Some Camera Fun

You can do fun things with cameras these days…

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Christians in Other Countries Don’t Have it as Well as We Do

Recent research shows that

… there were, on average, 270 new Christian martyrs every 24 hours over the past decade, such that “the number of martyrs [in the period 2000-2010] was approximately 1 million.” Compare this to an estimated 34,000 Christian martyrs in 1900.

We have it good here. And we tend to appreciate it so little.

Praise Report

Those who have been praying for Shirley B. will be glad to know that her doctor informed her today that the growth they were examining was not cancerous.  Everything is ‘a ok’.  They have some steps to take to shrink the mass but it is not threatening or a threat to her health.

Be sure to continue to pray for her as she takes the next steps forward.

Fake Christians: The Latest Teen Craze

This is a very unsettling CNN report.  But those of us who have seen churches pander to kids just to get them to attend know all too well that as soon as they’ve had their fill of the gifts and pizza and trips and fun, they’re gone, just like their dedication to Christ.

If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:  Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.  Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.  Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of “Almost Christian,” a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.  She says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

Self serving Christianity isn’t Christianity at all.   It is a distortion of Christianity.  And shame on all those who peddle it just to boost their numbers.

 

Sound System Issues

To all those who have found the hearing devices for the sound system not functioning too well; Mick and I have discovered the problem and adjusted it so that there should be no further problems.  We’ve also checked all the devices and they are working properly.  Some of the cords had to be replaced but all is now in working order.

We wanted to keep you abreast of the situation since a number have asked.  And we thank you for your patience, and Sierra and Zachary for manning the system every week.

How Did We Get the New Testament?

A Professor from New Orleans Seminary has a brief video on the subject. It’s worth watching.  On YouTube.

It’s a short, basic, simple to understand overview of the work of the Center. Ideal, really, for letting lay people especially know a little something about the text of the New Testament.

Teens Are Flocking to A False Version of Christianity

GAP Teen Church, Bismarck ND

They are, in other words, becoming servants of a god of their own construction and not the God revealed in Scripture. Why? Because they’ve been taught that God exists for them- to make them happy and give them whatever they want- instead of they themselves existing to glorify God.

This report in CNN should make every youth worker in every Church sit up and take notice. Teens and young people are being misled by the self serving version of Christianity youth pastors and others have been peddling just in order to get the kids to attend.

Something Else to Think About

“The person who loves you most will tell you the most truth. One of the greatest distinguishing marks of a false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade, he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a Six Flags over Jesus.”-Paul Washer

Good News

Mary D.’s surgery went far better than the doctor expected. She’s better off than he thought and another surgery is now unnecessary.

If You Missed the Sunday Evening Service…

You missed a blessing. We enjoyed special singing and our guest Preacher did a wonderful job of sharing God’s Word with us. It was a very challenging sermon.

Whenever you decide to stay home (or whatever) from worship you always run the risk of missing a blessing. Like Thomas, who missed the first appearance of the Risen Lord, you’re left only to sorrow at the opportunity you rejected.

What Killed the Local Church Revival?

Churches, especially Baptist churches (though I’m sure others as well) seldom ever hold revival services anymore.  Revivals, when I was young, lasted 2 weeks on average.  A guest preacher would come and Monday through Friday for two weeks and twice on Sunday he would preach.

Over the years those two week revivals became one week revivals and then those one week revivals became 3 day ‘mini’ revivals and now they are hardly ever heard of.

Why?  One word: sports.

Pack a pew became pack a bleacher (and you Baptists know exactly what I mean when I say pack a pew).  And ‘we will see you at the Revival, pastor’ became ‘we can’t make it to the Revival, pastor.  Little Bobby (or Betty) has a game that night’.

And now, kids are involved in sports far more than they are in Church.  They attend far more sporting events than they do Church services.

What is the cause of this?

1) Parental priorities.  Parents either do not place worship and the church experience at the top of their priority list because it doesn’t matter that much to them or because for them sports matter more.

