Things I Think
1. The last two books of the Bible I’ve taught through have been Esther and The Revelation. Neither really taught what I had been traditionally instructed that they did. Both books have a lot to say about God’s people living in exile, a topic I knew nothing about for most of the years of my pastorate, but which is a topic the Bible speaks to continually. My conclusion is that ‘simply teaching the Bible simply” produces spiritual simpletons in the pulpit and the pews and has caused us to miss some of the most important messages in Scripture. As Christians we are a people living in exile, dealing with beast powers and the spirit of anti-Christ and we have been from the beginning. The fact that few of us understand this has robbed us of our true identity and purpose in a fallen world living in the last days.
2. The reason for this appalling gap biblical in knowledge is two fold…ignorance in the pulpit and an assumption that the pews can’t understand the “deeper things” of God. We pastors need to invest in more commentaries and stop believing that the congregation is developmentally disabled.
3. I’m not necessarily “against” events like the Harvest Crusade…I just think it’s the “Christian” version of a rock star stadium tour. I keep reading quotes from people who “attend every year” which somehow seems to me to miss the point.
4. I think people who cheat at “Words With Friends” should be delivered an electric shock through the device when they play a word they looked up in an online dictionary. Yes, I do.
5. Yesterday, millions of people attended church and were enriched and spiritually fed. I’m not sure that fact has ever been noted here.
6. If you really believed Jesus could return at any moment, you wouldn’t act the way you do. Just sayin…
7. The hypocrisy of men who will divide from other brethren over traditional differences and then appear on TBN is both astounding and sickening. That’s like telling someone you have a ministry in a whorehouse…regularly.
8. If you really believed that God hears and answers prayer, you would pray more often than you eat. Just sayin…
9. I’m just sharing my own cognitive dissonance between what I say I believe and my own actions and attitudes…I’m sure I’m unique. Not.
10. So…last week I went to the woods to unplug and commune with nature and God. No cell phone service, no texting, no internet…right up to the point where the resort owners came down to apologize for forgetting to tell me that the wi-fi beamed directly into my cabin. Wi-fi in the woods? I saw a squirrel with an iPod and went in and checked my Facebook.
Your turn…what’s on your mind ?
LOVE #1. So true. In fact, I just love these period. Good to see them back!
I think you need to start writing for us…thanks for the kind words.
“I keep reading quotes from people who “attend every year” which somehow seems to me to miss the point.”
It does miss the point, unless when they attend every year, they’re bringing non-believers with them.
It’s a cheap night of Christian entertainment that has a bit of excitement.
My guess is the crowd is 95% believers.
Great to see you back with “Things I Think,” Michael.
I’m a pessimist by nature. The research says about 40% of our temperament that way is inborn. But I’m working at being more positive. Or maybe more balanced is a better way to put it.
In that vein, I really appreciate #5. Let’s not forget all the good that’s going on in Christendom!
Glad to see you !
I have a similar personality…and we all tend to talk about the negative.
We have to stop and remember the gates of hell have not prevailed, nor will they.
1. I just taught through Ruth. I’m sure I found nothing new, but man, what a great story. If I were getting married (been married 14 years, so not gonna happen) I would want to use Ruth’s vow to Naomi as our wedding vows. Commitment like that is totally absent from our world.
2. I’m afraid you’d be shocked if you gave your people a test. A few weeks ago, I just did a review of the material we’d covered in the last year. I was really disappointed a how little they had retained. Unfortunately, I do think it is important to continue to hammer the fundamentals over and over, while being creative at how we communicate it, and how we mix in the deeper things.
3. Evangelistic crusades are wonderful as long as we realize that they are not the only thing, or even the most important thing.
6. True. Tied this in to my wrap up about Ruth yesterday. Parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. Whatever your eschatological leaning, it is clear that we are to be prepared.
8. True. It it the main connection we have with the Divine, and we (I) neglect it everyday. God have mercy on me.
10. I love opportunities to disconnect from all the noise. I’ve made it part of my daily life. Now, I have to convince my wife and kids how great it is:)
#1 “As Christians we are a people living in exile, dealing with beast powers and the spirit of anti-Christ and we have been from the beginning.”
