I was up early this morning and on my way to the coffee shop (as is my custom six days a week) when I heard about it on the radio news. The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has come to Southern California.
After leaving my good old boys caffeine club, I started across town to my church to join others for our weekly yard and facility cleanup duty in preparation for Sunday morning. That's when I spotted it happening right here in my little retirement community. Right there at the intersection in front of Gibbel Park at 7:10 on Saturday morning, this guy was stringing up (oh, excuse me - am I allowed to say, "stringing up?") --- this guy was hanging (oops, sorry) attaching this banner on the fence. I was in a hurry to do something meaningful and productive so I really couldn't hang (drat) stick around to see what would happen.
We finished our work at church around 10:00 A.M. so I drove by again just to see how the event was shaping up. There was nobody there. The banner was still on the fence and now there was an additional, smaller picket sign attached on the fence close by but no "occupiers." There were two people sitting in the picnic area across the park. I wondered if that was it.
I drove around the block to see if there was any other evidence of the big event. A few minutes later a middle-aged man and woman showed up on the corner with about ten more signs and pickets. I stopped across the street in the parking lot of Applebees for about ten minutes to observe them and take some photos. They began placing their signs against the fence. A couple different drivers of passing automobiles honked at them. Other than that, there wasn't much commotion. I left around 10:30 to get to my grandsons' soccer game.
After the soccer game I drove back to the park again around 12:20. They must have gone to lunch or something; there was nobody there. There was a small group of 20-25 people at the picnic area with balloons but it didn't look like they were intending to OCCUPY the park. I think it was a birthday part. They looked too clean and washed (is that called profiling?) and most of them looked like they had jobs.
I guess that was all there was to it.
Was it Awesome? No!
Spectacular? Not even!
Eventful? It was the great, Great, GREAT OCCUPYTOGETHER.ORG NON-EVENT! Two worn-out old hippies with pickets does not a demonstration make. But I guess their banner was self-explanatory, "Occupy TOGETHER" as in, "It's just you and me babe, we're in this thing together."
In typical, OWS style, they left their trashy signs littered along the way for someone else to pick up after them.
There hasn't been this much excitement in Hemet, since our local Christmas Parade last year.
This is a couple years ago but still very relevant. This is why I still have hope for Newt Gingrich. He is the smartest candidate in the room, he shows the most maturity, he has real solutions for our problems, he understands and respects our history and our constitution, and he doesn't care about trying to be appealing and sensitive to the left.
What I am about to confess, embarrasses me. How can a Christian, who has attended church his whole life, get to be my age (63) and not know something so important about our Christian church history?
I'm talking about a holiday that is celebrated on October 31. NOT Halloween but Reformation Day. Sure, I had heard the phrase a few times in my life but I just assumed that it was mostly about the beginning of the Lutheran denomination. It was only a few short years ago that I learned the details and the date of this memorial holiday.
Apparently most who are in the protestant denominations (especially Lutherans) have some historical knowledge of it but in Baptist churches, the name "Martin Luther" is seldom mentioned unless it is followed by "King."
I think it is ironic that on the day of the darkest and most evil holiday of the year, the "Light of the world" shown on a devoutly religious but lost Catholic priest. And by God's grace, the light of the Word penetrated his heart and revealed to Martin Luther that "the just shall live by faith."
But most of the churches I am familiar with will never mention the beginning of the Reformation. They will celebrate the dark, pagan holiday instead. They won't admit it but they will. A few of the more honest ones will call it what it is; a Halloween party. The rest will disguise it as a "Halloween alternative," a "Fall Festival," or a "Harvest Celebration." Whatever they call it, it will be a safe, and easy place where parents can divert their kids away from the "Trick or Treat" thing on the streets. Instead, the kids will show up at church in costumes to play games and get lots of candy.
Of course, the churches will try to justify it as an "outreach ministry." After all, they say, it is a great opportunity to invite unbelievers to church to prove to them that Christians can do the same kinds of things the world does and have just as much fun. And besides, with the candy, they will hand out some tracts.
Why are they so afraid to celebrate the birth of the Reformation? My guess is that they probably associate the history with "reformation theology." I wrote, in another post, that my daughter was teaching her children the Westminster Catechism. When she mentioned it, one of her church leaders responded by saying, "That's reformation theology. We don't believe in that here."
That was ignorant and really sad. I have said before, I am finding myself more comfortable pitching my tent in the camp of reformed theology (which is God-centered) than dwelling in the mire of the kind of man-centered theology that is replete with "easy believism," "decisional regeneration," and promises of "your best life now."
Okay, so if they are your kids, I guess it is up to you to decide how your children will receive religious instruction. It's your choice.
