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  1. Dallas says:

    Always appreciate the opportunity to share links on Saturday.

    A Word from Gamaliel

    …and from earlier this week, though it got a ping back for linking Kevin’s article earlier this week.

    Thoughts (Stolen and Otherwise)

  2. Al says:

    I had a chat with Maaaaaaaaat Daaaaaaaaymun about his Bourne Hypocrisy.

    Crowder emailed, “….you’ve got a brass pair. I laughed at “I don’t want to talk to you. You are not Matt Damon”

  3. Dallas says:

    Al, watched that when you posted earlier this week, that last bit definitely made me laugh as well.

  4. Em ... again says:

    a random thought as i read Act$ l3 this morning… i think there is a sense in which the Church is carrying on the work of John the Baptist… so my question is, is J0hn a role model for us? hmmm
    not ready to eat locusts, Lord … camel hair might be nice, tho … it makes nice coats and sports jackets for men, anyway … but i do have my pride, Lord and locusts are not too appetizing to me either…

  5. Jean says:

    “i think there is a sense in which the Church is carrying on the work of John the Baptist… so my question is, is J0hn a role model for us?”

    No! John was telling his Old Covenant brothers to shape up. The Church’s New Covenant message is one of grace offered to all on account of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

    Here is the salient text, which would distinguish J. the B’s ministry from the Church’s.

    “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

    See, what some people miss in this text, is that Jesus is truly the “gate”. You don’t even get to the truth except through Jesus. So the Church’s work always begins (and ends) with Jesus.

  6. Dallas says:

    In as much as we are here to point to the one who has come in Jesus, that we are to decrease and he is to increase, we (as exiles) are shouting in the wilderness, and one of the ways that I think we sometimes fail culturally and relationally is in making straight the way of the Lord… we could probably be a little more wary of the stumbling blocks that we drop along the path.

  7. Michael says:

    There is a similarity in that we are still to call to people to repentance and faith.

    The other similarity lies with the locusts and the camel hair…we are called to be a peculiar people, a nation inside of a nation, a people that are in the world but not of it.

    That does not describe the vast majority of the American church…

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “In as much as we are here to point to the one who has come in Jesus, ”

    I thought that was the Holy Spirit’s job.
    I thought the Church is to work on the Christians.

  9. Dallas says:

    MLD, in a best case scenario, I would think that the Spirit is so enmeshed in what the church is working to accomplish that the distinction there would be largely meaningless. Any legitimate work of the church would also be the work of the Spirit.

  10. Michael says:

    “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
    (Romans 10:14–17 ESV)

  11. Michael says:

    “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
    (2 Corinthians 5:18–20 ESV)

  12. Al says:

    Something I posted on my Facebook wall today that expresses my heart currently (and thanks to Pastor Michael for being a consistent example of the real Gospel of Jesus):

    “I’m actually looking forward to going to church again tomorrow. It felt good to hear what I believe is a much truer version of the Gospel of Jesus…. presented in a very humble “I’m the pastor, but I’m a daily sinner in need of mercy and grace, too” approach…and a Gospel that doesn’t view regular sinners like myself as the “enemy” but rather as someone to have compassion for and to want to help vs. beat over the head with the bible and the hell narrative.

    My beef with some church sects is they emphasize beating the regular sinners over the head with the bible and they excel at lashing out at the “outsiders” (the opposite of 1 Corinthians 5:12) …while extending maximum grace to their Gurus and Pastors/Leaders who sin like the devil and never cop to doing anything wrong.

    I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I will clearly tell you I’m a sinner and I’ll prove it. I’m the Publican, on my face, guilty, begging for mercy. I can’t stand the Pharisee Pastors who put heavy burdens on regular sinners and then they themselves lie like the devil, hurt people, do so much wrong and never cop to any of it, which Jesus and the bible actually says is damning.”

    I’m attending Sovereign Grace Fellowship… Rick Hogaboam is the pastor, a former CC guy. Very real, very humble and honest, doesn’t get rich off of Jesus, just serves faithfully, very intelligent guy, works hard in our community for Pro-Life and other worthy causes that actually help real people in need. I am honored to attend the fellowship he leads and will try to help how I can. We need to support good pastors like Rick and Michael and others.

  13. Michael says:

    Thank you, Alex… the only difference between the sinners who preach and the ones who sit is the calling…

  14. Al says:

    Michael, amen, and that is the right attitude IMO, that is the true Gospel of Jesus…not this “the pastor is Special and Specially Anointed and more spiritual than you!” bull.

  15. Al says:

    I’ve seen the “Specially Anointed!” garbage hurt both the pastor and the follower.