There are days that I feel the sense of exile….even while attending a megachurch. I definitley feel a sense of being on the outside looking in.
For Harvest, it is a “Christian thing” to do in OC. There were years that that I went with people from the college group and treated it like a night out with friends, and we never took a unbeliever – not that we were against it if someone wanted to go. More like, “I am going to Harvest this weekend, you interested?”
After reading your #10 the only thing on my mind is how ridiculously adorable a squirrel with an iPod would look. Cuteness overload.
I wouldn’t be disappointed…there is a reason why God repeats Himself throughout the book. 🙂
I do think we’ve lowered the bar on both preaching and hearing in the last 100 years.
Papias…I’ve had that feeling as well.
I have been thinking I wish I had enough time to sit down and write something about getting my feet wet in the homeschool adventure, but I just haven’t found that time.
I’ve also been thinking that there are astoundingly amazing people all around us. We’ve been following the story of a friend’s neighbors who have Baby Andrew. He had a heart transplant a few months ago and we all wait each day to see when and if he will get to go home. His parents speak with amazing hope and frustration and joy and anger all mixed together.
The other family I’m watching and amazed by is here:
They are part of our congregation and we have waited and prayed for the arrival of Pearl. She was supposed to live for a few minutes. She is now just over a month old and the family is adjusting to the amazing fact that she is determined to live and God has sustained her. It’s miraculous.
I think we miss these astoundingly amazing people in our midst when we are focused on the next big thing….and I am realizing how much time I’ve spent looking around for what I should be rooting for…be that celebrity musician, preacher or theologian. Maybe I am just getting older, but if I face one of my children in great illness or suffering I’ll be running to the Brown’s house or Baby Andrew’s.
We’re supposed to understand that we are a people in exile waiting for the fullness of our kingdom to appear…I don’t think we do.
You could order your t-shirt here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unisex-iSquirrel-T-shirt-Squirrel-holding-iPod-NWT-/220748528027
That was worth coming back for…
2. As a pew sitter, I appreciate it when I can get deeper teaching.
4. Remind me to never start a game of WWF with you. I’m not a fan of electric shocks. 🙂
9. Joining you in that “uniqueness”.
If the sermons were a bit longer and more challenging, would you still appreciate them?
“That’s like telling someone you have a ministry in a whorehouse…regularly.”
Perhaps some of them do.
I think I would most days. Of course there would be those days where I’m not in a good or right frame of mind when I would probably get annoyed. But for the most part, I would appreaciate them.
I’ll see what I can come up with… 🙂
Michael, this was supposed to be a reply to your #11, but it didn’t post that way. I’m sometimes having trouble posting.
They are pretty amazing folks, both families.
Good to have you back, and to hear what you are thinking, my friend.
And of course my #14 was supposed to be set as a reply to my #13, but still didn’t post as I tried to. Oh well, no big deal.
Anyway, as for the TBN thing, I have a situation coming up in a month or so that I’m not looking forward to. My immediate family is taking a vacation to Disney World with some others from my wife’s side of the family. One of the days, the plan is to go to the nearby Holy Land Experience which is owned by TBN. I want nothing of having my money going to that organization. So I have decided to not go but will not try to make a ruckus with the rest of the family in order to maintain harmony. There are some in the group who are gung ho on going to the Holy Land Experience, and in fact it is a bigger thing for them than even going to Disney. I am far from an ODM, but TBN is one area where I wish Christians would show more discernment.
TBN is an abomination…
Thank you, my friend.
The jury is till out on the “reply” button…not sure if it makes things more confusing.
No doubt. Over-reliance on video screens/ Power Point, etc., certainly isn’t helping.
Dave Mustaine, lead vox and guitar for Megadeth, was asked if he would support legislation to make gay marriage legal and said, “I’m Christian. The answer to that would be no.”
TBN gets the same answer from me. 😉
from here the reply button works … it keeps posts and comments together as one reads (lurks) – the downside is that if you’re popping in from time to time you may miss some good stuff that has appeared up the line … still i guess i’m hoping for a positive verdict from the jury
Don’t know if you’ve ever let us know, but is there a way I could listen to your teaching? Also glad to have the site back. The universe is now firmly realigned, lol. Blessings to you pastor.
