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65 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Does this verse still apply today:

    “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV

  2. Em says:

    #1 – good question and i have to ask (not sure, myself) does this apply to the Christian or to the nations of the world?

  3. Michael says:

    It applies today.
    It applies to Christians.

  4. Jean says:

    The Church and Christians individually. Each State has the Romans 13 vocation.

    But, it’s hard to deny that any democratic Nation will reflect the values of its citizens to an extent.

  5. Michael says:

    This country does not reflect the values of anyone but the ruling elite.

    So many lies have been told about the border, about immigration, and about refugees, that it is quite impossible to make decisions on these matters as an informed person.

    I have fought the good fight on this issue, but the battle is lost and we will reap the whirlwind for decades to come.

  6. Michael says:

    Let me show you how the media works.
    Big story on Breitbart the other day…”Syrian Refugees Caught At Border Crossing”.
    The story was written to affirm the right wing rags readers that the fears they have are correct…fears that the rag helped create.

    Well the real story is that these Syrians were not “captured” at all…they presented themselves to the Border Patrol at the border.

    THAT’S HOW YOU REQUEST ASYLUM.

    They did everything “legally”.

    The story was written to make it appear that they were sneaking in with the rest of the “invasion” from the south.

    Did Trump mention that this country is losing Mexicans?…that since 2012 more are leaving than coming?

    No, because it ruins the narrative.

    I could go on and on…

  7. Jean says:

    #5,
    Are there times and places where a more virtuous side has shown? The Asian tsunami relief, Philippines typhoon relief, the Japanese nuclear plant disaster and tsunami aid, African Ebola assistance. At times America has, and I hope will be, a shining example to the world.

    But, yes, and Dr. King preached against it, America is far from perfect.

  8. Jean says:

    #6 is spot on. It’s nearly impossible to receive honest news.

    Michael, keep hammering on that point. I need to keep some skepticism.

  9. Michael says:

    Jean,

    When the American people are told the truth, they are the largest hearted people on the planet.

    We have been lied to for years…a phony drug war and the defense contractors needing to sell their wares have completely twisted the reality of what the border is like.

    The country is struggling, people are angry, and the elite need a scapegoat.

    The elite have provided one…the immigrant/refugee.

  10. Michael says:

    Jean,

    #9… I never get more heated hate mail than on this subject.
    I’ve said too much already.

  11. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I wrote this yesterday but didn’t publish it because I already have enough problems.
    I offer it now for your thoughts.

    You’re Not Safe

    ““Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

    “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

    “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

    (Matthew 10:16–39 ESV)

    I’m convinced that we should read this passage at altar calls…

    Jesus promised us many things.

    Safety isn’t one of them…at least not in this life.

    Following Jesus…in truth, in compassion, and in love for a lost world, is risky business.

    The loss of safety and even the loss of life are to be considered occupational hazards for the Christian.

    Jesus doesn’t even bother to couch this truth with warm and sympathetic words.

    He couches them in warnings.

    “Whoever does not…is not worthy of me.”

    It is worth noting that Jesus was not sending the disciples out to a disciple conference or speaking engagements where they could expect hearty applause and an honorarium.

    He was sending them out to a hostile world with the explicit information that the world may kill them.

    They were to go anyway.

    They were to go because “God so loved the world that He sent His son”…and His son sent out His representatives to carry on after His ascension.

    Tradition says that all but one were indeed killed spreading the love of God and the word of God.

    This passage wasn’t recorded for posterity, but to inform future disciples what they had signed up for.

    That would include you and me.

    “Fear not”… really?

    I don’t like this passage, but erasing it tears the pages behind it…

    The promise of real persecution that may include the loss of life is as much a part of the Christian faith as any of the wondrous promises of redemption.

    It must be embraced with the same faith we embrace the others with.

    We are here for the ones who hate us.

    We aren’t responsible for their actions, but ours.

    Our actions are shown in a later passage…”whatever you do to the least of these”…

    It won’t be safe to act, but our actions will prove our faith.

    “Fear not”…

    It is the states job to protect us and I pray they do it well.

    Really, really, well.

    We have to follow Him whether they do or not.

    Make your own application…

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    Can I copy and post that anonymously Michael?