    It creates false idols and then some of these “pastors” get trapped in a death-spiral of having to pretend and create a fake facade and lie lie lie like the devil b/c they have to live up to the false expectations of being “Specially Anointed!’ and they cannot cop to sin and receive forgiveness and grace and mercy and have to continue to lie keep up appearances.

    They have to keep up false appearances b/c their “sheep’ and money-giving followers have bought into the “Specially Anointed!” lie and have placed these sinning men in the place of Jesus many times.

    It’s a terrible dynamic. It isn’t Jesus.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We may be circling the same point. I was speaking more in the area of John 6 and the initial draw by the Holy Spirit – “44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—”

    But the question asked was about the role of the Church – and to me that is more inward to equip individual people.

  17. Michael says:


    I believe the time when the church is gathered for worship is intended for the strengthening and equipping of the saints.

    When the church disperses they carry the message of the Gospel with them into the world.

  18. Em ... again says:

    Act 13:24-25
    “Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

    “And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.”

    it isn’t much of a stretch to see that as the Believer’s message to the unsaved… we should be preaching repentance – awkward to do? – and point the lost to Christ Jesus AND should that not be our prime ambition? even if it is at the expense of today’s luxuries?

    that’s all i saw this a.m… that and the fact that John the Baptist comes to mind whenever i pray, “give us this day our daily bread”- i think of John the Baptist and am a bit ashamed of how i tend to define “daily bread”

  19. Michael says:


    Yes and no…as our Lutheran brethren will be the first to say, we point to Jesus through our vocations and doing good for our neighbors.

    Preaching repentance presupposes an understanding of law broken and grace available…and these days that is presupposing a great deal.

    Now that I think about it, I rarely hear public calls to repentance and grace along with the constant hammering of the law…

  20. Em ... again says:

    there are two extremes – both dangerous IMHO – the one is to extrapolate from Scripture into a “strange,” unsound doctrine and the other is to miss the glory and the completeness of the whole pattern of the Book by trying to pigeonhole everything into categories and doctrines until there is life left in it… it’s pretty clear to see which danger i skate closest to… but i know where the edge is … i think…

  21. Em ... again says:

    sigh, i need to get a new set of glasses so badly… make that “until there is NO life left…”

  22. I hesitate to put too much on the ordinary Christian. I do not think that the Matt 28 call is on the layman.

  23. Jean says:

    “Now that I think about it, I rarely hear public calls to repentance and grace along with the constant hammering of the law…”

    That’s a bullseye. When Christian leaders (I will avoid the term evangelical), use their platform to get involved in politics, the message you always hear is law. You never hear about grace, or justice or mercy for the marginalized. The message is only attractive to their constituents.

  24. Michael says:

    The other scriptures I posted do put it on the “laymen”.

    The “laymen” have no problem spending all day promoting political candidates on Facebook and Twitter…

    Political advocacy has replaced evangelism in evangelical orthopraxy…

  25. Al says:

    Agreed with your 24 Michael.

    Our fav Evangelical Sect is strong on politics and railing against the “outsiders’….yet the exact opposite when it comes to the Pastoral Qualifications and dealing with known sin in their Leadership. They do the mirror opposite of what Jesus taught and exampled and the mirror opposite of what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:12

  26. Al says:

    ….not that they care b/c many of them do not really “believe the bible simply”….they are Agenda-driven and only care about their personal Franchises “success” which is measured by money and butts in seats as “validation” of their special anointing and the other Chuck Smith nonsense. Not nearly all, but a lot of them.

  27. Al says:

    Intellectually, I believe the Calvinist angle makes the most sense, Lutherans a close second (sorry the prosthetic arms thing just doesn’t jive for me)….but I don’t really care much about “how” God does it, more that he does it and that we should likely not fall in love with our doctrine and theology and shouldn’t fall in love with our Leaders/Gurus and Sects and Systems….we should focus on Jesus and on a simple Gospel of Jesus message and focus on Jesus’s teachings and example.

    The rest often stumbles regular folks and agnostics etc. and causes divisions in the church etc.

  28. Al says:

    I do think the Lutherans (the conservative branch) are good folks in general, very accountable and very much a true Gospel presentation….and the focus isn’t on the Pastor/Leader, it’s on Jesus.

  29. Michael says:

    If I speak out continually and vociferously on political matters I instantly alienate at least 50% of my hearers.
    My primary vocation is as an ambassador for Christ…i am a poor ambassador if I first alienate half the people I’m sent to.

    Because we cannot have civil, fact based, discourse on issues it is pointless to engage the temporal for the eternal.

    I’m sorely tempted, however…

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think that your Romans passage and the Matt 28 are to the professional clergy.

    I think the call to the layman is 1 Perter 3:15 and it is to be carried out in attitude of 2 Cor 5

  31. JTK says:

    As I sit here assessing the election, I estimate 1% of my church is identifiable as excited to vote for Donald Trump. I am pretty good at “knowing the condition of the flock” locally.

