Archive for the 'Jesus' Category

Tongue Treatment

From my Quiet time this morning, this passage on the tongue never fails to be a challange for me:

James 3:5-10

The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, its the whole course in one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters this should not be.”

I know that I have come a long way in this area… but I am quite certain there will be room for improvement the rest of my days on earth. Often, I come home from an event, or social setting where I vividly remember comments I have made that should have been thought about before they left my mouth.

I’m a talker, I love to talk, communicate. In fact this blog, is really helpful in my attempt to get out words during the day 🙂 It has also been helpful in teaching me the discipline of sitting on my words a bit. Writing them, editing them, reconsidering them, and waiting for the appropriate time to air them. There was a time my blog was not written that way. I would often rant or throw words out whenever with little consideration given to their appropriatness. Few people read back then. These days I try to consider them longer.

This has helped me in my flesh and blood (non-cyber) life as well. I do have a long way to go, but I’m learning. I often have to pray for the conviction of God on my words… otherwise, I find them flying out, having no realization of their effect. Often if I give myself time to pause in speaking, a moment of consideration, I am better able to guard my tongue. It is when I feel a subconscious race to get it out that I find myself in the most trouble. Also, when I speak to fill air I often look back and see meaninglessness and boredom in my speech.

Thank God that when he shows us how greatly an area of our lives needs to be refined, he always provides the ability to change.


Are Evangelicals Evolving?

I just read an article on Hot Air entitled NYT Studies Evangelicals in the Mist. The article is referring and commentating on this article written in the New York Times. I encourage you to read both articles in full. I want to point out some specific points of interest to me and add my own commentary. I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

First off, to sum up the articles (though I do believe that you should read them for yourself,) They are discussin the shift in Evangelical Christianity from the Falwell and Robertson days in politics to the more centrist view of emerging leaders like Bill Hybels (Willow Creek, Chicago) and Rick Warren (Saddleback, California).

I agree with this. Evangelicals are moving increasingly toward the center rather than the rigid right.

According to the following quote one thing that evangelicals have not ditched is the pro-life movement. Thank GOD! This after all was the very same movement that pulled Fawell into the political scene to begin with.

“The abortion issue is going to continue to be a unifying factor among evangelicals and Catholics,” said the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who is often held up as an example of the new model of conservative Christian leaders. “That’s not going to go away.”

They go on to question the electability of Guiliani with this “new generation” of evangelicals.

The persistence of abortion as a core concern for evangelical voters, who continue to represent a broad swath of the Republican base, could complicate efforts by Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has been leading the Republican presidential field in nationwide polls, to get primary voters to move past the issue and accept his support for abortion rights.

I have speculated before that I don’t know if Guliani is truly electable if the religious right can’t get past his abortion status (of which I am one,) and the Times seems to agree. I have many friends who vote independently and one of the only things that keeps them voting republican IS the abortion issue.

If Guiliani loses a large part of these independent voters can he win? Will those people just not vote at all because they don’t like any of their choices? Right or wrong, I could see that happening among many people I know. They are fiscally democrats, but morally republicans…I could see them either not voting or voting democrat for the sake of social programs.

Evangelicals also seem quite split on the idea of Climate Change. Hybels and Warren signed a call to action on climate change last year. The former head of the Christian Coalition even stepped down last year for his signing of this same document. As the Times points out, this has unified some typically conservative christian groups a long with the more liberal groups headed by Jim Wallace and Ronald Sider (Evangelicals for Social Action). On the other end of the Climate Change debate you have (had) Fawell, Robertson, and Dobson.

The Times also point out,

Another evangelical standard-bearer who did not sign the statement was Charles W. Colson, 75, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, who said in an interview that there were many environmental groups behind the statement that were hostile to evangelical causes. Nevertheless, he said he appreciated the direction that younger evangelical leaders are taking the movement.

As you can see, Evangelical leaders are both united and divided on the topic of climate change.

The former Christian Coalition Leader, Joel Hunter stated,

Mr. Giuliani would not garner much of the evangelical vote because of his liberal views on social issues.

