Things I Think…

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45 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Michael,

    I’m so sorry about the FB threats. I avoid certain topics on FB after getting into a shooting match with a church member back when children were being kept in cages at the border. I made a polite comment that there had to be a better way to deal with the situation. 15 minutes later, my friend who started the post took it down, and I unfriended a few people WHO ARE SUPPOSEDLY MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST!!! I prefer to flesh my opinions out under a pseudonym in safer venues, although I don’t have an problems talking with folks if we can have a true discussion.

    I haven’t been feeling too Christmasy either, except I work with kids, and they are hoping for the first “normal” holiday in two years (then we can all have Omicron after we have all traveled everywhere). So, I keep up the cheer and may get my tree up this weekend. What I’m trying to focus on more is the why of Jesus’ coming, in a stable, with probably very nervous parents, stunned shepherds, and some wise men who spooked Herod so much that he felt compelled to slaughter innocent babies to make sure he wouldn’t lose his throne. That’s not a holly, jolly Christmas. Yet, the Savior of the world chose to come that way, and without His coming, there would be no hope in this world. He took our worst to make us His children, and in that I rejoice.

  2. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Kids are still being held in cages…among other atrocities on the border.
    This President is as bad as the last one on immigration issues…worse really because he lied about his intentions.
    The threats are part of the price we pay for what we do…but they can still be unnerving.

    I think the pandemic and it’s ramifications have sucked all the joy out of life in general…but we will need to pursue joy to have it…

  3. josh hamrick says:

    I’m not sure #7 is entirely accurate, but I am tired of fighting the battle for accurate representation of covid news. I guess people can just follow whichever gossip site suits them best.

  4. Em says:

    “He took our worst to make us His children, and in that I rejoice.”
    Me too, Linn, me too.
    Hanging naked on a cross, crying out to God as a man, Why?”
    What is sorrowful is the majority of people who are born and die on this planet unable to appreciate John 3:16 & 17…
    I recall a very, humanly speaking, smart man, a friend of ours who said, “I’ll believe in God when He shows himself to me!”.
    Too late!

    BTW – getting a death threat is a very sobering experience. We should all be praying an umbrella of protection over Michael

  5. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m bone weary of it myself…I just try to find the sanest people qualified and listen to them…

  6. Michael says:

    Em,

    Thanks…prayer has taken me through a lot…

  7. Em says:

    Vivid virus? It has been terribly mishandled in many aspects.
    My daughter just told me of a 13 year old in L.A. whose parents refused to grant permission for him to receive the vaccination. The “authorities” bribed him with pizza and he took the shot! I’d sue the school district up the yin yang – there is good evidence that young males can develop Endocarditis after the vaccines so-called enters their bloodstream.

  8. Em says:

    Covid, not vivid! Got to get used to double checking this spell check apo

  9. Em says:

    Apologies – should have placed above anecdote in open blog
    Please feel free to remove it here

  10. Jean says:

    Here we go again…

  11. Shawn says:

    Good stuff Michael. Well except for the… let’s be nice Shawn… the baloney you have had to endure over the years even recently. They may besmirch you greatly but our Lord is a Righteous Judge and Vindicator. Until that day…

    While I will probably comment on #6, 8, & 9 later but let me say that #10 brought tears to my eyes as there are so many ways this hits home for me. This will be first time since I have been married that we most likely not be giving any presents to our kids or each other. While I know it is not even remotely the point of Christmas it is still a tough pill to swallow. Growing up on welfare as a child we always had Christmas time to look forward to getting and giving at least one thing that was nice. My mom scrimped and scrounged to make sure that happened. My children have already assured me they understand.

    Its like almost every tradition we held dear in life (like gathering, civility, and thoughtfulness) it that has been been broken by the pandemic (which seems to me to only have exposed and compounded our egotism).

    Most days I am struggling to find enough strength and energy to putter along. However, in spite of the inherent challenges of health and finances this Christmas season poses we will try to find a way to make it meaningful as well as memorable. Who knows it may even be the best Christmas ever. One can always hope.

  12. Steve says:

    Number 3 is spot on. We can thank Chuck Smith for popularizing this threat in modern churches or at least in CC. V

  13. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Where are we going?

  14. Michael says:

    Shawn…thanks.

    I had it rough at Christmas as a child as well…my heart goes out to you and yours this year.
    I get it…I really do.

  15. Michael says:

    Lest people think I’m so anti vaxx conspiracy theorist…I’ve had 3 shots with the last one possibly causing myocarditis.
    The risk/reward still favors the vaccine for me.