We don’t record my stuff because the delivery is more interactive and that doesn’t translate well if you can’t hear the question I’m answering.
It also keeps me from being full of myself and preaching to the microphone… 🙂
The O.T. had the Levites and we have career “men (generic) of God” – both corrupted by opportunities to insert their own kingdom building, eh?
Em, I kind of like it too…
I don’t like the reply button because I have to read the entire post again to catch what everyone has said. Whereas before, I knew the last post I read was say, number 20. Now the next time I come here, I can’t just go to number 21 and read on….I have to go back and read it ALL again to see what people have replied to. I think it is easier to just say, “Michael, re: your number 17…..” for replies.
So there is my 2 cents worth. Carry on, everyone.
1. Simply teaching the Bible simply philosophy is what I grew up with as it’s what CC is known for. Verse by verse teaching is what I learn from the most but I realize that is only as good as the person teaching.
2. I would be blown away to know that anyone I have sat under thought the congregation was spiritually dimwitted. I did serve at a church where the pastor told me that anyone could do a bible study and if I was ever at a loss as what to share to just listen to a CS tape and regurgitate it. Sad, isn’t it?
3. Harvest Crusades are something people look forward to each year here in Southern California. Many want to go to enjoy the message and music without bringing the unsaved while others see it as a good way to allow others to hear the Gospel. The problem is you could never be sharing Christ all year with a person and then ‘rely’ on Greg to do the heavy lifting.
4. I enjoy WWF a lot. I scaled back a ton as I was playing way too much. If you aren’t sure something is a word you simply try playing it and no consequences if you’re wrong. Isn’t that the same as using a dictionary? 🙂
5. We’re desperate to find a church to attend and run into roadblocks at every turn. I went outside of CC the last three times and things didn’t work out. We just attended a CC and yesterday they showed a Kirk Cameron film for the Sunday service. It’s frustrating.
6. Wouldn’t we all??…
7. And this further discourages me as so many don’t have a problem appearing on this network.
8. Wouldn’t we all??…
9. Been questioning myself a ton lately. Not pleasant to realize you aren’t all that you held yourself to be.
10. I used to love to get away as you described and miss it more and more as the years go by. Sometimes it depresses me no end that I can’t go the places I’d like to such as visiting our son and daughter who live in Oakland and Portland respectively. Things I had hoped I might regain seem forever lost to me.
If we are voting, I don’t like the reply button – but I am an old dog and this is a new trick. 🙂
Hey MLD!! Try clicking on an avatar. That’s new too!! As well as half of the Dodger’s roster… 🙂
MLD, maybe it is a generational thing. I’m old too.
I have never been a fan of late in the season trades. I prefer that everyone go with the team they got.
But this should be good for the next several years.
Well, I guess I’m coming out the closet to the rest of you about who I am with the whole facebook login.
1. Same reason I find people in CC circles who end up elsewhere after a period of time.
2. JP Moreland preached at church and used big words and found the congregation found joy in it. It did take a one week for the people to get used to it, but when they did they found it delightful. I almost wish for multiple services at a church. 1st service is for those who need the basics and 2nd service is at a much higher depth.
3. Agreed. My church live watched the live webstream. Almost 300 people attended. 20 people went forward, some were rededicating their lives.
3.1 In the last week, I’ve personally prayed with 10 families and helped another dozen with both physical and emotional needs. If I could convince the 300 from my church to do the same, I think our community would be entirely different.
3.1.1 Perhaps, I’m over emphasizing my ministry as much of what I do is make the gospel palatable (not in the water it down way) to people so that when they get to the Harvest crusade they are are ready to make the commitment.
7. I’m certain we could find a few pastors who’d like the brothel ministry.
Now my points
11. I’ve been bothered recently by something Michael talked about months ago. 1 Peter 2:17 says “Honor all.” I’ve been trying to figure out how to provide accountability to people and speak to the truth to them, especially when it hurts, while at the same time honoring them. It’s easy to look down upon people when you are right and they’re, so obviously, wrong. It’s also easy to dishonor those who don’t fit the same socio-economic mold you fit. It’s wrong or those who are using you for their own gain.