“There always will be in the evangelical movement a strong identification with what we call the traditional moral issues — abortion, marriage between a man and a woman, addiction to pornography,” he said.

A 2004 survey by John C Green attempted to quantify the traditional Christian right evangelical against the newer centrist politically un-involved evangelical,

The two camps are roughly the same size, each representing 40 to 50 percent of the total.

It is estimated that since that survey the number of centrists has grown considerably.

What I am personally noticing is a move toward evangelicals influencing culture change outside politics. The times also points this movement out.

Gabe Lyons, 32, is emblematic of the transformation among many younger evangelicals. He grew up in Lynchburg, Va., attending Mr. Falwell’s church. But he has shied away from politics. Instead, he heads the Fermi Project, a loose “collective” dedicated to teaching evangelicals to shape culture through other means, including media and the arts.

While I think this is crucial… I also believe that we can not at the same time totally neglect politics. It is part and parcel to culture change as much as it is a reflection of culture. I don’t believe we should back out of it completely in our attempts to influence culture through social action, media, arts, etc.

The Hot Air Article commentary on this evangelical evolution points this out from a round-table interview with Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life, Saddleback Church, California) that Rick had said this to Jaun Williams,

Now the word “fundamentalist” actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones.

The article then maps out these 5 fundamentals Warren is speaking of:

1. The inerrancy of the autographs (or original writings) of scripture.
2. The virgin birth and deity of Christ.
3. The substitutionary view of the atonement.
4. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
5. The imminent return of Christ.

I don’t know about you… But these aren’t super legalistic in my opinion, and I have seen my share of legalism. These fundamentals seem rather sound. I am surprised that Warren said this.

I know for a fact that my “Large” church adhere’s to these 5 “fundamentals” even though it is a rather centerist church. In fact, every “large” church I have been a part in my life adheres to those fundamentals.

Hot Air pointed this out, saying

A savvy reporter at that Pew forum would have asked Warren, “Which of those five fundamentals represent a ‘very legalistic, narrow’ view of Christianity?” No one thought to ask him that.

And also going on to say,

The answer, by the way, is none of the fundamentals represent a “narrow, legalistic” view of Christianity.

They’re all essential beliefs. Believing in the fundamentals doesn’t make you a fundamentalist. It just makes you a Christian. The fundamentals were put together to unify Christians of all stripes on the basics that unite us. They’re not just fundamentalist in design or intent. So Warren either has his fundamentalism taxonomy wrong, or he has his theology wrong.

I definitely agree with him (Bryan the author) on that.

So what do you think? New Generation? Or is this a generation *trying* to look different? Are we just finding that *the church* can’t be boxed as easily as many would like to think? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? In accepting this are we really *divided* as a church and thus less influential? I don’t know? I really don’t. I am interested to hear others’ thoughts though. Try to maintain a considerate, respectful tone please.

Addition: I would like to add the very obvious, that the war in Iraq has also been a major split amoung evangelicals.

Where I’m At

Lately I have been doing a lot of silent evalutating. I’m wondering what should be in my life and shouldn’t. What is benificial, what is not? I have been doing a lot more Bible reading, a lot more praying.

Sometimes its hard to know what is the conviction of God by his Holy Spirit and what is the conviction of man. All over the Church there is incredible variance of beliefs that go beyond the fundamentals of salvation. On many issues I’m pretty sure of where I stand.

I know God calls us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling“. (Phillipians 2:12)

I’m in that place. I know this place is good. I should be here always. But what about when you are not sure you’re getting the answers? I don’t mean that in a “when in doubt don’t” way. Rather, when you are looking for conviction in an area that isn’t clear and you just don’t have it? When you are praying for that heart check because some people say something is wrong, and if it is you really want to see it… but it doesn’t come?

This may not make any sense. I’m not sure. But I’m looking hard at televisions shows I watch, time on the internet, time spent in prayer, time spent in general. I’m trying to figure out in what areas my heart may be divided and not truly sold out to God. I want to purge those things, but I need to know what they are first. I’m not saying that God has not been convicting me of anything. I have a lot of convictions in my life; areas I have needed to submit to him. I guess I’m looking for conviction on things I feel pressure to be convicted about. And I don’t know if it is really God or man. I have not been directly pressured in any way. But knowing other people are convicted about some of these things, makes me feel like maybe I should be too.

