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56 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    “My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me. Thus, incidentally, what gives to each of us His highest worth gives the same worth to everyone; in all that matters most are we equal.”

    William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

  2. Michael says:

    How did you know who I was reading? 🙂

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    Oh, all good Anglicans read William Temple on Fridays… part of the “secret code”!

  4. Michael says:

    Don’t tell them what we do the rest of the week… 🙂

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    Ramsey on Monday, Gore on Tuesday…

  6. Jean says:

    The Gospel and the Office of the Pastor:

    “If one asks what the one characteristic feature of the Christian faith is, distinguishing it from all religions in the world, then we would have to say: It is the forgiveness of sins. The pious Jew and even the pious Mohammedan may hope for God’s pardon. Forgiveness as a real gift, the full assurance of forgiveness, that is the gift of the Gospel.

    To proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness, to declare to repentant sinners the forgiveness of their sins, to distribute the Sacraments with all the gifts of divine grace contained in them, this and nothing else, is the proper task of the minister of Christ as it was the officium proprium [proper office] of Christ Himself. This the Church had to learn in the great crisis of the second century…. The church administration in Europe follows the patterns of the administration of the state, while in America the great business organizations seem to be unknowingly imitated by the churches. The consequence is that also the parish minister becomes more and more of an administrator and organizer who rushes from meeting to meeting and has not enough time for his proper calling as a shepherd.”

    – Hermann Sasse

  7. Jean says:

    “Christianity has far too many voices that would have us believe in a God who doesn’t wound us. But God himself declares otherwise: ‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make a live; I wound and I heal.’ ”

    Good article here. Please use the link to continue reading:

  8. Michael says:

    I find all the various theologies of suffering to be worth little save one…He suffered and we share in His sufferings.

    It doesn’t help much, nor does it provide much salve, but it at least makes some rational sense.

  9. Michael says:

    One of the strangest things about this blog is that it is only busy when people are at work…

  10. David H says:

    I’d be here more often if I could craft my words as to not set up my own mine field and find myself trapped in the middle of it.

    On another note. My brother, son, and I went to the drag races yesterday. My brother, and I don’t spend enough time together. It’s time to change that. I love him, and miss our time together. My son had a great time with his uncle. Stil, it was a glorious day.

  11. Michael says:


    I think you craft your words well…

  12. David H says:

    Thank you, Michael.

    I’m saddened as I watch Evangelicals eat themselves alive. The old guard seems to be throwing their followers to the wolves. They have placed political expediency over the gospel.

    I do believe that we will see a revival in the near future. It will be a revival that will be reviled by the present leaders. The millenials have among them people who desire Jesus, and they will find Him. My son and his friends know Him, but they don’t know Him through the old guard.

    I hope that makes sense.

  13. Dan from Georgia says:


    Ironic that I type this reply while at work…hahaha! I visit this blog, btw, at ALL times of the day/night as I oftentimes work overnights and weekends, and sometimes on my days off, I’m up as early at 430am (ET).

    Sad note: wife and I had to say goodbye, for now, to our dearly loved and loveable and insanely cute dog Sophie a few days ago. She was 15yrs old and getting ill alot. I know today that somewhere someone far greater than wife and I is caring for her needs.

    David H (12)…I love this comment. And sad to see that some evangelicals are so lost into power and politics that they will probably scream fits of rage when revival comes, and they won’t be in charge of it.

  14. Michael says:


    I’ve been saying for years that the next revival will start with gays and immigrants… 🙂

  15. Michael says:


    My heart goes out to you about Sophie…

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, from one animal lover to another, thank you!

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    So sorry to hear about Sophie… it is a terrible loss. We’ve gone through it twice. I’ll remember you and your wife in my prayers this evening.

  18. David H says:

    Dan, saying farewell to a pet is the same as saying farewell to a human family member. My condolences.

  19. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Duane and David H, your prayers are appreciated and I will let my wife know!