    This program…with three pro vaccine doctors on it…asks the same questions I am…

  16. Randy says:

    I could use the antidepressant

  17. Michael says:

    Randy,

    That’s what I’m thinking…I can kill two birds with one pill…

  18. Xenia says:

    Our daughter died of cancer last week. She was first at a small regional hospital, and then at Stanford, where she passed away. Most of the people who cared for her and comforted us were people of color: Hispanics, Chinese, Indian/Pakistanis, Blacks. And a few whites. I am so thankful for all those immigrants who showed us the love of Christ, even if they weren’t Christians, even the Muslim chaplain who managed to say exactly the right thing on Rachel’s passing. All these people got the Covid shots, by the way, and did not abandon the sick people at the hospital by stomping off in a fit of “righteous” political “piety,” they altruistically stayed and bore the risk of the shot for the sake of others. For the sake of our Rachel. So more than ever, based on what I’ve seen the past few weeks, I say more immigrants, please. And if anyone tells me that nurses and doctors are part of some evil system to blah blah blah… Well, I’ve said enough.

  19. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Our hearts are with you…and our medical people are real heroes.

  20. LInn says:

    Xenia,

    i’m so very sorry for the loss of your daughter. I trust that God will keep you close, and that all of the comfort offered by the healthcare workers, as well as others you know, will take you safely through the holiday season.

  21. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    A couple of questions. Having been a pastor at Applegate and quoted in the Roy’s Report article. Do you think I have anything to fear? I think I came off pretty benign in the article and I’ve heard no negative push back or threats. What do you advise?

    Secondly, Jon’s MO in the past is not to address issues and to let them blow over.

    Thirdly, regarding the children’s book, several years back I wrote a kids book and musical that ends with Jesus riding a colt into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It’s available on Kindle and Audible.com. It’s called “TheTale of A Champion

  22. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    He was targeting people on the Applegate Survivors Facebook page.
    I can’t advise anybody else on what to do, but I took screenshots of the whole mess and as others step up, will take it all to the police.
    He was sufficiently disturbing for me to make it public…

    It’s not just Courson’s MO to stay quiet…it’s in the playbook written by Mark DeMoss when advising ministries in “crisis”.

  23. Steve says:

    Xenia, I am so sorry for your loss. I appreciate your comment about immigrants. I go to a Chinese American church where most of the members are immigrants. Our Sunday school is developing its own material on how the immigrant life can point us to Christ. Your story of being served by immigrants is a wonderful perspective and encouraging. I will mention this in our class. May the Lord grant you peace during this Advent season.

  24. Just a Sheep says:

    should we expect that Ben Courson will return to Applegate as the senior pastor soon? Or…” Also will Jon return to teaching at Applegate?

  25. Michael says:

    I don’t expect Ben to take on a pastorate.
    I don’t know what Jon is doing…

  26. The New Victor says:

    #9 is insightful and seems obvious now that you say it. By such undefined rubric, Jim Jones was “The Lord’s Annointed” also…

    Xenia, I’m sorry for your loss but I’m glad that you and your family were surrounded by people who showed love.

  27. Muff Potter says:

    @ Nr. 3:
    I am very grateful that the Founders of our Nation took steps to ensure that those Christian Jihadis never achieve the kind of power they so desperately crave.
    It would be as brutal a dictatorship as any the World has seen.

  28. JD says:

    I loved the Little Golden Book entitled The Christmas Donkey when I was a kid.

  29. Reuben says:

    Thought 7… yeah…

    A huge part of the reason my political leanings shifted so radically is because of things like this, the potential profitably of peoples suffering

  30. Reuben says:

    And it should be noted, the second most profitable industry in the United States is health insurance

  31. Officerhoppy says:

    I see Jon walking around the town of Jacksonville a lot. Moving quickly as if he’s exercising. I doubt very much that he’ll take the lead role again at ACF. It sounds like the mantle has been passed. I think Jon still has a pretty vibrant following in So. Cal. He’ll probably cater to his constituency there. I wouldn’t be be surprised in he relocates there.

    Ben will probably revive his ministry but as a traveling speaker, conference speaker and a writer.

  32. Officerhoppy says:

    The “touch not God’s anointed” line of reasoning often used by some to protect pastors and ministers may be based upon faulty reasoning. Firstly, because it is not a prescription found in scripture. It was David’s choice toward Saul, but not mandated anywhere else—at least in my research. I’m open to correction on that.