    I wonder the real number is, the average across evangelical churches right now for Trump and Hillary.

    It sure seems low for both…

    YOUR thoughts on YOUR church?

  32. JTK says:

    “Political advocacy has replaced evangelism in evangelical orthopraxy”


    Well put.
    You shoot, you score.

    I can’t tell you how many Fox News watchers warn me about how SCARRRRY my missions field is.

    I smile, sometimes yawn, knowing it’s true but not being afraid.

  33. Michael says:


    100% of my church is excited for Trump…which may reflect on my teaching ability. 🙂

  34. Em ... again says:

    i am not checking the link @ 34… trying to keep a politics free brain 🙂 gotta say tho both parties would do well to swap their VPs for their Presidential candidates… IMHO

    1Pe 3:15-17
    “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

    “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

    “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

    good words from Peter… i guess what was good for the Jew is good for the Gentile convert… but do the “professional clergy” get a pass on this? likewise, with Our Lord’s Prayer, it was given before the indwelling Holy Spirit, so couldn’t it be prayed by the unbelieving searcher for God also? i am pretty certain that much of Scripture is ubiquitous and the Holy Spirit brings it to life in a variety of hearers… (yes, there are specifics directed to wives and children and husbands and teachers etc)… we try to finesse those to our liking – making them applicable to the times… not good? dunno
    let the Word live and let the teachers teach well with fear and wisdom and may the rest of us sit down, shut up, prepare our hearts and listen – with fear and discernment

    somebody posted a report on the conversion of Muslims to Christ now going on in some places … Lord, let it be so

  35. nathan priddis says:

    @34 Anti-Evangelicalism, an idea whose’s time has come.

    Trump is the man to break up the Evangelical monopoly we have known all our lives. I keep repeating the mantra, Trump is a car bomb, a preferred weapon against checkpoints and roadblocks.

    Win or lose, he will alter Evangelicalism and it’s leadership, and clear a path for new ideas and individuals. Especially, if he wins and Evangelicals are seen as participating in an authoritarian government. This will result in the total collapse of credibility for Evangelicalism. The same way Hitler set back fascism in Europe to the point it is only now starting to re-emerge from under the rock.

    If it’s lose, it will create chaos in the faithful in Evangelical institutions that promised victory and Utopia.

  36. Erunner says:

    #34, Michael, The word “Christian” seems to be a word that is pretty meaningless in today’s world. For that matter the same seems to be the case in parts of the church.

    In my world I’m very comfortable stating I’m a Christian. Creature of habit I guess. Pray you’re feeling better.

  37. Michael says:


    I’m grateful for every day I’m still here… 🙂

    I get called lots of things…most of them have some truth to them…

  38. Scott says:

    So much for a moratorium on politics. I new it wouldn’t last long 😉

  39. Scott says:

    Knew, new, pretty much the same in context.

  40. Michael says:


    And I knew you’d be the first to take a shot…

    Go read what I wrote…that I would make an exception for those things that deal with the intersection of faith and politics.

    Especially when they confirm a point I’ve been making for months. 🙂

    Have you read nothing else on the blog worthy of comment?

  41. Glen says:

    Scott, you must have been reading my mind.? But I wasn’t going to say anything………..
    I get in enough trouble with one of my cousins.?

    Now I’d like to brag about my new Lavender Ameracauna chickens. They are great chickens!

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps if an evangelical were to ever be properly catechized (which I think is forbidden in evangelical circles) they would understand what they mean when they self identify to pollsters as an evangelical. I think that people who self identify to pollsters have only heard the term in reference to politics – that they think an evangelical is a white christian republican and that the term only applies during election cycles.

    I have come to the conclusion that even in evangelical circles, it has become the non religious activities of the Baptist like Christians – Baptist, independents, Calvary Chapels Pentecostals etc.

    Think about it – anyone in those groups call themselves evangelical – from Benny Hinn & Joel Osteen to RC Sproul and JI Packer … how can that be – what do they have in common?

  43. Owen says:

    #37,, Erunner….

    And around where I am, Christian has become pretty much a bad word. I actually don’t mind that too much – we really should have seen it coming, Jesus said we will be hated for His name. (Also something about how they hated Him first….)

  44. Owen says:

    #34, Michael…

    He has some good things to say. I have to admit I have distanced myself from the E-word, and yes, mainly because of the political implications that seem to have latched onto it and often defined it for us. But also because I’ve been acquainted in the past with some Evangelical organizations whose doctrines I can’t agree with.
    Honestly, I am tired of labels.

    “When this fevered moment is over, we will need to make “evangelical” great again.”