12. I’m a depraved sinner and those times when I think a sin will not overtake me, are the times when I confronted by my own disgusting self.
if I was ever at a loss as what to share to just listen to a CS tape and regurgitate it. Sad, isn’t it?<<<
I don't think this is so sad. In the CC world, Pastor Chuck is the Tradition and am a big fan of keeping the Traditions. At my parish our priest reads a short homily from a book of prepared homilies. I am just as blessed and edified by this as I ever was by the hour-long opinion pieces offered by evangelical pastors. The verse-by-verse, Bible-centered claim is a little misleading. It's usually about 2 minutes of actual Bible-reading and 58 minutes of the pastor's opinions and personal stories, etc. If the rest of the typical evangelical service had more theological content they wouldn't need hour long sermons anyway.
I don’t care for it either. Too hard to find new posts.
come on you folks, too old? hah! you don’t know what old is … yet 🙂
this has been my day’s ponder after reading Josh the B’s post … how to get God inside our heads … repeating and repeating? amen and amen to that, but i wonder if Michael’s people know how privileged they are . . .
one time i took an algebra course from an instructor who asked the class to do the solving while SHE wrote down our equations on the blackboard as we went along (chalk in one hand and eraser in the other) – she made us do the work and it worked; we all learned algebra
why wouldn’t that work for Bible study, i asked myself and myself replied: because you have to have a very smart, educated leader asking the questions … rabbi style
Michael is one of those rabbi style teachers? how blessed his folks are
i like what is up here now as i sit at my big ole desktop and scroll with just a stroke on the little mouse’s head, categorizing within the thread works for my one track mind, but – i guess i can see the problem for folks who use a more modern and portable device to connect on the internet … if there was just some way to force people to put in those reference numbers, Nonnie
It’s a lot more enjoyable for me…I really want them to know and understand the text and be able to “make their own application”. This is what works best for us.
shoot! the ‘reply’ button voted down?
#46 refers to my #44, NOT my #45 and my #45 referred to Nonnie’s #34, not my #44 … see what i mean/meant?
well … maybe, it’s God reminding me to shut up and lurk 🙂
I believe there’s a built in flaw to the way some perceive the “verse by verse” (VbV) method of teaching the bible as presupposing that it’s equal to teaching’ “the whole counsel of God”.
The point is, it can be best summarized by the adage, “missing the forest for the trees”.
One can focus much attention upon the verse or Greek/Hebrew word while missing the broader narrative/story of the bible.
I think it would be a stretch to assume that when Paul said, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” Acts 20:27 he was referencing, VbV teaching, from Genesis thru Revelation (as Revelation was probably not even penned). Rather It would seem as if he had a handle upon the flow of the bible (the storyline) and clearly communicated that to his hearers.
That said…I personally value and practice VbV teaching. 😉
Michael, welcome back!
Ok I thin I’m on… I agree with you Michael that TBN is an abonation.. I could share some real dirt about them but will not.. Perhaps we will be able totalk off record one day and I will set you know.. Pretty much everyone has heqard of their latest problems so no need to go into that here.. However, I do feel that calvary Chapel pastors including Churck should refrain from appering on TBN as it sends a mixed miessage.when I get the chance to see those pastors in person that have I will in love share my opnion. I feel TBN is riding to the Calvary Chapel coat tails……I’ll get off my box now
used to be someone else…
why do we assume that appearing on TBN is support or sends a mixed message? Doesn’t anyone listen to what is being said any more? I am a CC pastor and would go anywhere (even a satanic station) to proclaim the true gospel. As long as someone doesn’t tell me what to say or pray, I would take the opportunity to bring light into the TBN darkness.
TBN appearances question: if men (generic) who are serious about God; who are sound, or nearly sound, doctrinal people have an opportunity for face time on TBN, wouldn’t this be a good thing (assuming their Faith is not edited or distorted)? … in the interest of bringing a space cadet Christian or two aiming back towards earth?
i would go to TBN’s theme park, if i got in free … imagine! charging Christians for a fantasy
When you choose to participate in heresy fest, you are obligated in my opinion to show the difference between the light you’re bringing and the darkness the network has embraced.