I need a spiritual retreat. Not one where you hear a lot of teachings (although I absolutely love good teaching), but one where I can just worship, pray and get away from all the things that distract me. A place where I’m forced to run to no one but God. A place where He is the only one that I can talk to.

Oh well. I have no doubt there will be answers… eventually. There always are when you seek Jesus. (Matthew 6:33.) So I will keep praying and I will keep seeking.

Children Environmentally Unfriendly? What next?


THIS article from The Sunday Times in London absolutely infuriates me. (hat tip Brit and Grit for linking to this)

Children ‘bad for planet’
By Sarah-Kate Templeton in London
May 07, 2007 12:00am

Having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family’s carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: “The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights.

“The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.”

In his latest comments, the academic says that when couples are planning a family they should be encouraged to think about the environmental consequences.

“The decision to have children should be seen as a very big one and one that should take the environment into account,” he added.

Professor Guillebaud says that, as a general guideline, couples should produce no more than two offspring.

The world’s population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. Almost all the growth will take place in developing countries.

The population of developed nations is expected to remain unchanged and would have declined but for migration.

The British fertility rate is 1.7. The EU average is 1.5. Despite this, Professor Guillebaud says rich countries should be the most concerned about family size as their children have higher per capita carbon dioxide emissions.

This article addresses large families, and although I do not know that I will be having one of those, I sure would like to reserve the right to. Some of the most amazing parents I know are ones that have 3+ kids.

I am seeing more movement toward this ‘Politically Correct’ attitude that having children is environmentally unfriendly and downright irresponsible. The increasing global awareness seems to have caused some nutso extremests to think that because people are concerned about global warming it will make their child-hating acceptable. It may work for parts of the European Union right now… but not in the heartland of the United States. I hope that doesn’t change.

If you read here even semi-regularly you know I’m a Bible Believing Christian. This is what Jesus had to say about children:

Matthew 11:25
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Matthew 18:3
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 19:13-14
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 10:15,16
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 18:5-7
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!”

The fact is, God values children. That doesn’t mean everyone that believes in God should have children. It does however mean that children should never be seen as a mere pollution factor or addition to our carbon footprint. Call me an alarmist, but to me that seems like a baby step toward China where babies are murdered via infantacide everyday in attempts to control population.

I’m back, I’m refreshed.

owen lu fort

I’m back after my frist internet-free Friday. Surprisingly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! I kept busy with a playdate in the morning and lunch with my friends/ kids at McDonalds. We had good conversation about what we believe about God/ Chirst/ Salvation/ and things associated. I left it deep and thought and returned to lay my kids down for naptime. Because so much was going on in my head that I wanted to dig into scripture (the Bible) for… I did that when I would normally log in. I read, prayed, and read more. Called my brother to ask him a question. And prayed some more. It was really great.

I don’t say this at all to toot my self-righteous horn. TRUST ME I would be a hypocrite to do so. I’m just been really hungry lately. Hungry for that spiritual food. I want to dig deeper and deeper.

There are so many things that I haven’t shared here. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But related to some of the many things I do not share here is that about 6 weeks ago I went on some medicine. Medicine to help me deal with living normal life. Medicine that it was difficult for me to cave into taking. You see, I have tried just about everything to avoid needing medicine. I had to be sure it was something I really needed that God was providing for me. And in all my trying, my eyes were opened, and I felt free to go that route.

God is so good. After 6 weeks I can tell you I’m in such a different place. I’m not perfect, I’m still climbing up hills, striving. But just getting up in the morning without an intense confused, over-whelmed, panic feeling is so freeing. I have longed LONGED to be in God’s word every morning because I really believe that there is something about starting you day that way. My times spent with God in his word have been spotty in the past, and NEVER in the morning… mornings are so hard.

After this medicine… I still wake up groggy. I don’t think I will ever be a “morning person”. But now I can get up. Get the boys food. Sit down with coffee, and spend time in the word with God without having a panic attack or feeling like I have completely failed becaus life didn’t go as I planned. I feel like I can focus.