  20. John 20:29 says:

    Losing a faithful pet leaves an empty place in the home – joining in the prayers for God’s comforting Dan and family now … the One Who sees a sparrow fall has Sophie in His care, too… and Tipper and Rainy and Skipper and Bounder and Silly Willie and Tumbleweed and Ravell… and alll the other good creatures who’ve touched our lives and hearts, eh?

  21. David H says:

    I’ve said farewell to a lot of pets over the years. Each one was special in its own way. Cosmo the black cat was one of my favorites. He was rescued from a warehouse. This was a cat who defended Caleb (my son) from dogs on two occasions. He actually jumped on the back of a pitbull and chased it way. Crazy little beast, he was.

  22. John 20:29 says:

    David, I love reading pet stories here… Rainy was a pitbull, a gentle dog, unless she saw a marmot, but the resident cats did rule the roost- something about those needle sharp claws swiping across a dog’s nose. ?

  23. Jeff Sheckstein says:


    One of the things I miss most about leaving SoCal is attending the WinterNationals. It told me that Christmas was around the corner.


    Sorry for your loss. I grieved over the death of my last dog greater than I did over my Dad. I guess that set a lot about him…or maybe me…or maybe us both. Now I have a cute snow sliding Malshi. No ladies, this is not a slander on women…it is half Maltese and half Shitzu.

    Blessed Sunday to you all.

  24. John 20:29 says:

    Jeff, how can you tell that it’s not a Shitzese? … sorry. ?

  25. bob1 says:

    I really think Roy Moore is desecrating the Faith. Nauseating.

    I was happy to see that Ed Stetzer has condemned what Moore has said.

  26. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    John 20:29

    You might be right. JoJo is rarely constipated.

  27. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Em and Jeff, I too feel more sadness over Sophie than my father. I loved my father, but it wasn’t the warmest, 1950s father-son relationship. I think the angels are enjoying petting Sophie’s soft, white, fur coat (she was an American Eskimo).

  28. John 20:29 says:

    Dan, American Eskimo? Is that the same as a Samoyed? I have heard they are wonderful pets…

    FWIW… I’ve been thinking today about how e Christian should respond to the Moore story now… pretty much concluded that it is not our fight … yes, I lean toward thinking he has a past he can’t be proud of and no matter his guilt or innocence, he should withdraw his bid for the Senate seat .. Further I don’t know where he stands with His Creator today …
    But, if anyone asks me, all I can say is that it is disgusting, not a topic to speculate on and I hope it is a case where justice is served – however, that’s hard to do in these late accusations for many reasons

  29. descended says:

    Question related to current events in my city:
    Is the church supposed to be a place where unrepentant addicts who’ve created mental health issues for themselves go to receive a pat on the back or some kind of absolution? I realize my question belies my perspective, but the sincerity is there. I am willing to be wrong in my perspective. Case in point, a disheveled gentleman walks out of the church looking half asleep as I am walking in. He walks around the corner. 45 minutes later halfway through the sermon he shows up high as a kite, twitching like a bird. The pastor says that this is going to be the new normal at our church.

  30. descended says:

    IMV, that’s what rescue missions are for – where the church body goes to serve.

  31. Dan from Georgia says:


    American Eskimos are a member of the Spitz family of dogs. I read that the Samoyed is from the Spitz group as well, so I THINK there is some relation, but they are entirely different breeds. The Samoyed is much large than the American Eskimo, for example. Thanks for asking!

  32. Dan from Georgia says:

    Oh, and yes, the American Eskimo’s do make wonderful pets!

  33. Jtk says:

    “I’ve been saying for years that the next revival will start with gays and immigrants“

    iii could see it. I’ve heard no revival has impacted the upper classes.

    We regularly have student immigrants get saved and come into our congregation.

    Iiii just read this:

    It could add another facet—compromise and close up shop, or approach that. Similar to the Rob Bell “reverse Pentecost” of 3,000 gone in a day.

  34. Jtk says:

    Is there anyone who struggled with that in your congregation?