Instead of doing so, the orthodox teachers act as if it’s just another platform, which actually gives credence to the 23 hours of heresy to follow.
bringing the light isn’t enough? Light can speak for itself and, perhaps, speaks loudest in the darkness.
That is a lovely cliche, but doesn’t apply to the appearances I’ve seen for the reason given above.
I don’t buy for a second that the reason people go on that outhouse is to “bring then light”.
Sound folks have appeared on TBN from the beginning and all that has happened is the empire has grown out of control and the terrible programming continues. I believe the late Walter Martin confronted Paul Crouch re the false teachings that abounded on TBN and nothing happened. Now they are neck deep in scandals and are bringing even more scorn to the body of Christ.
Xenia, I guess I would have played Chuck’s tape before trying to duplicate it on my own. I have a deep belief now that the pulpit is to be guarded at all costs and in fact is sacred. One associate pastor there did a Sunday morning service laying out the case that Prince Charles could be the antichrist.
Being a smaller church elders etc. were picked from not too many men. We were then allowed to give it a go as far as teaching is concerned. I was never qualified to do so and I was removed from that position as the pastor decided that because I couldn’t travel to Mexico I was no longer qualified to be in leadership.
I have sat through many verse by verse studies that lasted an hour or so and 90% of the time was spent on a few verses and the last 5-10 minutes were rushed through so as to complete a chapter(s). A lot of important stuff was basically skipped over in order for the pastor to focus on the ‘meatier’ stuff.
erunner, yep. Once an assistant pastor at my old CC gave an entire sermon based on what he supposed was the seating arrangement of the Apostles at the Last Supper. (We know where St. John sat, it’s pure speculation where everyone else sat.) It was 100 percent his own opinions which he tried to convince us was Bible truth. Most of the people I talked to after the service thought it was insightful and refreshing. “Not the same old thing.”
Give me the “same old thing,” please.
Yet this guy would swear up and down that he was Bible-based and would say that my Church (whose 2-hour Liturgy consists mostly of extracts from the Scriptures) is a vain tradition of man.
I think a Christian *could* appear on TBN if the first thing he said was “Most of the stuff produced by this network is heresy” and then began listing and making corrections. The Christian could do this until he was yanked off the air. Otherwise, just using the platform to preach the usual milky Bible stories and a few scary Rapture stories…. No.
I think that there are two ways to look at who is on TBN. If you are just broadcasting your church service, like Charles Stanley or Adrian Rogers did, that is one thing and I give them a pass. But if you are sitting on the sofa shuckin’ and jivin’ with those guys, you are helping them sell their heresy..
Hey Reuben – Josh Becketts coming after your guys tonight!
Your turn…what’s on your mind?
1. There is nothing like election season to bring out the best in Christians (Sarcasm). If I get one more request on FB to watch 2016, I am going to have to start blocking people.
2. I no longer have a dog in the political hunt. A regular reader here posted something on FB about how Jesus was more Liberal than any Liberal, and more Conservative than any Conservative. I guess it was a Keller quote. I disagree.
3. Passive agressive pastors are watching. Aggressive pastors are watching. Believe me. They are watching. They will let you know they are watching. I am bummed to find out they will do little more. It is as if by simply letting you know they are watching, you should hide under a rock.
4. Manning has had one decent outing thus far. I don’t care how Tebow is doing.
5. The more I venture out into the great wide world of theology, the more I like Xenia and MLD.
6. The internet has allowed people from all over the world to experience different things. An Australian, in Australia, called into the local sports talk show today to ask questions about American football. It seems he listens to on-line radio broadcasts of the games here in Denver, and had about a million questions that made me laugh. Like, “Why is there a 2 minute warning? Don’t they have clocks that people can see?”
7. I have been driven deeper into meditation on God’s Word in a liturgical service, at an Anglican church, than I ever was before in my entire life. Communion is a whole other level for me now. Everyone should attend a Liturgical church for a few months. (With an open mind of course)
8. The less personality there is in the pulpit of your church, the better the church will be.
9. I am going to go through the Anglican Catechism. I am doing it for me. I wish I was around back in the day when it took 3 years. What a learning experience. It makes me emotional just thinking about it.
10. I love this blog. I love the blog host. We are hoping for a family trip up to Oregon. It will be the best glass of whiskey I ever drink.
