Things I Think…

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65 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    #1 – Brother…please do it. Use whatever time you have left.

  2. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    Re: cats. My wife is deathly allergic to cats. We can’t go to someone’s house who owns one without her sneezing. So, we are dog people.

    Love cats. Just can’t own one

    Regarding health issues, I am in the same boat as you. Unable to do a lot. Pain is my constant companion. The only time I don’t experience it is when I am sitting or lying down. It’s tough because I was very physically active.

    At one point, in my college running career, Ike run as much as 100 miles in a week (only once to see if I could do it).

    I can at least empathize with you on that issue

  3. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m going to try…or maybe God just set me on fire about this topic to ignite someone else…

  4. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    For most of my life into my forties, I was allergic to them too…still always had one or more because I’m foolishly stubborn at times.

    I’m waiting for the pain clinic to call and set up an appointment for shots, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll have surgery.

    I have empathy as well for anyone dealing with this kind of pain…it’s exhausting and frustrating. Praying you find relief…

  5. Captain Kevin says:

    Seeing the accusation of effeminate in #8 pissed me off big time. Then I read what you said about sanctification and calmed down a bit.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael…

    Never stop writing over cats. And never stop grieving those we say goodbye (for now) to.

  7. Dan from Georgia says:

    In light of thought #4 and in a broader sense, seems like many Christians yell “woke!!!” and become dismissive when there is any hint of sympathy for women, people of color, etc, and the need to reform.

  8. Dan from Georgia says:

    writing = about cats.

  9. Captain Kevin says:

    Michael and Hoppy, I think we’re the three amigos of chronic pain.

    Michael, I hope you get relief from the injections. My pain dr wants to do them for my neck and low back, but my insurance won’t authorize them.

    Hoppy, I’m glad sitting or lying down gives you relief. There is no piece of furniture in my home or position that does that for me. Opioids seem to be the only thing that slightly helps, but I can only take so much of that stuff.

  10. Captain Kevin says:

    “… I wonder if what we believe are simply cultural and sociological issues are actually the supernatural hand of God removing their lampstand for lack of faithfulness to His word…”

    I would think that’s a strong possibility.

  11. Captain Kevin says:

    Then there’s “churches” like Lakewood, Hillsong, Bethel, Trinity Scottsdale, etc. I seriously wonder if they ever had lampstands.

  12. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I don’t intend to change one iota…and I think that sometimes ‘woke” means being awake to the voice of God…

  13. Michael says:

    CK,

    I pray for you as I pray for Officerhoppy and myself…this pain gets old in a hurry.

    My surgeon can’t give the shots anymore because of insurance issues…that’s why I have to wait on the pain center.

  14. Michael says:

    CK,

    I think many mega churches have no standing with God and are simply temples of idolatry…

  15. Linn says:

    Cats and lampstands-I hope that I’ll see many cats sitting on lampstands in heaven!

    As to losing a lampstand-I originally came from a Presbyterian church (UPCUSA) that preached pop psychology, not the gospel. It dwindled down to a few people,and it’s now rented to two other denominations (one for sure I know is evangelical). The demise of some of the major denominations has been a slow process for several decades.

    What I am noticing about some churches (this would include my own) that are not megas but not small and struggling (I guess you could say medium-sized-500-700 members) is a concerted effort to help their members navigate the current culture. My church is offers a home school group, a preschool, lots of different classes, and many activities that are open to the community around us (Friday night fun times this summer and park days at local playgrounds with games, snacks, and Bible stories). For members, there has been an evening class for how to lovingly deal with the culture at large. There isn’t direct preaching against all things “woke” from the pulpit (I actually hate the word “woke!”), but there is emphasis on God’s plan for families, the community, the church as the light of the world, how Paul navigated Greco-Roman culture (that isn’t that much different from our own). We’re conservative, but we don’t publicly champion conservative causes. Maybe the lampstand is burning brightly.

  16. LInn says:

    A prayer request-I’m having cataract surgery on both eyes Friday morning. I’m looking forward to much-improved vision. Specifically, please pray that I’ll be well-recovered by the time our English language program begins the first week of July. I’ll be supervising three other staff as we teach English to 45-50 kids from Asia.

  17. Michael says:

    Linn,

    That sounds like a good church.

