Things I Think

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66 Responses

  1. Bob Sweat says:


    Glad Allan is back too.

  2. Alex says:

    Love….and patience 🙂

    You wore me down Newnham! You broke down some walls with me and I appreciate it.

  3. Michael says:


    Hurting people require patience…whether the pain is physical, spiritual, or emotional.
    That’s part of all of our job descriptions as Christians.
    I don’t always have enough love or patience, but I try.
    The number of people who have been chewed up and spit out in the church is going to require all of us to exercise more grace and patience then we are comfortable with if we are going to see people restored to real faith.

  4. Bob Sweat says:

    NBC needs to do with Williams what CBS did with Rather.

    The Grammys are a showcase for who can be the most bizarre. I guess Kanye made a fool out of himself again. I’m waiting for the days of Bye Bye Miss American Pie to return. 🙂 Bring back that good ole rockin roll!!!

  5. Paige says:

    Love #10….. “The Mark” of true conversion is love. wow….

    Yes, so pleased about the return of Allan’s blog. He has so much encouragement for so many.

    Perhaps the lessening of articles about Lent are because for those who are attracted to the practice, are all settled in, and doing it without fanfare…..

    I actually feel ‘sorry for” Brian Williams…. We all have b.s. to hide…. and few, if any, would survive intense scrutiny. The media is a form of terrorism. I don’t believe any of the news anyhow. I take the ostrich approach and say that I’m trusting God instead of getting in a flap. I don’t have the energy to spare.

    Perhaps you might unsubscribe to the crap on Fb. I have unfollowed a bunch of ‘friends’..Either put good energy and hope online or be gone from my sight.

    Love you Michael….God is good. Life is, uh, peculiar, but this isn’t really life anyhow. IMO

  6. papiaslogia says:

    “If we applied the same measure to church testimonies and sermon illustrations we’d lose a third of evangelical leaders…”

    Only a third?

    You are being generous sir! 🙂

  7. Michael says:


    Well done, my friend…much love to you. 🙂

  8. Michael says:


    I can’t bear one more “testimony” of some guy talking about what a hood they were.
    It’s a competition to see who the biggest bad ass is and I think most of them are a crock.
    Somehow we’ve got the idea that Jesus just isn’t compelling enough to talk about instead of ourselves…

  9. covered says:

    In the mid nineties when I was a new believer, I attended a men’s retreat with Capo Beach Calvary. There was a guy who everyone wanted to hang out with. He was a big man and was the loudest guy in the room and his presence did not go unnoticed. He even sang on the woship time used at the retreat and while he couldn’t make a joyful sound, everyone clapped and loved the music anyway because their idol was making the noise. This big man previously played football for the Buffalo Bills until an injury forced him out of the game.

    I enjoyed the retreat for the most part and even got a bit giddy because I too got to see and hear such a “cool dude”.
    Right before we all packed and left on Sunday morning, this guy asked if he could share something with us. Of course every one there (100 or so), wanted to hear what this guy had to say. Well, he informed us that he never once played football past his community college and the whole story was a lie! He even admitted that his wife and kids didn’t know it was a lie and he was headed home to explain his oversight…
    As I recall, the feeling in my gut was, “I thought I was gonna die!!!” Not because we didn’t really have an idol we could cling to but because of how embarrassed I was for this guy. I recall we all prayed and left but none of us could really forgive this guy. He had crossed a line. How can anyone claim to be someone that they aint? Make your own application. Mr Brian Williams needs to find a deep hole to stick his head. There are some things that even us Christians aren’t willing to forgive.

  10. Alex says:

    Good to see Allan back in the saddle, I wish him the best. He tackles a big issue that the conservatives in the Christian Church need to listen to and evolve.

  11. dswoager says:

    Paige, as far as the news goes, I agree… it is one thing to invest the time to know what is going on in the world, it is quite another to do the work to try to figure out in what way you are being lied to… I don’t have the time or energy for that.