    Do many in your church “get their hands dirty?” Not talking down to you…

    iii don’t know your town or the demographics around your town, but there are many Gospelcentric programs that could come in, if leadership and a number of the congregation are willing to help, and that is different than the social Gospel places that just feed and house addicts. They have their place too.

    The FORMER drug users who repented are so numerous in our church, one couldn’t count if they wanted to.

  35. John 20:29 says:

    i’m no expert on physical addiction to drugs, but since it is a major topic for concern these days…
    from what i’ve gleaned on the topic, i have no use for “recreational” drug use whatsoever… shame on anyone who justifies the trafficking of them… You’re substituting the diversion of chemically induced escape from reality, narcotics, for your soul’s longing for peace – peace with God
    That said, from where i sit, we’ve got to stop the idea that all pain is “unbearable” and to get a stranglehold on the so called producers of these addictive pain killers – talk about evil to the core! It does make hell seem like a reasonable residence for some…
    God help the poor souls trapped in addicted bodies… please, God

    i am not saying that all pain is always to be born without medication, BTW

  36. Michael says:


    The answer to your question depends a lot on your ecclesiology.
    Historically, the Sunday gathering of the saints was just that, a time for the redeemed to hear the Gospel and receive the sacraments.
    Evangelical churches added evangelism to the lost during services, so they want a mixed multitude of saved and unsaved people to attend.
    If you do evangelism during the service, then you don’t get to choose what flavor of sinner you attract…

  37. Michael says:


    I’m being a bit flippant.
    Revival often starts with those the established church marginalizes and even despises.
    I guess the other likely group would be Democrats… 🙂

  38. descended says:

    JtK, Michael et al,

    Our little town of 27,000 has seen its crime rate balloon to the worst in our county (2.5 mil) in the short span of 4 years. That’s not a proportion, either. Most of it is drug related, other towns are shipping their homeless here because no one else nearby has any kind of rescue mission or long term facility – heck, WE don’t have a longterm facility. So in that respect I admire the pastor’s drive to be a community hub of sorts. But I take a very conservative view of the church body, I am finding, closer what Michael described as the historical view of the church. A place where the saints come to worship, be fed, be an encouragement, pray for others. A large, huge, massive part of my reticence towards my pastor’s approach is two-fold. Those who he is in contact with by his admission are walking up to him on the street high, or having just having finished a trick and telling him how accepted they feel by him and it does not seem that law nor Gospel are being delivered effectively. The main concern is getting them home, or to someone or somewhere that will have the resources to help. Second, having our children’s ministry in such close proximity to those who are unrepentantly imbibing pharmakeia and so are more susceptible to the temptations of Satan is not serving the needs of families at our church. Other things have taken precedence over serving the families in our church, such as building a small, enclosed, outdoor play space for our children – rather, upwards of 5,000 dollars was spent on flags – an American flag, an Israeli flag, and the Christian flag. More was spent on sound and lighting and instruments for worship.

    As I’m writing I’m seriously talking myself out of this church, ugh.

    On the other hand, I look at Time Square Church in New York where David Wilkerson sought out that population and saw the Lord have a tremendous effect. Yet, that was a sovereign work of the Lord and Wilkerson was preaching some pretty heavy Gospel (I’ve heard he wasn’t even considered that great of a bible teacher).

    I don’t know if I am afraid to move my family again, or if my concerns are real and central to what Church should look like and maybe this one isn’t. From what I read in Timothy and Titus there doesn’t seem to be much moving in the direction of prayer and doctrine and loving one another.

    I dunno.

  39. descended says:

    Btw, we all get our hands dirty. Thats the thing though, We go out from the collective and together we get our hands dirty. There’s also the real caution that that sort of ministry isnt for everyone, especially a person such as myself who shouldn’t be hanging around sex workers. Drugs was not a temptation for me, but the two are intertwined, so…
    We are all gifted in different ways, and the caution given last Sunday was that this was the new normal, and if we didn’t like it move on. It’s as if our proof of salvation is tested by our missional intent toward the homeless, hookers, and addicts.