MLD @62, bring it.
I was just getting used to the “REPLY” button. 🙁
“the pews can’t understand the deeper things”…a truth that drives Christians out of the church and into home studies. Too often, churches aim for the middle, and lose the tail ends.
The reply button got voted out…and thank you for the kind words.
I will enjoy an adult beverage with you some day…
Josh let a run go, there, MLD.
Like I said, bring it.
Just too cool to see this place full of fellowship and kindhearted interaction. I’m hoping, praying, inviting those who felt attacked, sometimes by me, to return, reconnect, for Michael and others. Safety is the cornerstone of a community, and this feels like a safe place again.
…and a farewell to the “reply button”, like New Coke, tried it, glad it was short lived
I guess I was the only one who liked the “REPLY” button.
Reformed Christian in exile. Right here. :/
OHHHH! And the Rockies strike that big bad Beckett again!
I always love things I think….all points this time especially number 2…..How I squirm if I’m not challenged from the pulpit…So much dumbing down in so many areas, and it has spilled over into many churches….I love F.B.Meyer for how he stretches my brain and makes me love God so much more…..
I smiled at the experience in the woods too…
MLD, I would just like to say that Beckett, and the dodgers, can come back for another shutout tomorrow night. 10-0 equals divine retribution. This is what dodgers get for Manny Ramirez, and general devil worship/debauchery/money loving fornicators with satan.
I HATE the dodgers.
“Insightful and refreshing”, but not necessarily biblical. I understand the desire to receive the same old thing, and would agree with that sentiment, but it is also important to remember that all liturgy is influenced by the culture in which is was developed, as much as the originators will claim that it isn’t.
Wow! Reuben, It is just a game ya’ know……
We hosted the simulcast at our church, and this was a fear of mine. Out of 100+ who came, 3 came forward to make professions of faith. Obviously we’re rejoicing over those three.
I was a bit disappointed with the others who just showed up to watch Greg Laurie on the big screen, but someone shared an aspect of that with me I hadn’t thought of. Out of the rest who were there, several may have invited a friend who didn’t come – others were using the time to pray for the lost – still others were perhaps challenged again to go share the gospel with someone.
The main point of the evangelistic “crusade” is to share the gospel with those that are lost. That doesn’t necessarily happen only when the main speaker shares the gospel from the front. There are results of it that will reverberate for a while.
Regarding old dogs….kind of like 3rd graders being introduced to multiplication for the first time…pretty well mastered addition and subtraction…but too darned old to learn this new complicated multiplying thing. Isn’t that why you take it step by step and practice and after a few tries it’s not so hard….then, darn, someone is now introducing complicated division. Just too darned old to learn anything new….especially if it takes a little effort.
Make your own application.
Yeah TBN is a no go on my TV
I think the #1 needs to be its own detailed post. That statement that is pushed forward by CC pastors as a pat on the back to avoid any controversial issues except issues that CC is comfortable being controversial with of course. It is both a shot across the bow to seminary and a commercial to lure in people who are tired of wading through complex church issues.
I understand where they are coming from, but a lot of today’s CC is just a right winged Christian culture sect that makes their extra biblical distinctives the norm for any confessing christian. They have come full circle into the thing they had despised. At the same time a lot of confessional churches major on the minors as well. I guess everyone does it a bit..
I just dont like to see barriers to the gospel.
You do have a delightfully unique (& humorous ( way of communicating, Michael! I hope we have a chance to meet this side of the new earth—but, if not, glad to call you family!
Thank you, Jeani!
Em, You have a daughter who is a nurse in Oregon from what I’ve read in your posts. She was faced with losing her job or getting the Covid vaccine. What did she decide to do? Is she now unemployed, or did she get vacinated? I just found out that a friend of ours from Calvary Chapel spent four months in the hospital with Covd, came home, and then he had to go back to the hospital again with complications. He is now hone again but he has to walk around with portable oxygen because his lungs are still not functioning properly. He is in his early 60s and slender, without any underlying health conditions. Its a surprise to all that he was so terribly sick with it. He’s my best friend’s second closest friend and his name is Ray . Prayers appreciated as he and his wife are good people and good Christians.