    Secondly, is it possible for a pastor to “lose” the anointing? I think there are descriptions of that in the Bible. Saul being one as well as many other OT kings and leaders. Once the anointing is lost—by some obvious and egregious sin—are they not open to discipline, and criticism? Of course, the challenge is there is no criteria to determine when one has lost the anointing.

    Just some random thoughts that came tome at 0400

  33. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Officerhoppy, I’ve been reading V PHilip Long’s Tyndale commentary on 1 & 2 Samuel and he argues convincingly that Saul failed the designation/demonstration/authentication process for kingship at every step yet considered himself divinely appointed. Interestingly, Long points out that the first person to be told by God he’s been stripped of his divinely given privileges due to abuse and misuse of power is Eli and Long argues that the contrast between Eli and Saul is Eli accepted the Lord removed him and replaced him with Samuel whereas Saul refused to accept the Lord had rejected him.

    In my neck of the woods the potential application is not so hard to think about with Driscoll having been found disqualified from ministry by the Board of Elders but refusing to comply with the restoration plan proposed (although the Board of Overseers come off pretty badly in the new CT series).

    For 1. at my blog I discovered it’s better to have all comments moderated or to disallow them because , sort of per 3, there are Christians who complain that bloggers publish “slander” who think nothing of using comments section to publish libel. There have also been times where people who were harmed by church leaders tried using the comments section to say stuff that would be libel on the one hand and might be grounds for some kind of suit on the other. Cosper mentioned that MH ended up being named in a couple of suits during its closure period but the suits were dismissed. Cosper didn’t explain much of what that meant. Was it a reference to the RICO civil suit? No, because that was already covered and because he named Mars Hill.

    The CT series isn’t even over, more bonus episodes are coming. The series did finally get to how disastrously bad pastoral counseling could get on issues like domestic abuse, though, with a couple of stories shared by some women about how MH pastors and staff handled things.

    An extension of the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” fallacy often seems to be they can mess up people’s lives permanently without having to face the consequences for it. Ironically David was told the sword would never depart from his house because of his misuse of royal power and that a coup from within his own family would emerge.

    We seem to be in an age where people vicariously live through the celebrities they admire and they don’t want their saints’ reputations tarnished by not just being human but maybe even being bad people. Low church Protestants in the United States might have an even stronger cult of the saints than Catholics or Orthodox without realizing it.

  34. Dave Lindsay says:

    Michael:
    #3 is so true on the misuse of “touch not God’s anointed” which is most often quoted by preachers who claim to be anointed!
    BTW – the quote in I Chronicles 16:22 is plural and applies to all the Israelites and not just their leaders!
    Dave in Phoenix

  35. Dave Lindsay says:

    Michael:
    #1 is a good idea but I can’t find that setting in Facebook. I Googled the topic and found some help articles that were all out of date so they no longer match current Facebook options. Any chance you could point out where to find the “Friends Only” setting?
    Thanks – Dave in Phoenix

  36. Michael says:

    Dave,

    It’s way more complicated than it should be.

    Settings and Privacy/Settings/Privacy… then individually set your privacy settings.

  37. Dave Lindsay says:

    Michael:
    Thanks for the quick and accurate Facebook privacy settings.
    BTW – I’ve been living with your #6 for decades.
    Dave the Phoenix ex-Preacher

  38. Em says:

    Our first home, bought with a V A loan, was in a development built on the outskirts of the San Fernando Valley. An older woman,going door to door inviting people in the new development to her church handed me a church bulletin (Evangelical United Brethren). A long standing church composed of rural people. THE BEST, MOST SINCERE AND ACCEPTING, HONEST FOLK of any church we attended over our lifetime.

  39. Gordy Lindstrom says:

    Praying for your safety. We have given instruction to our special forces neighbor to come help quickly if it looks like we need help at our home.

    My wife and I have been spiritually abused, defamed and harassed by 2 Calvary Chapel Pastor’s (Both in leadership position with on the Calvary Global Network, both national and in the NW).

    They acted in this way 3 or 4 times in the last 13/14 month (and looking back for a lot longer than that that we did not know about) and then followed us after we left the CC movement to a new church…. and the abuse, defamation, and harassments by these to men started gossip that damaged us enough that we had to leave that new church after 9 month to another new church.

    My wife wrote a 4 page statement summarizing what happened.

    Every Elder and board member of these 2 pastors church’s, and the NW leaders and National Leaders of both Calvary Global Network and Calvary Chapel Association was emailed the statement and asked for Help, Support and Direction to apply Matthew 18 in the CC model of church government to this situation.

