Things I Think

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388 Responses

  1. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    #2 -People forget that this is ONLY A GAME! Who gives a crap about Legacies and the end of the day. Legacies are for people who live in the past. At the end of the day people have thier own lives to live and don’t really give a darn about a footbal players legacy. that is strictly a media talking point. People take sports far too seriously, IT IS ESCAPIST ENTERTAINMENT, nothing more nothing less. Once it becomes more than that to you then you went off course somewhere.

  2. “How do we…especially in the church…parse such conflicting stories to find justice and truth?”

    Why or how would the Church parse justice and truth differently than any other portion of society. I think this is why I so often differ with you – as if the church has a lock on justice and truth on any topic that is not available to the general public.

    We have a spiritual truth about spiritual matters that is totally unavailable to others – BUT we have no special insight into legal or cultural matters. In fact, we may be so tied up in our spiritual stuff that we actually lack comprehension on these other matters.

    The Tom Randall issue is a good example – just because he is a church guy and the orphanage has a connection to a christian organization does not give us “The Church” an special insight on how to handle this… or Woody Allen.

  3. Xenia says:

    The Woody Allen articles just goes to show that there are two sides to every story.

  4. Michael says:

    MLD,

    This is why I so often disagree with you.
    The church represents itself as the carrier of the morality and character of God…and thus we have a special responsibility to speak to these issues with as much clarity, grace, and truth as possible.

  5. No, your statement was one of difference from other “especially the church” – look, we do it just like anyone else.

    How do we,especially the church, put on our pants? Come on.

    Can I ask why ‘the church’ would have a position on the Woody Allen thing?

  6. Mike Ehrmantrout says:

    The author of the Daily Beast article is on Woody Allen’s payroll, or at least has been in the past. He’s just shilling for Woody. I completely believe Dylan is telling the whole truth about this.

  7. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Last time I checked the church was supposed to be different from the world.
    I simply used the Allen case as representative of the difficulties involved in finding the truth in some of these cases.

  8. Ixtlan says:

    Solomon,
    “People take sports far too seriously,”

    I would agree. I grew up on sports and lived in close proximity to a stadium where both a professional baseball and football team played. I now live in a region that is far away from any professional team, and the the lack of obsession with sports is refreshing. However, it is an important part of our culture and with some a vicarious form of entertainment with some folks, and of course, it will vary with each individual. Its strange to me that since I’ve moved away from the mainstream and have limited exposure to media, that these things just don’t seem very important to me. Perhaps it is because I no longer see 3 import trucks around every corner that has a Raider sticker on the back.

  9. Xenia says:

    You know, I think I am starting to get (and agree) with what MLD has been saying all this time. (On this topic, that is.)

  10. Xenia says:

    If Christians want to be different from the world they would not be watching Woody Allen movies in the first place. Christians seem to want to participate in the worst the world offers and to reserve the right to be critical of it. They want to have their cake and eat it, too.

  11. Ixtlan says:

    Solomon,
    Sorry I hit “enter” too soon. There is another dimension to sports than the escapist entertainment. These are real people living out real lives in front of us. How they live these things out determines their place in sports history (while not important to me, it is to a great many people) but more importantly, displays their character or lack thereof. These are things that the athletes cannot get away from and bear responsibility for. This isn’t Hollywood.

  12. I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. As I said last week, Pete Carroll is like the celebrity pastor with all the faults we speak about here.

    But the Seahawks are enablers and just hire anyone – no concern for ethics.

    The fans are like the church members who sit blindly in the pews, cheering and giving their money. Shame on Seahawks fans. – but God must be blessing them because they won.

    btw Peyton Manning is not half the QB or man his old man was.

  13. Michael says:

    I believe the people clearly delineates that there is supposed to be a difference between the actions and attitudes of the church and those of worldly organizations and institutions.
    Those lines have been blurred or eradicated in our culture and that has been to the churches loss and not the gain of anybody.

  14. Michael says:

    MLD,

    There are no real ethics in college or professional athletics…why does this bother you more than losing biblical ethics in the church?
    You’ve lambasted Pete Carroll more than any bad pastor we’ve ever covered…

  15. Xenia says:

    I think the behavior, attitudes, amusements and actions of many Christians are so exactly similar to those of non-Christians that this is what is blurring the lines. Unbelievers recognize hypocrisy, they see us indulging in the delights of this world and screaming at them for doing likewise.

  16. I am wondering if your doubts about Mueller are rooted in evidence or in your experience of how things are in our day as to ‘testimonies’ and their veracity. One thing for sure is there is no claim so obtuse that believers will not believe it casting all kinds of doubts on our very testimony of Jesus.

    Anyway, what is the rub about George?

  17. Michael says:

    BD,

    I have no evidence…my thoughts are based purely on experience and observation.
    The Muller narrative is that he not only prayed about everything, but that he always received a recognizable response…often, right in the nick of time.
    We now have many generations that have been raised up believing that this is how prayer…and God…works.
    I don’t buy the narrative anymore…I can’t explain how God works or when or why… but I do know that for most people the reality is far different from that posited by Muller.

  18. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    We are in much agreement on # 15…

  19. Xenia says:

    If George Mueller was Orthodox, we would have canonized him as “St. George the Wonderworker.”

    Throughout church history there have been righteous men and women who had the gift of faith and were put on earth as examples for the rest of us. I think George Mueller is an example of this phenomenon. I only know his oatmeal story but I have no reason at all to doubt his other stories because there are hundreds of similar examples in the history of the Church. We are not all the same, we have different giftings. George seems to have had the gift of faith, something we should all pray to receive.

  20. Xenia says:

    Sometimes, as we study church history, we get caught up in the study of heresies, creeds, schisms, wars, doctrines, reforms, and so on. But there is a parallel history that we often neglect and that is the lives of the saints. This is where we find the wonderworkers, the martyrs, those who received words of wisdom from God, the healers…. you know, all the things you read about in the book of Acts!

  21. Xenia,
    Since I have no experience with canonizing people, I must ask. If what Mueller is alleged to have done is true (I really know nothing about the guy – I just googled wiki) why would he have had to been Orthodox to be canonized. Wouldn’t his works speak for themselves as being used by God?

    And he would still be St. George the Wonderworker.

  22. Michael says:

    As to Muller…I shouldn’t write the following, but I will.
    I had an epiphany on this trip over the weekend, partially provided by the full length mirror in the hotel room.
    That mirror revealed how much weight I’ve gained…and how little I’ve cared over the months since I lost my job.
    It also showed how tired I really am.
    It showed in a nutshell, that even though I write about faith every day of my life that I gave up somewhere along the way.

    I prayed and expected and hoped…but there hasn’t been any last minute miraculous provision from on high.
    If and when I go back to work the hole I’m in is almost impossible to climb out of.
    I realized that like it or not I’m very depressed and sick and exhausted…and semi functional doesn’t mean really alive.
    Some things aren’t fixable now…it’s too late.
    I still “believe”…but I can’t hold on to someone else’s experience to inform my own…I have to find the strength to deal with things as they really are.
    Maybe that’s the only real prayer request I’ll have from now on.

  23. Xenia says:

    Furthermore 🙂

    My husband and I read a daily devotional book, I guess I’ll call it, that gives a brief bio for the saints commemorated for the day. These bios contain plenty of miracle stories. We don’t say, after reading such a story, “Well, these things never happen for us so we will disbelieve this story.” Better to say, “How wonderful is God in His Saints!”

    Psalm 67:36 God is wonderful in his saints: the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people. Blessed be God.

  24. fyi says:

    Perhaps Mueller got answers because he gave God a chance to answer! I think the gap between his experience and much of ours is that we typically don’t do anything that doesn’t make sense to us–we are fearful of being out on that ledge lest we fall. Or we just function (I am talking about individual Christians and churches corporately as well) the way everyone else does. I am personally convinced, and experiencing personally and in our church, that God continually answers our steps of faith and prayer with results! I am not talking about one or two miraculous answers to pray; I am talking about the Lord sustaining seemingly impossible vision over years. Maybe we just need to let Him do what we are afraid of trying?

  25. Xenia says:

    Ah, Michael. I won’t say anything more then. I am sorry to rub salt into a wound. Forgive me.

    MLD, I don’t think Mueller would appreciate being canonized as a Saint by anybody! But to be canonized as an EO Saint, you have to have be Orthodox. Saints are our teachers, in a way, and so while we can certainly admire Mueller, he could not be considered a teacher of Orthodoxy.

  26. Michael says:

    I’m not questioning Mullers works on behalf of children.
    I’m seriously questioning his doctrine of prayer.
    I dismiss most of the stories of “saints” as pure mythology…not many “wonder workers” running around today when we could actually prove their claims.

  27. Xenia says:

    What I mean by “exaggeration” is “mostly fiction”.<<<

    I would be very careful of calling someone a liar (which is what you seem to be doing) based on no evidence except one's own personal experiences a century later.

  28. Michael says:

    fyi,

    That sounds real…religious.
    It doesn’t begin to address my situation…or the situations of other believers I know who are far better Christians than myself who have suffered many years and in many different ways without answers to prayer.
    The harsh reality is that the NT speaks much more of suffering than divine intervention…and maybe we ned to make that far more clear in our teachings and doctrine.

  29. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I am being very careful…I am assuming that Mullers intent was to glorify God in some way, not to deceive.
    I simply do not believe that his accounts (if true) are normative of normal Christian life, nor should they be taught as such.

  30. His Kid says:

    Whether or not George Muller’s prayer experiences were truthfully recorded or not, one can only speculate. I believe in answered prayer, though, with all of my heart. I’ve seen it, experienced it, felt it, and continue to see it in ways that are overwhelming me even as I type this. I’ve been on skype, on the phone, texting and emailing with different people all morning, discussing different things, but ALL of them have to do with answered prayer. People are speechless by what they are experiencing by the hand of God. Oh Michael…I’m heart broken. How will I ever be able to convince people to persevere in prayer? How can I really share with you and others what a precious gift it truly is?

  31. “The harsh reality is that the NT speaks much more of suffering than divine intervention”

    There lies the problem. We think the divine intervention is to alleviate our suffering. Jesus speaks of joy, peace, and victory in the midst of the worst possible suffering.

    We’re asking for the wrong things.

  32. Michael says:

    HK,

    You need to share whatever God puts on your heart.
    I have to deal with reality…and my reality is a wrecking yard of broken hopes and unanswered prayers.
    The question for me isn’t any longer about doctrine it’s about how to maintain a vital faith in the face of these facts.
    God has carried me thus far…but I can’t deny where I’m at any longer.
    He could answer tomorrow I guess…

  33. fyi says:

    Michael, your response was unfair. Inconsiderate. You know me reasonably well. There is not a religious bone (nor a pat-Christian response bone) in me. I would be happy to address your personal circumstances but it would be better done in private. I am only talking about taking steps of faith–without resources, when things make no sense–and THEN seeing God move. You know, I think it is too true that we say ‘God if you do it, I’ll believe,’ while God is saying, ‘If you believe, I’ll do it.’ That is all I am talking about. I can share on-going personal experiences if you would like. You know we have a free school, a free medical clinic, a free house for abused women, and NEVER charge for anything in our church. And we do it all without ever asking for money or letting our needs be done. I think that is pretty miraculous. I also believe (with all my heart) that is the normative manner God would prefer we all live. I meant nothing personal toward you yet your response turned personal. You are a man I admire, one who has my ear. I am never trying to hurt, just help.

  34. fyi says:

    One additional comment: there has been plenty of suffering in the midst of divine intervention in our case. I think they go together…

  35. I’m think of John 16:33

    Jesus tells them they have peace, joy and that HE has overcome the world. Look back up to verse 1, and you’ll see that this is in the context of telling them that they will be excommunicated, and even killed, for their witness.

    We’ve allowed the world to define our words for us. Culture tells us what peace is and we believe. Culture tells us what joy is, what victory is, and what love is. We’ve bought the lie. Jesus gives us those things in abundance, but not like the world tells us.

  36. His Kid says:

    If we believe that His Word is true, how do we deal with Scriptures that say, “Ask anything in my name, and I will do it?” And when we ask, we do not receive the answer (or so we think)….? But Josh was right…we are asking the wrong things and we are not meeting the pre-conditions set for answered prayer. Jesus said “Abide in me.” And for me, that has been key to answered prayer. If Jesus ever lives to intercede for me and my loved ones, then I am no longer asking for what I want. I want to sit at His feet and listen in to HIS prayers. As He sits at the right hand of our Father and speaks about my loved ones into the very ear of Abba (for He is interceding even now for us), I want to listen in. I want to know what HE is asking the Father for concerning my loved ones. And I want my prayers to match the prayers of Jesus. It’s more about listening to HIM, and saying, “May my prayers be an echo of yours, Lord.” It is not how I was taught to pray all those years go…just something I have begun to do since I really started studying the Scriptures to see what it truly says about prayer. I have been doing it wrong. But the Scriptures are teaching me how to do it right.

  37. Michael says:

    fyi,

    I could tell stories of how many times I’ve “stepped out in faith ” and the consequences I’m paying for having done so.
    This is personal…for me and many others I know.
    I’m not besmirching your character or your experiences in any way…but maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone in this and others will benefit from my having confessed my own pain.

  38. Chile says:

    I suspect there isn’t one particular prescriptive way of interacting with and following God. The moment we seem to find “the way,” we run into problems. Whether or not Mueller’s prayer life and God’s answers were exactly as we read them to have been, is not something I can know. But I do know a couple who ventured out to live as they think Mueller did, only to return with their tail between their legs. Now, was that because they tried the Mueller way? Or was it because that was not what God was doing with them? Or was it a misinterpretation? Or was there vain ambition involved? etc… Who knows?

    I know I’m told to pray. I know God’s responses to our prayers is not predictive, but He does have our best interest at heart … and all the power and wisdom to do what’s best. I’ve experienced seasons of many specific prayers answered in a timely manner. I’ve also experienced silence and seemingly a lack of response, along with something in-between. Any time someone tries to tell me “the way” to pray (other than the Lord’s Prayer,) I just take it with a grain of salt.

    I think the key to prayer is … regularity. It’s sheer obedience, sometimes fueled by encouraging delightful answers and sometimes tested affecting our very core.

  39. Michael says:

    HK,

    So asking for a job and the income to support myself and my loved ones was wrong?
    Asking for medication that keeps me going was wrong?
    I’m having a hard time with that…

  40. Michael, I’d be willing to bet that you have way more than 80% of the people in my church.

    Should they abandon the faith?

  41. His Kid says:

    There are pat answers that we learn about prayer, and “step out in faith” is one of them. Search out what the Scriptures really say about prayer and I would venture most Believers would be very surprised.

  42. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Way more what?
    Where have I said anything…anything…about abandoning the faith?

  43. His Kid says:

    No Michael, the cry of a human heart to God is never wrong. I’m just saying that answered prayer has a whole lot more to do with listening than with speaking. What is God trying to say to you through this part of your journey? As you listen to what He is saying, the requests you make may end up changing.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    The Mueller discussion is woefully incomplete without one key detail.

    His story is about one man and one specific ministry who covenanted with God that He alone would know the needs of that ministry, the orphanage – and that earthly requests would not be made, no matter how desperate.

    So i disagree that his experience should be seen as “the norm” when it comes to answered prayer, but I certainly do not see a reason to discount the testimony. We are instructed to share our prayer needs with others. There is nothing wrong with doing so. However, to expect responses like Mueller without the covenanting of Mueller seems unwise.

  45. Your gripe is that you don’t have a job. You are losing hope because you pray for a job, but none come. (Though we’ve all witnessed the opposite in the past.)

    These people, are homeless, living in group homes, in halfway houses…the fact that you are on the internet means that you have WAY more than they have, even without a job. You don’t think they constantly pray for a way out of the woods. Here’s my new answer to them: God doesn’t care. It isn’t gonna happen. Give up hope.

  46. His Kid says:

    That is a very insightful comment, Steve. And it keeps us from trying to find the steps that we are supposed to take to copy someone else’s prayer life and make it work in our own. Prayer is a conversation with God and Muller’s conversation was how it played out between them. Our own conversations with God will be unique.

  47. His Kid says:

    Often times I cry out to God and as a loving Father, He allows me to express my broken heart. Often times I ask for something specific and He takes time to explain, “You’re asking for the wrong thing.” He begins to teach me, point me to Scriptures, emphasize something a friend will say…gradually the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in place until I can see a picture I did not expect to see. That’s when He points out, “See? That experience was not at all what you thought it was about. I was doing something so much deeper than you were aware of. You cried out for an answer in this area, while all the time I was working on areas that make you more like my Son, Jesus.” And then, I realize that He HAS answered my prayer. The prayer that says, “Make me like, You, Lord.”

  48. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Thank you for completely and utterly twisting what I said.
    That’s the “gripe” I chose to write about…there are other, deeper wounds that I very wisely left unwritten.
    There are others in this sort of spiritual pain…I’ve already heard from some.
    We are nor “giving up the faith”…we are asking questions about the faith that we have.
    My personal realization was that I had given up hope…my body and spirit are broken and I get through day to day for the sake of my kid.
    I’m not alone.
    I’m sorry if that offends you, if decent people asking honest questions about God in painful circumstances is somehow a sin your eyes this may not be the best venue for you to read.
    I have just enough hope to get through today…and maybe that’s a miracle in itself.

  49. His Kid says:

    Michael, may I be so bold as to say that “Make me like You, Lord” is the prayer He is answering in your life. I’ve never met you face to face, yet I have been here for a very long time and can attest to the transformation I have seen in your words and in your heart. I believe our Father is answering the prayers that Jesus is praying for you as He sits at His Father’s side. Jesus is praying for you to be more like HIM. And I can truthfully say I have seen that prayer answered in you.