    And is this the research on Mexican Immigrants?
    Are these estimates of illegal immigrants? It seems they are trying to include them

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/

  13. Jean says:

    #11, Michael,

    Jesus had faith in the resurrection, and promises his followers that same resurrection. Peter, Paul, the early martyrs, many of the reformers, others throughout history have shared that similar level of faith which places a greater hope in the resurrection than in a fleeting, vaporous earthly existence. Faith has unburdened them from the fear of death.

    The more we cling to what we cannot keep, the more we fear and cower and shrink back from the joy of being Christian and sharing that joy, the more the evil one is having his way with us.

    I’m not meaning to lecture anyone. I have my own fears and insecurities and am not by any means a repository of martyr-level courage. But I know Christ’s promises and I am going to cling to them as best I can.

    We need to continue reading the verses you cited above and others like them in Scripture, because this is what Christianity is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  14. Michael says:

    BD,

    You can post it any way you choose…I went ahead and put my name on it here, so the cat is out of the bag.

    The pew stats are still skewed…because we have no clue how many undocumented Mexicans are here in the first place.
    The numbers reported since the turn of the century by our government have been much lower than the actual numbers and you can’t trust any stat provided by Mexico.

    What we do know is that the “invasion” is over for the moment and we are seeing a net negative from Mexico since about 2012.

  15. Em says:

    it may be necessary to remind some that the Christian isn’t sent to kill, but to spread the redemption message – unlike the terrorists who also expect to be killed, but more importantly, they are sent to kill

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    How do we know?

  17. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Islam scares the hell out of me.
    When it doesn’t scare me it offends me with it’s ways and customs.

    I fear for my boy.
    I fear for other peoples children.

    None of that changes what the Bible says.

    I don’t like that either.

    Thank you for reading and contributing…none of this is easy.

  18. Michael says:

    BD,

    We know in many different ways, none of them very scientific.

    We know there has been a shortage of migrant workers that has really dented agriculture, especially here in the NW.
    We know how many of them arranged for crossing over…there were towns south of the border that were nothing more than supply depots for border crossers.
    These places were sometimes “processing ” a few thousand people a day…now the towns have all but disappeared.
    The apprehension rates at the hot spots have dropped dramatically as a result.
    Most of these folks came here to work…and when the work dried up they went home and it’s too difficult and expensive to get back…because the border is not nearly as porous as the defense contractors would like you to believe.
    There are other numbers coming in from humanitarian groups and social service agencies that together with all of the above give us the fuller picture.

  19. Michael says:

    One of the big issues I have is that people are conflating all refugees and migrants into one big pool.
    Each group needs to be looked at differently.

    The assimilation issues and risks involved with Muslims is much different than those involved with Mexicans or Central Americans.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    I agree with the point about conflating the issues and immigrants are very different. The reality however is that our people do not trust the government with regard to immigration and we hate Islam and hate the spin being put on Islam by the democrat party.

    The conflating of issues I see is comparing homelessness to immigration. They have almost nothing in common in my mind. Immigrants are not swelling the ranks of the homeless that I can tell and solving homelessness is much different than assimilating immigrants

  21. Michael says:

    BD,

    There is some truth to that.

    However…the children fleeing Central America were no terror threat and the backlash against them was the same.

    How do you explain that?

    We also need to stop conflating the responsibility of the state with the responsibilities of the Christ follower…

  22. Cookie says:

    There are independent programs that allow citizens to sponsor refugees to come to America. Our CC is involved in such a program and several are sponsoring families. That is a way the individual Christian to respond to the Biblical call to love all.

    Our govt has no such responsibility. I would argue that the number one responsibity of our govt is to keep us safe. It is a fact that ISIS has claimed they will infiltrate the refugee population and enter foreign lands to carry out murder. If you knew that pedophiles were claiming publicly to infiltrate the Boy Scouts to molest young children would you send your kids there? You would demand a thorough BG check and vetting process and most of you, to be on the safe side, would avoid Boy Scouts altogether.

    So why should our govt allow a population to enter this country when WE KNOW that population likely contains terrorist murderers? Wouldn’t the safe thing be to avoid this population altogether?

