Category Archives: Spiritual Health

Musings on what it means to be a spiritually healthy person.

The Cycle of Rebellion

Explaining the Bible Spiritual Health

In my last post in this category, I gave a narrative description of the first 6 books of the Old Testament ending with the death of Joshua. Now, I’m picking up where that post left off.

The key thing to remember for the rest of Jewish history is that the Jews lived in a constant cycle that went something like this:

  • The Jews forsake God and his laws for foreign gods and immorality.
  • God forsakes the Jews to foreign governments and oppression.
  • The people repent and return to God.
  • God rescues them.

The Time of the Judges

This cycle of rebellion is especially clear during the 400 years after Joshua and before the first king. It is known as the time of the Judges because there was no central leadership for the Hebrew people. Instead, God led the people through his law and through some key people known as the judges.

The Bible doesn’t give us an exhaustive list of all the judges during those 400 years, but the ones we are told about are significant figures. Here’s a summary of the most notable ones:

  • Gideon was a humble man who never thought much of himself. He ambushed the Midianites according to a plan God had given him and conquered them with only 300 Israelite men.
  • Deborah was a woman who tried to encourage Barak (a man) to lead the nation into war against their enemies, but Barak wouldn’t go unless she went too.
  • Samson is the famous one who had been promised strength from God so long as he maintained a spiritually focused and somewhat ascetic life. He got cocky and hooked up with a foreign spy named Delilah who convinced him to reveal his secret (symbolized by uncut hair). However, at the end of his life, he dramatically pulled an entire building down on his captors killing himself in the process.

God Speaks Again

During the time of the Judges, God hadn’t been speaking much to people, but that changed with the coming of a man named Samuel. Samuel’s mother had promised that if God would bless her with a child, she would dedicate him to the service of the Lord.

God gave her a son, and she kept her promise. After he had been weaned, she took him to the High Priest, Eli, and gave him to the service of the Lord.

One night, God spoke audibly to Samuel, and that began the time of the last judge who was also a prophet.

During Samuel’s leadership, the people demanded a king. God allowed it, and Samuel poured oil on Saul, an act called anointing, to signify that he was the one God had chosen to be the next king. When Samuel anointed Saul, God also sent his Holy Spirit to come upon Saul and empower him for his job as king.

Saul’s time as king was rough, though. During his reign, the nation was consistently harrassed by the Philistines, but Saul never could do anything about it. Saul also simply refused to listen to Samuel and the messages from God that Samuel would deliver. It got so bad, that God actually removed His Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to come and torment Saul.

It was at this time when we first hear about David, the youngest son of Jesse.

David: A Man After God’s Own Heart

God told Samuel to go and anoint a new king. He had rejected Saul as king and told Samuel that the next king would be selected based on his internal character over any other quality. In fact, God said of David that he was “a man after God’s own heart.”

Immediately after David was anointed, God removed his Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Then, in an ironic turn, David was chosen to be Saul’s musician because when David played his harp, the king’s suffering would be alleviated. While in the palace, David became fast friends with Saul’s son Jonathan and married Saul’s daughter Michal.

During one battle against the Philistines, Saul’s army was taunted by a 9 foot tall giant named Goliath. No one was willing to go one-on-one with him except David who before that moment had been only a shepherd. God helped him defeat Goliath, and the nation began to revere David.

Saul’s jealousy burned against David. He attempted to kill David, and David ran away. Then, for the majority of the rest of his reign, Saul went on a manhunt for David. Meanwhile, David continued to build a makeshift army of men completely loyal to him.

When David finally became king after Saul’s death, the nation flourished into an empire. David conquered the surrounding peoples and led the nation with integrity except for a couple exceptions. His biggest failing was when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his best friends, and then conspired to kill the husband when he discovered the wife was pregnant.

David’s legacy as king boiled down to three things:

  • David led the country to a level of military success it would never know again.
  • Because of David’s faithfulness, God promised that he would always keep a descendant of David on the throne of His Kingdom.
  • God said of David at the end of his life that he had been completely devoted to God throughout his life except for the one incident with Bathsheba.

Solomon

In a testament to the grace of God, Solomon, David’s second son with Bathsheba, became the next king. Solomon’s reign was one of extreme prosperity. David had conquered nations and signed treaties so that for most of Solomon’s reign tribute was paid to Israel from surrounding nations. On top of that, God made a promise to Solomon that he would be incredibly wise, rich, and long-lived. Finally, during Solomon’s reign, the construction of the First Temple was undertaken and completed.