  50. Some here sound like Job’s friends to Michael’s plight.

    Some might disagree, but Michael, I know that a good job would solve most of your problems or put some on the back burner – therefore I pray that a good job becomes yours and if that is what you are asking for , then you are asking for the right thing..

    But remember, this is not about your prayer life and this is not a battle you are having with God.

  51. WHere did I twist what you said? I can quote you if you need it. You are not alone? Maybe like the 80% of my church I just talked about?

    “I’m sorry if that offends you, if decent people asking honest questions about God in painful circumstances is somehow a sin your eyes this may not be the best venue for you to read.”

    Wow. So I’m not allowed to respond with my own experience and the experience of those around me? Geez, man. It’s not that bad. There are people all over the world who have it worse than you. Is that offensive? Is my telling the truth a sin in your eyes?

    Should I leave now?

  52. Xenia says:

    A lot of my prayers are answered and some of them are not. Recently I was very concerned about a family member I hadn’t heard from in some time and asked the Lord to let me hear from them soon and before I could say Amen, the phone rang. This is rather common. I wouldn’t exactly call these incidents miraculous but they are answers to prayer.

    The prayers that don’t get answered are the ones that involve God over-riding a person’s free will. (Yes, I believe in free will.) Prayers like “Please save so-and-so” don’t get answered as I’d like because this involves so-and-so’s free will to accept or reject the Gospel. Prayers like “Do something about Mexico” don’t get answered because I am asking amiss: God has some bigger plan in mind for Mexico that I am not privy to. I can pray for the protection of individuals in Mexico, if I know who they are.

    And some prayers don’t get answered because my suffering, mild as it is, is given to me by God for instructional purposes. He chastens every son and daughter He receives.

    Even St. Paul didn’t get that thorn in his flesh removed. God kept it there for a reason.

  53. Hey Michael,
    You can feel free to express your heart cry anytime.

    Praying for hope, refreshment, strength, health, provision and freedom to be real and cling to the reality that you will never chase off Jesus, Who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

    I don’t have anything other than love, encouragement and friendship to pass along.

  54. And good grief, MLD. OF course I want Michael to have a job. I have prayed for it often.

  55. “There are people all over the world who have it worse than you. Is that offensive? Is my telling the truth a sin in your eyes?”

    …it’s about how you tell a hurting man that you get it, and get HIM, want to give him perspective, and strength.

    Whacking a guy with a 2×4 is just not best practice in the healing arts

  56. At which point did I whack him? Before or after he asked me to leave?

    And G- I’m pretty sure you told me you weren’t interested in having these types of conversation with me.

  57. I’m not having the conversation with you.

    I’m having the conversation for any observer who reads this and sees it as kicking a guy when he’s down.

    Screw doctrinal correctness. When a man is hurting our blessed call is to comfort & strengthen him, to give him hope.

  58. Michael,
    Sorry you’re experiencing this, especially here on your own blog.
    Just checking in and seeing this turns my stomach.
    Hoping you can step away and get close to those who know your face & voice, receive strength and camaraderie from them.

  59. a. hOW HAVE i KICKED HIM?

    B. Where have I said anything in this conversation about doctrinal correctness?!? Do you read here or just show up to fight “the enemy”. I only spoke of my experience, much like Michael spoke about his.

    I fail to see how I’ve kicked him in any way.

  60. Michael,
    Get up, move, go for a walk, a bike ride, something physical.
    Eat some protein, drink a couple liters of water, choose some company of 3D people and reconnect with sunlight, color and sound.
    Feel free to email me privately via FB or my personal email.

  61. Michael, I will go back to talking to you. I don’t want to make G sick.

    Of course I care about you. I think you know that. I’m sorry for what you are going through. I have prayed often for your job, for your health and for your son, etc. I hope you know this. Yes, I offered a different perspective above, and I am sorry that you found that offensive.

    If you want me to leave, I’ll go.

  62. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Please show me the quotes…please.
    I am not writing as one who hates the church or the faith…exactly the opposite.
    What kind of damn fool would I be to deny that I have it better than many…that’s not the point.

    This is about making experience match the promise and what we do when that doesn’t seem to happen.
    This is about sustaining faith and hope when you can’t seem to get the promises to marry your reality.
    This is about talking out loud about the things that torment us privately.

    “And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!””
    (Luke 11:5–13 ESV)

  63. His Kid says:

    Michael is right in that, like him, there are many people struggling with the fact that they don’t appear to be receiving answer to prayer. I want to be an encouragement to all of my brothers and sisters who are feeling helpless and hopeless…all I can do is share my own experience. Like Xenia said…the answers to prayer vary according to how and when God chooses to reveal answers. All I can say is that, for me, the real beginning of my prayer journey was when I finally was so broken and beaten down that I was at a point where I wanted God more than I wanted any of the answers to prayer I had been calling out for. It finally became all about Him and not about what I wanted, no matter how justified and right the things were that I was crying out for.

  64. Michael says:

    If this were just my experience I could chalk to up to my own personal sins and shortcomings of which there are many.
    It’s not.
    I thought it was a valuable discussion to have but those who are going through similar experiences now know better than to reveal them here.

  65. OK, good. So back to the conversation. And I am sorry for the offense.

    Here is my point, I’ll try to say it in a different way:

    “This is about making experience match the promise and what we do when that doesn’t seem to happen.”

    I think WE (you, me, culture, all of us) have gotten wrong what the experience is supposed to be. That’s pretty much what you were saying in the article. My experience that I was sharing is: How do I tell a mentally handicapped, drug addicted homeless person to just pray for a mew job, house, all that? Because we know it isn’t going to happen. I just don’t think those are the things Jesus is talking about. I think there is something deeper, better that is available to them…and you, and me.

  66. Michael says:

    G,

    Thank you, my friend.
    I am committed to spending more time outside…and away from all of this.
    The older I get the more I prefer the company of critters… 🙂

  67. “If this were just my experience I could chalk to up to my own personal sins and shortcomings of which there are many.”

    No, No, no! That was never my point at all. I hate that things get so misunderstood at times. I don’t even know how to unravel things at this point.

    “I thought it was a valuable discussion to have but those who are going through similar experiences now know better than to reveal them here.”

    I’m discussing, right?!? Am I really that toxic?

  68. His Kid says:

    “…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Jesus is giving us a key point here…are we asking, seeking, knocking for *the Holy Spirit*? To those who persevere and will not let go, He promises to give us *The Holy Spirit*. Again, are we asking what Jesus is teaching us to ask for?

  69. finallyfree says:

    Michael – I think I understand a lot of what you are feeling. 5 years ago, I realized through much mental pain and suffering, that 15 years of my “ministry” life was not for Jesus, but for a brain-washing cult leader. I wanted to plant a church; wanted to be a missionary; wanted to do great things, I thought. Was inspired by George Mueller’s book – all those answered prayers! Yet now, my spiritual life has been/is being dismantled…because it was fake. I’ve almost completely walked away from God. To make things more challenging, the cult I belonged to taught that it was sin to have kids – they will put your ministry on the shelf. So after my wife and I left, we decided we needed to celebrate freedom and have children. After our first child, my very healthy wife became chronically ill – she has P.O.T.S – “dysautonomia”. I’m the caregiver of my dear wife and two boys under the age of 3. We also needed to get away from the city where the cult was located, so we had multiple moves in the last two years. We have some PTSD issues from the craziness. My language has been horrific – swearing all the time (anger). Being mean to my wife, etc. Very angry at God – “why would you…”; “especially now that I’m finally faithful…”, you get it. To top this off, my wife gets scolded for not going to church – (It physically takes her out to even get ready for church). She’s been told by pastor’s/Christians that she needs to have more faith; she needs to serve others! This stuff has been what we call “crazy-making”. I have a job, but I’m getting chewed out by my angry, “Christian” boss – who hates medical social programs that he has to pay for (ours of course). I am facing the real reality that I may loose my job – as I need to make emergency trips home quite often. I tried to find a church close to home so that there’s one less burden in our life – only to get a letter in the mail from the new pastor that says he’s calling for “all-out” attendance for everyone for Sunday School and Sunday Services. Being vulnerable, our family became the “poster family” in that church for suffering. Just so much focus on attendance and duty and faith – “if there’s sin in your life, you may not get healed.” So I have left three churches in 5 years – (well, the first one was not a church). I have not been performing – and yet I am accepted. I am getting fat – (and I like my Chips-Ahoy) – yet I’m still accepted; I might have to move into Section 8 – yet I am still accepted. Michael – I agree with you. I hear your pain loud and clear! People are being let down all the time because they have a distorted view of God put on them – and many Christians perpetuate it; they do not make much of GOD. They may much of themselves. We are too serious about our performance; we also are too scared about what the watching world will think when our lives are a mess – and totally ruined…what if they see me fall. Well, the watching world has seen me fall – I am hoping though, sooner than later, they will see Christ in this carcass – and only Him.

  70. His Kid says:

    I apologize, Michael. I truly wanted only to be an encouragement to you. You are disappointed in your prayer life and this is the one area that God has put on my heart to encourage others in the Body of Christ to seek fervently after. Prayer is EVERYTHING to me. When I see someone who is truly longing for that intimate immersion in God’s presence I want to do everything in my power to encourage that…to help that person untangle all the things we have been taught that do not really line up with what Scripture says. This is not the best forum for me to attempt that. I ask for your forgiveness if I have communicated anything other that what I had hope to communicate: encouragement as you seek answers. *Praying* blessings on you, my friend.

  71. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I made the huge mistake of opening up about my own brokenness…and have basically been told that my experiences are invalid and my technique is wrong.
    Hurting people have enough on their plate without being told that…I’m a big boy and I can handle it…others are even closer to the edge than I am.

  72. Steve Wright says:

    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Phil 4:6-7
    ———————————————————————–
    In my opinion these are the most important instructional verses on prayer in the New Testament.

    1) By all means, make our requests.

    2) Do not make requests without including thanksgivings to the Lord. The old saying “count your blessings” is actually Scriptural

    3) No promise of “answer” but a promise of God’s peace which has the purpose here of guarding our hearts and minds (which I think is a huge blessing in times of earthly desperation)

  73. Michael says:

    finallyfree,

    My hope…and prayer for you is that in all these things you do indeed hold onto Christ and your life is a testimony of His goodness.
    May God bless your wife and your children and may you all find healing and hope.
    Thank you for sharing with us….you are indeed accepted among the saints.

  74. Michael says:

    HK,

    Nothing at all to apologize for…I know your heart.
    The reality is that far more have probably been blessed by your writings today than mine.

  75. Michael, I sincerely apologize. I never intended to invalidate your experience, though I did share other experiences. I don’t think I said anything about technique, so maybe that was someone else. Regardless, I am very sorry. I consider you a friend and think the world of you. I expressed myself, and apparently did so in a very confusing way.

    I would try to rephrase it so that it makes more sense, but again, I don’t even know how to straighten it out from this point. Just forget that I made a comment. Maybe someday when there is different subject, I’ll try to bring up the things that I’ve been thinking about.

  76. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I know that you would never intentionally hurt me or anyone else.
    This is hard stuff…

  77. finallyfree says:

    Thank you Michael.

  78. It is hard stuff. I certainly didn’t recognize the weight of the conversation, or I wouldn’t have jumped in in that manner.

  79. His Kid says:

    Michael, thank you for hearing my heart, even if my words were chosen poorly. I should know that it really is best for me to stay out of these conversations. It’s hard for me to express myself clearly in this format. Praying is what I am advocating and praying is what I will do…for you and for the others who are feeling hopeless and disappointed. Blessings.

  80. Xenia says:

    I made the huge mistake of opening up about my own brokenness…<<<

    You also besmirched the integrity of George Mueller and said that all the stories of the Saints are mythology. This is where I take issue with you today.

  81. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I really didn’t intend to besmirch his integrity…my guess is that his perceptions and his purpose were honorable.
    I’m not sure at all that they were factual in the classic sense of the word.
    I do think that most of the supernatural stories of the saints are mythology and while I understand that is offensive to you, I still believe it to be true.
    According to my understanding of the Scriptures all who are in Christ are saints.

  82. Neo says:

    I relate.

    I’m usually in the hospital for my own health, the doctors are so limited. Now I’m here in the hospital with my 13 year old because she has something worse than pneumonia, some medical term I can’t even remember. Been here with her two weeks now.

    I feel like crap. Seeing her suffer is….unspeakable.

    This morning I chose to finally give up hope. Then she asked me to read to her from the bible. So I just opened up to Philippians and read from my ipad. I was hiding my streaming tears as I read it to her as she lay there.

    On one hand I know how Jesus healed ALL who came to him. Then I read in Philippians it’s not only our lot in life to suffer but it is a gift.

    So Jesus healed everyone then Paul says to suffer in dignity, even with joy, as though it’s a privilege. Go figure.

    Only God. Only God….

  83. Xenia says:

    Michael… I think, rather than derail the thread, I’ll save my explanations of saint/Saint for when we get to that point in your history series.

  84. Neo says:

    Btw. Phillip Hoffman was the greatest actor of our time. So sorry he couldn’t beat the very demons that no doubt influenced his genius.

  85. Michael says:

    Neo,

    I felt like I was supposed to pray for you last night…I can’t imagine what you’re going through.
    May God have mercy on both of you…

  86. erunner says:

    Our granddaughter woke up two nights ago having had a nightmare. I heard her crying and went into her room. She was sitting up and sobbing yet still asleep. I told her papa was here and she could lay back down. I stroked her hair and told her it was okay to go back to sleep. I sat on the floor until she was snoring.

    The next day she didn’t remember me but remembered her nightmare. A mean shark had eaten sponge bob square pants.

    That was her three and a half year olds trial and I know God has heard our prayers concerning her dreams. Yet she’s been having them.

    At times it seems that some who have been through hellacious trials lose sympathy for those whose trials seem so ‘trivial.’ I am not alluding to anyone here. Others who can’t relate to anothers trials at times are guilty of trivializing them.

    God sees a sparrow falling from the sky and He sees all we go through.

    I believe if all of my requests were granted in the affirmative I might become the most boorish and arrogant person drawing breath. We will never understand the yes’s and no’s of God.

    I believe all here mean well in what they try to communicate but it’s not always doable on the web. I believe we all wish Michael God’s best.

  87. Ixtlan says:

    Did someone kill the sacred cow today?

  88. Neo says:

    Really? At the hour I’d lost all hope for the first time in my life? Shows me there is an authentic Spirit of the Living Christ after all of this.

    I’ll never forget this.

  89. Michael says:

    Neo,

    I came home late from Portland…dog tired and my back was killing me.
    I saw your name on something totally unrelated and it hit me like a ton of bricks…probably around 11 or so.

  90. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think it will be a valuable conversation when we get to that point…which should be really soon.

  91. Neo says:

    That you transferred that moment into a prayer says much to me about the tenacity of your worn faith and the love of our Father.

  92. Michael says:

    erunner,

    Good word, my friend…

  93. Michael says:

    Neo,

    When we come to the end of all the things we can do and all the explanations we try…what else can we do?
    To not try is to die…and I’m not quite ready to go yet.
    I thought I heard God speak and I responded …I just wish I heard Him more often…

  94. Neo says:

    I’ve been round just long enough to know, it does get better.

  95. Michael says:

    I killed my own thread dead…

  96. Nuts says:

    Michael,
    Unanswered prayer, especially for basic necessities, is a burdensome weight. Relief doesn’t come with theological wranglings, reminders, platitudes, or swift-kicks-in-the-rear. Relief comes with answers & provision. In the mean time, a cup of cool water in the form of “I understand” or “I’ve been there” or “I’m with you” goes a long way.

    I’m with you. Prayer is the most painful part of my Christian experience. It induces the most guilt, frustration, doubt, consternation, and stress. It highlights a tendency among believers to express theological understandings when another believer struggles instead of expressing a human understanding–to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It is not a lack of faith to express doubt or struggle; it is a lack of answers.
    One of the greatest fallacies in Christendom is that we have all the answers.

  97. Michael says:

    Nuts,

    That was very well and very graciously written….and encouraging to me in a very real way.
    Thank you, my friend.

  98. Nuts says:

    Muller’s book is a sharp knife that can cut deeply when mishandled. I don’t think he intended it to be so, but that doesn’t alter the unintended effect.

  99. Well, the thread interested me enough to pick up a book by Muller on Amazon.
    It is free by the way.
    http://www.amazon.com/Answers-Prayer-George-M%C3%BCllers-Narratives-ebook/dp/B0082VM98K/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1391471943&sr=1-8&keywords=george+muller

    Still praying for you, Michael.

  100. Michael says:

    Thank you, Derek.

  101. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Coffee with a Calvinist !

    More about my Starbucks meeting with a John McArthur Disciple tomorrow morning brought to you by Smirnoff Ice!!

  102. brian says:

    I was really troubled by some of the comments left at some news websites about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. There was a great deal of glee and mockery interspaced with he went to hell and now he knows there a God. There was also a great deal of well one more dead liberal we can all move along. I always feel awful when someone dies especially when they are somewhat young or do to drugs or suicide. I think when Pastor Warren’s child committed suicide and on some of the blogs there truly was mockery, wrath of God etc. There were far more kind and sympathetic comments. Not for Hoffman especially over at FAUX “news”.

  103. Scotty0boy says:

    Wow, Michael. I can really feel your pain when you talk about what you are experiencing. I am almost reluctant to answer you because I don’t want to offend or hurt you and I can only share what I have experienced in my walk with the Lord. But I’m going to do that and hope it speaks to you.

    There is a time to be broken and to live in that brokenness when the heavens shut their gates and there seems to be no way to get an answer to prayer. I’ve been through those and they are hard times. They have lasted a long time, in some cases several years, and at one point I did give up hope and abandoned my faith, at least on an intimate level. I never “left”, I just didn’t quite “believe” the way I used to. I went through years of chronic illness, family problems, rejection, a car wreck that destroyed my ability to walk more than 2 minutes (can still be ongoing). During that time, I got few answers to prayer. My marriage crumbled and there seemed to be no way to save it. I experienced anxiety like I had never before in my life. I was rejected by family. Every good Christian friend I had moved out of town. Then my church broke up and was no more. (And that’s just for starters!)