This video presents one church's misguided argument for age-appropriate instruction at church. Children are not capable, they say. of understanding the Word of God unless it is repackaged in a fun way that will stimulate them and penetrate their minds at their own levels.
On the other hand, if your children belong to God and you have a stewardship responsibility to Him for their instruction in righteousness, you might be interested in considering what His Word has to say about this subject. Daisy at "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" has made a very good biblical argument for children being IN CHURCH with their parents.
So they are your responsibility. What are you gonna do? Are you going to give them what they want or are you going to give them what they need? Will you shuffle them off to some goofy youth leader who is barely older and not much wiser than they or keep them beside you under the instruction of God's Word from your pastor?
We worship one, personal, knowable, holy God. There are not two gods or ten gods or ten million gods, only one. He has always been and will always be. He is not a product of our mind or imagination. He really exists and we can know him because he has spoken to us in his word.
Two kinds of being:
We are not gods. God is not found in the trees or the wind or in us. He created the universe and cares for all that he has made, but he is distinct from his creation. The story of the world is not about being released from the illusion of our existence or discovering the god within. The story is about God, the people he made, and how the creatures can learn to delight in, trust in, and obey their Creator.
The one God exists eternally in three persons. The Father is God. The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is God. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is also God. And yet these three—equal in glory, rank, and power—are three persons. The doctrine of the Trinity helps explain how there can be true unity and diversity in our world. It also shows that our God is a relational God.
Something happened in history that changed the world. The Son of God came into the world as a man, perfectly obeyed his Father, fulfilled Israel’s purpose, succeeded where Adam failed, and began the process of reversing the curse. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He rose again from the dead on the third day. By faith in him our sins can be forgiven and we can be assured of living forever with God and one day being raised from the dead like Christ.
Obviously, this doesn’t say everything that needs to be said about the Bible or Christianity. But I find it to be a helpful way to get a handle on some of the most important distinctives of a Christian worldview. Feel free to steal it and use it for yourself. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.
Apparently there are too many stay-at-home-moms who can't afford diapers for their toddlers. So we (the people who already pay for so much free stuff) should fork over more so that moms can have FREE diapers so that they can send their kids to FREE daycare where they can get FREE lunches.
The folks who are getting all the free stuff don't like us folks who are paying for the free stuff because we, who are paying for the free stuff, can no longer afford to pay for both their free stuff and our own stuff.
Those of us who are paying for the free stuffwant the free stuff to stop, and the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuffin addition to all the free stuffthey are already getting!
Now, the politicians who are forcing us to pay for the free stuff have told the people who are receiving the free stuff that we, the people who are paying for the free stuff, are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.
So the people who are getting the free stuff have been convinced the politicians they need to hate us, the people who are paying for their free stuff, while they continue to force us to pay for their free stuff and give them the free stuff in the first place.
We have allowed all this free stuff giving to go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than those of us who are paying for the free stuff.
Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason? The takers and leeches figured out they could vote themselves free stuff by electing people who promise to give them free stuff.
The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 235 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff. We have one chance to change that in 2012. Failure to change that may spell the end of the United States as we know it.
Tomorrow is Fish Amnesty Day. PETA is trying to bring the plight of poor little fishies to the attention of evil, insensitive, and cruel people who "hook" them for sport or eat them for lunch.
I never really thought about their "feelings" before. I'm sorry! I repent! I pray that all the little, orphaned "fishkittens" will forgive me someday for the way I caused their ancestors to suffer.
Tomorrow, in observance of Fish Amnesty Day, I am going to right the wrongs I have done to all the little fish who have been held imprisoned against their wills in a glass aquarium with no hope of ever seeing their mothers or fathers or siblings again. One little flush and they will be happily on their way through the sewer pipes and back to the ocean where they will be "free at last." Goodbye little fishkittens. Have a nice life! Think of me in your prayers and please forgive me.
For Sale -
One slightly used aquarium with all the apparatus (or is that apparati?) - cheap.
There is no shortage of crappy and doctrinally unsound hymns and praise songs that pollute the atmosphere of the church today. And I have had to zip my lips and hold my nose through many church services while the “worship team” led the people in multiple repetitions of feel-good, man-centered musical happycrap.
One of those very popular pieces of puke is, “Come, Just As You Are To Worship.” Where did we ever get the idea that we could approach God “just as we are” and that He should be pleased to accept our worship? That idea did not come from scripture.
Last week I led a Bible Study, at my church, on the topic of the Laver in the outer court of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The laver is symbolic of the Word of God and its sanctifying affect on the believer.