    — or, how about we just do and become the good things he discussed in his article, and forget the label.

    Just my opinon.

    Praying for your health and well – being , Michael. Also grateful for your uncompromising adherence to the Truth.

  45. Jean says:


    “And around where I am, Christian has become pretty much a bad word. I actually don’t mind that too much – we really should have seen it coming, Jesus said we will be hated for His name. (Also something about how they hated Him first….)”

    The issue is twofold:

    1) Are we being hated by the right people?

    1) Are we being hated for the right reason?

    Anyone can get them self hated.

  46. Dallas says:

    Jean, you beat me to it. There are a lot of people out there who lean on those words to justify some pretty hate-worthy things.

  47. Owen says:

    Jean ( and Dallas ),

    Good points. The sources of the hate I have heard from do seem to be aimed at the extremist Christians – often the fundamentalists, whose “law voice” drowns out the gospel.

    I think many Christians forget that the only people Jesus got angry with were the Pharisees and moneychangers.(correct me if I’m wrong on that one…)

  48. Em ... again says:

    #46- there is a danger in the old and often repeated question: Ask yourself if you are hated for being a Christian or are you hated because your an offensive person in one way or another…it’s really not a black and white issue IMV

    there are not too many people with strong enough wills and character to be hated for what they say and do …
    the often repeated admonition to Christians to ask yourself, “is it really because you’re a Christian that you’re “hated?” has done much toward a climate of mealy-mouthed, hypocritical posers… trying their best to be nice, to not offend and the devil sits back and smiles

    if you stand you will be loved and you will be hated

    i can give an example, my mother, who had impeccable manners, hated my mother-in-law as my mother-in-law was a Donald Trump personality type Christian… she didn’t care one bit if you were offended (after a couple decades the two women came to like each other)
    many folk passed quickly thru my MIL’s life offended by her, but they never passed through her life without being “evangelized” – and i don’t buy the argument that she drove people away from Christ, they went away knowing the issue 🙂

    to my knowledge no one ever passed through my mother’s life with any enlightenment on the Faith… i think – dunno – that they’re both now waiting in Paradise as redeemed souls…

    i think we do best to renew our minds, grow in Christ and let the Holy Spirit work – it will be noticed, because you will be different and, at times you will offend
    yes, be ready to give an answer because of what is in our renewed minds … but i suspect God was more pleased with my offensive MIL than with either my mother or myself – dunno, tho

    pontificating sermonette over – God keep all close

  49. Owen says:

    And a good sermonette it was, Em.. 🙂

  50. Em ... again says:

    Owen, you are charitable – that’s a good thing

    FWIW, i think Christians get mixed up on interpreting reactions… we are much more apt to be disliked than we are to be hated and, perhaps, that more closely fits Jean’s caution… if i’m at the workplace humming “Jesus loves me” softly all day long, there’s a good chance that i will be disliked… but it won’t be because Jesus loves me 🙂

  51. Erunner says:

    # 44 Owen, living in Orange County there has never been a lack of christian kooks dating back for my 40 years of being a believer. So there’s always been a built in broad brush that’s been used against all of us.

    God’s word will never change and as I have sought to live out my life I’ve pretty much stayed the same. I don’t even have a tattoo! I’ve never really had a problem identifying myself as a Christian and if anyone is offended they’ll find I’m an easy man to talk to.

    Living this life out in front of friends and family is most important to me, warts and all. I’ve enjoyed your posts here. Tell your sweetie I said hi!

  52. John S says:

    LoL at @Al for his phrase “butts in seats” [26].

  53. Owen says:

    You made me chuckle, Em.. your humming can’t be that bad , that they would dislike you for it…. unless they actually recognize the song and take offense at that. (Maybe you should try singing the words and see what happens 😉 )

    I can agree , we are more likely in general to be disliked. But as I mentioned above, I think when Christians behave badly is when it escalates towards hate.

  54. Owen says:

    Erunner – I have enjoyed hearing you here as well. Haven’t seen you much on your blog.

    In our area, it seems pretty easy to offend people with simple things like reading the Bible in the wrong public place. Anything else goes, but anything related to the true God is generally not acceptable. I suspect the broad brush has been applied here, too.

  55. Erunner says:

    Owen, my blog is on a bit of a hiatus now. Not sure when I’ll resume.

    The sad reality near us is I’m more concerned about violence than a reaction to where I might read my Bible although I’m not one to read it in public. It’s a strange time we live in.

  56. JTK says:

    Wellllll Michael,

    The Charles Bowden Reader has me feeling quite grateful that our immigration and refugee policies are so much more compassionate than Australia’s…


  57. Michael says:


    Bless you for reading…
    There is a short video online by Bowden about Australia and the refugees…hard to watch.

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