    That went on for a long time, but I’m not going to say how long because there was a lot of other stuff going on spiritually. But, I will say that I reached a point one day where I began to realize how filled with doubt I was and how much I did NOT believe. That was a revelation because I had no clue before this all happened that this was in me. I had seen myself as a person of faith and when God squeezed all that doubt to the surface, I was shocked. And that is what He was getting to. He was putting on the pressure to get it to the surface so He could get it out.

    He put me in the fire, like you are in the fire. It’s a testing, burning, brokenness time that comes to all who truly follow the Lord. None of us want to go there. None of us want to stay there. None of us really want to pray our way out of there, but there comes a day, Michael, when you will stand up and say, “I cannot take anymore and by faith I take my victory today!” and you will. And on that day, you will get your victory. And you will begin to climb out of that hole. And you won’t do it or attempt it until you really believe it and there is a day when the faith of the Lord will bubble up in you and you will take your ground back.

    Look at David. Look at what he suffered as he fled from Saul. This is a part of the life of a saint. The America church, or maybe the church around the world (I don’t know) has really abandoned suffering as a part of the life of a saint. But it is. God wouldn’t tell us that we would come through the fire without the smell of smoke unless we were going in the fire. And he wouldn’t tell us that we would not drown when we passed through the waters unless we were going through some really rough waters. I think these are the promises you need to hold on to now and that might be enough. Maybe having the faith to hold on when everything has failed is enough. I know at times it has been for me.

    Long story short: God healed me of many of my illnesses. He fixed my back so I can function quite well (without doctors). I overcame my anxiety. My marriage is healed. I am out of the fire. I’ve been in and out a few times since I left that fire, but I am out of it now. And my faith is stronger. And I know that George Muller didn’t lie because I’ve seen those kinds of answers to prayer. But not before I went through the fire.

    I would encourage you to hold on because God is still good. We don’t find a template for this part of the Christian life in the church much anymore, but it exists, it’s real, it’s painful, and none of us want to go through it. God hasn’t abandoned you. You are being tested. You will come through this. God will bless you. He’s stripping away everything you thought you believed and everything you thought you had so that he can purify your faith. I’m sorry. I know it hurts. But I know you will come through it if you don’t give up. Sometimes it is enough to say, “I will hold on.” And sometimes that’s all we can do.

  104. Steve Wright says:

    I was really troubled by some of the comments left at some news websites
    ———————————————————–
    Brian, I personally do not know why you torture yourself reading “some comments” at “some websites” – Why?

    Why would anyone who refers to FAUX news ever bother to watch it or read its webpage given the variety of options out there?.

    I have not seen one person in my internet travels today rejoicing about one more dead liberal – and those travels are largely conservative, both politically and theologically. In fact, almost nobody in those circles is bothering to discuss him

    You know the web is a huge place, and if you read a major news article (whether Fox,CNBC, Huffington Post or anywhere else) and it has 1000+ comments you know it will be filled with trash and “shock”

    It seems to this reader you practically search out the worst representations of Christianity (or conservatives for that matter) to feed something within you. Please stop.

    Do you get equally as shocked when you read the comments about Christians and Jesus Christ found in any mainstream article about some Bible discovery or other religious topic? Especially if found on a left-leaning site? Personally, I often get angry and then I remember I am reading an MSN article with 5000 comments from totally annonymous people using fake names.

    There was a lot of misunderstanding on this thread already, so as not to add more, I write this as a serious suggestion…if you were “really troubled” then I urge you for your own well-being to just not read. By the way, that advice was given to me once by the host here – and it served me well.

    Some may grieve and honor him more than others but likely all who even know who he was would say Hoffman was an excellent actor who had a serious drug problem and whose death is a tragedy. I believe just about 99% of the internet world would agree with that. Don’t worry about that lunatic 1% fringe.

  105. brian says:

    You know steve you really dont know why I read them, they were truly awful mixed in with the good, which I clearly stated about more kind comments.

    “It seems to this reader you practically search out the worst representations of Christianity (or conservatives for that matter) to feed something within you. Please stop.” You are entitled to your opinion, but I dont see it that way. I guess why I dont stop in a way is that is what was done to me for so long. But I will consider what you say, it is not really helpful I will grant you that. Thanks for your words I know you said what you said was because you care. Have a nice evening.

  106. Was Hoffman a liberal? (I barely know who he is and couldn’t name a movie he was in) – but is it just assumed he was a liberal.

    I will say one thing though – Hollywood needs to Just Say No to Drugs.

    They need to kick out people who they know use drugs – they should drug test like athletes. It is too public and not good for our kids.

  107. erunner says:

    Scott0Boy

    “He put me in the fire, like you are in the fire. It’s a testing, burning, brokenness time that comes to all who truly follow the Lord. None of us want to go there. None of us want to stay there. None of us really want to pray our way out of there, but there comes a day, Michael, when you will stand up and say, “I cannot take anymore and by faith I take my victory today!” and you will. And on that day, you will get your victory. And you will begin to climb out of that hole. And you won’t do it or attempt it until you really believe it and there is a day when the faith of the Lord will bubble up in you and you will take your ground back.”

    I don’t see it. A close friend died recently. She had lost a son to heroin. She had multiple illnesses. Her husband had/has advanced parkinsons. They had experienced huge financial setbacks. Another son is an alcoholic. It goes on.

    She and her husband came home from a dream vacation. They both got sick. He got better. Her’s turned out to be stage 4 cancer and she was gone within five weeks. She wanted her victory desperately. She had dreams for the future. Yet God chose to take her home.

    Others live their lives never getting the victory they claim or desire. Maybe we look to this life as where victory is and can be obtained. Maybe for some victory is obtained when they are called home?

  108. erunner says:

    What I’ve read and heard is that it was a shame and waste of a life filled with potential concerning Hoffman’s death. I haven’t read any comments from believers taking any satisfaction in his tragic death.

    I will say that no matter how serious the topic be it a death or mass deaths I always see comments from people that are sick and twisted.

    I read he was dead and was shocked as I had no clue he had past drug issues and wasn’t doing well. What did I think? I’m thankful I never got into the drug scene. I wonder if he knew the Lord? A sad story that’s played out multiple times daily in our country. That’s one reason I hate the devil.

  109. brian says:

    “they should drug test like athletes. It is too public and not good for our kids.” This actually could save many lives, I never even thought about it. I know I get tested when I sign up for teaching.

  110. Scotty0boy says:

    Erunner: Are you saying that it’s not possible to overcome — EVER? I don’t disagree that there are tragedies and sad situations that don’t come to a sweet ending. That’s how life is/can be and I wouldn’t deny that it’s so. It can also be that way with Christians. But you can’t say it’s always like that. It’s just not true. If that was true, why would any of us ever hope for something better? If no one is ever going to overcome, what is the purpose in going on? To suffer forever?

  111. Steve Wright says:

    I know you said what you said was because you care. Have a nice evening.
    ———————————————
    Yes. Thank you. You too, brian

  112. Steve Wright says:

    As to Hoffman, the movie Twister absolutely nailed the ‘gonzo’ nature of those storm chasing meteorologists. I had a few on my dorm floor at Oklahoma. They are a different breed. And Hoffman was my favorite because he wore an OU hat the whole movie. 🙂

    Then in Moneyball, he was 180 degrees different in playing Art Howe – which again, he played flawlessly

  113. erunner says:

    Scotty0boy…. not at all. I believe it is possible to overcome anything IF that is God’s will for you. What I’m trying to say that it isn’t always His perfect will to give us our victory even when the suffering is intense and the afflicted is a person of strong faith.

    When people are suffering we come alongside of them as best we can and do all we can to encourage and understand them.

    The bottom line is I believe that no matter how strong or weak Michael’s faith is it may not be the will of God to grant Michael what he desires. I want Him to but I don’t believe that victory will be his when he reaches a certain point of despair and surrenders all. It might be his…. I don’t know.

  114. Scotty0boy says:

    Erunner: I get what you are saying. Perhaps I offered something that sounded formulaic, which was not what I was trying to do. After suffering for 10 or more years, I certainly did not magically “snap out of it” because I whispered the magic words of faith. So, please know that I am not offering some doctrine of magical thinking because that’s really pretty far from what I think. My time came, my faith had grown. I decided to push past my doubts, by faith. I actually had no other choice — except maybe to suffer more — so I tried it. And on that day, the skies didn’t open and the sun didn’t suddenly come out. It was a process, over time, where my life began to slowly change. But I could say that it began on that day. And as things changed, I was a lot freer than I had been when I entered that trial.

    It’s hard to get a whole story into a few words in a blog response, so I shortened it, perhaps not well.

    I believe that there are many people in Scripture who suffered terribly and came through it victorious. There are others who suffered and didn’t get that outcome. I was only hoping to share with Michael that it can happen. The outcome is God’s business and will, I agree with you on that. But I think it’s worth believing until there is no more breath in us.

  115. erunner says:

    Scotty0boy, It’s hard conveying our heart and intent online.

    What I got from where I quoted you is that Michael would get his victory and it is that to which I responded as I believe it can at times be damaging to tell someone they will get their victory and then it doesn’t materialize.

    “But I think it’s worth believing until there is no more breath in us.”

    I agree 100% yet I know there are those who can’t find it in themselves to honestly believe any longer. They’re spent and exhausted and that’s where others can come alongside to offer what we can to help.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am genuinely happy for what God has done for you.

  116. brian says:

    Just a note I was reading through Rick Warren tweets and resources he has for helping people with mental health issues. One thing I did not realize is that people were setting up fake Facebook accounts after the loss of his son and trying to get money. Be careful when giving online.

  117. Broke-n says:

    Like you, Michael, I’m unemployed and flat broke. Illness, realities of the economy, underemployed for too long, and a series of unfortunate events landed me here. It’s been a long road that has had no end in sight for a long time. Last month the unemployment benefits were cut completely. Food help was cut by three quarters prior to that. And that’s only a small part of my unsustainable situation.

    If I look ahead, I lose it. I can only make it through today, and sometimes only through the hour. People who’ve not been this low do not understand. I try not to burden them with an explanation. Every single day it’s food, medicine, basic supplies, rent, and gas if I have an interview, that I need, but can’t see where it’s going to come from. It is often exhausting. More sleep is required to handle the stress even if you are having a high faith day.

    I know you know what I’m talking about. I think I know what you are talking about. It’s very hard and has a way of making us far more vulnerable that we ever imagined it would. You were a brave soul to even share this today. But this is one situation where only the most amazingly loving people can be a comfort without their having been through it themselves.

  118. Bip says:

    Try reading “Smith Wigglesworth Apostle Of Faith.” George Muller and Smith both leave the reader with the feeling that they are missing something in their own life when it comes to getting prayers answered. The bulk of most peoples own experience is that prayers go with out answers.

    It appears that the goal is to be content in any circumstance we find ourselves in. Accept our lot in life as it were. Think about how hard it is on the congregations sitting under the pulpits of the prosperity crowd. The only ones prospering are the leadership with the holy handshakes while the congregants wonder what’s wrong with them because they are not prosperous themselves.

    I can honestly say that tears may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning. When the demon winds assail our faith it is not forever. Look at brother Job with his wonderful friends suggesting that something he did caused his fate and that he needed to repent. Almighty God steps into the picture and let’s those friends have a what for and blesses suffering Job ten fold over.

    Why did it turn out that Job suffered? Because God wanted Satan to see that Job was more then a shallow believer, that Job had depth and served God for who He is and not for what He gives.

    When I read the lament of others I feel their pain. I know they speak from the heart. Theirs is a very hard road to travel. The last thing anyone in their position needs is Job’s comforters.

    Unlike any pastor who served under the Calvary Chapel dove Michael is free to bear his feelings and pains under his real name and not under an assumed name as most here do now and then. He needs not to keep up a facade of having it all together with all of the answers. It takes a true man of God to not put up pretenses or hide his frailty.

    The bottom line in all things for us Christians is underneath us is Jesus Christ the rock of our salvation. Even if nothing ever changes through prayer we have hope in Christ.

    Now the harsh reality is not so bleak or so unbearable. We don’t understand nor do we have to, it is enough for us to know that God is still on His throne and has everything under control. His control not ours.

    Calvinism?

  119. Bip says:

    Broke-n,
    Just a thought, have you applied for a Federal extension on your unemployment? Some people are unaware that such a thing exist, just saying.

  120. Bip says:

    Used to be an extra 14 weeks of help when state benefits run out. I am no t sure if the program is still active. Might google it to see.

  121. brian says:

    As I wish to honor Pastor Steve and other folks I wont post what was told to me when folks wished to seek federal extensions. It was horrid what was said about these people. I agree Broke apply for what relief is needed, goodness knows the corps will do the same if needed. I know God wants us to be totally autonomous and anonymous I E not needing anything nor even hinting they actually expected anything. This is my understanding first and foremost God hates me, with a deep passion because I showed weakness, I get that, I dont but I do. I get the God hates me all the time, but the rest of it I dont. I never quite got the entire rhetoric, but I want those I love to be saved.

  122. Mark says:

    Michael I’d be real careful in discounting the supernatural and calling it mythology even if u r only referring to the traditional Saints. The supernatural is alive and well today. I have seen god work amazing unexplainable miracles. There is no doubt about it. Unfortunately we in the western world have too little faith to see such supernatural. This we call it mythology or try to explain it away with logic and science

  123. Mark says:

    And Michael. Please don’t take this as an attack or invitation to start an argument. I realize u r vulnerable ANC hurting right now and I don’t want to pile on. Your frustration and despair over your unanswered prayer can b a good Word for some to hear. Even if it is only to show that a faithful man like u can experience this.

  124. covered says:

    This has been a greath thread and one that touches everyone. I am curious as to what was implied by Bip’s #118 and his last word “Calvinism”?

  125. j2theperson says:

    I sometimes feel like it’s pointless to pray–like just praying for relief from the difficulties you’re facing shows ingratitude for the things you have been blessed with. My husband has major health issues, and we’re seriously considering filing for disability, but it takes forever to get disability and we wouldn’t get enough money to live on anyways, so I guess I’ll have to get a job and try to take take of him and me and our daughter, but that means I won’t get to be a stay-at-home mom which has been my dream since I was like 4 years old. And it also means we won’t get to have any other children, which is very devastating to me, and I probably won’t get to be with the child that we do have that much because I’ll be working all the time which is also very devastating to me.

    But I feel like, what’s the point of even praying about it? I’ve been unhappy my whole life, and I’ll probably continue to be unhappy even if these problems are somehow fixed. And I am grateful for my husband and daughter, and dealing with these current problems is just part of having a family, so I feel like even praying about it and expressing any sort of unhappiness about the current situation just shows ingratitude and unthankfulness for what I have been given.

    I’m never going to have the right attitude when I pray, so why bother at all?

  126. Michael,
    7. I would like to ask the Gospel Coalition why they publish articles on holiness … That hypocrisy is what is destroying the church in this country…

    Is that enough to make you stop reading TGC

  127. Kgnikon says:

    Michael you are loved. I can relate to what you are expressing. Exhausted, depressed a shell …etc. I just step out of a precious season of pastoring (10 yrs with 6 being the senior pastor) in inner City Chicago. Feel like my soul is worn and torn. Been 5 months with no work ( truth haven’t put any sort of resume out yet). With all that said I look back over the last 19 yrs as a Christian ( born to Jewish parents) and I can personally attest that God answers in breathtaking ways prayers I have prayed. Of late I’m just too tired to pray. Keep being honest and request prayer it’ll carry ya:)

  128. Michael says:

    Kgnikon,

    Thank you…and thanks to all of you who have contributed and are asking tough questions with as much hope as you can muster.

  129. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’ve never been one to believe that ignoring problems makes them go away…

  130. Michael says:

    j2,

    I am insanely grateful for so many things…mainly and especially for the people that God has given me to go down the road home with.
    What I would say to you is this…we reference God in prayer as “Father”.
    When Trey is hungry and I give him dinner, I am not offended if during dinner that he points out that he needs new shoes, or a haircut, or lunch money for school.
    As his father, I find my joy in life by providing him with everything he needs and sometimes just stuff he wants.
    I’m not a better father, a more loving father….than God.

  131. Michael,
    It reminds me of the old CC attendee battle cry – “well I know they are wrong and destroying the church … but they have such good preaching.” 😉

  132. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I don’t even think their preaching is very good…to be blunt, they caricature Calvinism as much as any Arminian site.

  133. I don’t know – if I myself identify some organization as destroying the church in America, I usually steer clear – nothing to be learned from them. Time is short.

  134. Is TGC destroying the church? They are pretty much just a parachurch blog who holds a yearly conference, right?

  135. PP Vet says:

    When I pray, I do not request so much as decree. I speak with authority from my heavenly seat. I speak life and health and prosperity and peace into the lives of the ones I love, assertively and confidently. Aggressive, serious prayer. Usually, I pace.

    Mordecai “spoke shalom” to his seed.

    In my experience, it works.

    I also engage in targeted fasting – fasting for specific issues.

    The weapons of our warfare are not earthly. But they work.

    It is a war, and I am fighting for the souls and the lives of the people I love, primarily my wife and kids, also fighting for my own profound personal continual transformation. I am desperate.

    Maybe “just trusting” and mumble-praying is working for you, fine.

  136. Michael says:

    In my opinion they represent an attitude that is destroying the church by destroying our witness and leaving trails of victims in it’s wake.
    When we preach and publish against sin continually,yet allow the leaders to sin without accountability it tears out our foundations and ruins our credibility inside and outside the Body of Christ.