God spoke to Moses and said: “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.” Exodus 30:17-21
Take note of the purpose of that washbasin. The priests were to wash their hands and their feet BEFORE THEY ENTERED THE TENT OF MEETING OR BEFORE THEY COULD MAKE ANY OFFERINGS TO GOD.
God expects His people to be clean before they can come to worship Him. This kind of cleansing is not for salvation; it is for sanctification. The cleansing by the shedding of blood was accomplished once for all at the cross (symbolized by the altar) where the Lamb of God was slain for our sins.
But in this sinful world we will do things and go places that will stain our hands and feet us so we need regular and frequent cleansing by the Word of God before we can worship Him. He is holy and He commands us to be holy. In His instructions to Moses, He repeated this warning two times – “they shall wash their hands and their feet LEST THEY DIE.” And furthermore, He commands that this statute shall remain forever to Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.
So how is it that we think we can glibly approach God with our acts of worship once a week on Sunday mornings with unconfessed sins and unrepentant lifestyles and think that He should be pleased with our noise?
There is another song with similar words but a totally different meaning; “Just As I Am.” That is the way God expects us to come to Him for forgiveness and salvation – as helpless sinners “without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.” But after that we cannot remain just the way we are. He expects us to look into His Word and to be sanctified by it.
The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act will amend the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This bill will also prohibit discriminatory instruction and discriminatory materials from being adopted by the State Board of Education.
So who are some of the great people of history who will now be outed to your children?
FROM BRITAIN'S HISTORY
King Richard I The Lionhearted
King James I (who commissioned the KJV Bible)
FROM U.S. HISTORY
President George Washington
President James Buchanan
Susan B. Anthony
J. Edgar Hoover
Now if that doesn't bother you too much, check these names and then take your temperature.
FROM THE BIBLE:
Ruth and Naomi
King David and Jonathan
The Prophet Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
St. John the Evangelist
The Apostle, Paul and Timothy
It might be time to take your children out of public school.
ADDED 10-14-11 Since posting this, I have found many sources which claim that Jesus was gay. All I'm saying is that, for the most part, identifying ancient gay people is a purely speculative exercise of the willing with an agenda. Evidence is sketchy at best and is usually interpreted through 21st century western culture. So don't be surprised to see Jesus' name among the queers who have made contributions to our history in the pages of California's elementary textbooks.
After serving nearly 16 years at a non-profit Christian home for the elderly, the time has come to pull the plug.
The pay has been moderate at best but there have been perks. In lieu of raises, they gave me great titles (President, Administrator, and CEO) and, with the titles, I have enjoyed the most awesome office space imaginable. It is truly a most enviable "man cave." My office is bigger and better than that oval shaped one in the West Left Wing of the White House (eat your heart out Your Highness). My personal "No Spin Zone" CRASH PAD has been a quiet conservative retreat from the wacky, liberal liberal world of fruits and nuts all around me. It has been a comfortable Board meeting room, a relaxing place for other meetings, a distraction-free place for study, and a pleasant place for my more than ample sized executive desk. And who else has a couple stuffy old people standing guard at the door, a large covered balcony, fireplace, or a baby grand piano in his office?
Anyway, I will soon begin to pack up my 25 year rhinoceros collection and all the other weird stuff that I have accumulated just because it amused me. So my oldest daughter, Dawn, visited last week and captured the atmosphere of my personal museum space in four videos for me to share with all my friendswith both my friends with any obscure, idle, unknown person out there, without a life or anything better to do, who might be interested in taking a look.
So I present, here, a four part video tour of "Ralph's Rhinoceros Room."
Who is the loneliest person in your church? It just might be your pastor.
In a recent survey, the Fuller Institute of Church Growth reported the following statistics:
· 70% of pastors surveyed had no one they considered to be a close friend.
· 80% felt that their ministries negatively affected their families.
· 75% reported a serious stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
· 50% felt unable to meet the demands of the job.
· 90% felt inadequately trained to cope with job demands.
· 70% had a lower self image than when they started in ministry
· 40% had a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
· 50% had considered leaving the ministry within the past three months.
If your pastor is typical, he works 60 or more hours a week and he does it cheerfully and graciously for considerably less compensation that other professionals with comparable education and qualifications. He and his family are closely scrutinized and highly criticized. He is called on to perform countless duties and receives little appreciation. One research group has identified pastors as “the most frustrated people in America.”
Their pressures are tremendous. We expect them to be sensitive counselors, dynamic orators, charismatic motivators, model spouses, ideal parents and expert CEOs. But most of them entered the ministry in response to the call of God to simply preach His Word and care for His people.
When was the last time you thanked your pastor? October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Why not show your appreciation by dropping a card or treating him to dinner? Or, if you are so inclined, you might give him a paid vacation to Tahiti.
“(Those) who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” I Tim. 5:17