  40. Jean says:


    In your comment at #38, one can quickly discern 3 or 4 serious problems plaguing your church. Your instincts are right on. Without whipping up a frenzy of debate, I think a good rule of thumb for any congregation is: In everything that the church practices and teaches, Jesus must be the Alpha and the Omega. The Jesus of Scripture.

  41. Michael says:

    The minute they spent five grand on flags I’d have been gone.
    No one advocates for social causes and the church to be on that front line than me…but the service is for the redeemed to be fed through Word and Sacrament and go forth to do the ministry.

  42. descended says:


    In many ways I agree with the drive to draw them in, but I think the method is wrong. I also think there are neglected spots. Families who keep the lights on need a place to love another without fear of having the probability heightened that they or their children will be physically harmed. I think Texas of recent is a good example of a mentally unstable person holding a grudge.

    I think Wilkerson had certain days where that was the function of the service. Those were nights that he sought out the indigent and invited them to integrate with the church body. I don’t believe it was Sunday morning, though I could be wrong. Maybe someone else knows.

  43. John 20:29 says:


    Reading descended’s account, one word comes to mind… enabler – I doubt that his pastor intends to enable…. i’d hazard a guess he thinks this shows God’s mercy and compassion…
    These people do need help, need shelter and most of all need to meet God One on one … like the rest of the population, not so constricted, few will choose redemption, but some will and that must be the outcome this pastor is targeting… Perhaps his calling is to run a rescue mission?
    descended has analyzed the problem very well IMHO

    There was a time when opening the doors to one and all with the goal of evangelizing the “unchurched” on Sunday morning did a good work IMV but that was when serious Believers had Sunday evening, Wednesday evening and Sunday school to grow in the deeper nurture and admonition of their Lord

    A pastor who does not or is not able to teach in depth starves God’s children IMNSHO

  44. descended says:


    I thought the same when I saw that, but I thought there may be a baby in the bathwater.

  45. John 20:29 says:

    “The minute they spent five grand on flags I’d have been gone”. Those must have been some pretty spectacular flags!
    Add irresponsible to enabler ?

  46. descended says:


    I didn’t want to say it. But that is the cumulative effect. They are staunch about not living together before marriage, but “sorcery” is okay in the congregation? :-/

  47. descended says:

    Thing is, the pastor’s a really great guy! Personable, humble, affectionate, not living high off the coiffers.

    I’ll not write the church off, perhaps it’s just a season. But perhaps its time to move on. Praying about it…

  48. descended says:

    The scary part is thinking about it in relation to James 2

  49. John 20:29 says:

    One would hope that the parents at defender’s place of worship will discuss with their children the predicament of these wandering souls – what a great opportunity to expand upon the teachings we have in scripture… let the children express what they see, get them thinking beyond platitudes, maybe?

  50. dusty says:

    Dan, sorry you had to say goodbye to your Sophie today…praying for you and your bride

  51. dusty says:

    John 20:29, you are amazing! just wanted to let you know that.

  52. John 20:29 says:

    thank you, dusty….
    it is amazing how i presume on Michael’s patience to pontificate here on the PhxP 🙂

  53. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks dusty (#50). We miss her so much. The house just doesn’t seem the same without her!

    Michael…GO VIKES!

  54. descended says:


    I’m a tad heard hearted tonight. The “predicament” was self inflicted as it was the consequence of selfish pursuits

    in most cases.
    Yet, they remain unrepentant.

    I have had personal experience with this in my own life as well as others in my family. It doesn’t sit right. There is a time and place for things, for evangelical banquets where we call the streets in to hear the gospel being evangelized. Sunday morning ain’t it. When someone’s daughter or son is molested or raped on Sunday morning is that the time to discuss their predicament? Or before? “Now sweetheart, a man or woman may do some awful things to your four year old buddy, but, you see, they are in such an awful predicament – what’s that? Well, it’s like a pickle…”

  55. descended says:

    buddy, body – both make sense.

  56. descended says:

    Dude next to me was as high as Keith Richards, and I swear Joel Osteen showed up that morning to guest preach.

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