  137. I like to say a few Shocka-boomba-bambas when i pray.

  138. Michael, didn’t they disassociate with Driscoll a while back? Maybe Elephant Room days?

  139. Michael says:

    Josh,

    They still link him up occasionally …just recently when he was basking in the glow of the Seahawks.

  140. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I’ll take Calvary Chapel preaching over a Calvinist preaching any day of the week and guess what? it’s my free will to do so

  141. Regarding the Mueller stuff, it’s all state of mind and choosing to see the glass half empty or half full. Much of the stuff is mythological in the sense that there are no verifiable miracles that pass today’s scrutiny. Lordes “miracles” are no more b/c science and medicine can observe them and explain them now, much like “demon possession” is now understood as chemical imbalance in the brain or paranoid schizophrenia etc.

    Fyi’s “miracle” is simply self fulfilling prophecy. Set a goal (say a church building fund) and step out in “faith” etc, then “wait on the Lord!”…but in the meantime, make sure everyone knows that you’re having a church building fund and need money, make sure to remind them over and over….and over……..and over, and talk and teach about how God provides and tell the anecdotes about other “miracles” and keep talking about the “need” and how you’ve stepped out in “faith” etc etc…and remarkably, many times that “miracle” somehow happens…but not without a ton of effort and arm twisting, i.e. self fulfilling prophecy and self made miracle. Not knocking it, it just is what it is, seen it a zillion times, it’s as predictable as gravity.

  142. The reality is much of your life is a function of Reaping and Sowing principle and some is random chance and random circumstance.

    Money problems in the American context are more to do with Reaping and Sowing. Health issues are 1 part Reaping and Sowing (see overeating, smoking, drinking, bad health habits) and 1 part genetics.

    Accidents happen, they happen to everyone, so does tragedy like violent crime etc, being in an auto accident, etc. Can’t really control that stuff, you can try and mitigate, but you can’t eliminate.

    If you want to get your “miracle” then make it happen…and in a sense Muller made his “miracles” happen, the real and the fake. The reality is Muller worked very hard and made a lot of noise and got a lot of attention through his bold “faith”…and he actively caught the attention of others and was a great fundraiser and great organizer and great optimist.

    Muller’s “miracles’ and his “faith” are no more or less than the basics of a Tony Robbins or Brian Tracy or similar phenomenon, only he had much greater advantage b/c of the religious Group and religious dynamic he was appealing to. Religious Groups thrive on making “miracles” come true, it helps fill in the gap vacant b/c real miracles don’t happen today.

  143. Steve Wright says:

    Mueller’s story has nothing to do with miracles. It is about answered prayer, answered in a very non-miraculous manner.

  144. Muller’s brilliance was his passive fundraising. I think he was sincere in his non solicitation, but his fame spread and he attracted a lot of support for his hard work and his passive approach (which are choices and an angle, though sincere).

    Hard work, choices to approach his efforts as the non soliciting non fundraiser fundraiser etc. Brilliant, though by accident (I think he was probably sincere) and at the right place at the right time for that sort of approach.

  145. Muller became a proxy for people who longed for his sort of approach and the people rewarded his hard work and efforts with their monetary support.

    Muller’s “faith” became self fulfilling in that people knowingly filled the gap and knowingly gave him his “miracles”.

    It’s the truth and it is what it is. It’s an interesting dynamic, not saying it’s bad…it certainly wasn’t real orphans got real help…but to over spiritualize it like the overly religious do is not honest at worst and hopefully naive at best.

  146. The “tell” that the Muller stuff is as anecdotal and non miracle as anything else, is that you can find similar stories from Mormon missionaries and many other sects you would consider not officially “christian*” etc, including Muslims and many others you throw into hell. So, that forces you to either discard all other accounts of similar “answered prayer” as fake and lies and of the devil and only Muller’s are true answered prayer and “of God”…or you are forced to accept that stuff happens good and bad, to all, and seems like answered prayer, no matter the Group…or you are forced into a position that in more universalist and all roads (that are sincere) lead to “god” who answers prayers.

    You cannot remain intellectually honest and discount the same and similar “answered prayers” and same and similar stories that are nearly exactly like Muller’s that come from Mormonism, Islam, Judaism etc etc. Heck, even atheists claim many instances of good luck after wishing something.

  147. Here’s a thread documenting many Mormon “answered prayers”: http://mormon.org/stories/answers-to-prayers

  148. Muslims get their prayers answered as well, and here’s a link that gives you a sort of “how to”: http://islamnewsroom.com/news-we-need/1641-how-to-get-your-prayers-answered

  149. Don’t forget our Jewish friends, lots of answered prayers, heck supposedly they’ve got the real original God, right? http://www.aish.com/sp/pr/48965861.html

  150. It is rather bizarre reading these threads. I am beginning to realize that some of you live in some sort of alternate reality that has the amazing ability to micro focus on your sect and narrow world view so much as to ignore the fact that many others claim the exact same things…and the exact same stories of positive answered prayer and good things happening….yet you present a Muller as somehow unique.

  151. everstudy says:

    Solomon,

    “it’s my free will to do so”

    Is it really? 😉

    Reformed Everstudy

  152. Steve Wright said, “Mueller’s story has nothing to do with miracles”

    Agreed, I don’t think there was any real miracles that occurred, just people making it happen and I think Muller’s prayers were answered about like anyone’s, many things get prayed for by people in groups like Mormons, Jews, Muslims, you name it…and there are tons of examples of specific prayers “being answered” in the positive (or so it is perceived). Stuff happens to all. Muller wasn’t nearly unique, not in the answered prayer sense, but he was a bit unique in that he had a strong will and was very passionate for his cause and worked very hard and very persistent and consistent.

  153. Xenia said, “I think the behavior, attitudes, amusements and actions of many Christians are so exactly similar to those of non-Christians that this is what is blurring the lines. Unbelievers recognize hypocrisy, they see us indulging in the delights of this world and screaming at them for doing likewise.”

    I think you are looking at this wrong. Many of differing philosophical belief systems than yours simply recognize the fact that you are a mix of good and bad like everyone else…and that your inability to uphold your professed beliefs and obey them b/c all are sinners and all sin and the Transformation Gospel is bunk…no one truly transforms, everyone still sins, sometimes worse, sometimes in different forms, but just b/c you stop watching Rated R movies does not make you less a sinner…your humanity finds other ways of leaking out…like pride or lying or gluttony or fill in your sin here.

    The other fact is that many “in the world” are really moral people…many are more moral than most Christians*. How can than be so moral? How can they be so “good” w/o your version of Christianity*?

  154. Many Mormons and Jews are some of the most moral people on the planet. How can they bear so much “good fruit” and be so moral and “not worldly” etc? You assert that the Christian* Problem is being too worldly…and your presupposition is that your version of Christian* is required to be moral and non worldly…well, the facts simply don’t support your thesis and you should re examine it (if you are intellectually honest).

  155. well, I’m sure you’ve all had enough truth for one evening and are praying I’d be gone. Goodnight and fare well. Answered prayer! Answered prayer! 🙂

  156. Ah, the names change but the atheist mind does not. RB, your analysis is a 100% copycat of all atheists who precede you. Come back when you have an original thought.

  157. Not an atheist, just intellectually honest, which makes you highly uncomfortable (which is telling by how much you always bemoan and email and complain, you and others, when challenged). You don’t have a good answer when confronted with facts.

  158. Ask yourself why you are so afraid to be honest?

    …your “faith” is more a construct of being certain about your doctrine than it is true “faith”

  159. I have never been uncomfortable with anything you say – I have been confronted with the atheist point of view for years … I know it well.

    But you refuse to be honest, so you try to keep one foot in the ‘christian’ thing so you can play like you are one of us. Noe, not buying it.

  160. You have expressed discomfort many times and complained many times, so have others on here.

    My contention with you and others is your dishonesty when confronted with legitimate challenges to what you are selling. This is usually followed by calls for banning and name calling and emails to Michael saying you’ll quite the blog etc if the challenges aren’t silenced, etc (some legit criticisms of colorful language aside).

    Let’s see how honest you are: Do you believe Muller is unique in having “answered prayers”? Do you believe the testimonies of Jews, Muslims and Mormons who say they have specific prayers answered similar to Mullers?

  161. Here’s another chance to display your honesty: Do you believe there are many moral and “non worldly’ Mormons, Jews, Muslims etc who don’t watch Rated R movies, don’t listen to secular music, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew and don’t go with girls who do, etc?

    Do you believe that Christians* get magically transformed when they are officially “saved”? Are they “different” than others in the other Groups? Different in practical terms. If so, how so?

  162. Another chance to display your honesty: Conversely, when a Michael doesn’t get specific prayers answered like job or health etc, is it b/c God isn’t listening, Michael isn’t praying hard enough, there’s some unresolved sin in Michael’s life, God is testing Michael…or stuff just happens for no apparent reason at times to all Groups of people no matter their religion or philosophical belief system?

    My advice and encouragement to Michael is this: Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Do what you can to make your health and job viability better and then keep hoping.

    Over spiritualizing it is a mind fluffy bunny. There are many people from all walks of life and religions and non religions in the same boat…and many with much tougher sets of circumstances. Doesn’t mean Michael’s situation doesn’t suck, it does compared to another group of humans who have it better. It’s life and in the end we’ll all suffer loss at some level…and we’ll all meet the reaper (unless raptured LOL).

  163. Addressing a couple of your points, which are just a dodge to the charge that you are an atheist
    1.) I have never complained about you = I need you around so that y points sound more believable.
    2.) I don’t call for you to be banned – I objected when Michael banned Doug several months ago.
    3.) When I hear a legitimate challenge, I will report back on my discomfort level = all I have heard from you is “your God is a meanie!” – which is a boilerplate comment by all new atheists.
    I have never emailed Michael about you
    4.) If you read the thread you would have noted that I admitted to not knowing who Mueller was and that I had to Google him.
    5.) I guess that means my upbringing and bible training were good and I avoided such nonsense. So I don’t know about his answered prayer
    6.) As to what Muslims and Mormons get – satan is a great imitator – he answers their prayer, because under the surface they are actually praying in his name

  164. Your #162 – go back and read my #150 which I end by saying

    “But remember, this is not about your prayer life and this is not a battle you are having with God.”

  165. MLD said, “As to what Muslims and Mormons get – satan is a great imitator – he answers their prayer, because under the surface they are actually praying in his name”

    So you believe that when Mormons or Muslims or Jews pray specific prayers and the prayers are answered in a positive and beneficial manner that it is “satan” answering those prayers and making them happen? That’s what you stated. Do you agree that you are stating this?

  166. MLD, when Jews who aren’t Christians pray to “God” and their prayers are answered, are you stating that they are praying to “satan” and not the God of the Old Testament?

  167. …you’re in deep doggy do do on this one, you put yourself in a really untenable position right off the bat LOL. Pretty poorly thought-out even for you.

  168. Sure I do – this is why they remain muslims, mormons and jews – and happily so.

    When God answers your prayer you know it is from him and you thank him and worship him.

    muslim, mormons and jews not only refuse to thank and worship the one true god, but actually deny his very existence.

  169. …and this is when you show yourself to be intellectually dishonest and you start either changing the subject or bobbing and weaving.

  170. So you admit you are stating that Jews are praying to “satan” and not to the God of the Old Testament, correct? Yes or no.

  171. I’ll give you a mulligan, are you sure you want to stick to that one?

  172. The last line of my #163 was a qualifyer – under the surface – they may think they are praying to aa god, but they are really praying to the god of this world – the deceiver.

  173. MLD, are Roman Catholics praying to God or “satan”? Who is answering their prayers? God or “satan”?

  174. Was Moses praying to God or Satan? Why was Moses praying to God, but a practicing Jew today is praying to Satan?

  175. We have discussed this before – the god of the OT is trinity = God in 3 person’s.Find me a Jew who prays to the 3 person God and have him email me.

    So, if they do not pray to the triune God, the 3 persons – then they are not praying to God. So, if their prayers get answered, guess who answered them

    I find it odd that you dropped your muslim and mormon friends from this conversation.

  176. I am not talking about Moses and other bible character – I am talking about the modern day Jew.

    Moses knew who he was talking to – he knew that it was the 2nd person speaking to him from the bush.

  177. RCC pray to the triune god

  178. I dropped the mormons and muslims b/c it is easy for the typical evangelical to believe they pray to the devil and get their prayers answered by the devil…but not so much for the Jews. If the convo is allowed to progress and unfold, focusing on the Jews in your statement of “they are praying to the devil and the devil answers their prayers” according to you…will highlight some very big gaps and holes in both your belief system and theirs.

  179. You are talking about the modern day Jew? At which point did the Jew go from Moses to not Moses? Were the Pharisees of Matthew 23 not the same as modern day Jews? When did the Jews become “modern day”? Can you give me a point in time I can quantify? A specific occurrence that shifted them from the Jews that Jesus told the people to obey?

  180. Bob says:

    RR

    People aren’t uncomfortable with your views at all. They are uncomfortable with you!

    Your rapid fire I know it all barrage at MLD just proves who you are again.

  181. I have asked you several times in past conversations to put up or shut up. Find me the Jew who prays to the triune god and I will back off. But I know this for a fact just from my own background – jews will not only tell you that they do not pray to the 3 person god, but they will call you a blasphemer if you do.

    So, no matter how you want to twist it – we ain’t praying to the same god.

  182. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.”-Jesus Christ (Matt. 23)

    OK, so the Jews there weren’t worshiping the devil, correct? Jesus wouldn’t tell the people to do what the devil told them to do, correct?

    When did the “teachers of the law and pharisees” become “modern day” and start praying to the devil? 5 minutes after Jesus stated this? A month? A year? A decade? A century? When?

  183. Bob, I think fast and respond fast. That’s not a sin any more than being tall is a sin.

  184. MLD, were the “teachers of the law and Pharisees” praying to God or Satan?

  185. Bob says:

    RR

    While I may or may not agree with MLDs theology, his statement is correct. Those Jews who do not follow the Jesus of Lutherans are by default praying to a different God.

    What’s so hard to understand about that?

  186. Bob says:

    RR

    Many think fast but control their tongue. You fail to control your tongue and that is a sin.

  187. Well, since they turned on Jesus and had him crucified, I guess you could say at that point.

    Let me give you an easy reference point – I would say that a modern day jew is one that is alive today. I bet even you can understand that. Now, go find one who admits to praying to the triune god – this is not rocket science – just ask around.

    I will guarantee that you will not find one.

  188. Bob, they cannot be praying to a different god since there are no other gods – so by default they must be praying to the devil – who can deliver them their prayers.

  189. Steve Wright says:

    Paul called all the different gods in the Gentile pantheon “demons” – even though no Roman or Greek thought they were praying to Satan.

    Let’s be clear on one thing in all this gotcha business. As usual the argument shifted from ANSWERED prayer to simply who the person thinks they are praying to.

    So to cut to the chase. No, God does not answer the prayers of Jews, Muslims or anyone else still in their sins and apart from Christ (and that includes self-deceived, self-professing christians who have never been born again)

    If any such people have received a supernatural response to their prayer, then there is only one source and that is Satan. Key word – supernatural

    Of course, since Satan leads all who are not in Christ (per Ephesians chapter 2) it is not surprising if he “answers”prayer in such a way to keep people in their deception – just have one of his own pick up the phone or drop by with that prayer’s answer and keep them separate from Christ as long as possible.

  190. The other glaring problem for your thesis is that early church fathers, pre pagan emperor Constantine who forced a codification of official doctrine, were very much not in agreement on your version of “trinity” until post Constantine. Many early church fathers viewed God the Father and Jesus as separate and not one in the same. This means, according to your position, that many of the early church fathers pre Constantine were praying to the devil and having their prayers answered by the devil if your “Trinity Only” thesis is true…which your thesis is ridiculous…the Jewish “god” is not the devil, they are praying to the same “god” you are, they just don’t know it or you just don’t know it.

  191. Bob, how am I not controlling my tongue? I control it quite well. It says everything I intend it to say and responds on command.

  192. Steve Wright said, “As usual the argument shifted from ANSWERED prayer to simply who the person thinks they are praying to.”

    Agreed, that was MLD’s doing as usual.

    The fact is Mormons have answered prayer, so do muslims and so do Jews, they all have specific prayers they claim have been answered in a positive manner, no different than Muller.

  193. Steve Wright says:

    The fact is Mormons have answered prayer, so do muslims and so do Jews, they all have specific prayers they claim have been answered in a positive manner
    ———————————————————-
    Like I said, Satan guides all who are not in Christ. So Mr. Mormon prays for a job, and Satan has one of his own offer the guy a job and they both rejoice in their false Christ and demonic religion together.

    It’s pretty simple.

  194. Now, MLD says that Jews (among others) are praying to the devil and the devil is answering their prayers in a positive manner (when their prayers are answered).

    I think that’s quite a statement to consider. Moses was a Jew, Joseph and Mary were Jews, Jesus? A Jew. The “Teachers of the law and Pharisees” who Jesus told the people to obey were Jews. When did they start praying to the devil? How long after Jesus told the people they sit in Moses’s seat and should be obeyed?

  195. IT’s not “gotcha” any more than pointing out that 2+2 does not equal 5.

  196. Steve Wright said, “Like I said, Satan guides all who are not in Christ. So Mr. Mormon prays for a job, and Satan has one of his own offer the guy a job and they both rejoice in their false Christ and demonic religion together.

    It’s pretty simple.”

    I hope we can unpack this before I get banned.

  197. Steve Wright said, “So to cut to the chase. No, God does not answer the prayers of Jews, Muslims or anyone else still in their sins and apart from Christ (and that includes self-deceived, self-professing christians who have never been born again)”

    This one first, though.

    If you are unsaved, who are you praying to when you say the sinner’s prayer for the first time? The devil?

    Seems you’d have to be saved first for your first prayer to be to God and not the devil to follow your thesis here.