  12. Since I don’t think there is such a thing as a “christian testimony” I guess everyone who gives one is fibbing like the news guy.

    What testimony could you give beyond “once I was lost and now I am saved”? Anything else is made up.

  13. Bob Sweat says:

    I was once a Dodger fan, but an Angel saved me! I’ve the light from the Big “A” in center field. How’s that MLD? 😉

  14. papiaslogia says:

    Michael, AGREE with #8

    I used to know someone who would hear those types of testimonies and say to me, ‘I have been a Christian all my life and never done those things, and I feel like I’m missing out on life.” I would try to tell her that HER testimony of Jesus’ faithfulness was better than any other.

    The flip side to that is when you hear someone speak of things like they have “arrived”, and you know better….

    We should be the first ones to forgive Brian Williams.

  15. Michael says:


    You nailed it.
    We act like people who weren’t drug dealers, drunks, or sex addicts before Christ found them are second class Christians.
    It’s a crock.

  16. Michael says:

    I forgive Williams and feel awful for him…he’s the butt of some of the funniest internet memes ever.
    However, he violated our trust…and while I forgive him, he must find a new occupation or find a way through confession and repentance to build that trust back.
    When I hear guys at Buffalo Wild Wings lying about their sports careers I expect it…but I can’t give the same grace to those who I trust to give accurate reporting.

  17. Bob Sweat – I think leaving your first love is addressed in the Bible … not good 😉

  18. Michael,
    “I forgive Williams and feel awful for him” what does that mean you forgive him – did he sin against you?

    I think this is the biggest overblown story of the decade – news media lie to us just by what they choose not to cover. Now, Williams looks stupid and he will have to live with his consequences – but he didn’t do anything to me.

  19. dswoager says:

    I like your number 7, mostly because I have felt lately that way too much of what I write is negative or critical. I think that my thought process, even when I agree with someone, looks for a place where we can even take a step forward, at which point it comes across like a criticism.

    Could definitely use to focus on a little more light, a little less friction.

  20. Paige says:

    MLD, #12…. “once I was lost and now I am saved”? Anything else is made up.

    I have to take issue. I was incredibly lost and my lifestyle looked like it in the form of most every depravity known to humankind….. and once dramatically saved, out of the blue, no searching on my part, EVERYTHING changed in my life, to the praise of God my Savior.
    Along the path for 44 years, I can truly say that I have a testimony of His saving, guiding and keeping power. That is my story and I’m sticking to it. He put my hand to the plow and has kept me facing forward by His Grace, in spite of hell and high water and worse..

  21. Michael says:


    The reality is that controversial posts and critical articles draw more people and more response.

    It’s easy to get so trained by that we only write for that audience.

    We all need to find some balance and offer something that brings light…especially me.

  22. Nonnie says:

    So glad that Allan’s blog, More than Coping, is back up!

    Praying for Brian Williams. That must be so hard for him and his family. I admit I have laughed at some of the cartoons/memes, but my heart aches for him. We all know that God can redeem this!

  23. Paige, I was the good guy before salvation – no boozing, no drugs – married, college graduate, army veteran in a career job by 22 yrs. old.

    I was just as incredibly lost as you – but once I was lost and now I was saved

  24. Re#10: this statement aligns very well with one of my life ministry verses: But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

  25. Calvary Alumnus says:

    How would you feel to find out that your pastor never did any of his own Bible study preparation but only read from transcripts of Pastor ‘Chuck Smith’ every Sunday morning, pretending they were his own words? Even Chuck’s personal experiences were repeated as if they were the pastor’s own experiences with his friends. When caught and confronted he admitted it, but didn’t see much wrong with it since, as he put it, he never taught any false doctrine – and weren’t we all fed?

  26. Michael says:


    Happens with Courson and Laurie all the time too…

  27. fyi says:

    Michael, are you saying that Courson and Laurie regularly do not do their own study or that other pastors steal from them?