    We really wish there was a place here where my godson could plug into a group of young adults and have fellowship with people his own age.

    I’m not much fun these days.

    Sadly, I can’t find a place that doesn’t want to sell political ideologies with fellowship…and he’s vulnerable to all manner of such nonsense.

  18. Michael says:

    Linn,

    We’ll be praying…I’ll put this on the prayer thread as well.

  19. LInn says:

    Thanks! It’s gotten to the point where even triple-reading something doesn’t guarantee that I won’t have an error-so it’s time!

  20. Alan says:

    ““And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”
    ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭18‬-‭23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
    https://bible.com/bible/114/rev.2.19.NKJV

    Now what was that question about us being obsessed with human sexuality?

  21. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    Hopefully they sent you to Dr. Johnston at the pain clinic on Bennett St. near the Medford Center. He’s top notch.

    The shots, at best, work for 3 months. For me, the first brought relief for about 10 days. The effectiveness of the other 2 diminished significantly.

    I really hope you get more relief than me. Be sure they put you out! I’ve done both and the pain is significant without the anesthesia. You’ll need a driver if they put you out. Give me a call if you need a driver. I’m retired and looking for things to do

    Kevin
    Sorry about your pain issues. The 3 of us can commiserate,

  22. Linn says:

    Michael,

    We do have a good group of young people, too, and they’re not all homeschoolers. It’s also not an “entertainment” kind of group. They do lots of fun activities and take evangelism and discipleship seriously.

    I’m not a big fan of homeschooling, but after COVID many parents were fed up with public school and they can’t afford a private school. So…the church has met a need, but they don’t dismiss or criticize the local public schools. We have a number of members who teach in those schools and also invite kids to church.

    I’ll pray that your godson can find a place to fellowship. I lived in a small town for a few years after college, and I really tried hard to find a church where I fit.

  23. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Your point is well taken, but I don’t think it encompasses all that is being said in this warning.

    As you know, adultery in the OT is a metaphor for idolatry and in the first century those sins of idolatry and sexual immorality often worked hand in hand.

    My point is that I affirm your word on sexual immorality, but note that idolatry, (of person or place) is as grave a sin.

  24. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Thank you…he needs good friends and things to do with them. He’s as much of an extrovert as I am an introvert…

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael (12:24pm)…

    Amen!

  26. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    I think that’s where I’m headed…still waiting for them to call.

    Three months is what I’ve heard the shots last…my friends didn’t have much luck with them either.

    After enduring the shots in my hands they did before I had carpal tunnel surgery, I will have them knock me out …only time I’ve had a procedure they actually made me scream…

  27. Alan says:

    As you know Michael I agree. And what do we make of the threat here per the children?

  28. Michael says:

    Alan,

    That’s a damn good question that I have no good answer for at the moment.

    My best guess when I worked through the passage is that the “children of Jezebel” will be wiped out in one of the sundry plagues delivered by the four horsemen…it does not necessarily imply that God is striking the young ones dead before they are grown…but it might.

  29. Michael says:

    I will note however, that most of the violence that people recoil from in the book of Revelation is a direct response to centuries of the prayers of God’s people…”thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”…not the tantrums of an angry God.

    Evil has to be destroyed…

  30. pslady says:

    👍🏻….on all points!

  31. Michael says:

    pslady,

    Thank you!

  32. Jenn Johnson says:

    Please write. Write barnburners, about lamp stands and where they might have gone …and about cats…your writing is so very valuable – as are you.

  33. Michael says:

    Jenn Johnson,

    thank you…that was very kind.

    I’m going to give it a shot…it’ll take a while…

  34. Eric says:

    I’ve started reading Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison. Unlike you, he (early in his imprisonment) was fairly confident of release and talking about what books he’d like to write.

  35. Alan says:

    Sexual immorality always leads to idolatry. The idolatry that is most obvious is worship of the self. The human body is deified. Its image is perverted and obsessed over. The self is glorified and twisted. Any avenue to appeasing the lusts of the self is hallowed.

    The most recent edition claims that the impulses of even a child are sovereign and determinative and to reject them is to incur the wrath of the gods and banishment from the kingdom of the sovereign self.

    We are descending into hell.

  36. JimmieT says:

    Alan- it more than seems that way!