Someday it would be such a God send to not need everything, and to really have a deeper understanding of God’s love and healing and more of an ability to trust him with everything that maybe I won’t need it. Maybe someday I “will get it” on a spiritual level enough that the chemicals are balanced out on my body. (I believe we are body-mind-spirit and that all these areas effect one another.) OR maybe I’ll never be healed of this and it will be a thorn in my flesh. Maybe I will need medicine my whole life. I don’t know. But it’s in God’s hands now. And I will rest in this fact. That He has me taken care of.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was giving a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly abou tmy weaknesses so that Christ’s power may reast on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In all this I’m able to be in a place with God that is more focused and consistant than ever. How can that possibly be bad? (that’s for the critics). I’m seriuosly digging into a lot of areas of myself and asking God’s light of truth shine on them so that I can do what i need to do, surrender what I need to surrender, live how I’m suppose to live.

Funny, I hadn’t planned on writing about that. But I did, And I really think I should publish it for some reason.

I meant to talk about the picture above. And what a sweet time I had with my boys yesterday. How good Owen was at the park. How easily they went to nap time. Yesterday, was just so nice.

I’m also realizing I need to manage my blog time better. I came back to over 100 unread posts. I’m not even 1/2 way through and I need to go soon. I think I’m going to have to start putting my RSS feeds that I read in days of the week folders. That way I will have a certain amount I read everyday (except Friday!). Anyone else have time-saving blog advise?

Air Time for Ray Comfort/ Kirk Cameron Atheist Debate

It looks like my little post on the Christianity vs. Atheist debate has generated more blog visits than I would have expected.

One new visitor asked when the debate would air and I could not find an answer anywhere. I wrote the email that came with the press release and the author was so kind to answer me quickly. He said as follows:

ABC just confirmed that the debate is going to be at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City on Saturday, May 5, 2007 @ 7:30pm (EST).

The full debate will air on on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 @1:00pm (EST). The Nightline piece will air that same night at 11:35 p.m. (your local time)”

If you are interested, tune in May 5th. I am quite interested, but a wise person in my life has questioned the effectiveness of debating an atheist. He claims that showing love and living out life in front of an atheist is far more effective. I can see an arguement for that, (and it was a good one,) but I also know that God urges us to have a response for questions of our faith. I have actually come across quite a few of those scriptures lately. But this is a person that used to be obsessed with Apologetics and can probably recite ever argument he has ever heard on the subject! This friend is one that has seen many come to the Lord and he is both a relational evangelist and a more conventional evangelist. He has no problem sharing the gospel with anyone anywhere.

My guess is that God can work through any of it should he choose too. We’ll have to see how it goes.

I am interested in feedback on this. My Atheist readers/friends please feel free to comment as well. Does it help to argue? or does it hurt? Is relationship better? OR are they both important?

Some of my favorite posts this week.

This is completely unrelated to this post but…
Thank you all so much for the sweet comments and emails and prayer regarding Susan and my father. I have no significant updates as of yet, but will keep you informed via this blog. On to the post…

In the past few days I feel like I have run head-on in to some amazing posts by bloggers on my RSS feed. I realized my blog posting was going to go overboard if I wrote a seperate post for each article. Also, as my range in blog-taste, they are all over the map in subject content so it may be that only one would even interest you, while the rest wouldn’t. So I figured I would just go ahead and do one post and if one of them sounds interesting to you, you can click away! 🙂

Here Goes-

LayGuy has a really great post about teen suicide

Terramia has an awe inspiring post of pictures and drawings of Peacocks. What a beautiful creation.

HeidiJo wrote a great post last week on Why She Goes to Church.

Velvet Hammer wrote a thought provoking post on Islam and how it MAY possibly relate to the Bible’s prediction of the Anti-Christ. I tend to stay away from these type of conjectures… but I found this one interesting.

If you love taking pictures with your digital camera, The digital photography school blog has a great write up on adding randomness to your photos.

That’s it for now. But I’m sure it won’t be long before I find more 🙂

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