    You must be a Calvinist LOL!

  198. Steve Wright’s a CALVINIST!!! LOL

  199. Steve Wright says:

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    ——————————————————————
    That’s my starting point in this discussion.

    If you agree that

    A) The prince of the power of the air/spirit now at work in sons of disobedience is Satan

    and

    B) Everyone born on this earth is dead in sin and led by Satan until born again in Christ

    then we can “unpack” what I wrote above. If you don’t grant the two points, and I know you don’t, then there is nothing more to say. Your problem is with the Bible not with any statement of mine, packed or unpacked.

  200. Steve Wright said, “So to cut to the chase. No, God does not answer the prayers of Jews, Muslims or anyone else still in their sins and apart from Christ (and that includes self-deceived, self-professing christians who have never been born again)”

    Chew on this statement you made Steve. You are saying that you must be “saved” to be praying to God and not the devil…so you must be saved first before you can ask God into your heart or whatever the magic words are.

  201. Steve Wright says:

    If you are unsaved, who are you praying to when you say the sinner’s prayer for the first time?
    ———————————————————-
    There has never been a person who was still unsaved by the time they say the sinner’s prayer. I say that repeatedly from the pulpit.

    Surely you should know we don’t think salvation is dependent on any work of our own.

  202. Steve Wright says:

    You’re questions, assumptions, and conclusions show yourself as “the natural man” more and more.

    These aren’t even the “pearls” of the faith. This is basic 101 stuff.

  203. Steve, you state that your prayers are to the devil when unsaved. Yet you would assert, I assume, that the unsaved becomes saved through talking to God…at what point do the prayers go from to the devil to God?

  204. Steve your stuff simply shows your ability to be intellectually dishonest and hide behind christianeze and then cast folks into hell as your default defense mechanism which is a sign of insecurity.

  205. “God are you out there?” (prayer to the devil)

    “God, I know shouldn’t have dealt those drugs and smuggled those drugs” (prayer to the devil)

    “God I want to be a Calvary Chapel pastor” (prayer to God?)

  206. Steve, you have a testimony. At what moment did your prayers go from to the devil to God? Was there a specific point in time? A specific act that made the transition happen?

  207. Steve Wright says:

    I only entertained your sinner’s prayer question because it is a common fallacy, especially in evangelicalism and like I said, one I find important enough to also address in messages on a regular basis.

    My #199 stands. Without granting the truth of the two points I mention, we have nothing to discuss about Satan.

    I would have more success describing a sunset to a blind man than I would spiritual truths found in the authority of God’s word to you.

    You have my permission to claim intellectual superiority, call me intellectually dishonest, and raise your hands in victory once more. Apparently you were starving a little tonight and needed that fix.

    Deny the faith with rationalism
    Embrace all religious systems as equals with Christianity
    Insult the community.

    You’ve checked all three of those boxes many posts ago….now we’re just spinning wheels.

  208. Steve, do you know the moment you were “saved”? Do you know the moment you first talked to God and not the devil?

  209. Steve Wright says:

    Steve, do you know the moment you were “saved”
    ——————————————
    I’ll answer that one too. As it also is something I say regularly from the pulpit.

    No. I don’t. Not sure of the moment, the day, or even the week. I can pretty much pinpoint the month and definitely the year.

    I encourage people the same way. Some may know the day they were saved, even the moment. I totally think that happens for many people. However, I encourage people not to be freaked if they can’t…BUT they definitely should have a definitive realization of when it was, in general timeframe, they were born again or something is wrong. Even if at best they can point to “sometime between the ages of 10-12.

  210. Steve Wright says:

    Wow. My #207 was written before I read #204.

    Gift of prophecy maybe? 🙂

    Or just something anyone who ever has visited here knew would take place.

    Good night all.

  211. uriahisaliveandwelli says:

    Romans 11 Paul shared this well after Jesus was put to the cross. The Jews do worship the same God that we do, or rather we worship the same God that they do. They just didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and as far as I know the Bible does not indicate that Moses did either. So all the time the people was in Egypt and in slavery. What was that God stated to Pharoah through Moses: “Let my people go.” And how many times did God tell His people, He had heard their cries?

    Romans Verse 1-12

    1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

    2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

    3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

    4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

    5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

    6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

    7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

    8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

    9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

    10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

    11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

    12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

    Verse 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

    25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

  212. brian says:

    How does “Satan” answer prayers, that makes no sense what so ever? Why would such a being even wish to answer prayers?. I find this line extremely troubling in the death camps of ww2 people cried out to God who created each of them. Gay, Atheist, Protestant, Jewish, Communist etc. He heard each of their cries or He is not God and we need not be afraid. I have known people in my line of work who had no “ability” to understand the intricacies of a particular theology yet they prayed and there were profound answers of comfort and grace.

    It was beyond understanding they were miracles of hope. I personally know people of the LDS faith, and yes I think they believe very silly things, um well I think we do the same. At times I think we give Satan far to much power and lock God in a box. It is not that simple.

  213. brian says:

    I mean no offense and I have said I would be more definitive with my statements. In all honesty that entire “when were you saved” question sounds like some type of business deal. In reading the scriptures it seems God is saving us always. I know people dont see it that way but it is very troubling and it is one of the key issues I struggle with.

  214. Rick Bob says:

    Steve said, “I encourage people the same way. Some may know the day they were saved, even the moment. I totally think that happens for many people. However, I encourage people not to be freaked if they can’t…BUT they definitely should have a definitive realization of when it was, in general timeframe, they were born again or something is wrong. Even if at best they can point to “sometime between the ages of 10-12.”

    “definitive realization”…as in what? A feeling? A “correct understanding” of something? You make statements that say “god saves you” and then you take it away by saying there is some definitive point in time where you have done something, either some sort of “correct understanding” or epiphany or something that can be clearly demarcated from the rest of your life.

    You seem to say above that you must be able to point to a specific point in time or at least a “timeframe” that you were “born again”…well, how do you know you’re truly born again? What makes you so sure? Never a good answer to that question. Usually the convo starts with “god does it, it’s grace” and ends in a list of behaviors, “correct understanding” of some specific doctrines and not “grace” at all…pretty much all you doing things.

  215. Rick Bob says:

    Steve Wright said, “I would have more success describing a sunset to a blind man than I would spiritual truths found in the authority of God’s word to you.”

    No, i understand what your “spiritual truths” are, I grew up in Calvary Chapel and know your sect’s angles very well. It isn’t that I don’t understand the sunset you are describing, it’s that I realize your sunset is really a pile of cow dung you are calling a sunset.

  216. Rick Bob says:

    Steve Wrong said, “B) Everyone born on this earth is dead in sin and led by Satan until born again in Christ”

    Nope. Enoch was translated into heaven, according to the “bible” and Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind into heaven, according to the “bible”…they couldn’t have been dead in their sin b/c they skipped hades and went straight to heaven…they couldn’t have been “born again” b/c that wasn’t invented yet.

    Jesus had to go to hades and Abraham’s bosom to set free all the goodly Jews and gentiles pre-resurrection, but not Enoch and Elijah, they both went to heaven as is…before there was heaven…which how can there be heaven before the resurrection of the dead? Where are the bodies of the Elijah, Enoch and all those folks in Abraham’s bosom? Did they get resurrected already? Are they in spirit bodies and their bones are still in the ground here on earth?

  217. brian says:

    Steve Wright said, “I would have more success describing a sunset to a blind man than I would spiritual truths found in the authority of God’s word to you.”

    Actually Pastor Steve I have described the sunset to many people who were blind with the use of touch, cotton balls, ice, warm lamps, soft music etc. I had a girlfriend that was blind and we went out up on a hill and sat through a several sunsets with “props” and it was gave her a different perspective. People with visual impairments are quite intuitive to natural phenomena like sunsets. We derive our experiences through all of our senses and through our imaginations hopes and fears. I get what you are saying but things are not that cut and dry. Just my opinion.

  218. brian says:

    Can I ask how a 1 month old, six month old 2 year old etc is lead by Satan, that makes no sense whatsoever, it really does not. Little babies are just that, little babies they have no agenda other than maybe eat, sleep etc. Attributing such netharius attributes to children is well not a healthy world view in my opinion.

  219. Rick Bob says:

    brian, as always, I appreciate your input. Things are not nearly as cut and dry as stated by guys like Steve. We know so very little about the realities of our Universe and “God” etc. We are all blind, some, like Steve, just front that they see more than others. He has to. He can’t admit uncertainty and has to keep toting the apologetic b/c to do otherwise would undo his very identity which he has cultivated as a professional pastor.

  220. Rick Bob says:

    brian, it’s a really simple formula: everything that Steve (and those like him) think in their minds is correct comes from “God”…and everything else is attributed to “Satan”.

  221. brian says:

    RB we agree on many points but I think Steve is trying to reach across the aisle, I mean I was posting totally one sided diatribes about all the “evil” Christians and I was being a Jack blank. Steve made some very good points which have helped me to mediate some of my views. Offered for just an insight. I am really trying to come to some conclusion here I dont want to live in the waste land any more. I saw your pictures on the other site, you have a wonderful family. If you want to know what I consider holy and God honoring it is that, family. It is what makes us human, families are the first sacrament. Oh great I am being positive again I have to stop that what will my fanbase think of me.

  222. Rick Bob says:

    Could you imagine a guy like Steve going, “gee, I can’t explain that, it doesn’t make sense and I don’t know for sure”. It very rarely happens b/c the “faith” is more an apologetic and a package of doctrines to defend and protect than it is a real living breathing faith that seeks “God” in whatever form. It explains a lot of the behaviors and insecurities and guilt-based fear-based stuff and cult-like stuff I’ve encountered in the “church” over the years, especially Calvary Chapel (since that is my background).

  223. Broke-n says:

    Bip #119

    Yes, I filed. It’s not been funded by the Congress.

  224. Rick Bob says:

    brian, I agree on the “family” thing…and I love my kids and see the “good” in the universe expressed in those special relationships.

  225. brian says:

    RB I just want the folks I work with to be in the kingdom it really is that simple the rest is sort of white noise to me to be honest. I agree with the absolutism of some belief systems, it is not tenable and we all live our lives in the real world based on probabilities. It is why we wear seatbelts, wait for the green light and get flu shots. But I dont think CC are the big boogie man I think they are a group of messed up folks plodding along in the dark trying to stay on the path for the most part. My background is PB and they would consider CC extremely liberal. I did not go through what you did, my father did do some awful stuff, but I was not the best son but we did forgive each other before he died. What my father never did was claim authority and admitted to his faults. That was an answer to prayers, his and mine. In the end my dad was very humble and wanted to reconcile with his kids, and he loathed religion with a passion. I always found that strange.

  226. Rick Bob says:

    Steve, your Satan thing doesn’t fly. I can quote verse after verse after verse from the bible that says God is in charge of the earth, that God sets up the rulers and kings and knocks them down, that God sets up the ruling authorities, that nothing happens without God doing it, that God causes blessing and curse, that God causes well being and calamity etc etc.

    The bible has two narratives, one that says the devil is in charge of the earth and another that says God is in charge. You seem to be clinging to the “devil is in charge” for this particular thesis of yours, but the truth is the bible speaks as much if not more to God being head honcho of the earth and the rulers etc.

  227. RB is a funny word twister as all atheist fundamentalists are.

    I keep saying modern jews – even described modern jews as those living today and RB keeps coming back – “what about Moses? – what about Joseph & Mary? – what about the Pharisees?”

    So RB, in the interim were you out searching for the modern day jw who prays to God as he is revealed today … I didn’t think so

  228. Rick Bob says:

    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

    By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just;

    Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials,

    He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

    The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’

    Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

    Who’s in charge of “all” the kingdoms and princes and principalities and powers of the air? God or the devil?

  229. Rick Bob says:

    MLD, you didn’t answer the question. What generation of Jew since Jesus said “the teachers of the law and Pharisees” became the modern Jew you describe that you say worships the devil and not God?

  230. Rick Bob says:

    The Jews who were contemporaries of Jesus who “sit in Moses’s seat” and who Jesus called “the teachers of the law and Pharisees” rejected Jesus, were not trinitarians, yet Jesus explicitly said they were from God and that the people should obey them and do “everything they say” etc. What gives? If they are so of the devil, then why would Jesus tell folks to do everything they say?

    “Do what the devil tells you to do!” said Jesus never….or did he?

  231. Rick Bob says:

    Jesus’s beef was clearly not with the Jewish tradition and construct, he said to obey them…his warning and strong rebuke was for the hypocrisy that was rampant among many in that Group, no?

  232. How much more do I have to say- I never said that the Jews worship the devil – but as an atheist you cannot tell the truth in these conversations – you are such a sad little boy.

    I made it clear earlier when i said – and then repeated for you several posts later “that under the surface” Of course they are worshiping “their god” who is no god … because there is only one god.

    Also, I don’t think words mean anything to you or you are ignorant of common meanings – MODERN DAY JEWS became modern day jews during the modern day – today, otherwise they would be past day jews and dead.

    Again this is not rocket science. So, and this is the easy part, go out and find a modern day jew (described as one living today) – I don’t care what age or what jewish denomination – find me just one that worships the true triune god and you win the whole conversation.

  233. brian says:

    From a personal perspective I always take the Lord Jesus’ rebukes personally first. Knowing that I am often wrong I try to apply them to my own personal life. As far as applying them to other people, I consider that above my paygrade.

  234. brian says:

    Can I ask what is a “Modern day jew” vs an historic israelite that seems rather, well nevermind.

  235. Rick Bob says:

    MLD said, ” I never said that the Jews worship the devil ”

    You said the Jews pray to the devil and their prayers are answered by the devil above. Your posts are evident for all to see.

  236. brian says:

    MLD what about Jews for Jesus they seem to fit your request

  237. RiBo says:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    The last line of my #163 was a qualifyer – under the surface – they may think they are praying to aa god, but they are really praying to the god of this world – the deceiver.”

  238. brian says:

    Oh for goodness sakes people do not pray to the devil that is stupid on its face for the most part. Granted there are the fringe people who say they pray to the devil but they dont even believe in the devil. People do not pray to Satan, the call on God, and if God is God He knows this, if He does not he is not god and well that is another post.

  239. RiBo says:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Bob, they cannot be praying to a different god since there are no other gods – so by default they must be praying to the devil – who can deliver them their prayers.”

  240. RB,
    Go back and read – in actuality all the groups mentioned – I refuse to be sucked in on your terms – the muslims. the mormons and the jews – all pray to the air, because their god is false. However, satan does hear those prayers, answers those prayers so that he can keep people praying to the air instead of coming to faith in the one true god..

  241. RiBo says:

    See MLD, once again you prove you are intellectually dishonest. You say in one breath that Jews don’t pray to God, they pray to the devil…then later you say you never said the Jews worship the devil.

  242. RiBo says:

    Nope, not what you said MLD. You’re being dishonest again. Just admit you made a mistake rather than further lying about it.

  243. RiBo says:

    Unlike you I can keep track of all these things. You said one thing, now you are back-tracking and walking it back to save face.

  244. brian, Jew for Jesus are a christian group. Jews think they are ridiculous and have form Jews for Judaism to combat their influence.

  245. RiBo says:

    MLD, you’re wrong, the Jews aren’t praying to the devil and the devil doesn’t answer their prayers. Jews do pray to God and sometimes their prayers get answered, just like some of Muller’s prayers got answered…which was my original point that you challenged.

    We’ve gone full circle and we’re right back to my original assertion.

  246. brian says:

    “Go back and read – in actuality all the groups mentioned – I refuse to be sucked in on your terms – the muslims. the mormons and the jews – all pray to the air, because their god is false. However, satan does hear those prayers, answers those prayers so that he can keep people praying to the air instead of coming to faith in the one true god..”

    Ug you do realize the real world implications of what you are saying MLD? I dont want you sucked into anything but the vast majority of humanity do not pray or worship Satan. And prayers from a child created in the image of God are not prayers to the air. If God does not hear those plees what good is He?. If a child who needs his Father cannot cry out lost or found what good is it? None whatsoever. Since it is God that gives said faith that opens up an entire new can of worms. Maybe God is bigger than you think? I know He is bigger than I think. Man this is truly frustrating.

  247. RiBo says:

    MLD said, ” but as an atheist you cannot tell the truth in these conversations – you are such a sad little boy.”

    Tisk, tisk, more name calling from you. You should get banned or something.

  248. RB, we have not gone full circle – you ran into a brick wall and crashed and burned long ago.

    Even though you brought up muslims, mormons and jews – you were the one who had to backtrack remove muslims and mormons in hope of picking up the evangelical support in this conversation – as you even stated.

    RB, you were left in the dust long ago.

  249. brian says:

    ok fine MLD but they dont pray to Satan, even idiots dont pray to Satan, Satan cant hear prayers he is not God. God hears prayers, to think otherwise is well defeats the purpose. Of course God hears their prayers.

  250. RiBo says:

    I hear you brian, don’t get too frustrated, I get it and have been persuaded in many areas for the good.

  251. RiBo says:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Bob, they cannot be praying to a different god since there are no other gods – so by default they must be praying to the devil – who can deliver them their prayers.”

  252. RiBo says:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    The last line of my #163 was a qualifyer – under the surface – they may think they are praying to aa god, but they are really praying to the god of this world – the deceiver.”

  253. RiBo says:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm
    Sure I do – this is why they remain muslims, mormons and jews – and happily so.

    When God answers your prayer you know it is from him and you thank him and worship him.

    muslim, mormons and jews not only refuse to thank and worship the one true god, but actually deny his very existence.”

  254. brian,
    just because you are a creation of God does not make you a child of God.To be a child of God, you must be born again.

    My only point is that there is only one true God and he is reveal to all mankind a Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that is wh God is.

    As for those we have been speaking about, the muslim, the mormon, and the jew all not only deny that very one true God, but will call you a blasphemer for praying to that God, All 3 groups will refuse to pray to that God.