  28. dswoager says:

    CA, I would really think that a culture of ministry that has become so depersonalized that someone can even get away with something like that is an even bigger problem… maybe not. If I don’t know my pastor any better than some guy whose podcast or radio show I listen to, it probably isn’t all that big a deal whose words are coming out of his mouth anyway.

  29. Michael says:

    Other pastors steal from them…

  30. fyi says:

    That’s what i thought you were saying. Then add david Guzik to that list…

  31. Michael says:


    I forget about Guzik…but yes, you’re right.

  32. Erunner says:

    Thank you for the mention Michael. I appreciate it a lot.

    And for those who had kind words for me thank you so much.

  33. Michael says:

    It’s a very good work, E… proud to know you and glad you’re back.

  34. Steve Wright says:

    Is the claim being made that men are taking the personal illustrations of others and not simply repeating them but claiming them as their own? Not the teachings, not the verse interpretations or examples….

    But the “One day my wife and I were having dinner and a guy walked in….” parts of a message…

    That’s a serious accusation, and to state it happens all the time is really something. I’ve heard hundreds of Chuck messages and have a pretty good memory and don’t recall ever hearing anyone steal a personal example from Chuck. Sure some guys repeat practically verbatim the same basic message (which is another issue…)

    I can’t imagine robbing the personal illustrations of the most known and radio-played guys in the movement either. I would love to see a real-world example of this, both the stolen as well as the original.

    (And for the sake of the thread, I hope there aren’t a ton of further annonymous “My Calvary guy did that too” posts….Serious charges deserve names and churches and details attached to them, even if the poster seeks anonymity. Because I know from hard experience that a whole lot of people do not hear you correctly (not to mention the innocent fumble where something is poorly spoken)…which is one reason we record everything. 🙂

    I do know a guy who lifted his entire message from a commentary I also happened to have in my library as well…..but again, while serious, that is a different charge.

  35. everstudy says:


    Re: your 34; I remember hearing a message, and for the life of me I wish I could remember which Calvary it was, but the pastor was teaching on David vs. Goliath and mentioned the pebbles/stones he had on his desk from Israel, and I could swear it was word for word from what I heard on the Chuck tapes at CCBC. I remember almost hitting my wife I was so surprised that he would tell the same story. I guess it’s possible that he too had taken stones from Israel, but it was sooooo close to Chuck’s words it was immediately suspect.

  36. The Dude says:

    Chuck Smith on more than one occasion stated he knew CC pastors were re teaching his sermons.

  37. Steve Wright says:

    everstudy – Thanks. Chuck always took the group there and encouraged us to pick up a stone or two. (He also would model the use of the slingshot for everyone). Seems hard to imagine a guy would lie about rocks on his desk, and yet frankly it DOES seems quite likely he would mouth almost word for word what Chuck said about them – rather than be creative.

    Same for The Dude. Chuck said that people were using his sermons with a positive spin and not as a criticism (everytime I heard him say it). But like I said, that is a far cry than saying guys were pretending they were the ones personally doing the things Chuck might have done.

  38. filbertz says:

    if you have to borrow someone else’s sermon illustrations, especially personal ones, the best advice is “get a life!” one with some interesting people, interactions, conversations, activities, ventures, risks, failures, and chances in it. It should be an embarrassment to claim someone else’s experience as your own.

  39. Alex says:

    filertz said, ” the best advice is “get a life!”

    I’ve heard that somewhere before…. 🙂

  40. I think most are missing what Calvary Alumnus said. He didn’t say that the pastor was lifting the sermon illustrations – he said the guy was reading the transcripts of the sermon.

    Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that … it’s kind of like the multi campus video thing, but the guy is like the town crier of old, just passing along the news of the day or the royal proclamation of the king. What does bother me is that the guy doesn’t seem very curious to do his own study.

  41. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – That question was the point of my original post. To clarify what exactly the claim might be…..