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I’m an Enthusiast

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life Personal Spiritual Health


Enneagram

According to this personality test, I am an Enthusiast. Here are some quotes from the website:

  • The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered
  • Easily become accomplished achievers, generalists who do many different things well: multi-talented. Practical, productive, usually prolific, cross-fertilizing areas of interest.
  • How to motivate me. Sevens want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
  • People like me: John F. Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, Leonard Bernstein, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Taylor, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Steven Spielberg, Federico Fellini, Richard Feynman, Timothy Leary, Robin Williams, Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Gianni Versace, Liza Minelli, Joan Collins, Malcolm Forbes, Noel Coward, Sarah Ferguson, Larry King, Joan Rivers, Regis Philbin, Howard Stern, John Belushi, and “Auntie Mame” (Mame).
  • My Tendencies: When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), scattered Sevens suddenly become perfectionistic and critical at One. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), gluttonous, scattered Sevens become more focused and fascinated by life, like healthy Fives.

So, take the test, and tell me who you are!

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What’s Wrong with Me? — Follow-up

Front Page My Spiritual Life

I just thought I’d write a follow-up to my previous blog…

The church consultant had just a few things to tell me:

  1. The problems at NWBC were there long before I ever came, and in no way did I cause them.
  2. My leadership was such that many of the problems that were “under the table” were brought to the surface.
  3. There is nothing that I or anyone else could have done to turn the church around without the drastic process of a complete restart.

He told me that he had clearly communicated these three points to the leadership team of NWBC as well as the Executive Director of the Midwest Baptist Conference.

Therefore, the concerns he had about me were in no way related to the results at NWBC, and that alleviated my fears quite a bit.

He told me that he had done 40 interviews, and one theme came up in about 15 of those interviews while another theme came up in just about all of them.

Some people had mentioned that I wasn’t willing to do any visitation or personal pastoral care. Along with this, some gave specifics of why they perceived me to be insensitive in some way or another. I had failed to make personal face-to-face contact with them in response to certain events in their lives that I would have known about from prayer requests printed in the bulletin.

The consultant and I talked about that for a bit, and he basically told me that making personal face-to-face contact is a necessity for demonstrating to people that you care. I’m cool with that.

The second theme was that nearly everyone said something like I was stubborn or unwilling to change my mind. On that point, the consultant told me that he wasn’t really sure where it was coming from, and he didn’t even have any specifics to tell me. We talked about it a bit, and my own conclusion is that I am very firm on certain principles, and that can be perceived as a general stubbornness if there isn’t the personal connection with people to help them feel comfortable enough to really talk with me about challenging issues.

The bottom line is that I need to

  • Make an extra effort to build relationships through being physically present with people rather than relying on phone calls, emails, letters, or even church programs.
  • Make an effort to draw closer to people who are my antagonists rather than pulling away from them. If I withdraw from them, they will find other (more damaging) outlets for their frustration.
  • Initiate opportunities for me to listen to others so that they begin to see that I really am open to talking about things and even to hear them challenge me on issues. I need to initiate those discussions to establish that the open door really is open to them.

I can do those things.

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What’s Wrong with Me? — Facing my problems again.

Front Page My Spiritual Life

Warning: self-critical blog alert.

NWBC Update

It has been a few months since I left Northwest Baptist Church, and in the intervening months, NWBC has been going through a process of evaluation with a church consultant.

From what I have heard, the process has been challenging and helpful. The bottom line is that the consultant reported on some key spiritual problems in the church and asked the leadership of the church to seriously consider what the future would hold. Basically, the question boiled down to this, “Do you currently have the emotional, financial, and spiritual resources to address these problems as a church?”

The answer was, “No.”

So, the only other option for the church was to seek the help of the denominational district (The Midwest Baptist Conference) and to initiate what has been called a “restart.”

The process of a restart boils down to these things: The district identifies a church planter to be the new pastor; then the congregation affirms him; finally, the congregation hands over all assets (name, constitution, property, bank accounts, etc.) to an advisory team comprised of a district representative, the new pastor, the pastor’s coach, and a few members of the congregation. From that moment on, the previous church is officially dissolved, and the assets are used in the formation of a new church fellowship.

This model has had great success in the transformation of dead churches into living and active churches, but there are of course difficulties along the way.

Last week, the congregation voted to do a restart, and I’m glad they did.
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Paper Airplanes

Childlike

Charlie has gotten me hooked on paper airplanes again. As a kid, I used to make hundreds of them. My friend had a book with what must have been 50 designes, and we memorized them all. I can still remember some of them, but there are others I can’t remember at all.