  37. Josh says:

    I guess my point is more pragmatic – We have harped on sexual immorality since the dawn of time, and here we are.

    The answer? Harp on sexual immorality more?

  38. Alan says:

    The answer as in I Co 10 is for the the church to escape these temptations by Union with Christ via his body and blood.

    And show the world a better way. Unless you’ve lost hope that it is possible.

  39. Alan says:

    When I post here I am clearly aware that I am speaking to the body of Christ not the body politic or the secular realm.

    This things can only be addressed by the presence of a true church that always lies beneath the institutions of the visible.

    The church actually does exist and we address her as the true people of God who must must MUST learn of him.

  40. Josh says:

    “The answer as in I Co 10 is for the the church to escape these temptations by Union with Christ via his body and blood.”

    To be clear, are you speaking of the Lords Supper? As in, we are to escape sexual immorality by taking the Lord’s Supper? Not agreeing or disagreeing, just making sure I understand the language.

    “And show the world a better way. Unless you’ve lost hope that it is possible.”

    2000 years of Church history tells me that we haven’t done it yet.

  41. Josh says:

    In fact, I’d say in most cases throughout history, the world has had to show the church a better way. Sad, sad shame. But true.

  42. Michael says:

    ‘The most recent edition claims that the impulses of even a child are sovereign and determinative and to reject them is to incur the wrath of the gods and banishment from the kingdom of the sovereign self.”

    This is true…but we will not be in a position to influence real change in this for generations…if we start changing today.

  43. Michael says:

    I believe in the church because Jesus has both created and secured it.

    However, if my theory is correct, many alleged expressions of the church have been co-opted by apostates or have had the Holy Spirit depart because they have not been faithful to their calling.

    As dire as the current trends in world are (and they are dire) the state of the only hope for the culture is worse.

    Until we repent and replace false expressions of the faith and clergy, all the hand wringing will come to naught.

  44. Terry says:

    The Lamp stands book needs to be written. It would provide a macro view of what we are seeing and experiencing. It would make sense of what has happened throughout history. Some that lose their lamp stands are liberal and some are fundamentalist. The trick is to be gracious and non judgmental. Imagine if this book were written by the wrong person and for the wrong reasons.

  45. Michael says:

    Terry,

    I do believe it needs to be written, but I’m not sure I have the chops left to do so.
    I also believe that some who lose their lamp stands come from both and varied theological position.

    Writing this book simply to defend a theological/political position would make it a mockery of the concept.

    I’m thinking that this may be an excellent community project to undertake here…

  46. Terry says:

    Michael – I wasn’t trying to make it theological/political. More the opposite, stating that having a strong stand on doctrine either way doesn’t necessarily determine your status as a lamp stand. One might also consider para-church movements as having lamp stands.

  47. Michael says:

    “One might also consider para-church movements as having lamp stands.”

    I wonder…that’s entirely possible in these times…

  48. Josh says:

    “having a strong stand on doctrine either way doesn’t necessarily determine your status as a lamp stand.”

    This is what I thought when I read the points in the article about the SBC. They call for a “solemn assembly” every few years to mourn the drifting of the convention, but their idea of faithfulness is going to de doubling down on the same things they’ve always done: inerrancy, no women in ministry, tee-totalling on alcohol, and condemning all sorts of sexual practices, mostly homosexuality.

    That’s what the SBC has been talking about for my entire life, yet here we are. Brokenness has given me the freedom to question everything, and I wonder if a certain path keeps leading to failure, why do you stay on that path?

  49. Michael says:

    Josh,

    You will learn to love that freedom and God will keep you broken to keep it…

    If my theory is correct…The problem isn’t that the SBC has called sin for what it is in the culture…it’s that they have ignored the cries of the oppressed and abused in their own house…and God has left the building and left them powerless.

  50. Josh says:

    The SBC was formed to defend southern slavery. They were wrong on that and have kept being wrong ever since.

    I will say, I don’t want to be broken anymore.

  51. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I think part of the Christian calling is to be broken by the same things that break the heart of God.

    That does not mean a life of unending suffering, but it is a sensitivity of spirit that finds place for the brokenness around us.

  52. Terry says:

    Michael – The parachurch organization that came to my mind was The Salvation Army. Not that they aren’t a worthwhile charity, just that William Booth’s vision and mission was not sidewalk Santas and thrift stores.