    So I ask you, who the heck are they praying too – unless you brian think there is more than one god.

  255. brian says:

    “you are such a sad little boy.” Yes I am at times and I wish I could have that time back. I really do. The faith tradition I held onto did not readily permit that so it took me stepping outside that paradigm to come to peace with my Earthly father. I hope it will lead to me coming to peace with my spiritual Father (God). Why is it bad to be a sad little boy wanting to find some peace with is God our Father?

  256. RiBo says:

    Then the parsing and reframing to “praying to the air” when you are shown to be foolish:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 5, 2014 at 1:33 am
    RB,
    Go back and read – in actuality all the groups mentioned – I refuse to be sucked in on your terms – the muslims. the mormons and the jews – all pray to the air, because their god is false. However, satan does hear those prayers, answers those prayers so that he can keep people praying to the air instead of coming to faith in the one true god..”

    vs. clearly what you stated here:

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Bob, they cannot be praying to a different god since there are no other gods – so by default they must be praying to the devil – who can deliver them their prayers.”

  257. RiBo says:

    MLD you deduced that they “must be praying to the devil” which is essentially saying they worship the devil, but that is shown to be foolish so you changed it to “they’re praying to the air and the devil answers their prayers so they keep praying to the air” which sounds even more foolish.

    Usually you should ask for a rope and not a shovel if you want to get out of a hole.

  258. Thanks for the re quotes it strengthens my point – especially where you restate where I said “by default”…

    now, the reason you use muliple names during a thread (I think you have used 4 tonight is so to make it difficult to go back and grab your statements.

  259. RiBo says:

    MLD, which God are you praying to? Your lutheran God who is different than other god’s in the Christian* tent? Your god, for instance, baptizes babies unto salvation whereas the real God of evangelicals doesn’t, correct?

  260. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “now, the reason you use muliple names during a thread (I think you have used 4 tonight is so to make it difficult to go back and grab your statements.”

    No, not at all, I change up the name purely out of entertainment and creativity. I get bored.

    I like RiBo, it’s kind of like Tebo.

  261. RB, you are funny – for a guy who does not believe in any gods, you argue for many gods.

    I will say and i think you will agree with me, that your past theological training, either CC or Johnny Mac has not served you well.

  262. RiBo says:

    MLD, your God does baptized babies unto salvation correct?

  263. brian says:

    MLD A Father does not care by which name He is called by his creation / children. I cant get that, God is our Father you, me the man in the moon, He created us, in that creation He took responsibility for us. I mean is that not the big bugaboo about abortion that fathers dont take responsibility for what they create. Well God created us, we are his children we are created in His likeness. To wash His hands of “us” seems a bit well post modern. OK you are an earthly father your kid gets confused and struggles with knowing you when you are hiding in the shadows so to speak. If I am some all powerful being who can control the making of every snowflake it would seem a bit strange that I cannot reach those I created in my image.

    An example 911 it is called day by day and trained professionals respond and save lives day by day. These people do not care by which name, language, orientation, worldview picks up the phone. They only care that there is someone that need help. It is in our need we are drawn not in our doctrine.

  264. RiBo says:

    Josh’s God doesn’t baptize babies unto salvation, neither does Michael’s God nor does Steve Wright’s God etc. Why is your God the right God?

  265. RB, I know many evangelicals that baptize babies – but look, you get backed into a corner and you go after the so called “Lutheran God”

    How silly are you.

    I need to clock out -bed time.

  266. brian, sorry but if you read the bible you will see that God is not the Father of all – he is the creator of all, but not the Father of all.

    You are welcome to believe what you want, but you do not get that from the bible.

    Good night.

  267. brian says:

    let me put it this way if someone was drowning and by the grace of God I have been in the position of helping people in this situation, why would I care how they called me? They needed help I was able to give it, that is its own reward. That is what I dont get, kids believe all sorts of silly stuff, if they dont get it all right what parent would cast them off? That does not seem healthy. I get your point MLD but it is not clear cut it never has been hense the history of Christianity in the west. I think there is a great deal of wiggle room, maybe one could call that Grace.

  268. RiBo says:

    I don’t have a box, ergo no corners.

    The point I am making (which is obvious to many) is that you are projecting parameters onto God that you impose. You say someone is praying to the devil and not God due to what you perceive as an “incorrect belief” or “incorrect doctrine” due to the parameters you have imposed on who is officially “god”.

    Well, God is God, God is not a set of parameters you impose. You can no more claim a person is praying to God or the devil than you can you know what a person is thinking at a given moment. You have a Box and you have parameters you define as “correct” but your parameters are not necessarily God and even the bible tends to support this by throwing curve balls, often, with regards to those who are unlikely heroes of the faith like a Rahab.

    Your sect perceives that “the bible says!” that God saves babies through baptism, whereas most of the rest of Christianity* disagrees. Your version of God differs from many others on a pretty significant point.

  269. RiBo says:

    MLD, God heard the prayers of Hagar and Ishmael, no?

  270. RiBo says:

    MLD, do you read the whole bible?

    Ishmael is the father of Islam, no?

    “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” –the bible.

  271. brian says:

    “brian, sorry but if you read the bible you will see that God is not the Father of all – he is the creator of all, but not the Father of all.

    You are welcome to believe what you want, but you do not get that from the bible.

    Good night.”

    Well first good night to you and yours and much peace. If one creates one takes on a responsibility, is that not the entire issue concerning abortion? If a earthly father is required to take responsibility to that which he creates, Surely a divine father could do no less. I do not get germ theory, the theory of relativity, the concepts of aerodynamics and so on but I still fly on airplanes, wash my hands after using the restroom and put on seat belts when I drive. So do you. Ok so we agree the bible does not discuss many issues that directly affect or day to day life.

    An aside I dont believe in Germ theory or aerodynamics they are the best explanations we have until a better concept comes down the pike. I believe in the goodness of God because well I hope. I have not seen the Goodness of God in much of this life in the aggregate though I have seen it in my personal experience. So I get very little that we practice in day to day life from the bible I E hygiene, medical intervention, all of engineering, fill in the blank. So yes I dont get that from the bible neither do you. Most of what we know and live by in our modern world does not come from the bible. That does not invalidate the bible in the least. It just makes it a bit harder to tease out.

    You say “you are welcomed to believe what you want” that is an American notion there was a time I would have burned for what I believe, same as many here. So no it was not welcomed, that is a modern convention granted by a secular constitution.

  272. Mark says:

    You r arguing with the world Jesus said we should shake the dust off our feet and leave the contentious unbeliever behind. Alex Grenier (or whatever silly alias he’s using) has no interest in the Truth. He argues just to b an obnoxious bully and he will gleefully cop to that. When oh when will we learn to ignore his posts? Now I’ll admit if he comes back and slanders me and attacks my wife like hes done before I won’t ignore him but otherwise we should stop engaging his nonsense. This blog can b an enlightening place but no one is going to enlighten AG except the one true God. We should pray for that and leave AG alone

  273. RB, unike you, I believe the whole Bible – I even believe in the “meanie God” you deny – so how do you like that.

    So I believe all of these little bible vignettes you bring up – so what is your point, especially since you don’t believe those stories.

    But I will ask, why do you keep avoiding what the modern day jew believes – which is no closer to god than the muslim, and the mormon – whom we must keep bound together with the jew – because that is how you originally set up your position.

    Let me see if I can be more clear – the muslim, the mormon and the jew will not have anymore effective prayer life than that of a totem pole worshiper..

  274. nobody of any real worth says:

    Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. This thread is a good example of why I don’t visit or post here much anymore. Oh look- there goes Dogberry on his pretend horse. Sound and fury. If this was a church there would be church discipline. If this was a fellowship someone would have to be tossed overboard. Probably me.

  275. RiBo says:

    Steve Wrong said, “So to cut to the chase. No, God does not answer the prayers of Jews, Muslims or anyone else still in their sins and apart from Christ (and that includes self-deceived, self-professing christians who have never been born again)

    If any such people have received a supernatural response to their prayer, then there is only one source and that is Satan. Key word – supernatural”

    The bible says the Ishmael, the father of Islam, cried out to God and God heard him and sent help to him.

    Steve, I thought you said that doesn’t happen, that God only answers the prayers of Christians*? Why do you disagree with the bible?

  276. RiBo says:

    Steve are you saying that Satan answered Ishmael’s prayers in the desert? The bible seems to say it was “God”…unless the God of the OT is the devil? You have me confused (not really, but you are confused).

  277. RiBo says:

    God heard Ishmael (father of Islam, not a Christian*) and answered his prayers in a positive manner, at least according to the bible (which Steve Wrong says God doesn’t do such things):

    God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”–the bible (Genesis 21:17-18)

  278. RiBo says:

    Guess they don’t teach you much at seminary eh Steve? I’d ask for a refund if I were you. You didn’t seem to learn very much.

  279. And RB keeps passing right by that we are talking about the modern day muslim, mormon and jew and their close brother – the totem pole worshipers.

    But RB just likes to hear himself talk and make points to himself.

    RB – find any modern day jews making the claim to praying to the one true triune God, yet? any muslims? any mormons?

  280. But us Lutherans like to say, trying to talk to RB is like pissing up a rope – it goes nowhere.

  281. “The bible says the Ishmael, the father of Islam, ”

    RiBo, there are probably interesting discussions to be had (like maybe, when the Jews stopped praying to the true God) if you could stick to one or two topics. Also, the juvenile insults don’t help either (Steve Wrong). Why not just have a discussion? If you aren’t looking for a discussion, then why are you posting?

    About the above quote, the Bible does not say that. At all.

  282. Bob says:

    Josh:

    “Why not just have a discussion?”

    RR/RB/AG just can’t. His mind works so fast that while his fingers are typing he’s off to some other idea or land.

    MLD:

    One of the difficulties I hear in this “discussion” is the throwing around of names and such. In your theology the God has to be, “Father, Son and Spirit,” and any other god therefore must be Satan. To a Jew today God is “Hashem,” the Name, or “Blessed are you Lord our G_d, King of the Universe,” “Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech.”

    Is this Jewish G(g)od Satan or are they just praying into the wind with empty words ignored by the triune God of Lutheran theology?

    Now that is a tougher question. BTW I know of many Jewish descendants who pray to the God who raised Jesus form the dead, seated Him as Lord over all and I believe you are one of those.

    But my question is this, are they praying to Satan or maybe just not being heard?

    I also think the subject was, how do people who don’t agree with Lutheran theology have their prayers answered? Some here are saying Satan has creative powers to answer prayers. Is that where you are going?

  283. Xenia says:

    Not all Christians believe that *all* the prayers of non-believers are made to Satan. God hears all prayers, He is not deaf. How He chooses to act on the prayers of non-Christians is His business, not ours. He surely hears the prayers of seekers and of those who are thanking the Creator for His goodness. Again, how He acts on those prayers is His his business. I do know that He is good and loves mankind.

  284. Xenia says:

    RB’s # 190 has so many historical inaccuracies that I don’t know where to begin. Happily, I will be gone all day and won’t be tempted to try!

  285. Steve Wright says:

    brian – The fact that we are all God’s creation but not all God’s children is absolutely fundamental to the Bible’s teaching and maybe the clearest example where our world goes astray. Read the prologue in John’s first chapter. My point about the sunset is not to diminish the possibility of the great therapeutic work you and others can do with blind people, but the simple fact that someone born blind can’t FULLY (I will qualify my earlier remark) understand a sunset lacking the one faculty (sense) that sunsets need, The Bible says the same about spiritual truth needing the spiritual faculty to be understood – and our spirit is dead/separated from God due to sin until we are born again in Christ

    mark – I agree with you, but I made a couple exceptions as noted because they are things I find important enough to share in my messages regularly. However, I agree that there is no need to argue the authority of the Bible here as our starting point for the faith with this particular person. If someone came here asking “Why do you guys believe the Bible” we can give the benefit of the doubt and seek to explain but when it is clear that the questions are just props for argument and not the sincere desire for new knowledge or understanding, then we can ignore.

    mld – Imagine an Old Testament Jew who also said, I want nothing to do with all those animal sacrifices for my sins, could care less about the temple and the priesthood…but, hey, I still pray to God. That wouldn’t exactly cut the mustard.

  286. Bob,
    The trouble with blog threads is that no one goes back to the beginning of particular conversation to see how it began and to sort out the context of what follows.

    RB made comment about Mueller (who I know nothing about and had not heard of before) saying that Mueller’s claims of answeredprayer were no different than the answered prayers of muslims, mormon or jews.

    I jumped in and said that there was a big difference and that if the muslims, the mormons or the jews did indeed have answered prayer it was the devil who was answering their prayers.

    I said later that they are praying to the air when they deny who the true god is and that the devil, in his craftiness continues to answer their prayers to keep them away from the true god.

    My point was never that they pray to satan – they pray to their own false gods – which by the bible’s own words are not only false but non existent – hence praying to the air.

    The rest of my comments need to be taken in that context and the last line of my #163.

    RB, soon took out the muslims and mormons and just zoomed in on the jews – hoping to picjk up the evangelical support.

  287. Xenia says:

    One thing before I go. Since God is omniscient, omnipresent and todopoderoso*, He doesn’t have to put unbelievers in a particular category of people, in a big steel box with the label “I am ignoring this boxful of people” as of He were so busy with us Christians that he doesn’t have time for the rest of humanity. He looks at each one of them as an individual.

    *I love this word, it sounds like thunder. It’s Spanish for “all-powerful.”

  288. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia – this began with a discussion of the possibility of a supernatural answer to prayer made by someone not in Christ. There are only two sources for the supernatural. Thus we got going down the Satan path.

    Yes, God is sovereign, but the Bible clearly says our sins separate us from Him as well. That is the reality we have to wrestle with. Along with the reality that Satan does in fact guide all people in this world who are not in Christ and guided by His Spirit. Nobody is the master of their own ship.

  289. Steve Wright says:

    I should probably also make clear that when I speak of Satan guiding the unbelievers of this world that all of that is under the sovereign power and hand of God – for His purposes.

    Lest anyone imagine I believe God in the heavenlies biting his nails worried about what Satan is going to do next down here…God is sovereign. He is ultimately in control.

  290. Bob says:

    MLD:

    I did read the earlier posts so I get it. But the thread devolved into Satan or false gods actually answering prayers.

    I believe the Bible is very clear that it is God, yes the triune God, who answers all prayers. He is the creator of all and created the ability for people to make the choice to follow Him or not. The Jewish theology call it the “inclination” and it can be either choice for good or evil, but the point is God is at the center of it all as the creator.

    Now I hope you don’t get the idea I am saying God created “evil,” I would hate to have RB/RR/AG jump on that bus again. I will answer that one this way, NO GOD IS NOT THE CREATOR OF EVIL. Evil is not a “thing” it is a choice and action against God and His creation.

    I agree with Xenia that God does hear the prayers of those who cry out to Him and no it’s not some magical switch like RR wants to push.

    Now as far as Mueller goes. I don’t know him but I have found most miraculous testimonies aren’t that miraculous, no matter what religion we’re talking about. But that doesn’t stop me from praying!

    BTW Jesus is Lord (and actually alive) on this day after the not so great debate.

  291. Bob says:

    Steve:

    “Yes, God is sovereign, but the Bible clearly says our sins separate us from Him as well.”

    Which is why in the great plan of God there is a need of a mediator.

  292. Bob,
    I disagree to the extent that we see in the bible satan offering goodies.Are you really saying that when the totem pole worshiper prays “oh great totem, deliver to me …” that it is the true triune God who delivers? Although possible, I don’t think so – I think it is the god of the totem – the devil himself who strings those folks along.

  293. Steve Wright says:

    This reminds me of some thoughts about mercy and grace. They are different attributes but at the same time God being merciful is an act of grace. You can’t totally compartmentalize the two.

    So God allowing Satan some activity is to be distinguished from God directly doing the activity. But obviously, God is still integral.

    An extreme example – If a true Satan worshipper is crying out to Satan to come and possess his body, it is hard for me to see God as “hearing and answering” that prayer like we use the words for Him hearing and answering a believer’s prayer. However, God allowing the possession to take place still shows His sovereign role.

  294. How can you be an UNbeliever and cry out to god – don’t you have to believe that there is someone to cry out to? Wouldn’t that make you a believer?

    See, i am talking about those who would DENY the true and living triune god – and muslims, jews and mormons are those folks – so they cry out to their own false and non existent gods.

  295. Xenia says:

    It would make you a wonderer, not a believer- yet.

  296. Steve Wright says:

    God knows the heart of a person. I am convinced that if someone truly desires the truth of God, willing to believe and do whatever that search for truth takes them – then God will lead that person to Jesus Christ 100% of the time. That is my own testimony and I see no reason why it would not be the norm.

    Now, a lot of people SAY they are looking for the truth, but they have their built-in qualifiers and the reality is they are looking for something else besides truth. Maybe looking for peace, looking for acceptance whatever. However, once more, God knows the heart and while I am not saying that such people will never find Jesus, I am saying that when someone says they found truth in Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism or whatever – that those are nothing but words.

    The beautiful thing about the truth of God – you get peace, love, joy, acceptance etc. all thrown in with it! 🙂

  297. Most people are ‘spiritual’ and not seeking after god. The are ‘spiritual’ and want a god who does not speak – they want a god who nods.

  298. Hey RiBo,
    Interesting observations and questions.

    I’ve no opportunity to participate this week due to projects but appreciate your continued quest.

    peace

  299. Michael,
    Hey, hope you’re getting out amongst the 3D people and finding a few who are almost as enjoyable as those “critters”.

    Give Trey a big “high 5” on his medal!

  300. Bob says:

    MLD:

    “Are you really saying that when the totem pole worshiper prays “oh great totem, deliver to me …” that it is the true triune God who delivers?”