  23. Michael says:

    Cookie,

    Your point is well taken.
    That is why I have repeatedly said we cannot conflate the responsibilities of the state with that of the Christian.

    Unfortunately, we have a lot of people who think they are one and the same…

  24. Mr Jesperson says:

    A question for the day: Jesus said Matthew 6:24 (AMP)
    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].
    Here is a discussion point I had with my pastor recently. I previously worked for two international christian charities who employed full-time fundraisers. How can a Christian devote his lives work to serving money by raising it for a “good cause” without actually despising Jesus? I do not believe this can be done. The logic does not work.

  25. Michael says:

    Mr Jesperson,

    Raising money for a good cause isn’t serving money, it’s serving the cause.
    If the cause is indeed good, I see no issue with it.
    Money, in and of itself, is not evil.

  26. I am at a loss why this conversation continues. Michael, are you sure you just are not fueling the flames of an issue your position has already won?
    We are taking in the 10,000 initial group – some of which have already arrived. The GOP house leadership has already agreed that they are in line with Obama’s plan to resettle the refugees and we all know that the objecting Governors actually have no say in the matter.

    It’s over, done, a settled issue. So what do you care what people say in your email and or Facebook feed?

  27. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’d rather not talk about it as all hell breaks loose on my head when I do.
    I’ve been asked about it, so I respond.

    I have no settled position on the Syrian refugee issue…except that the issues are one hell of lot more complex in this case than either side is willing to allow.

    I would have been the first one in the neighborhood to welcome kids from Central America…not so sure about young Islamic men.

    I care about this because I care about people and biblical ethics…and I think we need to wrestle with this now.

    These migrations are nothing more than the future showing up at our door…

  28. Michael says:

    Actually, my main interests today are the “Alaskan Bush People” scandal and the big game my Vikings have against the Pack tomorrow.

    I’m greatly in need of diversion… 🙂

  29. Michael,
    Yes, but there is a tone of accusation about folks who are opposed. In any case, the government is in charge not the church and must take the lead.

    Back in the 70s when the Vietnamese boat people were to be resettled, the government set it up and then private groups did the heavy lifting. The Lutheran Church was one of the largest organizations to be involved.

    But here is the difference – we had zero concern that the Viet Cong were going to infiltrate America through this program to bomb our cities and kill out citizens. This is the exact concern we have with this resettlement program and just think it needs to be looked at closely.

    I don’t know about you, but I do not lock my doors at night because I hate anyone on the outside – but because I love those who live on the inside with me. It would take quite a bit for me to change my house to an open door policy.

  30. Scott says:

    On a different note I thought Barbara Walters comment about Donald Trump’s wife Ivana was interesting:

    “If a man says this, I would kill him, but maybe because she’s so beautiful we don’t expect her to be as smart as she is…”

  31. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think how we handled the Central American refugees was despicable.
    That may be the tone you’re hearing.

    We can’t conflate the two situations.
    In every article I’ve written on the Syrian situation I’ve noted that we have valid concerns about our safety…valid enough that even I have real misgivings about how to proceed here.

    I don’t lock my door at night…the cat won’t let me. 🙂

  32. Good – let’s move on – we are at the end of the church year this week end. These past couple of weeks have been centered on readings (OT, the Epistles and the Gospels as they relate to the end.

    Next week begins Advent – where we look towards the 3 comings of Jesus. Many confuse Advent with looking to the coming of Jesus in his birth.
    1.) When Jesus came in the flesh
    2.) When Jesus came to me (any believer in history)
    3.) His return to judge.

  33. Scott says:

    Correction, I still had Ivana on the brain 😉 I meant Melania.

  34. Em says:

    two JWs just knocked on the door and i stonewalled them, i always feel guilty when i don’t engage them in conversation… the one question i’ve asked that they haven’t been able to counter so far is… who did Satan challenge when he said, i will be like the most high God?
    when they answer, “Jehovah, of course.” i can agree and ask them, is it then logical to think that God would not answer the challenge, Himself – why would He send a substitute? … that has brought a blank stare, but they’ve probably gone back to their den and come up with something – dunno

  35. SJ says:

    EM, another way to stonewall or give them some truth/love is to offer to pray with them for their mission. Watch their response. 😉

  36. Mr Jesperson says:

    #25. You dismissed my question way too quickly. I used to think the way you do until I worked in charities with full-time fund raising people. There is an elephant in the room and most people are blind to it. Let me suggest you consider what I said and contemplate on it for a while. A person doing fund-raising is serving money full-time. The logic is sound. Jesus said that money is a root for all kinds of evil, and yet in our western culture we just give it a pass. Jesus saying that we need to despise money has caught my attention. I think it is too easy to lie to ourselves but Jesus made the statement very clearly.