    A total of 38 people contacted, and universal response of silence from all but 1. The 1 was a personal friend and board member / Elder who texted he was sorry what happened to us, yet had no authority over W. I texted back that if W had done what W did to us to you W would have heard from me directly and pointedly. But understood his silence to W as if he did confront W then W would do to him and his family what was done to us. W has done this for 40 years, and said it just him being “a punk.”

    Interesting that a man who was elder and board member for at least 20 year with W, says he has no authority.

    Brian Broaderson has been called 3 or 4 times and been silent. Neither he nor his assistant will even confirm receipt of the email. The other man K, calls Brian his pastor.

    We/wife and are are doing great, she has been encouraged by a person she is seeing that the story needs to be told publicly….. and it is painful to her as W lead her to the Lord over 40 years ago.

    So my question to some of you who have been down this road… what are your thought about speaking out publicly?

    PS: A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards is a wonderful short book about Saul, David and Absalom.

  40. Gordy Lindstrom says:

    Facebook post by young CC Pastor yesterday and looks like teaching from 1 Corinthians:

    Pastor:
    This Sunday
    Sex & Lawsuits…
    (I don’t pick the topics, just teaching the Book)
    😉😬🙄🤦😂

    My Comment:
    Practical question for you Sunday? What happens when the harmed person in attempting to resolve without a lawsuit is meet by silence from both the person who did the harm and the church authority is silent to when asked for directions and help.
    Would this answer Paul question “are there not any wisemen among you to resolve disputes?” No wise men here.

    Pastor:
    Gordy Lindstrom my short answer is that when a believer doesn’t act like a believer, I have to start following the rules for when dealing with unbelievers.

    I thought this Pastor showed wisdom in his reply, what about you guys?

    PS: I think the bottom line question is, are there any wise men left in the leadership of the CC Movement (CCA or CGA) as Paul asks the Corinthians?

  41. Officerhoppy says:

    Gordy
    I guess you have to weigh the cost vs benefit. I would ask myself “what would I hope to gain” by going public? I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your situation so beyond what I. Ju said, I can offer no advice.. So only you can answer the question.

    I was a CC pastor for 20 years. I am not surprised that you got no traction from CGN or anyone else.

  42. Michael says:

    Gordy,

    Depends on what outcome you expect.
    The people who attend will not care for the most part and will avoid you.
    The “leadership” will mark you out and slander you if they speak of you at all.

    As I’ve said many times here…no iteration of CC will take on liability for another church.

    If people are being harmed, then there is value in alerting them.

  43. Em says:

    To this day there is a family in Edmonds, WA that believes we kidnapped their Beagle, took him waaay out in the country and dumped him because a neighbor boy told them that he saw my husband put the dog in the car and drive away. In reality it was the neighbor boy’s father that did so as his wife couldn’t stand the dog…. Later, after retrieving their dog from the animal shelter, it came home dragging its tail on the ground and they came to our house to tell that they knew that we had hit the dog with something. sigh
    They somehow failed to notice that their dog liked us….
    Gossip/accusations are hard to unwind! ! !

  44. Em says:

    “If people are being harmed, then there’s value in alerting them.”. Amen
    A post script to my 6:03
    A good friend was waiting for me in my driveway as I ran back into the house for something I’d forgotten.
    She asked me who lived in the house across the street (the Beagle’s owner) and said that she was demon possessed…. could be…. Dunno

  45. Gordy Lindstrom says:

    Thanks for all your input. Defamation is hard to unwind, agree.

    I think the bigger story is one of accountability. All of these CC Pastor teach Matt 18 applies “all the time” yet when it come to application or obeying that is a very different story. Or in my case, lots and lots of refusal to even meet 1 on 1 with a brother in Christ.