Anyway, as I’ve gotten back into it, I’ve found a couple great sites online, and I thought I’d post the links here for myself and for anyone else who might be interested.

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In the Beginning(s)

Explaining the Bible

How the Perfect Creation was Corrupted

Nothing existed except for God, and he decided when everything should begin. He created the world in a flash of light, and built it up piece by piece until it was exactly the way he wanted it, but despite its beauty and greatness, he noticed something was missing, so he created human beings.

God formed his crowning achievement from the dust of the earth and gave the first man and the first woman the first job—to be his representatives throughout the whole world, taking care of all that God had made. He also gave them their first true choice when he told them they were not to eat the fruit from one particular tree. However, disregarding God’s will, they ate it anyway.

The consequences for disobeying God were severe. They lost their innocence, they lost their place in paradise, they lost access to the tree of life and its sustaining power, but most of all, they lost the purity of relationship they had with each other and with God.

From that point on, history is a record of people struggling to have healthy relationships with each other, struggling to find their place in this world, struggling against sickness and death, and most of all struggling with the temptations to do their own thing and disregard God.

(The Bible does not shy away from telling us these struggles in all their graphic detail.)

Noah: Scrap it all and start over!

Adam and Eve had children together, and those children began to populate the earth, but the first two got in a fight over who was better at pleasing God. Cain couldn’t stand the fact that God was more pleased with Abel’s way of worship, so Cain became the first murderer. God banished Cain to be a wanderer, but his descendants were the first to develop cities and civilization.

In those early cities, people did whatever they wanted. They continued to live without regard for God. They became more and more evil. In fact, there was only one family line that maintained the knowledge of God, and by the time Noah was born, God was fed up. He destroyed all people with a great flood, but saved Noah, his family, and many animals by warning him in advance to build the largest sea-going vessel of all time.

When the flood subsided, God made a promise to Noah, that he would never bring flood the earth again. Additionally, he called Noah to a higher standard of living based on the simple fact that blood was sacred. No animal should be eaten with blood still in it, and no innocent human blood should be shed.

Noah’s descendants, however, soon forgot God’s commands to live in humble relationship with him and others. Instead, they tried to build a tower to the heavens to declare their own supremacy on the earth. God, again fed up with their disregard of him, simply caused them all to have different languages. Once they couldn’t communicate, they couldn’t work together, and they dispersed. After all, God had commanded them in the beginning to be his representatives throughout the whole earth and to take care of the whole world. As long as they stayed together in one place, they would only get more and more concerned with themselves and what they were doing. Getting their languages all mixed up was what they needed to finally begin the spread throughout the earth.

Abraham: A Third Beginning

As people began to spread throughout the earth, they continued to live their lives independently from the one who created them. They continued to disregard God, but God never gave up on them. Once again, he identified a single person with whom he could start over. God chose Abram (who later became known as Abraham), and made a “covenant” with him. God entered into a binding agreement with Abraham that was pretty one-sided.

God would bless Abraham with great wealth. God would give Abraham many descendants. God would give Abraham and his descendants a wonderfully fertile land to call their own. God would protect Abraham, and as if that weren’t enough, God would eventually use Abraham and his offspring to bless the entire world!

In return, Abraham had to follow God where he led, obey God’s clear commands, and be circumcised as a sign of the unique arrangement he had with God—each side would make specific sacrifices, but each side would receive great blessings. It would all start with Abraham’s offspring, so God claimed ownership over Abraham’s body.

Abraham proved to be the most faithful of all people up to that point. He had some major failings to be sure, but he developed a close relationship with God that empowered him to take great risks for God.

Abraham’s son Isaac had a son named Jacob, and God changed his name to Israel. He had 12 sons (and a number of daughters too), but two were his favorite. 10 of them ganged up on Joseph and sold him into slavery. He eventually ended up in Egypt. However, his faith in God caused him to be committed to integrity, and God blessed him with great insight as well. Before long, he ended up being the right-hand-man of the king (Pharaoh) of Egypt! In that position, he stockpiled food in preparation for a famine God warned them about.

When the famine came, many people came to Egypt for food, and Joseph’s family ended up moving there after Joseph’s brothers demonstrated their remorse for how they treated him when he was younger. Joseph wisely told them, “What you intended for evil, God meant for good.” It was because of their evil deed that Joseph ended up in Egypt, and it was because of Joseph that Egypt had so much food to go around. What they intended for evil, God meant for good.

