die under less than pleasant circumstances. But those outside will live in cities whose streets flow with blood, and the unrestrained judgments of God will fall unrestrained on them.

When the dust settles, He will lead us out, and we will finally have become the people He wants us to be.

As Paul said, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God," (Acts 14:22) and "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12)

What Every Job-Seeker Should Know:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Our "Woos-ified" Jesus

I am becoming more aware of, and more concerned about, the picture of Christ that we -- His children -- reflect to the world. "Niceness" has become, at least in the American Christian sub-culture, the consummate virtue, trumping courage, boldness, and honesty. For the most part, the good Christian man is sweet and docile. Rugged, 'biker-dude' masculinity is passe.

But what about Jesus? I considered the lyrics to what has become one of our standard praise choruses in the church:
"Jesus" is the sweetest name I know
And He's just the same ... as His lovely name
That's the reason why I love Him so,
"Jesus" is the sweetest name I know.

Substitute any other man's name in the verse above. What do you get? I'd call it "A Paean to a Pansy."

Jesus was not "sweet" and "lovely." He was a rugged and thoroughly masculine man. A lumberjack, a work-and-sweat laborer. When a carpenter built something in ancient Israel, he didn't run down to the lumber store. He cut down a tree -- by hand -- and proceeded from there. No Skil saws or power tools.

Similarly, Jesus' friends were heavy dudes. Fishermen who worked all night with hands and shoulders and backs. Do your homework and see for yourself how these people lived.

And yet, we portray Jesus and His disciples as soft and lovely, in our music and in our art.

Listen, folks. Jesus Christ is no wimp, and we give Him an insult if we portray Him as such. Christian men need to become the most manly people on the planet. Don't let either the world or the wimps in the Christian establishment define YOUR Christianity.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jeremiah - God's Offer of Reprieve

Jeremiah gives us a view of one of the darkest time in ancient Israel. Hezekiah had been a good king, but his son Manasseh filled Jerusalem with blood from one end to the other. Now Zedekiah was king, and the Babylonians were coming to destroy Jerusalem. In chapter 17 at verse 4, God told His people that they had kindled a fire in His anger that would burn forever.

They should have been terrified!

Of interest is God's offer of forgiveness which, unfortunately, they did not accept. God simply said that if they would just obey the 4th Commandment, which they had been flagrantly violating, he would restore their city and it would remain forever (Jer. 17:19-25). His counsel to them was to observe the Sabbath.

Read the entire article at

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Life Without Limbs

I was recently sent a link that introduced me to the life and ministry of Nick Vujicic. I can't add much to the content of the videos posted here:

Monday, March 5, 2007

What about "The Secret"?

The latest fad amongst the network marketers (and others) is "The Secret" - a DVD and book combination created and marketed by Rhonda Byrne. I've seen it several times, and just read a scorching review of it and one of its new proponents -- Oprah Winfrey -- by actor/writer Peter Birkenhead. Check it out at

As I've said previously (not in this blog, and it's not original with me), 90% of the stuff in rat poison is good for the rat. I doubt that 90% of "The Secret" is good for the person honestly seeking to improve his life. And fortunately, most of the really toxic stuff is blatantly obvious.

This is NOT a world where you can get what you want just by wishing for it. And there IS a final judgment.

But there are a few things RIGHT with "The Secret." Building your attitude on gratitude instead of grumbling will make the world a better place. And I don't think any vision is too big. You CAN become what you want ... sorta. It's unlikely that all the kids aspiring to become the President will do so. Still, there is no reason not to aspire to greatness.

I expect there will be a lot of responses to "The Secret" now that it's become part of "Oprah Consciousness" and has become a best-seller. And I'll be looking for a solid, Biblical response to the New Age psychobabble therein. But let's remember that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Our "Secret" as Christians is, of course, no secret at all. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." And "Blessed is the man ... who meditates on God's law day and night .... whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1). In short, build your foundation in God's Kingdom and enjoy the fruits thereof. And, like the genie in "The Secret," there is NO LIMIT to the blessings.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

History of the True Church

QUESTION: There is a lot of buzz about the history of the church of Christ being the ''Campbell Movement.'' From a.d 33 to a.d 606 there is church history but then history seems to go silent concerning the church of Christ. Where did our history go? For almost 1300 years there is not much said about the "Church". Can we really account for the silence? Or has our whole belief/doctrine been fused together without accurate merits? - (Dwight B.)