    No because there isn’t a totem pole god.

    From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation there is just one God, one creator and one name above all names period. All the other gods are dead or in reality never even existed. Yes many believe demons have powers and such to answer prayer, I do not believe such things.

    What I do believe is most if not all “miracles” really aren’t miracles at all. I also believe the only truly creative miracles, meaning water from rocks and true resurrection from the dead kind of stuff, are from the creator God alone. Frankly I believe much of what is attributed to answered prayer are just coincidences. Sorry to be so cold about it and I’m sure some will strongly disagree, but if there are real miracles, meaning they can’t have been produced in the natural order of things, these prayer answers are from the God! Yes the God who raised, bodily, Jesus from stone cold death.

    Does the God answer prayers of those who call out to Him? You bet!

    Now if a person does not believe in God will they call out to Him? No, why would they, they don’t believe He even exists.

    Extending the same question to Muslims, Buddhist or any other spiritual based belief system, will God answer their prayers? If they call out to Him yes! But why would they call out to Him is the next question, because they don’t believe He exists? My answer is how you and I called out to Him at first, because somewhere in ourdesperation or whatever it was, you and I decided seek Him. Why we did so and what changed our minds may be the real mystery.

    I know too long of an answer so here’s the simple one liners.

    1. Satan or any other demons can’t answer prayers in a miraculous/creative manner, only God can. To believe these demons have some sort of creative powers is a belief in the a spiritual /mystical system which has God subject to His creation.

    2. If one doesn’t pray to the God of creation will He hear those prayers? Depends on God’s desire to speak to that person, not my judgment of their needs.

    Whew!

    Now about Muller…. Muller was a charitable man who loved people and educated children. Isn’t that a better legacy. Too bad people want to be able to pray and get results like him rather build homes to educate children. Hey maybe the focus is why God answered prayer. Naaa way to simple.

    PS I’m thankful for Michael pointing out Muller because it made me look him up and see what an example of love this man had for God and others.

  301. Steve Wright says:

    Bob, forgetting the prophecies about the workings of the antichrist to come, what about looking to the Egyptian sorcerers at the time of Moses and the Pharaoh.

    I’m sure you do not see some rationalistic explanation for what Moses was able to do. Yet, there is no way to read the text and not see the magicians doing the same thing (at first) with the water to blood and the summoning of the frogs.

    Even today the Hindu Satan worshippers are able to do some things that defy natural explanation.

    I’m not saying Satan has the same power as God, especially when you focus on the Creator. Satan can’t create…agreed. But to say he has no supernatural power seems quite a leap to me….if that is what you are saying.

  302. Bob,
    “My answer is how you and I called out to Him at first, because somewhere in ourdesperation or whatever it was, you and I decided seek Him. Why we did so and what changed our minds may be the real mystery.”

    I don’t know about you, but I did not ‘call out after God’ – he came and got me. I was taken to church by my wife for “the children’s sake.” I sat in the service for 3 weeks listening to the word be preached (faith comes by hearing God’s word) and while doing so, God made me a believer … and we have been on speaking terms ever since.

  303. Steve Wright says:

    Looking back, I was a believer for a little while before I even knew I was “supposed” to call out to God. That’s what happens when you are just alone with your Bible and no Christian or church to help you along in the process. I don’t find the “sinner’s prayer” in the Bible as the prerequisite to salvation.

  304. Bob says:

    Steve:

    First the text just says they did these things as well as the others mentioned. My opinion (and it’s free so that’s what is is worth) is these Egyptian and Hindu gurus if examined in modern light would be proven false and just magic tricks no better than men like Benny Hinn and other so-called prophets today. Now Moses’s wee proven by the text to be not just real but greater than the parlor tricks (which seem real to uniformed observers) of the Egyptian priests. You also know the plagues were focused to demonstrate the power of God overs the associated “gods” of the Egyptians. Again God had power their gods, nothing.

    MLD:

    “he came and got me.” I was taken to church by my wife for “the children’s sake.” I sat in the service for 3 weeks listening to the word be preached (faith comes by hearing God’s word) and while doing so, God made me a believer … and we have been on speaking terms ever since.

    You answered my statement, “somewhere in our desperation or whatever it was” yours was the “whatever it was” part. You heard you “called on the Name of the Lord.” Not very difficult is it?

    My wife has had that effect on me also.

  305. Bob says:

    Steve:

    Let be correct this, “Now Moses’s wee proven by the text to be not just real but greater than the parlor tricks ”

    The text indicates Moses demonstrated God’s power was real and not just the mere parlor tricks…

  306. covered says:

    Bob, how do you feel about Deut 18:10-12? I’m just curious.

  307. Bob,
    “You heard you “called on the Name of the Lord.”

    Well, I don’t remember calling on Him – I remember Him calling me … it wasn’t a choice I was given. I remember telling my wife “I think I am a Christian.”

  308. Neo says:

    MLD. Acts 10, Cornelius prayed prior to his conversion and God heard his prayer. His prayer as a so called “pagan”. You might want to amend your assertion all who do not pray as Christians are praying to Satan.

  309. Neo – don’t be an RB.
    I don’t know how many times I can keep repeating (but I will for some of the slower crowd) I am talking about modern day folks.

  310. Cornelius sounds like a believer to me – he may be missing some key details – but it does say
    1.) a devout man who feared God
    2.) And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?”
    3.) Before Peter even spoke he said “Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

    I don’t know that Cornelius was an unbeliever when he prayed – he prayed to the true God and he knew that God was revealing new hings about himself.

    I think at the time of his prayer was in the same boat as the disciples of John – knew much, but not all.

  311. Neo says:

    No need to double down with ad hominem comparisons, mld. Take the facts on their face.

    And here’s something else, no one lives in a vacuum…a nice tidy set of circumstances that fits neatly any any ideological box, theological or otherwise. Not me, not you, nor the Muslim, nor the Hindu. God takes that all into account as each prayer ascends or rosary bead is rubbed on in faith. Oh scripture? Romans 2. But overall reading of Scripture, not to mention logic of life and human experience attests to this reasonably.

  312. Bob says:

    Covered

    Probably the same as you. The instruction is not to do these things. What’s difficult about that ?

    Now if your using that scripture to prove their are magic spells and people can talk to demons then I agree people think they can. But the point of the scripture and instruction is that to rely on any power outside of God is not just wrong but an abomination to Him.

    Now are people superstitious and believe demons can do miracles outside of God’s will then and now? You bet.

    What I state is most people if not all are frauds. Read up on Houdini and his quest to seek a connection with the dead. Telling.

    MLD.

    I’m glad He called you and your response (technically calling on Him) was yes.

  313. Bob,
    “I’m glad He called you and your response (technically calling on Him) was yes.”

    I don’t think that you understand – God converted me. He didn’t ask me for a response, he didn’t cajole me nor did he persuade me. I listened to his preached word and conversion happened – just like the Bible says. No one asked me if I wanted to be a Christian, I just became one.

    Are you saying that in your case you struck up a deal with God – he presented a good enough case and got you to sign on the dotted line?

    I need some help from the audience – surely I am not the only one here who was converted versus persuaded by God

  314. Bob says:

    MLD:

    I get it and your theological perspective.

    I was read the scriptures in a friend’s home and got down on my knees and received him as Lord as stated in Romans 10:9,10

    ” if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

    That is what I did. BTW Further down in Romans the author uses the term, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” And He was quoting Joel 2:32.

    So did you call upon the name of the Lord? You say no, but I think it is just semantics and doctrinal terminology differences because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to deny Paul and his teachings to the Roman church.

    Of course I could ask this, were you saved before this moment with your wife or lost?

    So did the words of God magically cause you to be saved or was it your inner witness and confession that what you heard was the truth? No matter how you put it I say you “called on the name of the Lord,” and it didn’t have to be verbal nor audible to do so.

    But I can’t speak for you only me and that day in a man’s front room on my knees I confessed His Lordship and was changed by His power.

  315. Steve Wright says:

    I think most commentators see Cornelius as what was known as a “God fearer” (i.e. True and Living God assumed in the title). A Gentile who feared God. He of course, just like the Jews who feared God, needed to hear the good news about Christ and Peter was sent to tell him.

    Bob – I can see the idea that the magicians were doing a parlor trick when it comes to the snake/rod thing – but my only point was that it is hard to draw that conclusion from just the reading of the text. Moses turned water into blood. So did they. That’s all it says. – So while I am open to the idea that none of it on their end was supernatural, one does in fact have to come to the text with that presupposition – which is eisegesis.

    Now, we interpret Scripture with Scripture but again, I do not see anywhere that declares Satan has no supernatural power.

    In fact, what do we do with Job? God tells Satan, Go ahead, he’s all yours. But then also puts the limits on – which I think is a great example of my earlier comment about Satan at work under the umbrella sovereignty of God.

    Did God’s miraculous hand do all that bad stuff to Job? Or did Satan do it? The answer from the text seem pretty obvious.

  316. Bob,
    Those are all things one does AFTER one is saved. Come on, you can’t confess Christ and believe in your heart if you are not already converted. that is Christianity 101.

    Later you ask “So did you call upon the name of the Lord?” and of course, and I know that you know this, I did not call upon his name to be saved – again, impossible. But i do call upon his name today as a born again child of God.

    I don’t think you get my theological perspective – i was converted at a Calvary Chapel.. it was even one that did altar calls – but i didn’t go up because I had already been converted.

    But hey, that’s why there are 31 flavors of ice cream. 😉

  317. Bob says:

    Covered I’m a lousy typist so I’ll try to fix some errors and probably add some more.

    “Now if you’re using that scripture to prove their there are real supernatural magic spells and people can talk to demons, then it is my opinion you are stretching the meaning of God’s instruction. However if your point about the scripture (and its instruction) is putting any reliance on supernatural outside of God is not only wrong but an abomination to Him, I fully agree.

    My point isn’t to deny that there are demons or a spiritual world outside of the visible world we live in, it is to say my opinion is scripture teaches God is Lord (and therefore Jesus) over it all. If the Egyptian priests had any real supernatural power (which I don’t BTW) it was given to them by God to demonstrate His power over them.

    Now ask me if there is biblical evidence that the Angels have a battle, so to speak, going on? I will point you to Daniel and his prayer life for the answer and also remind you whose hand was writing on the wall and who shuts the mouth of the lions.

    Oh well I’m spent.

    MLD and Covered it’s been good.
    Jesus is Lord (whether I call on His name or not)! 😉

  318. Bob says:

    MLD:

    Semantics, maybe we agree more than the discussion indicates.

    I like the new frozen Greek Yogurt. Mmmmmm.

    Night!

  319. Steve Wright says:

    When someone comes up to me after a service and says they want to pray to receive Christ, the first order of business is for me to make sure they realize they already have (assuming it is clear they understand the gospel too)

    I will always pray with them…I will lead them in a sinner’s prayer but with my modification which is namely not as prayer of request for salvation, but a prayer of thanks for what God has done and what the person now believes. The request part is for the future walk in the Spirit from that day forth.

    I feel it is of the greatest importance that they realize the act of that prayer did not save them. That they were not still lost while they were waiting for me to finish talking to the person I might have been speaking to as they approached. That a heart attack as they came down the aisle would not have doomed them to hell

  320. Bob says:

    Steve:

    I was leaving but saw your post, so I will respond.

    “but my only point was that it is hard to draw that conclusion from just the reading of the text. ”

    Exactly!

    The author who wrote the text probably believed whole heartily these priest tricks were real and I’m also sure the Pharaoh thought he was a god (or part god). But, that doesn’t mean they were. My point is people today discount the power of God and give way to much credence to superstition and mysticism and thus build gods before God.

    God is one! That is what Jesus affirmed and taught.

    Paul said this:

    Colossians BTW

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

    For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

    I made bold the all things stuff to make the point

    Yogurt time!

    Thanks!

  321. RiBo says:

    You guys have a serious disconnect.

    We’ve covered this ground before.

    None of you can adequately explain the “trinity” (an extra-biblical term btw, not found in the bible) and none of you can make it make sense…yet in the next breath you claim it is a core doctrine that if not believed and understood in the exact way you CAN’T EXPLAIN…then you’re praying to the devil and not God, worshipping a false God etc etc.

    Such cognitive dissonance.

  322. RiBo says:

    Hey Steve Wrong, do you tell your folks that God doesn’t hear the prayers of those who aren’t Christians* like you stated earlier in the thread so definitely and assuredly…even though the bible says the father of Islam a.k.a. Ishmael cried out to God and God heard and answered his prayer and saved him from the desert?

    Do your folks know how little you really know or do you pretend your way through it with a straight face?

  323. Josh Hamrick says:

    What about those charasmatics that talk to Satan while they are praying – “you listen to me Satan, you are not allowed here”…isn’t that weird?

  324. Josh Hamrick says:

    Anybody remember that Carmen song “Who’s in the house? JC!”

    That was lame.

  325. RiBo says:

    Steve Wrong said, “Even today the Hindu Satan worshippers are able to do some things that defy natural explanation.”

    No, they aren’t. That’s been debunked many times over. You live in a fantasy world. You state things as if they are fact and they aren’t.

    Show me one example. The fire walking: debunked. The levitation: a cheap trick (do the research, it’s an easy one).

  326. Josh Hamrick says:

    I like that levitation trick. Did you see the guy on America’s Got Talent who used it to get past the first round? He was pretty trippy.

  327. RiBo says:

    BTW regarding the “trinity” discussion:

    “Then I replied, “I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things–above whom there is no other God–wishes to announce to them.”–Justin Martyr, early church father, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew.

    Justin Martyr, early church father, on Philosophy:

    “”I will tell you,” said I, “what seems to me; for philosophy is, in fact, the greatest possession, and most honourable before God, to whom it leads us and alone commends us; and these are truly holy men who have bestowed attention on philosophy. What philosophy is, however, and the reason why it has been sent down to men, have escaped the observation of most; for there would be neither Platonists, nor Stoics, nor Peripatetics, nor Theoretics, nor Pythagoreans, this knowledge being one. I wish to tell you why it has become many-headed. It has happened that those who first handled it [i.e., philosophy], and who were therefore esteemed illustrious men, were succeeded by those who made no investigations concerning truth, but only admired the perseverance and self-discipline of the former, as well as the novelty of the doctrines; and each thought that to be true which he learned from his teacher: then, moreover, those latter persons handed down to their successors such things, and others similar to them; and this system was called by the name of him who was styled the father of the doctrine. Being at first desirous of personally conversing with one of these men, I surrendered myself to a certain Stoic; and having spent a considerable time with him, when I had not acquired any further knowledge of God (for he did not know himself, and said such instruction was unnecessary), I left him and betook myself to another, who was called a Peripatetic, and as he fancied, shrewd. And this man, after having entertained me for the first few days, requested me to settle the fee, in order that our intercourse might not be unprofitable. Him, too, for this reason I abandoned, believing him to be no philosopher at all. But when my soul was eagerly desirous to hear the peculiar and choice philosophy, I came to a Pythagorean, very celebrated–a man who thought much of his own wisdom. And then, when I had an interview with him, willing to become his hearer and disciple, he said, ‘What then? Are you acquainted with music, astronomy, and geometry? Do you expect to perceive any of those things which conduce to a happy life, if you have not been first informed on those points which wean the soul from sensible objects, and render it fitted for objects which appertain to the mind, so that it can contemplate that which is honourable in its essence and that which is good in its essence?’ Having commended many of these branches of learning, and telling me that they were necessary, he dismissed me when I confessed to him my ignorance. Accordingly I took it rather impatiently, as was to be expected when I failed in my hope, the more so because I deemed the man had some knowledge; but reflecting again on the space of time during which I would have to linger over those branches of learning, I was not able to endure longer procrastination. In my helpless condition it occurred to me to have a meeting with the Platonists, for their fame was great. I thereupon spent as much of my time as possible with one who had lately settled in our city,–a sagacious man, holding a high position among the Platonists,–and I progressed, and made the greatest improvements daily. And the perception of immaterial things quite overpowered me, and the contemplation of ideas furnished my mind with wings, so that in a little while I supposed that I had become wise; and such was my stupidity, I expected forthwith to look upon God, for this is the end of Plato’s philosophy.”

  328. Josh Hamrick says:

    What do you mean that fire-walking was debunked? Just that there is a natural explanation for why they don’t get badly burned? I mean, they are walking over hot coals, right?

  329. RiBo says:

    Josh, yes. “debunked” in the context that it’s been shown to be something completely natural and not “supernatural” and not some sort of miracle.

    Embers are very low conductors of heat. The yogis make sure the fire is right. They walk at a steady pace. The scientific reality is that, if done correctly, there isn’t enough time for the embers to impart enough heat to the moving foot to burn.

    Of course, if you don’t have the embers right or you linger too long, you’ll get burned.

  330. Josh Hamrick says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen normal folks do that on different survivor type shows. My very favorite fake miracle is the “short leg” being healed. It seems to be the go to disease for all con-artists.

  331. RiBo says:

    Here’s the gist of how it works: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/circus-arts/firewalking.htm

    I post this not as my source, I looked into the hindu supposed “miracles” years ago and found them to be frauds. This is just a link I found quickly searching to give you the basics, for your info, not mine, I knew this already from prior research (so as to pre-empt the MLD “you googled it!” canard).

  332. RiBo says:

    Josh said, “My very favorite fake miracle is the “short leg” being healed. It seems to be the go to disease for all con-artists.”

    LOL, love the short leg!

  333. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ah, don’t be so defensive, Google can be a good tool.

    You search “short leg healed” on youtube and you’ll find over 20,000 videos like the one I posted above. Funny thing is, I’ve never known of anyone to go to the doctor and the dr. says “Oh, I see the problem. You’ve got one leg shorter!”

    However, these faith healers love it.

  334. Josh Hamrick says:

    Wow, the picture from your firewalking link has some lady walking through flames. That’s crazy.