Moses: Deliverance from Slavery

A new dynasty of Pharaoh’s came to the throne of Egypt, and they wanted to undo many of the things of the past. This included the nice treatment given to the people of Israel (the Hebrews). Soon, they were considered slaves of the nation and the Pharaoh’s demanded hard labor from them. It got so bad that eventually a Pharaoh ordered that all the Hebrew boys were to be killed to control the population growth of the Hebrews. God spared Moses as a baby by having the Pharaoh’s daughter adopt him as her own.

Moses was raised in the palace but soon became aware of the terrible way the Egyptians were treating his own people. One day, in a fit of rage, he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew. Ashamed of his deed, he ran into the desert where he met a man who believed in the God who created all things. Moses stayed with Jethro, married one of his daughters and tended his sheep in the desert for 40 years when one day, God spoke to him.

God told Moses that it was time to rescue the Hebrews from their slavery and to fulfill his promise to Abraham about his descendents living in a fertile land they could call their own. With the power of God on his side, then, Moses returned to Egypt and demanded that Pharaoh let the Hebrews leave. Of course, Pharaoh refused, and God sent plague after plague on the people of Egypt until finally Pharaoh relented.

The last plague was different from the others, though. Most of the plagues involved some kind of terrible environmental catastrophe that could have been explained away somehow, but the final plague was undoubtedly supernatural. Every single firstborn male in the entire land of Egypt, including people and livestock, died. However, some were spared. Specifically, God told Moses that if anyone took the blood of a lamb and put it on the top and sides of their front doors, then he would “pass over” that house and spare those inside. Thus, the blood of a lamb was a shield of protection against death.

Pharaoh’s own son died that night, and countless Egyptian families lost loved ones as well. They wanted the Israelites out of there. In fact, they wanted so badly for them to leave, that they sent them off that night with food, supplies, and tons of Egyptian gold and silver.

That’s how, after 400 years of life in Egypt, many of them served in slavery, the Hebrews finally left. All 2 million of them headed out toward the Red Sea and the desert beyond. When they got to the Red Sea, God sent a violent wind to push back the waters and let them pass, but when Pharaoh, who changed his mind, tried to cross with his army, the sea returned to its place and drowned them all.

The Hebrews were completely safe in the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. While they were there in the desert, God led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He gave Moses wisdom to handle disputes that arose. He provided water in the most amazing ways, and he even gave them miraculous food. There were quail that flew through regularly for the people to kill and eat, and every morning the ground was covered with an edible white substance the people affectionately called “Manna” which meant, “What is it?”

Sinai: The Covenant

God had made a covenant with Adam and Eve—they were to be his representatives throughout the world, multiply, fill it up, and take care of it. God had made a covenant with Noah—God would never flood the world again, and people would consider all blood to be sacred. God had made a covenant with Abraham—God would bless, and Abraham would obey even to the point of making deeply personal sacrifices. Now, God was making a covenant that would be directly with all the people of Israel.

God had Moses lead the people to the mountain called Sinai, and he descended onto the mountain in a great dark cloud. It looked like a volcano about to erupt in smoke, ash and lava. The people were afraid to go near the mountain, and in fact, God told them not to touch it. Moses, however, was allowed to go up the mountain into the cloud, and it was there that he received the 10 Commandments for the first time.

God himself took two tablets of stone and carved the 10 Commandments onto the two tablets. Moses stayed on the mountain for 40 days and nights while God taught him other rules and laws for how this new society should function.

When Moses came down the mountain, however, he saw that Aaron, his brother, had taken the gold and silver given them by the Egyptians, had fashioned a statue of a calf, and all the people were having a worship party to honor the statue! Moses was disgusted. He threw down the tablets, breaking them to bits, he slaughtered many of the people in righteous anger, and he finally ground up the statue and put the powder into their drinking water. Many more died of illness from the water.

Moses returned to the mountain, where God gave him a second set of tablets, and confirmed once again the laws they were to follow with an added sense of urgency—the people were on thin ice with God. Nevertheless, God prescribed for the people a method by which they could always receive forgiveness for anything they had done and by which they could maintain a healthy relationship with the one who made them.