2) The disconnect between the claim ‘to’ faith and the practice ‘of’ faith.  Whereas many people claim to have faith, behavior frequently belies that confession.

So the next time you wonder where Revival went and why so many Christians and so many Churches seem so dry- it’s because many of Christianities’ adherents and many of her Churches’ members would rather be at the park than in the pew.

[By the by, if you think I’m blaming sports for this, I’m not.  I lay the blame precisely where it belongs: at the feet of Pastors who don’t call Christians to LIVED faith rather than simply CLAIMED faith or PURPORTED faith; and at the feet of Christians whose Christianity ends where the game begins].

A Letter to a Fallen Virgin

The Church Fathers sometimes wrote meritorious things.  One such was the following letter (which is longer- here’s only the conclusion) written to a girl who had plunged into immorality.  I think you’ll find it very interesting.

We can escape now. While we can, let us lift ourselves from the fall: let us never despair of ourselves, if only we depart from evil. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. O come, let us worship and fall down; let us weep before Him. The Word Who invited us to repentance calls aloud, Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). There is, then, a way of salvation, if we will. Death in his might has swallowed up, but again the Lord has wiped away tears from off all faces of them that repent. The Lord is faithful in all His words. He does not lie when He says, Though your sins be scarlet they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18). The great Physician of souls, Who is the ready liberator, not of you alone, but of all who are enslaved by sin, is ready to heal your sickness. From Him come the words, it was His sweet and saving lips that said, They that be whole need not a physician but they that are sick….I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13). What excuse have you, what excuse has any one, when He speaks thus? The Lord wishes to cleanse you from the trouble of your sickness and to show you light after darkness. The good Shepherd, Who left them that had not wandered away, is seeking after you. If you give yourself to Him He will not hold back. He, in His love, will not disdain even to carry you on His own shoulders, rejoicing that He has found His sheep which was lost. The Father stands and awaits your return from your wandering. Only come back, and while you are yet afar off, He will run and fall upon your neck, and, now that you are cleansed by repentance, will enwrap you in embraces of love. He will clothe with the chief robe the soul that has put off the old man with all his works; He will put a ring on hands that have washed off the blood of death, and will put shoes on feet that have turned from the evil way to the path of the Gospel of peace. He will announce the day of joy and gladness to them that are His own, both angels and men, and will celebrate your salvation far and wide. For verily I say unto you, says He, there is joy in heaven before God over one sinner that repents. If any of those who think they stand find fault because of your quick reception, the good Father will Himself make answer for you in the words, It was meet that we should make merry and be glad for this my daughter was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found. (Luke 15:32).

Restoration of full fellowship with Christ is completely possible.  Despair too.  A choice has to be made as to which one is desired the most.

William Willimon on Preaching

William Willimon writes

The modern church has been willing to use everyone else’s language but its own. In conservative contexts, gospel speech is traded for dogmatic assertion and moralism, for self-help pyschologies and narcotic mantras. In more liberal speech, talk tiptoes around the outrage of Christian discourse and ends up as an innocuous, though urbane, affirmation of the ruling order. Unable to preach Christ and him crucified, we preach humanity and it improved. As Walter Brueggemann said, when the preacher is uncertain about speech, a great deal of energy is expended reassuring the listener that nothing will be said that would require conversion in order to be understood, certainly nothing that would be regarded by cultured despisers as either foolish or weak. By the time most of us finish qualifying the scandal of Christian speech, very little can be said by the preacher that can’t be heard elsewhere.

Such talk makes the Christian sit up and take note and the Emergent crawl under the table and hide for the brute truth of it all.  Willimon is absolutely right.

I would only add, most preachers don’t care if what they say can be heard elsewhere and that’s the real scandal.  They are, further, quite happy to dredge foul pre canned sermon books for ideas because their own connection to and interest in Scripture is so paltry as to be laughable and disdain-worthy.