  42. This is what you get when you keep recycling messages. These two are nutty … and i used to respect them.

  43. Steve,
    His quote – “…never did any of his own Bible study preparation but only read from transcripts of Pastor ‘Chuck Smith’ every Sunday morning,”

  44. Alex says:

    Calvary Chapel…in general…not all the pastors…has a bit of a Cult-of-Personality Problem. But, that will subside now that Chuck has passed on to the next.

    I think a lot of the pastors will now have to figure things out for themselves…which might be healthy to a degree.

  45. Linnea says:

    Yay, Alan’s back! He tackles an important topic and discussion.

  46. Michael says:

    Back in the day I had a file on some of the worst copy cats…and yes, they stole the personal illustrations too.

    There was a guy in Northern California that lived Greg Lauries life over again…

  47. Michael says:

    Pretty sad to see Greg propping up Don Stewart…hopefully he won’t interview him on marriage issues…

  48. Alex says:

    There is no excuse for Don Stewart’s second marriage.

    If Gay Marriage is a taboo and as bad as some in Calvary Chapel and Harvest (Greg Laurie) say it is…then Don’s second marriage is adultery and not a legitimate marriage as defined by the bible either.

    What a disgrace.

    Either be liberal all the way…or be conservative. This pick and choose b.s. is the hypocrisy Jesus reamed the Pharisees for.

  49. Alex says:

    If Don Stewart’s first wife is still alive…he needs to repent and go back to her if the bible is to be followed today and if marriage is between one man and one woman as most in Calvary Chapel claim is God’s definition of marriage.

  50. brian says:

    Good to see Alan back nice article, appreciate the list Michael. Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

  51. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Well, I read that Hilary Hahn and Jason Vieaux won Grammys, so, cool for them. I’ve been collecting Hilary Hahn’s CDs for a while and Vieaux has a fine disc of the Ponce solo guitar sonatas.

  52. brian says:

    Ok I admit it, I am emotional in these situations, I was watching a lady in the store reading “Heaven is for Real”. I was thinking of the latest “revelation” about a child’s going to heaven and eventually recanted. I get the sales value, that alone justifies doing this and I get that in the industry. I will admit, to my shame, I had a rapture dream one time. I get the hell fire dreams actually night terrors, emphasis on terror. I have those coming so I do not fault God that. That rapture dream was very comforting, as pathetic as that is, I was really struggling with issues of where the people I worked with would they go to heaven because they could not respond in the correct way to the contract. I will admit it did give me some comfort, I castigated myself for feeling that. I still remember that dream, it still gives me comfort and hope, it should not but it does. From the sidelines the evangelical religion as practiced in the USA, is a very strange religion it really is.

  53. Bip says:

    MLD @ 12

    You could not be further from the truth if you tried.

    That is unless you do not believe in Scripture.

    “Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

    Mark 5:19

  54. Bip, is that verse anything other than “once I was lost but now I am saved?

    Let me ask you this, if your testimony is that Jesus cured you of all the bad things you did, “I was a joker, I was a smoker I was midnight toker, (thank you Steve Miller Band) but now I don’t do any of that.” Well, what happens if you go back to it — is God the failure?

    So why bring it up? A testimony (at least the vast majority I have ever heard) dwells on the person’s past which is totally irrelevant – and, I might add always emphasizes the person’s decision. “…but when I decided to follow Jesus…”

  55. Charles says:

    So by these pastors, taking stories and sermons from this pastor or that pastor, does that mean that they do not have the Holy Spirit speaking through them?

    It is very disheartening, being just a attendee, it seems that the current church we attend they use the prior weeks message from the big church and just put their own spin on it.

    So are you saying that God does not speak through the majority of the men behind the pulpits these days?

    Is He finished speaking to us through these speakers?

  56. Ps40 says:

    Sigh…..@ #3 and #7 (especially 7)
    The pattern of our common faith is, and has always been incarnational in nature.
    Part human, part divine.
    God working amidst our human-ness.
    God (perfection) with us (broken).
    Theology 101? Right? Hang with me…
    Apart from Christ’s example, every person, every denomination, every systematic theology, every interpretation aligning itself with Christ has been and is somehow flawed; YET….is OFTEN…and STILL able to be used by God in some miraculous way.