Their relationship with God would be based on three things, the Prophet, the Priest, and the Sacrificial System. The Prophet would spend time in God’s presence and hear his words for the people. Then he would speak to the people for God and let them know what God expected of them. The Sacrificial System would enable people to pay God back for the sins they had committed, to receive forgiveness from him, and to re-enact his saving grace when the angel of death passed over their homes back in Egypt. They would present an animal, perfect in every way, to the Priest who would kill it, spill its blood onto the altar, and then burn the carcass up. The blood was sacred, and the holiness of innocent blood was enough to wash away the sins of people and make them right again with God. The Priest was there to make sure everything was done the way God wanted it to, but more than that, he was the one who would take the blood from the sacrifice, and go into the presence of God himself to present the blood. It was an elaborate system, but the people knew clearly that their relationship with God was always based on the Prophet, the Priest, and the Sacrifice.

Aaron, despite his major mistake at the foot of Sinai, would be the first High Priest.

Kadesh: So Close, and Yet So Far

They soon reached the southern border of the land God had promised to Abraham a hundred generations before. Moses sent 12 spies northward to scope out the land, but when they came back, only two spies (Caleb and Joshua) actually believed God would help them take possession of the land. The others were too overwhelmed with the size and circumstances of the existing population, and spoke against heading into the land.

The people complained. No one wanted to go into the land God had promised, so God, once again angered by the rebelliousness of his people ordered them to spend another 40 years in the desert so all the rebellious people could die off and their children would be able to enter the land.

40 years later, though, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb were still alive and they brought the people back to the border of the land of promise. In one final speech to the people, Moses reminded them all of the amazing history of their relationship with God. Moses spoke of the promise to Abraham, the time in Egypt, the miraculous escape, the Laws of God, and the land before them. He prophesied of a day when God would raise up another prophet like himself, and then he handed the people over to their new leader, Joshua. Moses, however, went up onto a mountain overlooking the promised land. He died there, and God himself buried the body.

Joshua, down below, prepared to lead the people into the land they had been promised centuries before.

Joshua: Entering the Land

Of all the people who came out of Egypt, all had died in the desert. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who had seen the miracles of Egypt, endured the wanderings in the desert, and were going to enter the land promised to Abraham. Leading these hardhearted people was a daunting task for someone as old as Joshua, but at the beginning of his leadership, God spoke to him:

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. — Joshua 1:5-6

With confidence that comes from knowing the presence of the Lord, Joshua led the people to invade the land of Canaan. God told them it was time to bring judgment on all the people who had been living in the land and worshiping other gods. He told his people to go throughout the land and completely eliminate all the people who were living there. It seems awfully vicious of God to ruthlessly kill so many people, but then again, this was only the second time since Noah’s Flood that God had brought judgment on a large group of people by killing them, and it was the only time that God told his people to go on the offensive against another group of people.

They first went up against Jericho, a city with a very formidable wall. In response to a message from God, Joshua led the people to march around the city and make a lot of noise for a week, and on the final day, they marched so much and made so much noise that the walls crumbled to the ground! Everything in the city was destroyed except the family of a former prostitute who had helped out the people of Israel because she feared God.

Aachan, however, stole some of the riches that he saw and hid them in his tent. For that disobedience, God did not help the Israelites in their next battle and they were soundly beaten. Aachan’s sin was then discovered, so he and his family were immediately stoned to death.

The rest of the conquest went pretty well under Joshua’s leadership. The land was divided into 12 units, and different family groups were given some of the land with a few exceptions. The descendents of Levi (Levites) were given the job of managing the religious system of the land, so as priests, they were given no land of their own. God himself would be their inheritance. Since the Levites had no land, Joseph’s descendents were split in two and each half-tribe was given a unit of land.

Once they entered the land and had gotten relatively settled, Joshua, at the end of his life, gathered the people together and once again reconfirmed the covenant they had with God to obey him and to receive his blessings. He culminated his speech with one of the most climactic sayings in the Bible:

“… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” — Joshua 24:15

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Explaining the Whole Bible

Explaining the Bible Front Page VIP

As I have spoken with people about the Bible, I find more and more that people aren’t really familiar with the “plot” or the overall story of the Bible. Therefore, I’m going to try to go through the entire story of the Bible in a very brief overview fashion. The challenge is that I don’t want to leave anything out, but I want to make sure I’m not spending too much time on less essential things. To that end. I hope to actually split this up into two projects. One will be my brief commentary on each book of the Bible—that will help me feel like I’m covering everything in enough detail. The second will be my narrative summary of the whole Bible. Read More on this Topic

I’m not sure how this is going to work, so I’ll just get started.

If you subscribe to my blog by email, this is the only post you’ll be getting about this project. If you want to read my posts on the Bible, you will need to visit my site regularly, subscribe by rss, or update your email settings through the link in your email.

God bless.

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We have a house!

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

I’m just posting this as a quick note to all of you who care…

We have a new house!