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    Mr Jesperson

    I recommend that you avoid such jobs. Especially since Jesus did not say “money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Easy mistake, Paul however, did say it. It is good to do critical thinking but your point is not air tight by any means.

  38. I thought the quote was about the ‘love’ of money – not money itself.
    Jesus had money – he had Judas carry the bag.

    But for those who hate their money, let me give you my email address so I can help you get rid of that sinful stuff in your life.

  39. Em says:

    fund raising is an interesting issue, tho… years ago, i caught an evening TBN program – Pat Boone was a guest and he made a rather disparaging comment about the piddling $25 a month offerings that the little old ladies sent in – Jan practically jumped out of her gilded chair declaring rather loudly, “no, no, we love those sweet souls – we depend on their gifts.”
    probably Pat didn’t realize how many old souls were sending in those ‘love’ offerings.

    now i’m pondering … can God accomplish His work thru us without our fundraising? do we care where the money comes from? is the prostitute’s contribution as good and a little old granny’s? one thing i know, the bigger the contribution, the more you’ll be loved (i think i just said a brianism 🙂 )

  40. Jean says:

    Yes, Em, you did.

  41. Michael says:

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
    (1 Timothy 6:10 ESV)

    ““No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
    (Matthew 6:24 ESV)

    Jesus did not say that we should despise money.

    He said we ought to rightly prioritize it according to kingdom values.

    Paul simply expands on this to speak of those who “crave” money more than the kingdom of heaven.

    There is little need to meditate on these verses for me as my net worth is worthless. 🙂

  42. Em says:

    i don’t want to be platitudinous, Michael, but your net worth is great, it isn’t measured in U.S. currency

  43. Jean says:

    “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” (Matt 19:21)

    Even if I should be so disciplined that I keep all of the commandments, there would be this. Quite frankly, I like to where Jesus is going, but the route he took, which he bids us to follow, terrifies me.

  44. I don’t think that passage was meant for all Christians – I think it was given to this guy to show him that he cannot follow the commands – he cannot be perfect.

    It was to him, because he thought he could. I don’t think I can – so I get to keep my stuff. 🙂

    It’s a dangerous teaching if a pastor preaches this to be for his congregation.

  45. Jean says:

    I used to rationalize that text, just like you just did. However, there also is this:

    “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Now we know what perfect looks like. Jesus tells us. The stuff we like to dwell on, less swearing, drinking, smoking, lusting, anger, whatever, is actually not the main thing. The main thing actually is what Jesus has been saying all along. “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

    I missed this essential point too, until just this week. But I do agree with you that the earlier text could be badly abused by an ignorant or dishonest preacher.

    I think the text cited in my early comment points first towards Christ, who gave up everything for us, who is our sanctification. All sanctification must be rooted in Christ. It’s also, who He is forming us to be. We will be perfect. It’s His promise to us.

    David Scaer wrote recently that the word “sacrifice” is a great synonym for the word “sanctification.”

    I’ve been thinking a lot about sacrifice and sanctification in the context of what I should or should not think and support (left and right hand kingdoms distinguished) relative to the Syrian refugee issue.

  46. Surfer51 says:

    It reminded me of the time, back in the 90’s when I painted at the homes of two women.

    Both were the daughters of the man, Bill Lear, who was famous for the “Lear jet.”

    Bill left the bulk of his fortune to the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult.

    Dunno, but he may have left future Lear Jet profits to them as well.

    Now I see the Jehovah’s Witnesses combing a very wealthy neighborhood for more gold nuggets.

    The cult is wise in mining for resources, but they offer no one true salvation through Jesus Christ.

    In fact they believe that Jesus Christ is a created being, the brother of Michael the angel.