  53. Josh says:

    I’m still in a period of wondering where the bottom is right now. I have faith that one day I’ll understand. For now, I understand nothing.

  54. Josh says:

    Do you think God distinguishes that way? Like Church / Visible Church/ Institutional Church / Parachurch, etc?

    Or is the church just His people? Like if a believer runs a pool hall, is the pool hall a church? No what I mean?

  55. Muff Potter says:

    Josh wrote @ 06:48 am:
    “The answer? Harp on sexual immorality more?”

    It would appear that way.
    The original context of Paul’s missive had to do with pagan temple prostitutes and strangled livestock sacrificed to pagan idols.
    It somehow got expanded to include any and all sexual expression outside of marriage.
    I prefer to use reason, common sense, and my conscience as a guide.

  56. Josh says:

    AS of now, I’m thinking of worrying about my own sin, and let God deal with everyone else’s sin however he chooses to do so.

  57. Linn says:

    Michael,

    I appreciate your reply to Josh about being broken about the same things that break the heart of God. I think that spirit is what helps some (not all, obviously) unbelievers understand that, when their actions are sinful, there is a God who will forgive, love, and bring hope to some very difficult situations. So many times I have found that being loving and caring (not condoning) has brought people to the truth and correction. Even when people don’t agree with me, I have often been able to maintain communication because I have not come off as angry and hysterical about their identity, substance abuse, partner status, or _____________. It’s God’s job to condemn and mine to speak the truth. If someone is angry with me for stating the truth, I can’t help that, but I can be kind in my reply.

  58. Michael says:

    Linn,

    As long as we’re speaking the truth in love…meaning we love the people we’re speaking to as much as the truth we’re speaking to them…we can stand. We must stand…

  59. Alan says:

    @ Josh 7:57am

    I would have to do a fuller job of exegeting I Co 10 but Paul is warning the Corinthians that the idolatry and immorality of the Jews in the Wilderness came after they were Baptized in water and in fire. He is warning the Corinthians that they too may be in the same dangers of seduction and deception. The well-worn I Co 10:13 follows that exposition… No temptation– way of escape.

    Then he immediately speaks of the “cup of blessing that we bless” The cup of blessing was the third cup of the Passover and it was the cup with which Jesus ratified the new covenant as being in his blood. He called it a “participation in the blood of Christ.” That speaks of a relational and ontological experience. You seemed scornful of my assertion that escaping temptation is related to our Eucharistic union. Baptists do tend to scorn and minimize such claims. So YES, I think Paul is inviting the Corinthians to find their deliverance from temptation precisely there.

    But Paul believes in more than propositional truth. Paul is an experiential Jew with a face to face throne encounter with Jesus.

    The scorn that fills you just now is understandable but do not allow it to destroy your future. You will feel better in time and life will return to your soul. Your scorn is toward so much sound and fury and lack of truth and reality. You incessant search is for that which is true and real. There we find communion. And I think that is found in the real presence of Christ mediated at the table, and I add, via many other means as well.

    Keep your fury at the institutional prostitution of Christianity and hold your fire when you approach the body and blood. These are the gifts of life.

  60. Alan says:

    Josh,

    Let me retract “you seem scornful…” That is my response to your ongoing expression. You clearly were not scorning my claim. I regret that carelessness but I do appeal to you to give yourself time. I’d leave the Baptist if I were you — of course I already did– but their history and present realities have you vexed and they are not going to amend.

    I still love them. But I prefer to visit them on special occasions and not daily.

  61. Josh says:

    Thanks for the full response Dread. Love ya man.

  62. Muff Potter says:

    Michael wrote on 12 jun @12:27 pm:
    “I think many mega churches have no standing with God and are simply temples of idolatry…”

    How about legal cash rackets in nice buildings?

  63. Alan says:

    Josh

    Received and reciprocal.

    I hope you soon find a new brighter day.

  64. Terry says:

    Michael – I just read an article that dovetails with your book idea to some degree. Here’s a link:
    https://mereorthodoxy.com/reformed-catholicity
    He’s using the words catholic and catholicity as “church universal” not Roman Catholic Church. It’s a heck of a read and I can’t stop thinking about it.

  65. Michael says:

    Terry,

    That’s a great piece…much there to reflect on…

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