    That is my observation…as much as it perplexes me.

    While I muse with all of you in the mystery of how God works AT ALL through any of us (especially myself), I’m sitting here marveling that we are constantly shocked at the continued evidences of our human condition in the church? The “saved” church. Why does our failure continue to make headlines? Have we set ourselves up for this unintentionally through bad theology?? [theology being “genuine faith seeking understanding”]
    There is only One perfect vessel.
    How should this change our attitudes towards one another as we hash all of this out in an “already, but not yet” Kingdom???
    How shall we then live and serve (especially amongst ourselves) until God’s eschatological purpose is fulfilled?
    Cause frankly…..this tension frequently leaves me feeling schizophrenic!
    My evangelical world feels a lot like a hamster wheel lately, a constant wheel of law, then grace, then the law again.
    Is anyone else dizzy?

  57. Ps40 says:

    I suppose that was a blatant call for more building up. But not directed entirely at you. We are all supposed to be in that business…I suppose.

  58. Michael says:


    That’s good stuff…
    You should write (for us) frequently. 🙂

    The problem (as I see it through my own flawed lens) is that we believe that if the good news is as good as it seems that underserving people will receive it.
    Which means we think we’re deserving.
    Which means we don’t understand grace at all.

    I’m going to be writing about this as it’s troubling me more than just a little…

  59. Ps40 says:

    I guess the greatest irony for me is…..
    the church is most critical toward her theologians (those committing their lives to understanding their faith on behalf of all of us). Can you imagine if we treated our engineers and physicians with the same arrogance? But we have more faith in the bridges that we cross and the medicines we ingest daily than GOD to keep HIS church in the midst of our broken humanity.
    It’s true we are all theologians in some respect; but some have earned our respect through diligent work while others command respect through the gift of gab. We shouldn’t pretend to be experts in areas we only dabble in. Or should we? Where is our deference to the call of Christian scholarship? And where is the wisdom in lounge chair theologizing? Again. Another hamster wheel of thought. More tension. More mystery. More questions for you Michael.
    P.S. These questions/tensions are predominantly why I haven’t been writing. I am a person of faith without a camp to plant my flag in. And I’m not prepared for the war that ensues the moment I plant my flag:) Not that you would know of such predicaments. 😉

  60. Ps40 says:

    If we (I) could only grasp the Spirit of the Law through the understanding of (revelation of) His great LOVE for us…these questions might be held in the tension of “unknowing” more comfortably.
    What is hindering this revelation?
    There is a question that might lead to some effective theologizing.

  61. Michael says:


    Sometimes I think you’ve got my phone tapped. 🙂

    “We shouldn’t pretend to be experts in areas we only dabble in. Or should we? Where is our deference to the call of Christian scholarship? And where is the wisdom in lounge chair theologizing?”

    This…confounds me daily.

    Every time I plant my flag in a camp someone in that camp pulls it up and casts it out…and I finally am learning to appreciate the fact that they do.

    They do not understand they give me the gift of freedom by doing so…

  62. Ps40 says:

    And do you and I understand that it may be God Himself at work in the unearthing? I hold onto hope that it is;) Cause I sure wouldn’t have scripted my life to look like this!!! Haha!

    Believing HE is at work here…

  63. Michael says:


    He is…He cannot do otherwise.
    It’s His church and we’re His kids.

  64. Ps40 says:

    Last thought.
    OT theme.
    According to Jeremiah and other loud OT voices…God uproots, tears down and dismantles….so that He can replant, build up and renew.
    If this sounds familiar, we should be rejoicing that we actually fit a timeless mold:)
    Thanking God for the PP community on days like this one. I learn so much from all of you.

  65. Michael says:

    Ps40…your #65 is gold.

    Amen and amen!

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