  335. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m gonna start the International Short-leg Healing Temple, and only do the short-leg bit. I bet i could rake it in.

  336. RiBo says:

    You’d be a very rich man Josh! LOL

  337. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’ll cut you in. You come fire walk as an “accompanying sign” then we’ll speak in tongues for a while (you can throw some cuss words in if you like), then I’ll pull a few legs and we’ll take an offering. I’ll give you 30%, because I really think the short leg thing is what is bringing in the crowds.

  338. Josh Hamrick says:

    Annnd…I think that means it is bedtime. Catch yall later. 🙂

  339. RiBo,
    I think you’re doing a very good job at debunking the wacky stuff in our and other religions.
    You’re also calling us on our circular reasoning and poorly thought out explanations.

    I’m going to watch a recording of the Nye/Ham debate in a couple hours.
    Wondering if you’ve seen it and what your thoughts are about it?
    I have a feeling you and I might be coming to similar conclusions.

    One thing I’ve never liked about Ham’s approach is his worn out, “How do you know? Were you there?” Such poor and inane “reasoning”. Ham would have to doubt anything anyone else told him if he wasn’t personally there.

    O_o

  340. Steve Wright says:

    Levitation? Firewalking? Yeah, that’s what I wrote.

    G- every kiss of encouragement you blow RB’s way when he is raging and insulting like this is just a small dagger to Michael’s heart.

    You all have fun.

  341. Al says:

    here is an observation. when rick bob or ricky bobby was not posting for a while. there is good flow of discussion, an inviting place to read comments. when he shows up and starts posting, maybe someone can better explain then I can, this guy brings some bad vibes or a bad spirit. nothing personal, im not sure he doesn’t go troll his own site.

  342. RB plays his one string guitar again

    “You guys have a serious disconnect.”

    “We’ve covered this ground before.”

    “Do your folks know how little you really know or do you pretend your way through it with a straight face?”

    I think we should make RB the PP blog King since as he has stated we can’t take care of ourselves.

  343. “G- every kiss of encouragement you blow RB’s way when he is raging and insulting like this is just a small dagger to Michael’s heart.”

    “dagger to Michael’s heart”???

    Are you a manipulative weasel, trying to “shame” me into silence?

    I’ve been around this place a lot longer than you have, and Michael respects me and allows me to dialog freely with those whom I have relationships with or those who are willing to engage me about the things which make me honestly question many things which I have been required to believe or be mocked and shunned if i dare voice them.

    RB has honest questions and observations, many of which I share.

    Treat RB and treat me with respect and butt out of the question I raised with him.

  344. brian says:

    “How do you know? Were you there?” The first one is actually a very good question, the second one is irrelevant because none of us where “there”. I wont go into it to much.

    The first one is quite compelling, how do you know? From my limited POV there are two types of knowledge Revelatory and for lack of a better word observational. By definition revelatory knowledge cannot be tested, nor can it be falsified. One could argue that the interpretation of revelatory knowledge could be wrong thus it could be “tested” but all in all one must accept it and conform one’s will to it. Observational looks to disprove itself, it seeks to find compelling evidence and is not for the most part absolute it is “relative” to our understanding at the time. It does not mean one cannot build on past information but one is skeptical as to claims that are in conflict with established understanding of what is observed, tested etc.

    Then ask yourself no I wont go down that road, its complicated and I think I will get into a sarcastic rant and I dont want that.

  345. “one is skeptical as to claims that are in conflict with established understanding of what is observed, tested etc.”

    brian,
    I resonate with you on this. Science is observational and I’ve read reports that when Ham & Nye were asked “What would cause you to change your mind?’ Ham said, “Nothing”, while Nye said, “Evidence.”

    I wasn’t able to watch the debate tonight due to another project but I will check that quote to be sure.

    I wonder what Nye thinks of Jesus and the claims of the eyewitnesses who maintained their observational accounts?

    Did you watch the debate?

  346. brian says:

    I watched the debate, interacted on twitter with both sides, had pz Myers blog in one window and several Christian blogs on the other. Everyone was talking past each other. What I was taken with, and this is just me, is that they were both nice to each other. That was key, Mr. Nye was amendment in his position as was Mr. Ham. Mr. Ham did ask some really good questions. I liked the question and answer session from the audience. PZ Myers blog was a bit crass but the biology was rock solid in my opinion. He misses one thing in my opinion, people are spiritual creatures as well and this is why atheism fails in addressing this. They think we are all kooks and just blow off 95% of humanity. Even from an evolutionary / sociological standpoint Religion builds communities, it stabilizes societies and it helps “transmit” “understanding” to a new generation.

    Often the “new” Atheists are all running out into the hay stacks to build their straw men, which is funny because many of the apologetic groups are running around in the same field grasping as straws to build their own scarecrows to knock over. We learn through stories, we tell stories, we listen to stories, we memorize stories and we find hope in stories. Why does it seem strange that God would talk to us in stories. We often cling to a single thread and tease it out to fine some sliver of “human” truth to bind us. We stammer around in the fog with a candle yet we have this big ball of light that we rotate around. If one gets to close one goes poof, if one moves away to far one grows cold and freezes.

    I know this all sounds so like new age rhetoric. But it is where we live, we live in the shades of the many colors that make up life. We try to pry it into black and white because living in a “fog” looking in a dim mirror. Think of the liturgy of the major Christian traditions, they act out eternal truths in liturgy and spectacle and it is beautiful. What I learned from the Debate, it is not simple and both sides have truth.

  347. Anne says:

    Powerful writing, brian. Sometimes we humans get so attached to the constructs of the story, the ritual, our formulae of how we think it all works that we can no longer fathom the greater beauty, the truer than true they were meant to point to rather than replace. I needed your reminder tonight that “the finger that points at the moon, is not the moon”. thank you.

  348. G,
    “RB has honest questions and observations, many of which I share.”

    Get your head out of the sand. RB does not have honest questions – he has an agenda.

    If he had honest questions, he would accept the answers he gets here by saying, “thank you for that reply, I will continue to look into it.”

    But I stated earlier what his reply is to 100% of his ‘questions’ or observations;

    “You guys have a serious disconnect.”

    “We’ve covered this ground before.”

    “Do your folks know how little you really know or do you pretend your way through it with a straight face?”

    And the reason you support that tactic is….?

  349. “Often the “new” Atheists are all running out into the hay stacks to build their straw men, which is funny because many of the apologetic groups are running around in the same field grasping as straws to build their own scarecrows to knock over.”

    Absolutely true. Well said, Brian!

    “What I learned from the Debate, it is not simple and both sides have truth.”

    I would add that both sides have error as well. Also worth pointing out that there are an infinite number of shades between Nye’s “white” and Ham’s “black”.

  350. Bob says:

    Guitar guy

    “Are you a manipulative weasel, ”

    This kind of comment is what puts you on par recently with RR/RB/AG.

    You return to personal attacks as does he. Why is that?

  351. Sol ROd could tell you this, but Bobby Heenan is the true weasel.

  352. I remember 20 yrs ago helping my 3 kids through their science homework. The earth back then was 3 billion yrs old. My where have these last 500 million yrs gone.

    Why is the age of the earth a moving target?

  353. Bob says:

    MLD

    Because no one knows.

    It,s the same reason real scientist still debate the age of the Grand Canyon. Here’s a link that outlines the debate, some think it’s 70 million years old while others believe it’s 6 million years old.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0127/Age-of-Grand-Canyon-bewilders-perplexes

    BTW this is a legit link not a personal mocking attack.

  354. PP Vet says:

    One of the fun challenges of being a Christian is coming to grips with all the seemingly conflicting data on origins.

    I love how Pat Robertson tells Ken Ham to “get real”. That is sort of a “Have you no decency” moment.

    The “decency” comment in 1954 galvanized reasonable opposition to Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunts. Never again would a McCarthy accusation sting quite as bad.

    In like manner, Pat’s comment may effectively take the poison out of the young-earthers’ accusation “if you are not with us, you are an unbeliever”.

  355. I used to read the preface to new science books. Not once did I see an apology saying “sorry, in the last book we were wrong – all of the information is useless and you now need to buy my new $100 to learn what is true.”

    $100 is cheap – my daughter, almost 40 went back to nursing school a few yrs back and I paid $275 for one of her books. Now I have learned you can rent the books.

    All that to say, I am a big supporter of science and I do not deny anything that science proves.

  356. To answer MLD’s question, there’s a difference between “tactic” and “data”.
    I support objections which are reasoned. RB knows I prefer he be more nuanced.

    To answer Bob’s question about my turn of a word, whenever anyone tries to silence me through personal manipulation I take personal objection.

    …on to church history

  357. I’ve come to realize that some people here just don’t like one another. I’ve been a part of that, too, and i haven’t always been as kind as I could be.

    Consider this post a new leaf. I like everyone here, will not engage in fights, will attempt to bring peace when there is none, and will add to the discussion only when it will not hurt others.

  358. Bob says:

    G-guy

    “whenever anyone tries to silence me through personal manipulation I take personal objection.”

    I take a lot of things with “personal objection” and have learned I probably deserve it. However, your retorts are more like the idiom, “Don’t get mad, get even.”

    Do what you want with it.

  359. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Get your head out of the sand. RB does not have honest questions – he has an agenda.”

    Yes, my agenda is to cut through all the competing B.S. and find what little verifiable or highly probable truth is available after sifting through the compost of every “box” I can find.

    If being intellectually honest and poking at philosophical belief systems in the search for some truth is an “agenda”…then guilty as charged.

    You’re simply a dogmatist who has a fairly firm grasp of your version of Lutheranism, but a weak grasp on much of anything else (I know b/c I’ve dialogued with you regularly over the years and you have trouble keeping track of much outside your rehearsed and memorized box).

  360. RiBo says:

    G, thanks for the question and the comments. You are right about my sincere search for truth, don’t let those with a nefarious agenda to discredit and smear me bother you. They are afraid and they are also offended and irritated when someone challenges their shaky belief system. it’s natural human behavior.

    I want to watch the debate a couple more times before I comment on it in more detail, but my initial take is very similar to brian’s above.

    Ironically, I find the New Atheist and the Dogmatic Evangelical apologist to be strangely similar. The truth lies somewhere in between.

  361. covered says:

    Josh, you are like the “Switzerland” of blogs 🙂 I love that!

  362. RB,
    First let me thank you for being honest enough to admit that you are not here asking honest questions as G mischaracterized.- but to actually advance your agenda.

    However, your 2nd statement – “and find what little verifiable or highly probable truth is available after sifting through the compost of every “box” I can find.” – is totally false. If it were true, you would go to places where you would get better answers and not need to proclaim repeatedly

    “You guys have a serious disconnect.”

    “We’ve covered this ground before.”

    “Do your folks know how little you really know or do you pretend your way through it with a straight face?”

    If you were on an honest search you would be somewhere else dealing with people who are not like us – people with “no serious disconnect – and people who do not need to pretend like we do.

    No, your tactics are obviously for a more particular venture … of which we are all aware.

  363. Bob,
    yeah, well, I don’t deserve it.
    For now it would be good for you to butt out.

    Thanks

  364. “mischaracterized” is not an accurate way to represent what I posted.

    My position is what I stated.

    Please stop being a sh*t stirrer and stop with your blog drama game when I am addressing someone other than you.

    For now it would be good for you to butt out as well.

    thanks

  365. RiBo says:

    MLD, why do you waste your energy writing words that mean nothing? You’re old, you don’t have much time left, why not spend the very little remaining time left of your earthly consciousness on being more honest and trying to find truth rather than playing games on a blog?

    Do you really want to just log time until your croak soon? I don’t understand people like you. What a sad and worthless existence IMO.

  366. RB,
    We’ll dialog soon.

    Thanks.

  367. RiBo says:

    MLD, ya, what G said, you just like to play games. If there’s any trolls on here, you’re the king.

    Others of us are sincerely truth-seekers and our agenda is gleaning what we can from the dung heaps of human philosophical belief systems.

  368. RB,
    “Nuanced”… 😉

  369. RiBo says:

    Likewise G. I’ll flesh something out and maybe it will be a good discussion between me, you, brian and some others and we’ll try to ignore MLD’s hen pecks LOL. I would LOVE MLD to peck at the stuff, just in a way that effectively deconstructs something to make me go “Hmm, I didn’t think of that, maybe I’m wrong”

    …he never adds that sort of valuable critique and correction, it’s always worthless trolling.

  370. “Josh, you are like the “Switzerland” of blogs 🙂 I love that!”

    Yes, covered! Feel free to come join me on my beautiful slopes 🙂

  371. “For now it would be good for you to butt out.”

    G, now you sound like a CC pastor when confronted with your error.

  372. Michael says:

    This contention ends now.
    Period.

  373. “Ironically, I find the New Atheist and the Dogmatic Evangelical apologist to be strangely similar. The truth lies somewhere in between.”

    Totally agree on that.

  374. RB,
    You keep ignoring being confronted with your own words. Why do you continue to berate this group with words like;

    “You guys have a serious disconnect.”

    “We’ve covered this ground before.”

    “Do your folks know how little you really know or do you pretend your way through it with a straight face?”

    Sounds like a blog bully to me – all in the sole effort to discredit the faith of dear old step dad and all of his partner CC pastors.

  375. I didn’t think this was contentious – RB and G swaer tha is it just good old open honest questions.

  376. RiBo says:

    B/c that is my opinion of some of you MLD and my opinion is as valid as any others on here, at least when I take a strong position or question something I present facts and data to back it up.

    You do have a serious disconnect in the context of presenting a sound argument and I point it out when you present it. You first said that non-Christians* were praying to the devil and the devil answered their prayers. I challenged that assertion and proved you incorrect. You then back-tracked and moderated your position. This is typical of how our conversations often go. You state something as fact and unmovable, I point out your error and you cry and moan and name call.

    We have covered similar ground many times before and you repeat the same errors in logic while claiming your position to be true and absolute. I then demonstrate your mistakes and you scream and cry and name call.

    With Steve, his issue is pride. He really thinks he knows something. He has built a following, a radio show, a career out of presenting to very non-informed people that he knows something. He, like most pastors, is a fraud in the sense he knows very little. We all know very little. That is my opinion.

    I base that opinion on again what i noted above: Steve makes a rock solid statement that “God doesn’t hear or answer the prayers of muslims, jews, mormons non-Christians*” in essence, then I point out from the “bible” that he says is inerrant, infallible, no mistakes, perfect, literal…that God heard the prayers of Ishmael (the father of Islam) and saved Ishmael from the desert, which obliterates, from the bible, Steve’s concreted assertion to the contrary.

  377. RiBo says:

    Now, due to pride, you guys always dig in and don’t admit your mistakes and errors. You name call, you call for banning, you smear etc….but you don’t acknowledge your mistakes and errors that I demonstrate and you don’t have a teachable spirit when it comes to trying to find truth by acknowledging where there are legit issues of contradiction in and error in your concreted absolute statements like: “God doesn’t hear the prayers or answer the prayers of non-Christians!”

    This is the pattern.

    It is really a control issue. You don’t like being shown you are wrong. I used to be like that when dialoging with those who were being more intellectually honest than I was. I had to swallow my pride and realize that they were often right and that I didn’t know as much as I thought. I was a CC guy then a Calvinist, had all my ducks in a row. It was a house of cards.

  378. RiBo says:

    Guys like brian and G have been through similar, I’m sure. I used to fight tooth and nail against the glaring inconsistencies and mistakes in my Evangelical and then Reformed belief system. I fought hard. I ignored my Conscience telling me the person challenging many issues had made a valid point that I couldn’t resolve.

    I finally gave up when I saw first-hand how dishonest Christians* really are when push comes to shove. I saw it sitting with Chuck Smith and his attorney and Dave Rolph. “Truth” is not the goal, it’s never the goal.

    Today’s Christian* faith is merely an apologetic. Sad, but true.

  379. RiBo says:

    MLD, Steve, Bob and even Mark would’ve loved me in my past. I would hammer on Atheists and Evolutionists, I would drive them crazy. It was dishonest. I had to twist and spin and use all the rhetorical tricks I’d learned at Johnny Mac’s college to “win”. I knew, though, that they had made a valid point and that there were big problems in the apologetic.

    I believe “God” in whatever form is real, dunno if he has a butt and male genitalia, sits on a literal throne or if he is simply the force in the Universe that created and holds it all together and we simply anthropomorphize human traits onto “him”, when in reality we are simply pea-brains who cannot conceptualize the reality of “god” in this bag of flesh.

  380. RB, (to your #380)
    I didn’t moderate my position – you asked about muslims, mormons and jews in your 160 – 162

    My 163 right out of the gate made my position crystal clear – “As to what Muslims and Mormons get – satan is a great imitator – he answers their prayer, because under the surface they are actually praying in his name.”

    You continually miss the “under the surface” – even though they think they are praying to God, they are not

    – since I cannot believe you didn’t understand it … an 8 year old could, you clouded the issue and started picking at words and never addressing the fact that your position in the discussion requires many gods. Hey, you want to believe that there are many real gods for people to pray to, fine, knock yourself out.

  381. Chile says:

    Re: MLD @378 said,

    “Sounds like a blog bully to me …”

    Pot meet kettle. Even if you had a point, you have no credibility on this subject.

  382. Chile says:

    Sorry, Michael. I just saw your 378.

  383. ( |o )====::: says:

    RiBo, brian, anyone else who may be interested,

    “Did the Ham/Nye Debate Really Happen?”

    Takes on Ken Ham’s flawed assertion about having to actually witness & be at an event for it to be “observable science”…

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2014/02/did-the-hamnye-debate-really-happen/

  384. On Montanist which was affirmed by Tertullian:

    http://www.tertullian.org/montanism.htm

    Another way of addressing the canon and so forth:

    http://carm.org/did-roman-catholic-church-give-us-our-bible

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