The history of the Campbells and Barton Stone in the Restoration Movement is well documented.

What history looks like in the rear-view mirror is actually very similar to what we see happening today. There is the "visible" church -- those 501(c)3 religious franchises that dot the landscape. Within some, and outside of many, there are those blood-bought disciples who quietly live lives of Christian integrity and spiritual power. Inconspicuous, and often doing great works that are ignored by the culture because they are done in the name of Christ, these people are nonetheless a tremendous preserving and stabilizing influence.

Christ came in the fullness of time. Read ancient history -- The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Works of Josephus, the Inquisition, etc. etc. and realize how barbaric man is capable of becoming, and how human nature is unspeakably brutal when unrestrained and untamed. Then look beneath the surface at the people of Christian faith who have prevailed. Their names are rarely recorded, but the evidence of their lives is unmistakeable. What else could explain why fallen man has not destroyed himself and this planet in the 2000 years since Christ?

The early Christians and many since were not persecuted for their goodness, but for their allegiance. Read Foxe's Book of Martyrs and you will see that the church has always been here.

Having said that, if you look back before the Campbell/Stone Restoration, you don't see church buildings with "The Church of Christ" on them, or books and newspapers speaking of "The Church of Christ" as you do today. As it should be, I suppose. The phrase "Church of Christ" does not appear in the Bible, as you know. "churches of Christ" as a simple descriptive appears once, in Romans 16:16. Biblical Christians were not concerned with a "corporate name," that is, some name that would identify their group. Biblically, they were "followers of the Way." In John 15:15 we see that Jesus called His disciples "friends." (This is where the 'Society of Friends' got their name. Their detractors called them "Quakers" - they did not choose this name for themselves). The disciples were called "Christians" first at Antioch, and some think this was also a pejorative.

The "Church" was hijacked by the Roman Empire at about the time of Constantine. Remember, to the early disciples, Christianity was not a religion. It was a lifestyle grounded in a relationship with God through Christ. No one in those early days could stand up and say, "In the name of _________ (name your favorite 'deity' from the Roman pantheon), be healed" and expect anything to happen. But in the Name of Christ, things happened! Recognizing the power and desiring to either control it or muzzle it, they made Christianity the "official religion" of the Empire. Suddenly, to be anything in the culture or in the political system, one had to profess Christianity. And we see the same thing today: folks who speak "Christianese" ... who know the buzz words and speak our lingo and sing the same hymns .... whose lives are powerless at best, and often are counter-productive to Biblical truth.

It was, perhaps, for this very reason that the trappings of institutionalism were eschewed by the church fathers. They didn't have church buildings, real estate, elaborate church and para-church ministries, or any other sort of institutional hierarchies within which wolves could ascend into positions of influence and power. Their trademark was love, and their credentials were simply written on the hearts of those to whom they unselfishly ministered. They didn't set up seminaries, or denominational headquarters or any of the rest. They were ... simply ... followers of the Way. Their 'religion' was their life, not their Sunday morning and Wednesday night activity. Their ministries were simply the overflow of who they were.

These people knew something many of us have forgotten: that all authority in heaven and on earth was given to Christ. It's not a future event, with Satan running things down here until Jesus returns. They were absolutely convinced that Jesus was their King, that He would protect them as they remained in His will, and that they had a home not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. They knew that "faith" is not a belief that is maintained in spite of the evidence, but it is OBEDIENCE to Christ in all things, in spite of the consequences.

So where were the Christians before the Campbells? The same place they are now: overlooked and ignored in the world because of the compelling presence and distraction of visible religion. The TRUE church of Christ was commonly compared to things small, humble, insignificant, or unnoticed: the tiny mustard seed, or salt which flavors (and creates thirst) while becoming essentially invisible when used to season food. Spiritually, THE light of the world, reflecting the glory of God in Christ to a dark world. But alas! the world prefers darkness..... and religion. So while the picture of the church has been neglected, her footprints in history are impossible to ignore. If you're looking for a 14th century building or a 9th century manuscript with "Church of Christ" on it, you won't find it.