This morning at 9:30, we signed the final paperwork to close on our new house. There still are some things the builder is doing to put the finishing touches on it, but we have started moving things over!

Please join us in prayer that God would make our new home a central point for fruitful ministry in Lafayette.

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Is there “Recovery” for the homosexual?

Front Page Tough Questions VIP

In the living room of my in-laws’ home I watched an episode of Law and Order that I haven’t seen before, and it bothered me quite a bit.

The victim was a young man who had tried unsuccessfully to “recover” from homosexuality through the counseling and support of a religious group called Regenesis. One of the supporters of the organization was a local doctor who had been promoting research that homosexuality was a reversible condition.

Along the way, the show took a few cheap shots at moral conservatives. Here are the two things that offended me the most:

  1. They connected the concepts of “Regenesis” and homosexual “recovery” to the attitudes of the vicious anti-gay religious protesters such as the infamous “God Hates Fags” pastor Fred Phelps. In so doing, they were trying to say that whether your methods are “acceptable” or not, a negative perspective of homosexuality in any sense is “unacceptable.” It’s the basic TV belief that tolerance is paramount (of course, the exception to this rule is that we must be intolerant of the intolerant).
  2. They directly attacked the efforts (not the research or the results as much) of the homosexual recovery agencies. In fact, they basically said that it was stupid for anyone to think a homosexual could “change.” I think they presented the “Regenesis” group in a good light but then quickly tore them down as being just as unaccepting, bigoted, and irrational as the Fred Phelps types.

I’m offended by these things because I feel they are dealing with a religious / moral issue as if it were a rational one. They are downplaying the heart of love many Christians have for homosexuals if it is ever combined with a belief that homosexuality is, as the Bible claims, an unnatural behavior. They are basically saying that people have to be idiots, bigots, or something worse to think that homosexuals can change or even control themselves.

I for one, have a higher view of both God and people than that. Yes, I unashamedly believe that people can change. I am a sin-aholic. My body is addicted to so many sins that I can’t even get into it all here. But I am undoubtedly addicted to sin. However, an amazing thing is true for me. My love for God oftens outpaces my desire to sin. There have been times in my life when I have been strongly tempted to sin but have instead resisted and claimed the promise God gives me—resist the devil and he will flee from you!

My point is simply this: We are all sinners. Each of us struggles with different sins with different levels of consequences in this present world. So what if the jury is still out on the present-day consequences of homosexual behavior? The jury is still out on the present-day consequences of coveting too! But that’s why God didn’t tell us to decide these things based on a jury. He’s simply told us what he wants, and we need to find our place in his will as we are set free from sin by the power of the cross and bound to righteousness by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

I’d love to hear your comments on this one. Is there recovery for homosexual people? Do you know anyone? Have you experienced it yourself? Please write some thoughts and help me make this blog entry a helpful one for others too.

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Help the Person and the Car

Childlike Family Stuff

Charlie has been getting into stop motion animation, and I think this one is one of his best. NOTE: This video was made from pictures taken ENTIRELY by him. I wasn’t even watching him do it. Of course, I did the computer work to put it into a movie, but he took all the pictures himself.


When one car causes another to crash, a helpful Jedi Knight arrives to save the day by using the force.

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How would you defend the authority of Scripture?

24 Theological Questions Front Page

Theological Question #2

One of the most foundationally important issues when it comes to any religious or theological belief system is the understanding of where the authority for one’s belief originates. Catholics look to the traditions and history of the church, but Protestants (and more specifically, Evangelicals) recognize the Bible as the sole authority for matters of faith. Here are a few key reasons I personally believe in the complete authority of Scripture over every other human or institution.

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Time in Crown Point went well

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

Jen and I had a good time at Hillside Community Church in Crown Point this past weekend. They were having their missions conference this month, and I was the featured guest this weekend. Since their theme was “His passion, our purpose; his purpose, our passion,” I dealt with the question of what was the number one thing on the heart of Jesus himself.

It turns out that the number one thing on the heart of Jesus was submission to the will of his Father. So what does it mean to share the same passion as Jesus? What does it mean to be passionately submitted to the will of the Father, and why do we find it so hard? I’ll deal with that in a later post (I hope to get my sermon uploaded to my podcast soon.)

Anyway, the church is pretty healthy and is raising money to support their missions budget for this next year. Last year, they raised over $20,000, and this year they are hoping for $30,000!

Thank you for your prayers for us. It looks like we will soon be having a new church partner and perhaps some individual supporters as well!

Praise God!

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