    Used to be, during the Jesus People day’s, you would see Christians with Bibles talking with others everywhere.

    Now you hardly ever see that.

    But you do see JV’s and Mormons…

  47. Jean says:

    “Used to be, during the Jesus People day’s, you would see Christians with Bibles talking with others everywhere.”

    I remember those days. I was a teenager living in the Bay Area, one of them. I long for those days.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean the first guy did indeed think he had perfected his salvation and wanted entry into the kingdom based on that. So Jesus said to him “not quite yet hombre… Do this.”

    No way Jesus was going to let him in based on his good works. I am convinced that if the guy went out sold everything and gave the proceeds to the poor that Jesus would accept it. Jesus would have given him one more thing to do and then another and then another.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Darn phone – Jesus would NOT accept it.

  50. Jean says:

    “Jesus would have given him one more thing to do and then another and then another.”

    Absolutely! Just like the Samaritan who gave the innkeeper a blank check to care for his enemy.

    It’s a picture of our Lord towards us. And it’s a picture of the new heaven and earth. We’re all a work in process, somewhere between the two pictures.

  51. Well I think this guy was toast – he went away sad. He was not going to try any more.

    But to begin, his premise was wrong – “what must I do…?” You can’t do anything and even trying places you further away than you were.

    But I do like your comment about the new heaven and the new earth.

  52. brian says:

    ” but your net worth is great, it isn’t measured in U.S. currency” I remember thinking like that about what I tried to do and miserably failed at. I agree it may not be measured in US currency, but it is most definitely measured in some kind of currency, cash, green, scratch, coin etc. I hope I am wrong on this.

  53. Em says:

    brian, depends on who’s doing the measuring – but i do know what you mean and it is a sad, but true truth
    when i was a kid i heard the bromide “virtue is its own reward” and that made absolutely no sense to me… kind of like the Navy song “Anchors aweigh ” … i pictured sailors throwing the anchors away and that made no sense either – seemed very wasteful

  54. Paul A. Lytton says:

    MLD,

    I understood you # 50, that Jesus would accept it, very well. It would explain that your works are gone and have no worth. The only thing is to keep working and loosing until you realize that the works only require more works with no result.

  55. London says:

    now i’m pondering … can God accomplish His work thru us without our fundraising? do we care where the money comes from? is the prostitute’s contribution as good and a little old granny’s? one thing i know, the bigger the contribution, the more you’ll be loved (i think i just said a brianism 🙂 )

    Yes he can. But, not without relationship.
    Yes, we care where the money comes from. Yes a prostitutes money is just as good as a granny’s.
    The bigger the contribution, the more attention you’ll have paid to you. That is not the same as love.

  56. I have no problem with fundraising. I am in the first stages of one at my church as we try to raise a couple of million dollars. I even hired a professional fundraising entity to help us. We have work to do for the kingdom and it takes funds to do so.

  57. Surfer51 says:

    MLD,

    You make a very valid point.

    No crime when money is genuinely being used for the Kingdom of God.

  58. Surfer51 says:

    There is a very good book written by Richard Gaylord Briley called:

    The Seven Secrets Of Success.

    Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    It goes into great detail about acquiring funds from a Christian perspective.

    He makes some interesting points that I know MLD will totally agree with as do I.

  59. There is a proper method for good fund raising – appeal only to the people you and who have a shared interest. (We appeal to our church family – near and far and to our school family.

    I like to follow that old pastor who told his congregation “the good news is we have all the funds we need for this project.”
    “The bad news is, it’s still in your wallet” . 😉

  60. appeal only to the people you = “appeal only to the people you KNOW”

  61. Surfer51 says:

    That quote, MLD, reminded me of Dr. J Vernon Mcgee’s father.

    He was once asked if it is OK for Christian women to wear make up.

    He answered, “If the barn needs painting, well go ahead and paint it.” 🙂

  62. Only evangelicals think this stuff up … but worse yet is that a magazine titled Church Leadership publishes it.

    The fine are of getting believers to doubt their trust in Jesus. Wait a minute, wasn’t their a new testament Bible character that went around trying to get even Jesus to give up the faith?

    As Michael and them get upset with dirty pastor, I go insane when I see them do this.

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