    I found this churches position paper very health take on Matt 18 (I don’t go to this church FYI).

    https://montage.church/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ChurchDiscipline.191020a.pdf

    Our Position on Church Discipline
    When a person reflects upon the church, they often think about the preaching, music, or programs offered for children
    and families. Or, perhaps, they think about certain outreach opportunities, mission trips, or evangelistic endeavors
    sponsored by their local congregation. But what rarely comes to mind when thinking of the church is public discipline.
    Discipline seems outdated and archaic, hardly fit for a loving community in today’s tolerant culture.
    However, discipline is a part of everyday life. People practice it in their homes with their children. Teachers administer
    discipline to unruly students. Employers discipline workers who are not fulfilling their responsibilities. Police practice it
    with citizens who are not abiding by the law. In virtually every relationship we are in, there is an aspect of discipline
    which undergirds it. It is a built-in set of checks and balances that place healthy parameters on our social structures.
    This is no different from what we find in the Church today. To be sure, there is confusion about public discipline in the
    church. Most churches don’t practice it, and those which do may not even handle it correctly.
    The first question which should be asked is, “Why would a person come under public church discipline?” R. Albert
    Mohler Jr. has rightly noted that the New Testament reveals three areas of danger requiring the church to take this
    sort of serious action: 1) Purity of doctrine, 2) Purity of life, and 3) Unity of Fellowship. These categories can
    undermine the health and safety of any local church and must be confronted. Whether it is heresy, sexual immorality,
    or gossip, the Bible is clear that when sin goes unchecked, the entire Body will feel the effects. Not confronting such
    issues would allow unrepentant individuals to cause further spiritual harm to themselves. Looking the other way
    would also set a morally compromising standard for those who are aware of the sin, yet don’t see the leadership
    addressing it.
    When looking at Mt.18:15-17, we find a step-by-step process that a church must take in bringing discipline against
    one of her members. The initial stage is where there is a simple confrontation of the individual in sin. It is to be done
    one-on-one, and instigated by one who has already removed the plank from their own eye so they are able to see the
    speck in their brother’s eye (Mt.7:3-5). This keeps the circle tight and allows dialogue between two people rather than
    sharing the situation more broadly. It also allows the offended party to see if they had misperceived or misunderstood
    something without having rumors flying like sparks throughout the church. If the brother or sister was in sin and is
    repentant, then the discipline should stop there.
    However, if the offending party disregards the Word of God and the admonition of a Christian friend, then the next
    stage in discipline is enacted and the circle is enlarged. The second level of confrontation is where one or two
    additional witnesses join the conversation and try to help bring Scriptural clarity to the situation (see also Gal.6:1).
    This helps guard against witch-hunts, personal biases, and misconceptions. These individuals ought to be Godly and
    spiritually mature enough to determine if, in fact, there has been any sin committed.
    If the believer caught up in sin repents, then the situation can and should be dropped. There shouldn’t be any further
    need to address the issue in a larger context unless it is important for church leadership to be aware of the situation.
    However, if there is no repentance, then the circle is opened up, and the entire church is to be involved.
    Many people who see this stage fail to take into account the many hours of counsel and admonition that it took to get
    here. They see a catastrophic event where the church appears to be installing smoke alarms after the fire has been
    set, but in reality, there has been a long and patient history of dealing with that individual. If the person brought before
    the church repents, then the church can rejoice along with the forgiven offender. But if the unrepentant believer digs
    their heels in, the church has no choice but to remove that person from their fellowship.
    Once this measure is taken, the disciplined believer shouldn’t be coddled, given emotional support, or spiritual
    approval. If church members do have contact with this individual, it ought to be focused on their repentance and
    reconciliation. Such accountability isn’t meant to be unduly cruel. Each successive stage of discipline upholds God’s
    Word as the standard, preserves purity within the Body, and serves as a warning to others engaging in the same
    behavior.
    Of course, in every stage of discipline it must be remembered that God’s heartbeat is for restoration, not retribution.
    The individual who was put under public church discipline by Paul in I Cor.5:1-13 is the very one who, when
    repentant, was brought back into the life of the church (II Cor.2:5-11). Even if trust isn’t immediately restored,
    repentance ought to cause fellowship to be reinstated without reservation.
    Rev. 10/20/2019 2
    It should also be noted that church discipline in Protestant churches is quite different than what is practiced in a
    Catholic context. When a person is excommunicated from the Catholic Church, they are supposedly removed from
    the Universal Church. In other words, they are put out from the scope of salvation. But when we as Protestants
    practice public discipline, we are making no such charge. A Christian can be removed from the protective umbrella of
    the local church without having lost their salvation. They are excluded from fellowship and from taking communion,
    but this does not mean they are excluded from Heaven.
    Ultimately, all believers require discipline. When we fail to walk by the Spirit or confess our known sins, we may need
    someone to come alongside us and lovingly remind us of God’s standards. If we fail to listen to this counsel
    repeatedly, then public discipline becomes a final resort to help us grasp the gravity of a life lived contrary to God’s
    Word. May we desire to keep short accounts with God so our discipline doesn’t have to affect the larger Body of
    Christ.

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